An unseen narrator looks back to 1956, on Staten Island, when Buddy, an Italian guy with big dreams, buys a house planning to live upstairs with his wife Estelle and run a bar downstairs. The first problem is Estelle's lack of confidence in Buddy. Then, Irish tenants upstairs refuse to move and won't pay rent; plus, the woman upstairs is about to have a baby. The next problem is the baby: once he's born, it's clear his father was Black. The Irish guy splits; Buddy evicts mother and child, then feels guilt and sets her up in a flat while she sorts out an adoption. Estelle's lack of faith, the Irish lass's spirit, Buddy's dream, racial prejudice, and the baby's fate play out.