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May 21, 1934 New York, New York

21 May
May 21, 1934 New York, New York

[Editor’s Note: This letter was begun on May 21, 1934, written over several days and finished May 24, 1934. ]

May 21, 1934 315 W. 106th St., N.Y. Noon.

My dear Goldchildren:

Don’t be too happy that I am writing so much now, in the beginning but I am experiencing and see so much now that I like to keep a record of it before I forget some of it.

Thursday evening I went with both girls for a walk on Broadway. We very shortly visited that man from the ship and were pretty early back home. Broadway at night looks exactly like you see in the movies and on pictures. When we came home some michpocha, who send their regards, were there.

Friday I woke up at 9:00. I did not hear the girls leave. At 11:00 Mrs. Heinsheimer and Margot picked Gustl and me up and took us to the enormously large Radio City Music Hall, pretty new holding 5-6000 people. The whole show lasted from 11:30 to 3:00 p.m.

First a movie, to which I have to get used to. They are so different from what they show in Germany, but the photography is wonderful. Next the ballet. You can’t imagine. About 100 girls all about the same nice figure, same color hair, not one wrong step. Excellent. And then a shortened version of Madame Butterfly all with beautiful scenery.

The admission in the morning is not too much and the house is always full. You really got your money’s worth.

Radio City post card

Radio City Circa 1934

The whole building is really beautiful. A very big foyer. On every floor restrooms for women and men. Big restrooms with everywhere running hot and cold water as much as you want all the time plus soap and paper towels. And the newest thing — an electric blower to dry your hands. And all that for free.

After we had nourished our ears and eyes we went to eat in an automatic restaurant. For little money you get the best food there. Everything is very clean, orderly and appetizing. We then went by subway to their business to get a few things out of my trunk which I am storing there while in N.Y. Mr. H. showed me the place before we went home.

At 5:30 Rudy picked me up with his car. He drove by the oldest Jewish cemetery here, through some of Chinatown which is very interesting. After diner I dressed up and Bertl pinned some white flowers, a pearl necklace, on my red dress.

Women are wearing a lot of flowers even real ones. The styles here are very different. Much more elegant and chic. You all, especially Liss, should see how much I have Americanized already with powder and lipstick. The ladies have beautiful hairstyles — too fancy for me. A little longer over the ears and a roll away from the head and curls in the back. Also they use bright red nail polish. I will have to learn that too.

window shopping

Saks Style

That reminds me that it would be a great idea for Doddo [one of Trudel’s sisters] to learn beauty make-up and hairstyling. It is used so very much here. Also , it would be a good idea to learn to make good chocolate candies. Here they are lousy. But much better here is the ice cream.

Maybe you could earn some money with the dessert we had at the gala dinner on the boat: good vanilla ice cream in an oblong square about 1 inch high. 2 inches wide and 3 inches long, covered with a very thin layer of chocolate and put on a wooden stick and wrapped in cellophane to eat out of the hand. It is called a Good Humor.

I am enjoying the food here very much but would like a real salad like I am used to sometime since somehow it is very different here.

Friday night we had lots of company, all young people here. Saturday we all slept late since the girls did not have school. After breakfast Bernice went with me to the harbor to mail the previous letter on the Aquitania and waited ‘til the ship left. That boat ran into a fireboat when it came in and wrecked it. We walked far around that.

We went again in an automatic restaurant for lunch. There we met Marion the other Hamburg girl. Then the three of us went to the most elegant shopping area 5th Ave. We went into the two finest stores, Macy’s and Sax 5th Ave. You cannot imagine such elegant beautiful stores.

Just image the best and biggest store in Frankfurt, one department is that size but much more beautiful. The windows are decorated fantastic. Then we went to Woolworth where I bought this pad of writing paper. The then big public library. We took a little rest at the gorgeous hotel Waldorf Astoria. That you cannot compare with anything in Germany. The size of the decorations’ everything.

And everywhere free restroom toilets and washrooms — separate, men’s and women’s. Since the women use so much makeup they really need those places to refresh and repaint themselves.

Then we looked at the Rockefeller Ctr. That is a big plaza with beautiful flowers and a gold statue and the big building. On the other side is the Empire State Building. The tallest building in the world. If it does not cost too much I hope to go to the top one day. We went through Radio City home and arrived very tired with sore feet about 6:00 p.m.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

After dinner Bernice and I went to visit an old friend from Germany around the corner from here. His room is on the 15th floor. We had a very nice visit and he walked us almost home but it started to rain and he ran home. We stopped at 9:30 at night to buy some hosiery.

Before retiring I wrote a few very important postal cards and just as I went to bed a real big thunderstorm came up the Hudson. I have a great view of the river from my bed which stands right by the window. I always liked to watch thunderstorms but this was the biggest most beautiful I have ever seen and of course I thought of my sister Doddo which I do anyhow often.

While I am writing now Bernice is playing the piano for me. This 5-room apartment with 3 bathrooms and a big kitchen is very comfortable and nice.

That evening I had a letter from Aunt Henny. She thought I would only stay a few days in N.Y. and get through her son a free pass for the bus for me only good until today. That is impossible. So Ludwig went with me to the bus company. That pass is good until June 1st. On May 30 is a big holiday here and I do not want to be in the road that day. The 31st is too late, so I will leave here on Monday the 28th at 9:00 a.m. and will arrive in Chicago on Tuesday the 29th at 4:00 p.m. The trip takes 32 hours and costs only $4 including my baggage.

I am so lucky with everything. I am really glad if I can relax when I get to Chicago. Sure hope everything keeps going o.k. Today it is very hot here but they say this is nothing. How is the weather there? Have you found a new apartment yet? Please show this letter to anyone interested, I can write it all once only. Did Liss get her birthday present. Now I have to think of every birthday two weeks in advance.

Yesterday morning we went to services at the oldest synagogue here. 108 years old and very beautiful with wood carvings and beautiful painting. The girls all looked like birds. All white long dresses with short sleeves very elegant. All the same flower bouquet in their hands. The service was very good but it was very hard for me to understand much of it. I was introduced to the very much liked and very good nice Rabbi and we talked a little together. You can imagine how I felt.

Continued May 22nd at Noon.

Ernst Cahn just said to me now it is 5:00 p.m. in Frankfurt and Lotte is probably yawning and anxious to get home. Right?

In the meantime had some more things happen to me. I got an invitation for dinner and will buy an American style dress tomorrow. I really need it.

May 24th, 1934 10:00 a.m.

Finally I get back to this letter.

We went shopping yesterday morning and I bought a very pretty dress for only $3.50 and a pair of dressy white shoes for $3.98. More than the dress which is red with some little colored trim, short sleeves and 3/4 sleeves. It looks very good on me and makes me appear more like a U.S.A. girl.

Last night I was for dinner at a very nice lady. Her sister and husband were there too. They all were real nice to me. They urged me to go to Chicago now and if I do not like it and cannot find work come back to N.Y. at any time. If the traveling costs are so little, I may be able to do that. After excellent dinner and pleasant conversation I went home at 10:30.

What did you do on Shavuos? [Pentecost]. Nothing is noticed here. How were the confirmations on Shavuos?
Did Alex get safely to Munich and back? Please send me the address of Adele. Is she still in the hospital? I really should write her once.

I am closing this letter now so it won’t get too heavy and start a new one. Everybody here sends best regards. Greetings and kisses, yours …..

Trudel


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About Leonard Grossman

Writing about the online world since 1992: The ModemJunkie's Portal Taught school in the inner-city from 1967-78, Government lawyer from 1979-2010. Married to the incredible Cindy Barnard. Proud father of Sarah and grandfather of Gavin.
 

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One Response to May 21, 1934 New York, New York

  1. jack spatafora

    May 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    There is such exquisite beauty to memories held dear by friends and relatives. Isn’t it an ancient Jewish adage: Our immortality is in the memories of those we loved?