A walk through Williamsburg with Phillip Lopate

A walk through Williamsburg with Phillip Lopate

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has a rich immigrant history. Before the South Side became the Hasidic enclave that it is today, it was a much more eclectic immigrant neighborhood. Among its former residents is the writer Phillip Lopate, who grew up in what’s now the heart of the Hasidic “shtetle.”

Phillip lived in Williamsburg from age 4 in 1947, until about high school, but after his family moved out of Williamsburg, he returned daily to attend high school at Eastern District High.

Phillip generously joined me in Williamsburg for a visit to his old haunts. We first stopped by his old place at 352 Broadway, right by the noisy train tracks, and then the apartment at 151 Ross Street, which is right off Lee Avenue. We also visited the famed former Eastern District High School, which I’ve written about extensively, and the public library that sits right across from it, and discussed the Brooklyn Queens Expressway’s impact on the time Phillip lived in Williamsburg. We stopped over for knishes and rugelach, ambled along Lee Avenue to see Flaum’s Deli, and said our goodbyes at Gottlieb’s. It was a lovely afternoon!

Phillip’s brother Leonard Lopate is also well known as a famous radio personality. I’ve written about Leonard Lopate in Williamsburg before and hope to one day visit with Leonard.

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Related:

Interview with Harry Weiss, former Williamsburg resident

Interview with Gerald Friedman, former Williamsburg resident

Interview with Nelly Grussgott on post-war Williamsburg

Once upon a time, Lee Avenue had a sense of humor

 

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