Yorkville Twins: Growing Up in New York City in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s

Yorkville Twins: Growing Up in New York City in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s

by Joseph G. Gindele, John F. Gindele

Paperback(2015 Revised Edition)

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Take a trip down memory lane. Full of humor, wisdom and frank talk, award-winning*Yorkville Twins is an endearing collection of stories involving immigrants, survival, growing up, coming of age, and learning what it is to be an American. More than a memoir of a 1950s working class neighborhood, it's an experience, a love story of family, friends, neighbors, and the Yorkville of yore, recounting daily life from a historical, social and cultural perspective.

“In the 1940s and 1950s, most large city urban people lived in a four- or five-story walk-up tenement building. Often their apartments had no toilet. Families would share a common toilet in the hallway. There were no showers. The only bathtub in many cases was a washtub located in the kitchen, a tub so small the best a full-grown person could do was sit on the edge and put his or her feet in the water. There was little or no privacy in the railroad style rooms.

The time Joe and John Gindele reminisce about is post-war America in a large city. It was a time when news reports, politicians and leaders were believable in the public's mind. It was a time when teachers, priests, and the police were never challenged. It was a time before TV. Some people had telephones. Most didn't. Radio programs which sparked the imagination of children and adults alike were the daily fare.”

[So writes Anthony C. Lofaso, who grew up in Yorkville during this time. Author of Origins and History of the Village of Yorkville in the City of New York, Second Edition 2014, Lofaso wrote an exceptionally engaging Foreword to Yorkville Twins.]

Supported by 100+ vintage photographs, richly annotated resources, and a multilingual glossary, the book is nostalgic, inspiring, and laugh-out-loud entertaining. Twins Joe and John describe what the city was like then and how it changed. They and their family succeeded in living the American dream! It's an American tale full of adventures and misadventures, laughs, sweet memories and sad moments. How did their family ever survive living with these guys who share special bonds and predictive abilities?

As a gift to the reader, Yorkville Twins contains two added Special Bonus Chapters: (1) one on twins, “It's a Twin Thing!” and (2) their undergraduate days in the Midwest, “Ya Sure, You Betcha!” People tell us they loved the book. The stories brought back so many fond memories, memories they only thought they had forgotten. Yorkville Twins reveals surprises of how different, yet really how similar, childhood experiences were for all of us. Growing up on the East coast, West coast or in the Midwest, in large cities or in small rural towns, stories of our youth are really pretty much the same. Or are they?

*Yorkville Twins was a FINALIST in the prestigious 23rd annual Midwest Book Awards in Bloomington, MN. It placed 2nd (first runner-up) in the Social Science category from books submitted by authors from 12 Midwestern states.

Yorkville Twins has been adopted for the fourth consecutive year as required reading for college freshmen at various New York campuses in classes studying “The Immigration Experience in New York City.”

Readers will (1) Renew childhood memories, (2) Live the immigrant experience, and (3) Have fun doing so. Devotees of Bill Bryson, Garrison Keillor, Thomas Pryor and others who describe memories of their childhoods will love this book. Hold your breath...Here comes trouble!

Twins Joe and John Gindele, award-winning Minnesota authors, are survivors who think and work outside of the box. They grew up in a tenement railroad flat in Yorkville on Manhattan’s ethnic Upper East Side in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Born to immigrant Czech and German parents, raised in a family of seven, they endured living in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city.

At age 18 they moved from New York City to Minnesota, taught for a combined 64 years from kindergarten to university, earned doctorates and completed internships in Japan and at 3M. They lived the American dream!

They published articles in refereed scholarly journals and educational materials used in secondary schools and colleges in 23 countries, and won international scholarships and awards. Their memoir, Yorkville Twins, received accolades from the Midwest Independent Publisher’s Association.

The twins volunteer on food lines for their church, travel, and live in a suburb of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983933762
Publisher: Golden Valley Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 06/12/2015
Edition description: 2015 Revised Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


List of Figures viii

Foreword ix

Preface: The Yorkville We Knew xv

Poem: The Twins xix

Part I The Early Years

Chapter 1 The Cheesecake Phenomenon 3

(Our Family)

Chapter 2 “Sasha, Where Are Your Shoes?” 47

(Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors)

Chapter 3 “Free Toaster, Anyone?” 67

(Growing Up in New York City)

Chapter 4 The Constipation of Mr. Kovo 75


Chapter 5 “Going Down” 117

(Amusements and Entertainment

Part II The Learning Years

Chapter 6 No Reservations 147

(K-12 Public Schools)

Chapter 7 “Got a Quarter, Mista?” 171

(Part-Time Work)

Chapter 8 Outhouse: Family Bonding Time 189

(Vacation Days/Special Days—Playtime)

Part III Bonus Section

Chapter 9 “Ya Sure, You Betcha!” 215

(Undergraduate School, 1962-1967/68)

Chapter 10 It's a Twin Thing 239


Afterword 247

Disclaimer 250


Appendix A: Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors 252

Appendix B: Radio and TV Shows, Movies, Actors and Actresses That Our Family Enjoyed 253

Appendix C: Annotated Resources 256

1. Internet Search Terms and Websites 256

2. Organizations 267

3. References 271

Glossary 277

Acknowledgements 287

Testimonials 289

The Saga Continues 293

About the Authors 295

Ordering Information/Quick Order Form 297-299

Thank You 300

List of Figures

1. Mr. & Mrs. Novacek's Three-Room Tenement Apartment 61

2. Map: New York City (and Five Boroughs) 68

3. Map: Yorkville on the Upper East Side 76

4. 410 East 81st Street: Five-Room First-Floor Tenement Apartment 91

5. 420 East 81st Street: Five-Room Fifth-Floor Tenement Apartment 107

6. Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors 252

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