Philip Roth and his 'delicious' Newark

March 18, 2012 at 2:26 PM
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NEWARK, N.J., March 18 (UPI) -- As Newark, N.J., prepares to honor native son Philip Roth's 80th birthday next year, the writer reflects back, saying growing up there was "delicious."

While the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Committee is busy planning a two-day birthday bash for Newark's hometown hero in 2013, Roth reminisced about his youth in the city's Weequahic neighborhood.

"Well, if it was the summer, there was no air conditioning. I'm hot. All the windows are wide open. The radios are on. You hear Walter Winchell, Fred Allen, Jack Benny. You hear people talking in the alleyways," he told the The (Newark) Star-Ledger Sunday.

"They'd have beach chairs in the driveway, so you'd hear laughter and radios. I'd put the ball game on, the Dodgers."

Today, a plaque on the house in which he grew up announces "Historic Site: Philip Roth Home" and the corner of Summit and Keer avenues bears a street sign, "Philip Roth Plaza."

The author of "Portnoy's Complaint," "The Plot Against America," and "American Pastoral" can still summon up strong memories of his childhood -- especially summer vacations at Bradley Beach with family and friends.

After swimming, he says, they would run across the scorching sand to buy hot dogs at Mike and Lou's on Ocean Avenue.

"We'd run on the hot boardwalk, buy half a dozen hot dogs, then run back to the beach," Roth said.

"It was delicious," Roth said.

The hot dogs weren't bad either.

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