Sunday, July 15, 2012

1910 - Saved by a Strong Clothesline

Five-Story Fall Didn’t Feaze [sic] Him
Seven-Year-Old, Emulating Feats of Firemen, Drops Through Tenement Clothes Lines. Four Broke Under Him
Fifth Held and a Neighbor Rescues Him-”I Ain’t Hurt; I Could Do It Again,” His Comment.

The conventional hero of melodrama whose life hung by a single thread was only a humdrum hero compared to 7-year-old Isidore Bloom of 25 Market Street, whose life hung successfully from five clotheslines in a roof-to-courtyard fall yesterday afternoon. Four of the five clotheslines which marked the periods in his fall weren’t as good as they should have been, and broke under him. If it hadn’t been for the fifth-but there by hung the tale-and Izzy.

Isidore thought he’d play fireman late yesterday afternoon, so he stepped out upon the fire escape from a window in his home on the fifth floor of the building, and started up a small ladder to the roof, to perform heroic rescued. While rescuing a non-existent damsel from a place of peril in the cornice under the roof, Izzy lost his balance and fell into some very real peril. In a moment he saw the world upside down.

Mrs. Louis Levine of 109 Madison Street, just across the airshaft, whose eleven-year-old son, Louis, had been killed in a similar fall two weeks ago, saw the boy falling, and, feeling that he would be dashed to death, fainted at her window.

But instead Isidore tested the strength of the clothesline stretched from his fifth floor window. So in passing he grabbed it with one hand, reversed his inverted position, and hung on. Only for a moment, however, then the line sagged, stretched, and broke, and Isidore continued his travels.

There was another clothesline on the fourth floor, and Isidore made it his second resting place. This line also broke. Isidore screamed and continued his descent. The clothesline on the third floor was beneath him, so he reached out for it and grabbed it. There his father, Herman Bloom, attracted to the fire escape by the boy’s scream, saw him. As Father Bloom reached the third floor window he saw the clothesline sag, tremble, and snap, and his boy vanish beneath the window.

But Izzy grabbed the clothesline on the second floor; that also broke, but Providence was steadfast, and the last rope, spanned from the first floor, proved stanch and strong.

There Julius Gessof, who lives on the first floor of the house next door, reached out and rescued him by the nape of the neck. Gessof lifted the boy into his flat and began to feel for bruised and broken bones.

“Aw, let me go!” cried Izzy, “I’m not hurt.”

Then he broke away and ran out into the hall and down to the street.

There he met his father and mother, both of whom were frantic with grief and lamenting him as one that was dead. When they saw the lively young ghost running toward them they almost made him a real ghost in the enthusiasm of their embraces.

“Let me down,” gasped Izzy, “I’m not hurt. I could do it again.”

Nevertheless the parents were sure that some bones must be broken, and insisted on calling a doctor from Gouverneur Hospital. Dr. Eberle, after a minute examination, discovered one tiny scratch in Izzy’s face and a slight abrasion under one arm, where the last rope caught him. Isidore himself cut short the physician’s examination of him:

“Stop, doctor, you only tickle me,” he said. “It wasn’t a real fall. I liked it.”

When Izzy was awakened by a reporter who wanted to question him last night he was very angry.

“I never saw the like,” he said, “I only fell.”

The New York Times, New York, New York
July 31, 1910