1964: A Disturbed Night

Emily Gensolin, guest writer

Thursday, March 12, 1964, Hoffa Gets 8-Year Sentence; Fined 10,000 Dollars in Jury Tampering Case, Seven States Devastated by Floodwaters, 13 Year-Old Bit By Skunk.
Reading the titles of the newspapers, nothing catches my eye. I bid farewell to the newspaper stand man, and continue down Jamaica Avenue, passing Ev’s Eleventh Hour Bar. It is late afternoon. I stop and look at my reflection in the bar window. I look past my reflection and into the bar; inside, patrons are laughing and Kitty, the manager, is cleaning tables. She notices my presence, smiles and waves, and I wave back. I continue on my way and reach my destination: Florence’s Flowers. I pull open the door and a small bell rings, announcing my arrival.
“Hey, Harper!” Someone calls my name from behind the counter
“Hey Clementine!”
A tall, lean man stands up from behind the counter and runs his fingers through his dirty blonde hair. I walk behind the counter and grab my apron with “Florence’s Flowers” embroidered in the center, and in smaller letters in the top right, “Harper”, and lean on the counter.
“Hey, have you heard of the music duo, Simon and Garfunkel?” Clementine asks
“Heard of them — they’re okay.”
“They recorded a new song, It’s called Sound of Silence or something.”
“Cool.” I say staring at an orchid.
The bell rings announcing the arrival of a customer.
“Hello Clementine, Hello Harper.” She says cheerfully.
“Hello Kitty, looking for something today?” Clementine asks
“Yeah, um…what are some good flowers to give to your significant other?”
“Red roses?” I suggest.
“Something non-stereotypical maybe?”
“An orchid?”
“Okay! Could I put one on hold and pick it up later?”
“Sure.” She picks an orchid and puts it on the counter.
“I’ll be back to pick it up later, do I need to leave some money or anything?” She asks. I shake my head, she leaves and it’s back to silence. Hours go by with few words spoken between us. I try to keep the conversations interesting.
It’s finally time for me to go home. I double checked the cash register and wonder if Kitty is going to come back. I wait an extra 30 minutes to give her the chance to get the orchid. I leave after a while because I need to feed Sweetie.
I lock up and step outside, flagging down a taxi.
“Kew Gardens please.” I’m praying Sweetie hasn’t torn up the apartment yet, a huge dog in a small apartment is not a good mix, paying the 10-dollar fare, I run up the stairs. Fitting the key into the lock, immediately I feeling a force jumping up against the door with a gentle “boof”. Slowly opening the door, to prevent him from running away, I stick my leg inside and slip between the door and the frame, and am immediately attacked by licks from him. Pretzels fill me up while Sweetie starts to gorge himself on his kibble. I fall back onto the couch, I look up to the crucifix on my wall. Thank God for getting me through the day, I glance up at the clock and it reads 8 pm.
I awake hearing a cry from outside, glancing at the clock and its nearly 3 o’clock in the morning (Pelonero), probably just drunk lovers or a lovers quarrel.
“It’s nothing.” I say to myself. I hear someone yell “‘Leave her alone!’”(Merry)
I should probably go see what happened, but it’s dark and I could get robbed, or worse: Murdered. I walk around my apartment and fix myself a cup of chamomile tea. I need to go back to sleep. I’ve been up for what seems like an eternity. I change into my pajamas and crawl into bed. I pat the area beside me summoning Sweetie. He stands at the doorway. “Boof” he’s holding his leash in his mouth,
“We’re not going out!” I argue.
“Boof!” He says a bit louder,
“No! It’s too dark and creepy!”
“Bo-”He is interrupted by my neighbor banging on the wall, yelling a string of obscenities at me, and telling me to make my dog shut up,
“I’m sorry!” I say through the wall. I turn back to Sweetie,
“Get your fat butt on this bed right now!” I say through gritted teeth. We make eye contact
“Please don’t,” I plead. He knows what’s going on and we maintain eye contact, as defiantly and loudly as he could he let out a “boof”. My neighbor starts yelling at me with even worse obscenities than last time, I put on some slippers, and grab Sweeties leash, grumbling, I step into the corridor, and lock my door. Immediately Sweetie starts tugging at the leash. He obviously knows where he wants to go. We get to ground level and he sniffs the ground, I’m keeping an eye out for my surroundings. You never know what could happen.
Sweetie tugs at the leash, and pulls me into a tall man, in the faint light I see a mole over his right eyebrow and a scar on his cheek, we make eye contact for a second and chills run through my body, he quickly rushes past me and disappears quiet night. I continue down the back of the building until I hear whispering and whimpering . I look around and see two women on the ground at the back of the building,
“Ma’am are you okay?” I say cautiously walking toward them. They don’t respond but one is crying, and the other continues to whisper to the other.
“Are one of you hurt?!” I ask, dropping Sweetie’s leash and falling on my knees before them.
“Yes, She’s been stabbed” one of them reply. I hear police sirens in the distance growing louder by the second.
“Please stay with me,” She pleads. I’m not sure if she’s talking to me or the victim, in the faint light I see that she was “stabbed eight times in the chest and abdomen” (New). She’s putting pressure on the girls wounds, and I cover as many as I can. The police arrive and I get a good look at her face,
“Kitty!” I say, gasping and covering my mouth.
“Now is not the time to point out a cat!” The lady snaps back at me.
Kitty is loaded onto the ambulance and is rushed away, the woman retreats into the building. I can’t move, I wasn’t exactly friends with her, but we were acquaintances. What if I had kept the store open for just a bit longer? What if I came when I first heard her scream? What if this was all my fault? I’m brought back to reality with Sweetie nudging my leg. I pick up his leash and walk back to the safety of my building, asking myself all sorts of what if’s. I go to sleep that night tossing and turning.
I wake up around 9 with dark bags under my eyes. I couldn’t stop thinking about that Kitty. I change and leave my apartment. Walking down Jamaica Street, I stop at the newsstand and look through the newspapers.
Saturday, March 14, 1964
Queens Barmaid Stabbed, Dies
It’s a small blip on the 3rd page, reading through the story, anger boils in my blood, they barely cover what happened, is a murder not worth front page news? I take a few deep breaths and continue down the street and stop in front of Ev’s Eleventh Hour Bar. Patrons are inside laughing and being jovial, there is a man wiping off the bar top. They act as if nothing happened, like someone didn’t just die. Are they that ignorant? Or do they just not care? Turning back, I return home.
The next day I returned to work. It is just me. I’m staring at the orchid that is still put aside for Kitty, the bell rings announcing a customer, I look up and a chill goes through my body, I don’t know why though. It’s a tall man, he wandered around the store and came to the cashier, holding a rose bouquet.
“Is this all?” I ask.
“Yes Ma’am,” he says, I laugh.
“No ones ever called me ma’am before!” I say, I look up and make eye contact with him. Something seems familiar about him, he hands me the money and as I’m putting it in the register it dawns upon me, I know where I’ve seen this man,
“Is something wrong?” He asks, interrupting my train of thought.
I shake my head, “No! Sorry, just thinking!” I laugh, handing him his change. He grabs the change and leaves. The bell rings announcing the leave of the man with a mole on over his right eyebrow and a scar on his cheek.

Cook, Kevin. Kitty Genovese: the Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America. W. W. Norton & Company, 2015.
Staff, Wired. “March 13, 1964: No One Helps as Kitty Is Slain.” Wired, Conde Nast, 4 June 2017
Worthen, Meredith. “Kitty Genovese.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 5 Apr. 2016,

Works Cited
Merry, Stephanie. “Her Shocking Murder Became the Stuff of Legend. But Everyone Got the Story Wrong.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 June 2016. web. 7 Feb. 2018
New York Daily Times “Kitty Genovese Is Stabbed to Death in Kew Gardens in 1964.” NY Daily News, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 12 Mar. 2015, web. 7 Feb. 2018
Pelonaro, Catherine. Kitty Genovese. Skyhorse Publishing. March 14 2014