When I was young in the early 1940’s, A very large printing company was located on Mulberry St. and Houston St in Manhattan in NY State. The Logo of the company was a 30-foot statue of a jolly man with a top hat slanted on his head and waving a stalf.
The name of the building was and still is “The Puck Building” the statue was designed to represent “Puck” of Shakespeare’s writings.
My friends and I would always go to the end of Mulberry street which was called Houston St. just to see the other world, cause our ended there. The world as we knew it ended and what happened out there was what we were not allowed to explore. Looking up at the statue was like a dream cause we couldn’t understand how this big, big man stood there. It was only after growing up did I understand it’s meaning.
It was the street on it other side of the building, closer to our homes, we loved and played in. It was always very dark, even in broad daylight everywhere else, but it had great hiding places for kick the can and Hide and Seek! We called it “Jersey Alley” and our parents told us to never go into it, cause there were bad men there. They were referring to “The Bumbs” who would sleep anywhere they could and usually smelled very bad. If there were any, we just ignored them and played anyway. I was never worried cause these same bumbs would sleep in our building hallway when it rained or was cold in the winter. They got free meals in our church basement which was directly across the street from Jersey Alley. in that same basement was “The Catacombs”, where all the people of the original settlers had lived and died. We were allowed down there on “All Soul’s Day”, and boy it was scary and dark and smelly.