Towards evening, when I was a kid, a man with a hand organ would stand in the street below the apartment windows and grind out a tune. A monkey -- dressed perhaps as a bellhop -- would 'dance' at the end of a short leash and residents would throw pennies down from the apartment windows above. Naturally, as a kid, I secretly tried to bombard the man with the organ. My pennies always missed and I think the man with the organ knew what was going on ... but his collection of pennies was the central issue. A penny was real money.
Also, there were trucks that filled the kid's eye -- great, grinding things propelled by supersized bicycle chains, some on tires that were solid rubber, some that were inflated. They delivered ...
coal that sluiced from the rear of the truck, down to to basements awaiting fuel; strong men bearing blocks of ice to cool the residential "ice boxes" that had not yet gone out of vogue; a knife- and scissors-grinder; and a rag man who collected cast-off clothing to a purpose I never really understood.
We had roller skates that clamped onto our shoes after a proper tightening with a key that always seemed to get lost. The Good Humor man parked around the corner and wooed kids with jingling bells. There were not yet advertising jingles. I never did like the ice cream much, but I liked the Popsicle sticks they came on ... they were great for sharpening against the sidewalk.
Now and then the cadets at Columbia University around the corner would march and strut their stuff to the awe of onlookers. It was a time of war, but what did a kid know about war -- World War II or any other? 1940-1-2-3-4. The cadets looked very spiffy.
Who could know that when enough of them had perished, suddenly they would become a "greatest generation?"
Looking back, shall I call it "bucolic?" "Bucolic" suggests greenery and flowers in my mind and New York was full of Macadam and cement.