Tag: Jewish Bronx

A Real New Yorker Falls | The Real New Yorkers

From Martin Kleinman’s The Real New Yorkers:

“As I write this, the rain falls on a cold and dreary day and that, I suppose, is as it should be, for a Real New Yorker has fallen.

There is no great tragedy when a person dies at 85 — at least that is what some would have you believe. The common wisdom is that the death of a child, or young adult is, somehow, sadder, because of all the promise that lays ahead in life and because the pain of the parents resonates so fully. Children should not pre-decease their parents.

L’Shanah Tovah From The Bronx, Once The Most Jewish of The 5 Boroughs

There was a point in time in Bronx history when there were more synagogues than you could shake a stick at in our borough when the population was majority Jewish. So Jewish that in fact that our borough once had the highest number of Jews in the five boroughs of New York City.

Bronx Tales of Yesteryear: I Never Played In Carnegie Hall

When I was ten, Aunt Esther took me to Carnegie Hall to hear the then popular pianist, Jan August. That was the day I decided to become a concert pianist.

There wasn’t any room for a piano in the family budget, so for a while I kept my mouth shut.

Then I read a biography of George Gershwin. I thought I was reading about myself. He’d grown up in a New York apartment overlooking a noisy street. Me, too. He was the younger of two brothers. Me, too. He was from a Jewish family. Me, too. He had a funny-shaped nose. Me, too. Okay, so he was from Brooklyn and I was from the Bronx, but hadn’t my parents lived in Brooklyn before I was born? Gershwin died less than fourteen months before I was born. There was no question about it. I was the reincarnation of George Gershwin.

Bronx Tales Of Yesteryear: Burch and Florence

Florence was dead. Josh cried at the cemetery. He even said Kiddush, the Jewish prayer for the dead. Josh’s family wasn’t religious. He’d never even been bar-mitzvahed, so saying Kiddush was a lot. Josh later said he’d wanted to do the right thing for his mother.

We went back to his house in New Jersey from the cemetery. Florence’s sister Anna was there, now in her nineties, feeble and almost blind. “Why couldn’t they take me,” she wailed. “She was so good.”

Josh, almost fifty, his eyes puffy from crying, took me down to his basement playroom. “I’m an orphan now, Bobby,” he said, his voice breaking. He’d been holding it in all day except for the time at the cemetery. I hugged him.

Bronx Tales of Yesteryear: A Palisade Adventure

He was a beanpole. Six foot two, a hundred forty pounds. Johnny had light-blue eyes, a thin face and crooked front teeth. When he smiled, his upper gums showed. Johnny had a crescent-shaped scar on the bridge of his straight thin nose; it was a visible reminder of a time in Taft’s dustbowl when he’d gotten too close to Tommy D when Tommy was swinging a baseball bat, and the bat clipped him.

Johnny was two years older than me, four years older than my best friend Josh. He was a rare Protestant in a Jewish neighborhood. His parents were divorced, which was unusual in our neighborhood in the early fifties. He lived on the top floor of the apartment building next to mine with his father, his brother Miltie, and his grandmother, Mrs. F, a short, frail woman in her mid-eighties. She was blind in one eye, and one of her eyeglass lenses was frosted and bound with clear tape to hold it in place.