Showing 26 - 29 of 29 comments
Peter, I came along later, in the ‘60s, but I remember Einhorn’s, which I believe later became Key Food. There was also a great little Italian pastry shop there. And I remember the newspaper stand with the deaf-mute couple. The woman used to try to communicate with my mother; she always would have a big, warm smile even though she couldn’t speak. Fred M., I went to Lourdes, again, later, late '50s to mid '60s. I wrote some stuff about it that is posted up above.
Peter, the Saratoga Branch, a Carnegie library, is on Hopkinson Avenue, also now called Thomas S. Boyland St., right off Broadway (Saratoga Avenue is actually a block away). It is still there and in use since 1908, one of the city’s smallest and poorest in one of its poorest neighborhoods, but it gave a kid from a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn a wealth of information and instilled in me the love of the library that I retain today, and will always have. P.S. I lived at 1501 Bushwick Ave. A couple of years ago I came across some sort of ironworking company way out in Connecticut, near Hartford or somewhere, called the Bushwick Iron Co. or something. Turns out they had been located in Bushwick decades earlier, moved but kept the name.
I saw the Ali-Frazier II and Ali-Foreman fights on closed-circuit in this theater. The crowds outside alone were huge, like the fights were actually being held there.
Hey, guys: I stumbled across your website quite by accident and it brought back many memories. Thereâ€™s so much more I could tell you than I have time to go into right now, but in brief: I lived from shortly after birth in 1952 till 1959 on MacDougal St. near Broadway, and from â€™59 til 1971 on Bushwick Ave. between Furman Ave. and Granite Street. I went to the Colonial Theater many times but I donâ€™t remember many movies I saw there besides â€œBen-Hur.â€ I saw some other posts about the RKO Bushwick and Loewâ€™s Gates, which I also attended many times (we always walked â€" took 20-30 minutes). Movies then cost 50 cents for kids, and there was nothing you couldnâ€™t see â€" no ratings, and no need for them. To answer a couple of questions: I attended Our Lady of Lourdes church and school, and it closed because of neither the neighborhoodâ€™s decline nor low-flying planes. The neighborhood started going into decline in the mid â€™60s, long before the â€™77 blackout. (On the night of the â€™65 blackout, when I was 12, my friend and I went into the street with flashlights to guide traffic.) Lourdes was a huge, magnificent Gothic church known to everyone for miles around. Jackie Gleason did live on Chauncey Street but not at 328; he lived near the public libraryâ€™s Saratoga branch, and attended public school but took Catholic instruction at Lourdes. The church had a $10,000 gold monstrance, a vessel used in some services, that was paid for through the donations of parishionersâ€™ gold and jewelry, which were melted down to create it. It was once stolen, and the word went out that the local Mafiosi had vowed to find the thief. (The young John Gotti lived in and terrorized the neighborhood.) A day later a priest found the vessel sitting on the church steps when he opened up in the morning. As the neighborhood declined more thefts took place, including, incredibly, that of a life-size bronze statue of St. Peter seated on the papal throne, modeled after the Vaticanâ€™s, that weighed thousands of pounds. It was cut into pieces at night in the church and carried out. Around 1975 arsonists burned the church. A day or two before it was demolished, I walked with the pastor through the still-smoking ruins and we reminisced. The services were moved a block away to the garage of a former Chevrolet dealer. Other famous people who lived or worked in the neighborhood were the actor Vince Edwards (â€œBen Caseyâ€) and cops Frank Serpico and Eddie Egan (â€œThe French Connectionâ€). The neighborhood went all the way downhill but has become gentrified, especially out toward Williamsburgh. Iâ€™m told that houses like the one I lived in, which my parents sold for $50,000, now command 10 to 15 times that amount. Itâ€™s doubtful we could have lived there that long. Oh, well, hope you enjoyed reading this.