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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: January 11, 2013

Kopyczycncer

Six months after my wedding in 1962, my father handed me an ultimatum that stated “You are a married man now…you must join the Lodge so you can have a burial plot.” The Lodge was called the “First Kopyczyncer Young Men’s Independent Lodge.” It was formed by the landsmen from my father’s village in Poland.

I tried to put it off as long as possible because I was just married and had opened a dental practice on Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens. My father persisted, so I joined the group for their monthly meetings at Ratner’s Restaurant on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side.

As far as I could see there were no “young men” in the Lodge, and I appeared to be the youngest. I was 27 years old at that time. Ratner’s vegetarian restaurant was a famous New York eatery (which has since closed), famous for delicious onion rolls heaped in a basket and blintzes. I was surprised at their borscht and cherry soup, which I had never eaten before. Very tasty, indeed!

One of the celebrity members of the lodge was Guss of Guss’s Pickles fame.  He had a world-famous pickle store on the Lower East Side. Because of the pickle aroma, I jokingly asked not to be buried too close to Guss’ plot.

The cemetery or final resting place was on Staten Island. In those days, pre- Verrazano Bridge, the Staten Island Ferry was the only way to get there. The founders of the Lodge must have received a good buy on the Staten Island real estate.

My parents and most of my uncles and aunts are buried there. Those that passed away in Florida were buried in Florida. It still takes a good car trip for my sister and I to visit and tend our parents’ gravesites. Keeping the weeds out is quite a chore.

This story began for me in 1962 and it is still ongoing. Hopefully, I have no immediate plans to use the burial plot, but due to my father’s insistence, it is one less thing to worry about.

News

One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.

Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.

Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.

“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Women Artists You Should Know

Thursday, July 31

Adult Summer Reading Club

Through Aug. 7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com