Mel Brooks(Vanity Fair)

This week New York Magazine has assembled a power panel of famous figures in sports, art, culture, and poitics to reminisce about their childhoods in New York. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that a number of the chosen were…chosen (or grew up among them).

Barbara Boxer remembers how all the shopkeepers in Brooklyn were World War II refugees, Zac Posen talks about running into Madonna on Spring Street, and Anthony Weiner looked fondly back on the Reform synagogue wars of old Park Slope. Colin Powell, who learned Yiddish from working in a small store, realized that he really hadn’t met a true Anglo-Protestant until he joined the Army. It’s a great feature and, as if you need more teasing, here’s the opening of the one written by Mel Brooks.

I grew up at 365 South 3rd Street in Williamsburg. I remember doing my homework—it was to write down as many signers of the Declaration of Independence as you knew. I knew three. My brother Irving came home, and I said, “Irving, I only have three. I’m going to fail this test.” He said, “Where do you play ball?” “I play ball on Franklin Avenue.” He says, “There’s one.” He said, “Where do you play roller hockey?” “On Hooper.” “There’s another.” “Where’s the library?” “Hewes.” “Well, there’s another one.” I said, “Wait a minute, I’m beginning to get it.” I aced that test.

Check out the rest.

Childhood in New York