By Bruce Friedman The doorbell rang and I ran down the stairs skipping two steps at a time, then jumped to the landing, yelling: “It’s for me!” My father waited for me at the bottom of the stairs: “How many times do I have to tell you. You don’t have to come down like a herd a herd of elephants. Now go back and come down one step at a… Read More »Summer of 1961 at East 42nd Street between Church and Snyder – Flatbush
My Brooklyn Jewish Experience
By Victoria Gold
I was born in nineteen fifty one in Brighton Beach Brooklyn, NYC. Brighton was a magical and mystical place to grow up. What more could a kid want than to be surrounded by the ocean, Coney Island and New York City?
The Gold family lived surrounded by the bracing smell of fresh ocean salt-water air. The overhead deafening sound of the elevated subway could not deter the pleasures of growing up by the ocean. Living by the beach opened my childhood eyes to all the wonderful beauties and diversities that growing up in the Big Apple in the fifties and early sixties offered.
Until I was eight we lived on Brighton Fourth Street in one of the multitudes of six-floor brick apartment buildings that encircled the boardwalk and Brighton Beach Ave. The assortment of buildings spanned lengthwise from Ocean Parkway through to Manhattan Beach and widthwise from the Boardwalk to Brighton Beach Avenue where you met the elevated train. During Brighton’s heyday, some of these buildings were mighty and grand. When my family moved to Brighton, most of the six floor apartment buildings were erected between the turn of the twenty century and the nineteen thirties. The architecture of a few of the buildings were extraordinary. Even today in 2015, a few buildings stand out as art deco icons. Having intricate art deco engraving on the lobby doors and windows with fancy brickwork under the windows that simulated elaborate window shades.
Read More »Pieces of Pictures
By Martin H. Levinson
When I was ten I had a batting slump. No matter how hard I tried I was not able to hit a rubber Spalding ball with a wooden stickball bat. I became an easy out for the pitcher and as a result I was the last person chosen to be on a team in the street pick-up games that I looked forward to after school each day.
Stickball was the most important part of my life at that time, and my poor performance made me miserable. I couldn’t concentrate on my schoolwork, I couldn’t enjoy TV, I couldn’t eat. I thought myself a total nebbish.
One day, as I lay sobbing on my bed thinking about my failed athletic prowess, my mother walked through the door and asked, “What’s up?” I could barely get the words out through my tears. “I can’t hit. I’m washed up. I wish I was dead.”
It was 1933 in the middle of the depression. Sam, my father had found out in October, 1929 that his entire fortune was wiped out. He would need to liquidate his successful curtain rod factory with 600 employees to pay for the margin call. Although Sam was a moderately religious Jew he did not fit the stereotype of that period and although he was born in the Ft. Greene section of Brooklyn (on farmland with a pedestrian toll bridge going to their property) he spent some time up in Norman, Oklahoma. My father was an excellent horseman and could rope a steer. Otherwise he was the gentlest person that I had ever known. He was also an expert on nature, animals and he knew the Latin name of almost any tree or plant. I am told that one day when I was very young he took me on a trip to Norman l where he had me on his lap on the horse. We were supposed to go to a small town outside of Norman when suddenly the horse stopped cold and refused to move. When I was old enough to understand and heard my father relate the story to friends I learned that some animals, especially those that are domesticated have a special sense of danger. It seems that when we got back to Norman dad’s friends couldn’t believe that we had survived the tornado that leveled the town that were supposed to go to. Although he studied medicine he was offended by the crude practices of the medical profession at the time, especially what he conceived of the crude treatment of children in the hospitals. Still, he had surgeon hands and could slice meat or turkey paper thin.
Submitted by Bill Morgenstern It was 1933 in the middle of the depression. Sam, my father had found out in October, 1929 that his entire fortune was wiped out. He would need to liquidate his successful curtain rod factory with 600 employees to pay for the margin call. Although Sam was a moderately religious Jew he did not fit the stereotype of that period and although he was born in… Read More »My Friend Louie
By Steve Slavin Back in the 1950s there were dozens of Reform temples scattered throughout what we called Flatbush. The closest to where I lived was Temple Ahavath Sholom, which we always called “the Avenue R Temple,” since it was on Avenue R and East 16th Street in the heart of Gravesend. There was also a Conservative synagogue on the corner of Homecrest and Ave T, Beth El Jewish Center.… Read More »Growing Up in Gravesend
By Sarina Roffé Neighborhoods in Brooklyn are a direct reflection of the changing ethnicities and religions of the people who live in them. During the last 100 or so years, Brooklyn has embraced Jews from all over the world, and holds first place for having the largest Jewish population on the planet. Brighton Beach, once the home of Eastern Europeans and Holocaust survivors, saw a drastic change as it embraced… Read More »Brooklyn’s Changing Neighborhoods a Reflection of Jewish Diversity and Immigration
In describing the pugilistic antics of his older brother, Harvey, Jerome Charyn evokes painful memories of bias in Brooklyn. To be sure, my Jewish friends in Williamsburg excelled in their studies and some starred in sports; but as fighters we proved less than potent. One exception, however, deserves mention. When a near pogrom visited our neighborhood in 1947, I watched a remarkable act of courage from the safety of my… Read More »I Love Jesse
By Hilary Danailova January 2018 A dozen years ago, I moved from a Park Slope brownstone to a rent-controlled apartment south of Kings Highway in Brooklyn. It turned out to be next door to the Ocean Avenue building where my grandmother, Shirley, had spent her first married years. “Tell me,” she demanded over the phone, her Brooklyn accent undimmed by 20 years in Florida, “is it one of those units with a sunken… Read More »Brooklyn, the Most Jewish Spot on Earth