"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Lucky Strike


Vic Ziegel got around. His career in journalism spanned more than 40 years. Vic worked at the New York Post, New York Daily News and New York Magazine. He also contributed to Rolling Stone and Inside Sports and co-wrote a funny book with Lew Grossberger called The Non-Runner’s Book. He was, at various times, a reporter, columnist, feature writer and editor. He was always funny and was interested in a good many things other than sports, particularly early jazz records (Bix Beiderbecke!), country music, and film noir.

It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone five years now. I grew up reading Vic in the News and got to know him a little about ten years ago. He generously answered my emails with the playful, cynical wit that marked his column. We once met for a pastrami sandwich and conversation at Liebmann’s in the Bronx.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours with his lovely wife, Roberta. We looked through a few boxes of Vic’s old stories and clippings when we came across an old leather bag stuffed with matchbooks. Vic didn’t smoke but he got around.

I thought you guys would enjoy this so dig in.













And maybe the coolest matchbook of them all:



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1 Bobtaco   ~  Oct 26, 2015 10:36 am

Whatever that matchbook dated July 21, 1974 was for it was on a Sunday. I was born on the Thursday before.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 26, 2015 12:06 pm

1) Wow, cool!

3 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 26, 2015 1:02 pm

Redolent of a New York that ain't no more. I can picture my grandfather in some of those places, striking some of those matches.

Not long ago I tipped my dad to Billy Bathgate and suggested he might enjoy the way it evokes the world he's from in the years just before he got there. He came back with, "You know, your grandpa might have rubbed elbows..."

Grandpa was a butcher who had done some small-time Golden Gloves fighting, not any kind of player or fixer. But that was a world in which "Willy the butcher who knew everyone" could be a small kind of a somebody. The shop was on Broadway in the 70s and I believe he cut steaks for Mr. and Mrs. Ruth when they lived nearby.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 26, 2015 3:50 pm

3) Dude, that is just so cool. Thanks a ton for sharing that.

5 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 26, 2015 8:37 pm

Fantastic post Alex. My close uncle, who has been gone for many years now was, (along with his wife) a prodigious drinker and had an amazing collection of swizzle sticks (from all over the world). I remember, as a boy, getting them out and playing with them during visits to their house in Honolulu. Kept me busy while the grown-ups were drinking and schmoozing.

Do people use match books anymore? I've seen match boxes at cigar bars, but I can't recall the last time I saw a book of matches. "Course I rarely go out any more.

6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 26, 2015 11:59 pm

So great!!!

All the jazz joints here used to print up matchbooks, in dem days lighters were few and far between.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver