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Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland & Interior Decorating Hardcover – June 1, 2011

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Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland & Interior Decorating + Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Square One Publishers; First Edition edition (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757003516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757003516
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,715,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elliot Tiber has written and produced numerous award-winning plays and musical comedies. As a professor of comedy writing and performance, he has taught at the New School University and Hunter College in Manhattan. His first novel, Rue Haute, was a bestseller in Europe, and was published in the US under the title High Street . He is also the best-selling author of Taking Woodstock and the forthcoming After Woodstock, as well as a highly sought-out lecturer.

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Customer Reviews

Enjoyable, fun, quick read.
Ginny Harper
Tiber is a superb writer; the account of his life is so well written that even what should have been the boring parts are rendered interesting.
Charles Ashbacher
Palm Trees on the Hudson is Elliot Tiber's beautifully crafted story about how he came to himself in the most interesting of times.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The naive and simple-minded homophobe will read this book and announce that the reason for the author being gay is his unloving and verbally abusive mother. She never demonstrated any pride or joy in her son once he made it clear that he would not become a rabbi. His father appears to have been a submissive man terrified of making his wife angry. In a bit of fairness it should be acknowledged that his mother's family managed to leave their village in Russia only minutes before the latest pogram began.
This book is an account of Tiber's life until he was about 35; he describes his childhood but skips through it fairly quickly, emphasizing his relationships with his parents and his younger sister Renee. He knew early that he was gay, but being born in 1935 he grew up in a time of severe discrimination against gays and lesbians. Fortunately for Tiber, he had a great deal of artistic talent as a painter and interior decorator. This allowed him to work in an industry where many of the men were gay and so there was a greater level of tolerance.
No matter what he did or how successful he became, Tiber could not win his parent's approval and when he was hired to plan a lavish birthday party for a mobster the party generally went well. Singer Judy Garland and then New York Mayor John Lindsay were the most celebrated attendees. However, the mobster refused to pay his fee or any of the expenses for the mega-bash, forcing Tiber to sell his prized possessions to pay the bills and move to the motel owned by his parents. This sale took place after one of the mobster's associates paid him a visit, flashed a gun and made him the infamous "offer that he couldn't refuse." The biography ends at the point where he becomes involved in the planning for the famous rock festival at Woodstock.
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Format: Hardcover
Elliot Tiber (AKA Eliyahu Teichberg) has the gift! He can take a story about his life, embroider it with many truths and then provide scatological filigree on riffs that include social mores, New York lifestyles, Judy Garland etc and come up with a memoir that rivals some of the novels of famous authors of this ilk - Armistead Maupin, for example. He had us at 'Taking Woodstock' so where does he go from that smashingly successful book? Well, back to the earlier episodes of his life - from birth to age 35 just as his Woodstock escapade was about to happen.

We learn about Tiber's childhood, under the influence of his dominating mother, was filled with terrific little asides about sibling rivalry, the family business, his utter infatuation with Judy Garland in THE WIZARD OF OZ, and his leaving home for school. He journeys into Greenwich Village and begins a career in 'the arts' of interior decorating - a haven for a lad who finds fellow gay friends and is able to start a career of significance. The main story in this collection of tales is the party he stages on the Hudson River attended by his idol Judy Garland (ah!) and paid for by a mob boss - who reneges on payment in a very Humphrey Bogart setting, leaving our hero forced to live in the family motel - and then some.

Elliot Tiber writes so well that once a reader begins this little outing it stays in the hands and mind until the final cover closes. It is a bright little book with many aspects of desire, the need for human kindness, and a big dollop of fantasy. Grady Harp, March 11
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. C. Henderson on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"`Baby, let me tell you about home,'" quips Judy Garland, Elliot's spiritual mentor and a long-standing icon of the gay rights movement in America. "`Home is whatever's in your suitcase and wherever you hang your hat. Contrary to the movie [i.e. The Wizard of Oz], it ain't in Kansas. Home is wherever you want it to be." Only later does the true meaning of these words come home to Elliot, whose exceptionally well-written memoir, Palm Trees on the Hudson, tells of the lead-up to, and the crash back down after, a birthday bash for a member of the Mob that he arranges on board a dayliner on the Hudson, at which Judy is the chief draw card.

In this rags-to-riches-and-back-again riveter, Elliot tells of his triumph over the endless carping and discouragement of his mother, by means of his working his way up from the position of what was little more than a window-dresser to being one of the leading interior decorators and designers in New York City. The emotional upheavals of his life take the backstage to a focus on the development of his career from working as a relatively low-paid employee for a city store to where he owns his own highly successful business, only to have that come toppling down when his main client pulls out from paying him a dime for what he regarded as the crowning point of his career. Back at home base, he is forced to rethink the reasons behind the demise of his going concern, and, despite, or perhaps because of, the negative impact of his mother's ongoing criticism, he at last is able to appreciate the full meaning of Garland's words.

Elliot's constant longing for a soul mate is still left unfulfilled at the end of this work, only to be realized in his later work, but the pivotal relationships of his early life and burgeoning career are fully explored.
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