Guest Post: The Man From B.R.O.O.K.L.Y.N.

I received the following from my Dad this afternoon. I asked him for permission to share it here.

APOLOGIA: YOU WILL FIND “I” AND “ME” IN HERE OFTEN. That’s because my wife, who is also from Brooklyn does not agree with my outlook. These are MY opinions and do not mean I am insulting my wife or son or other Brooklynites and THEIR opinions.


(Nope, that’s not right. How about)


(I’m still not getting my point across. Lessee)


I’m gone, by-bye, far away, moved. It took 65 years but no more $500 annual parking ticket budget, sky rats, strange people sleeping in the streets, passersby arguing with themselves and losing. No more rush hour, subway, shoulder to shoulder bustle and bump, “cleaning” windshields, strange green gobs of mucous on the sidewalk.

I was a Great Depression baby, born at home near the intersection of Myrtle and Decatur in Ridgewood. We moved to Queens early in my life but, same thing. Brooklyn was The City, just like Manhattan.

If you were a baseball fan, you had died and gone to Heaven early. A ten cent subway ride took you to the Wonderlands of Yankee Stadium, Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. I was not a fan.

No sense belaboring it: it was a nasty Era and life stunk. My Mom made me wear knickers and a beret !

Our electric was more off than on. Fridays were always cod fish cakes and spaghetti (Franco-American) night.

During WWII we also had Meatless Tuesdays. Not that we could afford meat anyway but it makes a good bitching point.

When I was married we managed to move out on “The Island”, first to Nassau county and then Suffolk.

From that point on I tried very hard to protect my kids from the Big Bad City. I didn’t want them to endure what

I had gone through. I was still too much a Dad to realize or even conceive that my kids could think for themselves and make decisions. Wrong again, and not for the first or last time.

My son moved first to Manhattan and eventually to Brooklyn where he has a 100 year old Victorian home.

The daughter is very happy with her family in New Jersey.

The son writes a well received and popular “Blog” about life in Brooklyn, especially gardening.

They’re happy, I’m happy. I miss them but not Brooklyn.

Here is a partial list of things I do miss: American Museum of Natural History; Coney Island Aquarium; MOMA; the Bronx Zoo; hot chestnut vendors; Horn and Hardart’s Automat; Charlotte Russe; Loew’s Valencia Theatre; Tony the Ice Man; Macy’s Christmas windows; Rockefeller Center at Christmas; more. BUT, I could always visit. Oh my: swimming at the St. George hotel with its’ salt water pool and the mirrored ceiling; the Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day parades; Times Square on New Year’s Eve (just once);……..

Had to stop, starting to choke up. Take a deep breath.

OK. I now live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, selected as my retirement spot after years of study. Been here 15 years. I do very well, thank you. We eat out several times a week. I love it. We have a backyard about 100 feet deep and two football fields long. A stream runs through it at the rear boundary.

We live at the foot of a mountain.

The backyard is visited by a variety of wildlife: squirrels, flying squirrels, several species of rabbit, red foxes, muskrat, wild turkeys, deer, gray fox, ducks, geese and an amazing variety of birds including several hawk species. (They tend to harvest the mourning doves.)

Just a couple of healthy stones throws away is a herd of elk and a pack of red wolves. The gray wolves have not yet been re-released to the wild. The cougars/panthers/mountain lions are gone but you can still find feral pigs, some mixed with European Boars. They hunt them on foot, with spears!

What about bears? They are all around us but have never been seen on our property. Sightings have been made within a half mile. Usually a daily incident in the local papers.

We gotcher streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes and hundreds of waterfalls. Local fishing waters hold all species of trout; bass species include largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, peacock, striped, hybrid.

The North Carolina state record for Bluegill sunfish (2 ¾ pounds) was caught in our home county.

Culturally, we miss major league sports. However we have seen Itzaak Perlman, the Lippizaner Stallions, David Copperfield, many operas. We have musical and stage shows, lots of Celtic music and dancing and, as you might expect, tons of Blue Grass. The circus, pow-wows, gem mines. We’re not lacking.

Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina are within a half hour’s drive.

City lovers would miss the 24 hour lifestyle. We tend to roll up the sidewalks around 9:30 PM.

So, all-in-all, it was a great move. We still visit the son in Flatbush and the daughter in Brick, NJ. We absolutely avoid Long Island at all costs.

There are a few other ties to The City. I still have a plot in Calvary Cemetary. It will go unused.

So, my dear son: revel in your Brooklyn home with your partner. You have chosen, and wisely for you. My plan to protect you was a flop and thank goodness for that.

I am still happy to be FROM Brooklyn. But I have a friend there whom I can visit whenever possible. He opens my eyes to the things I overlooked and broadens my knowledge base and horizons, even at the age of 75.

I am blessed in all things.


Genevieve said...

That was an interesting point of view. Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting post. My parents were also born in the city, but moved to CT as children, then up to NH to raise their family, and that's where I grew up. Eventually I made my way to Brooklyn, and it's where I intend to stay! Dad visited once, but says he doesn't care to visit again. He's content in retirement in FL. Good for him. Brooklyn is my chosen home, the history is so rich here. It's nice to hear a first hand account. Thanks! CH