A spin around the ‘hoods

Thanks to Google Maps Street View, we can go for a spin through (almost) all my cribs in my various ‘hoods. I’ve been playing with Street View for about a year and recently took on the fun task of capturing my personal places.

For those unfamiliar with Street View, check it out—although it might not have arrived in your area yet. And if this is the first you’re hearing of Street View, and you’re wondering about privacy issues—well, yes, privacy is an issue.

[Here’s the disclaimer stating that all the following photos are copyrighted to Google.]

466 62nd Street, Brooklyn (December 1965—September 1968)
This was our railroad apartment in Bay Ridge—the center brownstone with the red awning. Jim tells me his bedroom was the window above the door. I can’t remember my bedroom, or this apartment for that matter:

62nd Street, Brooklyn
As we know, Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment was down our street:

6120 4th Avenue, Brooklyn
In fact, let’s go there. Here’s the front entrance—no longer the bar we all grew up with, now it’s a flower shop:

4th Avenue at 62nd Street, Brooklyn
Here’s the view looking down Fourth Avenue from in front of their building. Many a stroll was taken down this avenue. The grocery store with the sawdust floor made a lasting impression on me, but the toy store was my favorite:

5th Avenue & 62nd Street, Brooklyn
We digress from my cribs for a moment and visit Mom and Dad’s first apartment before Jim and I came along—the top floor, corner rooms of this building:

Kenby Drugstore, 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
Further digression shows that Kenby’s is still in business. Their homemade salve was the best remedy for colds and coughs:

20 Cliffside Avenue, Staten Island (September 1968—September 1988)
Back to my cribs, and the house. Mom and Dad moved here because they wanted us to have a backyard.  I have early memories of a horse farm across the street, but shortly after we arrived, low-income housing projects were built there.  Crime escalated in the 70’s and more so in the 80’s.  And obviously these current owners don’t give a damn about home ownership pride:

Cliffside Avenue, Staten Island
As soon as I could, I moved back to Brooklyn, and Mom and Dad stayed here until they moved to New Hampshire in 1997, leaving behind this bleak, depressive ‘hood:

Clinton Street, Brooklyn (September 1988—December 1988)
I wasn’t in this white facade Carroll Gardens walk-up apartment for long, sharing a three-bedroom apartment with two actors—one whose name I can’t remember—all I can conjure is that her nickname was Juice Can Head, due to her morning ritual of rolling a juice can into the front of her hair for the Big Hair Effect.  I also can’t remember the building street address:

373 95th Street, Brooklyn (December 1988—December 1990)
The entrance to my own Bay Ridge apartment:

373 95th Street, Brooklyn
My walk-up was on the top fourth floor. I had a great fire escape for plants, and an awesome view of the Verrazano Bridge from that top corner bedroom window:

95th Street, Brooklyn
When Kathy returned from living in Ireland, she moved in with me, and shortly after that we adopted BunnyGirl and Sebastian The Cat. The library was at the corner, along with the subway stop, Mike’s Deli, and Baskin Robbins. It was one-stop shopping at 95th & 4th:

118 East 11th Street, Manhattan (December 1990—November 1991)
But our landlord was a psychopath, and the R train was a killer subway line, and we longed to live closer to where we worked and played. So we moved into Manhattan with a trendy apartment in the East Village, around the corner from NYU dorms:

118 East 11th Street, Manhattan
We were on the third floor of this walk-up and it was an ideal crib for 20-somethings:

East 11th Street, Manhattan
Until the trendiness exploded after they renovated and re-opened Webster Hall directly across the street from us. The clubbers proved too loud and our street became a zoo of nightlife—a woman was shot in the leg in front of our stoop during a mugging:

350 West 85th Street, Manhattan (November 1991—November 2001)
So it was time to move on. I wanted to go Upper West Side, and Kathy wanted to go Upper East Side (passport country), so we separated, she taking Sebastian The Cat and me taking my BunnyGirl. My Upper West Side studio apartment was the steal-of-the-century, and BunnyGirl and I lived here for ten years (the last three also with BooBear after adopting him). Built in 1903-04 and designated a NYC landmark in 1982, the building’s official name is Red House:

350 West 85th Street, Manhattan
I was finally in a building with an elevator, but never needed it because my apartment was on the ground floor in the back. The landmark’s lore among the tenants was that it was built as an apartment building, then served time as a bordello, then a church, then back to an apartment building. One thing I can say for sure is that it had an alcholic superintendent, my Panamanian pal, Oscar:

West 85th Street
The ‘hood makeup was single professionals such as myself and couples with young families, with Riverside Park and the Hudson River at the end of my street. But it had its share of crime—my car that I owned for less than three months was stolen:

Kessler Farm, New Hampshire (November 2001—July 2004)
The time came for a life change, and I left NYC.  Here’s where Google Street View drops out, not having captured my parents’ condo community where I stayed for over two years.

Manchester, New Hampshire (July 2004—)
And here we are today, surrounded by pine trees, singing birds, and chirping crickets:


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