I’m often asked, “Where ya from?”

When people hear me talk they assume I’m from the East Coast.

“You from Jersey?”

“No, I’m not from Jersey…”

Or I get,

“Are you from Boston?”

“No, I’m not from Boston…”

Quickly I respond,

“I’m from Brooklyn.”

I don’t say New York.

Nor do I say, “East Coast.”

It’s always “Brooklyn.”

Then I proceed to tell them what neighborhood after they ask, “What part?”

But I pause for a split second before I answer.

Forgive me but Windsor Terrace sounds…well wrong.

If I say Park Slope, I’m like, ‘shit, Park Slope, really’? I’m not from Park Slope. I remember a small gang used to call themselves the Park Slope Boys. “PSB” for short.

Or I’ll say, “Right by Prospect Park.”

But the Park covers a lot of ground.

Am I from the other side of the park?

Which part of the Park?

Grand Army Plaza?

“You know, by Farrell’s.”

Or I’ll say “Right by Bishop Ford.”

Oh shit, can’t say that anymore – Ford is closed.

Back in the day we used to say, “I’m from Holy Name.”

Hanging out at Manhattan Beach playing ball on a hot summer day.

“Where you from?”

“St. Mark’s.”

“Yo, where you from?”

“Regina Pacis.”

We were identified with a parish back in the day.

“I’m from Holy Name.”

I was always intrigued about where people were from.

“Where do you come from?”


“You play CYO?”

“Yeah, I play for OLPH.”

“Oh, you live down by East 5th?”

“Yeah, I play for IHM.”

See what I mean?

Basketball connected you and your neighborhood.

“I’m from St. Saviour’s,” the kid from first street would explain while he was up in the Holy Name boys schoolyard watching the summer league.

Here’s what I remember about each parish.

IHM: Jackie Ryan, East 5th street park, Dan Leary, and Chris Ryan.

St. Rose of Lima: Small gym. Coney Island Avenue. Tommy Sina and Tommy Baker.

St. Saviour’s: Chris Logan, Carl, a small gym, all girls high school. My boy Jimmy Parker and a pretty good player, David Quinn.

Visitation: Red Hook.  All black players. Murray. F-train to Smith and 9th.

OLA: Bay Ridge. RR. Carl Flickinger. Long court. 4th avenue. Dennis Nolan and Tommy Lowney.

OLPH: Billy Thurlow. My career high in CYO, 32 points. Getting thrown out of a game. The high school my younger sister attended.

Regina Pacis: Cool Locker Room. Bowling alley. Fans stood upstairs. Scoring my first bucket in the 3rd grade. Steve Leondis. His team beat us 63-9.

St. Finbar: Bensonhurst. They beat us 29-3. Frankie Cullen scored all three points for our Bantam ‘B’ team.

St. Mary Mother of Jesus: Bensonhurst. John Pitlak. Gerard Genevieve and Manny Fernandez.

OLG: Playing for Ty Cobbs, we crushed them. Guadalupe, not Grace.  A kid choking me during the game. Bensonhurst.

St. Mark’s: Gravesend. Louie Zito.

Holy Family: 4th avenue.  They once asked me to play for their team. Boosted my self-esteem. Slice.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Chris Mullin. King Tournament.

St. Agatha: I always had a good game there.

St. Vincent Ferrer: Their court was hard as rock. When I dove for a loose ball, I complained that I should have had knee pads on. They used to have a good men’s league there.  Gerard Trapp had a good team.  First time I ever saw Ziggy. Kevin Greaney.

Holy Innocents: (Candy Man)

St. Athanasius: Some great battles not only in basketball but baseball too. I recall their gym being in the basement and across the street was Bishop Kearney, an all-girls high school.

St. Patrick’s: Last stop on the RR train. Allen Sheehan. Under the bridge.

Yo! Where you from?


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14 Responses to SAFE AT HOME

  1. Kenny Whelan says:

    Since I live in Austin, if I go someplace and am asked where I’m from, i reply with “Where am I from, or where do I live?” It usually confuses people.

  2. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I remember a lot of games against Little Flower, East Flatbush. They went from an all white jump shooting team when I was in Bantam to a run and gun all black team by the time I played them in Juniors as a 17 year old.

    I also remember playing in a CYO All Star game in Juniors at Nazareth High School with Orlando Pabon of 17 Street and Orlando winning game MVP. I can’t recall ever playing in a game for Holy Name when he wasn’t the best player on the court.

    • hoopscoach says:


      Orlando, no doubt was an incredible player.

      Same can be said for C.R.

      God those guys could have used basketball to take them to a higher level.


  3. J Stan says:

    Interesting post. You are right to say where you are from and use the parish. I always thought we lived in park slope or for a short time south slope. Now I say Windsor Terrace by or next to park slope. Be well, John Staniszewski


  4. Jim Casey says:

    St Peter Claver, Bed Stuy, Cuthbert Cox, a power in 1958-59

  5. jimmyvac says:

    As a kid, always say my parish. in high school, I started saying Park Slope, Nowadays, I gotta explain that the Park Slope /Windsor Terrace I grew up was one neighborhood and wa a beer and shot kind of place not what it is today…..

  6. Michael Castellano says:

    sometimes I just say South brooklyn Idont remember saying park slope till recent I think I usally refered to the park or farrels

  7. Don Cush says:

    I lived on 19th between 7th and 8th. We always said we were from Park Slope but were never sure. Windsor Terrace started on PPW down towards 10th ave and beyond. The real “slope” was from 15th street to Grand army plaza. Today I see Realtors refer to my area as Green wood. What does everyone else think?

    • hoopscoach says:


      Green Wood…

      Hey speaking of Green-Wood, did you hear about the clown running around the cemetery?

      A real clown!


  8. Mudge says:

    Just a note to Mike Castellano. Its a good thing your dad cant hear you say that.Dont you know south bklyn. was our sworn enamy . Your dad had a saying that went were the MIGHTY JOKERS WE COME FROM THE HILL NEVER RAN AND NEVER WILL.So next time someone asks just say the you come from the hill. just kidding . MUDGE

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