Oh yes “New Years Day”, for most people on East Fourth it was a day to just rest from the long night before. Either “sleeping if off” or just plain “sleeping” from staying up way past midnight on the 31st. Oh, but not for me you know, no, for me New Years Day always meant visiting my Aunt Beatrice and Uncle Frank in Queens Village, New York. Getting up early, putting all our Christmas gifts in “Mays” shopping bags and wearing my best PS 179 assembly “gear” so I’d look like a respectable little Brooklynnite.
So with bleary eyes from the long night before down at my grandparent’s apartment right below me, I’d somehow gather my ten year old self and make the trek along with my Mom, Joseph and Isabel to the Church Avenue subway station on McDonald Avenue. The air was usually very cold that morning as we all walked down Beverley road together on our way to the cavern of tiles underground.
As we’d make the left towards the subway entrance right by Izzie and Bennie’s candy store it was not unusual to see one of the two brothers sitting by the sliding glass window wearing one of those “cab driver” hats. And today of course would be no different.
“Good morning, good morning and Happy New Year”
Usually we’d hear these words with a touch of some kind of accent. I guess it was Polish or Russian, but it always had a very strong “Jewish” accent if there was such a thing. Because I knew Izzie and Bennie both spoke Yiddish when they were in the store. But then again who knows because you’re talking about a ten year old here folks.
“Good morning to you too, and I hope you and your brother both have a very Happy New Year,” said my mom
So there we’d all disappear, down the subway steps and into the belly of the Church Avenue subway station. All walking together with our footsteps echoing throughout the large vast chamber of tiles, posters, and dried up gum stuck to just about anything.
And there was no one there let me tell you, I mean the entire station was totally empty except for us. While the rest of Kensington was sleeping along with New York City, there we were, getting ready for the long ride to 179th street Jamaica Queens to see aunt Beatrice and Uncle Frank for New Years and a belated Christmas.
Gee, it’s a good thing I loved the subway and my aunt and uncle, because I always looked forward to this day every year, and I usually slept the entire ride until the last stop where we got off.