5/3/10

And if you believe that...

As the two beat-cops strolled by, George adjusted the carnation on his breast and checked his watch. 11:30 a.m. on March 1, 1928. He had an hour and a half until they returned.

Ten minutes later, a handsome young couple came strolling across the bridge. The man was pointing as they walked, the woman nervously nodding her head. George greeted them with a warm smile. “Ah, I see you’ve brought the little miss!”

He bowed deeply and took the lady’s hand and pressed it to his lips. He addressed her in a tone of deep respect, “Madam, it’s an honor to have met you. You should not only be proud of your husband for the hard bargain he commanded of me, but proud of the future he’s ensured you and the wee one you’ll soon be bringing into this wonderful land of opportunity by the purchase he’s made. Your folks back in County Cork... well, just imagine what they’ll say when they hear that just three days off the boat, you’ve become real property owners! I congratulate you and sincerely welcome you to America!”

With an unquestionably confused look upon her face, the woman put a finger to her chin and she made movement to reply but George had already turned away, his broad arm coiling around her husband’s back. She stood there with her mouth agape as she watched her husband hand over nearly all of the money they’d brought with them.

The young immigrants would find out from the beat-cops later that day that they could not set up their toll-booth as planned. And George C. Parker would later that year begin a life sentence at Sing Sing prison after three decades of selling the Brooklyn Bridge, in addition to Madison Square Garden and the Statue of Liberty.

2 comments:

Karinann said...

Christopher, You never cease to amaze me with the bits of history you dig up for these pieces. I always wondered where that line came from- didn't realize people were actually attempting to do it!

cyurkanin said...

LOL Karinann, there were lots of people who did it over the first several decades of the bridge, he was the only one to make a career of it though!