Eight Bells: Artie Karpf
Published on March 29th, 2017
Arthur Irwin Karpf, New Rochelle Harbor marina manager and yacht broker, died on 2/4/2017 in an accident as he left his houseboat for a party held in his honor on City Island. He was 82 years.
Art’s parents Lee and Mildred Schiffer Karpf raised him (born 12/13/1934) and his sister, Joan, on a City Island alley of bungalows built over a former chicken farm. Though schooled at PS17 (’48) and Bronx HS of Science (’52), and socializing at Tremont Temple, Art’s passion was sailing.
In his teens he crewed on Snipes, especially at Stuyvesant Yacht Club. At SUNY Maritime he became a regatta-winning lead skipper. His first weekend with future wife of 45 years Maxine Gensburg of Westerly, RI, and later his proposal, were at Snipe races. After they married 2/26/1961, they honeymooned at Snipe races.
Art first worked as a journeyman compositor and candy salesman, serving also in the Army and Reserve (’57-’63, Fort Dix, NJ). He, Maxine, and their sons Josh and Steve moved to New Rochelle in 1973, living on the houseboat as he managed Glen Island Yacht Club, West Harbor Yacht Service, and A. LeComte Co. for over 40 years.
He served on the New Rochelle Waterfront Committee. Mayor Noam Bramson called him “an absolutely lovely man … Always kind, thoughtful, and good-natured, even when he was offering constructive criticism. [He] helped set policy for our municipal marina, protecting one of New Rochelle’s most important waterfront and recreational assets. Countless boaters can be grateful for his stewardship, and his expert opinion was greatly respected by our parks staff and harbormaster.”
Art most loved non-spinnaker racing. Art skippered a C&C 35, Snow Goose, in the Can One Evening Race Association’s Thursday-night series and other Long Island Sound regattas, eventually buying it for himself and racing even more frequently.
Steve Cain, president of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound, said he won just about every nonspinnaker event on the Sound for years. “Art, who suffered no fools, was always happy to discuss a race, to share his all-encompassing knowledge,” observed Cain. “His critical role in building Can One to its position as one of the largest weeknight vespers series on the Sound brought yacht-racing to many who had never considered it before. His yard was one of the few that was for sailors only. To earn his respect and share a laugh with him over some poor soul’s folly on the water was to feel like you had entered a special group.”
Art is survived by his son Stephen (Bhadrika) and grandchildren Jazz, Wolf, Maritza, and Javier; son Josh (Juliet); brothers- and sisters-in-law Rob and Leslie and Lenore and Jim; niece Karyl (Gene); cousins Eddie (Colette) and Maxine; nephews and nieces Will (Robin) and their children, Stephanie and Matthew; Eric (Bessie) and their children, Dean and Ruby; Sara (Ryan) and their son, Leo; Sam (Bonnie); Rob (Roberta), and Leah (Mark).
Donations in Art’s name may be made to the City Island Nautical Museum, 190 Fordham Street, City Island, NY 10464.