Wanted to wish a good man a very happy birthday…
16th street forever…
One lived on 16th street between 10th and 11th avenues and the other lived on Sherman Street between 10th and 11th avenues. Just two short blocks away from each other.
Grew up together in the 70’s and 80’s.
Two good athletes, played multiple sports at Holy Name of Jesus grammar school.
One attended Xaverian High School, the other Bishop Ford.
Both went on to college; one went to Marist, the other to St. Francis of Brooklyn.
We all go our separate ways – some stay back. Some move on.
In August of 2019, Sean Keating and Glenn Thomas bumped into each other on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Still in shock.
Or as Mick Jagger would say, “State of Shock.”
John Cain was a huge Rolling Stones fan…
Here’s an awesome tribute from Robert Fields on J.C.
What a heartbreak for the Cain and Davis Families! My sympathies to all, especially Mr Cain, John’s son, Kathy Ferris, Pat and Tim, and all the nieces, nephews and cousins from WT/Holy Name and NJ.
John was my oldest friend, who spent many happy days with his grandfather and grandmother on 16th Street (the late, great Bridie Davis, also grandmother to Noreen and the Windsor Place Davis families), two doors up from our old place on 16th (John’s sister Kathy and her family have lived there for years, and still do).
John and I palled around since we were born (joined a year later by Sean Keating from across the street), attending kindergarten at PS 154 together, and then–on one of the rainiest days I ever remember–we marched up to Holy Name together to start our academic careers, full of excitement and hope, he in his blue rain slicker, me in my yellow one. When we got through the huge school doors, we were quickly disappointed, as they literally had to separate us to join two different homerooms, me to Miss Schiotis (sp?) and John elsewhere down the hall. We never again had the same class in our 8 years at Holy Name, and John later went to Loughlin and I to Xaverian, but we always hung out anyway as before, either on 16th or Seeley, or in the park/subway/wherever the fun/girls/excitement was to be found.
It was a pleasure knowing John, who truly could be said to have had a twinkle in his eyes (a gift from his mother, Irene, who had the same); nonetheless, a tougher/gentler guy you couldn’t find, and I was happy many a time to have had him in my corner when the going got tough! He worked too, and was a hard grafter. He had sense of right and wrong, and while mostly quiet, when he did speak, he spoke from the heart and wasted few words. Anyone our age (HNS Class of ’78 or thereabouts) would know the fun times we all had at the Prospect Park Corral, a secluded place just off the Circle/9th Ave., with the boombox as a musical backdrop to socializing in the park, a place to meet and date pretty girls, get up-to-date on the latest news and gossip, and figure out our way in the world as teenagers always do.
As times go by we lose track of friends, and focus on careers and family, while the years pass more quickly than ever. I regret not keeping up with John since I moved to London (22+ years!), but only a few years ago, John’s older brother Tim moved over here and married an English girl like I did, and we would go out whenever our schedules would permit and talk and laugh about the good old times in Brooklyn. How I regret now not calling John, who I think about often. My sympathies on the loss of a great guy and good friend.
We’ll meet again, pal, I’m sure.
You remember Maria, right?
Well there she goes, right over there.
She looks great. Always smiling.
She’s walking alone, going right by Farrell’s, towards the park. There’s a a few guys on the corner of 16th street checking her out. Tight jeans. White sneakers. Denim jacket.
What’s crazy is my boy Tony was asking about her the other night. “Whatever happened to that Hispanic chick from Church Avenue?”
For once, I was speechless.
What the fuck did happen to her? It was probably me that fucked up. After we hung out that night in the park I told her I was going to meet her at East 5th the next night; I never made it.
Shit, I gotta catch up to her. I throw my bottle of coke in the trash can.Tuck my newspaper in my back pocket.
Gotta tell ya, I think about her often. Matter of fact, I could be in bed late at night and she’s the only thing on my mind. I think of her even when I am with my girlfriend. Yeah I know, that’s pretty shitty of me. I know. If my girlfriend ever knew I was with her…oh boy I would be fucked.
But I gotta be honest with you. I will never forget that night we hung out in the park. Maria is an amazing kisser. Nothing lasts forever, right? Beautiful girls don’t come around often. Besides, I think I’m in love with my girl.
Jetting across ninth avenue, I call out to Maria.
“Hey, wait up!” She looks over her left shoulder and says hi.
“Where ya’ been?” I ask.
“Oh I’ve been around.”
I stop dead in my tracks, looking around.
“After that night we hung in the park I never saw you again,” I tell her.
“I’ve been busy.”
She’s been busy?
“And you stood me up,” she tells me.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
“And besides, me and my boyfriend got back together,” she informs me as she lets out a giggle.
I am standing still on the corner, right outside Oak park pharmacy. I knew I should have went down to East 5th to meet her. I fucked up.
“Oh, okay,” I say to Maria as she looks over towards the circle.
Guess I really blew this one… I have no idea what to say next.
This is where I always fuck up. I’m awful with words. I clam up. Wish I knew what to say in times like this. I’m not very good at expressing my feelings.
She’s fucking gorgeous and I threw it all away.
A few of of my friends are walking towards us.
“Red, what’s up?” Johnny G asks.
“Come on, we’re going to the city,” he informs me as he looks at Maria.
We’ve been doing this a lot lately. Back in August we met some kids at Brighton Beach who were from the city. We became friends, started playing ball and now we hang out over there once or twice a week. They’re cool people.
They begin to walk towards the subway, I watch him, Mickey and Kevin walk down the stairs.
“You going?” Maria asks.
I am standing there frozen. Still thinking of Maria’s boyfriend.
“Yeah probably,” I answer.
“Okay well have fun,” Maria says as she jogs over to the circle.
I watch her run. She has amazing legs. Maria goes straight for some tall guy. They hug. I feel like an idiot. Dejected and feeling like shit, I walk to the subway, jog down the stairs and catch up to my friends.
“Yo, wait up!” I scream out.
We’re headed over to the city. As I sit on the F-train, I can’t take my mind off Maria.
My wife brought out the fake tree that we have yesterday and found that one of the legs was missing from the stand. She tried numerous contraptions to make it work, to no avail. I told her we should go out an get a real tree and she said she doesn’t want to deal with the needles.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
We better hurry up because our 13 year-old daughter is giving us a hard time about why we don’t have one up yet and it’s December 16. We’re really hoping to get one today. Hopefully I can talk my wife out of getting a fake one. There is a few guys selling them in a nearby lot. I have noticed the prices dropping with each passing day.
I actually saw where someone in my neighborhood had their tree up right after Thanksgiving. They were surely “in the spirit.”
To be honest though I’m not a big Christmas tree guy. I could care less to tell you the truth. Fake, real, it doesn’t matter. The time you put it up, who cares?
As a kid living on ninth avenue I remember my mother getting us a tree. Location in your house was important. We lived in a five-room railroad apartment on ninth avenue so the only place we could put it was in the corner of our living room. We’d move a coffee table into a bedroom and set up shop in the same area every year.
The artificial tree was easy to assemble. All you did was take the sticks/branches and slide them into the wooden pole; then decorate it with the ornaments, lights, garland, and don’t forget the star at the top of the tree. Pulling out the decorations sucked. They would be thrown in boxes from a year ago tucked away in a closet somewhere; the lights were always tangled. Some of the balls were broken too.
We once had this really cool hand-made collectible that we bought from Bargain Land placed down at the bottom of the tree. It had a small ceramic baby Jesus, his mom Mary and a few apostles hanging out.
Putting the tree together you would start at the bottom and work your way up – that was the golden rule. I always wanted to put the “balls’ on first. Decorating it was fun; taking the decorations off sucked. We always fought over who would put the star at the top. Come to think if it, our star was always crooked.
As we got older mom would eventually get us a real tree. I loved the smell of real trees. Every year there was always someone by the lot on 16th street with a tree business. There was tall trees, short trees, wide ones and skinny ones. They’d be out there with a ton of trees leaned up against the fence trying to sell. It was great strategy to have their business right by the train station. There was always a fire burning nearby in a garbage can so the tree sellers could stay warm. One year mom made me drag it all the way home. Now that sucked.
The tree stand was a pain in the ass. I remember one year mom trying to put it together and sticking the thick base of the tree inside the stand and getting it to stand up straight. Those screws drove us nuts. We could never get them evenly tightened. Often times our tree was wobbly, looking like it was going to tip over.
Mom gave me the job of watering the damn thing. I hated getting down low and crawling under to pour water into the stand. The needles were pointy.
And the lights on the tree; I think we were the only family that kept their lights on 24-7.
My wife has had a cool ‘Charlie Brown’ tree the past couple of years. With a fake tree there’s no mess. With a real tree you get all the pine needles all over the place when you drag it in and drag it out of the house.
I know we’re a bit behind but what’s the date where everyone usually has their tree up? My wife told me that when she was about eight years old her father (whom they nicknamed “Scrooge” during the holidays) waited until Christmas Eve to get their tree. Needless to say, the pickings were very slim. She said they got the most pitiful tree and cried all the way home.
Mom always put our tree up a week before Christmas and took it down a week after.
What kind of tree do you have?
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Years!