Monday, March 3, 2008

Views for Free (Paco Remembered)

I was reading an article about this new Condo in Brooklyn Heights called “One Brooklyn Bridge Park. About how people from Manhattan are drooling over it, and selling their properties on the Upper East Side for a slice of Brooklyn.

“The views are incredible”,
New York Bay, The Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan
And the price tags are only in the “millions” for many of these apartments. But hey, what would you expect to pay for such fabulous views anyway?

Well, back in the 60’s there was a very “lucky” Spaniard. You see he was actually “paid” to look at the same views that people are plunking down millions for. But he couldn’t look for long, because he might get his fingers chopped off by a machine that sliced boxes of “Bayer aspirin”.

You see my grandfather “Paco” worked at 360 Furman Street for the General Carton Company, way before it was anything more than a factory. I remember driving there with my Dad in our 62 Rambler, and picking him up outside the entrance on our way to the Catskills on a Friday night.

“Good riddance you lousy factory” my Grandfather would say
as we drove away up Atlantic Avenue and on to the BQE.
“See you Monday”

Other times we would pick him up at “El Montero” a Spanish Bar not far from the factory. Although my Grandfather Paco never really drank, we met him there because many of his co-workers were from Spain and socialized together frequently. Thank God the Bar is still on Atlantic Avenue. Got to see the inside of that place before they turn it into a “Starbucks”, it’s been almost 45 years you know.

Yeah, Millions for an apartment in my Grandfather’s old factory.
But let's not tell them the story my Grandfather told me, about the dead body that floated right through one of the factory's riverside windows during high tide. It might scare their millions away, and give me nightmares again!

I could just imagine what my Grandfather Paco would say today.
“What a bunch of stupid stupids, if they wanted to pay all that money for a view of the city, I would have given them my job. All they’d have to pay me was the hundred dollars a week I made,
nothing more”

Yeah Grandpa, how times have changed.
Millions for someone to look at
what you've seen for over 20 years.

Oh well, that’s Brooklyn.

Tell them “Paco” sent you.

Ron Lopez

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Anonymous said...

Unreal... I remember working in that building in the early 80's, I used to fix the elevators there It was just an industrial loft building still, like bush terminal. It's only a matter of time before they redevelope Bush Terminal too, Its a double edged sword, because while they bring a shit load of money into the area as new rentals or condos, they lose more manufacturing jobs in the boro, B'kln navy yard will soon change too. I agree that they have to develope the Atlantic Yards, but this is because they let it lay vacant for so long, and its better off redeveloped than a constant reminder of what once was, I remember when the Daily news was printed over there, Will

Anonymous said...

My Father worked for General Carton Corp. from 1955 until it closed in 1975. My grandfather worked there from I don't know when until he retired in 1972. My father was Richie Schmidt and my grandfather was John Frey. I would like to know a little more about the company.