“I can’t imagine a person being a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything’s he got.” -Walter Cronkite
Think back to all the hard workers from our neighborhood.
Really think about it.
The Ironworker who got up at the crack of dawn to build the city.
The cop or fireman…putting on the uniform every day to protect and serve across New York City.
The schoolteacher at Holy Name who had to teach the daily lesson and deal with us kids.
All the shopkeepers across 9th avenue opening their business to serve the neighborhood. (Is John still delivering for United on that bike?)
Work ethic. That’s what it was always about. Whether it was the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s…
Today in 2017 the same holds true. Nothing’s changed.
Nothing gets done without the work.
That’s one lesson I wish I learned back in the day.
My work ethic was poor. Below average for sure.
Thank God that changed. I even was able to teach the timeless lesson to our 17 year-old daughter Taylor.
She’s taken it and ran with it…We watch her every day. Whether it’s getting up early for school (by herself) and most important, going to her after-school job. (Saturday’s and Sunday’s too).
Just the other day she said to me, “They took me off Sunday’s.”
I said that’s great you get a day off now.
“NO DAD, I WANNA WORK!” She replied.
Have a great day!
Woke up this morning, what did I see
A big black cloud hanging over me
I switched on the radio and nearly dropped dead
The news was so bad that I fell out of bed
There was a gas strike, oil strike, lorry strike, bread strike
Got to be a superman to survive
Gas bills, rent bills, tax bills, phone bills
I’m such a wreck but I’m staying alive
FRIDAY NIGHT – MAY 15
As a kid growing up in the 80’s, I was glued to ninth avenue. Oh don’t get me wrong, we ventured to other neighborhoods but, It was rare I walked seventh avenue. Or hung out down there.
I got news for you, that’s all changed.
Seventh avenue has become my spot when I visit.
What an incredible stretch of pavement from Flatbush Avenue to Windsor Place.
You got it all.
Restaurants, coffee shops, and best of all, the people. (Wait until I tell you about 5th avenue, you won’t believe it)
Let’s face it, the people make a city. Not just in New York, it’s all over the country.
The ones who grind.
The ones who walk the streets.
They bring a buzz. A pulse. The streets are alive. The break dancers are still here!
Starbucks on Flatbush and seventh cracks me up. Who would have “thunk” it?
I jumped inside for a latte and a quick phone charge but it was packed. Not a seat or electrical outlet to charge up my phone.
I was fucked.
Dying for a coffee, I can take it to go (Yo Frankie, make that coffee to go. Let’s go!)
But that will not work.
So I keep going along seventh avenue making my way back home.
Which reminds me, our neighborhood has improved so much. I’m talking ninth avenue.
I love the new look. Love the vibe. It’s electric.
The people are awesome.
Bumped into Billy K and Martin C – two good dudes. Been in the neighborhood from day one.
To gain a friend, try being a friend.
I love my girl Teesha’s take on the people who have moved.
Teesha was born, raised and still lives on Prospect Avenue and 8th.
She didn’t even know her neighbor is a pretty good actor. (Amongst Friends and Basketball Diaries)
During this trip I made some dynamite connections with people who have been in the neighborhood for just a short time.
My guy Frankie and his family down on Windsor and 8th are good people. Had a chance to spend some time with them on the parkside. Frank and his wife would have fit in with us.
The awesome couple I sat next to at Dub Pies were very cool. We talked basketball and school.
Who cares where people are from?
My next stop was the Starbucks on first street and seventh avenue. Got a pretty good seat by the window. Felt bad for the couple sitting next to me, they were having some sort of problems. The wife was crying.
Spent some time here and then felt a bit hungry so I hit up Smiling Pizza at midnight for a chicken cutlet parm hero.
Paradise man, plain paradise.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON – MAY 15
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…
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!”
COME ON MAN!
GET THESE KIDS GOING.
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.
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.
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.