Published in Pakn Treger - 2020 by The Yiddish Book Center.
You may read this story here
Born Belarus - 1893
Immigrates to New York City 1909
Dies New York City 1980
There are numerous stories and novels featuring “Green Horns”. A green horn was a newly arrived from Eastern Europe or Russia immigrate still naive to the ways of New York City. A big right of passage experience was often their first trip to Coney Island. There was no place like it back home. Coney Island was a symbol of The Wonders of America. Just getting there was an adventure:
“Eight of the family—cousins and friends—went with “Shepsl the Greenhorn” to Coney Island. They traveled by streetcar, for a nickel, shlepping themselves two or three hours. On the way, the Americanized members of the family told Shepsl all about the wonderful and magical things they would see. “There’s Luna Park,” said one cousin. “Do you know what happens there? I don’t need to tell you; you’ll see for yourself soon enough.” Another cousin chimed in, “Nu, and what about Steeplechase? When we get on, you won’t know if you’re in the air or on the ground.” And Esther threw in her two cents: “There’s nothing wrong with just walking around, hearing the excited screaming, seeing the ‘little people,’ seeing the girl who’s half human and half fish, or winding through a dark tunnel in a little boat, where you might get a kiss,” she laughed.”
We see a cousin was a suitable romantic interest.
“The First Trip to Coney Island” takes well under five minutes to read, a fun, funny, poignant five minutes. I look forward to reading Zeke Levine’s forthcoming collection of Short Stories by Sam Liptzin.
The link to the story contain a brief bio of Sam Liptiz
Zeke Levine is a doctoral student in historical musicology at New York University, where his research focuses on Yiddish language songs of mid-20th-century America. An alumnus of the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program and the Yiddish Book Center Fellowship, Zeke is also a 2019 Translation Fellow at the Yiddish Book Center; he is translating a book-length collection of Sam Liptzin’s writings
My thanks to Zeke Levine for taking us back to Coney Island circa 1920.
There is a detailed article on the history of Coney Island here