CONTAINER DIARIES

November 22, 2012

TO BE THANKFUL

It’s just like back in the old days on 12th street where Denis Hamill would grab a stickball bat, step up to the plate and smash a home run!

Denis hits this one three sewers!

Do yourself a favor and read this article by Denis from today’s New York Daily News; one part has to do with Mickey Breen’s daughter Kelly, who lives in Staten Island and the other about a Staten Island native who was saving people left and right during Sandy.

Thanks to Willy and Gladys for passing this clip along from ‘Help Me Howard‘  courtesy of PIX 11 News – a solid report on Kelly’s ordeal with a real estate agent.

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-Steve

HOOPS135@HOTMAIL.COM

November 3, 2012

THE BIG LIE

Friday night I watched basketball on television from 7:30 until midnight.

During this time I heard three different announcers say, “Sports Heals.”

No, it doesn’t.

The Brooklyn Nets were supposed to open their season Thursday night at the Barclays Center against the New York Knicks. The game was cancelled due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Great call!

Last night, the Knicks opened their season at Madison Square Garden. People showed up, they played the game. Knicks fans cheered and were treated to a victory over the Miami Heat. Those fans went home feeling good about their team.

Do you think people in Jersey, Rockaway, Breezy and Staten Island care about a game?

How does sports heal?

The New York City Marathon was scheduled for tomorrow morning. Mayor Bloomberg cancelled it; another great call! But at first he was going to allow it; thanks to the people taking to social media and talk radio, the Mayor realized he better cancel the race.

D-Wade of the Miami Heat tweeted yesterday that there was no way they should have been playing the game last night.  He was right. By the way, he donated his pay for last night’s game to rescue help.

Look, I don’t have to write about what people on the East coast are going through; it’s out there. Read the papers, watch the news and talk to the people without power.

People are more important than a sporting event (and I’m a sports junkie). Doesn’t matter if you’re poor, middle class or rich. We’re all human. Improving lives should come first; not a sporting event.

They played a basketball game last night at MSG; it was the first of 81 for New York, the second for the Heat. The lucky fans that had tickets showed up. Stop saying “Sports Heals,” it really doesn’t because I know a lot of Knicks fans who are without water, are powerless and a few even lost their homes.

Throughout this essay I didn’t even mention the young mother from Staten Island that lost her two sons in the storm and found out a day later that they both died.

-Steve

Hoops135@hotmail.com

October 31, 2012

SHAOLIN

Filed under: Blog — hoopscoach @ 7:56 am
Tags: , ,

Just like Breezy Point, many former Windsor Terrace residents moved out to Staten Island to enjoy life.  (My sister Sharon included)

It saddens me to read and hear all the stories of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The Staten Island Advance with a story on the causalities reaching seven.

(Image provided by the Staten Island Advance)

Hopefully they are staying strong and with their resilience, will get through this.

-Steve

Hoops135@hotmail.com

July 19, 2009

LEAVIN’ BROOKLYN

I moved from Brooklyn, New York to East Lansing, Michigan in April of 1996.   I had lived in Windsor Terrace for 32 wonderful years.  They were the best times of my life; I had a great experience. It was like earning a degree in Streetology.  If you would’ve told me when I was in my teens or even early 20’s that I would move to Michigan, I would’ve laughed at you.

Today, when I think about a lot of my friends (and compose blog entry’s) I often think about the fun I had along the way and I also think about all the people who have moved out of the neighborhood over the years.  Moving out of the neighborhood never entered my mind.  I was born on 10th street, moved to 9th avenue and Windsor Place.  Moved down to the Park Side and 16th street, then to 11th avenue and Prospect.   No monstrous  moving vans necessary.

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While attending Holy Name I recall two friends moving out of the neighborhood; Tommy Brick and Laura Williams.  At the time I had no idea why they elected to move and probably still don’t to this day.  Brick moved to Staten Island which at the time seemed like millions of miles away.  Williams moved across the country to Las Vegas which seemed like the other side of the world.

Last week another friend I grew up with moved out of the neighborhood to North Carolina.  I’m not sure of the reason and it’s none of my business – but I wanted to wish them well and I hope that they find it to be a great experience.  People moved out of the neighborhood over the years for many different reasons.  Cost of living, real estate, new job or just wanted a change.  Whatever the reason, I’m sure they were valid ones.  Me on the other hand, I needed to move.  (Never thought I would put that in words).

When I first moved out to Michigan, it was a serious culture shock; everything seemed to slow down.  No traffic, fresh air, and the people were a bit different.   Oh yeah, I realized we needed a car.  No one walks here.

I had done o.k. for myself the first 32 years but there was something missing in my life.  I was coaching freshman basketball at Bishop Ford and working nights as a doorman at Planet Hollywood.  I was having a great time.  I had fallen in love with a beautiful woman who I am proud to say is now my wife.

Ever since I was 5 years old I loved basketball.   Just like everyone else in the neighborhood who played ball in the schoolyard, I wanted to play in the NBA.   Problems in high school and not giving 100 % to my goal put a damper on that career.  I figured the next best thing to do was to coach.   So I pursued a second dream; plan B if you will.   I needed to put my talents to good use and I needed to realize my dream can come true if I made some changes.

Since my move to Michigan I have earned my college degree, became a head basketball coach at the Junior College level and have learned so much about life; things like how much time, effort and discipline are needed to reach one’s dreams.    Elements that I would not of accomplished had I stayed in Brooklyn.  As one of my professors at Michigan State once told me, ‘Steve, you were going with the flow’.

I miss Brooklyn every single day of my life.  I miss riding the trains, I miss the hot bagels, delicious egg creams and walking the streets.  I miss the people out on the streets.  I miss the chatter amongst sports fans debating who’s better, the Mets or Yankees.   I read the New York Times every Sunday (we get it delivered).  I log onto to the New York Post and New York Daily News every day.  I still talk with my best friend Glen Thomas on a daily basis.  With Facebook, Twitter and this blog, I still am able to communicate with people from a great neighborhood.

There are still many people living in the neighborhood; They have enjoyed their stay and have been successful.  They have pride in their homes, their roots and their streets.  They love calling home, ‘Windsor Terrace’.

To conclude, moving away is/was not a bad thing for me.  You have two ways to approach relocating; you can embrace it or you can fight it.  I chose to embrace it. Someone once told me that God hides both ambition and opportunity in each of us.  Thankfully I have found both and have ran with them.

-Steve

Hoops135@hotmail.com

December 21, 2008

CAR-LESS IN MICHIGAN

I can recall the day I obtained my drivers license.  I was 25 years old.

This afternoon I was waiting at a red light and I usually never turn to look who is by my side in the next lane but for some reason I turned my head to the left and I saw a kid from the area.  I recognized him from somewhere.

He was 16 years old…and behind the wheel of the vehicle.

My wife began taking some Pilates lessons and her instructor lived in New York for a bit.  Turns out her husband is from the Lower East Side.  He’s never driven a car.  (Don’t worry, I won’t reveal his age but let’s just say the instructor is in her 40’s).  She told my wife she has to drive him everywhere.  I mean growing up in NYC, you don’t need wheels.  You have the bus, train, taxi’s and your feet.

My mother and father never drove.

My uncle Tim didn’t get his license until he was 5o years old.

The only reason I received my license was because I was named head basketball coach of the Bishop Ford freshmen basketball team.  If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be taking public transportation today.

Ray Nash, the athletic director at Ford informed me I needed a license in order to drive the van to transport our players to away games.  (Our first road trip, Glenn T drove the van, I failed my road test a few days before that)

YOU DUMMY! is what you’re probably saying now.  But that’s cool.  I pride myself on always bouncing back when adversity sets in.  Someone once told me you’re not a failure if you fail at something.

So I persevered and didn’t give up.  I was determined to pass that damn road test.

I took some driving lessons from a driving school down on 5th avenue and 9th street – it was a joke.  It was a big reason I probably failed.

The written exam was a breeze, gimme my license, I’m ready to go!

Not so fast my friend.

There was another test; the road test. What’s with these tests? I hate tests!

The road test can’t be that bad, right?  Get in the car, step on the gas and boom, you’re rollin’.

The day of the road test the guy took me out to Staten Island.

‘Where we goin’? I asked.

‘Out to Staten Island’.

“Why we goin to Staten Island” I asked as we drove on the BQE out to the bridge.

“Don’t worry about it, you’ll do fine.” he assured me.

An hour later, I failed.

I was heart-broken.

Now I’m probably going to date myself here but at the time in Staten Island, you had to use hand signals!  No I wasn’t driving a horse and buggy!  The driving school on 5th avenue failed to teach me hand signals.

The next day  I enrolled in the driving school on 9th avenue.  The lady was aces.  She prepared me like no other.

I took my road test down in Red Hook.

“If I pass this test” I told the instructor while we drove down 9th street, “I’m running all the way home!”

She laughed at me as she got out of the vehicle and some old dude with glasses clutching a clipboard got in.

I don’t recall much except for some other people taking the test.   I do remember the guy writing stuff down in between him telling me to make a right here, make a left there.

After turning all over the place and parking the car a couple of times we arrived back where I left my instructor off.

The nice man informed me I passed.

After I received the good news I jogged all the way home.

I was so excited to have my drivers license!

-SF

Hoops135@hotmail.com

October 20, 2008

A SOLID BARKEEP

Filed under: Blog — hoopscoach @ 10:56 am
Tags: , , ,

It has come to my attention this morning that Danny Mills Sr. has passed away.  Details of his death have been e-mailed to me but I want to make sure that everything is accurate.  Here is the link to his Obit via the SI Advance.

Daniel (Danny) Mills Sr.
SR. Daniel (Danny) Mills, Sr. of New Brighton, formerly of Brooklyn, on October 19, 2008. Beloved husband of Maureen (nee Ruddy). Loving father of Daniel R. and Tara Mills-Karvounis. Cherished father-in-law of Noreen Mills and John Karvounis. Dear brother of Bobby, Thomas and Edward Mills. Adored grandfather of Timothy and Makayla Karvounis and Kiersten and Daniel Mills. Funeral from Casey Funeral Home, 350 Slosson Ave, Castleton Corners, Thursday. Mass of Christain Burial Our Lady of Good Counsel Church A.M. Interment private. Friends will be received Tuesday and Wednesday 2-4 and 7-9 P.M.

Danny Sr. was a good guy.  I grew up watching him behind the bar at Farrell’s and also was able to spend a lot of time with his son Danny Jr.  Danny Sr. was the guy who introduced me to the best NCAA Men’s basketball pool in the history of sports!

The Mills’ were a good family.  I recall when they moved to Staten Island and Danny Jr. went on to become a very good athlete during his high school days.  He was a good all-around athlete.  Tara Mills, Danny Jr.’s sister was also a very nice person.

Danny Sr. would always have an encouraging word or two to me as a youngster.  Whether it was outside Farrell’s, in the Lot, schoolyard or the few times I went up to their apartment.

My condolences to the entire Mills family.

February 1, 2008

LOVELY RITA

Filed under: Blog — hoopscoach @ 7:04 am
Tags: , , , ,

A few days ago I blogged about The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Well I stole the title of one of the Beatles’ songs to use for my headline in today’s blog entry.

It saddens me to to inform all the loyal readers of Container Diaries that Rita Brick, passed away at St. Vincent’s hospital in Staten Island on Wednesday.

Rita was 87 years young.

I was told of the downcast news via e-mail and all I could do was stare at my computer screen with a blank expression for a few minutes – thinking back to this lovely woman who if you recall, always had a great, big smile on her face.

Back in late December I blogged about ‘Connections’ and there were a couple of very nice comments about Rita. Click here to read them.

Your memory of Rita may of been from her days at L&J Bakery on 9th avenue. She could always be seen behind the counter working hard. (Remember the line of people on Sundays, it went out the door)

I used to hang out with her son Tommy. The guy was aces. The whole family was special, including Kathleen, James,Terry and Maryanne.

A few weeks back a member of the Brick family found Container Diaries and we began exchanging emails. When they mentioned Rita, right away I flashed back to not only the Brick family, and all the special times I spent with Tommy but one personal moment (actually there were many moments). I would often go over to the Brick’s apartment above the bakery. And often times you would go through the front door of the bakery to get to the hallway and climb the stairs to their apartment. On numerous occasions while Rita was working behind the counter, she would always give me a black and white cookie, she knew it was my favorite. (I think she knew my pockets were empty)

Last but not least, I was reminded of an episode when I was 12 years old. Terry had a house in upstate New York, thinking back it seemed more like a farm. One weekend Tommy took me to visit. It was the largest place I had ever seen. Here I was a kid from the streets of Brooklyn and I was awaking to the sounds of roosters at six a.m.! Apparently I was talking in my sleep one night and the following morning everyone at breakfast had a huge laugh about the incident. Of course I was embarrassed at the time but when I think back about it, it was truly a hilarious episode. Wouldn’t you know it, Rita was the one who told me, ‘don’t worry about it, we all talk in our sleep’.

Rita Brick will be waked today at Scalia Funeral Home on Staten Island and funeral/burial on Saturday. Here is Scalia’s website for information.

Here’s a link to a story written about her in today’s Staten Island Advance. Along with a comment from the article.

The couple wed in November 1940 in the R.C. Church of the Holy Name and settled in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. There, she proudly reared her children and made a home in what she described as “the greatest neighborhood in the world.” She worked as a baker at L&J Bakery for about 15 years, making apple turnovers.

RITA BRICK

REST IN PEACE…

 

 

 

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