Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shake Hands With Your Uncle Max

I never got to shake hands with my Uncle Max. He was born in Belarus in 1890 and died just before I was born. He was actually my Great (or Grand) Uncle Max. I was named, in Yiddish, after him. His English name was Max Samuel. I won't tell you the Yiddish version of his (and my) name. Thankfully, my parents took the initials and named me Mitchell Scott.

Ocean Parkway is a nearly 5-mile (nearly 8-km) boulevard that runs through part of Brooklyn. The Kid Brother lives at one end of Ocean Parkway near Prospect Park and The Dowager Duchess lives at the other end near the beach. I think of Uncle Max every time I'm in Brooklyn because of a silly song written by Alan Sherman, which you can listen to at any time you like (it's at the bottom of this post).

In the early 1900s, mansions were built along the elegant Ocean Parkway, and in the 1920s, apartment buildings and one- and two-family homes were built. After World World II, more apartment buildings and new homes replaced some of the older homes. The Kid Brother lives in a 1920s art deco building. Ocean Parkway was restored in the 1970s and again in recent years (and again after considerable damage from Hurricane Sandy). Until the 1970s, there were even bridle paths. People would rent horses in Prospect Park and ride them on Ocean Parkway all the way to Coney Island.

THE PEDESTRIAN PATHS ON BOTH MEDIANS WERE SPLIT IN 1894,
CREATING THE FIRST BICYCLE PATHS IN THE UNITED STATES.

I wanted you to see some of the architectural styles of my old Brooklyn neighborhood, so I took a long walk Friday along Ocean Parkway and down the streets of some of my high-school friends. It will prove that more than "a tree" grows in Brooklyn. The Kid Brother and I took another walk in the neighborhood. It's all here. (As usual, click any image to get the biggah pickshah. Spoken like a true New Yawkah.)





ONE OF THE SIDE STREETS.  THIS, TOO, IS BROOKLYN.



1950s ROW HOUSES.
A BRAND NEW McMANSION ONE BLOCK OFF OCEAN PARKWAY.
A COMMON SIGHT IN THIS AREA OF BROOKLYN.
NOTICE THE ORIGINAL HOMES, AT LEFT, DWARFED BY THE McMANSION.


BACK ON OCEAN PARKWAY.  ABRAHAM LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL, MY ALMA MATER.
BUILT  IN 1929, AND JUST A BLOCK AWAY FROM WHERE WE MOVED IN 1964.
ACROSS OCEAN PARKWAY FROM LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL.
THE 1950s MEET THE 2000s.
THE KID BROTHER WAS THE ORIGINAL MODEL FOR "PEDESTRIAN MAN."
THE RED BRICK BUILDING IN BACKGROUND AT RIGHT
IS WHERE THE DOWAGER DUCHESS LIVES.
OCEAN PARKWAY STATION AT BRIGHTON BEACH AVENUE.
OCEAN ROYALTY.

OCEAN PARKWAY ENDS. SURF AVENUE HEADS OFF TO THE RIGHT.
AND THE BOARDWALK AND BEACH ARE STRAIGHT AHEAD.




21 comments:

  1. Wow wow wow! I just did not know that you'd find all of this walking around in Brooklyn (nor someplace as cool as that café you posted about the other day). That McMansion is amazing, if only for its contrast to the other houses. Really. Whew. And, being able to walk to the beach! ¡Todo me gusta!

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    1. Judy:
      I couldn't live here, but it IS unbelievably diverse (people, places, and things). There is also the Brooklyn of 3rd-floor walk-ups and crumbling pavement, but that's just a small part of it. Houses on the beach, parks, shopping, dining, people watchig... Not for me, but for someone!

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  2. What a pretty neighborhood. To be honest, not what I thought Brooklyn looked like. Cheers!

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    1. Cheapchick:
      That's why I shared the pictures. We moved here when I was 10-1/2. Not what I thought Brooklyn looked like either. It's got a little (a lot) of everything.

      Delete
  3. "Shake hands with your uncle Max" sounds like a euphemism for something but I can't quite grasp it.

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  4. These neighborhoods look very well tended, a nice place to live.

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    1. Stephen:
      Many people love it here. Many others love to tell you how much they hate it here... for their entire lives.

      Delete
  5. Interesting. The photos don't match my mental image of Brooklyn.

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    1. Andrew:
      I'm glad to shed some light on some other sides of Brooklyn.

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  6. Mitchell, your neighborhood is very nice, clean and comfortable one. It's the old and the new but the connection is suitable. It means that you have European roots like most Americans. Have you ever been to Belarus?

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    1. Gosia:
      My father's parents came from Belarus. My mother's parents came from Poland! But I've never been to either. Jerry was a Russian Studies major as an undergrad and would love to take me to Poland to do some research.

      Delete
  7. I can't get your photos (damned internet up here!!!), but when I do read your blogs (even if I can't comment half the time) and wanted to know that when I saw that you and Jerry were headed for NYC, all day I kept thinking... we've just a few hours drive from the city (well, okay... a lot of hours), but how I wished we could catch up again.... maybe go to the Lizarans (sp?) in NY.... made me realize how much meeting up with you in Seville meant to me. Have a good visit with the folks... you two are special!

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    Replies
    1. Sharon:
      Oh, you have so much to look forward to. Make a note to yourself to check out the Mermaid Parade photos (today and tomorrow's posts) when you finally have a good connection. Thanks for the kindness. We loved our time with you In Sevilla!

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  8. Just a Post Script... the photos finally came through... don't know what I expected but your photos aren't what I thought it would be. Our granddaughters went to Pace University and the B. Bridge was so close... but I never walked across. What a different world than what was in my mind. So much nicer!

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  9. I knew someone with whom I stayed a time or three who lived in an upper flat near Ocean Parkway, around McDonald and Ditmas, if I remember correctly. We rode the F train into and back from Manhattan. From one of the bedrooms in that flat, you could see the top of the Empire State Building. Lots of amazing housing stock around there. It was over thirty years ago, so I expect some renovation has been done.

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    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I moved away from here in 1979 and I don't recognize a lot of it. And neighborhoods that we wouldn't go into are now trendy. The Ditmas Ave. station is probably about 15 minutes from here.

      Delete
  10. What beautiful photos and so nice to go down memory lane.

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    1. Laurent:
      And somehow I managed to avoid any of the unpleasant memories!

      Delete
  11. What a stunning architectural array; the side streets shot reminds me of an area near here which is remarkably similar. I'll have to try to get photos of it soon.
    So much for my assumptions about Brooklyn!

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    Replies
    1. Jacqueline:
      So glad you could appreciate the look. Most people have no idea what Brooklyn really looks like -- knowing it only as a city of 3-story buildings with fire escapes. I was surprised when we moved there and saw so much more. Still, I couldn't live there again.

      Delete

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