Friday, February 6, 2015

Queens County Revisited: The 1970s (9)

Occasionally, on weekends in the 1970s I would hop on a bus to check out a U.S. campus scene that I had never visited before. I can recall visiting SUNY-New Paltz on one Friday night, where I walked onto the campus and snuck into a rock concert that was being held in one of the campus buildings, before hanging out for awhile at a local bar on New Paltz's main street and then catching the last bus going back down to New York City that night.

On another weekend, I hopped on a bus down to Philadelphia one Saturday to walk around and check out the University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia. And on a third weekend, I took a long bus ride down to College Park, Maryland to walk around the University of Maryland campus for about an hour before catching a bus back up to New York City later in the afternoon on that same day. And another time, I hopped on a bus going from New York City to Boston, walked around the South End for an hour and then took the next bus that was leaving Boston for New York City that evening.

In the 1970s, the Greyhound bus fares were still cheaper than they would become in the 1980s and 1990s--before competing bus firms like Mega-bus and the Chinatown companies eventually pushed the cost of bus fares on certain routes that college students rode on frequently back down in the 21st century.

Also, I can recall hopping on the Long Island Railroad one Friday night after work in the 1970s, getting off at the SUNY-Stony Brook stop, walking around the SUNY-Stony Brook campus for about an hour and then catching the last LIRR train that was returning to Queens that same night.

All these early 1970s campus visits pretty much reconfirmed my feeling that "we were back in the 1950s again" in the 1970s, as far as campus unrest and political activism was concerned--despite all that had happened during the 1960s on U.S. campuses in the way of student revolt. And I even wrote a folk song whose lyrics I've now forgotten, titled "Back In The Fifties Again," which had a melody that resembled somewhat the tune for the "Back In The Saddle Again" cowboy song that Gene Autry used to sing.

Neither the 9-to-5 work world nor the campus world in the 1970s now reflected any large mass-based support for a 1970s New Left revolution in the United States. The "dream" was indeed "over" by the mid-1970s, to paraphrase John Lennon's words. And by the middle 1970s, all I had to look forward to was many more decades of 9-to-5 wage enslavement as a low-wage temp office worker.

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