Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Short History of Ashdod

Life In Ruins: Have you been to Ashdod? If you've been on a tour to Israel - maybe yes, but then again, maybe not. It's on the coast (see last week's Israel Driving to The Right), but way off the Haifa - Tel Aviv - sometimes Beer Sheva - Jerusalem tourist main line. 

Abq Jew hasn't been to or seen the port city of Ashdod in 50 years, when it was an integral part of his own, personal Old Israel.

Ashdod City Hall
Ashdod City Hall

50 years ago, when Abq Jew's parents, of blessed memory, had an apartment on Simtat HaSneh in Ashkelon - Abq Jew's father worked as a Quality & Reliability Engineer at ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Elta Logo

Oy! Oy! Oy! In Old Israel. But we learn from Wikipedia -

Ashdod (אַשְׁדּוֹד‎) is the sixth-largest city and the largest port in Israel, accounting for 60% of the country's imported goods. 

Ashdod is located in the Southern District of the country, on the Mediterranean coast where it is situated between Tel Aviv to the north 32 kilometres (20 miles) away, and Ashkelon to the south 20 km (12 mi) away. 

Jerusalem is 53 km (33 mi) to the east. The city is also an important regional industrial center.

Modern Ashdod covers the territory of two ancient twin towns, one inland and one on the coast, which were for most of their history two separate entities, connected by close ties with each other. 

Philistine Territory
Territory of the Philistines

The first documented urban settlement at Ashdod dates to the Canaanite culture of the 17th century BCE. 
Ashdod is mentioned 13 times in the Bible. During its pre-1956 history the city was settled by Philistines, Israelites, Greek colonists coming in the wake of Alexander's conquests, Romans and Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks.
Archaeology of Tel Ashdod

So let's talk about the archaeology of Ashdod. Specifically, in the Bronze Age.
The site of Ashdod in the Bronze Age was at a tel just south of the modern city. It was excavated by archaeologists in nine seasons between 1962 and 1972. 
The effort was led during the first few years by David Noel Freedman of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Moshe Dothan. The remaining seasons were headed by Dothan for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Abq Jew was blessed to participate in the archaeological excavation of Tel Ashdod during the 1968 Summer Season. How and why, you may ask?

Because Abq Jew was on a pre-college, eight-week, tightly-scheduled Summer Tour of  Israel - in the heady days following the Six-Day War. And he had a choice: a week at an archaeological dig (as it is called), or a week on a kibbutz.

On Kibbutz

Having grown up (as much as anyone can) in rural Santa Clara Valley, California (unlike most of the group, who were citified East-Coasters); and having had the experience of picking crops during a hot summer; and having no great desire to rise at 5:00 am to relive that experience; Abq Jew chose the dig.

Crusader Ruins at Ashdod

So. The above photo shows some of the exciting (stone upon stone) Crusader ruins on Ashdod's coast. But our dig (at a separate site about a mile inland) was digging deeper - to the Bronze Age.

Ashdod is first mentioned in written documents from Late Bronze Age Ugarit, which indicate that the city was a center of export for dyed woolen purple fabric and garments. 

At the end of the 13th century BCE the Sea Peoples conquered and destroyed Ashdod. 

By the beginning of the 12th century BCE, the Philistines, generally thought to have been one of the Sea Peoples, ruled the city. 

During their reign, the city prospered and was a member of the Philistine Pentapolis (i.e. five cities), which included Ashkelon and Gaza on the coast and Ekron and Gath farther inland, in addition to Ashdod.

OK then. Let's jump to the Iron Age. 

In 950 BCE Ashdod was destroyed during Pharaoh Siamun's conquest of the region. The city was not rebuilt until at least 815 BCE.

The city was destroyed again by the Assyrian Sargon II. The city absorbed another blow in 605 BCE, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered it.

As for the Hebrew Bible: Upon Joshua's conquest of the Promised Land, Ashdod was allotted to the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:46). This and other Biblical references remain uncorroborated by archaeological finds.

During the Hellenistic Period, the city changed its name to the more Greek-sounding Αzotus and prospered until the Maccabean Revolt

During the rebellion, Judah Maccabee "took it, and laid it waste." His brother Jonathan conquered it again in 147 BCE and destroyed the Temple of Dagon, of Biblical fame.

In short (as Abq Jew promised) the history of Ashdod may be summed up as

Build. Destroy.
Rebuild. Repeat.

But here is what Abq Jew wants you to remember:

Every cycle of destruction
and fire left a layer of ash.

Ashdod Marina
The Modern City of Ashdod

On the Road to Tel Ashdod and
The Greatest Pun Ever Told.

G-d willing אי״ה Ken O'Hara pt pt pt
perhaps even next week!

Billy Nader

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Israel Driving To the Right

On Our Way to Ashdod and Beyond:  Well, here we are. We have entered the month of August in the year 2020 (of the Common Era). We are (mostly) stuck at home while the coronavirus pandemic works its way around the world.

And, G-d willing אי״ה Ken O'Hara pt pt pt
during this month, Abq Jew will turn 70.

During these 70 good years, Abq Jew has made many promises - and has fulfilled, Abq Jew believes, a pretty good number of them. But there is one promise that Abq Jew made to you, his loyal readers, that he has not yet fulfilled.

Back in 2011 (see Rejoicing Again) and again in 2012 (see A Message From PBS), Abq Jew stated, for the record:

Abq Jew will check with his legal team and his agents,
and will share
The Greatest Pun Ever Told,
which Abq Jew did indeed tell at (no pun intended)
Tel Ashdod in the Summer of 1968
, with you -
just as soon as the trademarks and copyrights
are secured, and the book and movie rights
are nailed down. Yes, it's that good.

Just a hint, and a tiny forschbite of what is to come G-d willing אי״ה Ken O'Hara pt pt pt, perhaps even next week.

It has something to do with archaeology.

But first- let's take a ride on the southern portion of Israel's Coastal Highway 4.

Highway 4 (Hebrew: כּֽבִישׁ אַרְבַּע, Kvish Arba' ) is an Israeli highway that runs along Israel's entire coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea, from the Rosh HaNikra border crossing with Lebanon in the North to the Erez Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip in the South. [205.2 km; 127.5 miles]
Oy! Oy! Oy! 50 years ago, in Old Israel, Abq Jew and his parents, of blessed memory, used to make this trip in our brand-new VW bug from Ashkelon (where they had an apartment on Simtat HaSneh) to Tel Aviv (where the action was) all the time. No "Highway 4." Just a road.

Lots of trucks, few cars (who except an עולה חדשׁ could afford one?). And not too many signs. We just sorta found our way.

So anyway. Abq Jew was watching the car ride on Highway 4, eyes tearing over with nostalgia, when the Big Question hit him:

Why do Israelis 
drive on the right side of the road?

To every one of you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, who answered

Because otherwise
they'd be on the wrong side of the road.

Abq Jew says

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Perhaps - just perhaps - Abq Jew's work here has been at least marginally successful. Perhaps - just perhaps - Abq Jew's work here has not been for naught. Perhaps - just perhaps.

However. Abq Jew was, in fact, referring to the historical anomaly that the State of Israel was, for many years, part of British Mandatory Palestine. You know - like Britain, where they all drive on the left (because they know it's right). They drive clockwise around traffic circles, too, which is why they call them circuses.

And, Abq Jew must point out (for the sake of historical completeness), in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (which was separated from Eretz Yisrael in 1920) they also drive on the right.

For more information about just how all this came to pass, Abq Jew strongly recommends the Wikipedia entries for Mandatory Palestine, Sykes-Picot AgreementBalfour Declaration, and Partition of the Ottoman Empire.

For Abq Jew's view of these events, Abq Jew recommends his 2012 blog post 5 Years, 65 Years, 19 Years and his remarkably similar 2017 blog post 10 Years, 70 Years, 24 Years.

For an even stronger background of all this, Abq Jew further recommends the Wikipedia entries for Gallipoli Campaign and Zion Mule Corps (Jewish Legion).

If you still have the strength, Abq Jew must point you to With the Zionists in Gallipoli, Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Patterson's 1916 account of the Zion Mule Corps, which he led.

And about whom he writes:
My chief object in writing this book is to interest the Hebrew nation in the fortunes of the Zionists and show them of what their Russian brothers are capable, even under the command of an alien in race and religion.
 And yes, Abq Jew is a proud owner of that 1916 edition.

Oh yeah -

Why do Israelis drive on the right side of the road?

Why does anybody drive on the left side of the road, as about 35% of the world population does? The World Standards website explains.
In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies. 
Since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from him. Moreover, it reduced the chance of the scabbard (worn on the left) hitting other people. 
Furthermore, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side of the horse, and it would be very difficult to do otherwise if wearing a sword (which would be worn on the left). 
It is safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than in the middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road.
So then what happened?

Enter the Teamsters.
In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. 
Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road.
Isn't this fascinating?

Nobody wanted to go against the Teamsters. Suddenly, driving on the right side of the road became the thing to do. Soon, everyone (except, of course, our old friends the British) was heading to the right side of the roadway.

Including Turkey and its trucks.

Oops! Wrong photo!

Including Turkey and its trucks.

The first trucks to arrive in Israel (then Greater Syria) came from - you guessed it! - Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire). When the British arrived, and stayed, and stayed, and stayed, they left things the way they were. In a manner of speaking, of course.

And then there's Cyprus.

Cyprus was placed under British administration based on the Cyprus Convention - a secret agreement between Great Britain and Ottoman Empires - in 1878, and was formally annexed by Great Britain in 1914. Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. And then, Wikipedia tells us
The crisis of 1963–64 brought further intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which displaced more than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots into enclaves and brought the end of Turkish Cypriot representation in the republic. 
On 15 July 1974, a coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis, the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece. 
This action precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus in the following month, after a ceasefire collapsed, and the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots.
A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983; the move was widely condemned by the international community, with Turkey alone recognising the new state. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
In the current era, drivers in both the Republic of [Greek] Cyprus and [Turkish Occupied] Northern Cyprus drive on the left. Yes, drivers in Greece and Turkey drive on the right. The British thought they were in Cyprus to stay, so they didn't leave things the way they were. In a manner of speaking, of course.

On the Road to Tel Ashdod and
The Greatest Pun Ever Told.

Perhaps even next week!

Billy Nader

Friday, July 31, 2020

Shabbat Nachamu 5780

Consolation for What We Lost: Following Tisha b'Av, there are seven prophetic readings of consolation - all from Isaiah - that comfort us after the Black Fast and prepare us, emotionally and spiritually, for the upcoming High Holidays.

And strange High Holidays they will be - unless our Mashiach arrives beforehand. Can we Jews feel spiritually connected - to each other and to our God - without a physical community? Must we put our faith in Zoom, Skype, and Facebook?

In the meantime, if we're lucky, life goes on. Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's grandkids Vera and Chuck are celebrating birthdays this summer. Last summer (see The Night the Well Ran Dry) we were all together. Not this year.


Abq Jew wishes to share
with Vera and Chuck,
and with you, dear readers - the
Best. Short Story. Ever.
The Fable of the Goat (מעשה העז)
Shmuel Yosef Agnon (שׁ״י עגנון)

The Fable of the Goat (מעשה העז) is one of Agnon's best-known and most-loved works. The story never fails to bring tears to Abq Jew's eyes, for "there is no longer a short way."

The Fable of the Goat (מעשה העז)
Shmuel Yosef Agnon (שׁ״י עגנון)

The tale is told of an old man who groaned from his heart.

The doctors were sent for, and they advised him to drink goat’s milk. He went out and bought a she-goat and brought her into his home. Not many days passed before the goat disappeared. They went out to search for her but did not find her. She was not in the yard and not in the garden, not on the roof of the house of study and not by the spring, not in the hills and not in the fields. She tarried several days and then returned by herself; and when she returned, her udder was full of a great deal of milk, the taste of which was as the taste of Eden. Not just once, but many times she disappeared from the house. They would go out in search of her and would not find her until she returned by herself with her udder full of milk that was sweeter than honey and whose taste was the taste of Eden.

One time the old man said to his son, “My son, I desire to know where she goes and whence she brings this milk which is sweet to my palate and a balm to all my bones.” His son said to him, “Father, I have a plan.” He said to him, “What is it?” The son got up and brought a length of cord. He tied it to the goat’s tail.

His father said to him, “What are you doing, my son?”

He said to him, “I am tying a cord to the goat’s tail, so that when I feel a pull on it, I will know that she has decided to leave, and I can catch the end of the cord and follow her on her way.” The old man nodded his head and said to him, “My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will rejoice.”

The youth tied the cord to the goat’s tail and minded it carefully. When the goat set off, he held the cord in his hand and did not let it slacken until the goat was well on her way and he was following her. He was dragged along behind her until he came to a cave. The goat went into the cave, and the youth followed her, holding the cord. They walked thus for an hour or two, and maybe even a day or two. The goat wagged her tail and bleated, and the cave came to an end.

When they emerged from the cave, the youth saw lofty mountains, and hills full of the choicest fruit, and a fountain of living waters that flowed down from the mountains; and the wind wafted all manner of perfumes. The goat climbed up a tree by clutching at the ribbed leaves. Carob fruits full of honey dropped from the tree, and she ate of the carobs and drank of the garden’s fountain.

The youth stood and called to the wayfarers: “I adjure you, good people, tell me where I am, and what is the name of this place?” They answered him, “You are in the Land of Israel, and you are close by Safed.”

The youth lifted up his eyes to the heavens and said, “Blessed by the Omnipresent, blessed be He who has brought me to the Land of Israel.” He kissed the soil and sat down under the tree.

He said, “Until the day breath and the shadows flee away, I shall sit on the hill under this tree. Then I shall go home and bring my father and mother to the Land of Israel.” As he was sitting and feasting his eyes on the holiness of the Land of Israel, he heard a voice proclaiming:

“Come, let us go out to greet the Sabbath Queen.”

And he saw men like angels, wrapped in white shawls, with boughs of myrtle in their hands, and all the houses were lit with a great many candles. He perceived that the eve of Sabbath would arrive with the darkening, and that he would not be able to return. He uprooted a reed and dipped it in gallnuts, from which the ink for the writing of the Torah scrolls is made. He took a piece of paper and wrote a letter to his father:

“From the ends of the earth, I lift up my voice in song to tell you that I have come in peace to the Land of Israel. Here I sit, close by Safed, the holy city, and I imbibe its sanctity. Do not inquire how I arrived here but hold on to this cord which is tied to the goat’s tail and follow the footsteps of the goat; then your journey will be secure, and you will enter the Land of Israel.”

The youth rolled up the note and placed it in the goat’s ear. He said to himself: When she arrives at Father’s house, Father will pat her on the head, and she will flick her ears. The note will fall out, Father will pick it up and read what is written on it. Then he will take up the cord and follow the goat to the Land of Israel.

The goat returned to the old man, but she did not flick her ears, and the note did not fall. When the old man saw that the goat had returned without his son, he clapped his hands to his head and began to cry and weep and wail, “My son, my son, where are you? My son, would that I might die in your stead, my son, my son!”

So he went, weeping and mourning over his son, for he said, “An evil beast has  devoured him; my son is assuredly rent in pieces!”

And whenever he saw the goat, he would say, “I will go down to my grave in mourning for my son.” The old man’s mind would not be at peace until he sent for the butcher to slaughter the goat. The butcher came and slaughtered the goat. As they were skinning her, the note fell out of her ear. The old man picked up the note and said, “My son’s handwriting!”

When he had read all that his son had written, he clapped his hands to his head and cried, “Vay! Vay! Woe to the man who robs himself of his own good fortune, and woe to the man who requites good with evil!” He mourned over the goat many days and refused to be comforted, saying, “Woe to me, for I could have gone up to the Land of Israel in one bound, and now I must suffer out my days in this exile!”

Since that time the mouth of the cave has been hidden from the eye, and there is no longer a short way. And that youth, if he has not died, shall bear fruit in his old age, full of sap and richness, calm and peaceful in the Land of the Living.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Welcoming New Hampshire

At Home in Portsmouth:  It is with continued (see Leaving Long Island) joy and excitement that Mr & Mrs Abq Jew report that their son Dov the Film Editor; their daughter (in-law) Jessica the Surgeon; their grandchildren Vera and Chuck; and their granddog Dave -

have safely arrived at their new home in Portsmouth. New Hampshire, that is.

The Nine Days - the first days of the Hebrew month of Menachem Av - begin tonight. This coming Shabbat will be Shabbat Chazon, and beginning on Wednesday next week we will observe the Fast of Tisha b'Av.

These are days of semi-mourning, when it is not permitted to listen to [live] music. This year, we have already been in various states and phases of semi-mourning for months. 

So Abq Jew (who is most definitely not a rabbi) this year favors a more liberal attitude. Perhaps next year the Nine Days will only last nine days.

Moving right along. Let's get to
Abq Jew's favorite Portsmouth / NH videos.

1. A Tune

English multi-instrumentalist and composer Mike Oldfield in 1976 recorded a delightful rendition of Portsmouth, an English folk dance tune. Released as a single, it is Oldfield's highest charting single in the United Kingdom, where it reached number three.

What beautiful landscapes! What thrilling cityscapes! 

However, as you may have guessed, the song, the landscapes, and the cityscapes are all for Portsmouth. Old Hampshire, that is.

Wikipedia tells us -
Portsmouth is an English port city primarily built on Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire. 
The United Kingdom's only island city, it is 70 miles south-west of London and 19 miles south-east of Southampton. Portsmouth's population was 205,100 in the 2011 UK Census. 
The city is part of the South Hampshire metropolitan area, which also includes the city of Southampton and the towns of Gosport, Fareham, Waterlooville, Havant and Eastleigh.
Portsmouth's [also known as Pompey] history can be traced back to Roman Britain. 
2. A Walking Tour

Ahem. So let's take a first look at Portsmouth, New Hampshire - by taking this Walking Tour.

What beautiful landscapes! What thrilling cityscapes! 

Wikipedia tells us -
American Indians of the Abenaki and other Algonquian languages-speaking nations, and their predecessors, inhabited the territory of coastal New Hampshire for thousands of years before European contact. 
The first known European to explore and write about the area was Martin Pring in 1603. 
The Piscataqua River is a tidal estuary with a swift current, but forms a good natural harbor. The west bank of the harbor was settled by English colonists in 1630 and named Strawbery Banke, after the many wild strawberries growing there.
Strategically located for trade between upstream industries and mercantile interests abroad, the port prospered. Fishing, lumber and shipbuilding were principal businesses of the region.
Enslaved Africans were imported as laborers as early as 1645 and were integral to building the city's prosperity. Portsmouth was part of the Triangle Trade, which made significant profits from slavery. 
At the town's incorporation in 1653, it was named Portsmouth in honor of the colony's founder, John Mason. He had been captain of the port of Portsmouth, England, in the county of Hampshire, after which New Hampshire is named.
As with much of (especially, but not exclusively) early American history, this is probably more than you were ever taught and more than you wanted to know.

3. Samantha Brown's Tour

Travel Channel host Samantha Brown offers her own tour of her hometown Portsmouth. New Hampshire, that is.

Walking and talking. All of which she quite obviously loves.

What beautiful landscapes! What thrilling cityscapes! 

Wikipedia tells us -
When Queen Anne's War ended in 1712, Governor Joseph Dudley selected the town to host negotiations for the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth, which temporarily ended hostilities between the Abenaki Indians and English settlements of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire.
In 1774, in the lead-up to the Revolution, Paul Revere rode to Portsmouth warning that the British were coming, with warships to subdue the port.
African Americans helped defend Portsmouth and New England during the war. 
In 1779, 19 slaves from Portsmouth wrote a petition to the state legislature and asked that it abolish slavery, in recognition of their war contributions and in keeping with the principles of the Revolution. 
Their petition was not answered, but New Hampshire later ended slavery.
4. A State Song

Yes, of course New Hampshire has a state song - Old New Hampshire! In fact,  New Hampshire has eight "honorary" state songs and no other official songs.

Old New Hampshire's words were written by Dr. John F. Holmes, and the music was composed by Maurice Hoffmann in 1926.

Old New Hampshire was chosen to be the "official" state song first in 1949, then again in November 1977, by the State Song Selection Board.

What beautiful words! What thrilling music!
Nice banjo-picking, too!
Old New Hampshire, Old New Hampshire,
Old New Hampshire Grand and Great.
We will sing of Old New Hampshire,
Of the dear old Granite State!
5. Welcome Home!

Fans have compared Don Watson to John Denver and Dan Fogelberg, but he has a sound all his own. With a straightforward, down home feel he has an entire CD full of songs that extols the virtues of the Granite State.

Here is Welcome Home New Hampshire.

What beautiful landscapes! What moving words!

Hello, Portsmouth!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Leaving Long Island

Goodbye, Farewell: It is with joy and excitement that Mr & Mrs Abq Jew report that their son Dov the Film Editor; their daughter (in-law) Jessica the Surgeon; their grandchildren Vera and Chuck; and their granddog Dave -

have departed their now former home on Long Island, and are venturing to their new home in the Far North. Portsmouth. New Hampshire, that is.

There is, of course, a touch of sadness involved. Leaving friends and family is always hard. But we may thank the US Postal Service and FedEx, Skype and our cellphones -  for keeping us close no matter what. And the airports (halevai!).

Moving right along. Let's get to
Abq Jew's favorite "farewell" videos.

1. Goodbye Odessa

When it comes to leaving one place and going to another, nobody does it like us Jews. You can learn from history books, but you just can't beat experience.

Abq Jew's mishpocha said Goodbye Odessa more than a century ago. Maybe it was the traffic; maybe it was the crowded coffee shops. Or the cost of housing. Or the pogroms.

Wikipedia tells us
A series of pogroms against Jews in the city of Odessa, Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, took place during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 
They occurred in 1821, 1859, 1871, 1881 and 1905.

2. Ashokan Farewell

Ashokan, it turns out, was the name of a former village in the Catskill region of New York that is now mostly covered by the Ashokan Reservoir.

And furthermore, Wikipedia tells us
Ashokan Farewell is a piece of music composed by American folk musician Jay Ungar in 1982. 
For many years it served as a goodnight or farewell waltz at the annual Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps run by Ungar and his wife Molly Mason, who gave the tune its name, at the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY New Paltz (now the Ashokan Center) in Upstate New York. 
The tune was used as the title theme of the 1990 PBS television miniseries The Civil War. Despite its late date of composition, it was included in the 1991 compilation album Songs of the Civil War.

3. Jamaica Farewell

As every Long Islander knows - when you reach Jamaica, you make a stop. Usually, to change trains. After which it's Jamaica Farewell. Oops - Abq Jew's got the wrong Jamaica.

Indeed. Wikipedia tells us
Jamaica Farewell is a Jamaican-style folk song. The song appeared on Harry Belafonte's album Calypso. The lyrics for the song were written by Lord Burgess (Irving Louis Burgie).
In his album My Son, the Folk Singer, Allan Sherman included a parody of the song: "I'm upside down, my head is spinning around, because I gotta sell the house in Levittown!"

4. Remembering Ronkonkoma

And then there's Ronkonkoma. What a train station! What parking!

Forever in our hearts!

Wikipedia tells us
Ronkonkoma is a major railroad station and transportation hub along the Main Line of the Long Island Rail Road in Ronkonkoma, New York. The station is the eastern terminus of the Ronkonkoma Branch and the western terminus of the Greenport Branch.
The station has a total of about 6,100 parking spaces. As of May 2011, 63 trains connecting to New York City stop at this station every weekday.
Ronkonkoma (alt: Ronkokomo) is, apparently, the hometown of comedian / actor Christopher Brian Roach, who we all remember from CBS's Kevin Can Wait.

Hello, Portsmouth!