Sunday, June 29, 2008

Joe Louis: Sept 25, 1935

Joe Louis vs. Max Baer

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from a biography of Joe Louis
On June 25, 1935, Louis appeared for the first time before New York fans and was an immediate success, knocking out Primo Carnera in six rounds. He was so impressive that fans clamored for a match between him and Max Baer. Baer had lost the heavyweight championship to Braddock only two weeks before Louis stopped Carnera.
Louis and Baer met on Sept. 24 of that year, and the young fighter, already recognized as a punching machine, pounded Baer into helplessness in four rounds.

Loew's Canal: Sept. 24, 1935



Philip Chaleff would be living a 33 Canal Street in 1937 when he was one of the East Side Boys involved in the murder of the police officer at 144 Second Avenue. 33 Canal is where Montgomery Stationers is located. Supposedly the boys would often get together at the theater to discuss their plans. This picture was taken on Sept 25, 1935. Source nypl. On the 24th Joe Louis knocked out Max Baer in four rounds. Chaleff received a last minute reprieve from his date with the electric chair in 1939. He would die in prison in 1954.

Eldridge Street Synagogue Panoramic Scene

A 3 node panoramic scene made from 3 panoramic movies taken on June 15, 2008 during Eldridge Street Synagogue's annual egg cream and egg roll festival. The first movie (in the synagogue) links to the second and third that are outside on Eldridge Street. Panorama 2 is adjacent to the synagogue, while panorama 3 is up the block north at the intersection of Eldridge and Canal. The site being developed once housed Beny' s Watches, a long time LES establishment


"Klezmer music, Chinese opera and acrobatics, language lessons, scribal art, folk art demos, crafts, tours and, of course, kosher egg rolls and egg creams! Experience a unique slice of Lower Manhattan, where Chinatown meets the old Jewish Lower East Side."

The Bowery Boys


An excellent NYC History blog has included Knickerbocker Village in its list of recommended sites. We're flattered. KV has returned the favor. Check it out, the bowery boys have a series of very interesting podcasts

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History:Benny Leonard


Benny earns that distinction because he lived on the same block as my mother. He may have even gone to PS 64. Amazingly, Benny lived in the same building as the great lyricist Yip Harburg at the same time. They were both born in 1896!

Benny Leonard: LES Ghetto Wizard

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Some lower east side tough guys escaped the temptations around them by channeling their energy into the fight ring. I recently discovered that Benny Leonard, considered one of the greatest lightweight fighters of all time, lived on East 9th Street, off of Avenue C. KV fathers Seth Babits and Jack Karney fought in the Golden Gloves tournament as youths. I'm sure there were more. An excerpt from the sweetscience
Benny Leonard: Ghetto Fabulous Ghetto Wizard
By Pat Putnam
“Benny Leonard moved with the grace of a ballet dancer and wore an air of arrogance that belonged to royalty.” – Dan Parker, NY sportswriter
The kid in the woolen underwear cut off at the knees and the badly scuffed gym shoes thought he looked like a fighter until he saw his opponent, a redheaded Irish fireplug named Joey Fogarty but called Shorty by everyone but his mother, who never called him anything but Joseph, except when she was angry, and then she called him Joseph Francis Xavier. A veteran of bootleg boxing at the Silver Heel Club on the squalid lower East Side of New York City, Fogarty entered the club’s jury-rigged ring wearing Kelly green swimming trunks, the kind that drooped over the knees; a sash made from pink netting from a crate of oranges, wrapped twice around his waist and tied with a huge bow in the back; and a pair of old skating shoes, which, if you did not look too closely, offered the appearance of boxing shoes. Fogarty had surreptitiously lifted the shoes from the cold water flat of the boyfriend of his older sister, Maureen.
“Geez, look at John L. Sullivan hisself,” Rusty Grogan said to little Benjamin Leiner, who was studying his resplendent ring rival with narrowed eyes.
“I know that little rat,” snarled Leiner. “He runs with that Sixth Street Irish gang that used to beat up on me.”
For the opening decade of his life, before his Russian immigrant parents, Jacob and Minnie Leiner, moved the family to Harlem to be nearer Jacob’s tailor shop, Benjamin lived in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood on Eighth Street, hard by Second Avenue and two long blocks from the home turf of Fogarty and his fellow Hibernian hooligans. A public bathhouse straddled the bottom of the narrow cobblestone street. Years later, Leiner, by then recognized as Benny Leonard, the lightweight champion, said: “We had Italians to the south and Irish to the north and they were always passing through our neighborhood on the way to the baths. You had to stay in the house or you had to fight the Italian and Mick kids as they came through.”
When there was snow on the streets, the ethnic neighborhood gangs battled with snowballs packed tightly around pieces of coal, soaked with water, and frozen until as hard as cannon balls. Other times, they fought with baseball bats and bare fists, with bicycle chains and loaded canes and broken bottles. Leonard said they were the hardest fights of his life, “and many a kid, Jew, Italian and Irish, suffered permanent injury.”
There is as much fable as fact to the biographies of Leonard, but one thing that everyone appears to agree on is that it was the brothers Max and Joe Dornholz, Benny’s uncles on his mother’s side, who found their 11-year-old nephew bruised and bloodied a few moments after another one-sided battle against either the Italians or the Irish, and, after cleaning the little fellow up, hustled him off to a gym, where he received instruction in the proper fashion to bust some poor fellow’s nose.
“Benny,” Max, the largest of the uncles, told the willing youngster, “if you are going to fight, it is best if you learn how to use your fists. There may not always be an iron pipe handy.”
“Right,” said Joe, the oldest Dornholz brother, “but just don’t tell your mother and father that it was our idea.”
Unlike the Jews of New York in the early 1900s crammed, sometimes 15 to a room, into cheerless cold-water tenements on New York’s East Side, the Dornholz brothers found no shame in boxing. “Where is it written that Jews cannot be fighters?” said Max. They were in the minority. Their people were Orthodox; the men bearded and the women, as the Ribalow’s wrote in Jews in American Sport, “properly humble.” Strict Orthodox teachers, most often the local rabbi, educated the children, who honored and obeyed parents as their mothers and fathers had honored and obeyed parents in the old country. Rarely did one of the youngest generation step beyond the pale to become a fighter or, Abraham forbid, an actor or actress, and when that happened, the elders sighed and blamed each fresh moral failure on the new fast life of America that was making life difficult for “the real Jews.”
That not more fled their harsh surroundings for the uncertainties of the ring or stage is a tribute to the immigrant parents that hammered the moral codes of the old countries into their young almost from the first breath. Shortly after 1910, a year before Benny had his first professional fight, a report issued by New York City officials estimated that within the square mile of the lower East Side where the Leiner’s lived there were more than several hundred brothels, as many pool halls, twice that number of bars, and, according to the NYPD, more than 300 gang hangouts. In Patrick Downey’s Gangster City, a history of the New York underworld over the first 35 years of the 20th century, the Lower East Side of Manhattan was labeled the greatest breeding ground for gunmen and gangsters this country has ever seen. The same area that produced the Benny Leonards and Al Jolsons, produced the Buchalters and Anastasias and Releses of Murder Incorporated.

Isidore Zimmeman Wins Right To Sue: 1963


50 Columbia Street is near Delancey Street. Later Zimmerman would move to Flushing, Queens.

Not This Day In KV History: June 29, 1958: Stengel Announces All Star Team

Read this document on Scribd: 1958-allstar

Not This Day In Knickerbocker Village History: July 2, 1961

Mantle and Maris gain All Star Posts
Read this document on Scribd: allstar-61

Isidore Zimmerman

His NYTimes' obituary
ISIDORE ZIMMERMAN, 66, MAN UNJUSTLY JAILED FOR A MURDER
By ROBERT D. MCFADDEN
Published: October 14, 1983
Isidore Zimmerman, who spent nine months on death row and 24 years in New York State prisons for a 1937 murder he did not commit, died of a heart attack Wednesday, four months after winning $1 million from the state for his unjust imprisonment.
Mr. Zimmerman, a 66-year-old retired doorman, collapsed on a street near his home in Jackson Heights, Queens, as he returned from shopping, his lawyer, Alfred R. Fabricant, said yesterday.
Mr. Zimmerman, who was released from prison in 1962, had spent 20 years fighting for compensation for his ordeal, which he said included severe beatings, long periods of solitary confinement in ''strip cells'' and diets of bread and water.
He had asked for $10 million but was awarded $1 million by the State Court of Claims last May 31. He was paid on June 30 and, after deducting legal and other expenses, received about $660,000.
'Black Cloud Over Him'
''He bought a new car, he took a trip to the Catskills for a few days - that's about as much as he got to do,'' said Mr. Fabricant, a lawyer with the firm of Shea & Gould. ''He always said he had this black cloud over him.''
Mr. Zimmerman, who wrote a book, ''Punishment Without Crime,'' told in repeated lawsuits against the state of the injustices he said had been done to him.
The murder that led to Mr. Zimmerman's imprisonment occurred on April 10, 1937. During a robbery by a group of men at a restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side, a police detective, Michael J. Foley, was shot to death. Six men were arrested, and one of them, apparently to conceal his own involvement, falsely accused Mr. Zimmerman of supplying weapons to the gang.
Mr. Zimmerman contended he was innocent, but he was convicted with the other six of first-degree murder. Five of the men died in the electric chair and one died in prison. Mr. Zimmerman also was sentenced to death, but two hours before his scheduled execution it was commuted to life in prison by Gov. Herbert H. Lehman.
In 1962, with the aid of a lawyer, Maurice Edelbaum, who took his case without a fee, an appeals court overturned the conviction on the ground that a prosecutor in the office of Thomas E. Dewey, then the District Attorney, had deliberately used perjured testimony and had suppressed evidence that might have proved Mr. Zimmerman's innocence. After being freed, Mr. Zimmerman filed successive lawsuits against the state for compensation but these were blocked by laws granting the state immunity from suits based on prosecutorial actions, the 11th Amendment provision restricting citizen suits against the government and other legal barriers.
A private bill granting permission for Mr. Zimmerman to sue was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Hugh L. Carey in 1981, clearing the way for his successful lawsuit.
Mr. Zimmerman, who was married soon after his release from prison, is survived by his wife, Ruth.

The East Side Gang And KV


The addresses of the members of the East Side Gang during the 1930's showing their proximity to Knickerbocker Village.

The Young Bandits

Lower East Side Miscarriage Of Justice, Part 4


Isidore Zimmerman was living at 64 Rutgers Street (off of Madison) when he was arrested in 1937. The above is 66 Rutgers, probably 1920 or slightly earlier.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lower East Side Miscarriage Of Justice, Part 4


Above is 215-19 Madison Street in the 1920's. The guys mentioned below along with the others in the "East Side Gang" of the 1930's may qualify for the Who's Almost Who Label
From the great New York Post reporter and editor, Paul Sann, entitled, "At Journey's End"

LAST night in Sing Sing's Death House three slum-reared youths were executed for the murder of Detective Michael J. Foley in an abortive tea room stickup at 144 Second Avenue on April 10, 1937.
They were Arthur (Hutch) Friedman, twenty-two; 206 Madison Street; Dominick Guariglia, nineteen, 219 Henry Street, and Joseph Harvey O'Laughlin, twenty-four, 255 East Broadway.
OSSINING, Jan. 27--"Good-by."
This is Hutch Friedman, at 11:01 1/2 last night, signing off on the whole world. He comes into the Execution Chamber walking--staggering--sideways. His eyes are closed as he comes through the little door to the left and is led to The Chair.
Principal Keeper John J. Sheehy and two burly guards strap the doomed man into place, speedily and efficiently. The cathode on the close-shaven head. The half-mask on the face. The straps around the sunken chest and scrawny arms. The electrode on the right leg. It takes only a few seconds.
Again the whirring sound, and the whole body jerks upward. The hands move again. The mouth opens wider. A curl of smoke flickers from the head and right foot. Along the sidewall, Rabbi Jacob Katz reads a Hebrew prayer. At the entrance, Warden Lewis E. Lawes stands disconsolate; his eyes are closed. The Warden never watches an execution. He is opposed to capital punishment.
Time to think about Hutch, for his brief and sorrowful history is closing. They blame all his trouble on the truck that ran him down when he was seven, injuring his feet, legs, jaw, and skull. His mother said "he was always a problem" after the accident. He had six arrests since 1931, did time in Hawthorne School and the City Reformatory.
The family was poor. Hutch grew up on Claremont Parkway, little Bronx counterpart of Manhattan's cesspool of crime, the lower East Side, whence the Friedmans moved a few years ago. "He spent most of his time drifting around the streets where he lived," the probation report said.
Yes, and "drifting around" he met other boys who were drifting. Boys who had a creed that went like this: "We have nothing. No breaks. No money. No chance. No good jobs. What we want we'll take. We'll rob and steal." The creed of countless thousands growing up in the slums.
Liquor, and later marihuana helped Hutch Friedman expand his philosophy. The night Mike Foley--he had a wife and child--was shot Hutch came into a tea room wildly screaming, "This is a stickup! Don't move!" He had a gun, but when the shooting began he rushed into the kitchen and threw it into the flour barrel. He was stiff with fright.
Not fright, but astonishment now mars his drawn face as the third whirring sound fills the room and the body grows taut.
The guard rips open the white shirt and wipes the chest with a towel. Doctors Charles C. Sweet and Kenneth McCracken apply stethoscopes, and Doctor Sweet says:
"This man is dead."
It's 11:04, and Hutch's limp form is wheeled away. Dominick Guariglia is next.
Dominick, nineteen, was tougher than Hutch in his last day on earth. He ate all of his last meal--chicken, string beans, tomato salad, ice cream. In the pre-execution chamber during the evening he listened attentively while Warden Lawes' victrola droned out the three records he requested--"In My Mother's Eyes," "There's a Gold Mine in the Sky" and "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie."
He comes into the chamber a husky boy, barrel-chested, tough-looking, but pale. Father McCaffrey is at his side, reading, "The Lord is my shepherd..."
It is just short of 11:06 and Dominick is strapped into place. He stares a moment at the people who came to see him die (seven newspapermen on business; the other men just for the hell of it) and you hear the dynamo's sickly whir. Over against the wall a man ducks his head into the sink and retches violently, but he is erect in time to see the rest.
The rest is quick. Executioner Robert Elliot, earning $450 this night, times his heavy voltage blows precisely. The life he's taking never counted much. Just another mugg.
Dominick had low mentality. In the trial last April-March, his attorney called him "A stupid boy, a moron, a nitwit." In the clemency hearing before Governor Lehman January 11, another attorney pointed out Dominick had shined shoes, ran errands, blocked hats, etc. He was industrious. Jacob J. Rosenblum, the prosecutor took this up at the trial. He said when Dominick wanted to he went out and shined shoes, ran errands, blocked hats, etc., and "when he wanted to rob and steal he went out and robbed and stole."
No one knows how this kid got hooked into the Foley killing. He didn't belong with those other muggs. He hadn't graduated into the murder class. He said he was dragged along and forced to carry the guns up Second Avenue for the others. He was the arsenal. He said he refused to do it, but, that Little Benny Ertel (indicted in the crime but not tried yet) told him "Come on, you little--what are you scared of?"
So he carried the guns, handed them to O'Laughlin, Ertel and Friedman and--unarmed--followed Friedman into the tea room, and he, too, cowered in the back while O'Laughlin and Little Benny shot it out with Foley and his partner John R. Gallagher, who happened to be there when the boys arrived.
There's the third whir, and the lights dim a little. The smoke curls up beyond Dominick's ears, his right leg is seared and his eyes pop and his mouth is wide open. The medicos again, and Dr. Sweet hardly audible:
"This man is dead."
It's 11:09 and the boy is wheeled into the autopsy room; it's the turn of Joseph Harvey O'Laughlin, whom everyone called Harvey. He's a defiant youth. He is brought in and as he reaches The Chair he steps forward and says:
"Can I have a word? I'm glad the other boys got a break. Probably if I had a name like Cohen or a longer nose I would have got a break. Let's go, Bob." (Robert is the first name of Father McCaffrey.)
Harvey is strapped in--it's 11:11 now--and you hear him say:
"It's powerful, huh?"
He says this either before or just as the first charge is on the way through him.
It's hard to tell when he says it, because at the same time the man in the row ahead sinks to the floor and makes the sign of the cross. This man is weeping bitterly. (Later he tells the Brooklyn dentist who sat next to him that years ago thugs killed his father, a policeman, and he has always wanted to see a tough guy burn. Harvey was too much for him. He's still bawling in the prison-wagon drive back to the front entrance.)
Harvey is still in The Chair, and it's time to think about him, as you dimly hear Father McCaffrey, the good Chaplain, reading the Twenty-third Psalm.
Harvey is twenty-four. He's the one accused of firing the fatal shots. He had an unfortunate childhood. His father was a drunk. Mrs. Ellen O'Laughlin kicked him out long years ago when she was bearing her seventh child and she went to work. She worked fourteen years, mostly a laundress. At seven, Harvey was assigned to the Bellevue Hospital boat in the East River. At thirteen, he started going to Public School 147 and four years later he quit and went to work. Never earned much.
In March, 1935, he eloped with Irene Weiss, a Jewish girl from the East Side. They broke up the next year--parental objections. They had a son, Robert, three now.
Harvey's mother said that a week before the Foley killing he was talking about raising some money so he could take Irene and the baby out to Long Island and set up house again.
He was desperate, his mother said. The year before he had lost his $53 a month job as a WPA laborer. He was up against it. Thus did he come to sit in the board of strategy the night--April 9, 1937--when the boys assembled in Tobias Hanover's candy store at 218 East Broadway and plotted a crime.
Maybe so, but the probation report said:
"Home environment marred by family disintegration, he elected to associate with the criminal element that frequent the street corners and questionable resorts of the lower East Side...constantly under police surveillance."
It's simple to understand. Harvey had to have some money, a lot of money, and he went out to get it with a gun. A lot of boys do it that way. Only a few weeks before the fatal stick-up (in which Harvey was shot twice) some other boys had "taken" the joint at 144 Second Avenue for $3,500. Easy money.
And easy dying. The deft Mr. Elliot is superb tonight. On the second deathly whir you seem to hear Harvey say "Ugh" and you certainly hear the awful internal body sound of all who die in that grisly looking chair, and the hands turn and the right foot turns and sears badly and the warden stands with bowed head.
You hardly notice the solemn medical men, but you're leaning forward and at 11:14 you catch Dr. Sweet again:
"This man is dead."
Total elapsed time; thirteen minutes.

Nancy With The Laughing Face

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Bill Waltrous' 1976 recording of "Nancy With The Laughing Face." Chck Corea is on keyboards

An Interview With Ivy Meeropol

Read this document on Scribd: Jan chats with Ivy Meeropol

Not This Day In Knickerbocker Village History: June 19, 1953 The Rosenberg's Are Executed

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from the nytimes cityroom podcast of Sam Roberts I added images to the audio
Following is the script of the weekly “Only in New York” audio podcast. Listen at left or download the mp3 to a portable player. Browse a list of other Times podcasts here.
“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs,” Sylvia Plath began her autobiography, “The Bell Jar.” I was 6 that summer. My father took my sister and me to the corner of our block in Brooklyn to watch the funeral procession.
Unlike lots of people touched by the atom spy hysteria, I was never consumed by the case. But I still care.
Enough, to have written a book about the brother — David Greenglass — whose testimony sent his older sister and her husband to the electric chair at Sing Sing.
Enough, to have sued the federal government to release the minutes of the grand jury that indicted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
The suit, filed by David Vladeck and the National Security Archive, argued that ordinary secrecy and privacy are subsumed by history’s compelling claim.
This week, 55 years after the execution, the government delivered a surprising response to our lawsuit. Because of the case’s enduring significance, the Justice Department would not object to the release of much of the testimony.
My sixth birthday was sandwiched between the Rosenbergs’ execution Friday night and the funeral on Sunday. All I knew about it was, my mother’s name was Ethel; a younger brother had done something horrible to his sister (I had an older sister, too); the Rosenbergs’ orphaned sons were about my age.
Among the grown-ups, two compelling questions were unspoken. Less than a decade after the Holocaust, how could Jews have done this to America? And how could America have done this to Jews?
There was a broader troubling question, about how a brother could turn against his own sister. The answer was more complicated than most people were willing to admit.
David Greenglass was a machinist. He worked on the Manhattan Project, stole atomic bomb secrets for the Russians, and claims credit for having prevented nuclear war through mutual deterrence. He was released from prison in 1960 with one wish. “All I want,” he said, “is to be forgotten.”
He still lives in the New York area, pseudononomously. But for the dwindling few who remember him, he remains reviled. His name became a punch line.
“Few modern events,” Rebecca West wrote, “have been as ugly as this involvement of brother and sister in an unnatural relationship which is the hostile twin of incest.”
In “The Book of Daniel,” E. L. Doctorow transformed David Greenglass into a retired dentist of whom it was said: “The treachery of that man will haunt him for as long as he lives.”
In “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” Woody Allen’s character protests to Mia Farrow’s that, despite all appearances, he still loves his oleaginous brother-in-law.
“I love him like a brother,” Allen said dryly. “David Greenglass.”
When I began writing my book, I knew it was a story about atomic espionage, about a trial for what J. Edgar Hoover called “the crime of the century.” I came to learn it was also about love and betrayal, about family dysfunction.
And when I began writing, before 9/11, I never imagined that the story would resonate so profoundly in renewed challenges of reconciling national security and civil liberties, in discomfort about blind loyalty to any cause. For the first time in 50 years, Americans would again feel vulnerable to enemy attack — threatened this time by suicide bombers, rather than suicide spies.
Who knows what smoking gun, if any, is concealed in the Rosenberg grand jury testimony? Since the trial, the weight of evidence suggests more and more that Julius was guilty — not of triggering the Korean War, as the government claimed, but of the actual legal charge: conspiracy to commit espionage. And more and more, the evidence suggests that Ethel Rosenberg was much more valuable to the Soviets as a martyr than as a spy.
Shortly before he died, I interviewed William Rogers. He was the deputy attorney general when the Rosenbergs were executed. I guess, I said to him, the government got what it wanted: the Rosenbergs were indicted, convicted and executed.
No, he replied, the goal wasn’t to kill the couple. The strategy was to leverage the death sentence imposed on Ethel to wring a full confession from Julius — in hopes that Ethel’s motherly instincts would trump unconditional loyalty to a noble but discredited cause.
What went wrong?
Rogers’s explanation still haunts me.
“She called our bluff,” he said.

Lower East Side Miscarriage Of Justice, Part 3

from the book "Bearer of False Witness"
Read this document on Scribd: zimmerman

Lower East Side Miscarriage Of Justice, Part 2


from Time Magazine: THE LONG WAIT
One spring night in 1937, soon after Isidore Zimmerman of New York City had received a scholarship to attend Columbia University, his mother told him that the police wanted to talk to him. He reported to the local precinct and then quickly found himself in jail. One year later, Zimmerman and four other youths were sentenced to death for the first-degree murder of a police detective.
All along, Zimmerman insisted that he was innocent. Then just two hours before Zimmerman was to be executed in Sing Sing's electric chair, Governor Herbert Lehman commuted his death sentence. Zimmerman went on to become a celebrated jailhouse lawyer, and in 1962, after New York State's highest court ruled that he had been the victim of perjured testimony, he was set free. Total time served: nearly 25 years.
Since the prosecutor had known that the testimony was false, Zimmerman believed that New York should compensate him for wrongful imprisonment. The doctrine of sovereign immunity bars most such suits against a state, so Zimmerman pressed the New York legislature to pass a special law allowing him to sue. Three times the legislators voted the bill, and three times then Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoed it. Last week Governor Hugh Carey signed the fourth bill. Lawyers on both sides agree that Zimmerman is likely to win his case. The only question is whether he will be awarded as much as the $10 million he is seeking. Whatever he gets, the money will be welcome to Zimmerman, 63, who now works as a doorman at a Manhattan apartment house.

from Monday, Jan. 23, 1939:
Five Mothers
In day coaches on a train from New York City to Albany last week rode five despairing, middle-aged women put aboard by a noisy, demonstrative crowd of friends. In a parlor car on the same train, rode New York's bald, kindly Governor Herbert Lehman, glad to be unnoticed. At his office in Albany, some hours later, he met them face to face. For five hours Mesdames Fanny Zimmerman, Yetta Friedman, Ellen O'Loughlin, Yetta Chaleff, Mary Guariglia sat before him silent and tearless (by advice of counsel). For five hours he had to face them while lawyers—talking of poverty, slum life, marijuana, liquor—urged him to commute the sentences of the five women's five sons, aged 19 to 27, who were doomed to die January 26 for committing murder in the holdup of a Manhattan gambling house.* When Governor Lehman had heard all, he solemnly shook the mothers' hands, took a last look into their five anxious faces (see cut), promised to ponder his decision.
This gruesome ordeal had its effect. That very day Assemblyman Edgar F. Moran introduced in the Legislature an amendment to New York's Constitution to let the Governor share his most harrowing responsibility, by setting up a Board of Pardons. Today 16 States have Pardon Boards. But in most States, Governors, though they may rely on other officials to make factual investigations and recommendations, must exercise the awful power of pardoning and commuting sentences alone.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lower East Side Miscarriage Of Justice, Part 1


From a web site devoted to the history of the 9th Precinct in the East Village
In 1937 the second floor of this building, 144 Second Avenue, was occupied by an all-night cafe and gambling joint called the Boulevard Restaurant, or sometimes, after its owner, the Dutchman's. On April 10th of that year, at 3:20 AM, it was invaded by a motley and inexperienced gang of young robbers intent on grabbing what they thought would be a fat stash of gambling proceeds. The optimism of the greenhorn robbers was unwarranted: at the moment they chose to take the place, two plainclothes policemen, Detective Michael Foley and Detective John R. Gallagher, were inside enjoying a coffee break with the Dutchman.
Leading the charge up the stairs was 20 year old Arthur "Hutch" Friedman armed with a borrowed .32 pistol. Close on his heels were 17 year olds Dominick Guariglia (unarmed); Benjamin "Little Benny" Ertel (with a .38 that evidently did not work); and 22 year old Joseph Harvey O'Laughlin (with a .38 that did). Left behind on the sidewalk outside, with uncertain degrees of participation in the crime, were Philip "Sonny" Chaleff and Isidore "Little Chemey" Perlmutter.
As Guariglia barked, "This is a stick up! Everybody out!" he and Friedman began to herd patrons toward the kitchen in the back. O'Laughlin approached the Dutchman and his two friends: "All right, you bastards," he shouted, "in back with the rest!" Instead, the two lawmen went for their guns, and in a wild, quick flurry of shooting, Foley was fatally wounded. What started out almost as a lark had become a capital crime.
The case of the these novice gangsters, dubbed "The East Side Boys" by the press because they all came from the Lower East Side neighborhood around East Broadway and Clinton Street, was briefly notorious. Guariglia, O'Laughlin, Friedman, Chaleff, and a fifth defendant (Isidore "Beansy" Zimmerman, who was not present at the incident but was accused of supplying one of the .38 pistols), were found guilty of murder in the first degree on April 14, 1938.
On January 26, 1939, Guariglia, O'Laughlin, and Friedman were executed at Sing Sing. Chaleff and Zimmerman's sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. Chaleff died in prison in 1954.
Two of the "East Side boys" named in the indictment, Ertel and Perlmutter, went on the lam and were not tried with the others. Ertel was apprehended in Washington D.C. in 1938, and tried and executed in 1940 for his part in the robbery. Perlmutter died in 1956, never having been brought to justice.
Isidore Zimmerman's case is interesting. He was never accused of direct participation in the robbery, and all parties admitted he was nowhere near the restaurant that night. He was indicted, rather, for supplying one of the pistols, a charge he denied throughout his twenty-four years in prison. He was released in 1962 when it was proved that one of the witnesses against him in his original trial had lied. The state declined to retry him, and Zimmerman, after a very long absence, returned home.
21 years later the New York Court of Claims awarded him $1,000,000 for his ordeal. He died 4 months later, after having spent 24 of his 66 years in prison. Zimmerman had his death penalty commuted to a life term just hours before he was scheduled to be electrocuted (he willingly sought execution because of the intense psychological torture of being on death row)

The Wigs Of Hester Street: 1896

Surprisingly, to me at least, it makes no mention of religion
Read this document on Scribd: wigs-1896

Allan Sherman: Crazy Downtown

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Shivaree was a Los Angeles based music variety show that ran in syndication from 1965 to 1966. It was hosted by Gene Weed. In its brief run, the show featured well-known acts like the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Byrds, Allan Sherman, the Ronettes, We Five and James Brown at its KABC-TV studio.
(Parody of "Downtown" by Petula Clark)
Mommy and Dad are never nervous or mad
When you teenagers go downtown.
Daddy and Mom just stay at home and be calm
And watch the late late show uptown.
Cause when you kids are gone we get to spend some time alone here
That's our only chance to use the bathtub or the phone here
When you're away
Besides, we're stuck where we are
Because you kids took our money, you kids took our car and went
Downtown, where can you possibly
Downtown, it's twenty after three
Downtown, what do you mean by, "Let's froog"?
You don't come home till 4 AM cause you're roaming
In the streets somewhere, downtown.
We would feel swell if only someone would tell us
What goes on down there, downtown.
But every time we ask you what you're doing after dark there
You just say that you were frooging to Petula Clark there
That's what I mean
So, kids, give your folks a break
Because you're driving us crazy, we sit here all night and take
Pill town, swallowing pills so we'll
Calm down, counting the hours you're
Downtown, you and your froog and your slop.
While we're lying there we try to watch the television
Then you call us up and say you've had a slight collision
There goes the car
Besides that you've been arrested
So we've got to get up, and we've got to get dressed and go
Downtown, borrow a car and go
Downtown, that's where you are, you finks,
Downtown, wait 'till I get you kids home.
(Spoken) There'll be no more frooging, no swing, no jerk, no mashed potato, no slop! And you know what else? You're gonna stay home tonight, and your mother and I are going downtown and we're going to dance the tango, and the waltz, and the foxtrot, and we're gonna do the bunny hop. That's a nice dance! And there'll be no more frooging! Is that quite clear? NO MORE FRUCKING!

Oliver Street Panoramic Movie

A panoramic movie made on Oliver Street, between Henry and Madison Streets. Visible is the western side of PS 1 as well as the house that Al Smith lived in (there's a white car parked in front and you may be able to see a plaque on the wall). This was also the block that formerly housed Jimmy's Candy Store that sold comics in the 1950's and 60's (look for a green awning)

Tenement Museum Panoramic Movie

A panoramic movie made in the Tenement Museum on 6/26/08 after "An Evening of Works in Progress With Colum McCann and Kevin Baker: The acclaimed writers bring you inside the writing process for a glimpse of what they're working on now."

A Summer Wind On The LES And Beyond

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"An Evening of Works in Progress At The Tenement Museum With Colum McCann and Kevin Baker: The acclaimed writers bring you inside the writing process for a glimpse of what they're working on now." Followed by a meal at the new 2nd Avenue Deli and eye opening sights on Third Avenue.
The summer wind, came blowin in - from across the sea
It lingered there, so warm and fair - to walk with me
All summer long, we sang a song - and strolled on golden sand
Two sweethearts, and the summer wind
Like painted kites, those days and nights - went flyin by
The world was new, beneath a blue - umbrella sky
Then softer than, a piper man - one day it called to you
And I lost you, to the summer wind
The autumn wind, and the winter wind - have come and gone
And still the days, those lonely days - go on and on
And guess who sighs his lullabies - through nights that never end
My fickle friend, the summer wind

1908 Chicago Cubs Vs. New York Giants

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KVers Bob and Marty joined me at the Tenement Museum in hearing Kevin Baker talk about his upcoming book on New York baseball. Here's a slide show with 1908 Cubs and Giants to the tune Vive la Compagnie. I read the melody was sometimes used to accompany the famous Franklin P. Adams' poem about Tinkers and Evers and Chance
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double --
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."

* The term "gonfalon" refers to a flag or pennant, and Adams uses the phrase "pricking our gonfalon bubble" to describe the repeated success of the Chicago Cubs and their celebrated infield against their National League rivals, his beloved New York Giants.
About the poem
Myth and reality intersected a century ago at second base at West Side Grounds, the Chicago Cubs' pantheon in the early 1900s. The North Side chorus had for years hummed the praises of the heart of the National League terrors -- and then it was handed lyrics by a frustrated, short-winded New York reporter.
Franklin Pierce Adams' "Always In Good Humor" column in the New York Evening Mail ran short one mid-summer day. His editor, not a fan of white space, ordered him to fill it. So, on his way to the Polo Grounds, Adams jotted down a poem, his muses being the three thorns in the Cubs infield who eternally vexed his beloved New York Giants. Shortstop Joe Tinker. Second baseman Johnny Evers. First baseman Frank Chance. Certainly not the most prolific double-play combination in baseball history. However, the most creative, arguably. And the most famous -- that can't even be argued. The power of the poem: Adams' immortalizing words turned a trio of relatively modest ballplayers into Hall of Famers, and into the enduring icons of the Cubs' last World Series championship. Tinker, Evers and Chance first took the field together on Sept, 13, 1902. They collaborated on their first double play on Sept. 15, 1902. They last played together on April 12, 1912. From beginning point to end, they turned many a timely double, gladdened fans' hearts, broke opponents'. There is considerable confusion about the origins of Adams' epic 50 words -- the verse titled "Baseball's Sad Lexicon." Most references claim it first appeared in The Evening Mail on July 10, 1910, but others argue it surfaced between the covers of a 1912 collection of poems by Adams, "In Other Words."
However, there is no debate about the roles of Messrs. Tinker, Evers and Chance on the powerhouse Cubs of the turn of the last century, and thus their ranks in Cubs history.They are the Three Horsemen of this Apocalypse, the National League of 1906-1910.

Now I'm trying to remember whether LMRC had a Tinkers to Evers To Chance

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Allan Sherman: Harvey And Sheila

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Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Oh the day they met.
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
No one will forget.
Harvey's a CPA
He works for IBM
He went to MIT
And got his PHD.
Sheila's a girl I know
At BBDNO
She works the PBX
And makes out the checks.
Then, came, one great day when,
Harvey took the elevator,
Sheila got in two floors later,
Soon they both felt they were falling,
Everyone heard Sheila calling,
"RING THE BELL"
But they fell,
Harv and Sheila fell in love.
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Chose a wedding ring.
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Married in the spring.
She shopped at A&P
He bought a used MG
They sat and watched TV
On their RCA.
Borrowed from HFC
Bought some AT&T
And on election day
Worked for JFK.
Then they went and got a
Charge-a-plate from R.H. Macy's
Bought a layette
Pink and lacey
Then they had twin baby girls
Both with dimples
Both with curls
One named Bea
One named Kay
Soon they joined the PTA.
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Moved to west LA
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Harvey and Sheila
Flew TWA
They bought a house one day
Financed by HFA
It had a swimming pool
Full of H2O
Traded their used MG
For a new XKE
Switched to the GOP
That's they way thing go.
Oh that Harvey he was really smart
He used his noodle
Sheila got a white French Poodle
Went to Europe with a VISA
Harvey's rich they say that he's a
VIP
This could be
Only in the USA.

Kossar's Bialys' Panoramic Scene

A panoramic scene connecting a panoramic movie made in Kossar's on Grand near Essex to (SE) East Broadway near Clinton. You have to imagine a hole in a wall of Kossar's as well as in a Seward Park Houses' building as the corresponding hot spots.

Marvin M: Celebrity Man On The Street


You'll never know who you will run into and what the connection might be to Knickerbocker Village. On Tuesday Son of Seth and I ran into the Congregation President of the landmark Romaniote Synagogue on the Lower East Side at the Red Hook Fairways. Though he grew up on Delancey, near Allen, he was well aware of the greatness that was Knickerbocker Village. Hear part of our encounter below:

Allan Sherman: Al And Yetta

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How could KV forget a talent like Allan Sherman? There'll be more to come. From 1962. Probably the original title was Sam and Yetta :)
Al 'N' Yetta
Al 'n' Yetta always sit togedda,
Watching TV every single night.
Munching popcorn from a dish,
While observing Dorothy Gish.
(Dorothy Gish) Dorothy Gish,
(What a dish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
Al 'n' Yetta couldn't have it betta,
Their TV set has remote control.
So they both can stay in bed,
With Frankenstein and Mister Ed.
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
Al 'n' Yetta, fans of Art Linkletta,
And they love to sing along with Mitch.
They just found in TV Guide,
Reruns of December Bride.
(December Bride) TV Guide,
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
They're big fans of Gunsmoke and Bonanza,
And Ben Casey and Doctor Jim Kildaire,
And third reruns of Millionaire,
And fourth reruns of Yogi Bear.
(Millionaire) Yogi Bear,
(December Bride) TV Guide,
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
Al 'n' Yetta love to watch Loretta
When she enters through her fancy door.
They just love The Real McCoys,
Walter Cronkite and The Bowery Boys.
(Bowery Boys) Real McCoys,
(Millionaire) Yogi Bear,
(December Bride) TV Guide,
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
Al got wrinkly, watching Huntley-Brinkley,
And Colleg Bowl on Sunday afternoons.
While they both watch Meet The Press,
Yetta yearns for Elliott Ness.
(Elliott Ness) Meet The Press,
(Bowery Boys) Real McCoys,
(Millionaire) Yogi Bear,
(December Bride) TV Guide,
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
Al 'n' Yetta watched an operetta.
Leonard Bernstein told them what they saw.
They both shouted, "Hail Bernstein!"
Then they switched to What's My Line.
(Hail Bernstein) What's My Line,
(Elliott Ness) Meet The Press,
(Bowery Boys) Real McCoys,
(Millionaire) Yogi Bear,
(December Bride) TV Guide,
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish.
Ohhhh,
Al told Yetta something that upsetta.
He said, "Dear, our picture tube has blown."
Yetta answered, "Woe is me,
For tonight we shall not see:
(Hail Bernstein) What's My Line,
(Elliott Ness) Meet The Press,
(Bowery Boys) Real McCoys,
(Millionaire) Yogi Bear,
(December Bride) TV Guide,
(Mister Ed) Stay in bed,
(Dorothy Gish) What a dish."
Ohhhh,
Al 'n' Yetta's television set

A Baby Boomer Bar Mitzvah

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It's part 4 of Ira Gallen's from 9/12/63

My Yiddishe Momme: Billie Holiday's Version!

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I found this on youtube and it had accompanying images of Barbra Streisand's family.
In 1956 Billie was not at her best
More Leo Fuld and the Cafe Sahbra where my bar mitzvah was held
Leo Fuld (Rotterdam, October 29, 1912 -- Amsterdam, June 10, 1997) was a Dutch singer who specialized in Yiddish songs. Leo Fuld was born as the third of ten children and grew up in a poor Jewish family. His father, Louis Fuld, was a merchant. Fuld's talent for singing showed at early age during services at the synagogue. Fuld was a good student and was given a scholarship at the Dutch Jewish Seminar. His parents expected young Leo to eventually become hazzan ('cantor'). At the age of sixteen Fuld was already leading services in provincial synagogues. In 1932 he left for England to audition for the BBC and became the first Dutch singer behind the BBC microphone. His performance was noticed by Jack Hylton, leader of one of the most popular show bands of that time. At the age of 19 Leo joined for a tour, singing a miscellaneous repertoire: in addition to schlagers and swing classics he also sang traditional Yiddish songs. Just before the outbreak of the Second World War Fuld left to perform in the United States. Leaving Europe may well have saved his life; of his entire family only Leo and one of his sisters survived the Nazis. The city in which they lived was destroyed in the Rotterdam Blitz. After the war he stayed in the US, becoming the number one interpreter of Yiddish repertoire. Singing songs such as 'My Yidishe Mama', 'Ich hob Dich zu viel lieb', 'Doina' and 'Wo Ahin Soll Ich Geh'n' made him famous all over the world. He shared the stage with Édith Piaf and Frank Sinatra. Many of Fuld's songs are sung partly in Yiddish and partly in English. Sometimes he sang in Hebrew as well.

New York City - Around The World In 80 Dinners
( Originally Published 1959 )
Cafe Sahbra (Israeli), at 253 W. 72nd St., is the only Israeli nite club in the United States at this writing. The SAHBRA (the word means "native-born Israeli") presents the top artists and talents of the State of Israel, such as the actor-pantomimist Shai K. Ophir, singer Shoshana Damari, the Oraneem (a folk-singing and dancing group), folk singer Sara Halevy, folk dancer Sara Aman, et al.
The Cafe, which is less than two years old, is operated by Leo Fuld, a native of Rotterdam, Holland, who is 47. The SAHBRA suggests an actual cafe that might be operated in Israel today, with decorations by noted Israeli artist Yoram Kaniuk depicting scenes of the Middle East. The restaurant specializes in authentic Israeli delicacies, both food and drink.

My Yiddishe Momme

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Leo Fuld, who performed at my bar mitzvah-the lyrics?
Of things I should be thankful for,
I've had a goodly share;
And as I sit here in the comfort,
Of a cozy chair;
My fancy takes me to a humble,
East-side tenement;
Three flights up in the rear,
To where my childhood days were spent.
It wasn't much like paradise,
But mid the dirt and all;
There sat the sweetest angel,
One that I fondly call
My Yiddishe Momme
I need her more than ever now
My Yiddishe Momme
Id like to kiss her wrinkled brow
I long to hold her hands once more
As in days gone by
And ask her to forgive me
For things I did that made her cry
Have few were her pleasures
She never cared for fashion styles
Her jewels and treasures;
She found them in her baby's smiles;
Oh I know what I owe what I am today;
To that dear little lady so old and gray;
To that wonderful Yiddishe Momme,
Momme Of mine.
My Yiddishe Momme
Se kimpt nisht besser in der velt
My Yiddishe Momme
Oy vey tzis bisser ven zie fehlt,
Durch vaser unt fayer
Volt si gelofen far ir kind
Nit haltn ir tayer
Dos is gevis di greisteh sind
Oy vi glikech un raich
Is der mensh vos hot
Asa sheineh matoneh
Geshenkt fun Got
Asa altitchkeh yiddishe mameh,
mameh mayn.
A Yiddishe mameh mayn.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nat King Cole: Tea For Two

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Who is/was better as both a pianist and a vocalist? No one.

Anita O'Day: Tea For Two

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from Jazz On A Summer's Day filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival
the lyrics, including the verse. Vincent Youmans wrote the melody
I'm discontented with homes that are rented so I have invented my own.
Darling this place is a lover's oasis where life's weary chase is unknown.
Far from the cry of the city, where flowers pretty caress the streams,
Cozy to hide in, to love side-by-side in. Don't let it abide in my dreams.
Picture you upon my knee, just tea for two and two for tea,
Just me for you and you for me, alone!
Nobody near us, to see us or hear us,
No friends or relations on weekend vacations,
We won't have it known, dear, that we have a telephone, dear.
Day will break and you'll awake and start to bake
A sugar cake for me to take for all the boys to see.
We will raise a family, a boy for you, a girl for me,
Oh, can't you see how happy life would be?
You are revealing a plan so appealing I can't help but falling for you,
Darling, I planned it; can't you understand it is yours to command it, so do.
All of your schemes I'm admiring, they're worth desiring but can't you see,
I'd like to wait there for some future date dear;
it won't be too late, dear, for me.
Picture you upon my knee, just tea for two and two for tea,
Just me for you and you for me, alone!
Nobody near us, to see us or hear us,
No friends or relations on weekend vacations,
We won't have it known, dear, that we have a telephone, dear.
Day will break and you'll awake and start to bake
A sugar cake for me to take for all the boys to see.
We will raise a family, a boy for you, a girl for me,
Oh, can't you see how happy life would be?

Tea For Two Cha Cha

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Warren Covington, fronting the Tommy Dorsey band, had a big hit of this in its cha cha form in 1958. Coincidentally, the lyricist, Irving Caesar qualifies for a "Whose Almost Who....distinction.
Irving Caesar (born either July 4th or 10th, 1895 in the Henry Street Settlement, died December 18, 1996 in New York), was a prominent American lyricist and theater composer who wrote lyrics for "Swanee," "Sometimes I'm Happy," "Crazy Rhythm," and "Tea for Two," one of the most frequently recorded tunes ever written.
Caesar was born Isidor Keiser (10 July 1895,) and died in New York City, the son of Morris Keiser and Sofia Selinger Caesar. His father ran a neighborhood second-hand bookstore. His older brother Arthur Caesar was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. The Caesar brothers spent their later childhood and teen years in Yorkville, the same Manhattan neighborhood where the Marx Brothers were raised. Caesar knew the Marx Brothers during his boyhood in NYC.

Irving attended PS 20 on Rivington Street as did Edward G. Robinson, Harry Golden, the Gershwins, Jacob Javits and KV fathers Bellel, Sosinsky and Bueller.

Who's Almost Who That Lived In Knickerbocker Village: The Marx Brothers' Maternal Grandparents

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The Marx Brothers lived on 179 East 93rd Street as shown in the youtube video above. However their maternal grandparents lived on 376 East 10th, between B and C from 1880-1885. That was around the corner from where my maternal grandparents lived as well as where Yip Harburg lived.

Summer Of 72 And Sustaining Memories Of Chris Noel

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Chris Noel from a recent movie Stryker movie with Burt Reynolds. Her son, bears a stryking resemblance to someone we know- until the make up department rushes in.
Chris' website
Billy Joel as the warm up act to The Persuasions (with The Chamber's Brothers joining them one night)
Randy Newman (Jim Croce was his warm up)
Jackson Browne
Linda Ronstadt
Jesse Colin Young (The Youngbloods)...with Al Kooper joining him from the audience during 4 or 5 sets
It was a 9-10 week summer job...some of the other acts will come back to me.
...and at the end of many nights, the staff and performers would hang out together at The Dugout (2 doors down), drinking pitchers of beer, and grabbing handfuls of peanuts in the shells from big barrels...I was 19 at the time...and they PAID me to do this!!! (not a lot)
But the memory that always puts a smile on my face was the night that the owner, Paul Colby, walked in with this gorgeous woman at his side...not just any woman, but the former Miss Rheingold 1962 whom I had stuffed the ballot boxes for at age 9. (Chris Noel...she was NOW 30)
She certainly put a head on my beer stein!
For the above reasons, I consider that summer as the beginning of a deeper appreciation for beer.......and Dottie Rogers...but that's another Bitter End story.

Because Of You

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Sammy Davis' early 1950's impressions of the song. This is followed by the Because of You rendition that Ralph Branca performed somewhat resentfully at 1951 rehashes of his fateful pitch to Bobby Thomson.

Summer of 72


just for the record Ron was the third amongst us to be employed by Mr. Colby at 147 Bleecker Street that spring of '72... I think Ronnie started right after I left and may have actually taken my place..... both of us got interviews thanks to Paul who had been working there a while ..no idea how he got his foot in but the job was a trip especially if you like rubbing elbows with celebs and would-be celebs ...I sold tickets and made change in the kitchen for the waitresses.. during one show Bette Midler came into the kitchen after her performance for her usual iced tea and asked me "how was I ?" .."great Bette!" what else could I say? ..