This week brings the third blog-a-day challenge, category: maps. Come along for some cameos of our recent trip to New York and Pennsylvania. If you missed the past two posts, catch up here: Pittsburgh’s Sweetest Gals
Foray into Philly
Retracing our steps from Philadelphia finds us in Brooklyn, Bensonhusrt to be exact. After spending Sunday morning at a cool place that sells second-hand furniture and finding a great dresser for Emma’s new apartment, we headed for Bensonhurst for a roots tour.
First stop was the first apartment Martin and I lived in at 6201 Bay Parkway. Not a bad building by NY standards although I think my father nearly had a heart attack when he first saw it. The building was old even back then; like any NYC apartment of a certain vintage and construction, you could smell a globe’s worth of dinners cooking every time the elevator doors parted. My biggest irk with it back then were the high school girls from Bishop Kearney (pronounced Kah-nee) who would get high in our vestibule every morning before heading over to the school to learn from the nuns.
Then onto the home where Martin grew up. The magnolia that he planted was still there; the neighbors whom we’ve kept in touch with were out of town but we chatted with another woman who was outside, watching the goings on from her stoop. We peeked into the driveway of his house and you know me, I don’t mind going up to complete strangers and saying, Hi! So I did.
The two girls sunning themselves were the granddaughters of the woman Martin’s mom sold their house to. Martin had a great time comparing notes — who was in the basement apartment now? Hasn’t the aluminum siding that his mom put up stayed in good condition? Emma looked like she could have been the third sister to this pair, same dark hair and eyes. Back then the neighborhood was Jewish and Italian. Now the Jews are nearly all gone and the Italians are dwindling. Signs in Chinese dominate. How much difference is there between ravioli and wontons, anyway? Or kreplach, for that matter.
The girls’ mother came out and joined the conversation. We told her we’d just been on Bay Parkway at 62nd Street. “Yeah,” she said. “I went to Bishop Kah-nee, right there next to your building.” Are you wondering what I wondered at that moment? Yeah, she probably was one of the plaid-skirted mouthy teens, wearing Mary Janes and smoking it, too.
It was delightful to see Martin back in his old stomping ground and to listen in as he retold Emma all the stories he could recall. I’ve written about Brooklyn before. It’s a special place and growing ever more so, as Manhattan rents rise from merely outrageous to spectacularly outrageous. Emma has fulfilled a dream by moving to Williamsburg. Now that my sister-in-law is selling her wonderful co-op in Park Slope, it’s good to know that a Darvick still calls Brooklyn home.