Long Branch, NJ – “Long Branch, a town that may not know who Bob Dylan is, but certainly knows who Dorothy Parker was,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, founder and president of the National Dorothy Parker Society and co-editor of The Lost Algonquin Round Table, in reference to the recent failure to recognize the music legend by a rookie policeman, at the fourth annual Dorothy Parker Day.
Parker was a poet writer, humanitarian and dog lover, best known for her caustic wit. The day began with readings and dramatic interpretations of Parker’s works by local authors and historians at the Long Branch Public Library and a Parker Lookalike Contest.
Fittingly, The City of Long Branch celebrated Mrs. Parker’s premature birth on August 22, 1893, one week early on August 16. The day was sponsored by the Long Branch Arts Council, Long Branch Public Library, West End Merchants Society and the NJ Chapter of the Dorothy Parker Society. Events continued with a luncheon special at Jesse’s Natural Foods on Brighton Avenue in West End complete with a complimentary poem read with each meal, a Dog Parade beginning at St. Michael’s Catholic Church with a blessing of the animals and a walk past Dorothy Parker’s birthplace on Ocean Avenue, where her family’s summer cottage once stood.
The day concluded with an eclectic crowd of authors, historians, academics, thespians, and Parker fans mingling at the Mix Lounge on Brighton Avenue for a cocktail party. One couple came as far as Virginia for the event.
In the hot afternoon sun, Director of The Long Branch Arts Council, Gabe Barbaras, thanked the dogs for bringing their owners to St. Michael’s for the walk, a Dorothy Parker Day annual tradition. Each dog received a doggie treat bag that was prepared by Joelle Aponte, president of the New Jersey chapter of the DPS. Several dogs were interviewed with their human spokespersons. Jay Kulin and Joe Reale of Long Branch, who recently adopted Diesel, an American Pitt Bull Terrier, who wore a small bottle of fine malt whiskey around his collar. A black and white Shitsu named “Dulcie Dog” who was dressed in pearls, also attended. According to her owner, she often “prances around with Dorothy’s restless energy.”
Aponte said that the Jersey chapter hasn’t been on a mission since its inception in 2005, other than to participate in the planning of D Day. “Kevin (Fitzpatrick) dubbed us President and Vice President, since we were the only two that showed up,” referring to Laura Greenstone, Vice President.
“Very soon Dorothy Parker will be to the Jersey Shore literary reputation, what Springsteen is to music,” Fitzpatrick said. “Dorothy Parker can be nominated to join the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and we want her to join people like Frank Sinatra in the Hall. It is another opportunity to get Long Branch on the map. We will be voting again in 2010.”
After being approached by many people who attended the day about membership, Aponte and Greenstone held an executive board meeting and voted to make the 2010 NJ Hall of Fame the mission of The Society. To join the society and vote for Dorothy Parker for the NJ Hall of Fame, log onto here.