The Short Season, Part 2

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   To read Part 1, click here.   THE SOCIAL DARWINIAN universe we inhabited filtered down to adolescent social mores. A friend in high school was on several occasions turned down for dates by girls because his family car was dingy. (No subways or buses ran in South Fallsburg.) […]

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The Short Season

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   MY PARENTS BLUNDERED badly in 1945, a year after I was born. They lived in what is today the South Bronx, and my father made the long commute to Brooklyn to work in the huge Navy Yard. The war years brought him prosperity as a welder of […]

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The Subversive Power of Jewish Humor

by George Jochnowitz Discussed in this essay: Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture, by Joseph Dorinson, foreword by Joseph Boskin. McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015, 248 pages. WHEN I FIRST saw the title of Joseph Dorinson’s book, I was a bit puzzled. I know that Yiddish kvetshn means “to squeeze” and can […]

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November 25: Architect of Collins Avenue

Morris Lapidus, an architect who designed more than 1,200 buildings, including 250 hotels worldwide and much of the skyline of Miami Beach, was born in Odessa on this date in 1902. Lapidus studied architecture at Columbia University and was doing mostly interior design for twenty years until Miami beckoned: In 1952, he designed the largest […]

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September 8: Simon Sez

Lou Goldstein, who served as tumler (social director) at the Grossinger’s Catskill Mountain resort from 1948 to 1986 and achieved a national reputation for his “Simon Sez” games with both adults and children, was born near Warsaw on this date in 1921. (In the photo at right, Goldstein is standing, center, with Jackie Robinson and […]

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April 30: Mickey Katz

“Novelty” musician Mickey Katz, who specialized in Jewish parodies of American classics (such as “Haym afn Range” and “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Katzkills”), died at 75 in Los Angeles on this date in 1985. Katz played clarinet and sax from childhood (in Cleveland) and was earning money as a musician even before his graduation from […]

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January 10: The Nightfly

Donald Fagen, co-founder, keyboardist and songwriter for Steely Dan, one of the most influential American bands of the 1970s and beyond, was born on this date in 1948 in Passaic, New Jersey. (He was a bar mitzvah at Kendall Park’s Congregation Beth Shalom in 1961, a congregation his father helped to found.) Fagen’s mother was […]

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