Saturday, March 21, 2009
Evening on the East Side
Lastnight to the Broadway Market -- to eat, perchance to drink Sobieski vodka. That is what I did! Though the Sobieski was under the table. There was a bureaucratic tangle that kept the organizers from offering the vodka to the people. And so I had to accept the little bottle from Airborne Eddy -- he is the one grinning on the extreme right of the picture -- on the sly.
Eddy slipped me the bottle and I put it in my pocket. He did the same with other people and toward the end of the evening we brought the mini-flasks out and did some sipping.
There is a picture up above of our table going over the edge. Darn, I should have used a flash! Oh well.
The Broadway Market looked pretty, the way a high school gym does when you hold a dance there. An accordionist serenaded us.
Ha, ha! That picture needs a flash too. Alas, no light bulb went on in my head and so no light bulb went on in my camera either.
The accordioniast played polkas and klezmer music and he also paid tribute to my culture with "Muss I Denn" although he did not know the words. Being descended from Bavarians, I do.
Muss i denn, muss i denn, zum Staedtele hinaus und du mei Schatz bleibst hier..
Wenn i komm, wenn i komm, wenn i wieder umkomm, kerr i ei, mei Schatz, bei Dir...
Here is the song sung by Marlene Dietrich. It means: Must I leave this little town, when you, my darling, stay here? When I come back, I will come back to you. The Germans always came up with wonderful sad goodbye songs.
Here is "Muss I Denn" performed by kids in the Congo.
I am not Polish but I have become somehow involved with Buffalo's East Side. Well, I had family there too, on what I guess you would call the Near East Side, the Fruit Belt area. There was the Polish East Side and closer to the city you had the German East Side. And on the West Side you had Italians. That is where Leonard Pennario's family was.
Howard and I both had family members on the German East Side. Among them were my great-grandfather August Ernst who was a blacksmith and Howard's grandfather Samuel Rosenblum who had a shop where he sold cigars and fixed umbrellas.
August Ernst's house is still standing but it is on its last legs and my guess is that it will be gone soon, if it is not already. Samuel Rosenblum's cigar shop was plowed under a long time ago. There are parts of the East Side where, it is as if World War II was fought there or something. The secret to dealing with it is to go there frequently so you are used to it and it does not shock you. I go there a lot because I love to shop at the Broadway Market.
But the good news is that the neighborhood is on the way back. It is turning around!
That became clearer lastnight with every sip of Sobieski.