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Notable New     Yorkers
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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

of us had as much interest in what was going on outside the office as within, and we used to sneak down to the Battery, which is only three or four blocks away and sit there watching the boats go in and out. That was fascinating. And we'd go over to the Statue of Liberty on a little steamer and wander around, climb up to the top or reconnoitre around the wharves down on Front Street up to the fish market. This was during office hours, you know! There was a German member of the firm whom I can still remember yelling, “There's that veesil, Bennett.” He called me veesil because he never could find me. I was out prowling half the time, and studying the history of listed stocks as well.

Q:

Did you not have enough to do?

Cerf:

We did. We did our work. But we were kind of favored. After all, my uncle was the best customer in the firm, and Charley Allen was a charming young man, and we were in.

Q:

How much did you get paid in this job--do you remember?

Cerf:

Somewhere around $20, $30 a week. That's what you started out at, but we soon got quite a bit more.

Now, the reason I mention Charley Allen is that today Charley Allen is one of the richest men in the United States. In those days, if anybody had asked down there, “Which two members around here are least likely to get very rich?" I'm



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