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February 6, 2012
Dear old Sidney:
It was on the instant yesterday evening, February 5, 2012, when Tom Brady’s zero-seconds-to-go Hail Mary pass fell harmlessly to the turf in Indianapolis that my eyes suddenly welled with tears.
Four years ago, almost to the day, out in Arizona, another such Super game ended with another Hail Mary pass, but this one was completed, Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress, underdog wild card New York Giants 17, undefeated New England Patriots, 14.
One of your sons, Adam or Jed, I think it was Jed, let out a victory whoop, or howl, that shook your whole apartment. You just smiled quietly. Everybody in the jampacked place knew that you were dying, and you did too.
So did my wife, Frances, who loved you deeply, and has not got over the loss to this day.
So in fact did I, you old bastard, ever since we first worked together several thousand years ago down at 75 West Street in that wonderful little old Jewish neighborhood candy shop, the Dorothy Schiff New York Post.
Sidney, you were — are — the fiercest New York football Giants die-hard nut I ever knew. But then, as I’ve several times chronicled in this journal and one or two other places, you were / are so many other things too.
Newspaperman, first and always. Novelist. Essayist. Memoirist. Lawyer. Magazine writer. Magazine editor. Scoop artist. Civil libertarian. Restaurateur (Broadway Joe’s). Jazz buff. Sinatra buff. Bennett buff. Players Hall of Famer. Man about town. Pro-Israel fanatic. Ben Hecht fanatic. Crusader against music’s despoilers. Crusader for reform of killer hospital hours. Husband… Father… .
One night in 1984, Elsa and Sidney’s 18-year-old, redheaded daughter, Libby, checked into New York Hospital with a fever. She was dead there by morning. Some young, exhausted doctor in training had administered the wrong medication.
Lovely Elsa had to live with that until the cancer took her, in 2005, in preview to taking you, Sidney, at an infinitely too early age, 75, on August 2, 2009.
And no, Sidney, I do not — will not ever — agree that Franklin D. Roosevelt was an anti-Semite for not bombing the railroad tracks to Auschwitz. But we can continue that discussion later.
So, Sidney, there it is. Good night and good luck, as Edward R. Murrow used to say. You probably thought he was an anti-Semite too.