A 1974 New York Times article touted the Lakewood area as the “most famous winter resort in the east
Illustrations: Marion Bellina
Named for: the Irvington resort hotel
Have you heard of the Irv? Try it out in conversation and the reaction will be instant — sheer confusion or a grin and a proud, “Of course! I dormed there.” A beloved nickname given to the dorm for older bochurim in Beth Medrash Govoha, a.k.a. Lakewood yeshivah, the Irv comes by its name honestly: The dorm building was originally a boutique hotel called the Irvington, for Irvington, New Jersey, and in its heyday was part of Lakewood’s resort community.
A 1974 New York Times article touted the Lakewood area as the “most famous winter resort in the east. Vanderbilts, Astors, Rockefellers… built lavish homes in the pine woods or along the shores of Lake Carasaljo. Vacationers of lesser means traveled the 45 miles from New York by special parlor coach, then walked along wooden sidewalks from the station to Lakewood’s luxury hotels.”
These days, BMG students of all means walk concrete sidewalks to get to the Irv, where they are treated to above-average dorm amenities, like a bathroom in each dorm room. Of course, that’s not what draws people to the Irv — or to BMG. It’s the lavish Torah learning, the special rebbeim, and the luxury of basking in the wisdom of today’s greatest Torah scholars that has made Lakewood, BMG, and the Irv the talk of the town and the place for single young men to be (until one finds his zivug, b’shaah tovah u’mutzlachas).
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 878)
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