We shared a thousand good times, maybe a few that weren’t all that good, but we always, always found something to laugh about……..along with all that,  you will be remembered for dancing Arkan, your moustache and your smile………
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2021
Happy Birthday, Zhivago. Marge and I miss you and our trips to NYC to visit.
Posted by peter prizel on October 18, 2020
Missing beloved uncle Y
Posted by Terri Birch on October 18, 2020
Feels like forever :(
Posted by ilya prizel on October 18, 2020
10 years who could have believed. A wound that is always with us.
Posted by Linnea Willman on October 18, 2020
It's hard to believe 10 years have passed. Miss you!
Posted by Terri Birch on March 5, 2020
I miss you.
Posted by ilya prizel on March 5, 2020
My dear brother would have been 72 today. May his memory be a blessing
Posted by maury englander on October 18, 2019
Tonight I can recall our very first conversation, outside Loeb Student center after an evening of folkdancing. That evening was the first of many decades worth of memories. I can also sadly remember our final one.
Posted by Terri Birch on October 18, 2019
It has been so much to tell you.
Posted by peter prizel on October 18, 2019
Couldn’t have said it better than my dad. I’ll flight of uncle Y last night while watching seasons street w his newest great-niece
Posted by ilya prizel on October 18, 2019
we will always miss and miss
Posted by Linnea Willman on August 28, 2019
I think of you often and can imagine you hopping up and down with the political nonsense now occurring. I miss you,
Posted by Françoise Bougenot on August 28, 2019
Yuri was a mind-boggling, improbable online friend before internet communication went mainstream. I wish I had met him in real life.
Posted by maury englander on March 5, 2019
you are did arkan and tweak your mustache at the rest of us...we raise a glass to you this night.
Posted by peter prizel on March 5, 2019
Always loved always thought of I call your niece Skylie Mopazoni I your honor. You are missed.
Posted by Terri Birch on March 5, 2019
I miss you.
Posted by Terri Birch on October 18, 2018
I miss you more than I could have ever imagined. The pain is still fresh. Rest in peace my friend.
Posted by peter prizel on October 18, 2018
Always loved and missed. Your Neice, who never had the privilege to meet you, asks me to tell her if y ties w you, which I do.
Posted by maury englander on March 5, 2018
Will raise a glass. And crunch an eggroll. You left the table too soon............
Posted by Terri Birch on March 5, 2018
I miss you my friend. Love you so much.  I miss sharing each others lives.
Posted by ilya prizel on March 5, 2018
It is your 70th birthday dear brother. Forever missed!
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2018
Happy Birthday, Zhivago!
Posted by Terri Birch on October 18, 2017
I miss you so much. I have so many things to share with you.
Posted by peter prizel on March 6, 2017
The Barnes and Noble outings, the Law and Order marathons, the dinner dates. These are just some of the memories I have of you uncle Y.

Posted by maury englander on March 5, 2017
We still had Chinatown dinners to share and late night stories to retell. Gone too soon, my friend.
Posted by Terri Birch on March 5, 2017
I miss you, think of you often. Terri
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2017
Happy Birthday, Zhivago.
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2016
Happy Birthday, Zhivago. Miss you!
Posted by Marjorie Carter on March 5, 2016
Yuri You are much missed, but you already knew that. You were such a good friend and a gifted teacher and raconteur.
Posted by Terri Birch on March 5, 2016
Happy Birthday, to one of the best friends ever. Miss you so.
Posted by maury englander on March 5, 2016
Remembering my dear friend, gone much too soon......... Miss ya!
Posted by peter prizel on October 18, 2015
Dearest uncle,
   As I sit reading the "Tale of Genji" I remember our midnight run to get it at Barnes and noble after Law and Order. Not a day goes by when I don't think of you at work dearest uncle/catalyst .
Posted by Marjorie Carter on October 17, 2015
A sad time of year for those of us who loved you and your big personality, Yuri. I shall read some Asimov in your honor and try to imagine your opinions on the Presidential candidates. Ha!
Posted by maury englander on October 17, 2015
Too many dinners in Chinatown that we should have shared. Will crunch an egg roll in your honor! Miss ya, my friend.
Posted by Terri Birch on October 16, 2015
Five years--just too long. I miss you.
Posted by Terri Birch on April 3, 2015
I was shopping the other day and I saw a turn table, that you would have flipped for. It was enclosed in a brief case that was designed as a book. You open it and there's the turntable. You would love it!

Posted by Dory Green on March 5, 2015
Every time I see a good movie or read a good book or pass by a homeless person, I think of Yuri. He will always be my silent companion; I was lucky to be the recipient of his compassion, intelligence, and friendship for ten fine years.
Posted by maury englander on March 5, 2015
We celebrated your 25th at my studio, your 50th at your apartment and there should have been lots more. :Have missed your company across lots of Chinatown tables, so I will crunch an egg roll in your honor this week! Fine times and happy times remembered!
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2015
Happy Birthday, Zhivago! Miss you!
Posted by Terri Birch on March 5, 2015
Happy Birthday, Yuri boy. It has been much too long, I miss you. Hope you've met my mum.
Posted by Terri Birch on October 17, 2014
Yuri, I've begun teaching the Orpheus myth, and I am showing my students clips from the opera. You'd love it. Peak in and watch. Love, Terri
Posted by ilya prizel on October 16, 2014
I will ALWAYS miss you.
Posted by maury englander on October 15, 2014
Would anyone like a large (16"x20") color photo of Yuri? This is a print of the shot I did for a magazine cover, with him playing an 'angry counter clerk'

I made one for him that he had hanging in his apartment and just came across another print that I had packed away. I hope one of his friends would like to have it.

I am offering it to the first taker. You must come by and pick it up. I am in the Village in a doorman building, so it can be left for you hat ever your schedule.

Pleae get back to me at:

......... I will take this note down when the print finds a new home.
Posted by peter prizel on March 7, 2014
Dearest Uncle,
  As I strive to gain more clinical hours towards hospice I think of you daily. I miss your wisdom and empathy. My loving fountain if knowledge I'm doing my best to impart your wisdom to your great nieces.
Love you Uncle Y

Nephew Because
Posted by Terri Birch on March 7, 2014
I speak of you in class often especially when we discuss opera and literature. You are still a strong, cherished part of my life.
Posted by Marjorie Carter on March 5, 2014
Dear Zhivago, I am thinking of you today , your birthday.I miss so many of your qualities... a quirky passion for arguing politics , yet you claim to have never voted, how your eyes would light up when relating stories about your beloved nieces and nephew. I am now re-reading a Nabakov novel that we read at the same time.... and discussed.... and then you told me what I misunderstood . LOL

You are missed here on earth, my friend. If there is a heaven, I am betting you are standing before God , with one foot on a cloud , telling him how he OUGHT to be running earth. Love you.
Posted by Dory Green on March 5, 2014
I think of Yuri often. A poem, a good movie, a homeless person, any number of things remind me of this sweet and giving man who was the best friend I ever had. He was gone too soon, but his many kindnesses (and sense of playfulness) live on in my heart.
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2014
Happy Birthday, Zhivago. I miss you and think of you often.
Posted by maury englander on October 19, 2013
Raise a glass and remember....... much to smile about............I miss you, my friend.
Posted by ilya prizel on October 18, 2013
Three years have passed the void is undiminished. Love you.
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Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Linnea Willman on March 5, 2021
Happy Birthday, Zhivago. Marge and I miss you and our trips to NYC to visit.
Posted by peter prizel on October 18, 2020
Missing beloved uncle Y
Posted by Terri Birch on October 18, 2020
Feels like forever :(
Recent stories

Virtual Yuri

Shared by Phoebe Hall on May 26, 2013

I never met Yuri face to face, and had forgotten him for the most part until I found a card he'd sent me back in 1994. Then I remembered why I'd kept the card. I met Yuri on AOL in 1992. We would chat from time to time online then every so often he would call me and chat. He had become enamored of my southern accent (as I'm from NC) and I was enamored of his accent.  So we had a mutual admiration society being born!  I'm so very sorry to hear of his passing. Even though I didn't know him extremely well, I was struck by what a kind and gentle soul he was; yet there was an empty spot inside that he longed to fill. He tried to fill it by giving of himself. He often gave me advice...even when I didn't need it or want it. And, more often than not, he was right.  At any rate, I hope Yuri is finally happy and at peace. He was one of the nicest people I'd met online and his laugh will be missed.

Yuri's Modeling Career

Shared by maury englander on October 6, 2012

Yuri’s modeling career began – and ended – in my studio.  I had always wanted to use him for a commercial photo, but the opportunity never came up.  Until this one.  The shot was for a food industry trade magazine for a story that is now long forgotten.  I used Yuri for my model, rented an antique cash register and borrowed salt and pepper shakers from the restaurant downstairs.  We weren’t sure of exactly what the editor wanted, so we went through a variety of his “emotions.”  Once in front of the camera, Yuri sang in Yiddish, cursed in Polish and we shot a total range of expressions. We probably had a few beers. The editor loved the concept and ended up using one shot for the magazine's cover.  Yuri had that cover framed and displayed on a wall of his apartment, along with a 16"x20” print of the photo.  Regrettably, I never did come up with another modeling job for him. I had completely forgotten about these photos until now.  This one is scanned from the original 35mm slide.

Shared by maury englander on March 24, 2011


Me and Yuri, out paths crossed around 40 years ago give or take a bit. Anyway, far enough back to not make much difference one way or another if my memory is off. We met at a folk dance session at NYU. Life was simpler and lots easier, but we probably didn’t appreciate that enough then.  Anyway, folk dancing was big and the NYU group drew a couple of hundred dancers every week. It was a great way to work out, but most of all, it was a great way to meet women, an interest Yuri and I shared with great gusto if only moderate success. 
Yuri’s dance was Arkan, a Ukrainian men’s dance designed to display “manly prowess” on the dance floor. Translation: to impress women.  It involved a series of squats, kicks and steps designed to put maximum strain on knees, back and most other parts of the body.  And it could be impressive when enough guys actually knew the dance and managed to survive it.  It was the dance that Yuri always led, calling out the steps in some language that nobody else understood, often with a cigarette in one hand. You could get away with smoking back then. Like I said, life was simpler. Today, many people who did not get to know Yuri very well back then, still remember him and Arkan.
Anyway, as I remember it, one evening with the dance session over and the two of us unsuccessful at finding female companionship, we happened to leave together and got to talking as we walked across Washington Square park. I invited him up to my place for a drink. It was to be the first of many evenings we would spend together over the next 4 decades. Folk dancing and drinking were to play important parts in our lives, both individually and together. A dozen years later at another dance studio, a tall beautiful dancer gave me her phone number and a few years later, Yuri was a member of our wedding party.
Yuri came to America as a teenager and worked at maintaining his peasant image. He cultivated a huge moustache and an even thicker accent.  He was fluent in half a dozen languages, but gave the impression that English wasn’t one of them. I could get by in Yiddish and a few words that sound vaguely Eastern and we sometimes goofed on our friends by switching languages, usually at inappropriate times. If alcohol was involved, people often complained that by the end of the evening, nobody could understand us.
He could have excelled in a dozen academic careers in literature, linguistics or music. Instead, he became an engineer. He once told me that he “accidentally” acquired his degree when he noticed that the extra math courses he had taken for fun (math courses for fun!) were almost enough to fulfill the academic requirements. Years later allowed that taking his job as an engineer with the federal government insured he would have the health care he knew he was going to need. 
Yuri was great to cook for. For the first couple of ties anyway. Then I realized that his only requirement for a good meal was that “it should be enough!” Serve him a perfect five course steak dinner or a plate of boiled potatoes and they would be consumed with equal gusto.
I had a great little photo studio on East 21st street and when Yuri turned 25, we celebrated his birthday there, packing it with a huge number of folkdancers, musicians and assorted émigré friends of his. I think I also invited several clients which probably wasn’t the best idea, but somehow we all survived. And Yuri led Arkan.
Yuri worked at an office in one of the federal buildings in lower Manhattan, an easy walk to Chinatown, and we got into the habit of meeting for a meal down there after work. He always left the ordering up to me, insisting only on there being sufficient quantity on the table. It was somewhere along the line that I noticed the first indications of his declining health when he could no longer have a beer with his meal and began asking that I order dishes without strong spices. He just claimed that his stomach was acting up.
And food stories bring on Yuri’s 50th birthday. By then he had moved to a co-op near Lincoln Center. It was a long way from the furnished room he lived in when we met an he was proud of the place. He’d been there for a year or so when he turned 50 and figured that was a proper occasion for a party. Actually, any reason was a proper occasion for a party, but this one seemem particularly appropriate.
 Now while he was a perfect host, Yuri’s cooking skills were, to be generous, non-existent.  So a bunch of us brought food. As some of it was heating in the oven the place suddenly filled with smoke. We quickly shut the oven off.  Opening it, we found that the electric heating elements were still packed with Styrofoam! Yuri had lived there for a year and had never turned on his oven! 
Meeting up in Chinatown was still a regular deal for Yuri and me, even after he retired. Seemed weird to have a friend who was retired: that was for old guys, and Yuri was 5 years younger than me. I once asked him what he was doing now that he was a man of leisure and he told me he was reading. He loved music and books and that’s about all he spent his money on.
Yuri was also a classic soft touch. He could never pass a panhandler on the street without giving him something. Later I learned that he quietly gave away a large part of his income to various charities.
But Yuri was also changing and that early retirement wasn’t by choice. The guy who used to take bike trip vacations and lead Arkan across the dance floor was having trouble walking any distance. Our get togethers were often cancelled. Sometimes he’d forget or get the time wrong. Sometimes it was a doctor’s appointment. Too often it was because he said he was just not feeling well. 
Then a day came when I found my friend in a hospital bed, too weak to even feed himself. One doctor was kind enough to bend the regulations and explain that his tumors were beyond surgery. The cancer that had started in his lungs had spread. Radiation might help him for a bit, but we could expect no more than a few months.  That turned out to be an optimistic diagnosis. A few days later he was in a nursing home in Riverdale. His brother explained that it simply would have been too expensive to provide the care that would have let him spend those last few days in his own home. 
Anyway, the nursing home was a pleasant enough place as such places go. It had landscaped grounds and views of the Hudson River.  My last memory of my friend is not as pleasant. 
I came there on a Friday afternoon and could hear him before I reached his room. He was dying and he knew it and he wanted it to happen as quickly as possible. He cursed the staff who cared for him, he cried and ranted.  We got him into a wheelchair and I pushed him to a quiet part of the place where we could look out at the river and talk. I knew it was our last meeting, our time to say goodbye. When I finally said it, he thanked me for being his friend and told me to get the hell out of there. I wouldn’t let him off that easy so we sat for a bit longer and retold a few stories and maybe even managed a few smiles.
My last image of Yuri was in that wheelchair with his head in his hands. It was a picture of pure and absolute misery. On the walk back to the train station, I thought of all the things I’d forgotten to mention.  My dear friend Yuri died that Sunday night.
I am still royally pissed at him for leaving us like that...........................
        Maury Englander