Tag Archives: Park Slope


Two posts on the blog in a half hour…


Like Freddie Mercury once said, “Don’t stop me now...”

Check it out, more news on Sanders.


Sanders 2015

Thanks to all who brought it to my attention.

By the way, anyone see Maria?




It’s June!

Baseball is here.

The Mets swept the Yankees this past week.

While speaking with a friend recently, I was  reminded of a current major league baseball player from around the way. (OK, so he’s not from ninth avenue but he grew up on 11th street and 8th avenue.  Close enough, right?) Charlie Cummings was probably the one guy  from the neighborhood who came close to playing in the major leagues.  I do know he was in the New York Mets farm system and made it to Tidewater.


Adam Ottavino, a pitcher for the Colorado Rockies is 27 years old and attended Berkley-Carroll School.

Click here to read a story from the The Daily News from back in 2010.

“I’ve played in Marine Park, the Parade Grounds, over in Bensonhurst – literally every field,” he said. “Now I get tons of text messages from people saying, ‘Way to represent Brooklyn.'”

Adam played in the Parade Grounds like many others in the past.  The Parade Grounds have had a lot of good ballplayers through the years.  I recall playing down there as a member of Holy Name’s baseball team.  What I recall most was  that we always walked down to the games.





Thanks to JFH for this essay on her days growing up in the neighborhood.

Lately, nostalgia has been calling my name and I often find myself surfing the net for any information about my old neighborhood, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

You can imagine my surprise when one day I keyed in Brooklyn and the 50s and the name of the Jokers, which was the gang from my old neighborhood, appeared on several websites.  I excitedly opened one of the sites and couldn’t believe my eyes.  Several photos of the gang members from the Slope, in which Park Slope, Brooklyn was known at the time, were posted.  These pictures were taken by a professional photographer, Bruce Davidson, who had hooked up with a social service agency working with juvenile delinquents of the 50’s, and the Jokers in particular.  It’s hard for me to describe the feeling of euphoria I encountered upon seeing these photos.  To say I was elated would be an understatement.  Memories of my youth bubbled to the surface.

These gang members, who used to fight the Puerto Ricans or anyone else invading their territory, as most sections of Brooklyn were partitioned off according to turf, hung out at the candy store around the corner from the tenement where I had lived.  The photos displayed many of the gang members who were familiar to me:  There’s Joey Douglas who always got in trouble.  There’s Michael Galvin, my girlfriend’s brother.  There’s Cagi with whom I had a crush on as a 12-year-old.  There’s Tony, the only Italian in an Irish neighborhood. I wallowed in the surroundings of my youth depicted in these pictures:  Pictures of Prospect Park.  Pictures of Holy Name of Jesus.  Pictures of Coney Island.  Pictures of a ride that used to come around and I could swear my older brother and sister were on it.  Pictures of the candy store where Helen, the proprietor, used to make the most delicious chocolate egg creams.

As 12-year-olds, my friends and I would call the Jokers at this same candy story pretending we were older in order to talk and make dates. We would arrange to meet them at the bus stop and when the day arrived we would be sitting on our tenement stoop watching them waiting for the bus and making fools of themselves.  Each time a bus came they would kick it when their so-called dates did not appear.  Of course, they did not notice the 12-year-olds sitting next door.

Other memories of the old neighborhood began to emerge.  When I was much younger. I would put on my bathing suit and walk around the corner in my bare feet successfully avoiding broken glass or any other obstacles that might appear on the pavement to cool off under the Johnny pump.  This is what a fire hydrant in Brooklyn was called.  Cannonball, a member of the senior Jokers, would open the Johnny pump in the sweltering heat to the delight of all the little kids in the neighborhood.  His wife was the exact image of Bridget Bardot.

The claim has been made that there are “six degrees of separation” between each person. I truly believe this finding.  After I excitedly told my dear friend about my discovery on the internet, she nonchalantly stated that she has these photos in a book given to her as a present.  The book is called the Brooklyn Gang: Summer 1959.  In my mind, the chances of this happening, especially because of our dissimilar backgrounds, were nil.  

I guess you can also call this Karma.



One of my favorite writers of all-time, and a huge inspiration, seventh avenue’s own Pete Hamill has a new book coming out.

Simone Weichselbaum of The New York Daily News takes us on a trip back to Pete’s old stomping grounds where they checked out Pete’s old apartment.

“The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories,” on sale Tuesday, is composed of 36 short tales depicting a bygone era when bloody street fights, heartless murders and torrid love affairs were all part of everyday life on and around the Seventh Avenue strip.

This new book sounds awesome!

Good luck Mr. Hamill




I came across a story this afternoon from CBS Local news on people in Park Slope complaining about too many frozen yogurt shops in the area.

One person wrote in:

“How many frozen yogurt places can Park Slopers handle? What’s this place becoming? Land of designer pizzas and fro-yos? I should seriously consider moving to Carroll Gardens or Clinton Hill…” wrote another commenter.

Would someone really consider moving because of too many yogurt shops?

What would they rather have, empty space?

What’s wrong with yogurt?

Support the local business and stop complaining! If you don’t like yogurt, find something to do with your time instead of whining.




I love the history of sports.

Matter of fact, as a non-traditional, undergraduate student at Central Michigan University I scored a 3.5 GPA in my History of Sport class.

The history of basketball is closer to my heart; baseball and football come in at 2nd and 3rd.

Many people from our neighborhood played on the sports teams at John Jay High School located on 7th avenue.  Shoot, some readers of the blog went to the school when it was called, ‘Manuel Training’.

Back in the day John Jay students walked to school, caught the bus or hopped on the train. Some kids even pulled up in front of school in a Car Service!

The red-brick building with safety gates covering the windows is located smack dab in the middle of Park Slope, Brooklyn.  Across the street and up the block from the school you see multi-million-dollar brownstones, celebrity moms pushing expensive strollers and close by is one of the best elementary schools in New York City.

Over the years, John Jay was a school of last resort for transfer students or who were on the verge of dropping out.  It was also a school for students who were considered to be discipline problems and could not or did not get into other schools.

I spent a very short time at Jay. I actually had 2 different stints there.  But I did have some positive experiences during my tenure.  Jay was a tough environment, you had to pass through school security and metal detectors at the doors.  I had classmates from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boreum Hill, Sunset Park, Bed-Stuy and Brownsville.  There was distractions everywhere, hence the nickname, ‘Jungle Jay’. Despite troubled students roaming the halls and hanging on the street corners, the school also produced outstanding students.

The other day my buddy Carl Manco from Sport Prospect mentioned a former basketball player from Jay that went on to play at Fordham University. He called him  a “poor man’s Ernie Grunfeld”. What a great compliment. Knicks fans only remember Ernie towards the end of his career in a Knick uni but the Forest Hills graduate was a great player in college at Tennessee.

Actually, Carl and I discussed this sensational player weeks ago but his name somehow escaped us. You have to realize that Carl and I go way back when it comes to basketball but we were stumped. We reached out to as many people as possible to see if anyone remembered this player who was the main man at Jay during the 1970’s. No one remembered.

Matter of fact he was so good, he was the only player from Jay who was ever named 1st team all-city PSAL.

Thanks to Gerard Trapp for giving up the name or Carl and I would still be searching.

Kevin Fallon was the guy we were thinking of, with some extensive research, we found out he is the first cousin of comedian Jimmy Fallon. The hooping Fallon lived in Sunset Park but he was well-known around the schoolyards of Brooklyn.

When I think of basketball players of the past from the neighborhood who balled at Jay I think of Jackie Ryan, Patty Brynes, Michael Bundrick, John Corrar, Ron Hardy (East 5th street) and yours truly. Yes, this red-headed jump-shooting guard suited up for 7 games as a member of the varsity team.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the coaches at Jay that were also memorable.  The football guys (John Boyle and Vincent Carbonaro) to Pete Coakley, our basketball coach. And of course, Coach Rizzo, who coached the Indians baseball team to the city championship in the early 80’s.

The past should never be forgotten, especially the positive past.




Thanks to Container Diaries regular Ken for sending this link from the New York Times on Hugh Carey, former New York Governor who recently passed away at the age of 92.

“Park Slope was, in many instances for us, a campaign headquarters and a fully functioning dormitory with many people coming in and out,” said Donald Carey, 56, a partner at a financial firm in New York called Cornerstone Capital Strategies. “There was a great sense of focus of mission: the keeping-together of the family and moving forward.”

The boys slept in bunk beds, the girls in twin beds. Mrs. Carey put the children on a buddy system, with younger and older siblings responsible for one another. “She was the quiet strength, responsible for everybody’s development and my father’s entrance and success in both politics and government,” Donald Carey said.

A funeral Mass will be Thursday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.