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Walking to the train I see an old friend, Anthony Mastrandrea.

Great family from Windsor Place. Went to school with his older brother Louie.

There’s Dominick, Peter and Stephen.

Their mom and dad are good people.

Big soccer fans back in the day. They loved the New York Cosmos. Mainly Giorgio Chinaglia.

Anthony pulled his truck over to chat. Good move Ant, we need more friendly people in the world.

As I pass the boys schoolyard on Prospect Avenue and Howard Place looks like they are having recess. It’s not Holy Name though, it’s St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy.

Something ain’t right at 241 Prospect Park West.

There’s like 15 kids out there.

They’re not playing ball either.

They have their school uniforms on and all but…

No hoops.

No slap-ball/punch-ball


Just chasing each other around.


While I walk down Howard Place I am tempted to make a suggestion to the three adults standing in a circle keeping an eye on the children.

“Let’s choose up sides!”



Good thing I didn’t. Probably would have called the cops on me.

We had some big time, and I mean BIG TIME slap-ball games in the yard during recess.  The full-court basketball games were competitive. We would unclip our ties and toss them to the side.

Yeah fruitcake, I had a clip-on. Go ahead and laugh.

When the girls stood against the church wall and watched us, we played harder.

We played in our dress shoes. Remember the marshmallow shoes? LOL. Try running in them.

Shirttails sticking out in the back. (Is Shirttails one word or two?)

Did I mention we had between 40 and 50 kids in our class?

Mary Kawas always participated. One of the best athletes I ever went against in the yard. She was aces…

So with two, sometimes three classes at recess, that was over 120 kids. Wait, we had four 8th grade classes.

Where did everyone go?

And here’s one for the local child psychologist: we organized the games ourselves.

Most times we made the teams up back in the classroom before we came out.


On the Manhattan-bound F-Train it’s not too crowded. But first off, I miss the swipe of the Metro Card.

“Swipe it again,” dude behind me says.

I want my tokens back!

F-train comes roaring into the station. I board and pass on planting my ass in the open spot. I choose to  stand.

Looking around the train everyone is in a trance.  What’s the deal?

Hating the fact that they are going to work I would guess. I am on vacation, sorry.

Straphangers look mad.



Definitely tired.

But lighten up Francis, it’s FRIDAY!

As the F travels from Fourth Avenue to Carroll Street I get a peek at the BQE. It’s packed. Bumper-to-Bumper. Don’t miss those days at all.

I thought I was standing my ground when all of a sudden I lose my footing.

The Bergen Street Curve got me.


Totally forgot.

Loved the guy with the business suit holding the coffee in one hand, his phone in the other. Briefcase between his legs.

He spilled the coffee all over.


To me, people get way too close on the train. I need my space. Back up people.

Gotta love the people who run for the train, as the door is about to close they stick half their body in and get stuck.

What’s that all about?

Wait for the next train bro!

You look silly stuck in the door.

How about Smith and 9th station and York Street?

These stops are packed now.

Never was that way.

Guys on the train look like they wanna fight. Look like boxers entering the ring.

Mad at the world.

One guy got on at East Broadway, swear he was ready to rumble.

Where’s Michael Buffer?

Forget “Watch the closing doors.”

I’ m waiting for, “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!”

Oh shit, Second Avenue, my stop.

Gotta get off.

Talk to you later.