As I've mentioned a million times, I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. My brother recently went to our old neighborhood for a visit and brought me these pictures. The funny thing to us, was the reaction of his beach - bum California kids to our building and play area - they were astounded that we managed to have fun. Someday they'll know that kids can usually have fun anywhere, and if loved and safe - are happy in most surroundings.
Here is our building. There are 72 apartments in this building, and when I was growing up at least 5 or 6 of them contained relatives - cousins, grandma, aunts etc. I loved Halloween in this building and felt sorry for the kids who had to go outside to trick or treat. We NEVER had to wear coats over our costumes, just went from door to door collecting loot. A few years ago someone mentioned to me how they felt sorry for the kids who lived in buildings who didn't get to go outside on Halloween night. Nothing like a child's' view of her world - I thought it was close to perfect.
We lived on the 4th floor and had a lovely fire escape which could be used as a patio in really hot weather. We'd sit out there on blankets and sip cool water and watch the world go by. Actually, until I got glasses at 11, I would watch the blur go by - but I enjoyed the fuzzy world and my comfy perch. Jon and I shared a room until I was 15 - then I got my own room for a year until I went to college.
Our building was very fancy - note the expanse of grass. Not that we were allowed to play on it, but we all thought it was practically a country estate.
This is the front lobby. Note how fancy it is, with pictures on the walls and a complete art deco look. I always loved it, there were two sides to the building and you could easily slide from the bottom of one set of stairs to the other side.
To get to the back"yard" we had to go thru this strange corridor which went from the front street to the back. Even in those days, it was rather creepy and closed in. I must admit, I never liked this tunnel.
We felt sorry for the apartments that didn't have front fire escapes; they only had ones that opened onto the alley. I felt that they lived in inferior apartments because they couldn't see the front street - and I was probably right.
This is a view of the main courtyard that we played in. We always thought it was cozy, and a great place to play. It was so easy to bounce a ball here, and we had none of that nasty grass that ruined a good stoop ball game.
We never listened to this sign. It's been there since day one.
More Backyard. We didn't have the razor wire when we lived there but the fence was up - it kept out the other building riff-raff. This looks so long and narrow now, when I was a kid it was HUGE.
This is a view from the roof to another courtyard that we played in. Our mom could call down from our window for us to come in to dinner or whatever, and it echoed so well that we could hear her in the actual backyard. Our immediate answer to mom's call was a plea for "5 minutes more!"
It all looks so dingy now and I wonder if it was as dirty and nasty looking when we lived there, or if it was as clean and nice as I remember it. I loved growing up in a nice safe building, with family around, always someone outside to play with, and no nasty grass to ruin our games. I thought this was the perfect place to grow up and didn't have one minute of envy for the kids who had houses with real backyards...or kids who lived at the beach. (Actually, I have never envied anyone or thing now that I think of it, but that's another story)
Here I sit in my big suburban house, with 2 acres of land - and silly suburban isolation. I really think I'd rather raise a family in an apartment with family close by - it was easier on my mom. She never had to worry about driving us somewhere or what we would do if she wasn't home after school (Auntie was next door, no big deal) She could hear us playing outside with tons of cousins. We weren't allowed out of the perimeter of the building and we stuck to that rule (unspoken Brooklyn building perimeter rule)
Enough reminiscing. Time for today's life and work.
Have a good weekend everyone