Old Brooklyn

Thanks, Pat. This is great!!






1. The  subway, bus and the trolley were only a thin dime to ride.




     And if you are really old, you'll  remember a nickel a ride.

2. Schools were the showcase for the whole country.

3. Tuesday night was fireworks night in Coney Island, put on by Schaefer Brewing. 

4. There was very little pornography.

5. There were the bath houses: Stauches, Bushman Baths, Steeplechase  Baths, Washington Baths,

    Ravenhall, and Brighton Beach Baths.

   The above photograph (taken around 1900) shows the Marine Railway Station just north (left)

    of the Brighton Beach Bath House (center).   The  Brighton Beach Hotel is at the far right..


6. There was respect for teachers and older people in general.

7. There was almost no violence.

8. The theme of the music of the times, even when it became rock and roll, was love...not anger.

9. A great  day was going to the beach at Coney Island or Brighton Beach .   

10.  People made a living, and, rich or poor, people all knew how to have a good time, no matter of  status.

11. There was no better hot dog than the original, at Nathan's, in Coney Island ;

       and no better French  fries than the Nathan's thick ripple cuts.

12. There were no divorces and few "one parent" families.

13. There were no drugs or drug problems in the lives of most people.

14. The rides and shows of Coney Island were fantastic: Steeplechase Park    


The horses, the big slide, the barrels, the zoo (maze), the human pool table, the Cyclone Roller Coaster,

The Tornado Roller Coaster, the Thunderbolt Roller Coaster, the Bobsled, the Virginia Reel, the Wonder Wheel,

the Bumper cars,  the Tunnel of love, Battaway,

the Loop the Loop, the Bubble Bounce, Miniature Golf,

The Whip, the many Merry-Go-Rounds, the Penny Arcades, the Parachute Jump,  

Fabers Sportsland, merry-go-rounds and 

Fascination, toffee and cotton candy stores,  custard stands,  Pokerama,

Skeeball, prize games, fortune tellers guess games, hammer games, the Harlem revue,

the freak shows, the house of wax, the animal nursery, restaurants, rifle ranges, push cart rides and parades.

15. The fruit man, the tool sharpener, the junk man and the watermelon man, all with the horse and wagon. 


16. Sheepshead  Bay was Lundy's Restaurant and fishing.




17.  Only place for pizza,  and only whole pizzas was Joe's Bar and Grill on Ave U.

Then, in the mid-50's, a pizza  explosion: you could buy it by the slice for a dime at many places.

By the late 50's, it was a whole 15 cents a slice!

A tuna fish sandwich or a BLT were 45 cents. A small Coke was 7 cents, a large Coke was 12 cents.

Remember Vanilla Cokes, when they pumped real vanilla syrup into the glass, before adding the Coke?


18. There were many theaters, where every Saturday afternoon you could see 25 cartoons and two feature films:

The Highway, The Avalon, The Kingsway, The Mayfair, The Claridge, The Tuxedo, The Oceana, The Oriental,  

The Avenue U, The Kent, The Paramount, The RKO Tilyou, The RKO Bushwick, The Lowes Gates, The Fox,

The Mermaid, The Surf, The Walker, The Albemarle, The Alpine, The Rugby, The Ambassador,

The People's Cinema, The Canarsie, The Marlboro, The Avon and The Globe. 

19. Everybody knew all the high schools in Brooklyn . 

20. Big eating and coffee hangouts:

        Dubrow's on Kings Highway, also on Eastern Parkway/Utica Avenue,

       Famous on 86th Street, Bickford's on Church Avenue,

       and Garfield's on Flatbush Avenue .

21. Ebinger's was the great bakery...loved the chocolate butter cream with the almonds on the  side,  

       Boston Cream pie, and the Blackout cakes! ...Bierman's was terrific also. 

22. Kings Highway stores had their own ornate glitz, as far as style goes..

23. There were many delicatessens in the 50's -- very few today.

        The best? Adelman's on 13th Avenue and Hymie's on Sutter Avenue . The food was  from heaven!


24.  Big  night clubs in Brooklyn were the Ben Maksiks' "Town and Country" on  Flatbush Avenue,

        "The Elegante" on Ocean Parkway, and the Club 802 on 64th Street in Bay Ridge. 

25. There were no fast food restaurants in the 50's, and a hamburger tasted like a hamburger.

26. There was Murray the K's Rock and Roll concerts at the Brooklyn Fox and Alan Freed's at the Brooklyn Paramount .

        You had to go the night before and stand in line, to get good seats.

 27.  Quick bites at Brennan and Carr, Horn and Hardart Automat, Nedick's, Big  Daddy's,

         Chock Full o' Nuts, Junior's, Grabsteins or Joe's Delicatessen. Junior's, you'll be glad to know,

          is still in the  same place, and the cheesecake is still fabulous.


28.  Knishes were great at Mrs. Stahl's in Brighton or at Shatzkin's Knishes.

      Remember the knish guy on the beach with the shopping bags? 

(Mrs.  Stahl's  Knishes is now a 'Subway's')

29.  People in Brooklyn took pride in owning a Chevy or Ford in the  50's; there was nothing better than General Motors or Ford then.


     The cars would run and run and run -- no problems.

30. You  bought sour pickles right out of the barrel -- for a nickel -- and  they were delicious.

By  the 60's, they cost a whole quarter.  

Harry Schorr and his pickle stand at the corner of 2nd & Havemeyer Streets in Williamsburg

Anyone remember Miller's  Appetizing, on the corner of 13th  Avenue and  50th Street ?


31.  The Brooklyn Dodgers were part of your family.


The  Duke, the Scoonge, Pee Wee, Jackie, the Preacher, Campy, Junior, Clem, Big Don, Gil.

They were  always in a lot of our conversations. Remember Ebbet's Field and Happy Felton's Knothole club?

For more about the 1955 World Series

a nickel, you got into Ebbet's Field and saw the Dodgers play. For Brooklynites, it was -- and will always be -- a shrine.

32. You come from Brooklyn, but you don't think you have an accent. To you, Long Island is one word which sounds like "Longuyland."  

33.  You  played a lot of games as kids. Depending on whether you were a boy or a  girl, you could play:

       ring-a-leaveo, Johnny on the Pony, Hide and Seek, three feet off to Germany, red light-green light,

       chase the white horse, kick the can, Buck, Buck, how many horns are up?, war, hit the penny,

        pussy-in-the-corner, jump rope, double-dutch, Stories, A-My Name Is, box ball, stick ball, box baseball,

        catch a fly, dodge ball, stoop ball, you're up, running bases, iron tag, skelly, tops, punch ball, handball,

        slap ball, whiffle ball, stick ball, poison ball, relay races, softball, baseball, basketball, horse, 5-3-1,

         around the world, foul shooting, knockout, arm wrestling, Indian-wrestling. And then there were card games

        like canasta, casino, hearts, pinochle, war and the unhappy game of 52-card pickup.

34.  You hung  out on people's stoops or in the Courtyard.


35.  You  learned how to dance at some girl's backyard or house  

36. You  roller skated at Park Circle or Empire Blvd. skating rinks, in skates with wooden wheels,

And you also had roller skates at home, with metal wheels, for using on the sidewalks,

and you needed a skate key to tighten them around your shoes. Those metal wheels on concrete were deafening!  

And when you got a new pair, the old ones became the wheels of a scooter or soap box racer!!

37. The big sneakers were Converse, P-F Flyers and Keds .

38.  The guys wore Chino pants with a little buckle on the back, peg pants, and the girls wore long wide dresses.

         Remember gray wool skirts, with pink felt poodles on  them?  The poodles had rhinestone eyes.


39.  In the  50's, rock and roll started big teen styles for the first  time.  

40. Everyone went to a Bar Mitzvah, even if you weren't Jewish.

41 Everyone took their date to Plum Beach for the submarine races.

42 There were 3 main nationalities in Brooklyn in the 50's: Italians, Irish and Jewish.

       Then there was a sprinkling of everyone else. The Scandinavians and Greeks in Bay Ridge,

        the African Americans in Bedford Stuyvesant and the Polish of Greenpoint. 

43. The only way to get to Staten Island was by ferry, from the 67th Street pier in Brooklyn .

       It was a  great ride in the summer time for a dime.



44. In  Brooklyn, a fire  hydrant is a "Johnny pump" 

45. Rides, on a truck, came to your neighborhood to give little kids a ride for a dime.

      The best one was the "whip," which spun you around a track.


You got a little prize when you got off, sometimes a folding paper fan, sometimes a straw  

 tube that you inserted two fingers into, that tightened as you tried to pull your fingers out again.

46. As a kid, you hit people with water balloons from atop a building, you shot linoleum projectiles

        from a carpet gun, you shot dried peas from pea shooters, and you shot paperclips at people, with a rubber band.

47. You shopped at EJ Korvettes, Robert Hall, Woolworth's, Mays, McCrory's, Packers, A&P, Bohack, A&S.

       Barney's was Barney's Boys Town back  then, and not a luxury store.

        You bought your shoes at National, Miles, Thom McAn, and A S Beck.

        When you got married, you bought  your dishes at Fortunoff's under the "el".

48. NBC's main production studio was on Avenue M. and E.16 St. The Cosby show was made there.


49. Everybody lived near a candy store and a grocery store. 

50. The first mall comes to Brooklyn at Kings Plaza . 

51. Bagel stores start popping up everywhere in the 60's.

52. Went to Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor with a big group and had the "Kitchen Sink."

        If it was your  birthday (you had to bring your birth certificate),  you could get a free sundae. 


53.   Everybody knew somebody who was a connected guy.   


54. We used the  word "swell

55.  In the summer, we all waited for the Good Humor, Bungalow Bar, Mister Softee or  

        Freezer Fresh Man, to come into our neighborhood, to buy ice cream. In the early to mid 50's,

         the Good Humor man pushed a cart, instead of driving a truck. 


Remember the bells? A pop was 15 cents. A large cup was 15 cents, a small cup was a dime.

And a sundae --  remember licking the chocolate off  the back of the cardboard top?  -- was a quarter. 
(Movie stars pictures were on the bottom of the Dixie cup lids).

As a kid growing up in the 1950's, we would spend our money on bubble gum baseball cards,

candy and ice cream. A pack of baseball cards (complete with a stick of bubble gum)

and full-sized candy bars were 5 cents each, or six for a quarter. 

In those days, there were lots of interesting coins still in circulation.

Dimes and quarters we still made of silver. The oldest Roosevelt dimes were not yet 15 years old.

It was not uncommon to find Mercury dimes or worn-out Standing Liberty quarters;

and Buffalo or Indian Head nickels were common too. Most pennies were wheat-backs;

they didn't get the familiar Lincoln Memorial on the reverse until 1959.

With luck, it was even possible to find an occasional Indian Head penny in your change.

But the most coveted find (for us kids, anyway) was the unusual 1943 steel penny. 

56. Many of us would sneak cigarettes and hide them when we got home.

57.  When we talked about "the city", everyone knew we meant Manhattan . 

58. The Mets in the 60's became our substitute for the Dodgers;

but they never did, and  never  will, make-up for the Dodgers leaving.

59. In the 60's, we were ready to drive and hit the night life scene. With the car, came the girls


60. We are all in a select club...because we have roots in BROOKLYN .



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