Went to the Woolworth Building
To return some do-hickey
And enjoy a lime rickey
Maybe join a sit-in
For civil rights of brothers now long dead
Found four thousand dollar square foot condos instead
PETER BRAV of Princeton, New Jersey is the author of the novels SNEAKING IN and THE OTHER SIDE OF LOSING, both available on Amazon.
Frank Woolworth opened his first successful Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store in Lancaster, PA in 1879. The ensuing chain of stores with aisles of beauty products and clothing and lunch counters where shoppers might break for
grilled cheese and lime rickeys enjoyed unprecedented success. Frank and his partners reportedly paid $13.5 million in cash to build New York City’s Woolworth Building which opened in 1913, the tallest building in the world until 1930. On February 1, 1960, four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University were refused service at stools reserved for whites only at a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s lunch counter. Their courage, and that of those who joined them in the days that followed, resulted in the desegregation of the lunch counter now housed at the Smithsonian Institution, with the Greensboro building itself now home to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. Today more than one hundred years old, New York City’s Woolworth Building is being partially converted to residential condominiums from the 29th Floor up where individual apartment prices range from $3.9 million to $110 million.