The Gathering Places Of A Glorious Non-Misspent Youth

I was walking along Shore Road in Bay Ridge Brooklyn today on my way to an ethnic festival that was being held and for some reason I opted to take a more scenic and “take your time” route by walking through the actual park as opposed to aside it. As I reached the block near where my family lives I realized that I was smack dab in the space where many nights hanging out with friends had happened. I’m not sure what actually led to this being the case so long ago, but we loved our “spot” and very simply referred to it as “the spot” to meet up and some of my neighborhood buddies as well as forming bands of the time would always manage to meet up at certain times and catch up. This was pre-Internet and there were no cell phones or PDA’s and only doctors had pagers. During this time of life growing up, if you wanted to find your friends you called them on the house telephone and you told them where you would be and at what time. Interestingly enough we all managed to find each other much easier than we do today and hence my reason for honoring such a space. The view below shows this spot (which is down the path off around 87th and 88th Street on Shore Road) and as you can see there is not much to it. It didn’t need to be anything in all honesty as the meetings and conversations were the paramount of importance back then.


Of course it looks much different today and this whole region of clearing you see in the next shot was all trees at one time. There were also a few benches that are no longer here.  That part made sense because I remember them being in disrepair way back when.  Still they were great to have around when one had come down here to see friends after band practice or to keep a Boombox off the ground to play the latest cassette tapes (two other things you don’t see much of anymore either these days).  The relative seclusion of The Spot allowed for some radio blasting as we were deep enough down that the trees offered some buffer and we always aimed the radio speakers out to the highway which you can see in one of the other shots.  I admit that this does look nice and clean now but some of its original magic is gone.


The next view while a bit darker based on the angle of the sun that I had is kind of the same to my recollection. The Spot was located right next to the Belt Parkway expressway but there was never any need to worry as between the thoroughfare and our meeting space were tons of bushes and fencing.  If you climbed over stuff you could see the cars but generally you mostly saw zipping by headlights.  That’s Staten Island in the distance and the Narrows Harbor; as mentioned we would aim our music at the highway since it would keep our hanging out something that was unknown to the passing people above on Shore Road.  Also down there but not visible is the Bike Path which sometimes was a good space to hang but was too trafficked and a few more blocks travel to get to the right space for our liking.  It was easier to settle on this little neck of the woods for a little while before returning to whatever our routines were at the time.


This is one of the things that I have loved most about being a Bay Ridge resident and if you are not paying attention I am speaking of its parks.  If you are a photographer then you should definitely pay us a visit and bring your comfortable walking shoes along with a couple of bottles of water and energy bars.  You are going to need it.  Hoping you enjoyed this little reflective musing.  If not, that is okay as well.  Plenty more to come here as I walk through life.

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