Flashback Friday Archive 2019-20: Flashback Friday: Week of January 22

2021-01-22 TWIR Image-Ferry Boats Nyack

January 21, 1871 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       The Blauvelt family matters are progressing favorably, so far as the preliminaries are concerned, for the looking after the great estate of the Blauvelt Family, in Holland. The Holland consul at Washington, it appears, has written encouragingly of the prospect of recovering the property, and the finance committee have collected about $1,200 or $1,500 to defray the expenses of the committee which it is proposed to send to Holland to follow up the matter. Another general meeting of the heirs is to be held in New York in the course of the next three or four weeks.

January 21, 1921 – 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

       R. Kross was arrested on complaint of agent R. Tremper of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for leaving his horse tied on the highway during extremely cold weather, without blanketing. He was taken before Justice Charles Haughy at Pearl River, tried and found guilty and fined $10 and costs of $8.23. He was also ordered by the court to buy suitable blankets to provide for his three horses.

[Image: Ferryboats on frozen Hudson River, Nyack, NY, ca. 1900. Photograph, black and white, 8 x 10 in. Courtesy of the Nyack Library Local History Room.]
       Hudson River ice dealers are alarmed over the prospects of securing a crop of ice this winter. Even as far north as Albany there is no ice on the river, and even the ice on the ponds and lakes is not thick enough to cut and gains little owing to the mild weather, which immediately follows every cold freezing spell.

       Weather men are puzzled at the mildness of the season in regions which are usually in the grip of zero weather. At this time of the year. At some places in New York and New England, sharp-eyed persons have seen dandelions., arbutus, and even violets in bloom.

January 18, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       There is a surprisingly large number of millionaires in Rockland County—businessmen, stockbrokers, even a lady artist. Most of them lead quiet, uneventful lives, out of the spotlight of publicity, content to work hard to protect their investments. They are little different from other people . . . only wealthier.
       But rising out of this pack are two men who live the way lesser mortals only dream about, like tycoons able and willing to buy railroads and factories at the drop of a hat, constantly in the news, hobnobbing with the great, tooling around in stunning $20,000 cars, men of character and daring and luck. Bigger than lifesize.
       Irving Maidman of Upper Nyack and Bernard Nemeroff of New City are both self-made men, Russian Jews who emerged from New York’s teeming lower East Side, made the giant leap from ghetto poverty to midtown skyscrapers, and amassed colossal personal fortunes.
       Both are fabulously wealthy men, real estate investors (Nemeroff is also a lawyer), collectors of art and antiques, philanthropists, and men of vision.
       They have been close personal friends for years. Nemeroff used to live in the same building in New York City as Maidman’s wife, when she was still Edith Shivitz.
       There is a startling physical resemblance between the two men. Their backgrounds are almost identical, and their fortunes are comparably huge. Yet their lives are quite different.
       HOME. Irving Maidman lives in a 21-room mansion; Bernard Nemeroff lives in a small and modest development house.
       Maidman’s house, formerly owned by Anthony Fokker, the Dutch airplane designer, has elegance and grandeur to rival a Venetian palazzo. On the bank of the Hudson River in the shadow of picturesque Hook Mountain, the house is dominated by what Maidman calls the “Great Hall,” a huge room two stories high, hung with paintings and decorated with objects-d’art.
       The library is panelled in dark wood; on its walls are numerous plaques and awards Maidman has received for philanthropy. The high ceilings and rich antiques seem to dwarf a visitor.
       “We like it here pretty much,” Maidman says. Two servants and a gardener care for the estate.
       Nemeroff lives almost monastically for a multi-millionaire, the only touches of luxury to his house are a swimming pool, a sauna bath and a bidet. His extensive collection of modern art is hung so close together the paintings almost touch. The house, though small, sits in the middle of nearly 600 acres of rolling woodland in northern New City. He relies on a cleaning woman for help, along with a secretary.
       HOBBIES. To relax, Nemeroff plays nothing more esoteric than golf, like thousands of other men his age (he is 63). He tees off daily in good weather across Zukor Road from his house, at a country club he owns.
       In the past few years he has found great delight in feeding birds, which gather expectantly in great swarms outside his door every day. Nemeroff is an avid cook, of thick, simple stews especially. He does not cook gourmet meals.
       Irving Maidman is a skilled grower of orchids. In his fragrant greenhouse are rare types that take great care and delicacy to raise. But to relax, Maidman does what most men do for work he takes over and reorganizes companies and concerns. At present he is “fooling around” with an air-boat line in the Caribbean, he explains. Business is in his blood. At 74 he still works every day in Manhattan.
       mone. Nemeroff made his fortune from a phenomenally successful law career and from business investments that started with Womrath Bookstores, which he owns. His great holding in Rockland County is the Dells and Dellwood Country Club in New City.
       Maidman began as a real estate broker. Broke after the Depression, he began building theaters off-Broadway, bought up and renovated major chunks of “Hell’s Kitchen” in the West 40s, and then branched out into a string of off-beat properties and investments that caused one journalist to dub him the “odds and ends man” of real estate.        PERSONALITY. Nemeroff has acquired a reputation, especially among his detractors, for arrogance and ruthlessness.
       “I’ve got hundreds of friends around here,” he says. “No, I don’t think I have any enemies.” He is an earthy man, and his conversation is sprinkled with obscenities, but he is a person of great charm as well. In the mid-1960s he bought up a local weekly newspaper and every week wrote a full-page column about himself and his plans.
       The list of groups and organizations Irving Maidman has helped with donations is practically endless. Evidence of his largesse can be found all over Rockland County. He consistently aids and gives breaks to friends and people he knows.
        TODAY. Nemeroff has made, piles of money, but he has been thwarted in the one great dream of his life. For 15 years he has been trying to build an entire community on his 600-acre estate; he has struggled and fought mightily at least once with his fists against what he feels are the evidence of the narrow-mindedness and stupidity of Rockland’s town government.
       “If they would just let me alone, I guarantee I could build the most outstanding development in the United States,” he says.
       Nemeroff practices law rarely now, spending most of his time in Florida where he has a hotel apartment in Miami Beach, for which he pays $1,250 a month, and where his wife lives. His feelings about the way Rockland County has treated him are bitter and unprintable.
       Maidman ‘s latest acquisitions include a slaughterhouse and meatpacking house, a novitiate and a 1,000-acre estate near Poughkeepsie, some factories in Edgewater, N.J., and several piers in Manhattan. He has been unsuccessful in only one major venture. In others like the famous “Suquie Q” railroad, he has been spectacularly successful.
       He and his wife now spend at least one week a month in St. Croix, the Virgin Islands, in their small bungalow right on the ocean.
       Both Maidman and Nemeroff have had to face the rising crime rate, to which they are especially vulnerable. Both have installed elaborate alarms and have special protection. Nemeroff was robbed twice several years ago.
        MISC. Irving Maidman had never been to uptown Manhattan until he was 14. On his first trip, he rode his bicycle into a subway excavation on 42nd Street. He now owns the building on that site.
       In his cellar, along with his wine and liquor collection, is a whole roomful of automobile curb-warning devices he bought up when rumor had it that a law requiring the curb devices would be passed—one of his few hunches that proved wrong.
       Nemeroff was a boxer during high school and college, and in later life he has shown a great willingness to sue people.
       “I love to fight,” he says.
       “It is wrong that people should starve in Appalachia while I can buy two Rolls Royces,” he once told an interviewer. “There is something very wrong with our system.”

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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