NYFS logo    tagline
 Pinto Guira making guiramaking a mandalaplaying mandolin

Voices, Spring-Summer 2013:
Follow the links on the Table of Contents to see articles and columns.
JOIN the New York Folklore Society today to receive Voices.

Voices SS2013


Volume 39

Become a member to receive the complete VOICES



AGUDAS ACHIM: A Century of Friendship and Shared Memories of Jewish Life in the Catskills
by Benjamin Halpern

14 Spirit Dolls (Muñequitas) in New York Puerto Rican Homes: Engaging with Saints and Ancestors
by Eileen Condon

24 The Holocaust, the Catskills, and the Creative Power of Loss
by Holli Levitsky

32 Hittin’ The Streets With The NYC Tranzformerz
by Elizabeth A. Burbach

36 YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George Celebrates its Centennial
by George Painter

42 The Spy Who Snubbed Me
by Frieda Toth

Departments and Columns

12 Upstate: Coming Home, Fifty Years Later!
by Varick A. Chittenden

13 Downstate: Kindred Spirits
by Steve Zeitlin

23 Good Spirits: New York’s Haunted Bars
by Libby Tucker

30 Play: History Buried—America’s All-Star Game of 1858
by John Thorn

31 Songs: The Maritime “Folksongs” of Edward Harrigan
by Dan Milner

40 NYFS News and Notes: Occupational Folklore
by Lisa Overholser

46 View from the Waterfront: After Sandy
by Nancy Solomon

47 Book Review

48 Voices in New York: Æ
by Elena Martínez

Voices SS2013 Cover
Cover: Benjamin Halpern’s parents, Belle and Walter Halpern, at the counter of Sorkin’s Department Store. December 1987. Photo by Benjamin Halpern. See article.

Ellen McHale
From the Spring-Summer 2013 issue of Voices:

The New York Folklore Society has a long history of publishing, both in journal form and book-length manuscripts. As stated by the editor of New York Folklore Quarterly, Harold Thompson, on the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the New York Folklore Society (New York Folklore Quarterly, Spring 1954), “If I understand the first Editor’s purpose, he [the first editor, Louis S. Jones], wished to acknowledge the fact that folklore is still in the age of collecting....To be sure, the principal aim was to make all the pieces interesting to those who were not specialists in the so-called ‘science’ of folklore....” An additional aim, as stated by Harold Thompson, was that the journal would publish “good writing.”

The New York Folklore Society has continued this tradition of good writing, continuing to publish the journal (now Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore), as well as book-length edited collections such as Island Sounds in the Global City (University of Illinois Press, 1998) and I Walked the Road Again: Great Stories from the Catskill Mountains (Purple Mountain Press, 1994). The newest volume, soon to be released by the New York Folklore Society, is an edited volume of articles chosen by Elizabeth Tucker and Ellen McHale. The New York State Folklife Reader, soon to be published by the University of Mississippi Press, will be available for purchase beginning in October 2013. This edited volume presents some of the best writing about the folklore and folklife of New York State, as gleaned from Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore. Designed to be relevant for the classroom, it is also a great book for one’s personal bookshelf. Please reserve your copy today!

The articles appearing in the New York Folklore Society’s journals are currently available through academic databases, including ProQuest, EBSCO Online, and Elsevier. Individual articles can be ordered online and delivered to your email inbox via our own website. The board and staff of the New York Folklore Society are researching formats and modalities for better accessibility of our material, now and into the future. We will be devising new ways to access our publications. New publications and publishing formats currently being researched will include digital publishing, additional thematic compilations of published pieces, and an online “members only” portion of the website from which members can download Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore onto tablets, smart phones, and other portable digital media formats. We ascribe to Harold Thompson’s 1954 statement: “I believe that every high school in the State should be a subscriber and every public library, not to mention the colleges and universities. Can you do something about this?” (NYFQ, Spring 1954). We are hoping to reach each corner of the publishing world. Please join us as we discover new ways to “connect.” Finally, give us your thoughts and opinions of what you would like to see as a publication of the New York Folklore Society. Thanks!

Ellen McHale, PhD
Executive Director
New York Folklore Society

Todd DeGarmo
From the Spring-Summer 2013 issue of Voices:

I just had to pick the green beans this morning before heading off to work. With last night’s rain and the promised sun of the day, the beans would grow a bit too big for my taste by evening. The summer’s bounty is upon us in upstate New York, only hinted at a few months ago as winter turned to spring and I was first drawn back to the kitchen garden to look for the first bits of chives or chervil, arugula or dandelion greens.

My Dad was a gardener, too. A good one, I’m told, whose vegetables he grew as a teenager won 4H ribbons. He followed the then new methods taught by Cornell Cooperative Extension, like using commercial fertilizers for bigger yields and hot water canning for safer storage. I’m told he also followed the old ways, like always planting your peas on Good Friday; salting and fermenting pickles and corned beef in stoneware crocks in a cool basement; knowing the value of cow manure for the best tasting sweet corn. His summer bounty was essential for feeding the family, where summers were spent growing, canning, butchering, and freezing to ensure food for the winter. He built a cold storage room in the basement of our ‘50s ranch house for the crocks and canned pickles, jams, and jellies. He also relied heavily on the new American Harvester chest freezer for homegrown beef, chicken, and vegetables. I remember finding his green beans at the bottom of this freezer years after he had passed.

When my sister and I rediscovered gardening and canning as teens, my Mom couldn’t understand our fascination with this work. She associated these activities with long, hot summers, some when she was very pregnant—work that had to be done for the family. Sue and I did it for the satisfaction of producing our own homegrown pesto or chutney or jam, perhaps as a connection to our past, but not necessarily to feed our families.

I enjoy eating green beans from my own garden but don’t have to rely on it. Raising my own family these past 25 years in an old house in the upper Hudson Valley of my father’s youth, I’ve taken to rediscovering the old ways by indirect means. Thanks to the efforts of an association like Terre Vivante and their book, Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, I have access to traditional techniques and recipes collected from the gardeners and farmers of rural France. I continue to freeze and can (easy to find in cookbooks), but have also learned to preserve my harvest with salt, oil, sugar, vinegar, and alcohol. I’ve tried my hand at butchering with my younger brother, who has learned to cure and smoke bacon and makes an amazing lonzino.

This access to the knowledge of our elders reminds me of a recent discussion with a Native American friend, who appreciates the efforts of earlier collectors so that he could rediscover his people’s stories and make them his own. I don’t have my Dad’s recipe, but I’m told by the elders in my family that my garlic dill pickles taste just Dad’s.

I could blanch and freeze those green beans I picked this morning, but I may try something new. Since they were caught a bit on the young side, I may blanch and then dry them for an alternative to potato chips. I think Dad would approve.

Todd DeGarmo
Voices Acquisitions Editor
Founding Director of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library






Spring–Summer 2013, Volume 39:1–2

Acquisitions Editor
   Todd DeGarmo
Copy Editor
   Patricia Mason
Administrative Manager
   Laurie Longfield
   Mary Beth Malmsheimer
   Eastwood Litho

Editorial Board: Varick Chittenden, Lydia Fish, José Gomez-Davidson, Hanna Griff-Sleven, Nancy Groce, Lee Haring, Bruce Jackson, Christopher Mulé, Libby Tucker, Kay Turner, Dan Ward, Steve Zeitlin

Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore is published twice a year by the New York Folklore Society, Inc.

Advertisers: To inquire, please call the NYFS (518) 346-7008 or fax (518) 346-6617.

Voices is the membership magazine of the New York Folklore Society. To become a subscriber, join the New York Folklore Society today.

TO PURCHASE A BACK ISSUE of Voices, visit our online book store.

TO PURCHASE A SINGLE ARTICLE from Voices, use the form below:

Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

To order a single article, please enter volume number, issue (“fall-winter” or “spring-summer”), and title of the article you wish and click on an order button below to purchase through Paypal or with your credit card. We will send you a PDF of the article via e-mail upon receipt of your order.

ITEM #603
Single Article $3.00
Volume No. & Issue

Member Price  $2.00
Volume No. & Issue

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org