I received an e-mail from someone who reads Container Diaries and they couldn’t believe how many people I mention on the blog day-to-day or how many people contribute leave comments.
This individual informed me they lived in the neighborhood for years but didn’t recognize some of the names. (hey buddy, don’t feel bad, our memory gets spotty when we hit a certain age)
Like most neighborhoods, there were a ton of families with multiple kids in each living in Windsor Terrace. Some families were there for well over 50 years. On each block you would know someone (at least I did). I’m not sure what I attribute this to but after thinking long and hard this morning, I knew at least five people on each street in Windsor Terrace!
Hop aboard, I’m going to take you the reader, on a tour of Windsor Terrace. For the next few days, I will take you around the neighborhood with my take on each street. The people, the sports we played, and other unusual events that transpired.
This will be nothing like that Double-Decker hideous looking bus that drives around Manhattan pointing out all the places the city has to offer.
‘‘And over here on your left is Madison Square Garden’ some guy or gal announces over an intercom while out-of-towners try to block the sun from their eyes, holding onto a map of New York City.
‘The shit you smell is coming from the elephants, the circus is in town’ the tour director explains as the bus makes it way north along 8th avenue, past 33rd street.
As some of of know, I lived over Bob’s Hardware on 9th avenue for 25 years. Bob’s was located on the corner of the avenue and Windsor Place. Bob’s was owned by Morty Hyman and his loving mother Fanny.
They really were nice people.
Morty had a lovely family who lived out on Long Island (not a bad commute for Morty huh?) Fanny lived on the second floor as I lived above her on the top. (I could still hear her walking up the stairs telling my mother to put an end to my jumping. We had Puff basketball and at times I thought I was Dr. J)
Standing on the corner of Windsor and 9th, facing Holy Name if you hung a left and began to walk down Windsor, there was an entrance to another apartment building where my good friend Hughey lived. If we both stuck our heads out our bedroom windows, like we often did, we could hold a conversation for hours hanging out watching all the people go by. (Before Hugh, the Purdy’s Grandmother lived there)
Around the corner on Windsor was a rather small liquor store. I always remember a guy sitting outside on a beach chair reading a newspaper. When a potential customer would walk in, he’d get up, throw the paper down on the chair and walk in behind the ‘thirsty’ customer.
After a couple of minutes, the customer walked out, rapidly I might add, squeezing a brown bag, clutching it tightly (some would place the bag inside their coat pocket) and make a dash for it either up to the avenue, or down towards 8th avenue. (has anyone ever walked in a Liquor store and came out empty-handed?
Come to think of it, I never saw a woman give the liquor store any business, strictly a men’s club only type venue. (Could this been the birth of the term ‘Men’s Club’?)
You had Franny Cagino, who lived directly across the street from the Men’s Club Liquor store along with Donna Leach. Both females are my age and we had many great memories growing up together. (I don’t think Franny liked me very much, I think I annoyed the shit out of her when we were like ten years old; oh well, she wasn’t the only one who didn’t approve of my immature habits)
Further down Windsor you had many charming families starting with Tommy Burns. Tommy was some boxer (I think?) I do know that he trained his ass off. The guy was always running. The sweat poured off him as soon as he began his run. I’d be hanging on the corner and he would be walking home from Prospect Park, head down, sweat dripping off him. Tommy’s nephew Billy also lived on Windsor, he was another good guy.
You also had the Ryan’s and Donnie Kent as residents of Windsor. Coach Kent, as I like to call him has been one of the most respected high school basketball coach’s in New York City. I think Coach Kent has logged more miles walking than any individual from the neighborhood. All those years living down the block from an outstanding coach, and I never really had conversation with him on the profession. Weird.
The Ryan’s, Liz, Eddie and Jen were also very nice people. Eddie was a fantastic athlete.
Last but not least, Windsor Place closer to 8th avenue had an odd landmark where many people had no idea existed (it turned out to be a demolition job) where I spent many of nights with some of my closest friends. We called it ‘The Home’. The building was torn down and before the Bishop Boardman Apartments were erected, we used it as a hideout/hangout.
The back of the home was our favorite spot. It was like a ‘wasteland’ which included rocks, dead trees, rubble, empty cans, and bottles. No doubt the bottles were from The Men’s Club, up the street. The place looked like the set of Mel Gibson’s Mad Max
Tomorrow I will take you across 8th avenue and down Windsor right before 7th avenue.