On the Sidewalks of New York is a memoir by Richard Paul Poethig, who was born in 1925 into a working-class, German-American family in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan. It tells the story of Richard’s journey from an “old law” tenement on 80th Street, to Good Will Sunday School (Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church’s mission on the East Side), to the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1945 before the end of World War II, to Union Theological Seminary in New York where he met his wife and graduated with an Masters of Divinity.
Chapter 26 – Leaving New York Behind
Richard introduces Eunice to the Poethig clan at a raucous feast at his aunt and uncle’s apartment in Yorkville. Eunice introduces Richard to her mother and brother at Christmastime in Dayton, Ohio. They begin plans for a June wedding. All the time Richard is writing his senior thesis on “A Christian Doctrine of Work for a Modern Technological […]
Chapter 25 – Starting A New Chapter
As seniors at Union, Richard and his roommate, Jim MacNaughton, are responsible for welcoming the incoming students through “round robins” hosted in the homes of faculty. Richard takes notice of an attractive newcomer in Jim’s group. He conspires with Jim (who owns a car) to drive Eunice Blanchard back to her residence at the James […]
Chapter 24 – An Adirondack Summer
Richard decides he needs a change of pace for his second summer field assignment and signs up to work amidst the lakes and falls and trees in Upstate New York. He and his roommate, Jim MacNaughton, team up for a project in the Adirondacks larger parish. But first, during their second year at Union, Richard […]
Chapter 23 – On the Line
Beyond their jobs in the steel mills, Richard and the other the Ministers-in-Industry participants take part in evening discussions and study visits to deepen their understanding of the church’s responsibility with industrial workers. At work, they continue to shield their identities as seminarians to keep the situation real. The seminar discussions are alive with the […]
Chapter 22 – The Summer of 1950
In the summer of 1950 Richard goes to work in the steel mills of Pittsburgh. The job was both necessary to help pay the tuition at Union Seminary, and also part of his theological education. Through Richard’s first “field work” experience with the youth at Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church in East Orange, he puts together a program […]
Chapter 21 – Reinie
At Union Seminary Richard decides to study Christian social ethics under Reinhold Niebuhr. In his first semester, Richard immediately audits a seminar being co-taught by John Bennett and Reinhold Niebuhr on “Christianity and Communism.” The seminar is prompted by the victory of the People’s Army of China in driving the Nationalist Army out of mainland China […]
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I am not from NY, I am not of this generation, and I am not religious, but I love this podcast. It is an engaging and beautifully told story that draws the listener in.