Saloon Society: Steamy Summer Days


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September 23, 1959, Vol. IV, No. 48

Saloon Society

By Bill Manville

“You know those last, few, hot, steamy days, just before Labor Day? That’s when it was. Like some kind of dream, man, some heat mirage, always the fire hydrants going, the kids, spooky kids up 3 in the morning, always hot, us, alone, the streets empty.”

A.E. Kugelman and I were sitting in the back room of the White Horse. He was telling me about a hat-check girl…

“Every day I’d come home from work, 8 o’clock, fall right in to bed. Two a.m., the alarm would go off. I’d get up, in a sweat, shower, shave to be ready to go to work in the morning. I’d sit by the open summer window, a cup of coffee, a smoke. I’d look out at the Empire State Building, just a few lights on, some stud making a lot of loot, you know – who’s up that hour except money guys and guys like me?

“Three a.m. I’d pick up Margo when her club closed. Man, how hot those nights were…I met her the first day of the heat. She said: ‘It’s like we meet in a foreign country, a hot tropic place, and soon it’ll be a cold, different place and we’ll break up.’ Five o’clock, 6 o’clock, we’d fall asleep, sweating, hot, wet, wet, the sheets soaked, the fan creaking away and I’d pray, please, more heat, another hot day, just one more…”

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