I would love to hear from any New Yorker who has ever lived in city housing. From 1978 to 1998, I worked for a housing agency, managing city-owned residential properties.
I began my career as a property manager and worked my way up the career ladder, finally becoming a director of crisis management. My job was supervising other supervisors who supervised property managers. Looking back at that time, I think most of the buildings the city owned were in crisis and not just the troublesome ones in Central Harlem’s Crisis Management Program, but that’s for another post.
During that time, I worked in a field office—meaning that I worked at a site that was supposed to be easily accessible to tenants living in my assigned territory. Of course, it wasn’t. Tenants paid two fares to see me and my coworkers, only to be told we couldn’t or wouldn’t help them. I guess you could say the site location on East 125th Street was better than the one all the way downtown at 2 Lafayette, which was near One Police Plaza.
While I was working in East and Central Harlem, I met a cast of loveable and not-so-loveable characters. Some of them worked as supers and porters. Others lived in the buildings I managed or worked alongside me as my co-workers or they worked in ivory towers downtown. They might also be drug dealers and their customers or beat officers, social workers, Legal Aid lawyers, tenant associations, city marshals, supervisors, area directors, maintenance directors, maintenance men, or mechanics.
You’re probably thinking, that’s nice, but why start a blog page? Well, here comes my pitch. I wrote a book called Mr. Jefferson’s Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories about my experience in property management. I read Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book,
The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, http://www.carolynhowardjohnson.redenginepres.com/.
Then I read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR, http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/. Both books said I should be using the internet to market my book, so this is my attempt to create a blog for that purpose.
I know I’m doing this backwards. It’s supposed to be blogs and media marketing first to create an audience, then introduce the product—my book. What can I say? I’m doing the best I can with this. Oops, I forgot to include my website where you can buy my book. It’s hard to remember all this stuff. I’m a baby boomer from the television generation, for Christ sakes! What do I know about blogging?
When I was growing up, we flipped a simple off/on switch that connected us to a television where we could be couch potatoes if we wanted. We could buy a little pot, get high, and make love all night long. Or we could march to protest something and hope to change the world. We certainly didn’t sit around staring at a little handheld screen until our eyeballs turned red and burned like the devil while we tried to figure out what to say to people we never met and probably will never meet.
Sorry about that little outburst of yearning for the good old days.
Either I’ve made you curious or turned you off. If you’re still reading this, you probably want to know more about Mr. Jefferson’s Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories. At least, I hope you do, so here’s the details.
Fictional character Melba Farris is a compilation of me and my coworkers who managed residential properties in East and Central Harlem for the city of New York. She meets plenty of interesting characters and stumbles into unusual situations as a young, idealistic African American woman trying to do good for her tenants who live in city-owned housing during the seventies, eighties, and nineties.
When I spoke to my coworkers about the book, several told me fascinating stories of their own experiences in property management. That was when I realized there are many more stories out there about housing in New York City. My book, as good as it is, barely scratched the surface. I started thinking how it would be great to hear from people who lived and worked here in the city as property managers or in fields related to property management.
I hope anyone reading this and who lived Harlem, East Harlem, Alphabet City, Bed Stuy, Red Hook, and the South Bronx or other low-income neighborhoods, or worked for the city in the housing field from 1978 to 2008 will take a moment—well, maybe several— to jot down a good story or two about what she or he experienced.
I’d love to hear about your experiences and I’m sure others would too. My links are below.
Here are the links for Mr. Jefferson’s Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories:
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KTTJYVM
Amazon Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01KTTJYVM
Amazon Kindle CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01KTTJYVM
Book trailer: https://youtu.be/hiQj8jzE_3c
Connect with BL Wilson at these links:
Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/patchworkbluezpress
Smashwords profile page: http://bit.ly/1sUKQYP
Amazon’s Author Page: http://bit.ly/1tY3e27