Monday, February 22, 2010

Easy Street in Kensington Brooklyn

Easy Street was the smoothest, widest blocks around when I was growing up in Brooklyn. And all the cars that parked on it had the biggest of tail fins and shiniest chrome bumpers ever made. With names like Chrysler, Dodge, Pontiac and American Motors, the tin monsters that lined its path left little room for anything else. And especially anything that wasn’t made here in America.

The fathers who all lived on Easy Street were real blue collar fellows you know. They were plumbers, oil truck drivers, postal workers and carpenters. They were transit workers, steel workers and laborers. They were real tough guys who would sometimes get into fistfights if someone touched their kid or scratched their car.

No don’t you challenge a dad from Easy Street,
because you’ll probably loose.

Now the mothers who lived on Easy Street, well they never had to work you see. And there was no reason to, because back when I was a kid, all it took was a blue collar paycheck every couple of weeks to pay the rent and feed the kids. Maybe even go on vacation to the Catskills or buy a new car every few years.

No, in the Kensington and Windsor Terrace of the 60’s we never even knew what a baby sitter was. That’s because we always had our grandmother or grandfather to watch us anyway, just in case our parents wanted to be alone.

Struggle you ask? Yeah I’m sure we struggled. But at least we didn’t have to worry about dragging our kids on the train every morning to go to school. No, when you lived on Easy Street all you had to do was walk around the corner and get a good education at PS 179 or PS 230. Oh, and our parents, well the most involved they got with school was when they waved goodbye in the morning when we left. That’s because when you lived on Easy Street you never had to worry about school. Because that was the teacher’s job, not yours.

What about a "track" so we didn't end up with a "blue collar" around our necks too like our parents. Well, we all did go to college you know, but not Harvard or Yale. No, we went to Pace, Baruch, Brooklyn and even NYU. Traveling on the subway every morning and then having dinner with our parents at night. No, the kids from Easy Street didn't have to go "away" to college. No most of us just stayed home. But if we did go away to college, I bet you our parents didn't have to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for it. No, back in our days we just took out student loans and paid them back on our own.

And don't you question what Easy Street made, because I'll have one of my best friends "sue" you for harassment or perform your colonoscopy when he's angry.

Oh, but don't worry Easy Street did produce some guys to put that track back in order after your train derails. No we weren't just about being white collar you know.

So what happened to Easy Street?, well, it’s somewhere around you know. In the old photographs that I look at and the dreams that I sometimes have. In a Brooklyn that I knew so long ago when
Easy Street was just about "Every Street".

Ron Lopez


Spinner said...

And on Easy Street, the kids got jobs early on to help pay our own way. We knew name brand sneakers like Converse or Pro-Keds were a stretch for a blue collar pay check so if we wanted something nice...we paid our own way. We shoveled walkways, walked a neighbor's dog and made deliveries for local retailers or mixed an egg cream or two. We got that work ethic from our Moms and Dads.

When we were in college, we continued to work, to help pay for books and maybe a beer or two.

On Easy Street we knew how to have fun too. Roller hockey, stickball, ultimate frisbee, scully, Johnny-on-the-Pony. Games that were a gauntlet, that helped make us the adults we became. No play-dates with hovering parents, you had to make your own way on Easy Street, which wasn't always easy but it was always fun.

frankie martines said...

Bro your on the money, my dad was a teamster truck driver and my mom never worked. She walked us to school everyday to IHM and my dad would kick anybodys ass that would fuck with his new 73 coupe deville that me and my 2 brothers had to wash and wax every sun. by the hydrant on tehama st.