Waiting for the Many Other Shoes to Drop

By: John P. Donohue

In the late 19th and early 20th century, in response to the growth in urban manufacturing, New York City began an aggressive program of building apartments for its expanding workforce.  In many of these hastily-constructed apartments, the materials were inferior; the walls and floors were thin; and the apartments were constructed one directly on top of the other.  So, at the end of the day, a tenement dweller could not help but hear his upstairs neighbor’s shoe drop to the floor, and, when it did, he knew that another shoe would drop shortly thereafter.  Hence, the maxim “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

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