Happy New Year Under the Boardwalk

“Under the boardwalk” came the New Year’s Eve reply from the guy at Union Station in NYC 52 years ago. He was responding to two 19 year-0ld college students who’d taken the bus from Philadelphia to experience Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

“Hey, buddy!  Happy New Year!” they’d yelled to the inebriated man staggering though Union Station’s main floor.

“Hey,” he’d yelled back. “Happy New Year!” looking up at us. “Where ya from?”

“Philadelphia. How about you?”

“Under the boardwalk,” he said. “Come visit sometime.”

“Where?” we asked, both laughing.  “What boardwalk?”

“Atlantic City,” he said.

We made the visit to Atlantic City but never saw him again.

Age has a way of maturing us, if we’re lucky. We come to realize that any one of us could be the man who lived under the boardwalk. Lots of people do. Happy New Year, bother, and thanks for the kind invitation.”

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