Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write a Travelogue (11/06/14)
- TITLE: An Old Fashioned Neighborhood
By C D Swanson
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One section known as Bay Ridge is replete with historical overtures that can literally take your breath away. Bay Ridge was originally named Yellow Hook due to the hue of the yellowish soil observed by the original Dutch settlers. The name was changed in 1853 after yellow fever raged claiming lives. The new name was born due to the close proximity of the neighborhood to New York Bay.
Bay Ridge is located in the southwest corner of Brooklyn. There’s an array of stores that range from “upscale bridals shops” to five star restaurants with an abundance of quaint coffee shops and little eateries. There’s something for everyone. The variety of foods will appease any discernable palate. For those who favor a more traditional European atmosphere try the dining establishments that boast round tables with delicate wrought iron chairs outside on the cobblestone sidewalk.
A favorite place—given my sweet tooth—is an old fashioned ice cream parlor reminiscent of innocent times years ago. I indulged in a grilled white cheese sandwich on thick black pumpernickel bread, and a chocolate malted milk to wash it down—ah— Sheer ambrosia. I was completely lost in time for forty-five delightful minutes. Alas, once finished… I had to step outside, albeit begrudgingly, into reality and join the twenty-first century yet again.
The private homes along Shore Road are magnificent. The outstandingly beautiful houses sit majestically atop hills that overlook the narrows strait which serves as a gateway to the resplendent Verrazano Bridge, connecting to Staten Island, another borough. The beautiful views attracted wealthy people who had these homes built to their specifications. Most of them were strictly for their summertime jaunts and are still standing today, now worth millions of dollars.
A notable home, called Farrell House located on 95th street since the twentieth century, is just one of many old mansions. It is officially a beloved landmark that is the pride of Bay Ridge residents. It’s been reported the mansion was turned so “widow’s walk”—a balcony that traditionally faced the sea for women left at home could easily watch for their husband’s ships—no longer faced the Narrows.
Bay Ridge is a family oriented neighborhood with a predominately large number of the elderly population. It’s been called a naturally occurring retirement community. The area has been editor’s picks—from various magazines and newspapers— for a “good old neighborhood” that is a delight and joy to call home. I would welcome any one of these homes to live in. They’re overly inviting and a “throw back” to days of my youth. Most boast huge wrap around porches, or high and wide terraces overlooking the splendor of the charming neighborhood, some offering a panoramic view of the City’s skyline.
Some points of interest include the following: Owl’s Head Park located in the northwest corner. The landscaping is glorious. This park offers a dog run, and is home of the first concrete skate park built in Brooklyn; Steps Streets which are comprised entirely of steep steps. The idea was to build steps on hills that were too steep to build a roadway. It was unanimously decided that full access to Pedestrians be allowed to these streets in which motor transportation was denied. Located on 74th and 76th streets; 69th Street Pier obviously located on 69th and Shore Road is considered the community’s key seaside recreation spot.
The sights, sounds and aroma of the area are memorable and comforting. Although it’s been over thirty six years since I’ve been a resident of Brooklyn. I hear an ice cream truck’s music which immediately makes me salivate for a “chocolate candy chip bar.”
Yes, there’s something to be said about Bay Ridge, it offers a plethora of restaurants, entertainment, stores, recreational activities, schools, churches…and yet it reeks of “small town” charm in a grand way.
I thought I felt an embrace as I walked on the peaceful and scenic Shore Road. The sunset danced over the water as the Verrazano Bridge glimmered in the distance.
I’m fully back in time as I see Dad in my mind’s eye returning from a hard day of work as I run toward his loving arms.A place I knew as a child… and a place I embrace as an adult...
References: Wikipedia—Bay Ridge, Wikipedia-Brooklyn.
Note: The overall majority of the context serves as memory from a child…Although I grew up in the Kensington Section of Brooklyn; I spent a great portion of my childhood into adulthood in Bay Ridge. Loving memories of my grandparents and various family members who contributed to great memories live on in my heart.
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