portrait of Lionel Ziprin by Aishling Labat

No. 22: Lionel Ziprin (2004)

portrait of Lionel Ziprin by Aishling Labat

This Rembrandt-like photo was taken near the end of Lionel’s life by his granddaughter, Aishling Labat (the daughter of Lionel’s beautiful daughter Zia), in early 2009. Lionel was an extraordinary person, an artist, a mystic, a scholar, a poet and the most extraordinary teller of stories. He grew up on East Broadway during the Depression, and his manner of recounting those days, and Old New York, was captivating. Then there was his twinkling laugh and¬†wonderful appearance; his long white beard and his glittering black eye, sand the magical way he had of somehow being able to reach into other realms and bring back evidence. After spending an evening with Lionel, listening to his fantastic stores, the ordinary would outside always looked absurd. It was always a joy to visit him, to sit in his living room surrounded by black rabbinical hats and leatherbound scholarly books, and listen to him scold the little mouse who lived somewhere deep in Lionel’s kitchen. Much of that essence, I hope, you will find in his Goodie.

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