September 5, 2014
“Do what you can with what you have with where you are.”
September 2, 2014
Megan Reynolds of Brooklyn Magazine took in a few spots in the neighborhood. She gives us a brief rundown.
Can’t seem to put my finger on it, but I’m not feeling her description of Farrell’s.
You could very easily end the night at the Double Windsor, but keep it together just long enough to visit Farrell’s, conveniently located across the street. This move is probably going to be where you lose your beer snob friend, and the people that you’re with that don’t like the actual smell of a bar, but those brave soldiers that have stuck it out with you to the bitter end will be rewarded with the coldest beer you’ll find, served in styrofoam cups. It’s a dive bar in the truest sense, but really, nothing ends the night better than an ice-cold Bud. Take it to go, if you dare, or just finish it standing in the cooling night as you look for a cab.
September 1, 2014
It was a cold Monday morning, winter of 1989, we were putting up a building in downtown Manhattan.
I mean it was “North Pole” cold. Not that I have ever been to the North Pole.
Despite three pairs of white tube socks my feet were freezing. It got so cold sometimes I couldn’t feel my toes.
This particular job lasted months, I was there almost a year. I made good money, met some good people and felt like I was on top of the world; life was good.
But believe it or not there were days I did not look forward to work. Some days I thought my fingers would fall off. It sucked getting out of bed at five in the morning. I got ripped a new asshole one day I skipped work.
I was an apprentice on the job working as a welder’s helper for the late Andy Purcell. He was the pusher. The pusher was the guy who ran the gang. Think of it as a coach of a football team. Andy was a great guy. It was a great gig. I loved working for him. He took care of me.
One of our welders, Jerry Darlington was one of my favorite men on the job. He was in his late 40’s, and he had the coolest accent; he was born in Kingston, Jamaica. We would have some great card games in the shanty when we got rained out.
While setting up his wooden platform so he could get down to work, Jerry said something to me that changed my life.
“Steve my man, how old are you? Jerry asked before slipping his shield on.
“Twenty-five,” I replied as I stuffed his pouch with a few welding rods. Speaking of welding rods, one day I went to get the coffee for the gang and I forgot the plastic stirrers. Andy used a welding rod to mix his java.
Jerry looked at me and answered, “Let me ask you, do you really want to be doing this for the next forty winters?”
I looked down over the edge at the people on the street rushing to work, looked around the job and watched the other Ironworkers getting after it, and most of all, thought about how cold I was. And it wasn’t even eight-thirty.
At this point in my life I was stuck. Stuck in a rut. Going with the flow. You see the thing was I loved coaching basketball and I really wanted to do that with my time. I wanted to do it full-time.
But I loved being an Ironworker. We always got the utmost respect on any construction site. We were on top, ahead of everyone. Ironworking was the chosen profession of most of the males in my family. My father, older brother, uncles, cousins and most important, my grandfather and his father all worked the iron. Ray Corbett and his father were two of the best. The work ethic and values I learned has helped me on my journey. Matter of fact, it changed my life for the better.
The men I met are still good friends to this day. Often times when I pass a job site where they are setting iron, I can’t help but think back and wonder what those years would have been like If Jerry had not asked me that all important question on that cold Monday morning?
HAPPY LABOR DAY!
Enjoy the day…
August 30, 2014
Hooley and Mike Purdy should reach out to Debi Mazar and invite her to the stickball game on September 20. I watched her show, ‘Extra Virgin’ yesterday and they look like a great family.
Mazar lives in the neighborhood but grew up in Queens – I am sure she is well aware of stickball.
August 29, 2014
I read a lot.
Matter of fact, I try to read as much as I can.
Send me an article and I read it. Recommend a good book, BAM! I’m diving into it.
Miss Monzillo would be so proud of me today (as would Mrs. Cregg; she used to own the BookShelf on Windsor Place).
Not sure if I have ever read a story like this.
I can’t even begin to explain this. I’ll let you decide.
And you better read this…
August 27, 2014
Growing up in the neighborhood we played every sport known to mankind. Well I didn’t swim, play hockey, soccer or tennis. But I knew a lot of kids that did play those sports. We stayed busy.
Baseball in the summer, cross-country in the fall, basketball and football in the winter and whiffle ball, punch ball and we ran track in the spring. We squeezed in stickball and off the point often.
When we played football it was two-hand touch but when it snowed we played rough tackle on ninth avenue. WITHOUT EQUIPMENT!
Charlie Alberti was a beast in baseball and basketball. Those two sports were the most popular when it came to the guys I watched growing up.
Detroit Press sports writer Mick McCabe recently wrote about the benefits of playing multiple sports and he also touches on “specialization.”
If you grew up in the neighborhood you played more than one sport.
I don’t remember having a trainer for a particular sport. No one pushed you or pressured you either.
“Go outside and play,” was what my mother often said. Here’s a quote from the article above.
“Specialization leads to playing the sport year-round. That means not only an increase in risk factors for traumatic injuries, but a sky-high increase in overuse injuries. Almost half of sports injuries in adolescents stem from overuse.”
Yo Gerard Trapp, did you have a shooting coach when you were in high school? By the way GT, I recall you being a pretty good Tennis player…
A good friend once told me that his speed and agility drills was dodging punches from his father and running from him.
August 26, 2014
I’ve been out of Brooklyn for seventeen years (I still can’t believe it’s been that long).
When my wife and I left in the Spring of 1996, we were fed up with the rising cost of living in Brooklyn.
This article from the New York Times gives us a run down on other people who can’t afford it either.
“Brooklyn has become unaffordable,” said Victoria Hagman, the broker-owner of the Realty Collective, founded in 2005. “For normal, middle-class people with good credit, we used to be able to say, ‘We can find you something.’ ” Now, even in once working-class areas like Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, she said, “people are priced out of purchasing and landlords are asking egregious numbers.”
August 24, 2014
It’s ready to go down.
They’re choosin’ up sides. I know, kids today are clueless at that concept.
Love the theme: “End the summer of 2014 with a big hit!”
Holy Name’s Family BBQ. Stickball Game/Reunion.
One of these days Alice…I’m going to get back to the neighborhood for a reunion.
Proceeds support Holy Name (Hooley told me that…)
Sponsored by Farrell’s. Greatest bar in the history of mankind.
Saturday September 20, 2014
Entrance to Prospect Park. Right by what Denis Hamill calls the Totem Poles. We called it, “Monument.”
You know, across from Sanders. I mean The Pavilion. Or, across from Lefrak. By the circle.
BBQ at 1:00 over in the yard at Holy Name.
After the game head across the avenue to the yard.
Donations: Adults $25. Ages 6-16 $10. Under 6 – free
Sign up at Farrell’s, Holy Name Rectory or St. Joseph Catholic Academy (Damn that was hard to type…)
Chips on the ball…