Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Church Avenue Dreamin'

Now, close your eyes and imagine a Brooklyn from about 30 years ago. No, lets try that again, close your eyes and imagine a Church Avenue from about 30 years ago.
You will be climbing the subway steps next to the Astoria Bank on McDonald Avenue. The darkness of the stairs will still bring you into the same sunlight that you know today.
So far, so good.

Ok, you look at the bank and notice the name “The Greater New York Savings Bank”. Directly across the street form the bank on McDonald Avenue is a “Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank”. Wow, you say, two banks right across from eachother. What a great neighborhood!

You make the left by the Greater and immediately notice the gigantic marquee from the Beverly Movie Theater. A “Planet of the Apes Marathon” Wow, I can’t wait! What a great place to spend nine to ten hours on a Saturday! But what do I see? right next to the candy store where Ebbingers Bakery used to be, a brand new Citibank! Wow, maybe I can get one of those New ATM cards they talk about all the time and take out ten bucks late at night!
What a great neighborhood! Three banks all within “A day laborer's vomiting distance”. Wow, is this place great or what?

You continue walking on Church Avenue past the Beverly, Dutch Dairies, Saul’s Appetizing, Scarollas Italian Restaurant and then Edna’s Restaurant. Jewish and Italian side by side, no wonder they always marry each other. The “Hallmark” store sits right on the corner of East 2nd and Church Avenue. Don’t forget to get that “Valentines” day card for that special someone besides your wife. Directly across the street from the Hallmark store is a new Carvel, wow, I’m sure glad we now have “Cookie Puss and “Fuggy the Whale” right here on Church Avenue! The M&S butcher shop, Lees Toy Store, Kenny’s Toy Store, Keyfood, and Fairmart. How about a chocolate cake form NE Tells Bakery. Who needs drugs when you’re on a sugar high?

And on the corner of East 4th and Church is a new Record store run by a real “Hippie” too. I wonder what “else” he sells besides those “Tony Orlando and Dawn” 45’s.

Hey, someone give me a Tylenol, I think my head is going to explode!
This is all too much, it must be a dream! Pinch me or kick me in
the shins!

But the real treasure of Church Avenue sits on the corner of East 5th and Church Avenue.

As you walk closer the “Golden Crown” gets bigger and bigger. Welcome to “Royale Sporting Goods” folks. The “Crown Jewel” of Church Avenue! A “Mecca” of Hockey equipment, roller skates, wiffle ball bats and baseball gloves, right here on Church Avenue no less. You open the door and go inside. Man, “Paragon” in Manhattan is a “Rat hole” compare to this place! And actually back in the 70’s Paragon was a “Rat hole”.

As you stand there in Royale’s holding a brand new hockey stick you just can’t help but notice the chips on your red fingernails. A quick look in the mirror also shows the return of the dreaded “Brooklyn Uni-Brow”. My God, what are the guys going to think if I show up like this for the big game? Where do I get my nails done? And what about my eyebrows? I am a man dammit, and I have pride!

Ohhhhhh, right, 7th Avenue in Park Slope, where else, I hear that place is just full of “nail salons” and “cheap 99 cent stores”!

And then I woke up.

P.S. We actually did go to the “Planet of the Apes Marathon” at the Beverly. What a great place to spend ten hours on a Saturday!

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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Slight correction: It wasn't a Hallmark on E 2nd, it was a Barton Confectionery and it was an A & P not a Keyfood. You left out the Beverly Theater, Silver Rod Drugstore, the Chinese Restaurant with the story high neon "Chow Mein" sign between E 2nd & 3rd Streets. The Eagle Pharmacy on the corner of E 4th where they actually prepared store made cosmetics, beauty aids and remedies. There were 2 dry goods and notions shops between E 2nd and E 4th The other side of the Avenue had a beauty palor (that's what they were called in those days) & on the corner of E 5th was Victor's sporting goods which also so some toys. The synagogue finally managed to expand to occupy the entire block from E 5th to Ocean Pkwy. The block between E 5th and Ocean Pkwy on the North side of the avenue had a corner candy store 2 independent grocers, printer, a cobbler, a dress shop and a large pharmacy on the corner of Ocean Pkwy & Church Avenue. The other side of Ocean Pkwy was considered an entirely other universe.

Anonymous said...

apologies: you did mention the Beverly. Best part about Scarolla's was that if you ordered espresso they'd set the whole bottle of anisette on the table and walk away!