Archive for March 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Memories   7 comments

StPatricks-Well St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and I was remembering the way it was way back when. My father’s mother and her thick County Mayo brogue. When he was young my father’s nickname was Buddy but with my Grandmother it came out Putty and that’s the name that stuck. I can remember the stories from my mother’s side of the family of ancestors being smuggled out of Ireland in coffins. Due to death sentences placed on them for resisting the crown. Many Red Hook families shared tales and songs of Ireland.

The Irish are known as Warrior Poets. Warrior because they will fight for a thousand years if they think their cause is just. Poets because they speak from their hearts and an Irish heart is always full even when their bellies are empty, maybe more so then.

I remember watching the parade on TV with Capt. Jack McCarthy announcing it as he did every year. He was to St. Patrick’s Day back then as Guy Lombardo was to New Year’s Eve. I think soon I will write a blog on the forgotten children’s TV hosts and shows from back then. All you hear about are the Howdy Doody Show and Captain Kangaroo. But I digress, I write stream of consciousness or as some would say in my case unconsciousness.

Back to St. Patrick’s Day memories, the parties were all over the neighborhood. It never took much for a party to start in The Hook. Many a glass and voice were raised to “Danny Boy.” Many a tear shed too.

I also can remember the plays, Visitations St. Patrick’s Day Play. Everyone dancing a jig, singing all the Irish songs and those damn kilts. Both sides of my family came from Ireland but I could never get used to those kilts. In March on the spiral staircase to the stage, the boys knew how the girls felt in December. But I don’t know if the girls enjoyed it as much as the boys.

So raise a glass to days gone by but memories that still survive.  Slainte.

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Posted March 14, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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A Year in Bushwick   3 comments

First let me officially anKevin001nounce that I have completed the rough draft of my book. It is about 50 pages longer than I had hoped to reach. I surprised myself. Now I have to start editing it.

Several people have asked me about specific incidences, if they are included or not. Well this is a novel not a memoir. Actually in a way it is a memoir. A fictional memoir of a fictional cop, it covers one year from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Eve. The book is not fact but is inspired by various incidents and people. Now the incidents that inspired the stories in the book did not all happen to the same cops, or happen in the same year. That’s one of the advantages with a novel. None of the cops or bosses in this book is a single person. They were created using various personalities, quirks, nicknames etc. Some of the characters are a combination of 5 or 6 different people. So if you ever do read it you might recognize several different people in the same character. Some were not even cops in the 83.

Now here are some of but not all of the incidents or places that I used for inspiration. See how many you remember. I will only list 10. If anyone is wondering about other incidents or wants more info on those listed just ask.

1.  Of course was the blackout of July 13, 1977. With all the looting and confusion on Broadway. If you were there you remember the City said only two shots were fired that night and one of them was an accidental discharge. See even the city writes fiction.

2.  Which I could probably list as 1A was the fire where the new 83 now sits. The biggest fire in the history of New York City until 9/11.

3.  How many of you remember Charlie the drunk.

4.  The Saxons anyone who was working in the 70’s should remember that fine family.

5.  The Carnival on Grove St. We knew when they were setting that thing up that it would end badly.

6.  The Chang Homicide it was the worst one.

7.  The B&G and its inhabitants.

8 Hercules those that were there will remember him.

9.  The filming of The Warriors on Broadway under the el up by Conway St.

10.  The parties both the ones the nurses would throw that we were always invited to and the one that I ran that started the 83 tradition of precinct parties.

Ok that’s it for now. How many do you remember and is anyone’s favorite missing. If so let me know, it may already be in there.

Posted March 7, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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Red Hook Changes   8 comments

Red Hook Pool I haven’t written anything about Red Hook in quite a while. The few things I have had time to write were on the police side. I have been busy finally finishing my book. I still have to edit it. The main thing is that I have finished it. That was my aim to write the book. I haven’t even decided if I will send it out to publishers yet. I will decide that when the editing is done. Anyway enough about that, on to some random thoughts on the changes in the old neighborhood.

It’s been a couple of years since I was have been in the Hook. Last time I was there I walked around to the old places I used to go as a kid. The softball field at Todd’s had become a community garden. Great for the yuppies not so great for the kids, I spent a lot of really good times there. It was easy to get a game going usually all you had to do was show up with a ball. When I was younger I remember watching the bar leagues play there. There would be hundreds of people watching those games. They were played as hard if not harder than any major league game I have ever seen. They were also played fundamentally better than many major league games today.

The stands down at the fields were gone, another place I spent a lot of time. Remember playing handball, stickball, paddleball, kings there. Sitting in those stands with a soda taking a break from football, both touch and full rough tackle played with no equipment and no mercy. We also played baseball on the fields behind those seats. Those fields were used as Kansas or some other mid-western state in the movie “Across the Universe.” The basketball courts were almost always filled. I enjoyed playing there sometimes although I may be the world’s worst basketball player. I remember Chris Cunningham owning those courts. He could really play basketball.

The sixteen foot pool is gone now. I remember that it was a big thing when you graduated from the four foot to the sixteen. Low board of course because going off the high board was another step in growing up. It is a shame that the kids growing up there will never know the feeling of accomplishment that came with going off that board.

People I have talked to since I left Red Hook say it must have been rough growing up there. They call it a poor area, a bad neighborhood or a slum. Those people grew up in the “better” areas or in small towns. The strange thing is when they would talk about their childhoods I realized that I enjoyed mine more. I think we had closeness in the Point that they often only pretended to have. Maybe if I write another book I will write about Red Hook. How it was to grow up there. Maybe those from those “better” areas will be jealous when they understand what they missed.

I thought of all this as I walked to the end of Coffey St. It is much prettier there now. I stood there and closed my eyes. In my mind’s eye I could clearly see it the way it was in 1963. So much had changed but when I opened my eyes and looked over the water the Lady of the Harbor was still there. Her hand was raised saying Welcome Back.

 

Posted March 6, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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