“A Boy Grew In Brooklyn” by Arthur Miller — March 1955

Holiday magazine, March 1955

Nobody can know Brooklyn, because Brooklyn is the world, and besides it is filled with cemeteries, and who can say he knows those people? But even aside from the cemeteries it is impossible to say that one knows Brooklyn. Three blocks from my present house live two hundred Mohawk Indians. A few blocks from them are a group of Arabs living in tenements in one of which is published an Arabic newspaper. When I lived on Schermerhorn Street I used to sit and watch the Moslems holding services in a tenement back yard outside my window, and they had a real Moorish garden, symmetrically planted with curving lines of white stones laid out in the earth, and they would sit in white robes—twenty or thirty of them, eating at a long table, and served by their women who wore the flowing purple and rose togas of the East. All these people, plus the Germans, Swedes, Jews, Italians, Lebanese, Irish, Hungarians and more, created the legend of Brooklyn’s patriotism, and it has often seemed to me that their having been thrown together in such abrupt proximity is what gave the place such a Balkanized need to proclaim its never-achieved oneness.

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“A Gift of Books” by Edward Albee, Joseph Heller, Alfred Kazin, Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and others — December 1965

December 1965

I have included links where I thought they would be helpful; obviously a magazine from 1965 did not contain hyperlinks. —Josh


With the Christmas season and Christmas giving in mind, the Editors asked some of America’s distinguished authors and critics to contribute to an unusual list of books—books that are excellent but for some reason failed to attract wide attention. Here are the responses, each a rich tribute to a favorite neglected piece of good reading.  Continue reading

“A Good Life in the Hollywood Hills” by John Weaver – April 1970

Or, “How old should a child be before his parents tell him he lives in the valley?”

The cliffdwellers cling precariously to the brush-covered slopes of the Hollywood hills, sharing the common perils of fire and flood. In the late fall, when the humidity drops and a warm wind whips through the canyons, the hills may suddenly explode with flame. In the rainy season, when the naked cliffs crack and slide, the mortgaged wickiups come tumbling down. But the true cliffdweller always returns to his wildlife refuge. He trades in his charred Porsche, patches his pool, rebuilds his house-with-a-view and again settles down to enjoy the comforts of his mountain lair.

He has the best of two urban worlds. He is minutes away from the city’s offices, shops and restaurants, but when his day’s work is done, he comes home to down his tot of gin in a green and private place where ruby-throated hummingbirds flutter in the bottle-brush and quail skitter across his lawn. Mule deer drink from his pool and foxes feed from his garbage pail. His children are turned loose to climb trees, collect snakes and chase rabbits.

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“WHERE THE WOLF SHALL DWELL WITH THE LAMB” by Oscar Schisgall – April 1968


The Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, a concept inspired by the Prophets, is the only one of its kind in the world—a source of amazement not only to lay­men like myself but, in even greater degree, to visiting zoologists and theolo­gians. Here on thirty-two acres of the Holy Land’s rugged brown soil, the beasts and the birds mentioned in the Old Testament have been brought together. On their cages appear the Biblical quotations applicable to each creature. As you glance down from the contemptuous eyes of two splendid ostriches, both towering ten feet high, you read in Hebrew and English: “I am a brother to monsters and a companion to ostriches.” (Job 30:29) And where three of the most beautiful lions ever raised in captivity roar for their food, a placard quotes: “The lion hath roared—who will not fear?”(Amos 3:8)

The first glimpse of the Biblical Zoo may be something of a shock. This is not an exquisitely landscaped zoologi­cal garden such as you find in other cit­ies. As you enter its creaking gate, crude paths lie ahead. All about them are massive boulders pockmarked by ero­sion. And among the rocks are growths of untended underbrush, clumps of twisted trees.

Yet this very crudeness is deliber­ately preserved because it establishes a proper mood for the zoo. Surely this is the way the Holy Land must have looked when some of these animals roamed its ancient hills, when some of these brilliantly plumed birds flew screaming from tree to tree. As you pass, they still scream at you—parrots and peacocks, magpies and ravens, just as they screamed at men in the years of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Today, they screech at more than 120,000 visitors a year.

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“OPENING 100 CLAMS” by Carl L. Biemiller – March 1946

[Note: This is the very first article from the very first Holiday.]

THE WIND RACED from a bank of surly clouds and poured through the slot in the sea that forms the North End inlet at Atlantic City, New Jersey. It tossed spindrift at a group of huddled gulls which stood, back to the surf, plotting a long trip elsewhere. It fingered hair and ruffled skirts and gobbled up noise to whirl it away across bay and salt meadow. Now and then it blew a sprinkling of rain over the crowd gathered in Clam Stadium.

Mr. Israel Weintraub, 300 pounds of jitney driver, leaned back in his contest chair, dabbed at his mouth with something less than Chesterfieldian grace, and explained his success in the clam derby.

“I am prob’ly the best clam eater in the world,” he said, “an’ t’ be honest, I hate ’em. I win because I am such a good chili sauce and horse-radish man. If they ever limit them items, I quit winnin’ eatin’ contests here. My record is one hun’erd and forty-six clams in twenty minutes. This year it’s good I ain’t hungry because I only need one hun’erd and twenty to win.”

Mr. Weintraub posed with a hot dog and a bottle of pop, carefully ate away their property value, and blandly reflected on the joys of fame.

“I hear a threat about some guy from New York,” he remarked. “Comes from Fulton Fish Market, and is supposed to eat three hun’erd today. He don’t worry me none. He don’t show up. Them threats never do.”

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“NOBODY KNOWS MORE ABOUT CHILI THAN I DO” by H. Allen Smith – August 1967

When I was a boy of ten in Decatur, Illinois, my mother gave me twenty cents every morning—half of it for carfare to school, the remaining dime for my lunch. I could have spent that dime on candy or ice cream, but I can’t recall that I ever did, because it was at this magic and benign moment in time that I discovered chili.

Day after day I went to Chili Bill’s joint a couple of blocks from the school, sat at a scrubbed wooden counter, and for ten cents got a bowl of steaming chili, six soda crackers and a glass of milk. That was livin’!

I have been a chili man ever since those days. Nay, I have been the chili man. Without chili I believe I would wither and die. I stand without a peer as a maker of chili, and as a judge of chili made by other people. No living man, and let us not even think of woman in this connection, no living man, I repeat, can put together a pot of chili as ambrosial, as delicately and zestfully flavorful, as the chili I make. This fact is so stern, so granitic, that it belongs in the encyclopedias, as well as in all standard histories of civilization.

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“HARRY’S BAR IN VENICE” by Mary Hemingway – June 1968

From my diary: Gritti Palace Hotel, Venice, October 26, 1948: “Lettuce leaves jostling in the wakes of boats on the Grand Canal…. The two bells of the Campanile are an octave apart … We lunched at Harry’s Bar, chic people and a triumphant fish soup.”

March 18, 1949: “Met Papa at Harry’s and many friends there—Count Carlo di Robilant and his wife Caroline, the Tripcovitches, Princess Aspasia of Greece with whom, Papa said, he’s had an afternoon of good, solid drink and talk while I was away, Baron Nanyuki Franchetti, Prince Tassilo Fürstenberg, a couple of Windisch-Graetzes and other once-Austrians, Howard, the Duke of Norfolk’s younger brother and his pretty wife, Countess Lili Volpi and that enduring, endearing old Countess Amelia de Reali. We lunched in a haze of affection and felicity with the di Robilants, the green tagliarini divine; paused on the way home as usual to inspect the jewelry in Codognato’s window.”

December 5, 1967: “Lunched with Cipriani and his lovely and elegant dark-eyed Giulia (wife) and his sister, Gabriella, my old friend, in the peace and sunshine of the upstairs room at Harry’s. He was in his usual fine spirits, with his cool, clear blue eyes unchanged, observing everything. I had scampi, fresh and sweet with a whisper of garlic. He had garnished hamburger, maybe not quite as good as my Wild West Hamburger, I surmised.”

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“THE CANONIZATION OF LENNY BRUCE” by John Weaver – November 1968



“He used to say he was being crucified, and . . . I’d say, ‘Hey, man, but don’t forget the resurrection.'”
— Mort Sahl, 1966.

Two years after the death of Leonard Alfred Schneider, naked and alone on a bath­room floor in Hollywood, a hy­podermic needle in his right arm, the Lenny Bruce cult continues to flour­ish, especially among the young who never saw the prophet, never heard his voice or touched the hem of his gar­ment. They know only his records and his writings, neither of which do justice to the man or his message.

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