Skip to comments.East Side kid Harpo Marx recalls his tailor father...(Happy Fathers Day)
Posted on 06/13/2014 6:55:39 PM PDT by virgil283
"Before he and his brothers hit comic paydirt, Adolph Harpo Marx (left, with Groucho) spent his early 1900s childhood in a tenement on East 93rd Street.
Though his family of 10 struggled, he credits his parents for not letting poverty make any of us depressed or angry, he wrote in 1961′s ....
... With Fathers Day approaching, heres Harpo recalling his fathers warmth and magic in their tenement kitchen:
Frenchie was the family housekeeper and cook. He was also the breadwinner. Frenchie was a tailor by trade. He was never able to own his own shop, and during the day his cutting table and sewing bench took up the whole dining room with lengths and scraps of materials overflowing in the kitchen.
At six oclock he quit whatever he was working on, in the middle of a stitch, and stashed his profession in the hall, materials, tools, tables and all, and turned to the task of making dinner for ten or eleven or sixteen people.
With food he was a true magician. Given a couple of short ribs, a wilting cabbage, a handful of soup greens, a bag of chestnuts and a pinch of spices, he could conjure up miracles.
God, how fabulous the tenement smelled when Frenchie, chopping and ladling, sniffing and stirring and tasting, and forever smiling and humming to himself, got the kitchen up to full steam!.....God Bless you Dads everywhere.
I read a bio on the Marx brothers, a very close family.
George (”Nathan Birnbaum”) Burns also grew up at around the same time on the East Side. I wonder if they ever ran into each other?
The Marx brothers humor was way ahead of their time. Groucho was fantastic on TV in the 1950s and early ‘60s. For those of us who have never been anywhere near New York City, what is the meaning of 93rd street? Is it still a bad part of town?
Read any of Burns autobiographical books, esp. the early ones. Hilarious and give a great insight into life in old New York, esp. in the Jewish sections and show business.
2 bedroom / 1 bath apartments on that street are selling for $600,000 - $800,000. Another 1/2 bath will get you an extra $100,000. Also depends how close you are to Central Park. A lot of yuppies and such in this area now.
Manhattan is not for normal, middle-class people.
One of the best books on the Marx Brothers is Joe Adamson's Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Sometimes Zeppo.
I am one of the leadership of an organization called the Society for the Prevention of Abuse to Zeppo (SPAZ). We keep an eye out for the legacy of Herbert (Zeppo) Marx.
Groucho in his later years
Thanks for posting that info. Always wondered about that part of New York.