Thanks to Maureen for sending this picture.
Maureen, when you sent this picture to me recently, I meant to get right back to you, and ask you, is that from Smith’s in Windsor Terrace? All those years we walked by it as kids, it was hidden behind there, evidence of a time in Brooklyn when the names of a business was not just placed up on plastic awnings to be torn down a year or two later, maybe sooner. My guess is that it was inscribed on that building close to a hundred years ago.
And it certainly says something about that neighborhood, Windsor Terrace. Our neighborhood. Fitting now, I suppose, as it struggles with change and uncertainty as it evolves into something else, that the one stark reminder of how permanent it once seemed to our mothers and fathers and all the families that decided to settle there, how permanent it was meant to be, is the chiseled tomb like message of where it all ended, M.J. Smith‘s Funeral Home.
I was walking down 9th Avenue a few days ago with an actor I’m working with, and we stopped and stared up at it. We crossed the street, and I pointed up to the black metal staircase at the boy’s entrance to Holy Name School. I stood in front of it with him and told him that when I was 13 years old, I was assigned by one of the brothers to hold the door open at the top of it during a fire drill.
We cut through the schoolyard and stared out at the basket ball court, seemingly held there in time forever. The ghosts of all of us playing endless games on and on. We went by the site of the old Sanders Theater, and I was glad that the building was still there.
Then we went into Farrell’s for a pint, and as I looked out the window at that awful box like structure, the black, wake like front of the “Double Windsor,“ I thought this is a neighborhood that stubbornly refuses to change. And it made me feel good when Eddy Mills gave me his usual gruff greeting as I walked in the door. I knew I was home again.
I was up for Breezy Point Affair and saw that. I wonder if they will keep the stone work or if it will be covered up again. I did like that Wetters sign has been restored it was just a little strange to see Wine and Liquor below Candy, Soda and Ice Cream.
They should keep it up there; looks very cool.
Hope it stays… I showed the Wetter;s son to my sign and explained the history and he thought it was great. Change can happen but remembering the past is important and having artifacts make it better… Whenever I pass Wetter’s, I smile…
You can’t see it that well in this picture, but it is in pretty sad shape, very raggedy- I don’t remember it at all, but my sister, who is younger than I, said she does..I am still feeling the absence of Smith’s- it was such a part of the fabric of the “old” Windsor Terrace. When the four of us would be driving my mother out of her mind, she would always say- “Will you please STOP it, you will have me up in Smith’s” or when something was brought up that seemed unlikely, you would say- “I’ll be in Smith’s long before that happens” I said goodbye to many a loved one from that place and when people have passed since they closed, I feel the loss even more. Duffy’s was always in the picture, I remember the line for Al Colurra stretching up 9th St. But most of our people went to Smith’s. I have no idea what is going in there, I have never been able to catch anyone actually working there since the scaffolding went up..And I agree with Pat about the looks of the Windsor Knot- I can not speak on what kind of a place it is, but it is butt ugly. I remember when that woman wrote that piece on Windsor Terrace a few years ago- she was sooo happy the drab exterior of Western Union was gone- umm, have you SEEN the exterior to DUB Pies??
I mean the Double Windsor, lol!
I always remember my Mom saying Duffys had most of her family, the McNiff’s, and their not going to get her. Well when Smith’s closed I’ll never forget her dissapointment but she rebounded quickly and said make sure the bill says Smith’s :)
Speaking of the McNiff’s, Miles was the best!
Like Jack, most of my dad’s family was laid out in Smith’s. Years earlier, they would lay out family members at home..As Maureen said, Smith’s was another way of the elders saying to us that we were going to be the death of them..
Okay enough of the death stuff. Were stalled here lets get to the holiday festivities and a more jolly Christmas mood. This is giving me the creeps
Tony, you are right. Working on something as we speak.
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