When we last left our little 1950's runaways, Eugene Hart was returned happily to his Bushwick home with his Mama, never to roam so far, at least by accident, again.
But, there are more tales of childhood derring-do, escape, and adventure that have woven their way through the streets of the city.
I'll Take Manhattan
Our next story happened in May of 1950. Ten year old Victor and eight year old Tanya Sedor spent 3 1/2 days on the run from their 45 N. Elliot Place home. They had been enjoying a warm spring day, playing after school in the park. Their merriment continued into the early evening when the sun began to set, and they realized they had stayed out far too long. Now afraid to go home, and not wishing to face the ire of Mom and Dad, they decided to continue their fun and "go adventuring." Well this took them up and over the bridge, to the metropolis of Manhattan's midtown area. The brother and sister pair visited Central Park and its zoo, rode the merry-go-round, went to the movies, AND, to church, (two masses no less). Sympathethic strangers took pity on the two and gave them money, which they used to purchase the childhood food staples of candy, ice cream and cup cakes.
However, the jig was up when Thomas Nelloy of 793 9th Avenue saw them sleeping in the hallway of his apartment building. The pair started to run, but Mr. Nelloy was able to grab hold of Tanya, with Victor making a clean getaway. Big brother was picked up 6 hours later, hanging around the West 54th street police station looking for his sister who had already been returned home. After they were home the siblings recounted that they only regretted running away once during the weekend. The conversation had gone like this - Tanya: "I wish I were home in my nice, warm bed." Victor: "I sure would like a good chicken dinner right now."
So Close but yet so Far
The one escapade that stands out for me is the tale of Robert Lidell. In the spring of 1954 Robert Lidell took off from his home at 1080 St. Johns Place and created the ultimate "boy cave" under the intersection of Ocean and Flatbush Avenues. For 12 days Lidell lived under a Transit Authority manhole, furnished with wire chair, automobile seat used for a bed, a can of Sterno and two pictures for decoration which hung from cables. His days were spent looking for food
From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
To reach his underground paradise, the boy had been forced to climb over a wall and down into an open rail road cut used by the Frankling Avenue spure of the B. M.T. He then walked 150 feet along the track, climbed over a catwalk and entered the cable room from the bottom through another underground chamber.
How the boy found the place or how he was able to lift the heavy manholr cover between the chambers was a source of puzzlement to the cable crew which moved out his furniture.
Why'd he do it? "When they see my picture they'll laugh. They'll say I got nerve. They won't be able to call me chicken!"