A Man with a Mission

This past Thursday, on September 11th, Eugene Polinsky turned ninety four.

Last Thursday, while we snacked on ginger cookies and ginger ale, I was lucky enough to sit down with Gene on his sprawling front porch, across from the Hudson in Grandview, New York. He spoke of many things including his upcoming trip to visit his sister-in-law in Dublin, his new friends in Belgium and his hope to see ninety seven year old John G. Morris in France. As a young photo-editor for Life magazine, John G. Morris was based in London and assigned to oversee the photographic reportage of World War II. Most notably, he coordinated the dramatic photojournalistic coverage of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, including the iconic photographs of the landing made for Life by Robert Capa.

The Mission

Gene along with seven other men, flew “special operations” in B-24s, clandestine night operations from a then secret base in England known only as Station 179 (Harrington). The base was located about ten miles west of Kettering, Northamptonshire. They shared the base with two other bomb groups. Polinsky was a navigator in this Air Force special operations group; the 492nd/801st Bomb Group known as the “Carpetbaggers.”


A book was written about his crew in 2005. That year he met people who were on the ground, who were part of the underground and part of the reception committee that he had never met before. It made a huge impact on his life. He now feels a community with these men that he never experienced. “I cannot get over the range of gratitude the Belgians feel toward Americans. It really overwhelms me. They took us to visit cemeteries, I went to Bastogne, Ardennes — they took me all over.

Gene was invited to a reception in Belgium and has gone back every year. He is the only survivor of his crew.

The Life

“My daughter says that there are buildings named after the people I know,” he laughed.

Gene has a long story (he said he only told me one fraction of it) about being an actor, writer, producer, director, father and husband.

“I became friendly with Lee Strasberg after the war and got involved with the American Theater Wing. I was a very good actor and a medium director,” he said.

Currently he writes theater reviews and has written reviews since college. He goes into Manhattan at least two to three times a week to see a show. Broadway, in the Park, Off Broadway — you name it, he has seen it. He writes under the pseudonym name Eugene Paul.

Gene met his wife and very much the love of his life in college in 1937. “When I sat down in class, Mary Post was sitting right next to me.” he smiled. They had four children and much to his genetic luck his great, great grandfather lived to be 107. “I will definitely shoot past 100,” he said.

I asked him his secret to a long and productive life. Did you drink or smoke or do anything ‘bad’ I asked?

“Of course!!,” he laughed. “But that was quite a long time ago.”


The Theater

“The best show I have seen this year was Twelfth Night. If you went early, you could watch the actors get dressed and in makeup right on the stage!” he said

The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear, starring Tony Award winner John Lithgow and Academy Award nominee Annette Bening he felt was beyond fantastic. He said if you have not seen Once The Musical, run – don’t walk.

“Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Itch…what can I say? He blew my mind. I could not believe what this man can do. I am convinced he can do anything.”

Gene also spoke very highly of the Westchester Premier Theater, and goes there often for a show and a delicious prime rib. He admitted that he goes everywhere and sees everything except for one theater on White Street that is up three flights.

“Come back,” he said “and I will tell you all kinds of war stories.”

Just try to keep me away.

Profiles on Women – Noemi Morales

Last year, along with two other Rockland Real Estate professionals, Noemi Morales hosted a “Beverly Hills Movie Star-Style Home Tour” in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains. Lemonade and cookies were offered and a special tour map similar to those that lead you through Los Angeles homes of the Hollywood elite were prepared and given out to each guest.

Local artist Corinne Louie, a self-described “professional doodler, artsy fartsy web designer, sketch note artist, singer, musician and dancer” created drawings of each agent to include in the maps.

“I thought why not put our ideas and creativity together and collaborate on this really special open house,” said Noemi Morales who has been in the real estate business for over thirty years.
There were also large photo cutouts of Cher, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe adding to the creativity and glamour that Morales brings to the real estate table.


It appears that Morales brings other things to the table as well.

“I love to cook! I make my grandmother Carlina’s chicken fricassee as often as I can,” said Morales. “As a child, I used to help her plan Sunday dinners. She was my Mamita and there was nothing I loved more than spending time with her. She was my best friend. She picked up my sisters and I from school everyday and was our activities director. She took us to the library to church and taught us to cook and crochet, embroider and knit.”

While living on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx when her son Joseph was small it was her neighbor, Gloria Annunziata, who taught Morales to cook Italian food. “I would smell the aroma in the hallways and stop by to chat,” explained Morales. “The food was heaven.”

As a young girl Morales lived, for a few years, in Puerto Rico where the moon was her streetlight. Having been born and raised in New York, this was a very different lifestyle and one that Morales feels connected her to her Puerto Rican roots. “There is so much tradition there, it was a very different way to live,” she said. “I try to capture that feeling every Christmas with purely authentic Puerto Rican food around our table.”

Morales’ Father was a corrections officer and later a Federal Marshall. He was also a Marine with two purple hearts. Morales wanted to emulate her Dad when she was young. “I have such love and respect for him.” She said. “He told me ‘I arrest them and you get them out’. He wanted me to be a lawyer because he said I always had the winning argument.”

When Morales moved to Rockland she began her real estate journey. She sold a home to her first client who was on a broccoli and rice diet and also had a very different palate when it came to looking for a home. “It wasn’t easy, but I loved the challenge.” she said. That was July 1984. It was the beginning of a long and successful career, one where she is top in her field.

Morales grandson Luke will be turning three and she is hands down in love with him and his new passion for drums and any type of car, just like his Dad. Her Havenese puppies Molly and Buddy are always by her side, if they are not following around her husband Adam. Morales and her husband moved to Piermont in 1993 and feel very lucky to live in that idyllic village.

One of her clients Virginia Sanchez Korrol felt an immediate kinship to Morales. “It was a cold, snowy day when I first met Noemi at Piermont Landing. I felt immediately drawn to her. I appreciated her sense of fairness and caring—her values were more important than making a sale. I didn’t know it then, but I made a friend that day.”

Things you should know about Morales:
* She will never reveal her secret meatball recipe from her friend Jack.
* She is beaming with pride over her nephew’s recent graduation, as an officer, from the Martime Academy.
* When she travelled to the Island of Cape Horn she thought the boat would capsize because of the intensely rough waters. When the weather finally settled, the entire crew and guests went on the deck to see the most beautiful rainbow.
* Her Mother can take an onion and some garlic and make a meal fit for a King
* She is so proud of Piermont and its pesticide free landscape, which won them an award from the Governor.

“I love interacting with people everyday and the challenge real estate brings me,” she said. “This is the only career I see myself in and I am very lucky to have found it.”