If you grew up in Brooklyn…
You had at least one neighbor with a rooster that would wake you up (literally) at the crack of dawn every morning.
You don’t remember the first time you heard gunshots, it was a nightly ritual but we all knew to come inside before dark and scream out the windows to talk to our neighbors because none of us had a working land-line telephone.
Your parents would send you to the corner store with the rainbow colored food stamp booklet to buy ham & cheese. You had to wait 30 minutes until the store cleared to pay or you folded it really small, passed it to the cashier and whispered “keep the change”.
The day after the blackout in 1977 you had a whole new living room set, dining room set, TV and a parrot named Charlie.
Your car would get stolen every weekend, “by your crack head uncle” and returned on Monday by the neighborhood mechanic for a storage fee.
You could take $100 to Fulton Street, Grand Street or Knickerbocker Ave for your back-to-school shopping and come home with a clothes for the rest of the year.
You took Brooklyn showers all summer long, someone would open the fire hydrant for all the kids on the block to cool off.
You’d spent every summer weekend at Rockaway Beach tanning with baby oil.
On hot summer nights you went fishing on the Rockaway Bridge for a breeze of fresh air because we didn’t have air conditioning.
Your parents always talked about “the old days” hanging out in the park but… they only took you to the park for Labor Day or 4th of July picnic.
You played kick the can, tag, skelly tops, double dutch, roller skated in the middle of the street until sundown and played handball on the abandoned building wall next door to your house.
Sat on the stoop for hours singing Ebony and Ivory, while getting your hair braided. Not sure if we kids even knew what that song meant at the time.
Break danced at all of our house parties and battled each other to win a dollar as the Grand Prize.
When you hear the word “FREESTYLE” you don’t think of RAP music but the best form of dance music created by Judy Torres, Noel, the Cover Girls, TKA, George Lamond, India
Your parents took you to L&B Pizza for pizza and Italian ices. The best pizza in Brooklyn!
You played ball in the Gil Hodges Baseball League.
Six Flags Great Adventure… forget that, we had Nellie Bly.
As a teen, you spent the summer nights drinking 40’s on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights.
Roll-N-Roaster, when we got the munchies
You hung out on Fountain Ave by Starrett City to watch friends drag race on Saturday nights
Your accent usually gives you away immediately, especially if you added an extra ED to every word ending in ED. (ex. likeded)
You pronounce it DEE-kalb… not deh-KALB.
Movies at Sheepshead Bay
Bowled at Gil Hodges Lanes
You rode F train to CONEY ISLAND
You shopped at Kings Plaza Mall.
You know this sign leaving Brooklyn off the Belt Parkway.
I could just go on and on. Those were the days. Dedicating this piece to my “BROOKLYN” family. We made the best of the worst of times… we’ve come a long way.