A Kindred Spirit: The New York Wanderer

Retired real estate investor Benjamin P. Feldman picked up an old change purse at a flea market and was intrigued by the name stamped on it: Compliments of Sol Goldberg’s Cafe. So he began to investigate.

Feldman told the New York Times’ Joseph Berger: “I needed to know this guy,” Mr. Feldman said. “I sensed a very sad story and wanted to know what happened to this poor guy.” The New York Times has the story.

Here’s Feldman’s account in his blog, New York Wanderer:

Browsing among the vast piles of bric-a-brac in a Chelsea flea market right before Hannukah, a tiny leather change purse caught my eye. Sifting through piles of dust-covered junk, golden lettering on the item’s battered side gleamed at me like a nugget in dirt.. The Yiddish version of the old saw sprang into my head, my grandfather’s shmaltz-coated voice ringing in my ears: Fun a khazerishe ek, makht men nisht keyn shtraymel” “From the tail-end of a pig, one doesn’t make a Hasidic man’s fur-banded holiday headpiece.”

Feldman not only tells the story of Sol Goldberg and his offspring, he also shows how he conducted the research. He’s my kind of fellow!

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in From the Reference Desk, Libraries and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Kindred Spirit: The New York Wanderer

  1. eve says:

    I love this kind of stuff. Last month I bought a photo album at a Chelsea flea market: 1920s-30s snapshots of what seems to be an Upstate NY or Pennsylvania family.


    • lmharnisch says:

      @Eve: Isn’t it great? What’s nice is that he does the pick and shovel work of true research. I especially like his grandfather’s saying, although it loses a lot in translation.


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