History of Our Lodge: The Middle Years
"The Friendship of Princes!"
1924 The Golden Jubilee Year with W Julius Kaplove as Master. On November 22, the lodge celebrated with a dinner at the Astor.
1925 On January 15, with W Morris Beskind as Master, the Lodge moved to the swank Koran Room at Mecca Temple, 130 W. 56th Street. A Fellowcraft Team worthy of the name "Shakespeare" was developed under the direction of W Benjamin Barondess.
1926 W Ralph Frank was Master, when on November 4, Bro Samuel I. Siegel made an address on George Washington as a Mason.
1927 W Harold Vorzimer was Master. On February 11, the Honorable Albert Goldman, Commissioner of Plants and Structures of the City of New York, addressed the Lodge. "La Premiere Soiree de 1927" was a gala performance of "Gay Paree" at the Winter Garden on February 21. There followed a Supper Dance and Divertissement at "Brooke John's Ross Fenton Club in the same edifice." It was a formal attire event, costing Seven Dollars per person. W Isidore Hirschfeld chaired the Entertainment Committee and hosted the event.
On Saint Patrick's Day, Arthur Garfield Hays addressed the Lodge on "Civil Liberties in America." Then on April 21, The Honorable Albert Ottinger, Attorney General of the State of New York spoke to the Lodge. On May 5, we had another speaker of note, Bro Royal S. Copeland, who was a U.S. Senator.
1928 W Arnold Landres was Master, when on September 30, a "Ladies Smoker and Entertainment" was served up. The annual Dinner-Dance-Entertainment was in the Cascades Room of the Hotel Biltmore on November 3. It was one of our most gaudy affairs.
1929 On June 6, with W Philip Horowitz as Master, we were addressed by Bro Dr. Frederick B. Robinson, president of the College of the City of New York. Then on June 20, the Honorable Bro Ferdinand Pecora, Chief Assistant District Attorney of New York County, gave the Historical Lecture of the Master Mason Degree. Our annual affair, held on November 16, included a vaudeville show at the Palace Theatre, and a summer dance at the Hotel Astor, all for $5.00 per person.
1930 In spite of the Wall Street crash only a couple of months previous, W Sigmund Schnarch will always be remembered for his swell year. He is the only Master that we can recall who footed his collation bills. One of his big nights was the appearance of Samuel Rothaphael, the beloved "Roxy."
1931 The Lodge hosted an outing at Lakewood during March 12-15, with W Solomon S. Leff as Master. For years afterwards, Bro Hugo Esberg tried to get the Lodge to duplicate that weekend. Time has not obliterated the memory of some of W Sol Leff's performances, especially that of King Solomon in the Temple Drama, and his peerless presentations of the lambskin aprons.
1932 With W Max Zigas as Master, it was Dues, Dues, Dues. If you cannot remit in full, pay part. On February 4, Bro Chief Running Bear spoke on "What does the Indian know about Masonry?" The Fellowcraft Team performed in Vigilante Lodge Nr. 1108 on June 6. Then on December 1, Bro Abe Deutsch spoke on "What is this Machine Age?" After the meeting a collation was held at the Brass Rail. A huge hungry crowd attended.
1933 W Louis Cutler was Master. On April 20, we were addressed by Commander Harry U. Ross, US Navy Retired on the "Wilkins Ellsworth Expedition of the Submarine Nautilus to the North Pole." Talking on May 4 was Arthur J.W. Hilly, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York. On May 18, there was an open forum on "Shall the U.S. open trade relations with Russia?" On December 21, our pre-meeting dinner was held at Maison Louis. Finally on New Year's Eve, the Fellowcraft Club ran an affair at the Roger Smith Restaurant on East 41st Street. Supper, dancing, entertainment, noisemakers, and headaches, all for $4.00 per aching head. All this was under the auspices of Bro Dr. Joseph Axelrod, president of the Fellowcraft Club.
1934 W Irving Israel was Master. On July 1st, we went fishing under the sponsorship of W Benjamin Barondess. It was the last time our fishing was swell and our fishermen well. RW Louis Cutler arranged a pre-meeting dinner on September 17 in the Cocoanut Grove: $0.75 for members and $1.00 for ladies. (The ladies had cream sauce on their lamb croquettes and dancing.) On October 18, it was Italian Night. RW Louis Pace of Archimedes Lodge Nr 953 and his ruthless ritualists gave the Entered Apprentice Degree.
1935 W Gerson T. Margolish was Master on January 5, when a dinner-dance was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel McAlpin, with over 400 guests attending. RW Louis Cutler arranged everything, for $1.50 per person. Then on February 2, 22 brothers enrolled in a Glee Club organized by Bros Jefferson Vorzimer and Leo F. Heidelberg. They proposed singing in the Lodge Room and visiting other Lodges in the District to annoy them. On February 7, a pre-meeting dinner at the Café Tokay, 52nd Street and 7th Avenue, cost members $0.75 for dinner, music and entertainment.
1936 W Richard Monfried was Master. On January 16, the man in the public eye was Harold G. Hoffman, the Governor of the State of New Jersey. He had just stayed the execution of Bruno Hauptmann (Lindbergh kidnapping). That night, under police escort and protection, Honorable Bro Hoffman gave a great monologue in our lodge. Over 600 members were present. W Morris Bonderefsky organized a bowling club in January, but it disbanded about a year later when it became increasingly difficult for the members to lift the bowling balls.
1937 W Arthur Markewich sat in the East. The Lodge enjoyed a shish kebab dinner at the Golden Horn restaurant. On April 1, Mr. John Mulholland, the world's greatest magician, mystified us. Then on October 7, Arthur Donovan, referee and authority on boxing, made his appearance.
1938 W George Friedman was Master when, after 35 years of service as Secretary, our beloved Brother Abram Frank, died. A Lodge of Remembrance was held on November 17 under the direction of W Arthur Markewich. Honest emotion held sway. It was one of the most poignantly beautiful services ever held at Shakespeare Lodge.
1939 W Benjamin Barondess took time off from his lifelong studies of Abraham Lincoln to become Master of Shakespeare Lodge. The February 16 pre-meeting dinner was in the Coffee Room of the Essex House. The Master also arranged for the appearance on May 3 of Mr. Eleanor Roosevelt in the Grand Ballroom of the Pythian Temple on 70th Street. Her address was "Mason's Whither?" On May 24, the Lodge held a theatre party at the Adelphi Theatre. The show was "Sing For Your Supper." It was a most forgettable show.
1940 W Hilton Leff was Master. On May 7, we packed our belongings and took leave of the Koran Room of Mecca Temple. The Lodge Room had become tawdry and the building down at the heel. The elevator operator was wearing a dilapidated uniform trimmed in baby blue - the same one he wore fifteen years before; and it looked as though he had slept in it for fifteen years. So we moved back to the Masonic Temple. We've been in the warm Colonial Room ever since. It's a nice room, but a little small for us on our infrequent Ladies Nights. And it's a hot box from May to September. On November 21, according to the Lodge Notice, a "Gigantic Ladies Night" was to be held. Our ladies have since reduced. Now we hold "Slender Ladies Nights."
1941 W Samuel P. Pritz was Master, and his year was replete with interesting evenings. On January 16th, the "Boys" discovered Gertner's Restaurant at 168 5th Avenue. Dr. Adolph P. Link, Professor of Psychology at NYU, demonstrated Hypnosis. He made may Markewich sway, W Gerson T. Margolish swoon, and Bro Irving Liechtenstein unconscious for years. On February 6th, dinner was at Enrico & Paglieri's Restaurant. Speaking were Drs. Marie and Benjamin W. Warner on "Two Doctors Look at Married Life." Pre-meeting dinners were held at Gene's Restaurant, 71 West 11th Street on February 20th; and the Chelsea Chop House on March 6th. On March 20th, humorist Irving Davidson was found to be vastly entertaining. On May 15th, Mr. John J. Anthony took up our problems. [?] On June 5th, a dinner at Zucca's, 118 West 49th Street, was negotiated. On October 16th after dinner in the McAlpin Grill, Miss Dell O'Dell plied her magician's trade in the Lodge Room, with delightful results.
1942 On April 16th, with W Maurice Adler as Master, Dr. Tehyi Hsich, the "Chinese Mark Twain," fascinated the Lodge. A Chinese supper followed in the Masonic Club Rooms. A waiter attempted to serve ice cream. The ice cream worshippers pounced on the hapless servitor every time he fearfully emerged from the kitchen bearing a tray stacked with dishes of the precious cooling stuff. The battered and bruised him. They bled him and they tore his clothes to shreds. He had no complaints. Under the circumstances, he was happy to have escaped utter annihilation. On May 21st, Harry Hirschfield proved why he is rated "America's Number One Story Teller."
1943 W Jerome H. Brill was Master. It was during his administration that we settled down to steady and disgusting eating at Gertner's. Said Bro Mike Oestreich in the Lodge Room one night admiringly of the magnificent Jerry Brill, "Matthew (W Matthew Margolish) sure knows how to pick a son-in-law!"
1944 W Morris Bonderfsky was Master. His delivery was a nice, easy, slow drawl. On June 15th, Harry Tanner, the world's most unentertaining entertainer, offended. W Gerson T. Margolish came frequently to heckle Secretary W Max Zigas
1945 On October 4, with W Anthony Turano as Master, "Judge Not," a One Act Masonic Play was presented by Justice Lodge Nr. 753. It was excellent both in content and in acting. It could be seen again, with profit.
1946 On May 16, with W Harry Storin as Master, W Lester N. Neulen gave his exciting version of the Middle Chamber Lecture. The use of colored slides and recorded music heightened his performance. On June 23rd and 27th, the Degree work began at 4:30 pm. On October 31st, former New Jersey Governor A. Harry Morre was our speaker, with collations in the Café de la Stewart Cafeteria.
1947 On April 3rd, with W George Feldman as Master, the Fellowcraft Team performed in the Grand Lodge Room. Masons from all over the eastern seaboard were invited. The SRO sign was hung out early. By 8 pm, visitors arriving in busloads were told by the police to turn around and go home again. There wasn't an inch of space left for them. November 27th was the night of a thousand knishes. They were made by Mrs. George Feldman, and served in the Masonic Hall Banquet and Knish Room
1948 A man with an enormous capacity for friendship and a strong desire to please was Master, W Samuel Littman. The sumptuous collations during his year glorified the American bagel trimmed with lox. After these Lucullian feasts in the bowels of the Masonic Hall, the members adjourned to the Bicarbonate of Soda Room. Sam's accelerated pace gave us ample time to visit Clermont Lodge. The presentation ceremonies for the District Deputy, RW Arthur Markewich, occurred on September 16. This marked the beginning of the tour of the Shakespeare Repertory Company. This gallant band of loyal and abject Shakespeareans accompanied the DDGM on all his visitations in the Sixth Masonic District of Manhattan. They saw to it that he stayed away from Shakespeare Lodge for a year.
1949 In our Diamond Jubilee Year, our destinies were guided by W Louis Ziskin as Master. Our surprise nourishments of the year included Turkish Halvah on St. Patrick's Day, and ice cream on the coldest night of winter. We also had a Macintosh and Barton night - apples and chocolates were served. On March 3rd, we were startled by Prince Hara, magician and pickpocket. He nearly went too far. He picked Bro Merny Milman right out of his clothes, leaving him draped only in his nylon shorts. On April 21st, we celebrated the Homecoming of the DDGM, RW Arthur Markewich. By the time he was scheduled to enter the lodge Room, it was so packed and the crush was so great, there was absolutely no space for him. All that could be admitted was his smile and his mellifluous voice.