In the pop music world there’s Sting, Prince and Madonna. In Newton we have Anatol. Long before I met Anatol Zukerman I’d heard his name mentioned many times by many people … and it was always just “Anatol”.
Anatol Zukerman has never held any public office or never worked for the city, yet he’s been involved in more aspects of the life of Newton than nearly any other citizen. He’s probably best known to most residents for his voluminous guest columns and letters to the editor in the Newton Tab, on a broad range of topics. He’s an architect who’s volunteered his time and talent to work on designs for everything from the 9/11 Memorial, Needham St, Newton Centre, and Newton North High School.
When he’s not prodding public officials, asking hard questions at public meetings, making presentations to myriad groups, railing against NIMBY’s, writing letters to the editor, or stirring the pot on public policy issues in countless other ways – he has another whole public life in Newton as a man of culture.
Just this year he had a well received exhibition in Newton of his paintings and will soon have a show in Washington DC. His art matches the man – provocative, political, talented, and always with an edge.
He recently lectured on Russian post cold war history. He’s a poet. He’s a translator. He’s a provocateur. He’s a busy guy.
Anatol is building a new house in Plymouth MA and plans to move down there next month. He’s not planning on severing his ties with Newton, but still … once you move to a new town, the ties to the old inevitably start to dissolve. Newton’s loss with be Plymouth’s gain.
Despite the fact we often disagree, despite the fact that we both have an ability to get under each other’s skin, I’ll miss him and what he brings to the City of Newton. He’s a talented, maddening, smart, warm, frustrating, funny, hard working guy who has put his heart and soul into this city. I thank him for it all, wish him the best, and look forward to his first letter to the editor, in the Plymouth Daily News.