Joseph Kenney was born on the East Side of Manhattan in 1951, surrounded by eclectic landmarks such as the United Nations Headquarters, Grand Central Terminal and The Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He was the fifth child of seven siblings, living in a Two Bedroom Railroad Flat in a neighborhood that was a melting pot of ethnic persuasions in which most families thrived.
He, though, was encumbered by alcoholism, abandonment and festering resentment and was subjected to unspeakable acts of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Kenney tells his story in the Last of the Eastside Kids with candor.
He was Catholic School educated from the age of six till nine, the final two in Catholic Orphanages. He left the orphanage to go to Florida with his Mother at the age of nine, bouncing back and forth from Florida to New York, left to languish in failure.
At age thirteen, He was shipped off to Hells Kitchen to live with his Father. Unsupervised he began using alcohol and experimenting with drugs, which became a daily staple in his life by the time He turned sixteen. He was homeless at the age of nineteen and was incarcerated both for drugs, and an inability to conform to society.
Barely 22 years of age when released, with both parents deceased and estranged from family, He married a girl from Queens and had a Daughter. Kenney’s indoctrination back into society did not come easily. His many mistakes hindered his emotional growth. And though He struggled for years with His past. He obtained sobriety at age thirty-two and remained that way for the next 23 years.
The Last of the East Side Kids offers insight into the world of childhood abuse and poverty and demonstrates one man’s resiliency to overcome these challenges and conquer his demons.