ONE-ON-ONE: FENTON AND HAMILL

Tremendous, tremendous interview with legendary writer Pete Hamill by our guy Pat Fenton.

corner-of-16th-and-9th1.jpg

Step inside Farrell’s.

Make your way to the bar.

Order a container and listen to the stories.

Compelling…to say the least. By the way, Pete clears up the story of Shirley MacLaine being the first woman served at the bar.

Pete Hamill interview 

Love this explanation from Pete on the name of the neighborhood:

“Did you call the neighborhood Park Slope when you were growing up in Brooklyn?” I ask him. “A lot of people who came from Windsor Terrace always just called the whole neighborhood the

Slope.”

“Where I lived on 7th Avenue and 12th Street we really didn’t call it anything,” he says. “What I loved about the South Brooklyn Boys, as they called themselves, Junior Persico and those guys, they lived in North Brooklyn. When you looked at the map you realized that. But they called themselves the South Brooklyn Boys. Geography was not one of their strong suits,” he says smiling, as he talks about a neighborhood street gang, many who went on to become part of the Mafia. Junior, aka, Carmine the Snake Persico, would become the Boss of the Colombo crime family.

“So my neighborhood was this unnamed place, between Park Slope and Windsor Terrace. But now it’s been re-named by the real-estate guys as the South Slope.”

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14 Responses to ONE-ON-ONE: FENTON AND HAMILL

  1. Maureeen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    I can’t get into the story unless I create a Microsoft account..which I am unwilling to do…so.. I don’t know what he says about Shirley McLaine and Farrell’s..but, I can assure you..one of the Farrell’s bartenders made me a martini years before Shirley McLaine ever set foot in there (it WAS late night/ early morning…and, I didn’t even drink it…but, that is besides the fact..I stood at the bar and was served a drink…and I know I was not the only one)

  2. Jim Casey says:

    Thank you for the article, Red.
    Pete is a bit older. I was in Brian Hamill’s class at Holy Name–1959. But as usual, Pete captures the feel of the neighborhood.

    • Jim Casey says:

      I especially like what he says about the Jesuits teaching you to doubt. Having had the Jesuits at Brooklyn Prep and Holy Cross College, I totally agree.

    • hoopscoach says:

      No probem Jim.

      I love the way the Hamill’s write. I try and consumer everything they have out there.

      Denis just wrote an article on the football coach from NJ; he’s from 7th avenue.

      Going to link it up soon.

  3. Pat Fenton says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Steve. So many people have interviewed Pete Hamill, I asked myself, what knowledge do I have that they don’t have? I always like to go into an interview that way.(I did the same thing when I interviewed Jimmy Breslin a few months ago) And I thought, the old neighborhood, Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, the bars, Boops, the old Caton Inn, the places, 17th Street,the moods,the names. None of them know that..So that’s where I took the interview. In the end it was just like two guys hanging out and having a conversation in Farrell’s Bar. I spent two hours with him in his loft in downtown Manhattan.

    I had three folded pages of questions in my lap, and I must have looked down at them only twice . At the end of the interview I told Pete you answered all my questions without me asking them.

  4. Jim Casey says:

    Pat, congratulations on an interesting interview on a fine writer.

  5. pat Fenton says:

    Yes, a fine writer and a good man. Thanks Jim

    • hoopscoach says:

      Pat Fenton,

      Keep doing your thing my man…little do you know, you are a HUGE inspiration to this amateur writer. Your work and enthusiasm for writing makes me want to write.

  6. Buzz says:

    Great article. I knew the Gates brothers (Bob, Billy and Tommy). They don’t make guys like them anymore. And their Dad was a great man too. Two good books in which they appear are Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974). ISBN 0394478843, and Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Reflections on Death, Rebirth and Hunger for a Faith (2001) ISBN 0-641-75937-1. In Working they use the last name of Patrick, but in Will the Circle Be Unbroken they are listed (in the Prologue) will their real last names. When I daydream about the old neighborhood, I think of them.

  7. Mudge says:

    WHEN I WAS GANG BUSTING 7th. AVE. AND 12TH. STREET WAS CALLED SKID ROW FOR THE SKID ROW BOYS

  8. R. says:

    Great interview! Pete rarely misses, but he did this time: his eye-talian gangster neighbors were right about calling the Slope “South Brooklyn”… The original boundary of Brooklyn (one of the original 6 towns that make up our present-day Brooklyn, along with the towns of Flatbush, Flatlands, Bushwick, Gravesend, and New Utrecht) was called “South Brooklyn” because it was the south end of original Brooklyn — the boundary between Brooklyn and the next town (Flatbush) was roughly Terrace Place/Seeley Street. My dad, a 5th generation Brooklynite, said South Brooklyn was basically Carroll Gardens/Gowanus Canal, the Slope, Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park. The historical local reference point was that once PPSW becomes Coney Island Avenue, at Park Circle/Parade Grounds, you’re in Flatbush.

    “Windsor Terrace” was a developer’s made-up name of a couple of streets of wooden row houses built on speculation in the 1850-60s only on Vanderbilt Street and Reeve Place, but as Windsor Terrace became fully populated and built-up, the name “Windsor Terrace” over time crept northwards towards Holy Name/9th Avenue (PPW) and eventually took hold of the whole area within the natural boundaries of Greenwood Cemetery and Prospect Park. Likewise, the natural border between the Slope and WT became Bartel-Pritchard Square at 15th Street/PPW, and really only solidified as a demarcation point between the two neighborhoods in public use as late as the 1970s. Prior to that, the whole area was known by its inhabitants as Park Slope and/or South Brooklyn.

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