Monday, June 2, 2008

Kensington returns in 2008

You know sometimes I get real tired of writing about the way it used to be here in Kensington. Unsupervised five year olds running up and down my block, teenagers playing stickball in the street, Morris our chain-smoking ice cream man lighting a “Camel” as he hands you your “Bullet Bar”. Oh, and lets not forget rolling down my driveway with our tricycles and making a sharp turn before almost getting squashed by an oil truck. That ones bound to give any parent a heart attack no matter what the year.

Yeah, sometimes this whole reminiscing thing is just too much even for me. How much of this crap can a person remember or even write about. Just save it for your “I recall Kensington in the 70’s monologue” in some smelly Catskills resort before you go senile why don’t you. And besides big guy, if you were really paying attention, you would start to notice that Kensington is actually changing before your eyes. So stop writing about the 60’s and 70’s, open your front door, and see what’s really going on today in 2008.

Well, my son hasn’t rolled that empty baby carriage down my driveway into the path of a speeding car with the watermelon inside yet. And he hasn’t shot a “Zebra” gun filled with hard green peas into the face of a Sears’s delivery van driver like I did back in 1968. Wow, that wasn’t exactly noteworthy on my College resume. Oh, but that’s right everyone went to city college back in 1975, including me. Could you imagine, six years of a “Free” college education at Baruch and all I do is write a blog about Kensington? What a waste of 70’s taxpayer money!

But there is a change in the air my friends, and you can just feel it. The kids from up the block stand in front of our house and yell for my son to come outside. They play with ants on our stoop, well, actually squash them. They ride up and down the block with their bikes and even roll down the sharp incline of our driveway and make those same turns that we did as kids. Wow, they even blow bubbles on my stoop and have water balloon fights. And get this, parents with other kids stop by and talk while their kids play on our front lawn.

Kids having fun on the sidewalks of East 4th again, someone please wake me up, I must be dreaming. Because it’s not supposed to be this wonderful you know. What the hell am I going to write about if the past is starting to become the present? No more “we moved from Fort Greene to Kensington?” from my wife. No more “you should have seen the block when I was a kid from me. No more “you know we used to hang out on my stoop all the time” because we’re doing it now again in 2008.

Can Kensington be turning into a mini Park Slope?

Can my block be returning to a 60’s kind of place minus Morris our chain smoking ice-cream man?

Can “Kensington Stories” be a thing of the past?
(Please pardon the pun.)

I really don’t know, but I got to tell you that I have never seen so many young couples with children walking down my block. Not to mention the twenty-something kids who are also moving here, probably priced out of Williamsburg or GreenPoint.

Just a big wave of new folks keeping us natives curious.

So what’s really going on in Kensington you ask?

Well, this is the Ronnie Lopez study,
from my front stoop no less.

It seems many of the older parents who still lived here after their kids grew up, are finally selling their houses. You know, just too much house, and too much hassle for some older folks who are ready to pack it in and move South. Not to mention some grown up kids that could use the money from their parents after they sell their Kensington wood-frames.

Just a win-win situation for the whole family, including the IRS.

And guess who’s buying these houses or renting apartments inside them? All of you guys! A whole new generation of “Kensington Stories” starting to grow right before my own blue eyes. You are from Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Windsor Terrace.

You may even be from other states and foreign countries,
including Manhattan.

But please don’t be sad about Church Avenue, because it WILL change, just give it some time folks. Besides, have you seen how cheap those bananas are at Golden Farms?

Yes, East 4th is changing along with the rest of Kensington. A once quiet street is starting to awaken again with the sounds of children’s laughter and parents voices. The Kensington that I once knew as a kid is starting to come alive as I grow older. And it’s truly fascinating for me to see it all once again, truly fascinating indeed.

And if you don’t believe me, just catch the next water balloon fight the kids have on my front lawn, or the children telling stories on the stoop as the sun goes down.

Oh, but just one last thing. I promise I’ll keep that empty baby carriage in the garage away from the kids. Because you never know what they’ll want to roll down my driveway and into the street
when your not looking.

So you see, sometimes dreams do come true,
even in Kensington Brooklyn.

Ron Lopez
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1 comment:

Julie said...

Thanks for this Ron.

What is so wonderful about Kensington is the diversity and individuality of our neighborshood. We aren’t keeping up with the Jones’, but are doing just what you discuss here – providing our children an environment where they can experience the same things we did as kids growing up in NYC a few decades ago. I hope we don’t strive to be a mini Park Slope, but rather to stay the affordable gem of a neighborhood we are today (with just a few more amenities.)