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About Tradeguy

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  1. Lefrak City in 1964

    I got a quick question... Does anyone remember the year that Art Linkletter showed up and held auditions for his TV show in one of the offices in Lefrak's basement? Although they didn't put me on the air...I remember meeting Mr. Linkletter and answering some questions. I seem to remember an entire show based on the interviews he got that day - all Lefrak kids...
  2. Lefrak City in 1964

    Hi all! You guys have no idea how good you've made me feel. Glad you enjoyed my memories - they've been gone from me for some time. I've been suffering from severe sleep anpea for the past 15 years or so, and I've had so little REM sleep that many of my long term memories seemed to be missing. Well, I now use a breathing device (cpap) at night that allows REM - in the sleep clinic I went into a dream state that lasted over 2 hours...LOL. For some reason, my brain has been in almost constant "catch-up" mode for about 3 weeks (which is when I started dreaming again). Well, the other morning I woke up vividly dreaming about Lefrak - something I haven't thought of or mentioned in..well...forever. Right there, everything just started coming back to me - like watching an old movie you haven't seen in years. So I hit google and started researching. I think the coolest thing I've found is that Lefrak WAS a special place - and not just because it's where I spent much of my young childhood. My kids seem to think that just about all of my childhood is "larger than life" and can't possibly be true. The first theater I can remember is Radio City Music Hall - I remember seeing a big premier there (Mary Poppins? Sound of Music?) - and the live stage show. My first circus was Barnum and Bailey at Madison Square Garden - and me and about 10 of my little friends not only got to see it for free, but got to go backstage and meet the clowns and touch the animals (at 16 my mom had spent a season as an elephant rider, and was rewarded with a lifetime free pass to the circus). Yet more stuff my kids have a hard time believing...LOL. Some other strange things I remember about Lefrak... Each floor had an incinerator room where you tossed garbage down a shoot where it was burned in the basement. I also remember the 3 elevators. It really did seem posh I ALSO went to PS 13!! Thank the lord someone else remembers this - my wife and kids laughed at me at this one. I remember a large asphalt play area where they played baseball and other sports. The school itself was ....brick on the outside? I do remember it was at least 3 stories high cause I remember going up and down stairs a lot. I also remember a large auditorium where we had "assembly" - boys had to dress up and wear ties, and girls had to wear dresses. We saw performances, speakers, all kinds of cool stuff. I remember dressing up as a mummy one halloween and falling down an entire flight of those really hard Lefrak building stairs. I just laid there...my #1 concern was that some other kid would come and take my hard earned candy. No injuries from that one...or loss of candy. I have a somewhat vague memory of lounge chair contentions at the pool during the summer - I remember my mom having to get there real early to get a good "spot". We felt really lucky to have a pool - no one that I knew outside of Lefrak had access to one. It was like luxury for regular people. One evening most of my family showed (from Brooklyn) all dressed up to go to a very fancy oriental resaurant that was under one of the other buildings - did Lefrak have a Trader Vic's back then? I'd love it if someone could confirm this. I remember my grandmother thought it was a "fancy place", and that meant Lefrak was "too fancy for her". LOL There were two very important stores just downstairs from me. One was a diner that had a small section of merchandise - including candy and baseball cards. Each month I took much of my allowance to buy baseball cards there. The other store was a TV repair shop that stocked every vaccuum tube imaginable. It was my job to keep our old black and white TV running - I made many trips down there with burned out tubes in my pockets. We'd go thru drawers of tubes looking for matches. The tubes cost pennies to replace. (I think all that TV troubleshooting prepared me for my later life as a computer network engineer...heh). But all in all...it was a lot like a small town life in many ways. Maybe it's why I actually now live in a relatively small town (Gainesville, FL - north of Orlando), and why I wanted to raise my kids here. I think Lefrak had the right idea... Rich
  3. Lefrak City in 1964

    I was doing some research on Lefrak City with I found this forum via Google... Hi To me, Lefrak City was my wonderful and magical childhood home. A place like no other. When I attempt to describe it to my wife or kids, they're not sure if it was real. What do they know - they've lived in Florida their whole lives. So I was searching for some photos. But I definitely remember Lefrak City... A virtual city - 20 18-story buildings - each with maybe 40 apartments per floor - each in a "quad" with tennis courts, playgrounds, pools inside the "squares" formed by the buildings - and below the buildings was a vast shopping mall with grocery stores, restaurants, barber shops, appliance stores, butchers and bakers - over 100 stores in all. Each building was named after a country (I lived in the Mexico Tower). I lived there in it's hay-day - 1962-1969 - a virtual mecca for the working-class New York family. Public schools all within walking distance too. For kids, it was almost like Disney land I also remember Halloween. My kids can't even imagine what it was like. My mom used to make up little bags of candy - I remember filling garbage bags full of these little bags - hundreds and hundreds. And we'd stop handing out candy when we ran out of bags - and we always ran out. I vividly remember the '65 blackout. We lived on the 2nd floor - but I escorted dozens of elderly up the stairs to their apartments by candle-light. My mom loved candles - and she used her candles to light up our entire floor. Then she whipped out her sterno hot-plates, and started grabbing everything she could find from the frig. She visited neighbors, and they contributed too. Before long she had her battery radio making music, and she put together the Mexico building black-out party! People brought whatever food they could find - and more radios tuned to the same channel. It went on for hours and may be the best party I can remember. People coming together in a time of need and making the best of things. I also remember a great blizzard - maybe in 64? Our apartment overlooked a central quad, and in the morning, the snow drifts made it clear up to the bottom of our windows. The benches were gone, and only the tops of the light poles indicated where the sidewalks were. I remember that snow day well - like the mother of all snow days. Dozens of us kids building snow forts and throwing snow balls - until we were so frozen we could barely move. There really isn't enough hyperbole to describe how good Lefrak was in the beginning. Hard working families living together and caring about each other in a town within a city. All of this completely destroyed by a bit of social engineering called "public housing". Within 2 years the mecca became a "project". The mall an empty wasteland of closed shops. The beautiful international lobbies ripped and torn and replaced with iron chairs. My lobby had a beautiful large mural of Mexico on one of the walls. One day I came from school and someone had literally chiseled it out of the wall. And the real irony - after completely destroying a safe family neighborhood, and replacing it with crime and violence and drugs - The new inhabitants complained about the "slum" the city had put them in. My mom said, when our people (her parents) came here from Russia and were put into a slum - they made it into their home. But these people were given a home - and made it into a slum. As a child, I never understood this, but I knew we had to leave. We did move in 1969 - moved to Forest Hills - where I used to bike to the old World's Fair and visit the zoo and Hall of Science. Lefrak seemed like a far off country, even though it was just on the other side of the boulevard. It's very interesting to me that Google says it was Russian immigrants that revitalized Lefrak in the 90's. Hehe...another irony. But to me, Lefrak city was as close to home-town America as I've ever seen. At least for those few years in the beginning...