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Monthly Archive for April, 2009

It’s impossible to say too many great things about Duke Ellington— just try it! And if by accident of fate or fatigue one does get tongue-tied, Stephanie Stein Crease, author of the recently published Duke Ellington: His Life In Jazz (Chicago Review Press) will have heps making creole love calls again faster than they can […]

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Joseph Rivera is a retired New York City cop and Vandal Squad: Inside The New York City Transit Police Department, 1984-2004 (Powerhouse/Miss Rosen Editions) is the story of his twenty years on the job. Of course, the Bronx-native couldn’t have done it without ya’ll, the “vandals,” most of whom are better known to this book’s […]

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Uptown, Hazel Scott was big excitement for some of the biggest Hollywood stars. Franchot Tone was mad for her, Burgess Meredith, the biggest society playboys in New York. All looking for big excitement, and she was. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. had a crush on her. He liked her so much that he brought his mother, […]

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I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train… Young, good looking, crew […]

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Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn Who is Winsor McCay and why is he saying such terrible things about me? Why did I, Caz Dolowicz, just awake from a dream of a rarebit fiend? (She looked eerily like Mae West.) How did Windsor McCay die and when? What did he think of John Y. McKane, or did he […]

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Not Cafe Wha? nor Cafe whuh? Rather Cafe Society, which  is also a new book subtitled “The Wrong Place For The Right People,” recently published by the University of Illinois Press. Terry Trilling-Josephson is the widow of Cafe Society owner, Barney Josephson, the Trenton, New Jersey shoe salesman turned legendary Manhattan nightclub mensch and one […]

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Ask for mauby and ye shall receive… mauby, sorrel, ginger beer & at the conclusion of WWIB’s brief tribute to former Guyana President Janet Jagan, I expressed the hope that Suzanne Wasserman‘s documentary about Janet— who was also her cousin (but that just got Suzanne access; Janet and her husband Cheddi’s stories are amazingly their […]

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Italian is a funny language and the Italians are a funny people. I don’t mean funny like The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight (1971), although Jimmy Breslin’s largely South Brooklyn-set novel is a fine picaresque. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who composed many Italian operas, was an Austrian Catholic, funnily enough, although his greatest librettist, Lorenzo Da […]

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Yes, I’ve returned from Florida and while the Spanish moss and the manatee had to stay, I did return with some treasures. As shown in the photo at left, these include: a first edition of Vineland by Thomas Pynchon, picked up at City Lights in Sylva, North Carolina; Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade In Erotica […]

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“When Donald Peabody Coffin first lived in Brooklyn, State Street was still a slum, and his most memorable concerned the time he accidentally locked himself on the roof on New Year’s Eve and was shot at by a drunken Puerto Rican on the stroke of midnight. He was on the roof of the opposite tenement. […]

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