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Guide to the Listen to This: Crown Heights Oral History collection 2010.020

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 22, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Weitz, Herbert, 2010 April 12

Biographical / Historical

Herbert "Herbie" Weitz was born into an upper class family in Brooklyn in 1934. His first home, on Washington Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, had a live-in maid and a visiting maid. By 1941, the family had moved to a home overlooking Ebbets Field and a short while later, to Union Street and Kingston Avenue. Weitz attended P.S. 167, Crown Heights Yeshiva, and Erasmus Hall High School. He delayed his graduation because of time spent at a notorious pool hall on Union and Kingston. After joining the army, Weitz managed an officers' club in Germany. He was a New York bartender until the early 1970s, when he took over his father's bookbinding and rare books shop, Weitz, Weitz and Coleman, on Lexington Avenue. By 2008, the binding business was renamed WMG Bookbinding and had moved to the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn, and Weitz was commuting from Manhattan. He grew up as an only child and has no children.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Herbert "Herbie" Weitz clearly recollects the twelve years of his youth spent in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. He talks about specific memories of the three houses in which he lived, including one that overlooked the Dodgers' ballpark, Ebbets Field. He reels off the schools he attended: P.S. 167, Crown Heights Yeshiva, and Erasmus Hall High School. Skipping classes in his junior year to shoot billiards at a neighborhood pool hall and interact with gangsters led to a short term period as a dropout. Weitz recalls the ethnic makeup of his block and when, in 1947, the first African American family moved in. He recalls the social life of Brooklynites; including nightclubs, gambling, movie theaters, stickball games and museums. Weitz revels in storytelling and reminisces about pool hustling, getting into physical fights with a friend and the many games he played at Lincoln Terrace Park. Interview conducted by Ansie Montilus, Monica Parfait, Quanaisha Phillips and Alex Kelly.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to the interview is available onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of BHS. For assistance, contact

Subject Names

  • Weitz, Herbert

Subject Organizations

  • Erasmus Hall High School
  • Saint Gregory's Roman Catholic Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ebbets Field (New York, N.Y.)
  • Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jewish neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jewish religious education
  • Motion picture theaters -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Multiculturalism
  • Parents -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Race relations -- United States

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)