Fireworks…by the middle of the afternoon in my neighborhood on Staten Island, South Beach projects you couldn’t even see the smoke was so thick and fireworks were illegal!!!! Actually the fireworks for the 4th usually started going off around June 20th (right after we got out of school) and we’d see all the people coming up from the South (where fireworks were legal) opening up their trunks and selling fireworks to anyone who had money…one summer we bought a mat of firecrackers (144 packs)…I was so tired of them after that!! Blue Angels always few at South Beach every 4th of July and you could see them from the roof of our projects…1976 4th of July was awesome…one of the best other than 1986 when the Statue of Liberty reopened after being renovated…one million people in downtown Manhattan…if you were claustrophobic you would have died! Bud beer being sold out of garbage pails in Chinatown…what a city! I live in California now and would never move back but my childhood was the absolute best! maryfinn
I grew up in the projects on Staten Island, South Beach Houses to be exact and we had games for every season especially spring when the weather was warming up. First it would be kite flying time and we’d go to the corner store known as Ma’s or Pa’s or Boff’s for the “second store” and buy our 10-25 cent kite, put it together with rags for a tail and go fly it at the “big park’s” field. Every kid did this, the sky was filled with all different color and shapes of kites! It was awesome. Then came yo-yo season right on the heels of kite flying. We got our Duncan’s out and could do all the tricks; cats cradle, around the world, you name it; we could do it with a little practice. Next came summer and bee catching, yes, bee catching. We would get a glass jar or a coffee can, put some holes in the top for air and go out to the bushes and catch as many bees as we could, there was a hierarchy to the bees too; workers (lowest), queenies (bumble bees) and Shiny hineys (largest bumble bees and the highest) we all kept clear of wasps, those suckers hurt if you got strung…I never got strung, not until I was an adult camping in California by a yellow jacket (damn wasps!). This was followed by the long days and as soon as dusk came we were playing “ringalerio” or “caw, caw”…this can be looked up on this site so you get the rules and the fun! During the day we played skully (also on this site), assball, softball, rode our bikes for 100’s of miles (without helmets and all day with no adults); skated (remember skate keys) played with our spaldeens…one, two, three aleary…”three feet over Germany” (whomever knows about this game please answer, I want to know the history)…Fall arrived and we gathered all the fallen leaves and jumped into the biggest piles of leaves you’ve ever seen, we got cardboard boxes and jumped on the bushes and fell off in heaps…Winter brought sleigh riding near the park and at the cemeteries (we were bordered on 2 sides)…ice skating at Cameron’s pond (watch the thin ice…someone always fell thru)…snow ball fights…oops I forgot about Halloween and egging, shaving cream, and flour socks…little did we know that our hair styles after this would eventually become stylish in the 90’s and 2000’s!!!! Who knew! sorry to go on and on but growing up in the 70’s in New York City projects was the BEST! What about you? Mary
Ice Cream Throw Up! Our ice cream man lived near our neighborhood so at the end of the week, at the end of his run, he’d park his truck in the middle of the street and throw the unsold Italian Ice bars and ice cream bars high in the air while we kids would run to catch them (kinda like a bride’s bouquet). This was in Queens Village between Springfield Blvd. and Belmont Race Track.
The BRC (Brownsville Recreation Center) late 1970’s Located on Linden Blvd. in Brownsville Brooklyn, the BRC was the coolest place to swim in the summer. Betsey Head was too crowded and scorching hot. Red Hook’s pool was full of gang violence. We lived six blocks from the indoor pool at the BRC, and the lifeguards knew us well. The place had serious ambiance that is only available in a NY neighborhood pool. Music was played, mandatory WBLS. All of our swimming lessons were executed to top-40 R&B. Our lifeguards were all fit men in their mid 30’s. All races; who though they were the center of the sexual universe. They didn’t wear swim trunks back in those days, men wore those little things that Olympic divers wear. Many a hardheaded kid broke teeth running on the wet tile floors to get to the pool bleachers. You had to swim 10 laps every day to qualify to swim in the deep water (8 ft?). The pool was mid length. Everyone else had to sit in the bleachers until we were finished with our qualification laps. I was one of those kids that became a swimming fanatic, and went on to swim camps upstate and in New Hampshire. It was a serious sport for me. Irish Brian was my instructor at the BRC. He was super strict about lessons. We called him the swim Nazi. He was full of himself, as were the other lifeguards. I miss those guys. The BRC kept so many kids out of trouble. Even the plain bologna sandwiches with school milk cartons kept many kids from starving. We used to keep a stash of rocks and broken glass to throw at the pedophiles that would occasionally drive up to the BRC fenced playground to entice kids with candy and money.
We are independent filmmakers, creating our first film as a labor of love, outside of regular jobs in Television. The documentary is based on the experience of families in the Catskill Mountains during it’s heyday (1920’s-70’s). There is no substantial bankroll. All of the individuals working on the project are actually doing it out of a common interest in the project or as a favor(associates and friends). We have been obtaining footage, letters, photographs and postcards from people through their mutual generosity, but mostly their shared desire to make a statement about this cultural experience. We pay all expenses to ship it, copy it, etc. We will send all masters back to you (in perfect condition!)following the duplication. As far as photos go, you can easily send JPEGS (High Resolution if possible). All people will be credited in the film. We have already received a generous amount of resources from people and we also have asked for releases from them) to protect all involved, including the people who donate their footage. At the present time we are collecting all of the above as well as setting up interviews with many of the “lifers”….If you know of any families or friends that spent time in the “borscht belt”, please pass this note along to them. We truly appreciate all of your assistance in this project. Please stay in touch! Sincerely yours, Nina Benzi/Evan Haiman Kippered Herring Productions 15 Baker Street Wayne, NJ 07470 kipperedherring [at] hotmail [dot] com
Incredible snow storm! I remember being 16 and smashed in a crowded subway car against a tall, dark curly-haired, latin beauty-marked, olive-skinned guy, in his blue ski suit. I could feel every inch of muscled body (can they arrest 16 year old girls for this?), he turned and gave me the most amazing smile. I turned, blushing, to see that behind me was a bald, trench-coated, bad breathed, middle aged man smashed against me. Talking bout fire and ice! What a bummer.
Anybody ever been to Fisk or Quarry Hill commune, up near Burlington, Vermont? There’s a 300 ft. deep marble quarry beside the place. A friend flew us up from NYC. It was interesting, neat and hygienic (nothing like I’d been told a commune was like) but still not my cup of tea. I met George Fisk (I think it was him), but I wasn’t the type to get turned on by older mentor types. The kids of these aging hippies were my age, and since they lived in a relatively isolated area, visitors seemed were fresh meat. They were too eager; or maybe I was just too uptight. I like having my own stuff and knowing where it is when I want it; and locks on my door. Dead-bolt New Yorker to the bitter end. Great swimming in that hole, though; especially by moonlight. Maybe if I had taken a few tokes when it was constantly passed around and a few sips, I would have fit right in.
Ketchikan, Alaska in the mid-80’s. I followed a boy from NYC to “the zone” only to be told when we arrived that the only job I could get being a woman and my race is either a go-go dance or a prostitute. Deeply wounded, I cursed this former friend out and descended the mountain. Within an hour of knocking on every business door asking for a job and cheap lodging(and getting rejected), I came upon a large German woman married to an Hawaiian (with 3 dogs-puff, malaia, and kopaah). She checked my arms for needle marks, checked my record (from the police dept.)for priors, then hired me to run her youth hostel, while she ran her restaurant in nearby Thorn Bay, by seaplane. Her place, located right on the waterfront beside the cannery and the Princess line cruise ship loading dock, was the only affordable lodging for the young college boys/cannery workers. It was a young woman’s paradise. One house for guys, one for girls (my house-hardly any other women visited). I was in charge of the running the entire show, and the guys were my own personal buffed body guards. I never mixed business with pleasure, I dated no one, no matter how gorgeous, just loved hanging out with them. Unfortunately, it was true, that most of the young women I saw there were imported meat, or had 5 kids. Single young women were a rare commodity. I felt that dating would turn me into just another pinata for the male majority out there. I had a 17 yr old local boy that was obsessed and followed me everywhere. I really liked that kid. He taught me how to run across slippery logs on the cold lake. I turned 19 out there, and the guys gave me the best party. We were family. Jim, the guy who dissed me when we first arrived, eventually had to come down from “his mountain” due to heavy rains (tent and sleeping bag wasn’t working in that weather), the only place he could afford to stay was where I worked. I had long told Kathy about this guy and what he said to me, so when he came to her door asking for help, she bluntly replied “No, I don’t take ____” He got a heavy dose of his own medicine. (2 years later I saw him in NYC and he apologized to me, said he had it coming.) It was on the 4th of July that I had my first taste of the freshest sushi ever. Pat, Kathy’s Hawaiian husband, had Japanese relatives that came up. They prepared fresh from that sea sushi and introduced me to every young woman’s culinary rite of passage.
Hello everybody who remembers Highview, New York. I’m Rob Barkan. My family owned the Terrace House bungalow colony on Boris Road between Boris Colony and Jack Shrier’s Overlook, down the hill from Sha-wan-ga Lodge hotel all us kids snuck into. I was the kid who built homemade pinball machines and gocarts and ran my own radio station in 1961. There is just too much memory from that time to list–all good. Anybody else stay in this little summer world from 1950’s to 1960’s? robbybarkan [at] yahoo [dot] com