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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Now, then, there were three high schools that most of the kids uptown went to, leaving out the Brooklyn schools and the Bronx schools. You didn't get around as fast in those days. The three high schools that we were divided among were Commerce, Clinton, and Townsend Harris. Commerce and Clinton were down-town, relatively, in the '60s. Townsend Harris was part of City College of New York. The remarkable part of it was that it provided in three years what the other high schools did in four years. And to get into Townsend Harris you had to have superior marks in public school, and when you got there, you had to work like hell. And the dropouts were fantastic. In the first year over half the class flunked out. It was so good a school that after some years, after terrific fights down at City Hall, Townsend Harris was abandoned. The building was needed by the college anyway. It is part of the City College complex up on 138th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.


Is that where you went?


Yes. Now, those are the three years that I really worked. I mean I worked harder in high school than I ever worked in college. College was a breeze after Townsend Harris. And it was at the Riviera, this building up on 157th Street, that I started out my real life, because in this building it was Howard Dietz, who had moved uptown, who became one of my best friends. Another was Merryle Rukeyser, who later became financial editor for all the Hearst newspapers. And across the

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