Saturday, May 17, 2014

Brooklyn Nostalgia

We were headed to an event in Brooklyn recently, and it turned out to be just as easy to get off the subway in my old neighborhood and get a bus there, as to go any other way. So we took the opportunity to show Mikro where I grew up. He saw my train station, my block, the local pizza place (where Kev and I ate lunch)(no gluten free), the park I played in, and my church and elementary school. Then we hopped on the bus I rode to junior high, waved hello to Pershing JHS, and headed off to a Viking Fest... which is another post.

We got off the train at Ninth Avenue station on what was, in my day, the B line (now the D).

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You come out of the subway right across from Greenwood Cemetery, a place my Gramma used to take me for childhood strolls.

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A few blocks away, past the pizza joint, is my block, and my old apartment building. We actually ran into a neighbor who lived there when I was a kid, and still does!

myblock mybldg1

Then we walked a few avenues to Sunset Park, the place we rode our bikes, went to the playground, practiced baseball and softball, and went swimming when I was a kid.

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The park is right across the street from my elementary school, P.S. 169. I have great memories of that place, especially of some really great teachers I was lucky enough to have. This was back in the day when they let teachers be as creative as they wanted and test prep consisted of "We are having a test next week. Bring a Number 2 pencil. Make sure you mark the correct bubble for your answer and erase thoroughly." Some of my favorites: Ms. Gross (3rd grade G&T: She is the person who got this blue collar kid thinking of college, and convinced me that I could be a writer. She also threw these amazing international days, where she introduced us to a country and its food, music, stories, geography, and art. She was inspirational!); Mr. Moss (4th grade G&T: supported my writing, convinced me I could actually do math and like it); Mrs. Contardo (6th grade G&T: weekly pizza parties at a restaurant for the core group of geek kids and the teacher, lots of math and science and she made it fun.)

sunsetpark4 myschool

Then there was my church. When I went, it was Gloria Dei Evangelical Lutheran Church, a small Finnish/German congregation, and a wonderful place to be a kid. I still miss Pastor Palonen and what will always be my church home.

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And then we hopped on the B70 bus, the one my mom and I rode to go shopping on 86th Street, to baseball practice, and to junior high. We rode past what are now beautiful grassy ball fields, but when I was a kid, they were known as the dust bowl, because they were nothing but dry dirt and grass refused to grow there. Nice to see them all spiffed up, and kids playing happily.

mybus usedtobedustbowl

I guess you can take the girl outta Brooklyn, but you can never take Brooklyn outta the girl. It was fun to share my old neighborhood with my son.

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