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Friday Flashback #192

I have a tough time remembering what I did yesterday.

Fred Cantor knows where he was exactly 50 years ago today: Friday, May 8, 1970.

The alert “06880” reader/amateur historian/attorney/documentary producer was with several Staples High School classmates, watching his beloved New York Knicks win their 1st NBA title.

The other day, he emailed several detailed paragraphs about that night. They’re not germane here — though in this sports-less world, ESPN should interview him ASAP.

The reason Fred contacted me is because 3 years later — when the Knicks won their 2nd (and only other) crown — David Levine created a famous 4-page poster for New York magazine.

Fred feels a particular connection to that piece, because that summer he worked at the Longshore tennis courts. There he met Levine — a summer resident here from 1956 to 1977.

In 2011, the Westport Library featured an exhibit of the famed illustrator’s work. That was one of many. He had shows across the US and Europe. Levine’s caricatures were featured in Time, Newsweek, Esquire, Playboy, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Nation and for over 40 years, The New York Review of Books.

One of David Levine’s most noted caricatures was of President Lyndon Johnson, in 1966. He had revealed a gall bladder operation scar to the public (photo). The artist envisioned it as a map of Vietnam — and added a Pinocchio nose.

Levine’s son Matthew now lives here. He’s an artist too. His works have been featured often on “06880,” and he manages his father’s art estate. David Levine died in 2009.

In 1988, David Levine drew New York real estate developer Donald Trump wearing a suit — and diapers. In 2015, as Trump was beginning his run for the presidency, it sold at auction for $1,500.

As for that Knicks poster that Cantor remembers so well?

He’s not the only one. It hangs today in the Museum of the City of New York, part of an exhibition on basketball.

Known mostly for his caricatures, David Levine also painted watercolors. This is “Compo Beach, Low Tide.”

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