October 30, 2014


Filed under: Church — hoopscoach @ 2:31 pm
Tags: ,

Here she comes, walking down the steps of her stoop.

Damn, she’s with her dad. But I expected that.

I’m nervous.

Holy Shit,” I think to myself as I jump up off the stoop on the corner of Windsor and eighth.

Mass starts in a few minutes; at least I can walk up Windsor Place with her. I love being with her even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Last night we hung out together until eleven.

Hope her dad doesn’t get mad. Hope he’s not pissed at me for keeping his daughter out. But at least he knew we were. I mean we were sitting right there on the stoop. Plus, I hate leaving her at night.

Now all of a sudden I want to go to church. We can sit next to each other in the pew.

Hope her dad doesn’t sit between us.

After mass we can leave together and maybe go over to the Parkhouse for breakfast. There has been talk about that joint closing soon. The Parkhill on the corner of 16th street is a possibility.

Or, maybe we can go to the deli next to Farrell’s and get a buttered roll and a coffee?

Maybe a better idea would be to go to L&J bakery for a black and white cookie and go sit on the park side.

Wonder if her dad will let her hang out with me after mass?

Fuck I’m scared. So scared my palms are sweaty and my knees are weak.

I got butterflies in my stomach too.

Feels like I have a test in school. You know that feeling, right?

She sees me across the street on the corner and cracks a huge smile.

Her dad is standing next to her looking towards Prospect Avenue to see if any cars are coming.

He’s tall, a lot taller than me. Matter of fact everyone in their family is tall.

I think that’s what I love about my girlfriend, she’s the tallest girl in our gang.  We’re really not a gang like the Sharks and Jets or even the Huns or Jokers.

We have a huge group of kids that hang out together. The number is probably close to 30. The girls we hang out our real cool. But my girlfriend, she’s the coolest by far.

Did I tell you she’s two years older than me?

That’s right, she’s sixteen.

But it doesn’t matter.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” she asks me as her dad looks at me.

I don’t say anything. I really don’t know what to say. I’m too scared to say anything.

“Wanna come to church with us?” she asks as her dad looks up Windsor Place.

“Come on, hurry up or we’ll be late,” he says as he walks in front us.

I look at him then at my girlfriend and smile.

Wish I knew what to say. That is my biggest problem. When I am around her, I don’t say much. She always knows what to say.

As we begin to make our way up Windsor Place, she puts out her hand. I grab it and look at her.

“Think your dad minds?”

“Nah, he doesn’t care,” she reminds me.

Wouldn’t you know it; I’m going to church after all.



October 29, 2014


Filed under: Brooklyn,Windsor Terrace — hoopscoach @ 6:17 am
Tags: , ,

Bumped into an old friend tonight (On Facebook, not on ninth avenue)

We reminisced about the days of growing up in the neighborhood.

NYC Sign about parking

A couple of hours later I came across this piece from the New York Daily News on a writer who left New York City.

Here’s the author of the story with an interesting comment; he has since moved to a small town in Colorado.

I was born and raised in middle-class Brooklyn, and imagined one day raising my children in the neighborhood I grew up in — one I will never be able to afford as the row houses and apartments intended to house ordinary New Yorkers have become multi-million-dollar luxury housing, out of reach for those without Wall St. jobs or family money.

So I left, and am happier for it.

At times I have thought of writing a piece on why I left the city. And some day, I may get around to it.

One reason I left was due to the high cost of living. I was paying close to two thousand dollars a month for an apartment down on eleventh avenue. One bedroom apartment.

This was back in 1996. Seems such a long time ago.

There’s no telling what the landlord charges 18 years later.

I am not bitter nor am I jealous that I no longer can afford to live in the neighborhood where I grew up. Time heals all wounds.

I’m sure others were in the same boat. I know people from the neighborhood who have moved to Staten Island, New Jersey and Upstate New York. Pretty close to the city. It’a different though if you have moved across the country or down South.

I like where I am, I really do. It’s not crowded. There’s zero traffic. I can drive everywhere. I can walk and bike too.

No more crowded trains where someone next to you might get upset because they’re having a bad day.

It takes me just a few minutes to get to work.

Our schools are wonderful and most important, I have met some good people.

Tonight my friend on Facebook mentioned to me that she was jealous of where I lived. I’m sure she would like it out here.


October 26, 2014


Every Sunday morning I gotta get up early and attend nine o’clock mass over at Holy Name Church. It’s been the same routine for the past five or six years. Just so you know, I hung out late last night. I’m not in the mood to go to church.

Besides, I’m fourteen now, no longer am I a student at Holy Name. I go to John Jay down on seventh avenue; why do I still have to go to church?

“Get up or you’ll be late for church,” mom screams through our five-room, railroad apartment on Ninth Avenue and Windsor Place.

“I’m not goin’,” I shout from under my warm blanket.

“Get your ass up!” she shouts.

Damn she’s angry.

After a few more attempts to get me up, I finally give in. Her yelling is pissing me off.

It’s annoying to tell the truth.

“Get off my case!” I mumble.

Not too happy about this situation, I throw on the  jeans I wore last night, a blue-hooded sweatshirt and my white, Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars. There’s a scuff mark on the side of my left sneaker. And some grass stains from hanging out in Prospect park last night.

“You can’t go to church lookin’ like that!” mom shouts at me right before I am walking out the door.

I give her a look, not a mean look, just a look like, ‘don’t tell me how to dress’.

“And take a shower,” she adds.

One reason I don’t like going to mass is because I never have any money for the collection box.

When they pass around the straw box attached to the long broom handle,  and it gets to me, I just look at the money in it.

“Sorry, I’m broke,” I say to myself.

Walking up ninth avenue, alongside the stores I see some of my friends walking with their families. They’re all dressed up, shiny black shoes and everything. Sometimes I wish I was in their shoes

As I get up by Smith’s, I look across the street and see a ton of people walking up the church steps.

I’m having second thoughts.

No way in the world mom will know I didn’t go.

She never asks me any questions afterwards.

When I was a student at Holy Name, if I skipped out on mass, the following morning I was called down to the office. They always knew if you weren’t there.

My decision has been made.

I’m not going.

Making a right turn on Prospect Avenue, walking past Regina Bakery, I can smell the bread they are baking, I walk down towards eighth avenue.

Hanging a right on eighth avenue, I walk towards Windsor Place hoping to see my girlfriend, she lives right off the corner of Windsor and eighth.

I glance over at the Bodega on the corner and there’s two guys outside sipping a can of beer which is covered by a brown paper bag. They’re passing it back and forth to each other.

They are arguing over something. It’s hard to tell though.

Standing on the corner, the sun is in my eyes. I look down Windsor Place and up at my girl’s window. There’s no one there. I have thoughts of walking over and ringing her bell. But I don’t think her parents like me very much.

I feel like a million dollars when I’m with her. She always has a smile on her pretty face. She’s tall, and most of all, she loves me.

Her family attends the ten o’clock mass.  If I happen to see them, maybe we can walk up Windsor Place together and I can go to church with them?

We started holding hands in public, so I wonder if her father would be mad if I took her hand while we walked?

I’m going to sit right here on this stoop on the corner until she comes out. It’s our favorite stoop actually; the owner of the house never complains when we sit here together at night.

October 24, 2014


Filed under: Walgreens — hoopscoach @ 3:59 pm

Walgreens officially open. (Image taken from




October 23, 2014


It’s a Wednesday night. Billy and Jimmy are hanging out in Farrell’s. Both guys just got off work. Billy’s an ironworker working on a building on Madison and forty-third over in midtown.  Jimmy’s a cop who works at the 7th Precinct in the lower east side. It’s a little after six.

“You see 30 for 30 last night on ESPN?” Jimmy asks Billy as he takes a sip from his glass of beer.

“Nah, it came on too late, I gotta get up at four in the mornin’,” Billy answers as he looks up at the TV which is showing highlights from game two of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.

“You missed a good one,” Jimmy muttered.

Billy takes a sip of his beer.

“They’ll show it again, ESPN is always showing those shows over and over,” Billy counters.

Farrell's Indoor Sign

Both men visit Farrell’s every night after work to get together, talk sports and talk about life.

“Knicks looked good last night,” Billy mentions as he gulps down the rest of his beer.

“Duffer, gimme another,” Billy shouts.

Duffer is behind the stick tonight, he’s been working at Farrell’s for over 30 years. He’s a local guy and it must be noted, one of the better guys in the neighborhood. He’s also a retired fireman.

“Not sure how the triangle offense is gonna work,” Jimmy added.

“Well, if Carmelo buys-in to the team philosophy, anything is possible” Billy offered. “Not to mention he has to play defense and stop being a ball hog.”

The Knicks have not won a championship in 41 years. They have a new coach, a new offense and Phil Jackson is back at thirty-third and seventh running the show.

“How’s your kid like her new school?” Jimmy asks.

“She’s coping, but she’s bummed that Ford closed.”

Bishop Ford closed it’s doors this past June forcing many families to look for another school.

“It’s a shame, Ford was the place you went after you graduated from Holy Name,” Jimmy says as Duffer places another glass of beer in front of him and pulls some money off the bar.

“Yeah, that sucks,” Billy says. “But it doesn’t matter to me, I went to Jay, and my daughter loves Saviour’s.”

Saint Saviour’s is an all-girls high school down on sixth street.  Many girls from the neighborhood go there.

The bar begins to fill up. Duffer is joined by another bartender, he’s new on the job, Duffer will be training him tonight.

“I miss the Knicks teams of the seventies,” Jimmy admitted.

“Yeah me too,” Billy agrees.

“They played the right way. Frazier, Bradley and Willis.” Jimmy added.

“Don’t forget their coach, Red Holzman,” Billy shouts. “HIT THE OPEN MAN and SEE THE BALL!”

Both men laugh and reach for their glasses and take a gulp of beer.

“Just like our coaches at Holy Name taught us,” Jimmy says as he lets out a burp.

“I miss the days of waking up on Saturday morning, running to the yard and playing three-on-three all day.” Billy says. “Kids don’t play in the yard anymore.”

Both men polish off another glass of beer.

“We’ll never see another team like the Knicks from nineteen seventy-three,” Jimmy says.

“No doubt about that,” says Billy. “And with that, I gotta get outta here Jimmy, my old lady wants to go down to Snooky’s and see some friends.”

Snooky’s is a bar-restaurant on seventh avenue.

“Don’t get into any fights with the seventh avenue boys,” Jimmy reminds his friend.

Billy grabs his money off the bar, throws a ten down and shouts, “YO DUFFER, GIMME A CONTAINER TO GO AND GIVE JIMMY A DRINK!”

Duffer heads to the stick, fills a container and swipes the ten off the bar.  Billy’s out the side door, headed down sixteenth street on his way home.

Jimmy looks up at the television. Glances at all the people in the bar and downs his glass of beer.

“Duffer, gimme a shot of Johnny Walker.”

October 20, 2014


Filed under: Pat Fenton,Pete Hamill,Shirley MacLaine — hoopscoach @ 9:11 am
Tags: ,

Tremendous, tremendous interview with legendary writer Pete Hamill by our guy Pat Fenton.


Step inside Farrell’s.

Make your way to the bar.

Order a container and listen to the stories.

Compelling…to say the least. By the way, Pete clears up the story of Shirley MacLaine being the first woman served at the bar.

Pete Hamill interview 

Love this explanation from Pete on the name of the neighborhood:

“Did you call the neighborhood Park Slope when you were growing up in Brooklyn?” I ask him. “A lot of people who came from Windsor Terrace always just called the whole neighborhood the


“Where I lived on 7th Avenue and 12th Street we really didn’t call it anything,” he says. “What I loved about the South Brooklyn Boys, as they called themselves, Junior Persico and those guys, they lived in North Brooklyn. When you looked at the map you realized that. But they called themselves the South Brooklyn Boys. Geography was not one of their strong suits,” he says smiling, as he talks about a neighborhood street gang, many who went on to become part of the Mafia. Junior, aka, Carmine the Snake Persico, would become the Boss of the Colombo crime family.

“So my neighborhood was this unnamed place, between Park Slope and Windsor Terrace. But now it’s been re-named by the real-estate guys as the South Slope.”

October 16, 2014


Filed under: Pete Hamill — hoopscoach @ 8:59 am
Tags: , , ,

Short update on the health of our guy, Pete Hamill.


(Image taken from mcbrooklyn.blogspot. com)

New York Post fills us in.

“My legs are getting better, thanks to a noble wife, a very good physical therapist, and a platoon of superb doctors from NYU Langone. But I’m still not walking, so I will do no tap-dancing.”

October 15, 2014


Filed under: Holy Name Church — hoopscoach @ 6:30 pm

A message from Father Jim:

The New York Times is coming to Holy Name tomorrow, Thursday for the 11:15AM Mass to take pictures of the church.

HN Church

Please join us, if you are able and spread the word.


Filed under: Container Diaries — hoopscoach @ 10:16 am
Tags: , ,


October 14, 2014


Filed under: Gourmet Butcher — hoopscoach @ 8:43 am

While reading the New York Daily News this morning, I came across this awful story out of Crown Heights.

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