This summer we were lucky enough to get into a half share at a beach club out in the Rockaways. The place is called the Silver Gull Beach Club and it’s where they filmed the movie “The Flamingo Kid” with Matt Dillon back in the 80’s.
Now this place is nothing fancy, and has certainly seen better times back in the 60’s. The entire building complex is made of wood and about half of it sits on pillars pounded deep into the sand. The “Cabana’s” themselves are these little six by ten foot rooms and are all situated right next to one another. People can decorate and fix up each room any way they like too. Refrigerators, water coolers and blenders are all a common sight as you walk by other people’s Cabanas. Not to mention tons of beach toys, tanning lotion, and beer. I hear that Saturday nights down at the Cabana are real wild too, yeah, that’s why we leave at 4:30 PM.
Now the people at the Cabana are really something else too, just picture “Saturday Night Fever”, “The Golden Girls”, and “Goodfellas” all rolled into one. Let me tell you, I’m from Brooklyn and yet feel totally out of place there. It's like 70's Bensonhurst on steroids. And Kensington was kids stuff compared to Bensonhurst in the 70's.
“Hey if you’re from Brooklyn, how come you don’t have a Brooklyn accent?”
“Well, actually I grew up in Kensington, and no one on my block really had a Brooklyn accent”. And besides my mom never had a Brooklyn accent, so I guess I picked it up from her”.
Now, this whole Brooklyn accent thing sometimes makes me look bad with my own people you know. And I can only blame it on my mom. Although she was born in Brooklyn, she spent her childhood in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, where my Polish Grandfather was a coalminer. My mom never had an accent of any type and could have been one of those voices you hear on telephone prompts. You know that “non-accent” voice that everyone is comfortable with because it can’t be labeled.
Yeah, that was my mom’s voice, and I blame it on her.
So here I am talking with Joe from the Cabana next door. Joe’s Brooklyn accent is so thick it makes me sound like I’m from Westport Connecticut. Yet, Joe grew up in Midwood not Bensonhurst, so now I’m just as perplexed as he is.
Joe and his wife also wear “private carting apparel”. You see, Joe owns a “private carting” company along with his dad, so they can be seen with their carting “apparel” from time to time. A nice big drawing of the company truck along with a gigantic dumpster gets the message across. And when you’re form Brooklyn and hear “private carting” you just learn to be extra friendly and polite. It’s all just very natural you know.
And me, well I love to talk. And when it comes to business, what the hell, we can talk right?
“So Joe, how’s business?”
“Let me tell you business sucks right now”. “No one is renovating, no one is building, things are dead”. “The banks aren’t giving out money, so no one is doing nothing”. “But I’ve been through this before, it’s gonna pick-up soon, no problem.”
“Can you do anything else until it picks up?”
“Yeah, you know what we’re starting to get, and it breaks my heart to do it”. “We’re getting jobs out in Flatbush and Canarsie clearing out foreclosures, you know dumping everyone’s stuff in the garbage”. “Let me tell you, the banks don’t want nothing in those houses, so we have to clear them out”. “It’s like the total opposite of what we were doing, but at least it’s work”.
Yeah, who needs to see "Saturday Night Fever" or re-runs of "The Golden Girls" when you have the Cabana. And who needs to read the business section of the New York Times when I have Joe from Midwood.