We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood

We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood

by Jen Rubin


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“The best political stories are the human ones, and Jen Rubin recognizes this...Anyone who cares about urban policy, the history and the future of New York City and of a country that suffers from so much division, yet has the potential still to unite, will cherish this book.”

(John Nichols, The Nation)

On the morning of July 14, 1977, Alan Rubin stood on the sidewalk at Broadway and 98th Street staring through the shattered windows of his store, Radio Clinic. After a 25-hour blackout, more than 1,600 New York City stores had been looted. With its shelves of stereo equipment, televisions, boomboxes and other electronics, Radio Clinic had been an irresistible target.

A resilient and street-smart character, Alan was never stronger than he was during in the aftermath of the blackout. When others closed up shop and neighbors feared the neighborhood’s further decline, he hung a sign on the window the day after the blackout that read defiantly, “We Are Staying.” He stayed and he stayed and he stayed, until, finally, he could stay no longer.

Forty-three years earlier his father, Leon Rubin, opened the store during the depths of the depression as a radio repair shop. To distinguish his shop from his many nearby competitors in those early days of radio, he sat fixing radios in the storefront window – visible to the public in his “clinic” -- wearing a white doctor’s lab coat. For 80 years Radio Clinic provided an anchor as its neighborhood contended with the great Depression, World War II, post war consumerism, urban renewal polices, the near economic collapse of New York City, government indifference and gentrification

Richly detailed, We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood, is a remarkably powerful, poignantly told story of a family, a business, a neighborhood and a city. It is an immigrant story, a grandfather-father-daughter story, a story of the unique character a family business brings to a neighborhood, and a reflection on what has been lost as stores like these disappear.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781732300002
Publisher: Carb House Press
Publication date: 09/15/2018
Pages: 242
Sales rank: 996,257
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Jen Rubin is a former New Yorker living in Madison, WI. An obsessive maker of mixed tapes and quite possibly the best challah baker in town, she has worked for social change throughout her career. Jen leads storytelling workshops around Madison, teaches the occasional social policy class at the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work, and works at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Jen likes to tell a good story and hear a good story and coproduces the Moth StorySlam in Madison.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Blackout

Chapter 2: From Russia with Love

Chapter 3: A Dream, Some Chutzpah, and the First Month’s Rent

Chapter 4: The Golden Age of Radio

Chapter 5: The Post-World War II Bust

Chapter 6: The Hornet’s Nest

Chapter 7: The Looting

Chapter 8: Better than a Kick in the Head

Chapter 9: An Occasion Worth Remembering

Chapter 10: Aftershocks

Chapter 11: Follow the Lease

Chapter 12: Air Conditioners

Chapter 13: The Time Bomb

Chapter 14: That’s All Folks

Chapter 15: Retirement


Appendix I Chapter by Chapter store listing, sources and Spotify playlist

Appendix II Radio Clinic Tributes

Appendix III Alan Rubin and Jen Rubin’s New York Times Op-Eds

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