From my old apartment on the corner of Windsor and Ninth to the boys schoolyard it’s 212 steps.
Don’t believe me?
When the rain finally stopped I crossed ninth avenue, stood in front of my old door and actually counted how many steps it took me to go from my old corner to the yard.
It was quiet… scary quiet if you really want to know. To some, it was probably peaceful quiet.
Not a parking spot to be had on Howard Place. I even saw a few cars kissing each other; bumper pressed against bumper.
As I walked alongside Holy Name I looked at the black picket fence on my right. Then I glanced up at the school windows. It’s still the same.
I remember dribbling my basketball up Howard Place. I could feel each dribble. I’m sure the residents of Howard Place hated that noise; especially at night.
Boy what I would do for a basketball right now. I’m like a junkie feenin’ for a fix.
Crossing the wet street I walked over to where the Trapp’s used to live.
Down their basement steps they kept a bunch of basketballs. If you didn’t have one, you were free to grab one, use it and return it when you were done. I’m sure if the current residents are looking out their front window, they’re probably wondering what I’m doing looking down their steps.
Just think about the cash the Trapp’s could have made by renting those balls to kids? But wait, I was always broke.
But that wasn’t what the Trapp’s or the neighborhood was about when it came to basketball.
I walk back up the block towards the yard.
Passing Tommy Houck’s house, I think back to all the whiffle ball games we played in front of his house.
Crossing Howard Place to my surprise the gate to the yard is open. I step into my “paved paradise.”
Standing on the pavement on the first court I look around. There’s an empty feeling inside of me, almost surreal.
I think back to this place when kids actually hung out here at night. I glance over at the rectory where the priests would stick their heads out the window and scream at me.
“GET OUT OF THE SCHOOLYARD!”
That thought sends chills down my spine. They scared me big-time!
Thinking back to the good old days I see John Corrar shooting his left-handed jumper from the right corner.
There’s Jimmy Rauthier getting the ball in the post and drop stepping on someone for a bucket.
How about Gerard Trapp whipping a behind the back pass to a cutting teammate?
Or, the three guys playing on the taps court, six of us playing Around the World, 21 or even one-on-one.
I start taking imaginary shots; sorta like a boxer shadow boxing in the ring but I am shadow shooting. I just made that up. Go ahead and use it. But wait, no one does that anymore.
The guy passing the yard on Howard Place must think I’m crazy. As I watch him make a right turn on Prospect Avenue, I think of all the guys who used to line the silver fence and watch the summer league games. Some nights they were two deep.
Come to think of it, back in the day when people saw me in the yard so much, they must have thought I was nuts.
Nothing’s changed. My love for the game has grown.
I head out of the yard, up Prospect Avenue and cross ninth avenue. A couple of guys are shutting the gate at Joe’s Pizza. I see they now have a Dunkin’s Donuts on the avenue. I’m sure if my mother Carol was still alive she’d be spending a lot of time here.
The place is empty, I order an iced coffee and two donuts. That’s a lot of sugar for this time of night. But who cares? I’m on vacation.
Sitting at a small table by the window, I pull out my newspaper and begin to read.
“We close in five minutes,” the nice man with a middle east accent, mopping the floor says to me.
After I polish off my late night treats I walk back across the avenue and down Windsor Place towards tenth avenue.
It’s amazing how empty the streets are, sure it’s a little after eleven on a Thursday night but back in the day you always saw someone out on the streets, in the city that never sleeps. Or is that Manhattan?
I get down to eleventh avenue and bump into Buzzy getting out of his car, he works the 12-4 shift. Buzzy has lived on Sherman Street since we were kids. To my surprise he recognizes me and we chat for over thirty minutes. He gives me the rundown on PS 154…boy has that yard changed.
We have a few laughs talking about the past.
Headed back up to the avenue via Windsor Place. I’m hoping to run into the actress Debi Mazar; but she’s probably sound asleep. She had a role in Goodfella’s and was seen on HBO’s Entourage from time to time. I thought they should have given her more love on the HBO series.
I pass Farrell’s once again. I stop in to see Duffer and we chat about old times.
Ten minutes later I head over to the circle, then to the parkside.
I sit on the totem pole and notice a few people walk by but again, I don’t recognize anyone.
My friends and I spent many nights hanging out in this area. Tonight though, it’s a ghost town.
“Where’d everyone go?”
Close to 1 a.m. I head back over to Joe’s apartment where I crash for the night. Gotta love my childhood friend allowing me to stay in his apartment for the weekend.
Hard to get that offer these days.
Well it’s getting late, I have to be up early in morning. Have a lot of people to see and places to go. Plus, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into a Sesame bagel with cream cheese from Terrace Bagels.
And, tomorrow night is the Old Timers Dinner out in Bensonhurst; I am looking forward to seeing some good friends from back in the day.
It was a cool, breezy, Friday night in September. It was coming up on nine-thirty but it was Friday night which meant we would stay out a little later than normal. I was all alone in the boys schoolyard at Holy Name shooting baskets on the middle court. Holy Name was the grammar school I attended from first grade through eighth.
The rule was, out of the yard by ten o’clock; if you were caught after ten, the priests would scream at us and chase us out.
“HEY YOU KIDS, GET OUTTA THE SCHOOLYARD!”
If you were busted in the yard at night, Monday morning you were called down to the office and had to face the music. Or, I should say the wrath of the principal. I found myself on the bench outside the office plenty of times; how they ever knew it was me in the yard, I’ll never know. I mean it was pitch dark and the priest doing the yelling was up at the window, two or three stories high in the rectory which was about fifty yards away from the yard.
On this night I was shooting at the basket on the Howard Place side. When I was alone I would warm-up by shooting from every spot on the court. I stayed close to the basket, banking each shot from the left and right low post area. In the middle of the lane I would swish it even though we didn’t have nets. I would make five shots from each spot and work my way out to the perimeter. The key to not getting caught in the yard was not to bounce the ball.
Of the entire week, Friday nights were my favorite. First of all we had no school the next day. Second, my mom went out with her friends so that meant I could come home anytime I wanted. Come to think of it, I never had a curfew, on any night.
There were many nights I found myself alone in the yard with nothing but my basketball and six baskets around me. I had my choice of hoops to shoot at. It was my paved paradise. Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams” had nothing on me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone coming into the yard. As I tried to focus in on the rim, I noticed the person entering the yard was a female.
She wore white pants, brown boots and a grey hooded sweatshirt. She walked real slow, so slow it seemed like she wasn’t even moving. She caught me staring at her and I saw her flash that sweet smile of hers that I had seen during recess. We had never talked much in school but one night I recall hanging out on Fuller Place where we played “Seven Minutes in Heaven” and boy was she a great kisser. And her teeth, God, they were so white, white as the snow in the winter time.
I tried to play it off like I didn’t see her so I turned around and dribbled down to the other side of the court to shoot at the basket against the church wall. While I dribbled up the court I kept my head up just like the basketball coaches at Holy Name had taught us. At half-court I got a little fancy and went through my legs and around my back. I wanted to show off.
“Hey!” she called out.
I acted like I didn’t hear her. I tried hard to act like I was ignoring her but I soon found out that strategy wasn’t going to work.
“Yo Fin,” she called out as she began to walk towards me. Fin was my nickname, is was short for Finamore, my last name.
I looked at her as she approached.
“Pass me the ball,” she said.
I looked at her and hesitated at first but then she asked again so I threw the ball her way, bouncing it slowly. I didn’t want to hurt her. She caught it and started dribbling.
“Weak pass,” she said.
Weak pass? Please!
I could tell she never played basketball before because she was dribbling with her palms, and our coach, Danny Piselli taught us to dribble with your finger tips so you have control of the ball. She also kept pausing, looking up at me while she held the ball in both hands.
“Wanna play on-on-one”? she asked as she backed into me, still dribbling the ball.
I laughed out loud and said, “You wouldn’t score a point against me.”
As she turned slowly towards the basket, eyes fixed on the rim she threw the ball overhead up towards the basket. She missed by a mile. The ball sailed over the backboard and hit the church wall.
“Nice shot,” I sarcastically said to her.
“Oops, oh well,” she said as she stood there with an innocent look.
She looked beautiful standing there. She had a white scarf around her neck. Her hair was brushed neatly, her cheeks were as red as the bricks from the church wall.
“You’re a really good basketball player,” she said to me as I grabbed the ball, dribbled out to the right wing and swished a jumper.
I felt so good after she gave me the compliment. I wasn’t used to hearing things like that. She chased the ball down and threw it back to me. I quickly passed it back to her, “Shoot it!”
She tried another shot and missed again. I felt bad for her. She wasn’t much of an athlete to tell the truth.
“Wanna play one-on-one?” she asked as she chased down the loose ball.
I looked around the yard and noticed a couple of kids had walked in and began shooting down at the other end of the court.
“Sure, your ball first,” I answered.
She dribbled around in circles while I stood there and watched her. She was bent at the waist dribbling with both hands.
“You can’t stop your dribble and then dribble again, it’s a double-dribble,” I informed her as she went from one side of the court to the other. We usually call that going east to west. The coaches want you going north to south with your dribble.
She didn’t answer, nor did she care. She continued to dribble with her back to me and the basket; she couldn’t care less about the rules of basketball. She was clearly playing by her rules. I stood there and went laterally with her, side-to-side. I raised my arms like I was playing tight defense. If she turned and tried to shot the ball, I wasn’t going to block it.
When she finally took a shot I grabbed the rebound, dribbled out top to the foul line and dribbled through my legs and around my back (and her back) as she chased the ball like a cat chases its tail. She raised both arms straight up trying to block me from shooting. I noticed her sweatshirt go up a bit revealing her stomach.
After I made a few shots she began to get frustrated. At one point I stood there dribbling with my back to her as she pushed up against me. She kept trying to knock the ball away from me. When she realized she had no chance, she grabbed my skinny waist and held me tight.
“Hey, that’s a foul,” I protested while I kept dribbling in the same spot.
“That’s it, I quit,” she declared as she leaned against me. When she saw that wouldn’t work, she jumped in front of me and kissed me.
I was shocked.
Her lips on mine.
I dropped the ball as we kissed. I felt the ball hit my foot and roll away. She laughed.
Putting her strong arms around my waist she slid her tongue in my mouth. I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t feel my knees, they were weak. My hands were at my side, I was standing there, too afraid to do anything with my hands. I stood there in the dark with one of the prettiest girls in school; the only light came from the lamppost out on Howard Place. The kiss lasted a long time. I didn’t know when we were supposed to stop. It was just the second time I had ever kissed a girl.
I opened my eyes and looked at her while we kissed. I also looked around the schoolyard to see if anyone had come inside. Unbeknownst to me, she tricked me. She broke the kiss and ran after the ball. Picking it up she started to bounce it and smile at me.
“Ha-Ha, I stole it from you,” she said with a slick smile as she dribbled towards the exit, out of the schoolyard and down Howard Place.
As I got to the exit I looked down Howard Place and saw her leaning up against a parked car holding the ball.
I approached her and she threw the ball at me. A textbook chest pass I might add.
“Come over here,” she said with a sly smile.
Looking over my right shoulder I noticed a couple of people coming down Howard from Prospect Avenue. They walked past us, staring at me and I looked right back at them.
“Whaddya lookin’ at?” I asked.
They put their heads down, as I watched them walk towards the subway station on Windsor Place.
My friend shook her head.
“Be nice,” she preached.
I walked towards her, nervously I might add. Without saying a word she reached out, grabbed me and pulled me to her. Her brown eyes were sparkling from the street light above us. I wish she had picked a parked car on a darker spot of the street so know one would see us. She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me. I thought of the lyrics from the song “Lola” by the Kinks while she held me, “Well I’m not the world’s most physical guy but when she squeezed me tight she almost broke my spine.”
I was getting better at this kissing game…and of course beginning to like it.
I woke up on a cold Sunday morning in early December, right around 7:30.
Our five-room, railroad apartment was freezing. It was so cold you could see your breath when you talked. But I wasn’t talking to anyone at this time because everyone was asleep. I opened my mouth and blew smoke out like I was smoking a cigarette; just like my mother.
My older brother and I shared a bedroom. There were two windows facing ninth avenue; the windows had frost on them. If you looked out the window you could see the Holy Name convent across the avenue. When the windows were frosty I’d write something on them then wipe it away. The convent was where the nuns lived. Often times I would see them sitting in their bedrooms holding their rosary beads praying.
It would get so cold at night in my bedroom that I would take a towel, roll it up and place it on the windowsill to try to stop the cold air from coming in. I’d also be forced to wear my green parka coat to bed. And I always kept my white tube socks on my feet.
We lived through many mornings like this in the winter time; You can thank our landlord from hell.
On Saturday nights, after running her store all week-long on ninth avenue she would escape to Long Island where she owned a vacation home; she’d shut the heat and hot water off in our building for the weekend. Maybe that was a reason I wouldn’t take a shower.
I’d often hear my mother arguing with her during the week downstairs in front of her apartment door. We lived on the third floor, our landlord lived on the second. Sometimes the argument would be about the heat, the rent being late or the noise that we made above her. We liked to listen to loud music and run back and forth through the apartment. This lady was so unfriendly, I never said hello to her when I passed her in the hallway.
As I made my way from the bedroom to the kitchen, always tiptoeing because I didn’t want to awaken anyone, I noticed mom was missing from her bed. It was not uncommon to see her bed empty or some guy next to her; Mom loved to go out on the weekends to party with friends and sometimes would not return until early Sunday afternoon.
I pulled out a box of cereal and snatched the carton of milk from the fridge. Grabbing my bowl of cereal with both hands I made my way to the living room and put on my favorite show, Davey and Goliath. Before leaving the kitchen, I turned on the four burners on top of the stove to warm up the apartment. That was our source of heat on the weekends. I can recall turning on the oven…and we weren’t cooking any food!
As I sat on the carpeted floor in front of the T.V. I scooped up spoonfuls of my favorite cereal, Captain Crunch. Mom always made sure we had plenty of cereal. Sometimes we had to settle for Corn Flakes. I hated Corn Flakes.
The worst part was when we would be out of milk. I once poured water on my cereal, it was awful.
I was twelve years old and in the seventh grade at Holy Name of Jesus. I wasn’t into school at all, but I loved sports. On the weekends we spent a lot of time in the boys and girls school yards. I was lucky, I lived right across the street from school. On Sunday mornings you were required to attend mass. We were catholic, or so I thought we were. For my tenth birthday mom bought me a cross on a chain. I wore it everywhere.
We made Holy Communion in second grade, went to church every Sunday and had to go to confession every now and then. I was always nervous in the confessional booth speaking to the priest behind the curtain. Once when I confessed that I had stolen a candy bar from a classmate, I thought he was going to jump through the curtain and rip my head off.
After confessing my sins, the priest would order me to say a couple of Hail Mary’s and an Our Father and things were back to normal. I walked out of church and down the steps onto the avenue, I felt like a new kid.
My teachers at Holy Name were strict. We had nuns and a couple of
priests brothers teaching us the golden rule. The priests brothers were meaner than the nuns but I was scared of all of them. If you got into trouble, you got whacked with a huge wooden paddle.
If you missed church on Sunday they called you out Monday morning. I often wondered why I couldn’t attend mass on Saturday night at 5:30 or even a later one on Sunday; I always had to be there early in the morning.
Out of all the kids in school, how in the world did they know I was missing from mass?
After watching Davey teach Goliath a lesson on integrity and polishing off my cold breakfast I got dressed and went to the boys schoolyard. We were forbidden to enter the schoolyard until mass let out so I’d sit outside the fence on Howard Place all alone until someone showed up. In between mass I’d run in the yard and get a few shots up at the basket, not letting the ball hit the ground though. Because if you made any noise, a priest would come out and chase you away.
I saw a bunch of people in groups walking down Prospect Avenue coming from church. They were all dressed up. Hats, gloves and scarves included. They all looked so happy. I could see the mother and father leading the way and of course their kids not far behind. I never experienced that feeling; I don’t think mom or dad ever stepped inside a church on Sunday morning.
There were many reasons why I skipped mass on Sunday. One, I was embarrassed of my clothes. Mom made me wear hand-me-downs. I was forced to wear my brothers old shoes, shirts and slacks. Second, I never had any change to throw in the collection box they passed around. And when mom did give me some money for the poor box, I’d use it at Rae and Otto’s. I often times would think of snatching a bill out of the straw box connected to the long wooden stick the guy stuck in front of my face but everyone was hawking you. And three, well, I just didn’t have the patience to sit still for an hour and listen to the priest. I could never understand his message. But I did like communion though. When I did go to church I always looked forward to the wafer the priest gave out. I could have gone for seconds.
After the last mass of the day, it was time to play ball. Kids from the neighborhood started showing up. Before the older guys would arrive, we’d play taps against the fence, then around the world. When we had enough to play three-on-three, it was on. We played up to eleven. If you won, you stayed on, lost and you had to sit because someone had winners.
Despite the cold weather, we still played basketball in the schoolyard. And the following morning, I was going to be called out for missing mass.
Basketball, Bay Ridge, Boogie, Budweiser, Car, Chuck Taylor, Clubs, Fuller Place, George Brossard, Hollywood, Howard place, LA Woman, La'Mour, McBears, Music, Prospect Avenue, Rock Capital of Brooklyn, Schoolyard, Stray Cat Strut, The Doors, Windsor Place
Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows…
When I was seventeen I went to L’Amour. (Better known as “Lamorz“.) Yes, I was underage but remember back in the day it didn’t matter. Plus the guy I was with had a lot of juice at the front door.
The late George Brossard introduced me to the club scene. After getting a taste of L’Amour I turned into a “club kid.”
L’Amour was a club with live rock bands performing but in between sets a D.J. spun vinyl for the crowd; I recall ‘Stray Cat Strut’ or the Doors, ‘LA Woman’. Two outstanding jams.
L’Amour was billed as “The Rock Capital of Brooklyn.”
What many people fail to realize is that the club started out playing disco music. Gloria Gaynor was the first performer singing her smash hit, “I Will Survive.” Bands like Crystal Ship, Sticky Fingers, Metallica and Twisted Sister all rocked the house at L’Amour.
Like most clubs around the city, L’Amour was dark inside. Most patrons seemed to be wearing black and the one thing I can’t forget is the waitresses with their black trays scooting around taking drink orders. I may add they were awfully attractive too.
Coming off a tough break-up with my first girlfriend Maureen was difficult. I was having a hard time keeping a conversation with someone of the opposite sex. That all changed for me after I started going to clubs in the city.
It was a warm, Friday night in June, somewhere around eight o’clock. After playing basketball down at East fifth street I was walking up Prospect Avenue past McBears. George was hanging out outside with a few other guys.
George was a great guy. He had long black hair and an Adam’s apple that was extra pointy. George was a little over six feet tall and was skinny; he couldn’t have been more than 150 pounds soaking wet. His nickname was ‘Chicken George’. For some reason, George took a liking to me; he always had a positive comment for me. Whenever I’d see him around the neighborhood we’d always talk sports.
“Hey Red, how was the run down East fifth?”
“It was good.” I answered as I kept dribbling my basketball.
“You wanna go out tonight?” he asked me.
“Go out where”?
“Don’t worry, just meet me back here later tonight at ten.” George didn’t wait for my response. He hopped in his car and drove off.
I stood there and watched him having no idea where George planned on taking me. I had heard guys talk about going out on the weekends from spending time in the schoolyard eavesdropping.
Arriving home I turned on the TV in my bedroom and watched a baseball game. Sitting on my bed I kept glancing up at the clock on the wall. Time was going so slow. My mother was on the phone in the kitchen chatting with a friend. A little after nine I got up and started looking through my dresser drawer for some clothes. I had no idea what to wear.
Grabbing a pair of wrinkled blue jeans, a sky blue Mark Elliot polo shirt; I was ready to go. I slipped on my white, high top Chuck Taylor’s but before heading out, I grabbed a toothbrush and cleaned the sneakers off. I splashed some Brut cologne on my neck and felt like a million dollars.
As mom chatted away on the phone in the kitchen I looked around for her purse. Spotting it on the couch I made my way over towards it. Sitting on a chair in the kitchen Mom had her back to me as she smoked a Salem cigarette. While she was engaged in her conversation, I kept an eye on her and slid my hand in her purse to grab any bills I could feel. As I pulled a few out, I looked at them, noticed a couple of tens and stuffed them in my pockets.
“See ya later,” I shouted to her as I walked out of the apartment.
She didn’t even hear me; she kept on talking on the phone.
Downstairs I waited on the corner of Windsor and ninth for the light to turn green. Muggsy was walking by with his radio in his arm listening to a song by the Who.
“What’s up Muggsy?”
Like usual, all Muggsy did was nod his head.
“I’m goin’ out,” I said to him as I crossed the avenue.
Without missing a beat he looked back and shouted, “BOOGIE TILL YA PUKE!”
Muggsy was a cool dude who was into rock-and-roll. Whenever you saw him on the avenue he was always playing rock tunes. You’d never hear any disco coming from his box.
As I walked down Prospect Avenue towards McBears I started to get butterflies in my stomach. I made my way past the schoolyard on Howard Place and noticed a few kids in the schoolyard shooting around. Down one block at Fuller Place there were some people hanging out on the corner.
“Yo, look at Red, he is all dressed up,” someone said. I put my head down and walked faster. Another kid said, “Yeah, all dressed up and nowhere to go.”
“Fuck you!” I fired back.
Approaching McBears I could see a couple of people hanging out outside. I spotted George sitting in his car waiting on the corner of tenth avenue.
“C’mon Red, hop in.”
I looked around, opened the front door of his car and got in.
“I picked up something for us,” George said as he showed me a six-pack of Budwesier.
It was Friday night, the weather was great, I was feeling great, it was going to be a great night.
The one unbreakable staple of our neighborhood was the outstanding people; always there for each other.
As kids, we didn’t realize how much help was available to us (at least I didn’t know).
Whether it was a coach at Holy Name, a teacher, a friend, a store owner up on the Avenue or even a neighbor; if you looked hard enough, there was help. Speaking of help, did they have ‘Self-Help’ books back in the day?
Matter of fact, sometimes I don’t think we fully realize how much we can help others. If only I knew back then, what I know now. Mamma mia!
I recently came across something on Facebook that inspired me to step up to the plate.
Often times you hear about a local fundraiser or someone putting on an event for some sort of inspiring situation.
With the many readers of the blog, I felt like I could raise awareness on an all-important cause and let people know about a special,upcoming event.
6th Annual Fundraiser
Valentine’s Day Dinner/Dance
For Briann’s Angels
All proceeds to: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
Please join Karen Burke-Abruzzese and Friends for a night of dinner, drinks and dancing. Listen to the sounds of DJ Joey Pira.
Saturday, February 11,2012
Sheperd’s Hall at Holy Name Church
245 Prospect Park West
7:00 PM to Midnight.
$60.00 donation for admission per person.
Contact Karen at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also stop in Farrell’s to see Hooley or Rhythm and Booze on 10th avenue and Prospect avenue to see Jamie.
RSVP by January 30.
In speaking with Karen, she told me that the night always turns into a neighborhood reunion.
So come on out and have a good time with friends from the neighborhood but most important, you’re helping a great cause.
If you can’t make it out to the event, help us spread the word…because if you’re from the neighborhood, it’s what we do!
While in New York City last week and ordering coffee, I was reminded of the famous words spoken when one orders a cup of Joe.
Me: “Can I have a large coffee please.”
Counter Person: “How do you like it?”
Me: “Five sugars and lotta milk.”
Counter Person: “Oh, you want it light and sweet?”
I didn’t answer, all I could do was crack a smile. It had been a while since I had heard those words. Out here in Michigan, when I order a coffee, I have to put the sugar in myself which is fine. Sometimes I even have to put the milk in.
I was standing on the half-court circle in the Holy Name boys schoolyard looking around while the rain poured down on me. I’m sure people driving by or even folks peeking out their windows on Howard Place or Prospect Avenue must’ve thought I was crazy. But little did they know I was thinking back to the days of playing ball in the that very same yard!
The half-court circle on the middle court is fading away but you can still see a little bit of the white paint. Do you recall when someone painted a peace sign in the circle?
I was soaked after standing there for a good three minutes but I didn’t care. I was brought back to my childhood days and a place that was very special to me. The next time you are in the neighborhood walk by the schoolyard and go in there. Close your eyes and think about all the good times you spent there. Think about the games you played, the shots you took and the conversations with your friends. Even if you still live in the neighborhood, go in there!
I felt like I had died and gone to basketball heaven!
Do you think the new people in the neighborhood know that we used to identify the schoolyards by gender?
Empty, void, deplete, exhaust, vacant, hollow, foolish, unfeeling, absence, waste…
Those are just some of the words which come to mind when I look at this picture. We spent a lot of our childhood in the schoolyard. It just doesn’t look the same.
How come the greatest schoolyard in the history of outdoor basketball is no longer in use? Where are all the ball players? Do they still play there? Do the students at Holy Name still use it for recess?
I see two backboards up on the middle court but remember there used to be three full-courts? (Upon further review, I have been informed that the two backboards are ‘rim-less’)
How about the handball court – what happened? Are those cars and vans I see?
Thanks to Amy for her shot from the corner of Howard place and Prospect avenue.
Back in the day Windsor Terrace was filled with strong families. They were friendly, outgoing and hard working.
One family in particular comes to mind when I think of the traits mentioned above. They lived on Terrace Place, right off Prospect Avenue.
They were a large family (like many other wonderful families in the neighborhood). Good athletes, caring people, down to earth and most of all, always available!
The oldest son was a great basketball player. He was one of the best from the neighborhood. Some say he is one of the best to ever play for the FDNY (they used to have a league, not sure if they still do) but I believe he scored the most points ever in the league! He played his college ball at Iona.
I played ball in Holy Name with the youngest son.
Their youngest daughter married my cousin.
I’m talking about The Riches!
During 9/11 at the World Trade Center Jimmy, (a deputy fire chief in the FDNY) who is the oldest Riches, lost his son James Jr. who at the time was a NYC firefighter.
Along with Jimmy, there was Roddy, Margie, Tommy, Eileen, Beatrice and John.
I came across this guest book dedicated to our fallen hero. Feel free to leave a message.