Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Hannukah.  Sorry for the delay in the publishing of this entry.   I don't have 8 items here, but hopefully the warm feelings you'll get from reading about Old Trenton will fill the darkest days of the year (in terms of sunlight) with a little more light.

 A few weeks ago, I interviewed Bertha Ropeik, who's maiden name was Bertha Levine.   The other day, she lent me her husband Arnie's 1947 Rider College yearbook, so I could scan a few pictures in it.  She also had an old copy of the February 17, 1947 issue of Life Magazine, in which there was pictorial story about the Rider College fraternity, Phi Sigma Nu, which staged the first of what has become a Christmas Day tradition in the area.  A group of college kids decided to re-enact Washington's Crossing of the Delaware and Arnie had done the PR on it, letting the editors of Life know that it was going to happen.   At the back of that 1947 yearbook were more pictures of the crossing, which I've included here. 

 -The Shadow, 1947

In case you missed it, the biggest Trenton story of the past couple of weekw didn't have anything to do with the old jewish community, or maybe it did.   DeLorenzo's is closing their store in Trenton and the repercussions are shaking the earth all the way to San Francisco, where Tony Siegle is mourning the loss.   This arrived in my mailbox the day after the Times' story ran.

"I read in the Trenton Times that DeLorenzos on Hudson St. is closing it's door.  That is sad news indeed. I think every Jew who lived in Trenton in the 1950's on went the for "Tomato pies" and it became an institution. I think that now verifies kills the Trenton we knew and loved."

We moved to this area in 1996 and had the privilege of standing outside for about an hour before enjoying the best Tomato Pie I ever ate.   First the hotels, then the movie theaters, the synagogues and now DeLorenzo's.  Ouch.

I ran into Elaine Lavine Sunday morning at Adath Israel and started talking about her father's store in Old Tenton, Palat's Dairy.  I had my phone with me and showed her a photo of her Uncle Herman's store, Palat's Furs at 17 Cooper Street.   There is a photo of it from the 1958 tax records in the archives.  

She told me that her memories of the business was of the trappers from South Jersey coming into the store with their muskrats and having them skinned.   Their pelts were stretched out on boards and then used to make coats.  Where do the trappers take their muskrats these days?  Not to Quakerbridge Mall, I'm sure.   Another sign that the times, they are a-changing.

And as promised, here is the second installment of my interview with Robert Olinsky in Israel.  In going through some of the old pictures from the YMHA/JCC, I couldn't find a shot of Bob.  I did find a shot of his father, Joe and his twin brother Richard.  In this section Bob talks about hanging out the at YMHA and his father's cousin, Ben Olinsky, who ran the Biddy League, as well as Ben's wife, Muriel.

Again, Happy Hannukah to all.