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Story #132:
Park Avenue parachute

It’s Friday, January 31, 1975. I’m a hot-shot young senior manager for the Blueblood Madison Avenue Agency, Young & Rubicam, and just back from a V.I.P. trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to visit the banana plantations of our newest client, Chiquita brand bananas.

I’m having my first meeting with Eli M. Black, the Chairman of Chiquita’s holding company (United Fruit Brands), at his spacious office on the 44th Floor of the Pan Am building overlooking Park Avenue and 47th Street. He asks for my “candid observations.” I obliged with my New York sense of humor “Eli, let me put it this way. It was the first time I’ve ever examined a client production facility surrounded by guys with machine guns.”

He responded with an introspective glint in his eyes, “Honduras is one hell hole, isn’t it? I never imagined what I was getting into when I bought the company.”

At 8 AM, the following Monday morning—Febrarury 3, 1975—Eli walked into his office, slammed his attache case into a big picture window and jumped to his death, landing on the northbound ramp of Park Avenue to the surprise of morning motorists.

To learn more about my conversation with Eli, you might want to check out my latest book, a memorable collection of short stories, ONLY IN NEW YORK. 36 True Big Apple Stories Spanning 55 Years and Five Boroughs.

DATE: Aug.05.2019 | CATEGORY: My Books