The Brooklyn Infancy Tour

Connecticut is not pronounced like it is spelled. How to properly pronounce Connecticut: “Kan-ehkt-ee-koot.” Practice this pronunciation and you will fit right in with the Kanehkteekootans.

If you are in Connecticut, let me answer your first question: you can get to New York City via the North Metro Train. After wandering around Manhattan, Alice and I had a second goal: take a tour of Sam’s infancy and early toddlerhood.

As it turns out my parents’ life in Brooklyn is scattered around New York. This makes it difficult to arrange into a tour. Thus, I had to focus on the essentials. I took the subway to Brooklyn with two goals in mind: find little Sam’s park in Benson-Hurst , and eat New York pizza.

After Central Park in Manhattan, I figured the concrete playgrounds my dad described during my early years had probably themselves become green as well. As it turns out, Brooklyn is different from Manhattan. Satellite park, now named after “Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino,” remained as hard and flat as he had claimed. Like other places in New York, it had a sprinkler system that seemed to constantly shoot water out for the amusement of children. One child drew water into an enormous plastic syringe that he then emptied on top of his brother’s head. We started North.

As we walked down 16th street in Brooklyn, we began to see a Hasidic Jew here and there.  As we walked, the Hasidic Jews appeared more and more often until they consisted of most of the people we saw. Walking for miles we found very little besides bake shops. Certainly no New York style pizza. It was not until after a very long walk that we found “Rocky’s pizza”

My father had forbade me to get toppings on my New York Pizza. He declared that I would understand once I had had the proper experience getting grease on myself. “You will never forgive yourself,” he said, “if artichoke falls on your arm instead of hot grease”.

Alice and I ended up with two slices of cheese pizza, and one slice of Buffalo chicken. True to my father’s promise, the cheese was superior. In the end no grease ended up on my arm.

Initially we had some trouble finding the subway entrance to get us back to Grand Central Terminal. I stopped to speak to a native New Yorker, who looked at me with surprise and mischief, but instantly changed her expression to one more benign. I briefly feared her directions would only make us more lost, but evidently she had decided to be nice instead of mean, since we were soon at the subway and on our way home.

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4 thoughts on “The Brooklyn Infancy Tour”

  1. Sam, I loved your blog about NYC. I can tell you a few funny stories about our entertaining guests from the Midwest in NYC. When we first moved to NJ, Our relatives were eager to see where we lived and NYC.. My parents came almost as soon as we got settled in NJ. In those days, cars still had running boards outside the door. My Dad drove us to NYC, and as soon as we crossed the GW bridge, a man jumped on the running board and told us where to go to get a tour of NYC. We followed his directions and soon were on a bus with a t our guide. We saw many things, such as the Empire State bldg. (The twin towers had not yet been built). the Statue of liberty. Chinatown, etc. I think the thing that most impressed me was Hell,s Kitchen. Still today, when I think of NYC, I think of the homeless, the mentally ill living on the streets, people sleeping on doorsteps, etc. We did go to the Twin Towers after they were built, took the boatride out to the Statue amd climbed those spiral steps up to the crown. went to the 86th floor of the Empire State Bldg. etc. When the World’s Fair came to NY. we had company all summer for 2 summers. I had to learn to drive to that because Paul couldn’t take that many days off work. When we had Midwestern guests, they usually wanted to see the touristy things, a big league ballgame, and a Broadway Show. I remember one night when the game was going to 21 innings, your Mother decided at 10:30, she had had enough and went home on the Subway by herself. I thought she was brave, but maybe I just didn’t realize how bored she was with the game.We saw many Broadway shows because we had company. Paul was taking his parents and another couple around the city on the Subway. At one stop. one souple got off but not the other, but they got back together at the next stop. Paul took another group to go to the top of the Twin Towers. He couldn’t find a place to park so just drove around until they came back down. We haven’t been back to the City since the Twin Towers fell, but still have memories of being st the top.of the Twin Towers Love, Grandma I thought she was brave do do that alone

  2. And I remember seeing baby Sam toddle around his apartment and say the alphabet as a tiny boy. You were very smart even then! I was amazed at how expensive your first apartment was and was so glad I lived in the mountains of WV.
    I enjoyed your trip down memory lane. Love, Aunt Jo

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