A new biography of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg offers a few pointed observations of Medford, the city where Bloomberg spent much of his childhood.
In an excerpt posted on the New York Times website, author Joyce Purnick describes Medford as a bit too small townish to contain Bloomberg's ambition, and also takes note of a less than welcoming atmosphere for Jews in the 1940s.
"Medford was quiet and dull and Mike was bored,'' Purnick writes. "The place could not contain him. He wanted up and out and since that was not about to happen for a while, he turned into a contrarian who followed his own agenda.''
Bloomberg was born in Brighton. In 1945, the book says, Bloomberg'sparents had to devise a strategy to purchase their home on Ronaele Road because the seller would not sell it to a Jew.
Here is that excerpt:
"No Jews lived in the immediate neighborhood, very few anywhere in Medford. But everyone assumed that would change, including the Bloombergs, who resolved not to let residual anti-Semitism block their path. 'They weren't very happy,' Mrs. Bloomberg said of some neighbors. 'Our lawyer, George McLaughlin, who was Irish, bought the house and sold it to us. But nobody on the street was unpleasant to us.' And so they moved into the two-story, three-bedroom house — the slightly more expensive model because it came with a finished attic and basement.''
Another famous Medford resident also is quoted about the city:
"It was not a bad place, but a place you want to leave, to escape from," recalled the author Paul Theroux, a Medford native and casual Bloomberg friend. "I thought it would be death to stay there, that I would just be swallowed up. It was all right to grow up there, but to stay there? Fatal."