This project revives a Jersey City based newsletter from the late '50s/early '60s, and is dedicated to John White, Bobby Rey and Badd Ladd - holding a spot at the bar for us at that big Joe Crine's in the sky.
"March Madness" had its inception long before the Final Four weekend began to rival the Super Bowl in popularity. Hoops may have always been a part of it but in my mind the madness represented a breaking out from the constraints of the cold winter weather and getting back with the gang after huddling inside with family at home for several months following the Christmas holidays. By March the snow would be gone from the outside basketball courts and the weather became moderate enough for outdoor games in Salmon's or Anito's yards or the neighborhood playground of choice. With scholastic basketball seasons over and the NIT in the news there were always hordes of players lined up for the March games at the Y. In those days the pro season also used to wind down in March but the NIT was king as it drew the good eastern schools to play against exciting players from all over the country. In St Louis last week I reminisced about the games in the old Madison Square Garden with some basketball immortals - I reminded John Thompson about his Providence team's back to back NIT victories 47 years ago when he was a Junior and Senior and he just smiled and put his big arm around me and said -"You know, just last night I was sitting in a bar and telling somebody how great it was to play in the old Garden". Then I ran into former Knick Harry Gallatin and thanked him for all the thrills and told him I loved his game and he responded that he "just loved every minute playing there" and finally Hubie Brown recalled going to the Garden and paying 50 cents with a G-O card to get in "but you had to stand in the rafters". Hubie also had fond recollections of Robert McLoughlin, Jackie Nies and Gerry Molloy, but when I had mentioned to John Thompson that I was an old friend of Vinny Ernst's he changed the subject, indicating that some rift had developed between the former teammates.
But the madness was more than hoops- it was more of an outlet for whatever pent up winter energy was not disapated on the basketball courts. The NIT games always overlapped the St Patrick's Day weekend which traditionally was the college spring break week and hotels like the Biltmore, Commodore and New Yorker gave special rates to enable college students to afford a spring weekend in NYC long before Ft Lauderdale was the vogue. All of which meant filling an old suitcase with beer and liquor and checking in to one of the hotels under a phony name to party and then abandon the suitcase in the room without paying or checking out at the end of our stay. The bars in and around these hotels as well as favorites like Jim Downey's were centers for the hi-jinx and madness of this special weekend, and the all time greatest bit ever pulled off (which made radio and tv news reports) was when Bobby Rey and Joe Greer walked in the stage door of the old Metropolitan Opera House as the performers were leaving and then went to the orchestra pit and walked out the stage door carrying the large bass violin while John White directed the old night watchman to "Hold the door for us, Pop." (who obliged with) - "Ok - 'night now, boys!" The "boys" then jumped in a cab and took the instrument up to Birdland where they tried to go on stage and join in a late night jam session. Incidents like this and TVs being tossed out of hotel windows forced the New York hotels to re-think their policies and spring break weekends were soon encouraged to head south to Florida where the madness even escalated with the height of that being perhaps the spring of '62 when Badd Ladd, Crazy Tissy, Jolly Uncle Joe and Hanna Beam all hung out and partied with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and New Jersey rookie Jim Bouton ….. and needless to say, the Yanks got off to a very slow start in '62.
Lastly, Easter often fell in March, and the most popular spot for a post Easter Parade rendezvous was always Joe King's German American Rathskeller on 3rd Ave and 17th St which was better know as "The G A", and in this issue we revisit our most popular article ever featuring a gallery of group photos taken --"At the G A" ….. and yet with all those previous madcap March's to look back on, none can compare to the outrageous reports I have to bring you about what your old friends have been up to just recently. I am most excited to bring you this March Madness issue full of great contributions from some of our readers and other exciting connections that just opened up to us. Read on and enjoy. - (Jedsey)
(St Louis) '05 - Ed Bowler has been making these trips to the NCAA Final Four since 1987, and this year he had 23 in his group which did most of their rooting from the bars scattered around the Edward Jones Dome where the games were played. Ed noted that it was much easier to score good tickets to the games when Richard McLoughlin was alive and working for CBS. Along with Ed were his two sons, Ed Jr. and Chris, assorted friends from Harrigan's at the Shore and his niece Roberta and her husband Mike Cleary from San Francisco.
The JEDSEY JOURNAL decided that this would be a good year to tag along and cover the Bowler gang because Jugger Donnelly's wife Melanie is a manager in the Convention complex where the games were being played. Others who were on hand included basketball agent Richie Kaner (Billy Madden's former partner), Coach Ollie Gelston who was there with the basketball coaches group and Sean Hanlon's son Brian who was there because he annually produces the Cousy trophy which is awarded during the week of these games by the Basketball Hall of Fame group. Patty and Kenny Schark live nearby to St Louis but when Pat's Parkinson's condition worsened to the point that she was hospitalized, they couldn't come to the fun and games and ditto for Crazy Tissy who was home phasing out of her flight attendant's job because of a "disabling illness" that would have precluded her flying around the country if it was everything the doctor said about it. With Jed was his old road trip partner Ben Schlossberg and Ben's son Ari flew out from Hollywood for the chance to get in on the action. Another Jersey City native who joined in the fun was Jugger's pal, former all pro football star Bob DeMarco who now resides in St Louis. And the group was befriended by their hotel desk clerk, Lakeo who had played pro ball in Europe and knew Richie Kaner through that connection.
Midwesterner Melanie Donnelly picked right up on the Jersey City state of mind as she brought Ben and Jed into the Arena, a short time after their plane touched down, and showed them how the football stadium had been converted to a 46,000 seat basketball arena. She also showed them each team's locker rooms and took them into the arena's vault to view the NCAA Championship Trophy. Although the NCAA controlled all the tickets, she was able to get a pair of seats in the upper deck for Ben and his son and Jed was offered a job as an usher through a connection with one of Melanie's friends at the dome.
Mostly everybody in the group (and everybody in town for that matter) showed up Friday afternoon for the shoot around as all the teams had an hour to work out the kinks and acclimate to the court. The group then officially mustered for roll call that evening at Maggie O'Brien's near their hotel where they formalized plans for the weekend and quaffed a few brews (not necessarily in that order). Unfortunately, later that evening, former Jersey City fireman Bob Cook was put in a cab and sent back to the hotel but he diverted the cab driver to take him downtown "for breakfast" and somebody picked up on his condition and mugged him
Melanie's contact came through on Jed's usher job by stationing him as close as you can get to the court by putting him in charge of the band's seating area. The only problem was that any usher on the floor area, was not allowed to have a camera, but Jed got around that by giving his camera to desk clerk Lakeo who was going with his friend Marshal Faulk's tickets and had el-primo seats right up front. Lakeo was diagonally across from where Jed was stationed and got Jed the usher in his photos by accident when he was taking "action" shots - unfortunately Lakeo got so involved in the games that he ended up mostly taking shots of the cheerleader "action" (or was that by design?)
Jed's position near the band was also the entrance to the Press Area and Jed was able to chat with Bill Raftery and John Thompson during their breaks. Raftery said that he annually misses the Donovan's reunion because it always coincides with his vacation to Ireland, but he did come over to visit with his old teammate Ed Bowler at a closed party at Maggie O'Brien's the next night. Jed was also able to convey Ed Lucas' invitation for Bill to play in the Phil Rizzuto Celebrity Golf Tournament for the benefit of St Joseph's School for the Blind.
Each morning Jed would get up early and explore. St Louis was an interesting town that in some respects resembled Jersey City with a nice waterfront section and certain nice residential areas but sections of urban blight in between. The "Gateway" refers to the westward expansion that dates back 201 years to the Louisiana Purchase which was commemorated 100 years after that with the famous St Louis World's Fair of which there are still vestiges. There is a walk of fame with stars in the sidewalk for famous locals and a new baseball stadium is being built right over part of the existing field. One morning Jed discovered a diner called the "White Knight" that was inhabited by a cadre of characters who appeared to be right out of one of Ben Schlossberg's songs. Ben and Jed returned and met with the owner who shared many of Ben's social views as written as an editorial on the diner's menu. The diner had been used in two movies - most recently in one called the White Palace where the Diner played the title role. Ironically one day Jed stayed home and soaked in the Hotel Jacuzzi and while he was in there he listened on his walkman to an ESPN Sports Radio interview of Bob Hurley in Jersey City about the St Anthony's book. (see Judith Domanski's article below)
On the day of the final game, Brian Hanlon got Jed into the Hall of Fame brunch and press conference where his Cousy Trophy was awarded, and Jed was able to meet and talk to former players ranging from Meadowlark Lemon to Dave Cowens, but his biggest thrill had to be chatting with former Knick Harry Gallatin about how it was in the "old" Garden.
With Ben along, the madness went right down to the final minute of "play", where Ben went ahead with a "foul shot" but Jed took back the lead with a "3 point play". It started with Ben who could not take cologne being used near him and actually put Melanie Donnelly's air freshener in the small refrigerator in his room when he stayed with the Donnelly's earlier in the week. When Ben and Jed shared the hotel room together, Ben insisted his side of the room not be made up including his bed and his table where he worked on writing and music in his spare time. He kept irregular hours and slept with the aid of a sleep apnea breathing machine which had a large hose that ran to his bed to be clamped over his face. Ben also slept with a sleep mask and ear plugs (probably so he didn't have to hear or see his grotesque machine). When his son Ari returned home early, Ben moved out and into Ari's room where he sometimes locked himself in and slept or worked. On the day that Jed had changed his plans to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony, Ben had secluded himself for the previous evening and didn't pick up the change of plans and so he was miffed the following morning when Jed was not available for a breakfast at the White Knight as scheduled. He punished Jed with a "foul shot" by calling room service and complaining about a clogged toilet in Jed's room with the instruction - not to go in but to leave a plunger and a snake outside of Jed's door. The hotel discretely left the plunger in a cloth sack outside of Jed's door and Ben explained the prank when Jed returned in the early afternoon and then said he would go back to sleep for 4 hours until time to leave for the game in the early evening. Jed left until then but when he returned to his own room he found that in finally making up Ben's bed the chamber maid had shaken out a pair of Ben's size 64 jockey shorts - and then Jed conceived of his "3 point play" to get even for the plunger. …….. 1 - he decided to return the shorts to Ben by hanging them outside his room so as not to disturb his nap. 2 he tried to write Ben's name on the pants but all he had to write with was a Hershey bar and that ran out after only getting one large brown line drawn right down the seat. 3 once the drawers were hung on the door knob he alerted everyone who was around to go to see what was going on and also took the above photo to show those who missed it.
Fifty years had gone by, but nothing had changed!
(Jersey City) 3/11 - This year saw 23 participants in our roving tour of Jersey City - some of the highlights are listed below:
6 PM - THE IRON MONKEY -Crazy Tissy showed up for the kick-off and took some photos of her own but disappeared before the group photo there - Rich Kennedy and Marty Walsh were recognized for the honors they received for their performances in 2004.
7:00 - THE LIGHT HORSE TAVERN - met some nice folk at the Light Horse who joined in for most of the rest of the tour the (Charles and June Cwierko) - Billy Driscoll was unable to get the managment to give his call to us.
8:00 - THE GRAPEVINE - Worshipful Sam Cintron must have panicked and left and missed us when we arrived a little late at the Grapevine, but he did stay long enough to get a good view (and a good whiff) of those ancient urinals.
9:00 - JACK MILLER'S PUB - Highlight of the evening at Miller's where members of Jack Finn's family joined us and toasted thier dad's induction into the JJ Hall of Fame - Dave Finn said his dad loved this city and stayed here despite many lucrative offers to advance elsewhere. And although he couldn't be here in person, Marty Walsh's taped recorded remembrances of Ace McLoughlin as a Damon Runyon character were played for the group and are going into the JJ's archives. (see Richard McLoughlin below - Jack Finn story to appear in future issue). It was also announced that the gallery of Hall of Fame photos would have a permanent home on Miller's men's room wall.
10:00 - THE ASTOR BAR - Everybody enjoyed the pizza at the Astor Bar and crazy Chris Costa joined right in with the Badd Ladd Day festivities (or is he always like that?).
11:00 - BRENNAN'S PUB - the dwindling tour team was spurred on by a phone call from Limpy who was bedded with the flu but with us in spirit and then another nice gesture as the owners of the Light Horse caught up to us to toast the Ladd after missing catching up to us at Miller's.
12:00 - THE PARK TAVERN - Final stop found Andy Sydor waiting for us at the PT where Mike Donnelly, Alan Campbell and Jed completed the 7 1/2 hour marathon
Also in while on Spring Break this day in Arizona, Eugene the Doorman and his Navy buddies raised a glass to toast the Ladd. This (the 10th) was one of the biggest and most successful of all the Badd Ladd Days
Whenever I think of my friend Richard McLoughlin, I smile. He is one of the most colorful characters I have known. He and Damon Runyon, the famous writer and bon vivant of Broadway night life from the 1910s-1940s, had to be twins. Like Runyon, Richard was an original. Larger than life. A New York night owl. Who hung out in the city's best bars with famous boxers, basketball players and bookies. Who could make people laugh just by telling a story in his unique Runyonesque rendition. Who became a New York legend in his own time. And whose adventures and stories are timeless.
Richard spoke in the distinct way that Runyon wrote. Usually in the present tense. Always using formal English such as "I do not" or "I am" rather than the contractions, "I don't" or "I'm". Even as a kid, he refused to use contractions much to the annoyance of the nuns who taught him English at St. Aedan's grammar school. His words flowed out of the side of his mouth in a cadence that sounded like Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. He held strong opinions such as refusing to drink any foreign made beer. When he went to Amsterdam, one of his favorite travel haunts, he would only order American brewed Budweiser beer.
He also addressed you by your formal baptismal first name. For example, he called me Martin T, rather than Marty; Joe Gulbin, our St. Peter's college classmate was Joseph; Pat Summerall, his CBS friend, was Patrick; Dave DeBushise, his New York Knick pal was David; Gerry Brill, his Jersey City boyhood friend and New York sidekick in the 1960s and 70s was Gerard. He hated being called Ace, a nickname someone in Jersey City gave him. (If anyone knows its origin, I would be very interested to know why, when and who coined it. )
Richard was the third born of the four legendary McLoughlin boys who grew up on Britton Street in Jersey City. His oldest brother James who just passed away, and his second brother, John, a football star at St. Peter's Prep and Fordham were known to duke it out with each other at the drop of a hat, and with anyone else who dared to challenge or disagree with them in a bar. Richard's younger and favorite brother Robert was a star basketball player and also a Jersey City legend. Richard was the smallest brother- about 5'10" and 165-170 pounds- and relied more on his wits than his fists. However, he did have a few bar room brawls and liked to think of himself as a fighter. Gerry Brill observed that " Richard could not fight his way out of a paper bag."
There was no question that Richard was vain. The first thing he would say to a friend is: "How do I look?" while running his hand through his thick thatch of brown hair. And of course, you would reply: "You look great, Richard." And he would smile and take another puff of his ever present Camel cigarette. Gerry Brill recalls how Richard loved to tell people in New York that when he was an infant "the Jersey City Transit would reroute the Montgomery Avenue bus down Britton Street (a small side street where he lived) so that the people on the bus could see the most beautiful baby in Jersey City."
Richard attended St. Peter's Prep for awhile before being asked to leave and moved on to Lincoln High School. After graduation, he joined the Army to see the world. The Army quickly recognized his unabashed patriotism and fighting spirit, and assigned him to protect our northern most borders "against the threat of an invasion by Russian paratroopers", according to Richard. So for two years, Richard lived on skis, searching the mountains of Alaska in the bitter cold for Russian paratroopers. He swore he would never again put on a pair of skis or spend any time in the great outdoors. He fulfilled both promises.
In 1952 he entered St. Peter's College where he majored in accounting, and was often on the Dean's list, while spending most nights drinking at Dohoney's, the Glenwood, Ilventos or watching games at Madison Square Garden and going to a watering hole afterwards. Years later I asked Richard how he did it. He explained that he would slip off to the library between classes and study while the rest of us would be BS-ing in the cafeteria.
There are many funny stories about Richard during the college years. One of my favorites is the class election campaign in our Junior year. I was class President for the freshmen and sophomore years, and asked Richard to be Vice President on the junior year ticket. It so happened that we stirred up a hornets' nest among some of our classmates at our Sophomore Year dance a few weeks earlier. The theme was A Night in Paris or something like that to do with France. As entertainment in the middle of the dance, Richard and I and a few other classmates got dressed up as Can Can dancers, complete with Balloons for bosoms. Several guys took offense at our "immorality and lack of taste" and put together a ticket to run against us for class officers. A few days before the election, we got word that they had gotten permission from the Dean of Students, Fr. Fagan sj, to hold a campaign rally at noon time. The campaign event consisted of a march in front of the school buildings on the Boulevard, featuring a closed coffin and 6 hooded pall bearers dressed in monks' robes, carrying candles and chanting "Boss Walsh is Dead" to the funeral dirge of Dies Ires.
Richard and I knew we had to trump that funeral march on the same day and at the same time but also knew that Fr. Fagan would not give us permission beforehand to do what we had in mind. Namely a parade with a jazz band and girls from State Teachers' College- many of whom attended my monthly beer parties. Fr. Fagan was a no nonsense, stone faced Jesuit administrator who required students to get his permission before holding any public event on campus. His strict law enforcement attitude, of course , did not make any sense to Richard and me, especially in a hotly contested class election campaign.
Richard says: ""Martin T., do not worry. I have the situation well in hand. I will set up a meeting with Fr. Fagan to ask permission at the same time that the parade spontaneously starts." The next thing I know Richard somehow comes up with the only outdoor microphone and loudspeaker available at the college and a student who knows how to run the equipment. So as Richard goes into Fr. Fagan's office for a high noon meeting, and the opposition party funeral procession starts outside, a jazz band suddenly shows up at the corner of Glenwood and the Boulevard followed by dozens of nubile young women from State Teachers' College holding signs and chanting "We Want Action" (that was the name of our political party). The classroom windows open wide, filled with wide-eyed guys. Others rush out of the cafeteria. With the only mike available, I ask the centuries old philosophical question: "What do you want? A funeral or Action?" The all male, sex starved Peacocks scream in unison with the lovely ladies cheering in front of the buildings: "We want Action. We Want Action!" Meanwhile, Fr. Fagan hears the commotion and says to Richard: "What is that noise?" Richard replies: "Noise? "And then pleas ignorance when Fr. Fagan looks out his office window and sees college-age females running around the campus. Fr. Fagan knows he has been had and tells Richard to get the women off the grounds as quickly as possible. By then, we had accomplished our goal and soon afterwards, won the election in a landslide.
As soon as he graduated in 1960, Richard headed for the bright lights of Manhattan and television sales at CBS. Richard was a natural. He always dressed well as if he had just stepped out of a Brooks Brothers catalogue. He especially stood out in his double breasted camel hair coat. There was only one small flaw in his "man about town" appearance. He never wore or owned a wrist watch. He explained that he didn't have to since anyone could tell him the time. So whenever Richard wanted to know the time, he would ask the guy or gal next to him. And sure enough, he would get the right time.
Like Runyon, Richard relished New York's nocturnal bar life. While Runyon held court in one bar-Liddy's at Broadway, Richard's turf was much broader, between 52nd and 54th Streets on 6th Avenue right around the corner from CBS. His favorite haunts were 21, Toots Shor, Roses, (favorite hang out) Billy's Gay 90s, Runyons, Jimmy Weston's, Gallaghers and a few others downtown. Since he often took customers to lunch, Richard's bar day started at noon and continued past midnight. He hung out with Rocky Graziano and Billy Graham, Pat Summerall and John Madden, and many other celebrities.
Richard did get married. He and his bride took the wedding suite at the Waldorf. On their wedding night, after the marriage, reception and time alone together in the suite, Richard became restless. He says to his new bride: "I am going down stairs to get the early edition of the Daily News." That was the last time she saw Richard until the following afternoon. When he returned, she was very upset. Richard patiently explained that the news stand sold out of the early edition. Wanting to read the news, he took a cab to Roses to see if they had the early edition. Guys there heard he had just gotten married and wanted to toast him. Well, one conversation led to another, and he decides to wait till dawn for the next edition of the Daily News. Since he did not want to wake her so early in the morning, he went out for breakfast with some friends. Then he ran into other guys he knew who wanted to toast his good fortune. As you might expect, his marriage did not last long. One year, in fact.
In addition to drinking, Richard loved to gamble on sports. He was a lousy gambler. He would bet five different ways on the same game. He would call the Jersey Journal after midnight to find out how Slippery Rock did and whether they covered the spread.
In the late 1980s Richard admitted that he was an alcoholic and joined AA. He loved the meetings and told Doctor Bob, the moderator that "no meeting was successful unless he was there." In 1992, Richard told me over coffee that he had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. He asked: "how do I look?" I said: "you look great, Richard". He smiled with satisfaction and said: "I am not afraid. I have a very good doctor taking care of me." He related his initial meeting with this cancer specialist. Richard called him by his proper name and asked him two questions: "I see you have a degree in architecture from Princeton on your wall. Are you an architect on the side? Or a doctor on the side? "The doctor of course laughs like so many others did when confronted with Richard's off the wall question and remarks. "Next question: 'What are your SAT scores?" The doctor laughs and says "1600". Richard says: "Perfect! You qualify to be MY doctor." Richard became one of the doctor's favorite patients and best of friends. The doctor cried when Richard died.
Richard died of lung cancer in 1993. Pat Summerall gave the eulogy. Richard lived life fully. As our classmate John Kip told me, "Richard walked with kings but never lost the common touch." He loved Jersey City and St. Peter's College. He would play Jersey City trivia with Gerry Brill during their bar times in New York during the 60s and 70s: "what was the name of the grocery store on the corner of Montgomery and Brittany Street? What about the butcher? The baker? The shoe maker? And on and on.
Richard McLoughlin is one of those unforgettable characters who make Jersey City such a memorable and special place. For those who never had the privilege of knowing Richard, I would suggest you find a copy of Damon Runyon's short stories and get lost in his world of funny characters. Don't be surprised if Richard McLoughlin magically comes to mind as you listen to the conversation of Dave the Dude, Feet Samuel, Madame Le Gimp, Dark Dorothy, Benny the Blond Jew, Scoodles Shea, Good Time Charley, The Lemon Drop Kid, Joe the Joker. Nicely-Nicely, Joey Perhaps and a caravan of Runyon's many other characters. Richard certainly deserves to be in their zany company.
(Jersey City) 3/13/05 - Noteworthy of this year's St Patrick's Day parade was the nice sunny weather shining down on Michael Donnelly as he was selected as Grand Marshal to lead the smartly dressed group from Jack Miller's, while Councilman Peter Brennan led the entire parade. Although sunny, the day had a bit of a chill in the air which helped push everyone past the reviewing stands and into their pub of choice where they hurried to find a suitable beverage to wash down all that free corned beef.
It's amazing that Sean Hanlon hasn't given his talented artist son Brian his just publicity. Perhaps because Sean always teased Brian to get into a more manly and useful field like being a cop or a fireman rather than follow his desire to become a sculptor, but it is Brian who can do all the teasing now, as he has become renown as "New Jersey's Scuptor" - meaning he lives here, but his works and reputation are quickly spreading all over the country. Brian has carved his niche with themes of religious, fireman memorials and sports statues. (Tour the website link below to see his representative works.)
Brian Hanlon's most recent creation is the statue of St Peter that was dedicated on the Kennedy Blvd. campus of Saint Peters College at the end of March.
This article was originally scheduled to be included in the next issue until Brian mentioned that he would be attending the Final Four festivities in St Louis. It turns out he was even involved in one of the events - the second annual Bob Cousy Award given to the NCAA's leading point guard. A few years back, Brian was interviewed and selected to sculpt the Cousy Trophy that the Basketball Hall of Fame is sponsoring to become the "Heisman" for hoops. His likeness of the former Celtic great captures the image and style of Cousy and is a much better likeness than the one Holy Cross University has commissioned to be placed on their campus prior to Brian bursting on to the scene.
Typical of how things happen to Brian, he arrived late to St Louis because of his commitment to the Saint Peter's College dedication ceremony. Also he was only able to get a room which was almost an hour drive from St Louis and when he came to town on game day there was no ticket saved for him so he drove back to his hotel and did some sight seeing in local caverns. When he came out of the caverns he saw that he had been unable to receive 2 messages on his cell phone. The first said that he had a center court seat down on the floor and to call right back to confirm. The second message informed that the ticket had now been given away and asked why Brian hadn't responded. A disappointed Brian drove back to town to try to find the gang and watch the game in Maggie O'Brien's only to find the place so packed that you couldn't move around to look for anyone, so Brian decided to catch a Saturday Mass in memory of the Pope whose death had just been announced. The church where he attended was in a Polish community and Brian was invited to join them in a Polish meal after the service. At the meal he met the Bishop who the Pope had given a golden chalice to during his '99 visit to this town, and by the end of the meal Brian had been commissioned to do a bust of the Pope for that church. Suitably elated he drove back to his hotel to watch the games and in the hotel bar was a group of fireman who were having a convention and by the end of the evening Brian had been commissioned to do a large fireman's memorial in Missouri.
The likable Brian now has a good relationship with the Hall of Fame and he is proposing some large statues that define the game which would be placed on their Springfield, Mass. grounds.
(St Louis) March 2005 - First it was the deaths of people after they appeared in the JEDSEY JOURNAL that were cast in the shadow of a JJ Jinx. Next, the Governor of New Jersey had his political career dashed after appearing on these pages. And now the latest victim of this jinx appears to be Mark McGwire's Honorary Highway which is threatened to be stripped of that name after the steroid scandal and Congressional investigation.
In our previous issue we featured a "Road to St Looie" movie poster parody which included a highway marker for Interstate 70 which had a section in St Louis named after Mark McGuire to honor him for the 70 home runs he hit there in 1998. Now officials are considering removing that honorary designation in light of recent indication that McGwire was "juiced up" to be able to reach that level of performance.
Since we may have been the cause of this trouble, the JEDSEY JOURNAL would like to intercede and propose a compromise solution which we hope will mollify all parties, and we hereby suggest that the McGwire section of Interstate be designated Rt 70 with and asterisk - i.e. " Rt 70* " and that for this segment of road the speed limit should be juiced up to 100 mph, thus giving a limited time exposure to those riding on this route.
Adrian Wojnarowski isn't FROM HERE. But after a season with Coach Bob Hurley and his Basketball team at St Anthony High School, you'd SWEAR he had Jersey City blood surging through his veins. He writes about it with all the heart and soul of someone who LIVED it - it's a lot of talent and the mysticism of what happened during that year when he became part of the amazing legacy.
Adrian and his family moved into this area (Bergen County - Glen Rock) to take a job with The Record. He's originally from Upstate New York. Went to St Bonaventure University & played a little sports. But his real love was writing about it. He got caught up in the St Anthony magic while covering games, got friendly with Bob Hurley and got him to agree to let him spend a season with the team - with full open reign. That's where he got all of his material.
Sure - it was total culture shock covering those first St Anthony FRIAR games. After all, how many high schools with Victory numbers like they have, DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE A GYM to call their own ? How many 22-time State Championship teams need to seek out a practice gym SOMEPLACE and a gym for playing HOME GAMES ? This has been going on for some 52 years - some day they'll have one. There have been TEN " borrowed gyms " during Coach Hurley's time at St Anthony's - it's just plain CRAZY.
Adrian had to find out for himself just what made it all work. So, he started the adventure - went to practices, witnessed The Coach in his element - and got sucked in. They started out as strangers - a writer and a high school basketball coach - and emerged a year later as two parts of a single person...a convergence of stories and experiences that come together in the single voice of a book.
Self-admittedly, Bob Hurley is an S.O.B. - he has to be. He didn't start out that way - playing for St Peter's in the '60's making his mark as a good team player - but falling short of being a real champ himself. He loved the game - wanted to be part of it, and began his coaching career at St Anthony's 33 years ago. After a lifetime in Jersey City, he has seen the good times and the not-so-good times. As a parole officer for Hudson County, he came to realize that tough love is a way to deal with some of the guys who didn't have the home life we all knew. And setting up expectations was a way of letting them know that someone believed in them ...enough to make them prove to themselves that they could do it. Bringing that same philosophy to the basketball court started working. Pretty soon - starting with tough kids who learned to shoot hoops on street corners and in empty lots - he began shaping a group of wayward smart alecks into a real team.
He did it again, and again - he coached his own two sons - Bobby ( later of Duke / NCAA and NBA fame) and Danny a couple of years later - and the teams got better and better. Pretty soon people from all over the state and beyond were coming to Jersey City games - St Anthony's Friars were really starting to make a name for themselves. Pretty soon, seasons were ending - WITHOUT A LOSS. Pretty soon, Coach Hurley started breaking records. To date - 24 state championships - that's a lot of banners to hang in a gym - if only they had one !
Bob Hurley is tough - he learned that in the Greenville neighborhood where he grew up. Fist-fights settled things and six-packs were the "drugs of the day". Times WERE different then - he thought it was hard growing up - but it doesn't hold a candle to what some of his St Anthony kids deal with every day. Today, in their neighborhoods, it's guns and crack pipes that are part of growing up in Jersey City. And Bob makes it his job to get those kids' heads out of the ghetto neighborhoods they call home, and into his mission of winning state tournaments - for THEM and for St Anthony High School.
Adrian writes the whole story in this book. The Administration and Board of Trustees had enough faith in him to allow him full access to everything. He tells of the financial troubles the school has gone through for so many of the years it's been around. A few of those years they came REALLY CLOSE to shutting down. But somehow they made it through. There's no doubt - the school is struggling ... just to stay open. Every new year is a miracle - getting enough students / tuition in to cover basic costs and begging for money from other sources to keeping them afloat. In recent years benefactors seem to be coming out of nowhere. There are generous people out there - who are willing to pay tuition for some of those kids who, otherwise, wouldn't have a chance in hell of going to that school. No doubt, having a basketball team that SHINES certainly helps the situation.
Adrian writes about the two little nuns who have been the spiritual backbone of the school - one of whom has been battling a life-threatening cancer for almost ten years. She's a feisty one - in the role of Athletic Director, a few years ago she somehow managed to get onto the TODAY show talking about the school's financial plight - got national attention and enough donations to keep them going for a few more years. All that's in the book.
Adrian writes about the players - about their backgrounds - about their struggles and about how much they owe to Bob Hurley. He's been their inspiration and the driving force at that school and who - along with those two little nuns -- was pretty much responsible for keeping it going. How does he do it ? It's all part of that Miracle.
Adrian even wrote about JERSEY CITY - some background for OUTSIDERS who'll be reading the book. Not the way that Helene Stapinski wrote about it - just an overview. He talks about the neighborhoods of Jersey City - about the generations of Polish, Irish, Italian, and German immigrants whose families love the city - and who have been here for years and years. And about how much of that has changed.
But mostly he writes about a group of what Coach Hurley referred to as " the most academically, athletically and socially underachieving team in St Anthony basketball history" and how they ended that CHAMPIONSHIP season: UNDEFEATED.
The success of the book has been extraordinary. The week it was released, it appeared as # 24 on the New York Times Best Seller list. There have been three AUTHOR APPEARANCE Book Signings at retail stores in New Jersey and at a half a dozen COMPANIES in Jersey City. It's really moving. . . Gotham Press is looking at doing a second printing later this year. And -- even more exciting -- in early February an article appeared in USA TODAY announcing that Ed Saxon, well-known Hollywood Producer of such Movie successes as SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and PHILADELPHIA, has secured the rights to produce a MOVIE based on the book. Calling it a " Sports story with social relevance", he is working on a screenplay and casting -- and says that it could be hitting the big screen in 2007. Now for the first time ever there is dissention in the Hurley household as Bob and his wife Chris argue over who should portray each of them on the big screen.
- OR - to purchase a copy of "Miracle of St Anthony's" for $25 autographed by both Adrian and Bob, directly from the School (which then gets a cut of the sale price) or to make a donation (or both) - contact the school directly with your name and address and they will arange the sale.
(Jersey City) Feb 20 - The large crowd who turned out to honor the retiring Fred Cranwell was treated to a spectacular basketball game (with Saint Peters besting arch rival Manhattan), some good food and camaraderie and most of all some nice words and remembrances about a wonderful man who has been associated with Saint Peters on and off for 50 years. Coach Bob Liecke recalled that as a player on road trips he and his teammates always dragged Freddie into their card games as a patsy because he NEVER won, but it wasn't until much later that he realized this had just been Freddie's way of getting some spending money to the players without violating NCAA rules. Marty Walsh, who arranged the affair, quoted the JEDSEY JOURNAL in the program and also made reference to it next to Jed's name on the list of speakers, but the printer's spell check automatically changed the reference to "JERSEY JOURNAL". Jed spoke and praised Fred for all the help he had been to the JEDSEY JOURNAL because of his wealth of knowledge of sports and the related social scene and all of his other connections to this information. Jed also related a story told by Ollie Gelston of when Fred asked Jerry Degnan how many games he expected to lose with Mike Rooney and Pete DeLisa on the Snyder team, and Jerry replied, "Gee, I never thought about it but I hope we don't lose any." - And the next day's headlines in the JERSEY read, "Degnan Predicts Undefeated Season". Jed said anybody with all of these stories and the willingness to twist the truth for the sake of sensationalism should not go to waste and so he appointed Fred to the position of Sports Editor of the Jedsey Journal.
But there wasn't a dry eye in the house when George Kennedy explained that Don Kennedy Sr's most cherished possession was his gold NIT watch, which most had believed was buried with him. George explained that it had actually been preserved and the Kennedy family wanted Fred to have it in recognition of all the love and care that he had shown for their late father.
The recent passing of Pope John Paul II brings to mind other past connections from our extended group, and while Melanie Donnelly received rosary beads from his Holiness when she hosted him at her St Louis Convention Center in 1999 and Tania Pawlowska (Tania's Restaurant), who made a pilgrimage to Rome to petition the Pope to keep alive the traditional Polish Masses in Jersey City, had continued to receive personal greetings from JP2 right up to a month before his passing - there is no more interesting connection than that of Sr. Jadwiga Kaczor, the older sister of Robbie's Godfather, "Citizen" Kaczor. That one reads like a Tom Clancy secret agent thriller.
When Sr. Jadwiga first came to visit this country and spent most of her money buying bolts of expensive material on Orchard St. in NYC, "For the woman in my village to make garments for my Bishop", her brother chided her that, "If you are spending that much money, he must be more to you than a Bishop!" She replied that he was just the most wonderful person and soon the rest of the world was to find out the same about Karol Wojtyla. Although Sr. Jadwiga had a busy schedule as head of the Catholic Hospital in Krakow where she was also a doctor/surgeon and Mother Superior, she made an inordinate number of visits to her former Bishop in Rome and as his trusted friend it is speculated but unconfirmed that she served for several years as a bag lady to bring in funding for the Solidarity movement which eventually brought down the Communist Party in her country. What is a fact is that she mentioned that as a nun her baggage was exempt from customs searches. Unfortunately the other reality was that the Communists did not take this type of opposition sitting down and actually assassinated a young Polish priest in retaliation for his Solidarity activities. A few years before, the Communists had admitted to beaming cancer causing radiation at the CIA infested US Embassy in Rome where Ambassador Luce contracted the disease, and within this same time frame Sr. Jadwiga mysteriously contracted incurable cancer and passed away. Finally an assassination attempt was made directly on the Pope. We know that the Pope miraculously survived and Communism perished in Eastern Europe but we may never know for sure about all the sub plots that went on behind the scenes,
Mayor Healy has made good on his promise of party unity and should win re-election easily with only the council seats being any possible contest. A new face running on his ticket for Ward B Council is John and Maureen Spinello's daughter Mary. - - The Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Bobby Lisa, Mike Zadroga and Ollie Gelston in the 2005 ceremony. All three of these honorees had been mentioned in recent issues of the JJ. This leaves only the outspoken Tom Gaynor who has been proposed by the JJ but is yet unrecognized by this honor, with speculation being that he has probably been blackballed by one of his many past enemies - - Ed Lucas appreciated Jed networking him in with several new names for the Phil Rizzuto golf tournament for St Joseph's School for the Blind and has invited the JJ to cover that event in August. - - The annual Oscar Pool run by Ed's son, actor Chis Lucas was held this year at the Blarney Stone in NYC and won by Chis's wife, Candyce. - - Greg Hermes ran a most exciting Final Four Brackets pool which was won in Arizona by Debbie Paneral. Now for the hard part, Greg has to try and collect the money to pay off. - - Barry Birthday to Beryl Naulls as she is headed from England to Vegas to celebrate her 60th Birthday by attending every Barry Manilow show there during her birthday week. - - Dietra Wright (the Jed ex who is a decent person) will take time out of her new business to join her old friend for the big day in Vegas. Dietra has just opened her own little shoppe (Poubelle) in Tacoma - - Jerry McGrellis will leave the State of Washington for his new job in Ohio. This puts him closer for the wedding of his old Jersey City friend John Nyre that he will attend in May - - Sophie Bastan reports that her group of snow birds and displaced Jersey Cityites in Florida only had 17 at their 6th annual get together in Orlando this year (down from 31 a few years back).- - Danny Lamega was feted at the Casino in the Park for his 50 years in the entertainment field... showing up were some old friends including Joey D from Starlighters and the Pepermint Lounge Days and clarinetist Sol Yagan. - - Capt Bill Morrissey has just returned from a trip to the Greek Isles and Andy Sydor takes off next week for 2 weeks in France - - It's hard to believe that Robbie and his oldest friend Michelle Kaczor have just attained teenager status - - Bernice and John Keller have moved back to Jersey City just in time for their new daughter Clara to be born as a JC native. - - While we're on the subject of the next generation Mike Hughes Jr, son of Jed's former secretary Joanne (aka "Gaggie") and his old NYC football teammate, has recently been stationed in Iraq and has already been injured when his car was bombed - - and Bill Gordon Jr is receiving good reviews on his new Jersey City based book - "Mary After All" - - Marty Walsh's daughter Sarah will be leading her undefeated Northwestern Lacrosse team to the NCAA championship tournament in Annapolis next month- - Bobby Fitzgerald got a mention in Mighty Quinn's Daily News column again as he submitted the joke that recently appeared here about Kryz and the driving test, but the PC News refused to mention the word "Polish" and changed the reference to "an immigrant" - - Recent passings include Tony Barba, Cartoonist Bobby Harney's mom and the mom of the unknown Sammy. - - Bobby Fodor spent the better part of a week in Bayonne Hospital dealing with a large kidney stone. - -Jed had his periodic scan for Lymphoma but had no trace of the disease which statistically would be expected to be active again at this time. This is a catch 22 situation as the disease has to surface again in order to make the vaccine that can cure it. - -BREAKING NEWS - (check back for updates until this issue is finalized): (4/15) Dr. Peter Dimatteo did not run the Boston Marathon this year to raise funds to fight Lymphoma......(4/20) Instead he vacationed with fiance Laurel and his children in St Johns - Virgin Islands ...... (developing)
The photo above was generally sent around with the request to identify the people in the picture and describe the background or the reason for the photo. Actually it was a teaser for the next article and it is excerpted from the very last photo in the next feature, but included below are some of the answers we received.
In October of 1999 several readers offered the JJ their collection of photos from the old GA and the result was the most popular article ever included in these pages. Many became new readers just because of this article, when they were directed here by reports that their photos from 40 years ago had shown up on the Internet. And now that our readership has more than tripled since then, does anybody have more photos to add to this collection? As indicated above the last photo on the second page of photos was a group party the night before Dave Williams and friends went into the Marines in 1956.
It was required for everyone to make several pilgrimages a year to Joe King's German American Rathskeller on Manhattan's 3rd Ave. to participate in the ancient rites of singing college songs, carving your names in the tables and drinking mugs of warm overpriced beer. The bar was billed as America's frat house, but there was no problem getting served well before you reached college age. Everybody has their favorite "GA" story, but if you never experienced going there with Robert the Dog, you really missed something. Robert had the long tradition of his raucous older brothers and sisters to uphold there, and he did it in spades. He rarely paid a bill but had no problem returning many times, as Joe King cut him a lot of slack, because he remembered the whole McLoughlen family and even had dated Mother. For one dollar you could have a photo souvenir of your party, and Jimmy Nacion saved and sent in one of these that kicked off this article. Other contributors here include - Jim and Pat Detlinger, Joe and Marge McGovern, Sr. Pat Butler, Mark Hanlon and Diane Leo. Check out these great old photos and let us know if you can come up with any of the missing names, and the captions will be updated.
Elnardo Webster was a multi sport star at Lincoln High School who was talked into staying home and playing for Saint Peters College by former Peacock basketball star Tommy F.X. Smith. Elnardo helped raise our school's program to the highest level when he led the Peacocks in the 1968 NIT as they defeated highly favored Marshall in the first round. In that game Elnardo scored a record 51 points. This was the first basketball game ever played in what used to be called the "new" Madison Square Garden. Then Saint. Peters went on to beat highly rated ACC Champion Duke 100-71 to gain the semi finals. Saint Peters lost to Kansas in the semi-finals and to Notre Dame in the consolation game, but every game was SRO (19,500) and another 4,400 crammed into the Stanley Theater for a closed circuit TV of the Kansas game. - Four games …… 82,400 fans and most of them from Jersey City. The Garden never did that before and has never done it again. In later years Elnardo was able to get his sports thrills by cheering on Elnardo Jr. as both a collegiate and pro football star, and he has been honored himself by being selected for the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame. Elnardo has now earned his PhD and is a Director in the Newark Public Schools System.
Another local legend has gone off to that big basketball court in the sky as word comes from Florida that Moe Haber passed away a year and a half ago. The irascible Moe was the Mad Hatter and the March Hare all rolled into one. In fact it was in a March long ago when I first met Morris Haber, when he came pedaling on "his" bicycle (he never owned a car) to play basketball with the young crowd who played at the West Side Ave courts in the Marion Section. The problem was that he was a balding man of 39 and too old to be riding "his" bike and certainly too old to be playing playground basketball. It also turned out not to be his bike - because several weeks later when Moe had done something to irritate Robert McLoughlin on the court - Robert hid Moe's bike causing Moe to plead to get it back because it wasn't his and he had "borrowed" it without permission from the storage area in the basement of the Fairmount Ave apartment building where he lived.
The next time I ran into this character was in the stratosphere region of the old Garden where he and his pal Sam Kaplan had gotten in the same as we did by paying 50 cents and showing a high school G O card. He and Sam were standing in front of Robert and me and we were so far removed from the court that they had to do a play by play for us of the college Christmas tournament double header which featured Willie Naulls (UCLA) in the opener and Bill Russell (San Francisco) in the second game.
Despite his aging body and arthritic hip, Moe continued to play the game he loved into his late 50s, and he continued to annoy all those he played defense against by grabbing hold of a hunk of their uniform or hacking them hard on any easy shot.
Moe worked in the Garment District as a hat blocker but he augmented that salary by moonlighting as a basketball ref. He also coached the Jewish Y traveling team at times and through that connection he got involved in promoting the High School All Star game that the Y annually sponsored. Once Moe made headlines as a ref when his old friend Bernie Okene (coaching Bayonne) was incensed by one of Moe's calls and came charging at Moe from behind, but when Moe caught the sight of this madman running at him out of the corner of his eye he instinctively swung around and cold cocked Bernie right on the court.
For all of his eccentricities, Moe was a kind hearted person. Once when Sam Kaplan left Alan Bolton standing on a street corner claiming he didn't see him while he drove his own son Stevie to a tryout that St Peter's Prep was holding for promising grammar school basketball players, Moe took busses all the way back to pick up Alan and bring him down to the Prep gym.
Moe loved the game and whether he was dragging his hip up and down the court as a player or a ref, he endured the discomfort just to be involved and he always took the time to call aside a young player to give him suggestions on how to improve his game. Do you think they have basketball courts in Heaven, and if so, is God still letting Moe get away with all those fouls?
We all loved our respective neighborhoods where we spent our formative years, but by some stroke of luck, I ended up in the perfect place at the perfect time when our family bought its first house on Belmont Ave. at the end of the summer of 1948. That block plus the contiguous houses over the back fences was infested with kids around my age who shared my same interests and amazingly those in my age group were all boys. We could field a team in any sport and play the other neighborhoods but a majority of the time involved choosing up sides amongst ourselves for the game of the day. Perhaps because of all the male children there were five backyard basketball courts on Belmont and the abutting back yards, but it all started when Dr. Salmon put up a backboard for his boys in their yard over our back fence on Gifford Ave.. The older teenagers like Bob Butler, John Fletcher and even Doc Doherty would come by and we would learn by playing against players who were much superior our level of skill. Salmon's was a great house with a large front yard where we could play football or running bases or we could go in their finished basement and play board games if the weather was bad. There was still limited traffic during the day, so the street was open for box ball, stick ball and touch football. We were right next to Lincoln Park and there was also an open lot on Hudson Blvd between Kensington and Belmont where we played stickball (both with base running or against an old barn wall with a strike zone drawn on it). We all lived up and down both sides of Belmont with the greatest concentration of kids coming from 188 Belmont, the large wood frame apartment building near the Boulevard. That house at one time housed Jimmy Dettlinger, Billy and Dickie Morrissey, John White, Frankie Clark, Jimmy McLaughlin and Ray LaForge. Other playmates from that era included the Cosgroves, the Sullivans and the Salmons, Ed Ellis, Larry Golden, Michael Whister, Paul Maurer, Jeff/Geoff Hermes, Dave and Jack Williams and then later Frankie Fodor, Paul Jordon, Ben Schlossberg, Marty Brenner, Freddie and Franny Yeck, Peter Murphy, Eddie Burke, John Quirk and the Anitos and Kanengeiser's both of which had basketball backboards in their yards. When Holcombe Berggren came back for a visit this summer we went back to the old hood for a nostalgic trip back in time. Holcombe said that his brownstone had been owned by his family for several generations, and infact we found his mother's photo in a Lincoln HS yearbook when she lived at the same address. Some photos are included in the link below.
On Kryz' first night in America he was picked up by the Garfield NJ Police for walking down Main St in just his shoes and socks. The police arrested him for indecent exposure. When he came before the Desk Sargent he was asked, "Why in the world are you only wearing your shoes and socks?" Kryz said "Well it's like this - I was in the bar on River Rd and this pretty little red head asked me to go back to her house with her...so I did. We went inside and she pulled off her top and asked me to pull off my shirt...so I did. Then she pulled off her skirt and asked me to pull off my pants..so I did. Then she pulled off her panties and asked me to pull off my shorts....so I did. "Then she got on the bed and looked at me kind of sexy and said, "Now go to town you big strong Polack. " ............................ " And, here I am."
We were able to get the last of the Minuteman Press Post Card calendars for some of our out of state readers, and for those who did get a calendar, don't throw them away when the year is over - the post card scenes are great for cutting out and framing. For those who did not get one of these calendars we are reproducing a selected card in each issue. You can right click on the picture and use it for your computer screen background or you can simply print out your own picture suitable for framing. If you are printing, you may want to crop the bottom because extra space was allocated to the bottom to better fit as a screen saver. This month's selection is the Jersey City Armory, which was the site of so many of the memorable Saint Peter's College basketball games of the past.
The newest additions and changes for our online network of readers are included here. Add these address changes to your e-mail listings, and send a note to an old friend today. We will direct link to your websites as they come on line, and there are also websites of local interest included here. Save any or all of these sites in your favorite places. Click below to access new and previously published links and addresses. - - Please resend yout address if it recently changed and/or you did not get recent email notices regarding this new issue - all addressed were dropped from our list if they bounced when the notice was sent out. In keeping with the sports theme of this issue, this month's featured website is the JERSEY JOURNAL obituary link affectionately know as the "Irish Sports Page" - - - The best search engine for finding the JJ is now back to Yahoo.com (search on the word "jedsey"), also there are still some who do not recognize that the JOURNAL does not get mailed to you - it is always at the same spot until it is replaced by the new issue at that same spot (the address never changes so keep it saved in your cache of favorite places). - - Finally, for those of you who want to save these issues for you collection use the following instructions: 1- open the on line issue of the current JEDSEY JOURNAL - (make sure it is completely downloaded) 2- click on "file" and then click on "save" and then select a folder to keep each issue in - create a file name to index the issue and make sure it is saved in an html type format and then you will be able to open and read each issue long after it is replaced on line.
next show - - (3 performances)
MAY/JUNE - (Due out May 30) - BON VOYAGE FOR FANTASTIC VOYAGE OF THE OSPREY - SPORTS IN LINCOLN PARK - PERSHING FIELD RESERVOIR PROJECT - - JACK FINN HALL OF FAME WRITE-UP - - THE WAY WE WERE - - BEST OF JEDSEY JOURNAL ARCHIVES - - JCNJ REDUX - WHERE ARE THEY NOW (Larry Kanengeiser) - - ID THE PHOTO CONTEST - - AND MUCH MORE