I was raised on East 21St. in Sheepshead Bay. I attended school at P.S. 254, J.H.S. 14 and graduated from James Madison H.S. in 1957. Like the Dodgers I left. I have very fond memories of spending a lot of time fishing in and out of the Bay, hanging around the tackle shops, marine hardware speaking and fooling around with Smitty, Mike and Joe at Mike's Tackle, the crew at Stella Maris and Bernie in Plumb Beach. Those were the days when porgies could be caught off the Bay Bridge in the summer along with pails of whiting in the winter. I remember the year the hurricanes brought in the big eye jacks and blue runners into the bay only to see them die on the surface when the temperature changed. My cousins and I ran around with crab nets scooping them up.
I remember one bay boat in particular as it was not one of the party boats. It was parked near the bridge by Lundy's. The boat's name was the Edwalt. The poor captain was continually harassed by two young boys in a 12' runabout that hounded him to the fishing grounds only because they knew he knew where the fish were. He even threw sinkers and bottles at them to chase them away. I guess he could never guess at the time that one of those boys would become a well known rocket scientist the other an army colonel.
Yes its all gone now, McGinnis, Tappen's, Seidels, Tom's Log Cabin, Phil Claro's bar and the candy store across from Lundy's where, after a hot day on the boat, a cool pineapple soda and Cracker Jacks were waiting. Ah, let's not forget the plate of raw clams from the sidewalk windows of Lundys. How about the trolley that disappeared from Ocean Ave.? How many times did the Bay Bridge go down due to hurricanes?
Let's also remember the high school Friday nights. This guy spent many walking along Kings Highway with the boys of Epsilon Gamma Phi in mass to pick up some co-eds. Yes we failed miserably, but the late-night egg creams were great. Ah, but not as great as the fantasy tales told in the lunchroom on Monday.
Anthony's barber shop was located at Ave. Z and Ocean. He had a large photo taken of Sheepshead Bay circa 1955. It was an aerial view showing the waterfront and the old fishing boats. Is there anyone out there that knows where one can be found? This old Bay boy would love to have one. I can still hear the low bass voice of the captain of the Carrie D yelling "Big fluke here."
4 September 1999
I was born in Greenpoint but know very little of it, since I do not remember my infant years very well. However, the main parts of my life, from l2 to 20, took place in Ridgewood, on Madison Street, between Wilson and Knickerbocker Avenues. I attended the following schools: P.S. 106, Halsey Junior High School, and Bushwick High School. I enjoyed my life roller skating in the streets, taking trolley cars on Wilson Avenue, riding scooters which my father made out of orange crates and a divided roller skate. Played football with the other girls in Victory Field off Myrtle Avenue, near Forest Park. Coney Island, the Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel, Steeplechase Park, and on the way to the subway leaving Coney Island, stopping at the freak shows, which I really would not do today. . . .
My friends, Dottie, who lived on the corner, Dottie next door to me, Jeana, Marion, all would hang out on the corner talking to the boys, though we were banned from there by our parents. Going at night to ice cream parlors, and the soda fountain around the corner from Halsey Jr. High, called Izzy's, had the greatest malted for only 8 cents. Swimming at St. George Hotel, also George Washington Baths, Cypress Pool. Those were the days, days which the kids of today would love if they tested them out, no drugs, no diseases, we had fun, not problems. Those days were in the 40s and the 50s, and to think of them is beautiful. However, I sure wouldn't change them for the days of my children, and my grandchildren. Nothing can take this away from me, but the memories are still here in my heart. In reading this over, I couldn't omit Saturday morning roller skating at East New York Skating Rink, Cypress Rink. I still have these roller skates with the wooden wheels, in the steel case with all the names written inside. Also the Saturday night dances at Putnam Playground dancing to the music of Billy Butterfield and his Band. Those were great days to look back on, and gee, if it wasn't for My Brooklyn pages, I wouldn't have even thought of them. But since I found this page on the Internet, I love it: it brings back so many memories of days before arthritis, gray hair, and senior citizen discounts. I love your pages, don't ever take them away. Thanks loads from a proud Brooklynite!
6 September 1999