Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scenes from a Luncheonette-Remembering Greenfield's

Apologies for a long time between entries, but with the coming of spring, a few rain-free days, and trying to make a living, it’s been a little busy.
A couple of days after interviewing Edie Haftiz (see the last blog entry), I got a phone call from Barry Weiner, who lives in Livingston, NJ.  He and his brother, Larry, who lives in Ewing come from another family in the Kosher Meat Market business in Old Trenton.  Their father was a parnter in Katzoff and Weiner’s at 22 South Union Street.  Barry told me about Congregation Workers of Truth (Poale Emet), which was located at 832 West State Street.   He took me to task when I asked him, naively, whether its members were communists.  No, in fact, they were socialists and strongly anti-communist. He informed me that the Workers of Truth cemetery is located in Hamilton at Pittman Street and Cedar Lane.  
We spoke for quite a while and as he was rattling off old landmarks, he mentioned that Jim Axelrod, National Correspondent at CBS News was the grandson of Moe Greenfield, who owned Greenfield’s Luncheonette.  Being a former CBS Newsperson myself, I did a little research and found an email address for Jim, who has a new book, In the Long Run: A Father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness, in stores now.   Here's an interview he recently did on the Early Show and a link to an excerpt from his book.

The book opens with a chapter about how his best friend sent him an e-mail when he was covering candidate Barrack Obama in 2008.  The e-mail contained his father’s times when he ran the NY Marathon in the 1980’s.  He passed away in 2000 and the e-mail eventually inspired Axelrod to run the marathon himself.  

My days at the network ended in 1990, but what the heck?   I shot off an e-mail and wondered whether I'd get an answer.   Well, within a day, I got an e-mail from Jim, which I excerpted below.   
Jim axelrod here 
Greenfield’s luncheonette.  State and Clinton.  Across from the old y.  just down the block from the train station.  Willie Mays used to come in the store.  Ernie Kovacs.  Half of rider college used to hang out there.  Moe and Trudy Greenfield were my grandparents and still remembered fondly by such esteemed Trentonians as Arnie Ropeik.
Thank you SO MUCH for reaching out.

I could relive the memories of Greenfield’s forever…

Was a magical place.

Both sides of my family are from Trenton – my 96 year old great aunt.  Another great aunt in her 90’s still there.  Parents married at har Sinai.  Favorite thing to do as a kid when visiting family in hiltonia was to feed the deer at cadwalader park.  Much more later…. But thanks for sparking some of my favorite memories….

Trenton makes/the world takes… what Trenton made for me was some of my warmest memories of my childhood….
Will be happy to write more – on deadline right now. 

But will get back to you.
Well, who knows, maybe my e-mail to him will be the inspiration for his next book!

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