Commentary Magazine


The Uptown Social Club

To the Editor:

. . . When you published the article “The Uptown Social Club” by Theodore Frankel, in your November issue . . . you were obviously referring to the Mid-Manhattan Club of which I am the membership chairman, and a member of the board of directors. Our president, Sol Marks (Sam Fine, as you call him) works as much as sixteen hours a day for the club, sometimes seven days a week, without a cent of pay, for the sole purpose of bringing Jewish boys and girls together. . . . His magnanimous contribution to our society deserves more than the derogatory . . . remarks of Mr. Frankel. . . .

1. Our girls are not gum chewers.

2. Our girls do not wear leather coats; they for the most part come very well dressed. I personally reject those who are unpresentable, and my standards are high.

3. Our television set has very weak audio and does not blare, but rather cannot be heard ten feet away. I have been trying to fix this for the longest time.

4. Our married couples are not essentially card players, and gambling is not allowed on the premises.

5. I have seen Sol Marks [the president] defeated at the board meetings entirely too many times for anybody to claim that he uses steamroller tactics.

6. The Riverside Plaza Hotel is no more ancient, dirty, or antiquated than any other building in New York.

7. Maybe Mr. Frankel doesn’t have the ability to meet a girl, and blames this on the club. We announce over three marriages a month.

I could continue this for pages. . . .

Paul Neinken
Brooklyn, New York

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To the Editor:

. . . The article by Mr. Theodore Frankel, purporting to be a truthful representation of an organization known as “The Uptown Social Club,” [was] supposedly a documentary piece. . . . In truth, it is . . . a . . . shallow account . . . descriptive of one individual’s highly eccentric feelings toward the Mid-Manhattan Club. . . .

There are certain points of a non-fictional nature which I would like to stress.

1. The club is a state-chartered organization which devotes itself to social, cultural, and philanthropic objectives, and contrary to Mr. Frankel, has met the . . . needs of most of its membership (myself included) admirably.

2. The membership of the Mid-Manhattan Club consists largely of professional men and women as well as reputable and responsible business people. It avoids catering to the . . . crude gallivanters who play a prominent role in Mr. Frankel’s fantasy.

3. The club has been honored by many prominent people including Mayor Robert F. Wagner and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.

4. Its president, Sol Marks, is not the . . . character that Mr. Frankel would like to have his readers believe. . . . He is an intelligent, serious, and hard-working administrator who makes his living as a real estate executive and not as an important member of this or any other organization.

I’ve wondered just what really possessed Mr. Frankel in writing such an incredible piece which by indirection . . . mocks . . . other reputable Jewish organizations striving to serve thousands of young Jewish people in a forthright way. He may not really have exposed anything but a personality of a distinctly negative character . . . the type that consistently derides varied social groups. . . .

Irving Dickstein
New York City

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To the Editor:

Many young single people will readily identify themselves with the members of Theodore Frankel’s “Uptown Social Club.” But they will also ask what solution there is to their loneliness and inability to find friends of their own age group and background. How does Mr. Frankel feel the situation can be improved? . . . I wonder . . . private parties? . . . This “rat-race” situation is a very depressing one to young men and women; they would certainly appreciate any help and suggestions if Mr. Frankel has any to offer.

Lee Garner
New York City

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