Love? Love is Bullsh*t, Business and Business: A Lesson from Long Ago! Richard J. Garfunkel October 24, 2022

Long ago, and faraway, back in 1964, in another city and state, I was looking for a summer job. For some reason, and I have no clue why, my cousin, Adrienne Wolman’s husband, Buddy (who passed away a number of years ago at age 95) got me a job working for a construction company, Hughes and Hughes, which was located in Scarsdale, NY. It seems that Buddy had a construction supply company, which leased gas-powered, mobile compressors that supplied power for jack hammers, which bore holes in rock. Thus, I wound up at their key location, Murdock Woods, right off Griffin Road at the border of Scarsdale and Mamaroneck. Murdock Woods is situated right in the middle of the confluence of three very nice golf courses, the world famous Winged Foot, where I caddied in the US Open, in 1959, Bonnie Briar and Quaker Ridge.  By the time I got there, about 50% of the lots had been completed. The houses sold in those long ago days for between $50 and $75,000. The houses have been expanded since that day, it seems, and I just looked up the prices on Zillow and they range from $2.5 to $3 million!

But, be that as it may, that is a story for another day. My boss was a fellow named Lee Hall, who must have been around 36 years old. He was a wiry and ruggedly handsome fellow and from Day One, we got along quite well. My basic job was to be a “gofer” for Lee. In other words, if Lee needed something, I would go get it. Often I would drive to places like Mahwah, NJ or Bensonhurst, (Brooklyn), NY to deposit money. They were always transferring money here and there.  I would also pick up plumbing supplies. Sometimes it would be a needed hydrant to connect to the water main or parts for a sink. I would get in my 1957 Chevy and drive into Port Chester, where there was a plumbing supply outlet, next to the old Lifesaver Building, which was on North Main Street and had been built in 1920. (By the way it is still there and is now the home to condos.) Every time I drove down that street, I could smell the Lifesavers.

Life Savers Building is a historic commercial and industrial building located on North Main Street between Horton and Wilkins Avenues at Port Chester, Westchester County, New York. It was built in 1920 and expanded in 1948–1949. It served as a manufacturing facility and headquarters of the Life Savers Candy Company until 1984. It is five stories high and constructed of reinforced concrete, brick, and terra cotta. It features larger-than-life replicas of Life Savers rolls at the foundation line.[2] During its peak period of production in the 1960s, as many as 616 million rolls of Life Savers candy were produced each year in the facility. It was converted into a condominium complex in 1989. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

When I wasn’t running errands, I was working with the roofers, the carpenters, the masons and the demolition folks. I never helped the plumbers or the electricians. These guys were all old, experienced and weather-beaten. They didn’t suffer fools gladly. I just helped where I could, and kept my mouth shut. They sort of left me alone, maybe because I reported to Lee Hall. One thing sticks out glaringly in my mine was carrying up roofing tiles that weighed 67 pounds (each package) apiece on both shoulders. That was exceedingly dumb. Most of the time it was one package. I had quickly learned the folly of my ways.

Speaking of Buddy’s compressors, I actually worked with one of those jack hammers. They weighed at least 100 pounds, and the men who worked them, all had huge frames and big stomachs, and would add “bits” to the end of the main drill as the hole got deeper. Sometimes the extension on the jack hammer drill-bit would reach down 5 or more feet. There was a lot of glacial rock in Westchester that had to be blasted. After the hole was deep enough, the demolition experts would step in and take a stick of dynamite, divide it into quarter pieces, wire each piece, and lower the charges into the drilled hole. Once the charges were set, a back hoe would lift and lower a large, incredibly heavy, iron mesh, blanket on top of the area to contain the blast. It did. But the blast would lift the mesh up a few feet. One never should ever look directly at the blast, for often pebbles do escape and they can be deadly. Once in while one would fly out and break a window 1000 feet away.

Meanwhile, while I was sitting in the office, I picked up the ringing phone. It was a woman who lived in one of the newly occupied houses and wanted to speak to Lee. She was complaining that he had promised for weeks, or maybe months, to fix her driveway. Interestingly, Lee had a way with women, and he called her back and sweet talked her for 10 minutes or so. He said he would get up there as soon as possible. I listened to this interchange and wondered whether he was actually sincere. Right after he got off the phone, he said I’ll tell you a story!

He started to tell me that he had volunteered for the Merchant Marine, during WWII when he was 16, and found his way to Paris after it was liberated in late August of 1944. Sometime later, while in Paris, with tens of thousands of other Allied soldiers and personnel, he went into one of their large bars, which were populated with countless “working” women. Lee happened to sit down next to a very attractive young woman, and within a short time, he was quite enamored with her (on shipboard there are no women) and started to profess his love! Not long after he expressed his emotional interest. She answered, and I quote, “Love is bullsh*t, business is business.” Thus, each time an issue came up with Lee, he said to me, “Remember Paris, Love is bullsh*t, business is business.” I never forgot those sage words.


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A lifelong New Yorker, who now lives full-time in Palm Beach County, Richard was raised in Mount Vernon, New York and he was educated in the Mount Vernon public schools He graduated from Boston University with a BA in American History. After spending a year on Wall Street as a research analyst with Bache & Co., he joined a manufacturing and importing firm, where over the next twenty-five years he rose to the position of chief operating officer. After the sale of that business, Richard entered into the financial services field with Metropolitan Life and is a Registered Representative, who has been associated with Acorn Financial Services which is affiliated with John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, Ma. Today, he is a retired broker who had specialized in long-term care insurance and financial planning. One of Richard’s recent activities was to advise and encourage communities to seek ways to incorporate “sustainability and resiliency” into their future infrastructure planning. After a lifetime in politics, with many years working as a district leader, which involved party organizational work, campaign chair activity and numerous other political tasks, Richard has been involved with numerous civic and social causes. In recent years, Richard served in 2005 as the campaign coordinator of the Re-Elect Paul Feiner Campaign in Greenburgh, NY and he again chaired Supervisor Feiner’s successful landslide victory in 2007. Over the next few years, he advised a number of political candidates. He has served as an appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, with responsibilities regarding the town’s “liaison program.” He was a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of the Town of Greenburgh, NY. Richard has lectured on FDR, The New Deal and 20th century American history in the Mount Vernon schools, at the Westchester Council of Social Studies annual conference in White Plains, and at many senior citizen groups, which include appearances at the Old Guard of White Plains, the Rotary Clubs of Elmsford and White Plains, and various synagogue groups around Westchester. In the winter of 2006 Richard was the leader of the VOCAL forum, sponsored by the Westchester County Office of Aging, which addresses the concerns of Westchester County’s Intergenerational Advocacy Educational Speak-out forums for senior citizens. Richard has given lectures for the Active Retirement Project, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, and other groups around Westchester County. Richard also is the founder and Chairperson of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund, that judges and grants annual prizes to students at Mount Vernon High School who submit essays on public policy themes. He also sponsors the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize for the leading MVHS history student. Richard serves on the Student College Scholarship Committee of Mount Vernon High School. In past years Richard chaired and moderated the Jon Breen Fund Award’s cablecast program with the Mayor and local and school officials. Richard has been a member of Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Board, and was a founding member of the committee to re-new the FDR Birthday Balls of the 1930’s and 1940’s with the March of Dimes’ effort to eliminate birth defects. Their renewal dinner was held at Hyde Park on January 30, 2003. Richard is currently an active contributor to the Roosevelt Institute, which is involved in many pursuits which included the opening of the Henry A. Wallace Center at Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Roosevelt – Val-Kill Foundation. In 2007, he proposed to the City of Mount Vernon an effort to develop an arts, educational, and cultural center as part of a downtown re-development effort. Richard was a team partner with the Infrastructure & Energy Solutions Group. IEFG which has developed innovative strategies for the 21st Century. Richard hosted a weekly program on WVOX-1460 AM radio, called “The Advocates,” which was concerned with “public policy” issues. The show, which was aired from 2007 until May 15, 2013, has had amongst its guests; Representative Charles Rangel, Chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, along with hundreds of others. All the 300 shows are archived at Richard currently gives lectures on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR and the Jewish Community, The New Deal, FDR and Douglas MacArthur, 20th Century American Foreign Policy Resulting in Conflict, and Israel’s Right to Exist. Richard lives in Boynton Beach, Fl, with his wife Linda of 44 years. They have two married children. Their daughter Dana is a Rutgers College graduate, with a MS from Boston University, and is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Their son Jon is an electrical engineering graduate of Princeton University and a senior software architect at NY/Mellon Bank in NYC. Richard J. Garfunkel Recent Appearances: KTI Synagogue, Rye Brook, NY- Long Term Care & Estate Conservation- Anshe Shalom Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY- Long Term Care- American Legion Post, Valhalla, NY- Long Term Care and Asset Protection- Doyle Senior Ctr, New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care and Asset Protection- AME Methodist Ministers, New Rochelle, NY, LTC and Charitable Giving- Profession Women in Construction, Elmsford, NY, LTC and Business Benefits- Kol Ami Synagogue- White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Disability - Beth El Men's Club-New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care-Is it Necessary- Greater NY Dental Meeting Javits Ctr, NY, NY- LTC and Disability- IBEW Local #3 , White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Asset Protection, Health Fair -Bethel Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY-LTC and Disability, Heath Fair- Riverdale Mens Club CSAIR- Riverdale, NY- LTC- Life Weight Watchers of Westchester and the Bronx-LTC and Tax Implications Sunrise Assisted Living of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, NY-LTC Sprain Brook Manor of Scarsdale-LTC- November 15, 2001 Sunrise Assisted Living of Stamford, Connecticut, February 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, February, 2002 The Old Guard Society of White Plains, NY, April, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY August, 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, October, 2002 JCC of Scarsdale, Scarsdale, NY, November, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY, January, 2003 The Rotary Club of White Plains, NY January, 2003 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY April, 2003 Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, NY January, 2004 Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, NY March 2004 Kol Ami/JCC of White Plains, NY November, 2004 The Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, January 2005 The Sunrise of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, April, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, November, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, December, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, January, 2005 Rotary Club of Elmsford, April, 2006 Kiwanis Club of Yonkers, June, 2006 Greenburgh Jewish Center, November, 2006 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, February, 2007 Hebrew Institute, White Plains, March, 2007 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, NY, April, 2007 Westchester Meadows. Valhalla, November, 2007 Hebrew Institute. White Plains, November, 2007 Art Zuckerman Radio Show- January, 2008 JCC of the Hudson, Tarrytown, February, 2008 Matt O’Shaughnessy Radio Show, March, 2008 WVOX –Election Night Coverage, November, 2008 WVOX – Inaugural Coverage, January 20, 2009 The Advocates-host of the WVOX Radio Show, 2007- 2010 Rotary Club of Pleasantville, February, 2009 Hebrew Institute of White Plains, May, 2009 JCC Hudson, Tarrytown, December, 2009-10-11-12 Brandeis Club, Yonkers, March 25, 2010

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