Category Archives: Autobiographies

Joyce Ship Zaritsky

Joyce Ship Zaritsky

It’s been a fascinating ride. I never would have expected where it would lead me. After M&A I attended Brandeis University and then got an  MAT  from Harvard Graduate School of Education, then an MM from Yale. I taught vocal music for a while at a public high school and decided it wasn’t for me. In the meantime, I married Avrom Zaritsky who I met at Brandeis. (He was a graduate of Performing Arts HS when it was located on 46th Street.) I then received a doctorate in Education from Yeshiva University. In the meantime, due to hubby’s job (he worked for NBC TV ) we lived in Israel for 2 years where I worked for a Ford Foundation type of organization. In the meantime, we had 2 kids, Eve and Joshua, who have been successful beyond our wildest dreams – both are doctors ( a Jewish mother’s dream? ) which I confess I had little to do with and now have 4 granddaughters. What a wonderful addition!  For the past 35 years I was a professor at LaGuardia C. College, a CUNY institution and am proud to say that I started a peer tutoring program there (Academic Peer Instruction – which has been very successful.  I retired in 2012, but am still working as a “senior advisor” for the program. Can’t seem to stop working!
Sadly, my husband suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 4 long years and we decided to stay in Miami Beach where we had a second apartment. He died just recently in December of 2015. (It is not fun being a widow, but I was one for a long time before he died.)
M&A?  What a great place that was for me. It opened my eyes to the world beyond the Bronx!   It left me as a sometimes pianist but a real “culture vulture.” I attend so many concerts, the opera and ballet, art exhibits, and the theater. It is truly an addiction for me.  Better than drugs? Much better.
I now “play” with writing. Wrote a novel a while ago, had some short stories published in obscure journals and am now part of a writing group where I share my short pieces and dream of writing another book. Who knows?
Right now, am recovering from a hip replacement but hope and  plan to join all of you who come to our 60th reunion.  Contact me if you wish at:

Richard Hammerschlag

Richard Hammerschlag

As a quickest of personal updates, I retired for the second time in 2009 (after 10 years of Acupuncture Research) and have most recently helped to birth a small organization called CHI, the Consciousness and Healing Initiative ( that has been exploring/promoting ‘biofields’ (energy medicine) as complementary to the more traditional biochemistry model for describing informational and regulatory systems of the body.

Grandkids have become wonderful 20 and 17 year young adults; granddaughter recently pushed for and, after cutting off her shoulder-length thick head of hair, won the Westside Story role of Riff, head of the Jets. She’s also out there promoting gender fluidity!

I’m still loving Portland and the NW… with a few winter months in Tucson, where wife Sue lived for many years.

Have been honing my musical chops playing/performing with a local Taiko (traditional Japanese drumming) group.  Sending warmest wishes to my classmates of ’56 with regrets not to be joining you for our 60th.

Jonathan Ned Katz

Jonathan Ned Katz

Jonathan Ned Katz is an independent scholar, historian, and visual artist. He has published four books on the history of sexuality and intimacy: Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality (2001); The Invention of Heterosexuality (1995); Gay/Lesbian Almanac (1983), and Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (1976).

Katz also published two books on African American history, Resistance at Christiana: The Fugitive Slave Rebellion, Christiana, Pennsylvania, 1851 (1974). He co-authored Black Woman: A Fictionalized Biography of Lucy Terry Prince (1973).

He is the founder and a director of, the website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual history that went online in 2008.

In 2002, at Princeton University, Katz led a faculty seminar on sexuality in history. In 2003, at Yale University, he taught a class on lesbian and gay history, and in 2004, at Yale’s Sterling Library, he curated a major exhibit on the lesbian and gay history of Yale and Connecticut. In 2013, he presented a keynote address at a Harvard conference on LGBT history.

In 2013 the first solo exhibit of Katz’ visual art was held at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, curated by the noted art historian Jonathan David Katz (no relation). In conjunction with that show Jonathan published Coming of Age in Greenwich Village: A Memoir with Paintings.


Annie Korzen

Annie Drazen Korzen

I was Anne Drazen, now Annie Korzen.
Wife, mother, and grandmother, happy to say.
We live in Los Angeles but am still a New Yorker at heart.
I am a comedy writer and actor: the recurring Doris Klompus on SEINFELD, and Moth Radio Hour storyteller.
My new solo show will be produced in L. A. this fall and – hopefully – will come to NY at some point.

Gary Azerier

Gary Alexander Azerier

Gary Alexander Azerier is a broadcaster with an extensive background in radio journalism.

After serving with the Informational Services Office of the Second U.S. Marine Division, Gary also taught English and Radio Communications on the university level in Boston, Westchester and New York.
With his spouse Rose Ann he divides his time among his three homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Delray Beach, Florida. His books include:
1.   Nosebleeds from Washington Heights, a collection of short stories
2.   Pineapple Grove And Other Stories
3.   4313 & Beyond, an autobiography
4.   Constellation Station a Children’s Book
10 Golden Moments

Alan Hirschhorn

Alan Hirschhorn

– I attended Fenn College (now Cleveland State University) as an Engineering student in the Co-op program.  Working in industry demonstrated to me that engineering was not my “cup of tea”.  [At M&A, I was an art student who enjoyed playing gigs with some of the music majors.]

– While still a student at Fenn, I was called upon by Joel Greenwald to put a group together to play a dance at Oberlin.

– After leaving Fenn and Engineering, I attended the Boston Conservatory/Berklee College where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a MusB degree (in Composition).

– I earned my MusM (in Composition) at the Yale University School of Music.  I had continued performing and having to join the Cleveland, Boston, and New Haven Musicians’ locals while retaining my NY Local 802 status.

– 1966 -1968, I taught at Berklee College of Music.  I taught ALL of the theory and writing courses being offered (from 16th-century counterpoint to arranging and musical forms, a course I introduced based upon a Mel Powell course I had at Yale)

– I married Joy Telerico in June of 1969.  We moved to Greenwich, CT, Joy’s hometown.

– That same year, I found a vacancy in the Bedford Central School District (Northern Westchester County) where I taught until my retirement in 2001.  My highlight in Bedford CSD occurred in 1987 when I composed the score for an original musical for Fox Lane Middle School. I wrote 20 songs, 19 with lyrics, and one of our leads was 8th-grader, Marissa Winokur who won a Tony Award in 2003 for “Hairspray”.

– Joy and I had three daughters (1971, 1975, and 1979)
We moved to Hopewell Junction in 1981 where our daughters attended the Arlington School District.  All three attended and graduated from SUNY Colleges.

– In 1998, Joy passed away unexpectedly at age 53.

– I retired from teaching in 2001.  From the 80s until c.1996, a colleague and I had formed a 5-piece band (including 2 musicians from the West Point Jazz Knights). We played weddings on weekends which helped  significantly in paying my daughters’ tuitions.

– I joined the East Fishkill Rotary Club in 2001 for which I am very active as co-chair of the scholarship committee (awarding $8,000 annually to East Fishkill seniors) and this year, $10,000, $2,000 awards to five students due to our successful fund-raising.  I also schedule weekly guest speakers (e.g. Miss New York of 2013, healthcare professionals, local and state officials, various specialists like wastewater management, high school principals, and so forth).  “No one is safe from me!”

– I stopped playing after we dissolved our quintet.  My REAL reason for not attending M&A reunions lies in the fact that not playing regularly for such a long period of time has rendered my performance chops well below my peak.

– My late wife’s large family and a large group of friends have all enriched my life as well as a wonderful Ph.D, author, and retired Academic whom I have been dating for the past five years.
Lin and I have been attending the Hartford Symphony (by subscription) for the past five years. They are an absolutely remarkable orchestra.

– I have two wonderful grandkids who live just 6 minutes away from me.

Michael Altschuler's drawing

Michael Jonah Altschuler

Karate-Chopping Trees in Central Park
NY Times Metropolitan Diary

Dear Diary:
I am a Central Park Conservancy volunteer tree pruner.
Dragging a small black cherry tree to my cut pile, I heard the familiar “red light-green light, pace setter” getting increasingly close as the Central Park Sports Club kids made a mad dash along Lilac Walk on the way from their Popsicle break to their next activity, “Steal the bacon.”
I levered the cherry until it was vertical and held it still with one hand, pretending it was rooted in the earth. Then I called, “Hey, young athletes, want to see a real-life karate champion?” That stopped them. I bowed in four directions, then heavenward, and intoned my best Sid Caesar-style warrior prayer: “Maki motto chop suey soy.”
With a great windup, I grunted, slashed a karate chop and flicked the tree away. They were stunned. I bowed again.
“Can you do it to that tree?” a little girl asked, pointing to a 60-foot pin oak. “Do it again!” yelled another as he walked backward down the path.
The vision of those adorable children in their bright orange shirts, knobby knees, out-of-proportion sneakers and oversize shorts, the beauty of the park and a thumbs-up from all the counselors — what more could one ask for? I should pay for the privilege of this volunteer job.
Michael J. Altschuler, AIA

Grace Freundlich

Grace Freundlich

M&A Memories

The only time I ever had advice from a guidance teacher was when I met Miss Riley, my first art teacher, in the corridor near the stairs as there was a class change. She was my guidance teacher, but I never had contact with her in that capacity, as I had no clue about how one sees a guidance teacher. She knew me from art class, though, and had given me 100% in the class in my sophomore year, which was my first year in M&A. This was now toward the end of junior year, as I remember it.

I said, as she passed me, “Where shall I apply for college?” (as I had no help on this sort of thing).

She said, as she went into the stairwell, “For you, I think Black Mountain would be a good idea.”

If only I had had a regular appointment with her . . . I really did not know what to do with her advice. Hey, this was a public school in New York City, and I was lucky to be there; even if we had no guidance or athletics, we had a lot of other offerings. Had I not been a student at M&A, it would have taken me a lot longer to figure out what I do understand about life.

Adele Schofler Weissman

I was a music major. Came in on piano; played the cello in the orchestra. The years have flown by, and now my husband and I are both retired after careers with the NYC Board of Education. We have three adult daughters and five grandkids.

I’d like to share the following news: Our daughter Carol J. Weissman Kurth has been selected to be a Townsend Harris Medalist. [This is an award conferred on CCNY distinguished alumni for outstanding postgraduate achievements in their chosen field.] The medal will be presented on October 18, 2007, at a reception and dinner held by the City College Alumni Association.

Carol received her architecture degrees from CCNY and has been very devoted to and involved with CCNY since her graduations in 1980 and 1981. She also has established a scholarship that is awarded annually to a female architecture student. Carol’s architecture firm is located in Bedford, New York.

Interestingly, my husband and I met at CCNY and graduated from there, and Carol was “with me” (in utero) as I attended classes.

Arthur Levy and Bertha, the String Bass

Art Levy

Arthur Levy and Bertha, the String Bass

At my interview, piano audition, for entry into the High School of Music and Art in 1952, I was prepared for an important question: “What secondary musical instrument would you like to study?” Aware of the sexiest instrument in Brooklyn at that time, there was no competition. I remember the confident smile when I responded to the sweet lady, “the trombone.” I remember widening my stance and sneering slighting to the side to provide ample evidence that I could handle this responsibility of the ultimate sex image. I learned soon after that I had been assigned the string bass.
Up to that point my family had not seen a more devastating disaster. My mother called the school and rattled on to someone in “the office” about the tragedy of the assignment. My father penned an emotional letter to the principal, Dr. Steigman. Dad talked about congenital facts(?) such as my inborn aversion to horsehair on the bow and fear of any musical instrument that was larger than me. We talked about potential accidents if a string broke while I was leaning over it. But as relentless as the struggle to free me from the burden of the bass was, HSM&A officials kept their decision, and I started the classes.
As it happened, string bass and cello class was combined. The instructor was quite amiable, and I grabbed the offensive and begged to be switched to the cello instead of the larger instrument. I was given counseling and advised to not waste my tactical energy. We started to learn finger positions and how millions of years of biological evolution had been inadequate to form the fingers of the left hand properly for the string bass. We practiced contortions and learned the string bass hand signal to wave to other members of this secret society.
I met some of the other string bass students and was amazed that some were significantly smaller than I and loved the instrument. Fellow bass player, Zippie Weiss was my first string bass enigma. And so, I began my love-hate relationship with the musical instrument. I got assigned “my” instrument, kept in one of many large armoires in the orchestra practice room. It was big, heavy and generally more ponderous than anything I had ever cradled in my arms before. Like all the other new bass players I peeked down into the f-holes to see what lurked inside. I was amazed at the pile of crumpled papers discarded into the inner body. I later noticed the trash gone, having been purged by the instrument repair shop across the hall. My level of satisfaction with my orchestral membership quickly exceeded anything that I had expected.
But I still had the hots to play the trombone. I borrowed a school trombone for the weekend one time to astonish my family and friends. A pal at HSM&A loaned me a mouthpiece so I could get started. My mother admired the school’s willingness to let students take home school instruments. She examined the mouthpiece with suspicion. After learning its origins, she soaked it in a soapy Clorox solution to banish alien germs from her baby’s mouth. I assembled the shiny instrument and posed in front of a mirror in an assortment of sexy stances. Then I blew. And I blew. And became blue. Sounds emerged, but hardly music. Saliva gurgled. My lips vibrated. My lips tingled and swelled up. When I addressed my grandmother as “Bubba” it came out as “wuwwa.” And then we started to get comments from the neighbors in the apartment house. That stunted my affair with the trombone.
It was time to take my assigned string bass home to Brooklyn to “practice over the weekend” and to show my family what I had accomplished so far. We had lovely brown canvas cases to transport the instruments in. And one Friday afternoon, I descended the stairs from the orchestra room to the street, the innumerable stairs through the park to the subway, and the stairs in the subway to the 135th Street Station platform. I went one stop down to the 125th Street Station and changed for the express and changed again, ascending innumerable stairs for the Culver Line to Brooklyn. It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and subway commuter traffic was starting to build up.
Now, you have to be able to picture my Avenue N Station to appreciate what was about to happen. The train is an elevated line at that point. It has a platform level, an entrance/exit/waiting room level and then a gazillion stairs down to the street level. The exit mechanism was the medieval floor-to-ceiling pipe turnstile where the pipes intermesh if you try to go all the way around (and attempt to re-enter). It turned in only one direction, of course. The exit level on the Avenue M end – my end of the station – was unmanned and usually deserted in the late afternoon between trains.
So, I arrived at my station around 5 o’clock that day with my huge string instrument neatly packed in its brown canvas cover. I waited on the platform until the rush of commuters had poured down to the exit level and squealed one by one through the pipe turnstile. I slowly went down to the exit level. I examined the turnstile opening, studying how to snuggle my body with Bertha (as I called my string instrument) so that we would both press through together. While my body is somewhat compressible, Bertha’s was not.
The two of us squeezed in and I started to waltz us through, one itsy bitsy step at a time. Inch by inch it was just fine. There was no one to rush us. Then the turnstile stopped. I couldn’t go any farther. I was completely wedged in and surrounded on all sides by iron pipes, able to move neither forward nor backward. I was stuck. I sucked in all flexible parts of my body and jiggled Bertha. The iron cage was jammed. I looked carefully around and noticed the problem – a small edge protruding inward blocking Bertha’s progress. The station rumbled loudly with the approach of the next train. I started to sweat.
The deserted station quickly filled with hurried people. They lined up in back of my captivity, waiting for me to move. I quietly screamed, “I’m stuck. Help.” A few people belted out the standard Brooklyn epithets. Someone tried to ram me through harder – but I cried that it would destroy my musical instrument. As I listened for suggestions, my vocabulary of vile Italian and Yiddish epithets was enhanced, but I got no constructive ideas. Then someone reminded the crowd that they could go back up to the platform and exit at the Avenue N end. And they all left. It got quiet again as the exit level became deserted. I was once again alone.
Desperate to escape, I then fiddled (no pun, please) with the snaps on the case and opened it to reveal Bertha’s strings. I loosened the strings until the bridge on the front could be moved. and I let it flop over. Bertha slimmed down a tad. With a bit of wiggling, I discovered a new opportunity and rotated my way out. I flew down the stairs, scooted the two long blocks to my street, and then climbed the steep flights of stairs to our apartment. My father was already home. He remarked about looking forward to a concert after dinner, which, by the way, I had delayed. I leaned Bertha against the living room wall and noticed that my pulse was below that of a hummingbird for the first time in nearly an hour.
Bertha and I traveled the subway many times after that with far more caution. There were times when a group of us had our instruments at the 125th Street Station at the same time. If there was room in the train, we set up our music stands and played together until 59th Street – sometimes farther. Sometimes we took the local to have enough time for a proper ensemble. I clearly had a love affair with Bertha in spite of the trouble she caused. I slowly lost my lust for the trombone – almost.