December 22 – Happy Birthday Eddie “Liber” Librantowski

liber222His real name is Edward Librantowski but in Amsterdam he’s known simply as Eddie Liber. He graduated from St. Mary’s Institute in 1961 and then served his country as a member of the US  Navy. After his discharge, he went to work at GE. Then in the late 1970’s he decided he wanted to open a bar. There was a building available at 226 West Main Street in Amsterdam that from the outside wasn’t very impressive. To tell you the truth, it was even a bit less impressive on the inside. But it turned out be the absolute perfect place for Liber’s Tavern…

You can read the rest of my story about Eddie and his legendary watering West Main Street watering hole in the new 2nd Edition of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays”, which is now available at Liberty Fresh Market in Amsterdam.

Eddie’s birthday post will be the last birthday post I put up at the AmsterdamNYBirthdays.com blog. I have enjoyed sharing these stories (over 600 of them in total) with all of you during the past two years. In the mean time, if anyone out there comes up with an idea that requires a decent writer, give me a call!

December 17 – Happy Birthday John Kellogg

kellogg222If John Kellogg and Stephen Sanford hadn’t been around to take over when the mills first started by their fathers were each put in peril by unexpected tragedies, Amsterdam, NY’s history as an Empire State industrial powerhouse may never have gotten written. Today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant converted an old abandoned distillery sitting alongside the Chuctanunda Creek right off of Church Street into one of the world’s leading linseed oil mills.

You can read how he did it in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which is now on sale at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam.

December 13 – Happy Birthday Buddy Flesh & Frank Pozniak

flesh222…I watched this guy compete a lot when he was in high school. The thing that always amazed me about Flesh was how “quietly” fast he was. By that I mean it never looked like he was moving at a high rate of speed but yet he could turn a corner on a football sweep, go the length of the court for a layup or first to third on a single with the fleetest of them. It didn’t surprise me to learn that he stole 77 bases in four years of minor league ball. Yet he was also physically strong. He could drive a baseball and throw a football over long distances and he was also an amazing leaper and rebounder for a guy his size…

You can read the rest of my story about Buddy Flesh in the new 2nd Edition of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays”, which is now available at Liberty Fresh Market in Amsterdam. If you can’t get to the Market use this form to let me know you’d like a copy and I will make sure you get one.

frankpoz22I consider Flesh the greatest all-around Amsterdam High School athlete of the 1960’s. Coincidentally, I learned just this morning that he shares a birthday with the guy I consider to be the greatest Amsterdam High School athlete of the 1970’s, Frank Pozniak. Like Flesh, Pozniak was a three-sport star during his days on the hill and he went on to play football for Brown University and later settled in Massachusetts. Happy Birthday Frank and Buddy!

 

December 12 – Happy Birthday Jacob Reisigl

reisiglThough he didn’t move to Amsterdam, NY until after his professional playing days were over, of the four one-time residents of this city to play big league baseball, Jacob Reisigl was the first to do so. It was way back in 1911, so long ago that the team he pitched for is now called the Cleveland Indians but way back then were known as the Cleveland Naps. After hanging up his glove for good, Reisigl moved to Amsterdam where he got a job stringing line for the local power company and never left. He married a local girl, raised a family and became a very busy umpire for the city’s youth baseball leagues. After he retired from the power company, he took a job as the crossing guard at a local grade school.

It’s a real nice story and I tell it all in my new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays. It’s on sale now at Amsterdam’s Liberty Fresh Market. If you can’t get there, use this form to let me know you want a copy and I will contact you.

December 9 – Happy Birthday Christopher Heffernan, Jr.

heffernan222In April of 1945, after three years of not knowing if his only son, an Army captain serving in the Philippines was alive or dead, New York State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Heffernan received a ray of hope. It came to him in a very informal and indirect way but it came to him none-the-less. The Judge was told that an officer who had been imprisoned in Manila by the Japanese forces who had invaded the islands shortly after Pearl Harbor had been attacked, had met another prisoner who supposedly told him he had seen Christopher J. Heffernan, Jr. alive as late as November of 1944. One can only imagine the sense of hope and excitement that must have permeated the Judge’s Market Street home, when he told his wife and the youngest of his four daughters that their beloved son and brother might be alive. But then, just a few weeks later on Flag Day, 1945, a letter came from the War Department confirming once and for all that Captain Heffernan had died of malaria in a Japanese prison camp in April of 1942.

That meant this promising young graduate of St. Mary’s Institute and the West Point Military Academy had made the Supreme sacrifice for his country before reaching the age of 24. In the brand new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays I share an eloquent tribute written for this gallant young Amsterdam native by an anonymous West Point classmate.

December 7 – Happy Birthday Louis Conrad

conrad222A native of Germany, Louis Conrad settled in Cranesville, NY just in time to fight bravely for the Federal Army in the Civil War. When he was mustered out of his artillery regiment he returned to this area and landed a job that put him in contact with just about every prominent resident of this community. When Amsterdam became a city in 1885, the popular Conrad was hired as one of its first police patrolmen. He thus became the first “Conrad” to make a career protecting the public’s safety in Amsterdam. He would not be the last.

You can read the rest of my story about Officer Conrad in the new 2nd Edition of my book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays” which will be available for sale on Saturday, December 10, 2016. If you’d like to receive a copy from the first printing, fill out this reservation form and someone will contact you. The book will also be on sale at Liberty Fresh Market (4867 NY Route 30, Amsterdam, NY 12010) beginning that same day!

Officer Conrad shares his December 7 birthday with one of the greatest golfers in Amsterdam’s history!

December 4 – Happy Birthday Liz Andrysczcyk Biondi

lizzie222I can very clearly remember sitting in the audience during an evening performance of the 1969 Amsterdam High School Drama Club’s production of Peter Pan and thinking to myself, “She’s actually better than Mary Martin!” The “she” I was referring to was Liz Andrysczcyk, a soon-to-turn 16-year-old Amsterdam native who had just transferred to AHS from Bishop Scully that fall. She switched schools specifically to have the opportunity to do exactly what she had just done that evening, wow an auditorium filled with people with an amazing theatrical performance in a Bert DeRose directed musical. DeRose had cast her in the featured role in the classic J. M. Barrie story made famous on Broadway by actress Mary Martin. She stole the stage that night with her spot-on performance as Pan, her physicality and her outstanding singing voice. In fact, she sang her featured number, “I Gotta Crow” better than I’ve ever heard it sung by anyone before or since…

You can read the rest of my story about Liz in the new 2nd Edition of my book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays” which will be available for sale on Saturday, December 10, 2016. If you’d like to receive a copy from the first printing, fill out this reservation form and someone will contact you. The book will also be on sale at Liberty Fresh Market (4867 NY Route 30, Amsterdam, NY 12010) beginning that same day!

November 25 – Happy Birthday John L. Voorhees

voorhees222John L. Voorhees was born in Amsterdam, NY on November 25, 1870 into a family of bankers. His grandfather was John Leslie Voorhees, one of the founders of the city’s Farmers National Bank and his father James served as president of that same bank from 1911 until 1927. His mother Margaret was a McClumpha, from the same family that operated McClumpha’s Market, one of the most popular grocery stores in the city’s history…

I tell you where McClumpha’s market, the Farmer’s National Bank and the former manufacturing plant today’s birthday celebrant co-owned were all located (and still stand today) in the new 2nd Edition of my book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays” which will be available for sale on Saturday, December 10, 2016. If you’d like to receive a copy from the first printing, fill out this reservation form and someone will contact you. The book will also be on sale at Liberty Fresh Market (4867 NY Route 30, Amsterdam, NY 12010) beginning that same day!

November 22 – Happy Birthday Lew Burdette

burdette2No former Amsterdam Rugmaker pitcher went on to win as many big league games as Lew Burdette did. Unfortunately, none of those 203 victories happened in a Yankee uniform.

I describe Burdette’s one season here in Amsterdam and how he got more than even with New York’s front office for trading him, in the new 2nd Edition of my book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays” which will be available for sale on Saturday, December 10, 2016. If you’d like to receive a copy from the first printing, fill out this reservation form and someone will contact you. The book will also be on sale at Liberty Fresh Market (4867 NY Route 30, Amsterdam, NY 12010) beginning that same day!

November 21 – Happy Birthday J. Donald Smeallie

smeallie22James Donald (J.D.) Smeallie was born in Amsterdam on November 21, 1892, the third child and second son of P. Henry and Katherine Morris Smeallie. His older brother, J. Morris Smeallie chose a career in the Navy, becoming an Admiral who just before World War II was charged with the responsibility of defending the Philippines from naval attack. J.D. attended Cornell University and joined his father’s company in 1913. He took over as president of the company and ran it for the next three decades, the only interruption being his service in the Army during World War II.

I tell you all about that company in the new 2nd Edition of my book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays” which will be available for sale on Saturday, December 10, 2016. If you’d like to receive a copy from the first printing, fill out this reservation form and someone will contact you. The book will also be on sale at Liberty Fresh Market (4867 NY Route 30, Amsterdam, NY 12010) beginning that same day!