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singingnettle: 29th Jan 2008 - 18:20 GMT
I used to love the way you could look up and down the waterline from one of the edges of the land and see the way Manhattan was strung with bridges and you perceived that in fact it really WAS an island.
Well, I mean, presumably you still can; I just haven't done that in many years.
joey: 31st Jan 2008 - 04:39 GMT
green trees in january in new york ? i like the bridge from the row boat shot.
EvilGentleman: 31st Jan 2008 - 08:19 GMT
The first picture is very close to my grandparents' old apartment, which was at the corner of Water and Fulton. Of course, Fulton is now known as either Old Fulton or Cadman Plaza West, but my grandmother always referred to Fulton Street when she would reminisce about the 1940's. I don't know exactly where in Brooklyn she lived between 1943 and 1946, but I know she lived at Water and Fulton between 1947 and 1951.
My father still mentions the great view they had from their second floor corner apartment, even though he was a young child at the time.
My grandmother took me there once, back in the 1980's. All the original businesses along Fulton were boarded up by then, and the area was in serious decline. But she described every boarded-up storefront as we passed, and I was still able to envision the cobblers and butchers, the general stores and pool halls, and all the livelihood of this part of Brooklyn during the war and the postwar era leading up to the 1950's. Then we hopped back on the subway and returned to our rooms in the Edison Hotel near Times Square.
I wish she had shown me the church where she and my grandfather were married. Now she's been gone for three years, and I have no clue where it was, except that it was in Brooklyn somewhere. Maybe I'll post some of her old wedding photos one day, and see if anyone recognizes the church.
Or maybe I can get one of her old friends to sit with me and look at the photos in Google Maps Street View, and see what memories get brought back to the surface.
Lefty: 31st Jan 2008 - 17:55 GMT
EvilGentleman: 31st Jan 2008 - 19:40 GMT
Thank you, Lefty. It may take me a while to be able to do that, as my father has the photos. I have been planning to ask him to let me digitally archive the family photo album, so once that is done, I would be able to post the pictures.
little ukraine: 31st Jan 2008 - 19:49 GMT
I'm with Lefty, EG, you should post them. I have similar regrets; my grandmother grew up on Chauncey Street (right next to the Kramdens, right?) and my father says he remembers her talking about going to Coney Island as a little girl, and other similarly classic Brooklyn stories. Now it's just my grandfather and he doesn't talk about the old days too much, though perhaps if he knew how interested I was he would.
Peter: 31st Jan 2008 - 23:05 GMT
eg: for real. any info you have/get, send it my way. i promise ill seek out any locations youre interested in and send photos/info your way. im down in that area often. try to get the information before memories fade and photos get lost in the shuffle. were your relatives involved with the community of mohawk nation ironworkers? i know you mentioned the wtc in an earlier post. and i recently read a book cartlegger loaned to me that had a great story in it about the "mohawks in high steel".
lu: ditto. i know it may be awkward, but chat up your grandpa, man... you may kick yourself for missing the opportunity later. for real.
EvilGentleman: 1st Feb 2008 - 10:12 GMT
Thanks, little ukraine and Peter. My family was indeed part of the Mohawk ironworking community.
I went to the museum in my hometown of Kahnawake with my grandmother one time, and there was a good-sized display of exhibits from the early days on the high steel. One picture in particular sticks in my mind. It was a photo of the small group of ironworkers who finished the top of the Empire State Building. Some of the men were from Kahnawake, and my grandmother started pointing out our cousins in the crew, saying "This one is my aunt May's son Joe, this one is a cousin of your grandfather" and so on.
In my more immediate family, my great-great-grandfather left Kahnawake with his family in the early 1900's to do ironwork in Detroit. After a few years, he wound up in Cleveland, where they wound up settling. His sons picked up the trade and worked on many different projects in New York and the Midwest. My great-grandfather died when he fell during the final phases of construction of Cleveland's Terminal Tower. As a result, my grandfather decided not to go into ironwork, and wound up manufacturing sheet metal instead.
During the early years of the war, my grandfather often visited relatives in Kahnawake, and that is how he met my grandmother. When he was old enough, he joined the U.S. Army and served under General MacArthur in the Pacific, hopping from one jungle campaign to another, before finally being honorably discharged in Seattle in early 1946.
He was given his last pay, a few medals, and a train ticket, which he promptly used to go to Brooklyn, where my grandmother had been living since 1943. They got married in Brooklyn, and then moved to Cleveland, where my father was born, and where many of my cousins still live today. My grandmother missed Brooklyn terribly, so they returned in 1947, and moved into their apartment at Water and Fulton. They stayed there until 1951, when they decided to return to Kahnawake, and to the family home, where my father still lives today.
My grandmother's sister and two of her brothers stayed in Brooklyn for many years afterwards. In the 1970's, her sister moved to Mastic Beach in Long Island, where she remained until her death in 1990. Her brothers lost contact with the rest of the family sometime in the early 1960's, and we have always assumed they lived the rest of their lives in Brooklyn. I doubt they are alive today, since they would be in their mid to late 90's by now.
I sometimes wonder how many of my cousins still live in Brooklyn. Maybe one day, I will find out.
I have not been to New York City since 1999, although I was last in upstate New York a few hours ago. As a matter of fact, that's where I bought the Cherry Coke I'm drinking right now.
I'm starting to ramble on too much, I better get some sleep.
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