When Martin Lewis Blumberg published his popular memoir, My Brooklyn, My Way, a collection of short stories and poems about growing up in Brownsville and Canarsie in the 1940s and 50s (see “Memoir Of Old Brooklyn a Hit,” Canarsie Courier, February 25, 2021), he hoped it would give readers of his generation the opportunity to relive those special days and younger readers the opportunity to have a glimpse at simpler times.
Blumberg expanded on this concept when he published his second book this past August, with a different format. Going Back to Brooklyn (available on Amazon and through most major booksellers) is a large, 8.5 x 11” coffee table book, designed to spark curiosity and conversation between generations. Packed with glossy photos, 15 thoughtful essays and several short stories that will conjure up a sweet nostalgia, his latest book is a pleasure to read and share.
Baseball fans will love his account of the day the Brooklyn Dodgers won their first World Series in 1955 and the way people celebrated in the streets like a war had been won, with clanging pots and pans, signs and a huge parade on Eastern Parkway and Church Avenue. Nicknamed “Dem Bums,” the Dodgers were the underdogs, a team that always disappointed, but their loyal fans loved them anyway and idolized legendary players like Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese and Gil Hodges. Since no one expected them to win the World Series, it was all the more special, and for Blumberg who was just 14, it was truly an experience.
Foodies will relish in his charming memories of Lundy’s Restaurant, a seafood restaurant which was located on Emmons Avenue right across from the docks, a place that was one of a kind, a place for special family occasions. With no hostess and a no-reservation policy, diners had to wait in line outside, even in the rain, until tables became available and then seat themselves. In fact, he says that kids would run around the gigantic, two-story restaurant, which served some 20,000 meals per weekend, to find people on their dessert course and hover over them as they took their final bites, in order to snag a table for their family. Blumberg recalls the $4.95 shore dinner, which included lobster, chicken, hot biscuits and blueberry dessert and the most wonderful clams and fish imaginable, fresh off the boats across the street.
Overall, Blumberg’s book is a treasure, a time capsule, that is sure to spark conversation and curiosity, and one you may read and peruse yourself.