We had a gloomy fog filled night tonight and I just had to wander about a little bit to give you folks from outside the region a little glimpse. It was pretty eerie out there but also rather cool. I was armed with only the Panasonic Lumix and an eye ready for any foreboding figures that I might encounter.
I wandered down the nearby avenues to see what it was like and it was pretty weird to find such an empty street since it was not yet too late in the evening.
Spring had sprung, and while I did need to finally address my tax paperwork and really knock out some writing and photos for PiercingMetal.com, I opted to use the very clear and beautiful day to do a quick wander. Bay Ridge is known for its walkway that brings you right up close to the Narrow’s (and that’s a straight that leads to the Hudson River) but enough about that. While I walked today I happened upon one of the strangest places that I had ever recalled some of my friends “hanging out” back in those days of youth. The place was under the 92nd street pedestrian bridge and referred to as “under the overpass”. To access this you would climb over a small fence and boom, there you were. Under the walkway and about twenty or so feet away from the Belt Parkway. Mind you there was an incline of almost 90 degrees so you always had to be on your best balance, and mindset. I didn’t keep up with this particular crowd all that long and its not for any negative reasons. This was not a bad group of friends, just ones that I didn’t have much in common with on my day to day life so I moved on. Formative band years I guess was my prime reason, started hanging with the other musicians I knew and practicing a lot more.
I was never quite sure why this crowd opted for this particular space because you could easily slide down and hit the concrete divider or worse if you were a few feet to the left or right. Still during my time no one ever seemed to get hurt. I personally did not like standing at an angle. Give me solid ground any day of the week. Stranger still, had we only voted on moving this little circle across the walkway to the other side near the water, it might have been much more preferential. Take a look at the photo below and you can see for yourself. Spacious, clear, flat……much better in my opinion. Oh well it was not my decision on where the group ended up no one asked me and I was not as outspoken back then if you can believe that. Stop laughing. I swear it’s true.
I was near this spot a couple of days after originally taking the photos above and realized that I had not shown you this space from the other perspective by the Shore. This one lets you see just how precarious this actually was in terms of the balance required. Yeesh. Imagine that the best option was to stumble into the big concrete part. Ahhhh youth.
While I don’t really suggest you readers go to visit the exact same space in this first photo, I do think that you would enjoy the small Shore Road Park section that leads to it and the walking bridge that brings you to the shore. Its very picturesque and sometimes even relaxing. Hope you didn’t mind this strange little reflection. When you live and grew up in an area like this one, you often found your own special places whether they were strange or somewhat treacherous when looked back on so many years later. Thinking of this makes me wonder where some of the oddest places you convened with friends in your youth. The comments are open for you to share your own details so have at it.
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.