What was New York like when you were very young?"" -- This is a perennial question asked by children and young people. And this is one portrait of old New York, when what is now Harlem was New York's first suburb, and Van Courtlandt Park was wild country. Papa was a Victorian gentleman; Mama deferred to him in everything except visiting her family in Brooklyn. Here are the family excursions; here are ""funnies"" that were really funny; cheesecake was superior; life moved at a simpler, easier pace. The good old days are seen as better than they probably were.