The View From Argyle Heights: Movies (2007)




The View From Argyle Heights
by Homeowner Harry


Another in a series of observations about life in West Midwood as it is lived today...or maybe not...

On February 25th, “The Departed” won the Academy Award for Best Picture. As Argyle Heightsians are well aware, that movie featured an August 2005 “shoot” on Dekoven Court. However, most Argyle Heightsers probably missed another feature movie that included a scene shot in our neighborhood six months earlier - “The Protocols of Zion” - a documentary about anti-Semitism. Marc Levin, the director/narrator, interviewed his father, Alan Levin, in front of what appears to be Rob and Lance’s “Loralei”, at 667 Argyle Road. Shot at twilight on a snowy Winter night, Alan, who was born in 1926, discusses how he was tormented by the Irish kids who used to live on that block when he passed by as a school boy in the 1930’s. The camera looks North over Alan’s shoulder toward Foster Avenue as he recounts his memories of a harsher time.

As I was writing these notes, Howard and Laura Givner dropped off a clipping from a 1935 issue of the Cornell Alumni News which reported that Samuel Dalsimer, Class of 1930, was working for a small advertising company in Times Square and living at 716 Argyle Road, Brooklyn – which eventually was to become the Givner homestead. I did a little digging to see what else I could learn about this former Heights-ite and in a 1943 issue of the same alumni newsletter, I learned Dalsimer had been appointed vice-president of a large advertising company. In 1952, Dalsimer wrote to compliment “Commentary” magazine about an article it had just published about the blacklisting then rampant in radio and TV, but now, apparently, Dalsimer was living in Manhattan. By December 1964 Dalsimer had joined Grey Advertising and five years later, the American Jewish Year Book noted that Samuel Dalsimer was the National Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. Finally, an NAACP archive site lists Dalsimer as a “principal correspondent” in the 1969 Freedom Fund and Awards Dinner, along with most political notables of the day, including Nixon, Rockefeller, Javits, Lindsay, etc. So, while young Alan Levin was being pummeled in front of Rob and Lance’s house by Irish bullies because he was Jewish, a block away, the future president of the Anti-Defamation League was working his way up the corporate ladder to success. And, a few months after Levin’s reminiscence, another movie is filmed around the block, about a bunch of Irish toughs in Boston who mostly beat each other up. Life can be very confusing.

Dekoven Court was also the site for a segment on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”, filmed last July, featuring Paul Steinfeld. During the recent “Progressive Dinner,” the Steinfelds graciously threw open their beautiful home to hordes of socializing Heightsers and I had a chance to chat with Paul at length about his experience. He recalled it was the hottest day of the year, the air conditioner was not working, and the interview conducted by Jason Jones was interminable. One of the questions apparently cut from the final show was: “If The Departed had a fight with The Daily Show, who would win?” Apparently, the answer was Godzilla (“It was a trick question”).
As a result of his appearance, Paul now is part of The Internet Movie
Database, the 2,354,819th entry (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2354819">www.imdb.com/name/nm2354819)!


The topic of the Daily Show segment was the wave of cancellations of home owners insurance which has swept through coastal counties in the wake of Katrina. You might want to check out the “New York City Hurricane Evacuation Map” and better yet, the “Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder”, available on the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) website at http://gis.nyc.gov/oem/he/index.htm. Simply type in your address and a little map appears of the surrounding area, letting you know whether you will be affected by the storm surge of a hurricane. Unfortunately, large swaths of Brooklyn would experience flooding in the event of a major hurricane, while those living on Mount Argyle and along its summit would, of course, be spared, owing to its being some 25 feet above sea level. The OEM map, showing the impact of a major hurricane on New York City, found its way into the Sunday Times on March 11th as a large front page color spread in the Real Estate section. The Times assessment was that despite all the doom and gloom, now was a good time to buy real estate, pretty much anywhere, particularly if you’re rich. The last major hurricane to hit New York occurred in 1938. Before that, it was 1893. I suppose you could say we’re due. So keep that web site handy.

1 comment:

Obscure Popular Musical References Dude said...

Funny stuff! Your neighborhood looks like a nice place to live -- assuming you didn't make all this up!!