Archive for August 2014

The Park House Incident   1 comment

The Park House Incident.


Posted August 24, 2014 by kevingcox in Uncategorized

The Park House Incident   Leave a comment

Coffey ParkIt was the summer of 1963, July 3rd to be exact and the Nite Owls were preparing for the greatest July 4th ever. The gang of 12 year olds had been working on it for a year. The plan was Roger’s it had come to him last year on Independence Day. The gang was getting bored with tossing packs of firecrackers around when Roger turned to Sean.
“I wish we had something bigger. We should try to get some ash cans or cherry bombs.”
“Yeah, they’re pretty good but I heard that the M80s are a quarter of a stick of dynamite.”
Herman jumped into the conversation, “Why don’t we get four M80’s and tape them together. Then we will have a whole stick of dynamite.”
Sean told him, “Nah, they won’t all explode at the same time. It would just be a waste.”
Now the rest of the Nite Owls joined in and the conversation turned serious.
Tommy asked, “How about we buy some real dynamite?”
Ronald laughed, “Who is going to sell us dynamite? They would be afraid we would blow up the school.”
That was when Roger had his brilliant idea, “Why don’t we get a big coffee can. We can start collecting the powder from fireworks and fill it up. Then we would have a real big one.”
Sean wasn’t too sure, “But wouldn’t that make it too big? I mean that sounds like trouble.
“Nah”, Jack said, “It is only fireworks powder but we better not use any M80’s they are real explosives.”
And so the boys started on their great July 4th 1963 project. They had named their giant firecracker the M8000. They were stripping firecrackers, cherry bombs and ash cans and the emptying the powder into a Maxwell House coffee can. They did keep their promise of nothing from inside an M80. They didn’t want to do anything stupid like that.
Herman arrived one day with six roman candles. After a spirited discussion and vote it was decided to empty the contents into the M8000. They were only fireworks after all and might make a nice show when they went off. They also found a few packs of sparklers. They were pulverized. The wires got thrown away and the rest emptied into the can.
By the middle of June 1963 the M8000 was ready. Now the boys were counting the days until July 4th. It was to be a great day, the unveiling of the M8000.
Finally the big day came. Everyone had arranged with their parents to stay at Ronald’s house. He lived only a block from the park.
At the appointed hour 11PM, the boys gathered at the softball field in Coffey Park. They were all there Sean, Ronald, Roger, Herman, Tommy, Jerry and Jack. They invited the girls and Laura, Candy, Lola, Maryanne and Steph came to watch the show. The boys had decided not to tell anyone else. It was their project and they didn’t want to share it.
The plan was to set it off on second base but the girls were afraid it was too close and were going to leave.
Sean said, “Ok, how about we bring it out to left field and light it off.”
Now the guys were complaining that it would be too far away.
Jack jumped in to save the day, “I know I’ll light the fuse and toss it onto the park house. Then it will be high enough for us all to see it.”
Everyone agreed that was a good plan. The park house is a building just beyond the left field fence that is used to hold the maintenance equipment for the park.
Finally the appointed hour came. Jack carried the mighty M8000 out to left field. He lit the fuse and ran back to watch with the gang. The whole group was smiling waiting for it. After about ten seconds there was a huge flash and tremendous boom. The group started to cheer when the shock wave hit and shingles from the roof of the park house began to rain down.
The cheer ended and the group stared in shock at the park house. There was a hole in the roof you could have driven a VW through.
Sean exclaimed, “HOLY SHIT.”
Now it was a mad dash to get the hell out of the park. They made it to their basement club house in seconds. Soon afterwards the sirens started. None of them wanted to go out and see what was happening.
In the morning the boys came out and went to the park. The bombing of the park house was the talk of the neighborhood for a week. It was the general consensus that outsiders from Park Slope or Cobble Hill had done it. The boy agreed those dirty bastards had probably done the evil deed. They never told anyone what really happened that night.

First of Red Hook Memories   2 comments

Johnny PetersonIt was the spring of 1955 and Sean was a happy four year old. He was with his Grandfather, his Papa. Sean loved to walk with his Papa and today was even more special. It was Memorial Day and Papa was taking him to the parade. All the men from the neighborhood were marching in uniforms. Sean loved the colors and the music. He marched along with his Papa right in with the men. Everybody came over to shake Papa’s hand. Papa even had a star he wore like a sheriff and Papa’s star was gold. Sean thought that must mean my Papa is even more important than the Sheriffs on TV.
At the statue in the park the parade stopped and some guys talked for a long time. Sean didn’t really like that part. One of the men said that the parade was because of the war. Sean didn’t know what the war was but it must be pretty good if they have parades. Then they played some music Papa said was it was Taps but Sean only heard a horn he didn’t hear any Taps. When the men came out with guns and shot into the air Sean thought it was really loud. Then they stopped shooting and all the kids ran to get the spent casings from the rifles. Sean picked one up but dropped it because it was too hot. An older kid grabbed it and ran away.
As they left the park heading for the VFW the band played “When Johnny Comes marching Home.” Sean liked that one. When he looked up at Papa to tell him he saw tears. Papa was crying.
“Papa why are you crying?”
Sean thought, Papa never cries. He’s a big guy.
Papa looked down and said, “My Johnny didn’t come marching home.”
Sean didn’t know what Papa meant but he decided war must be bad. Anything that could make his Papa cry was bad.
In the years to come Sean would learn that his uncle Sgt. John Peterson, Papa’s son was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Johnny died on his mother’s birthday, Christmas Day 1944.

Posted August 19, 2014 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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Pick one   3 comments

PatrolOn Tuesday August 19 I will be one of the presenters at the Beach House Beanery, a local coffee house. I just thought I would make a little game of it. Here I have two stories one wit a snowstorm and one with a blackout. After reading them vote for one and I will adapt it and use it on the 19th. If you are going to the Beanery and don’t want to read it first stop now.

Okay here is Number One – The Snowstorm.

The midnight tour was supposed to turn out five cars and right now the muster room held enough cops for two. Two cops called in saying they would be late and four others who lived way out on Long Island took an emergency day because they couldn’t get in at all. The snow was worse out there.
The first thing Harry and Sean had to do was put snow chains on the tires of their patrol car. Technically they were supposed to drive to the shop in Queens and have the motor transport personnel put the chains on. The only problem was they were not to drive the car without chains? That is why Harry and Sean started the day crawling around in the snow getting cold and soaked before they even hit the street.
It is always good to start the day with ice melting off your uniform as you sit in the patrol car. Then go out on patrol in a wet uniform with the temperature in the teens. It makes for a wonderful night.
The only good thing is they would not have to worry about Inspector Sidney or any of the other scumbag shoofly bosses. Those types of bosses did not come out on nights like that. If they went in to work at all they would sit in their warm offices drinking coffee and working on new ways to harass those who actually do the work.
Unfortunately it also meant Harry and Sean would probably not get a meal. With only two cars running you can’t go in and leave the other car with no backup. Bushwick was not the suburbs; shootings were not a rare occurrence there. Most days at least one or two people got shot somewhere in the precinct. A few stabbings and assorted other assaults would fill out the night. Considering that the precinct was only about three square miles that is a pretty high rate of violent crime.
Their first actual call was a 10-54 Chest Pain on Cornelia Street When they got there Cornelia was blocked by the snow. Harry had to park on Wilson Avenue and walk half a block to the building through about two and a half feet of heavy snow. The aided was in a third floor apartment.
Harry complained all the way up the stairs, “Doesn’t anyone live on the first floor? Every damn call climb the stairs.”
Sean told Harry, “Don’t complain this is how you keep you girlish figure.”
“Fuck you. I’d rather be fat.”
‘The male who lived alone was sitting at the kitchen table.
Sean asked him, “Why do you feel you need an ambulance? What’s wrong?”
He wheezed, “It feels like I have a heavy weight on my chest. I have pain is going down my shoulder and arm. I think I may have pulled something shoveling snow. It hurts when I take a deep breath.”
Sean didn’t think he pulled a muscle. It seemed like a text book heart attack. They didn’t want to tell him that. He was pretty relaxed thinking it was a pulled muscle. If he heard Harry calling for a rush on the bus for a heart attack the relaxed part would be over. If someone is having a heart attack you try to keep the stress level as low if possible.
Harry went out and called for the rush on the bus and Sean stayed with the aided case trying to keep him calm. Sean could understand why he might be having a heart attack. The male was sixty six years old. He was maybe five foot nine and weighed in at any easy three hundred fifty pounds maybe closer to four hundred.
When Harry came back he pulled Sean aside and said, “The bus is only a couple of minutes away but they can’t get down the street either. Now not only do we have to carry this fat fuck down the stairs, we have to carry him through the snow to the damn bus. I hope they at least parked on Wilson Avenue.”
The EMT’s showed up and they agreed probably cardiac. They got the male strapped into the chair they brought. In Bushwick most apartment buildings were old and had very narrow hallways. There was no room for a stretcher so the ambulance personnel would bring a carry chair. Sometimes it was a bitch to maneuver down the stairs with those.
With the aided strapped in the chair the fun began. He had to be carried down the stairs to the street. The EMT’s covered him with a couple of blankets from his home. There was only room for two people to carry on the stairs. Harry and Sean were the biggest so that honor fell to them. By the time they got that fat bastard down to the street Sean was ready to have his own heart attack.
Harry asked the EMT, “Did you park on Wilson?”
No such luck. So it would be carry him to Central Avenue then walk back to Wilson. All the time in a soaking wet uniform. At least the EMT’s could help so with four carrying through the snow it was easier than it could have been but it still sucked. After getting him into the ambulance Harry and Sean started back to their car.
Halfway to Wilson Ave. Harry slipped on the ice and fell into a snow drift.
As Harry got to his feet Sean said, “Harry, does the excitement and glory of tonight’s work make you feel like a hero?”
“Fuck you, I’m cold, my ass is wet and my back hurts.”
It was important work and had to be done and may have even saved a life but it felt more like heavy labor then heroics. It was something that you never see on television.

And now for number two – The Blackout.

Harry and Sean were heading back to their car when they heard a commotion from Broadway. We hurried to the corner just in time to see an RMP drive down the street. On the roof of the car was Paddy, a precinct scooter cop. He was waving a saber and screaming charge at the top of his lungs. Just one more surreal image for a night out of a Harlan Ellison nightmare. Sean hoped Paddy would not chop any looters heads off. Many things would be ignored that night but decapitations would probably be noticed.
By now the stores were starting to run out of things to steal. The looters were getting desperate find something good before there was nothing left. Harry and Sean chased a few guys up to the fourth floor storeroom of a furniture store. They had tried for the roof but it was chained closed. It must have felt strange for them trying to break out of a store instead of into it. The partners caught the four of them and chased them out with a couple of slap shots to the ass. They were only teenagers, too young and too dumb to deserve a real ass kicking. They were only doing what their elders, who should have known better, were doing.
Harry and Sean sat down on the steps to relax and have a cigarette before going out to find someone who deserved to get his ass kicked. As they got up to leave they heard noise from downstairs. Looking over the railing they watched a parade of looters stretching down to the first floor. The whole crowd was following one asshole with a penlight.
Now the cops were the ones trapped at the chained door to the roof. Since the looters didn’t know how many cops were up top. Harry and Sean decided to stay quiet until the crowd got close. Then scare the balls off the bastards.
Crouching at the top landing with heavy four cell steel flashlights in one hand and guns in the other, the pair waited. Just before the light from the penlight hit they both jumped up turning their flashlights on blinding the mob.
Shining the flashlights before them harry and Sean started screaming as loud as they could and firing shots into the walls and ceilings. The bright lights, the screaming, the sounds of the guns going off and the plaster raining down caused a panic. The leaders in front now it would be better to get to the back as soon as possible. They turned and charged into those behind them. Bodies were flying over the railings. Everybody was screaming now. Sean and Harry charged down the stairs and started swinging the flashlights whacking the stunned crowd. The company that makes the flashlights says they are not to be used for that purpose, but they do work well when applied forcefully.
By the time the store was cleared there must have been fifty people were heading off to the hospital, almost all of them injured by other looters.
Gerry and Bob who had been in the meat market next door as all this went down met them outside. When they saw the stampede leaving the store they had come over to hurry them out.
Bob asked, “What the fuck happened in there? We were looking for you when all of sudden they all came out screaming.”
Sean told them the story laughing.
Gerry said, “Be careful when you go in the stores now. The looters set the meat market on fire with us in it. We were able to get out but I don’t think we should go too far in any of the stores unless we have another way out.”
Many of the stores had the back doors and windows bricked up or chained to keep burglars out. It would not do to be caught in one of those with no equipment and no way out.
Just then from a vacant lot came possibly the strangest looking man they had seen all night. Which was no small feat, because they had seen many strange people and things that night. He hobbled to the sidewalk bleeding from a hundred small cuts. His face was bruised and swollen. He had a strange vacant look in his eyes. His clothes hung off him like rags. He looked like Robinson Crusoe had been marooned in the ghetto instead of a desert island. When he saw the cops he squealed like an animal and half ran half hobbled down the street. Laughing and mumbling.
Gerry turned, “What the fuck was that?”
Out from the building on the other side of the lot came Frank. Frankie Face as he was known came over to us.
“Did you just see an asshole come out of that lot. I was chasing this mope across the roof when the idiot ran right off.”
Sean looked up, it was a six story building.
“And he lived?”
Frankie said, “The shithead fell about fifteen feet and landed in a tree. He bounced from branch to branch the whole way down. All I could hear was the guy screaming and branches breaking until the skell hit the ground. We thought he was dead until he stumbled up and gave us the finger.”
“The guy just ran down Grove Street”
Frankie smiled, “Good, I’m going to kick his ass.”
“Frankie, it looked like he has already had his ass pretty well kicked.”
“You think so, wait until I get through with him for giving me the finger.”
He and his partner Patty D. tore off around the corner. I could hear Frankie yelling
“I see you asshole. You’re mine now.”
I thought damn that is going to be one hurting skell in the morning

That’s it vote number one or number two.

Posted August 12, 2014 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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