Ike Herschkopf from The Shrink Next Door and Mickey Mantle
Wondery’s latest release in partnership with Bloomberg, The Shrink Next Door, tells the story of an allegedly manipulative therapist, Isaac “Ike” Steven Herschkopf, as told by his one-time “neighbor”, journalist Joe Nocera. The two originally became acquainted when Joe and his wife bought a home in the Hamptons next door to the ostentatious house where Ike was living. Joe attended a party at the home and subsequently him and his wife were invited over for a neighborly get-together. Ike was immediately off-putting. He was arrogant, indiscreet, and fame obsessed—quickly showing off a display wall of photos of him posing with celebrities.
Joe and his wife wanted nothing to do with Ike, but avoiding a friendship became easier than expected when they returned the next summer to find that Ike was not the owner of the home next door to theirs, but that the actual owner was a man everyone thought to be the groundskeeper, Marty Markowitz. The 2nd episode of The Shrink Next Door begins to unpack the unhealthy relationship between Ike and his patient of almost 30 years, Marty.
While the full scope of the crimes committed by Herschkopf has yet to be revealed in the podcast, a New York Times article published in 1989 (below), provides a small anecdote of Ike meeting his “hero” Mickey Mantle, which fits the personality of the celebrity-crazed Ike we are coming to know. The brief encounter between Ike and Mantle was mentioned not only in the NYT, but in several different Jewish literary outlets and journals. It seems Ike has told his version of this short narrative to so many people throughout the years that it is now referenced by others and was even used by Rabbi Charles P. Sherman 25 years later to delve into the religious symbolism behind a recurring dream that Mantle may have disclosed to Ike.
As this story progresses, it will be interesting to see how Ike, a well-connected psychiatrist and active member of Manhattan’s Jewish community, continued to control the life of his patient, Marty, and if he had the same influence over any others he was treating.