Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Atlantic City Remembered . . . by Eddie Lischin

Submitted by aceddie from Boardwalk West. Entered on October 12, 2007
"OK Ratso, Where was Kerstetters exactly? I could have sworn it was a little half street between Pacific and Atlantic and between Maryland and Delaware Aves, but I could be wrong. ...... I remember Community Synagogue was on the Southwest corner of Maryland Ave. I could have sworn it was a little half street between Pacific and Atlantic and between Maryland and Delaware Aves, but I could be wrong..... On my last visit to the South Inlet I noticed a for sale sign on the synagogue. I thought that was a bit sad.....All of us guys from the South Inlet put in our time at Wolfie's Pennyland. For my money the best arcade their ever was. You could go down to Texas and Chelsea Ave to find the latest games but Wolfie's had the "The Classics. I remember the "Shoot the Bear ' game . If you hit the bear with a beam of light it roared up and reversed itself. The first gambling I ever did was on the "Catch the Marble " game. The player had to catch a metal marble with a small moving bucket and deposit into the safe port and was rewarded with a penny after catching a minimum of 3 of 5. Being good with hand to eye co-ordination I was able to play alot longer on just a little bit of money .....My favorite pinball game was "Hay Burners". There were six horses who moved corresponding to how many times you hit the bumpers until one of them won the race. I've seen a variation of the old pitch and hit baseball machines around. I still play a little pinball but not like back then......Didn't the Sodamat have automated drinks made by machines? ....Anyway thanks for the memories. They are good for our souls... StreetLookUp.com has good map of the streets in Atlantic City."

Submitted by AC Eddie from Boardwalk West. Entered on September 25, 2007
"It's been a month and a half since I made my yearly sojourn back to AC. I took my wife to the South Inlet where I grew up. I must admit that I got rather saddened by the sight. I'd been there many times before of course but this time seemed to hit me harder than ever. Like Ratso and Luigi, I remember the joys and happiness we had so many years ago. Unfortunately our children and their children will never be able to enjoy the things we did. What has happened to this once great town is a real tragedy. I think our longing for those days it what keeps this blog alive and so enjoyable.....I did visit the new museum at Gardener's Basin. I loved seeing and touching the old "Steel Pier Diving Bell". I lamented for my days playing Little League on the same piece of ground back in the late 50's. I was alarmed however at how dirty the old seawall was just steps away from the new museum. Of course I made my pilgrimage to "The White House" and to "Tony's Baltimore Grill".... "Pennyland", "The Globe Theater" and "The Dude Ranch" are all distant memories along with all the great art deco movie houses.... The Absecon Light House still stands as a monolith to a time gone by,like the one in Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey". If my thoughts have caused you any sadness I apologize in advance. As the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to thermonuclear World War III and the world seems so out of balance [Koyaanisqatsi], I can't help but to hold onto the sweet memories of my childhood in the South Inlet. Keep those cards and letters coming in kiddies "

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Boardwalk West. Entered on February 25, 2007
"Hurricanes and Nor'easters were always exciting at Blum's. The store was about one foot below sea level and anytime the ocean rose with an accompanied deluge we had to break out the sand bags and the custom fit piece of plywood and block the front entrance. Once that had been done we lifted things off the floor and moved them to higher places. The funny thing is the plywood and sand bags reached about midway up the front door and we sold things over this barricade. Of course if the water level rose to an unmanageable level we would close the store and I would run down to Oriental and the Boardwalk and jump from the top railing into the bay by the T jetty. What a bunch of thrill seekers showed up there. I can remember a few times that people actually rowed boats around the South Inlet to get around."

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Boardwalk West. Entered on November 13, 2006
"Barry, every once in a while I take a nostalgic cruise through your photos. The movie theatres are exceptional. I didn't remember many of them until I saw them on your website. I noticed you have a postcard image of the Astor Theatre. Being a South Inlet kid, I went there alot. I will never forget seeing "The Creeper" there. Scared the livin' daylights out of me. They used to have an old popcorn machine there. I remember putting a nickel in and placing the ready made bags around the spout which dispensed the popcorn. Probably worth a fortune now on "Antiques Roadshow" ....... My father's family meat market Lischin Brothers was right next door on the New Jersey Ave side and Sarkee's Soda fountain was on the Connecticut Ave side. The correct name may have been Sarkos but we affectionately called the old man who owned it Sarkee. Ratso may remember that place as it was close to his Congress ave neighborhood. Do you have any photos of Blum's grocery, Barry? If not I will see if my uncle Sheldon Blum has some in his memoribilia. Thanks for the memories. They are all that is really left of a magical time in my life."

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Boardwalk West. Entered on November 4, 2006
"Thanks for the nice words Ron Green. Yes I remember Leon Chudnow and Murray Starr. leon's brother Joel was an original in "the Inlet Five" with myself, Norm Chazin , Rickey Bobbins and Eddie Goldstein. I can remember sitting in Leon's Bonneville while Joel waited for the green "COLD" light to go off. Leon told Joel not to drive the car until it went off. Of course I realize now how ridiculous that was......Altman field was where I cut my basketball teeth. I can remember many hours spent shooting hoops there as a child. My basketball memories are still vivid in my mind. I started organized b-ball at the Virginia Ave JCC with Uncle Sam Greenberg. I played for the Akiba Club. Didn't you play in that league, Ratso? I was fortunate enough to be chosen at the ripe age of 12 to represent Atlantic City on the St. Michael's team. Along with myself, Normie Chazin, Joel Chudnow, Eddie Goldstein and I believe Ronnie Gabler; we joined Bubby Walker and Wilfred Turner from the Arctic Ave Y.M.C.A. and Jimmie Rando, Mike Pavese, Marty Wilson, Joe Rich and the Bucci boys Georgie and Joe from St Michael's on the team. We travelled to Jersey City and competed against all-stars from other New Jersey towns for the right to represent NJ in the National Biddy Basketball tournament. We lost to the home standing Jersey City team led by a Dennis DeFeo in the final seconds on some bad calls. We were all heart broken. Does anybody remember the year that the National Biddy tournament was held in Convention Hall? The Atlantic City team was represented in part by Richie Goldstein, Kenny Mauer and Jimmy Bradley amongst others. I could go on and on.......Does anybody remember the Colonial Theatre? It was adjacent to the Hollywood Theatre on Atlantic. I remember it so well because my Aunt Anna Mae used to work the ticket booth and let us in for free. Just up the street on the same side was the Embassy Thetare and across the street and up a block or so was The Beach Theatre. I think it was tragic they could not preserve all those old Art Deco masterpieces. Oh well(sigh). Keep those cards and letters coming in because there are alot of people out there like myself who enjoy the hell out of them."

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Boardwalk West. Entered on October 31, 2006
"Lucky You Julius. Thank you for a well written journey into "MemoryLand". I would give anything to walk through my old house. "Blums" was demolished sometime in the 80's I believe. I don't believe anyone other than our family ever lived there. I think it was built or perhaps purchased by my grandparents Ethel and Jack Blum back around the Depression Era . I am going to have to do some research on that subject................... It was a big brown 4 story cedar shake house with a brick first floor. The grocery store was located of course on the bottom level. It was actually about a foot below sea level and every time we had a hurricane or Nor'easter combined with an accompanying high tide, we had to "shlep" out the plywood board (cut to size to fit the grocery store entrance ) and the sand bags and get to work protecting the groceries from the water. We would move the items on the lowest shelves and on the floors to higher ground attempting to minimize the possible losses. Once I was done with the work I would join the kids in the South Inlet up at the end of Oriental Ave and the Boardwalk and jump off the top railing into the water. In retrospect maybe we were a little foolhardy but when you are young you are invincible or so it seems. I was certainly not the wildest or bravest in the bunch........................... The second story had three staircases to it. The first led to the porch at the front of the house. I remember sleeping on the porch many nights in the summer because inside was just too hot. I remember listening to the NY Giants game out there because of better reception on my little transistor radio. We also sat out as a family. The enighborhood was alive in the summer back then. There was an unmistakable "buzz" to the South Inlet. Many of the people were visitors and staying in the many "guest houses" which lined Vermont , Seaside, and the rest of the neighborhood. The guest houses were huge many of them 3 and 4 stories high. They came in all hues and tones many with elaborately designed porches and balconies . The South Inlet was really a visual treat in its hey day.................. Always more to come. Keep those cards and letters coming in."

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Boardwalk West. Entered on October 22, 2006
"Thanks for the kind words about my entries , Joe from Pa. 1977. You experienced the "Last Days of the Golden Age in the South Inlet". Indeed Sylvia Lischin (born Sylvia Blum)was my mother and Jeryl Blum was my cousin. My mom worked in Blum's for over 30 years. She was an angel of a person. Many in the neighborhood came just to tell my mom the troubles they were having in their lives. She had an open heart and always listened attentively to them. Jeryl Blum was Sheldon Blum's daughter. You mentioned the drowning at Seaside Ave beach. Jack Lischin was my brother. He swam every day and so it was quite surprising they found him washed up there. Blum's was truly an Atlantic City landmark. I worked there in my younger years doing everything from selling at the cash register, unloading the van, stocking the shelves and delivering to customers. I have so many rich memories of my childhood in the South Inlet. It was a neighborhood with colorful characters and a rich history...... I often watch the Louis Malle movie "Atlantic City" starring an aging Burt Lancaster and a younger Susan Sarandon. I can remember delivering to the Vermont Apartments (Burt and Susan's residence in the movie). In the scene where they come out of the apartment building and onto the boardwalk, I can catch a glimpse of 231 Oriental; the big brown 4 story building which housed Blum's on the bottom floor. Many a morning, someone would climb the steps to the second floor, where we lived and beg us to open the store so they could get their morning danish pastry or bread from Ginsburg's Bakery..... There are many many memories and one day I hope I can put them all down in print and share them with everybody. Here are just a few. 1) the Merion Hotel fire at Oriental and Vermont Aves. 2) the many times we had to sandbag the entrance to Blum's for fear of flooding in a hurricane or high tide 3) the Astor Theatre (14 cents admission) 4) Sarkee's Soda Fountain (adjacent to the Astor and just two doors down from Lischin Bros Meat Market) 5) The Jewish Community Center on Virginia Ave 6) Kerstetter's Ice Cream Parlor on States Ave 7) Playing Little League ball on Capt Starn's team with mailman Hank MacDonald as manager. I can still remember the starting line-up on our championship team.......Film at 11:00. Thanks for all the entries and keep those cards and letters coming in!!!"

Submitted by Eddie (Blum's ) Lischin from Boardwalk West. Entered on May 11, 2006
"Ahhh...."The Inlet" . Say the secret word and collect $100. When the weather gets warm here on the West Coast, I often think about my childhood in the 50's growing up there. "Wolfies" arcade remains my favorite place. The times we had in there were really great. My favorite game was "Hayburners" It featured 8 Triple Crown horses racing one another using "advances" from certain bumpers. Horseracing was a favorite pasttime for many at "The Shore". The "Inlet" certainly had a strong cadre of followers and participants. If you didn't GO to the track you could always bet with the neighborhood "bookie". I've got alot of A.C. Race Track stories but thats for another time. Talking about horse racing ."Barbaro"!! Is he the first Triple Crown winner since 1978? My second favorite place was Steel Pier. It truly was an entertainment city at sea. That was a terrible loss. Anyway see ya in July!!"

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Santa Cruz, CA. Entered on February 9, 2006
"Can't say that I ever hung out in Ducktown. I knew all those guys from Biddy Basketball and some from ACHS (those that didn't go to Holy Spirit). I had a crush on Shorty Sacco's niece but her name escapes me. It may have been Terry Sacco. Back then I just hung out in the South Inlet. It is my belief that the South Inlet began at New Jersey Ave and stretched from the boardwalk to Atlantic Ave. "

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Santa Cruz. Entered on December 25, 2005
"Yes Dave, I can remember those days at the Virginia Ave JCC but perhaps not as well as you. I do remember all those things that "Uncle Sam" taught us.... "Its not who wins or loses but how you play the game that counts".. ..."If you don't have anything good to say , why say anything at all?". Such great advice, I still adhere to many of those.... Do you remember the oversized boxing gloves? Uncle Sam would break them out whenever there was a conflict brewing between two kids. He would take everybody into the handball court , strap the gloves on the combatants and let them punch themselves into submission. The gloves were so heavy and over padded that no one ever got hurt. I believe "Uncle Sam" guided more kids in a postive way than anybody I can think of during my life. He lived in the Soth Inlet of course in the apartment buliding on the corner of New Hapshire and Oriental Aves with his wife, Yetta if I am not mistaken........I can remember the JCC vividly. Ihad so many memories from that place. I can remember Mr Ross's Health(Sex) Education class, of course Joe's Pool Room with Ping Pong table room adjoining and the large auditorium on the second floor which housed many amateur acting plays and musical events. Eddie Goldstein's mom< Jean worked in the JCC office. Can anyone else jog my memory about some of the goings on at the "Old Center"?"

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Santa Cruz. Entered on December 18, 2005
"I have been reading some of the entries. They should call this page "The Atlantic City of My Mind" because it doesn't exist anymore except in our minds and hearts. By reading other people's memories it helps to bring back some of my own which there are many. I was born in the South Inlet in Feb, 1946. One of my earliest memories was waking to my mother's pleading to get up out of bed and get out of the house. I looked out our bedroom window and all I could see was a wall of fire. It was the Merion Hotel fire just across from Blum's on the corner of Vermont and Oriental. I can't remember the exact year but I couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 years old. Eventually it was to be torn down because it was not restorable. It was like a ghost or skeleton of its former self. In future years it became a sandlot baseball field for the youth of the neighborhood. I was always amazed at how small the lot was to have housed such a big hotel. OK I am going to put out some names of places to see if they jog anybody's memories. Pat's Sub Shop(Atlantic between Vermont and New Hampshire), Gary's Restaurant( corner of Rhode Island and Oriental), Sarkie's Soda Place (next to the Astor Theater on Atlantic Aves between Connectuicut and New Jersey), The Picadilly Restaurant(on the corner of Pacific and Connecticut Aves). Pats was the very first place I ever gambled. He had one of those pinball machines with 30 holes in it, I believe. The display on the top of the machine (perpendicular) was like a bingo card actually many bingo cards. The object was to get at least three in a row to be awarded credits. Each credit was actually a nickel because once you earned enough credits you could cash it in to money. Gary's Restaurant was famous for "The Thing". It was a huge waffle covered with scoops and scoops of various flavored ice creams. The deal was , if you could finish one , by yourself, you didn't have to pay for it. Sarkie's was an old fashioned soda shop with the silver plated taps which dispensed seltzer water. he used to make a mean Vanilla 500. We used to stop there often because Lischin Bros meats was only two doors down and I often stopped in after visiting with my father. The Astor Theater was a great AC Inlet landmark. My earliest recollections was a .14 cent admission. The Picadilly restaurant was on the bottom floor of a hotel. I used to go there with Joe Goldstein amongst others. They had pizza comparable to Tony's which was only a short 5 minute walk away. They had one of those old bowling machines that used a hockey puck like ball to knock up the pins. I could go on and on about Wolfie's Penny Arcade on the boardwalk at Massachusetts Ave. I spent alot of money and many hours there. I've read some earlier memories on this site about it. If only I had collected the machines from that place. I loved "Hayburners". it was a pinball machine with triple Crown winners racing each other in a pinball format. I remember the rifle shooting bear game and the old style kinescope type movie shorts which you had to handcrank to make the still photos move. Last but not least was the penny game where you could win 3 cents if you caught the silver balls and placed them in your home base. Anybody?"

Submitted by Eddie Lischin from Santa Cruz. Entered on December 11, 2005
"Thank you for your kind comments all. Firstly , I am Eddie Lischin. My mother was a Blum. I think there was more celebrity attached to the "Blum" name and thus many people mistakenly call me Eddie Blum. Actually, my mother had a brother name Eddie Blum. That of course made him my Uncle Eddie. He owned a restaurant on the corner of Vermont and Pacific Aves, caddy corner to the Absecon Lighthouse Park. The "Adelphia Bar" was on the south corner across from "Eddie's Restaurant". I have always felt that somehow my life and especially my childhood was deserving a book. I am a walking encyclopaedia of 50's and 60's A.C. I really see my childhood as a special time in my life. Playing Little League in the North Inlet where Gardener's Basin is now. I played on the "Captain Starn's" team coached by "Mailman" Hank MacDonald. I never realized how important Hank would be in my life because he was the one who taught me how to bodysurf on New Hampshire Ave beach alongside the "T-Jetty". Since then i have bodysurfed in Hawaii, Thailand and of course in California where I presently live. I remember the wiffle ball games we played on the New Hampshire Ave beach. If you really "tagged" one you could reach the Boardwalk for a "round tripper". We actually played baseball , of some sort, at various venues around the South Inlet from Altman Field to the boardwalk sand lots (literally) at Seaside and New Hampshire aves. I'll never forget the time "Big" Paul Lavigna hit a baseball through Mr Haskell's picture window on Seaside Avenue. Oh so many rich stories to tell, but I must away to work now. "Can anybody tell me why the ACHS Class of 1964 link on this page does not function? Has the website been down? Is it being maintained? Barry Rich, I have submitted my email address if you want to contact me. I clicked your link but was unable to connect to yours. Everybody "Have a Happy Holiday Season"."

Submitted by AC Eddie from Santa Cruz,CA. Entered on December 7, 2005
"Born and raised in the South Inlet. I don't know really where to start because I have so many memories. I guess I could start with Massachusetts Ave School. My brothers and I and the rest of the Inlet Gang would walk to school from Oriental and Vermont. We owned Blums Grocery and Delicatessan. It was a time before supermarkets and K-marts and Wal-Marts and chain drugstores. It was a time when neighborhoods were still little communities and everybody knew each other. The corner butcher, the barber and the pharmacist all knew you by name. A haircut was .75 cents. aquart of milk was .32 cents. We had Ginsburg's bakery deliver fresh Kaiser rolls and assorted danish every morning. If Blum's wasn't open by 7 AM, people would come knocking at our door. "Blum, open up! We don't have milk for our coffee. We need to have some rolls for our breakfast." The store was an intinsic part of that community. I have so many fond memories of my childhood. Needless to say "It really was a kinder gentler time back in the 50's." I used to deliver groceries to the Vermont Ave Apartments, which of course made it to the "Silver Screen" in the Louis Malle picture "Atlantic City". I actually was able to see my old house as Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon exited the apartment building onto the Boardwalk on her way to her job training at the casino. My home is no longer there, having been razed like so many others in the South inlet. What used to be one of the greatest neighborhoods in Atlantic City is now a vast prairie waiting to be the site of some giant casino. The Steel Pier, Steeplechase Pier, Million Dollar Pier, Wolfie's Penny Arcade, Louis Artist Village, Planter's Peanuts all gone but not forgotten. I can remmber sitting in brand new cars at the GM Showroom next to Steel Pier. I would daydream about owning a big new American car when I got older. Of course now that I live in California, I own a fuel efficient Japanese car. I still live by the Boardwalk but here in Santa Cruz, it's made of concrete not wood. There is so much more to write but I must ready myself to go to work now. Please tell me if you enjoyed this brief trip down memory lane. I have much more to impart. tell me what you'd like to hear about. Does anybody remember the Astor Theatre on Atlantic ave between New Jersey and Connecticut Aves? I remember the admission was .14 cents at one time. How about "Cowboy Morning" on Steel Pier sponored by Borden's and promoted by "Elsie the Cow"? Was George Hamid really the first Al Qaida?"


mjkmdad said...

I lived in the "northern" Atlantic City inlet at 117 Oriental Avenue in the 50s with my brother Howard and all of my cousins. What a great place to grow up. I share so many of your memories. I've told the inlet stories so many times to my children and grandchildren they are probably sick of hearing it. I bet you remember playing stick ball, wire ball, step ball and chink... and one of my favorites... mimsie aclapsie (sp?).

Rich W.

Anonymous said...

I have a business card from my parents' 1941 honeymoon from "Simon's Restaurant, 194 S. Virginia Ave., near the boardwalk; famous for seafood - chicken and turkey dinners". It appears it was located where Trump Taj Mahal now is. Does anyone remember it and/or could give me any information about it? Thank you!

Kristi Lee Young said...

Could anyone tell me about Kerstetter's ice cream parlor? What it was like, or a memory from it? My great grandmother was the owner and it's where my grandparents met. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.