The Holiday Season in Red Hook   9 comments

WreathToday I am writing some memories of the Holiday season in Red Hook. I say Holiday instead of Christmas because I will be going from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve.

There were eight of us in the family so I always remember the giant turkeys on Thanksgiving. I don’t know where my mother found them but they were always at least twenty eight pounds the biggest I can remember was around thirty two or three. We always had at least one or two more people there. Thanksgiving memories also always include the March of the Wooden Soldiers on channel nine. There was always a lot of laughter and food. People stopping by all day.

Christmas Eve always started with Midnight Mass. Visitation Church in all her glory with the flowers in the front of the church. The choir singing and Father Maroney at the altar. That’s the first thing I think of when I think of a Red Hook Christmas. I also think of our giant Christmas trees. We always got our from Bonacore’s (spelling?)on Van Brunt Street. We would have to get the biggest tree because the ceilings in the apartment were over twelve feet. A normal tree looked like a bush in there. With eight of us and usually my cousin Richie or Herman as we always called him, we also needed plenty of room under the tree for presents.

I can’t think of Christmas without thinking of Charley Sims. His grocery store always had these huge toys displayed on a high shelf to your right as you entered his store. Why he had such large toys in a grocery store I don’t know. It seemed normal back then. Bonacore’s grocery with all the Christmas trees outside. Skinny Andy everyone had ornaments from his store. It was a Christmas tradition. It wasn’t Christmas unless something was there from Skinny Andy’s.  Again people would always be stopping by. I don’t think anyone called back then you just stopped in. Red Hook was a neighborhood where everyone always seemed to feel welcome.

New Year’s Eve in Red Hook was a mob scene. My parents like many other families back then set out a spread of food and drink. There was plenty of food of all different kinds. There was also plenty to drink soda, beer, wine and a large assortment of the hard stuff. Our door would stand open all night. People would be stopping in to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Many carried their own glasses with them. They were making the rounds. It wasn’t only our house set up like that. There were many back then. People would go from house to house. There were at least a dozen on just our one block of Coffey St. I would bet a few hundred people would stop by during the night. The whole neighborhood was one big party and everyone was invited. Just grab a glass stop in anywhere. Everyone was always welcome.

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9 responses to “The Holiday Season in Red Hook

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  1. I knew a couple of dummies like that!

  2. I can picture it all like it was yesterday!!

    Karen (Lolly Cox) Slusser
  3. Don’t forget Skinny’s!

  4. Yes you did mention dad,thank you for acknowledging him,sorry I missed it. You know many old timers in Red Hook shared with me their grief over Hurricane Sandy. Many people stored their old Christmas ornaments and photos in their basements and Sandy washed them all away. Great post,thanks for sharing!

  5. Hey Kev, another great blog. Just one minor detail. Laurel & Hardy were on WPIX channel 11, as I recall. Channel 9 ran a marathon of 2 King Kongs ( Dad & Son) and Might Joe Young. Have a healthy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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