Palm Trees on the Hudson
Square One Publishers
Biography-New York-Gay Men –Interior Decorators
Once in a while you come upon a book that you probably would not have chosen to read, but you read
it. You have no expectations because you have no clue what to expect.
When the book is amazingly well-written, enthralling, and enjoyable, then you are uneasy, but in a
positive way. You have found one of those gems in a myriad of gray rocks.
Elliot Tiber grew up with the name Eliyahu Teichberg of Jewish immigrants parents with his mother
being from Russia and his father from Austria. His parents met in Brooklyn at a community social event
where Yiddish was the common language. As a child growing up in this area in the 1930s, this only son
with many sisters was expected to work daily in the family business for no pay. His mother controlled
all the money in the family and she alone decided how or if it was going to be spent.
Elliot’s mother thrived in being demanding and domineering. His father would never question her or
upset the ruling of their household.
Elliot’s one luxury was going to the movies with his mother and younger sister. The theaters at the time
were giving away dishes and naturally his mother saw this as an investment opportunity. The children
could receive the dishes and then she could resell them in her store. Elli saw this theater time as the
one time that someone understood him, especially Judy Garland when she sang.
When Elliot’s mother demanded the he become a rabbi, everyone went along with the idea except Elli
who did not enjoy his Yiddish studies and much preferred to paint murals on his living room walls. As
you can imagine, his mother did not react positively to this artistic venture until the neighbors wanted
Elli to paint murals for their houses. His mother kept the money that he earned.
Because of this, Elliot eventually changed his name and worked various jobs while not living at home in
an effort to build upon his artistic talent and independence from his mother. This is his story of
becoming a well-known New York City interior designer and the problems with his sexual preference.
To reemphasize this, the actual book is hot pink with the binding in lavender.
The story is well-written with a true voice of the author coming through. You can visualize every event
as it actually happens.
A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland, and Interior Decorating is the prequel to Elliot Tiber’s bestseller
Taking Woodstock. Even though I have not read this book, I was hypnotized by the writing style. This
is truly masterful writing.
My plan now is to read Taking Woodstock and anything else that Elliot Tiber ever writes.