New Book- “Apartment 4B, Like In Brooklyn” Relives Turbulent 1960s-1970s
Autobiographical short story collection, “Apartment 4B, Like In Brooklyn,” relives bygone times of Brooklyn, New York in the 1960s and 1970s.
Flushing, NY January 1, 2006 — It was a turbulent time of great social upheaval.
And in the middle of it stood a child and his pals.
In this autobiographical short story collection, Evan Ginzburg looks back at growing up in the racially changing East Flatbush, Brooklyn of the 1960s and 1970s. From the beautiful friendships he made to the dangers and humiliations he faced, these gritty street tales will keep readers enthralled. With stories ranging from nostalgic to heart-rending, he pulls no punches as he looks back at a Brooklyn that is now lost forever.
“We read several tales on the air and they’re funny, poignant and most certainly memorable,” stated New York DJ Fred Geobold, of 50,000 watt WBAI-FM’s Light Show in New York City.
Cultural icons such as Bruce Lee, Pam Grier, James Brown, Fred Williamson, Marvin Gaye, pro wrestling champion Bruno Sammartino and many other heroes of the era add magical memories that will transport readers back to this bygone time.
Hear the crack of the stickball bat against Spaldeen balls and hear the cling of bottle caps on the skully courts in “Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn,” (ISBN 0-9763366-0-X). Available now through mail order at: Evan Ginzburg PO Box 640471 Oakland Gardens Station Flushing, NY 11364 for $14.95 and $2.50 postage and handling ($8 postage for overseas orders).
Evan Ginzburg is available for media interviews and appearances in conjunction with “Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn.”
About Evan Ginzburg:
Evan Ginzburg is a long-time zine writer, educator and NY based radio personality on www.fantalklive.com. He is actively involved in the entertainment industry as a publicist, promoter, booker and MC.
Evan Ginzburg Evan_ginzburg@yahoo.com http://evanginzburg.com
THE REVIEWS ARE IN FOR APARTMENT 4B, LIKE IN BROOKLYN
From Fred Geobold, WBAI-FM 99.5 NYC Evan Ginzburg has put into words the emotions and experiences of growing up in the ever-changing Brooklyn of the ‘60s and ‘70s: a Brooklyn that is lost forever. We read several tales on the air and they’re funny, poignant and most certainly memorable.
Review by Fred Argoff from Brooklyn Magazine Issue #52- This quote appears at the end of the introduction: “In adulthood, Ginzburg moved to a foreign country (Flushing), yet his heart is still in Brooklyn. This book is a reflection of Ginzburg’s lifelong ties to his beloved Brooklyn. It doesn’t get any better than this.” If you were born in Brooklyn, it doesn’t matter how long you lived there. Whether you move away as a child or as an adult, and wherever you go, you will always carry a little bit of the borough around with you. We offer this as a pathetic, tip of the iceberg explanation for the waxing nostalgic of Brooklyn. That said, there’s nothing better than a book recalling one’s childhood in Brooklyn. Why, Your Friendly Local Editor could have written this-but he didn’t; Evan Ginzburg from Lenox Road in Flatbush did. And for this we can all be grateful. The book has six chapters, and a look at their titles tells hints at what’s to come: Early Daze; We are Family; Reading, Writing and Humiliation: Block Heads; Boys and the Hood; Last Gasp. And there’s an appendix with photos—including a stickball picture that will be immediately familiar to everybody. Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn is available for $14.95 (plus $2.50 postage and handling) from the author at PO Box 640471 Oakland Gardens Station, Flushing, NY 11364. You will be severely remiss if you don’t send away for a copy ASAP. If you come from Brooklyn, every page will bring a smile to your face, because you will have experienced many of the same things. And if you’re not from around here, well, at least you’ll understand why natives feel Brooklyn is such a special place.
Evan Ginzburg and Days of Brooklyn Past
From Wendy Zarganis, Your Guide to New York: Brooklyn. www.about.com
Author's Memoir Reflects a Brooklyn Long Gone Brooklyn's cultural landscape is ever-changing and those who remember "the old" Brooklyn are few. One of those Brooklyn natives, Evan Ginzburg, decided to preserve the Brooklyn he once knew in his memoir Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn. A Queens College sociology class inspired Ginzburg to pen his memoirs of growing up in East Flatbush during the 60s and 70s. Says Ginzburg, "I was writing how and why the neighborhood changed with all kinds of statistics to go with it. The professor was incredibly encouraging saying, 'Let's do something important with this,' but my beloved father had just died and my head wasn't on straight then." So it wasn't until years later that Ginzburg gave in to the inner voice urging him to write. "It was always this nagging thing on my shoulder - "I need to write about this." The "this" was a Brooklyn that no longer exists. Ginzburg grew up on 245 Lenox Road between Nostrand and Rogers. A mostly blue-collar Jewish neighborhood when Ginzburg's family moved there, demographics changed dramatically in the 1960s. "The changes in Brooklyn in the 1960s and 70s weren't natural," Ginzburg explains. "They were expedited by 'blockbusting.' The real estate interests knock on people's doors and scare them by telling them, 'The blacks are coming in – you should get out now.' Then the [real estate] agents make a low offer on their house. Rip them off. They’d turn around rip off the black family interested in buying the house by overcharging them. Taking from both sides. They created an unnatural flight to the suburbs. I remember on the next block over [from him], a young white woman was murdered. This was 1968 or 1969. Murders were few and far between back then. Months of fear went by; of course everyone thought a black guy did it. What happened? Turned out that her white boyfriend did it. They were turbulent times politically then as well. Martin Luther King was just killed." Ginzburg says. And that that aura of fear remained. The 'white flight' to the suburbs was common." Ginzburg's family didn't leave though and ended up being one of the few white families in the neighborhood. It wasn’t easy for Ginzburg, but there were always some amazing experiences that Ginzburg held on to for many years. Much later, as an Adult Ed teacher, Ginzburg started teaching Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street, a book about growing up in a Latino neighborhood in Chicago in the 60s and it touched Ginzburg. "I loved the format- very, very short stories that could be read by either kids or adults and although there were repeat characters, the stories didn't really flow from one to another. But it told the story! Poetically no less. And that, too, inspired me. So finally, after literally decades of wanting to write my story, a political writer/friend named Jeff Archer just shamed me into it. 'Writer's write,' he'd tell me. That kind of thing. Over and over again. And I sat down during one summer vacation and wrote a story a day. Just jumped in like a lunatic. Almost 60 stories in 60 days. It was like therapy. When I wrote that last story about the day I moved from the block, I just cried. It was like I was reliving it. I spent years polishing it and production etc. al. and four or so years later, here it is. But some of this is just about the sheer desire of getting something you believe in "out there." The memoir chronicles Ginzburg’s Brooklyn – from getting hassled for his lunch money to playing skully to watching the Ed Sullivan show with his music-mad mother. "Mother wasn’t not a groupie," Ginzburg comments, "She didn't sleep with musicians but she did run around with Tito Puente." And she enjoyed listening to James Brown and Motown instilling a love of music that remains with Ginzburg. "Culturally, I'm more like a 60 year-old black guy than a 46 year-old Jewish guy," he says, "My tastes are more Al Green and Marvin Gaye.” Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn skillfully captures a Brooklyn that is no more and is as engaging as it is nostalgic. The cover is a close up of his old building. "The building has a huge gate in front of it now, like a fortress," Ginzburg says, "The photographer, Bernard Ente, had to go inside to get the shot." In addition to the cover photo, Ginzburg provided personal photos of his family, friends and neighbors that add to the book’s Brooklyn flavor. Ginzburg who now lives in Queens, is especially nostalgic for Brooklyn block parties. "Such a beautiful thing, all cultures together, Jews, Trinidadians, all nationalities together. It was a unique Brooklyn experience. You don't see that in the suburbs. On Long Island, there are people who literally never go into Manhattan much less Brooklyn. They did the wife, kids, dog, cable thing. It's fine, but to me, it's vacant culturally." Today, Ginzburg teaches and hosts a radio show on WBAI-FM's Light Show (Wednesdays from 2-3pm, and www.wbai.com on the Web). Ginzburg’s diverse Brooklyn upbringing made him open to reaching out to those who would maybe otherwise get lost in the shuffle. Ginzburg books talent that he find interesting, from big bands to various pro wrestlers, comedians and porn stars. "Interesting people who aren’t one dimensional," he explains. He writes on his Web site, "I am proud to say that we not only interview and report on the name groups, but some performers who are virtually unknown. From the latter, we have offered some of the most astute interviews in the world. For some reason, the lesser-known talent (not necessarily lesser-talented) are more open with their words.
Instead of getting a pre-planned answer written by a publicity guru for a big star, we broadcast the real emotions and responses of those who have not quite 'made it' in their field." People like Greenpoint musician, Ansel Matthews, a 6'7", 250 pound ex-football player. Says Ginzburg, "His music is uncategorizable. He does this sensitive, spiritual music that is so soothing I can't even explain it. And he's the bouncer at the gigs he plays!" Ginzburg says, "When you’re out there doing creative things, not just pursuing money, then interesting things happen. I’ve never gotten rich but I’m rich from experiences." To order: "Apartment 4-B, Like In Brooklyn", send check or money order to: Evan Ginzburg, P.O. Box 640471, Oakland Gardens Station, Flushing, NY 11364. Price is $14.95 + $2.00 shipping.
Review by Tom Filsinger www.filsingergames.com January 11, 2006 I'm pleased to announce that another excellent book has come across my desk at Fed HQ. It's a book written by old friend, Evan Ginzburg. Game fans will remember Evan from his appearance at GalactiCon 2004 with Johnny Valiant. He is the producer and editor of Wrestling Then and Now newsletter and manages several wrestlers. Evan has written an autobiography called Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn. God, how I love a good autobiography, mainly because the best ones offer some universal insights and concepts to ponder that stretch beyond the life of the author. Evan's book does just that. Evan grew up in Brooklyn in the 1960's and 1970's. He saw his neighborhood slowly evolve from a traditional ethnic immigrant neighborhood to a multi-racial neighborhood populated by Blacks and Hispanics. Apartment 4B is the story of a Jewish family adapting to these major changes. And adapting is the key word. Evan describes in graphic detail the pleasures and pains of these adjustments. From being beaten up regularly for any change in his pocket, to having his brand new bicycle stolen in broad daylight, to tales of murder, cheating, and degradation, it all seems like a painful and bitter life lesson. And yet the book is free from real rancor or hostility. Evan's world is a complex world where his new friendships were very fulfilling, from playing inner-city street games like Skully and stickball, to going to the latest showings of Bruce Lee movies, to identifying with James Brown as his hero, Evan has carved a romantic vision at the same time that his stories are frightening, dehumanizing, and sometimes downright revolting. The book is written in a short story format, making it easy to pick up and put down at the drop of a hat. Not that it's easy to put down. Evan's writing style is easily accessible with many humorous touches thrown in to offset the sometimes painful memories. As a child of the same time period, I can identify with Evan's stories, the main difference being that my family moved (ironically to a Jewish suburb) prior to the inner-city upheavals that the Ginzburg family endured. I saw the tip of the iceberg when I lived in East Cleveland in the 1960's. Evan's family stayed at Apartment 4B even when "white flight" saw many other families moving out. Wrestling fans will enjoy Evan's references to his love for professional wrestling beginning with Bruno Sammartino and many others. There's even a nice drawing of Baron Von Raschke by Rick Knox in the book. Maybe Rick would let us use it someday if we add the Baron to the Legends game lineup. I heartily recommend Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn. It's an easy read on a difficult subject. Ginzburg's love of life and pop culture shine through the tough times and his experiences represent a microcosm for the shifting template of American culture in the 1960's and 1970's. Take it from me, a big reader of memoirs, that this is worth picking up. The book is available now through mail order at: PO Box 640471 Oakland Gardens Station Flushing, NY 11364 for $14.95 and $2.50 postage and handling (Add $5 for overseas orders). Two Sheds Review Julian Radbourne (England)
Ginzburg's second book, Apartment 4B, Like In Brooklyn, is an autobiographical book, as Ginzburg looks back at his childhood years, of life growing up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
It's a tale of a child growing up in the 1960's and 70's, at a time long before kids found their entertainment with video games and mobile phones, and they found enjoyment by playing ball games in the street and in backyards. Things certainly were a lot easier and simpler back then.
And it's a truly enchanting tale, as Ginzburg tells us about his parents, a mother who looked after house and home, and a father who worked fourteen hours a day, six days a week, as a New York cabbie, estimating that he's driven over a million miles during his life.
Ginzburg also tells of the many influences in his life, which, of course, also involve professional wrestling, and learning Spanish along the way while watching Lucha Libre on television. The story of his first ever visit to Madison Square Garden, to watch his hero Bruno Sammartino, was also enjoyable.
But it's the stories of his friendships and encounters with other kids in the neighborhood that make this book. While not wanting to go into to much detail here, there are tales that will make you laugh and cry, and even though these events took place over thirty years ago, and you knew things would turn out fine (otherwise he wouldn't have written this book), you couldn't help but root for the guy during some of the more troublesome moments.
In conclusion - a highly enjoyable read here. Ginzburg manages to the sense of the era perfectly, and after finishing the book, I began to wonder if Ginzburg ever got back in touch with any of the friends he made in Brooklyn, and if he found out what they're doing now.
The Fevered Brain of Radio Mike http://www.thefeveredbrainofradiomike.com says:
We should tell you about a book we just finished reading, APARTMENT 4B, LIKE IN BROOKLYN. It’s filled with vignette after vignette about growing up in Brooklyn in the Late 60s and Early 70s. It was like reading about Radio Mike growing up in Central California, only this is much, much more interesting. It’s a rather quick but very entertaining read. You should go visit, http://www.evanginzburg.com/ and tell Evan we sent y’all over. You should read the book too, if you like these sorts of things.
Baby Boomer Head Quarters www.BBHQ.com says:
This is a frequently amusing nostalgic series of essays about growing up in Brooklyn in the 70s. It is a little cutting edgy, but as such it captures the spirit.
CULTURAL ICONS LOVE APARTMENT 4B, LIKE IN BROOKLYN
“Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn- his book is a very realistic, easy read about growing up in New York and reliving times of a bygone era. Once you pick it up you won’t be able to put it down.”
-Handsome Jimmy Valiant (Professional Wrestling Legend)
“I must say that from the time I picked up the book ‘till I finished it that it has made me think about how I not only see people but how I treat them and what I say to them. The book was just POWERFUL, a tool if you will on how one can be affected by words; light hearted and painful all at the same time. I was laughing and crying all at the same time. I have not picked up a book that had this kind of impact on me since I read Truman Capote. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough.”
-Seka (Adult film Legend)