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From the American Scene: 'Twas a Dark Night in Brownsville

- Abstract

In the 1920′s, when I was very young, every New York Jew could feel certain about one thing: he was superior to anyway living in Brownsville. There was a kind of bilingual folk ballad about this Brooklyn Kasrilevke that we Brownsvillians learned to anticipate from a certain gleam in people’s eyes. It began, “’Siz geven a finstere nacht in Brunzvil”—it was a dark night in Brownsville—and it was always accompanied by uproarious laughter. Whenever a Brownsville boy ventured outside his home district, some variant of the following dialogue was inevitable:

Where ya from?

Brooklyn.



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