During the early 1940s, I lived on St. Johns Place between Underhill Ave. Plaza St. This section of St. Johns Place was a wide street and consequently much used as a "play street." There was a time when the police would put a "play street" sign at Underhill Ave, closing it to through traffic for a few hours after school was out and on Saturdays. Later, they stopped doing that, and the police would cruise bye confiscating sticks and balls if they caught you playing stick ball in the street. Of course, some of the younger kids were posted as lookouts and yelled "chicky da cops", and the sticks would quickly disappear into one of the cellar doors, and everyone would get on the sidewalk and mingle, until the all clear was sounded.
I was sent to Adelphi Academy on Lafayette Street from the 4th through 8th grade, and many days would skate to school going down the Underhill Ave. hill. Was able to pick up quite a bit of speed going down the hill until reaching DeKalb Ave, which had cobble stone around the trolley tracks, which meant I had to come to a stop and carefully go over them. Coming home, I'd skate to Atlantic Ave., and then hitch a ride on the back of a trolley which went up Washington Avenue for a good part of the way. When I got to DeKalb Ave., I'd need to pull myself up on the window bars, so my skates didn't get caught on the stone pavement.
Lots of other memories will save them for a later time.
29 June 1999
Estelle Fox Silverstein
1389 St. Johns Place between Utica and Schnectady. Is it possible that any of the neighbors are out there like the O'Malleys the Behars, Henry and Sol Sophie Yakamuck and her brother Niki, the Rosenbergs? That neighborhood was a wonderful big melting pot. If you lived there you would remember Mrs. DeMarco who carried her food from the market on Schnectady in a basket on her head and everyone would stop to look. Does anybody remember running on the sidewalk along side the garbage trucks when they sprayed water to clean up the streets. It was so much fun even though it was a yeacky feeling under your socks when it was over. Anyone remember Pumpy Friedman, Joe and Johnny Diamond, or Joe Curran? Is there anyone out there who graduated from P.S. 167 in 1947? Would love to hear from them.
30 June 1999
Marilyn (Leibovitch) Catania
My Brooklyn was E. 16 St. between Avenues U & T. As a child I had two good friends on that block, Eileen Lee and Judy Merenstein. If you are out there Eileen and Judy send me an email please. I'd love to hear from you. Avenue U was a fantastic place to shop: Sam's Penny Candy Store on E. 17 St., Trio's Pizza near E. 19 St., Luigi's Pizza near E. 16 St., Avenue U Movie Theater by E. 16 St., Ebinger's by E. 16 St. I could go on and on.
I love Brooklyn and still live there!
30 June 1999
I grew up on Fourth Place (between Clinton and Henry streets) in the real Brooklyn . . . South Brooklyn, Red Hook. They call it Carroll Gardens now, but to me it'll always be "The Hook."
In the summertime it was hot and humid and noisy and wonderful! Myself, Nicky, Frankie, Belmonte, and Jonnyboy; we played fist ball with a "Spaldeene" (I could hit two and a half sewers, easy!), Skelsies, Off the Point, but mostly we just hung out. We would sit on the stoop, or in someone else's "aerie," and when the ice cream truck came I would ask my grandfather for a quarter. He was never without pocket change. (I can still hear his gruff Calabrian dialect: "Si si, Tonio. Tene ca!") Sometimes I think he made that pocket change betting on the Bocci games in Carroll Park.
Sometimes my father would take me to Prospect Park to visit the Boat House and Lake. As I grew older, I realized that those trips to Prospect Park (via the Smith Street bus) made my Father and I become friends. I still go there when I'm having a bad day so I can remember what it was like to feel good.
I don't live in New York any more, my job forces me elsewhere. But my accent never fails to prompt the question "Where are you from?" They know I ain't lying when I answer proudly "Brooklyn! Up the block from the Battery Tunnel. How 'bout you?"
30 June 1999