To all who didn't take the June 22nd sightseeing tour:
Jim K (60S70SE1 here on the board) and I made the trip and spent about 3 real time hours walking everywhere ( almost) in all the 4 quadrants. Here's a synopsis:
We started in the Oval at 10 am. Waited about 1/2 hour for the rest of the crowd. There was an old bearded guy with wild eyes on a bench who I thought might have been someone I knew but there was no sign of recognition.
At 10:30 we went over and through Macy's, and out into the West via the center passage way. Past the Corsetorium, and the Deli and Carvel next to the Post Office. Over to the West playground through the tunnel and across Wood St. The playground looked smaller than we remembered. No more monkey bars or slides or swings. ( OSHA rules?)
I looked for the guys.. Chris Gallagher and Jim Sullivan and the rest of them playing ball, but they weren't there.
We then went around the West grass Oval over to Archer road and then up towards Guerlain St and the Playdrome Bowling alley and Oscar's Deli for one of his super sour Kosher Dills. It still says Oscar's but its not kosher food.. la comida es todo español ahora.
Playdrome was locked up.. forever?
Leonard's bake shop with the fresh Italian bread smell was still there. We walked past the corner candy store, and up towards Tremont. Past the Palace theatre- now a furniture store- the floor still ramps back toward what was the lobby.
Up past the Golden Note Bar ( still there and open) and past Carl's Pizza- gone- no more coke and a slice for a quarter.
The Parkchester Cafe- coffee shop is still there on the corner of Tremont and Unionport but is now the Parkchester Restaurant or something like that.
Across Unionport and down Tremont a little and made a right headlong south toward the North shuffleboard. Still there, no one from the old crowd there. Not even anyone playing basketball..
Jim K took my picture in front of it and if it turns out, I'll get them scanned and to Charlie for posting.
Down to the Big north via the parking lot and stood in front of the ball field. There were only 3 kids playing on the ground... no softball or stickball games, no crowds watching, no teens hanging out buy the flag pole, no Hank the Rec guy looking out for us. We walked South over towards the little North, past the handball/stickball courts and then to the Rocks. So small and un scary. But the sloped part is still shiny from the millions of times we slid down them and wore holes in the backsides of our dungarees.
Machine gun hill is still there and still has the cuts in the concrete that made it machine gun hill.
We went up to Tremont and past Kenny's and didn't see the old crown who stopped in for a few before going out on Friday night. It's a Laundromat now. A right turn into the parking lot and down the stairs and over to the other "shuff" Empty except for a dad and his two kids. Picture taken here.
Out to Met ave. and down to Purdy St. Over east past JHS 127, and St Ray's High School. Nice new (?) track and entrance lobby to the school. Picture taken here too. The Purdy St garage is being refurbished into some kind of Rec building said Jim. It's a mess now. Down Purdy to Starling, right onto Starling looking for a black and white cookie from Pakula's or some penny candy and an egg cream from Bunny's. Both gone. Either a laundromat or a "nails " salon.
Down into the East now past the Parking garage and up towards the East Playgrounds. Talked about the killing that happened in 1967 or so right by the garage.
Past E1 and out to the flag pole. Playgrounds had more kids playing B'ball but no Eddie or Tommy Powell or John Carey or our much maligned Willie. Over to Jim's old building, took his picture. Up the stairs to the oval area, across to the South and down Unionport. Jordan's Liquors is now a medical office, but you can still see the "wines" sign over one of the windows.
Through the tunnel to the South Grass oval. From there over to Parkchester road behind Loew's. Crossed the street and went through the tunnel to the front of Loew's past the camera store where I bought my first rock and roll record.
Went into the lobby of Loew's multiplex and saw 6 theater entrances, 4 downstairs and 2 up in the balcony. ( thought about making out in the back row of the balcony with a certain girl- I can still smell her scent.) Back to reality. Down past Parkchester news. Its still there but under a different name. Down to the Chester House to see if any of the guys were bowling a few games on a Sat. morning, but its not there. Neither is the library upstairs. Out to Unionport and saw the shoe store "Indian Path (?)" still there but no Thom McAnn's. Looked across the street and Waldorf Cafeteria and Crawford's gone. Lorry' gone, but the letters are still there faintly.
Crossed the street back to the west and went down McGraw over to Virginia. Saw St. Paul's Lutheran Church on the corner, up toward Macy's and past the building where Joe Valentine- Joe the V- lived.
RIght out to and across Unionport and back to the South. past the Chester House and down to McGraw. Walked down McGraw past Pugsley and on our left, the "hundred halls" continuing down McGraw past the White Gander and then to Sam's candy store on the corner ( gone) . Made a right onto Met Ave and down toward St. Helena's, past the appliance store and Arkay's and Food Fair with its barrel of pickles and pickled tomatoes.
The church had the 12:15 mass going on. Looked for the Altar boy assignment list and the Legion of Decency movie ratings in the vestibule, but they weren't there. Bronze plaques of Msgr. Scanlan and his successors on the walls and the seven cardinal virtues, which I still can name from memory. ( for a tarts, try it.. it's like the one hen two squawking geese thing but easier.. here's a clue the first one is wisdom) Out into the street and from the steps of the church we looked a Park Abbey, the Copper Kettle, Hogan's and Walter B. Cooke's.
Into St. Helena's grammar school yard, looked in a few classrooms. Wondered where the yard where the kindergarten used to bethe area down a few feet where they served food during the Bazaars.
Time to go back to the present. We said our goodbyes as the elevated subway drowned out our words.