Showtime documentary
premiering at McEwen

 

 

 

 

A premiere showing of the film "The Boys of 2nd Street Park" will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 23 in McEwen 011, the screening room in the lower level of the School of Communications. The 90-minute made-for-TV program will be followed by a Q-A session with Bobby Feld, one of the six men it highlights.

The film follows a group of friends who grew up in the 1950s near New York's 2nd Street Park, a concrete haven constructed by urban planners following World War II for use by working-class families and their children. The park was a few feet from the boardwalk and beach and three blocks from Coney Island. The film is a documentary-style look at the people of this place.

One of the '50s friends, Dan Klores, joined another, advertising executive Ron Berger, to work on the film in 2001. Klores began traveling around the country to interview 25 of the boys, and he shot more than 80 hours of his talks with them, as well as some conversations with wives, ex-wives, girlfriends and parents. After eight months of editing, he decided the story would best be told through shining a light on the lives of six of the men. "We now have 18 old friends, who, for the most part, ended up on the editing floor and are looking to kick our butts," Klores wrote in an online informational piece he wrote to promote the film.

One of those who made the cut and is featured in the film is Feld, a 2nd Street Park Boy who now lives in Winston-Salem, N.C. "The guy with the baby blanket and the rabbinical degree," Klores says. Feld has been married since 1994 and has worked for American Express for the last 26 years. "I remember he defined himself as a purposeful underachiever," Klores said. "He lived up to his definition."

Klores recalls his days in the 1950s, when his friends' fathers were cab drivers, factory workers and subway clean-up men. "Our mothers took care of our one-bedroom apartments, where Castro Convertibles served as couches during the day and beds at night," he said. "In the park, we played every conceivable city game. We taunted each other, learned to curse, hustle, con, befriend and betray - and we learned to love. It was also there that our lifelong love affair with basketball began."

Those boys, now men ages 53 to 57, played the game in high school and college. One, a seven-footer, even made it to the pros. But pot, coke, Quaaludes and heroin replaced basketball for many, and, according to Klores, "sleeping with other friends' girlfriends or wives became a sign of personal 'identity.' All the while, we were confronted with another dilemma, as war, draft and protest swirled around us; to go or to flee became the newest park game."

Klores said those who survived grew into fathers and husbands, professionals and blue-collar workers. "One guy graduated from Harvard, one guy lived in Woodstock, on his own land, in a cabin without running water or electricity. Another had won a $45 million lottery," he said. "A few lost their children, one was homeless and some became lawyers, psychologists, teachers, etc. I felt deeply that these stories, if told in an open and honest way, would make a great story about a generation that far transcended the little world we had in Brighton Beach."

Klores said selecting the music for the soundtrack was one of the most enjoyable parts of making the film. The original score was composed by Sherman Foote. The soundtrack to "The Boys of 2nd Street Park" has 20 songs, including music from: Frankie Lymon; Rosie and the Originals; The Drifters; The Grateful Dead; Bob Dylan; Paul Simon; The Band; The Lovin' Spoonful; Traffic; Rotary Connection; Donovan; The Impressions; Nick Drake and Brian Eno.

"The Boys of 2nd Street Park" will begin airing on the Showtime television network Sept. 28.

 

 

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School of Communications 
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E-mail: communications@elon.edu
Last Modified:  9/21/03
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