Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Morning in Howard Beach: Halloween Houses on 102nd Street and 157th Avenue

We saw a lot of Halloween decorations around 8 a.m. today in Queens' scariest neighborhood.

On this cool autumn morning, with a Columbus Day holiday off from the two colleges we teach at on Mondays, we decided to go to Howard Beach, so we took the L to Broadway Junction and got the A going to Far Rockaway. We got off at the Howard Beach station, which is now also a place to get the Airtrain to the JFK terminals.

We went upstairs to the top level to find a men's room. The terminal had the feel of an airport, not a train station.

Our destination was the Starbucks on Cross Bay Boulevard to read the paper, drink iced tea and eat oatmeal. We know Howard Beach pretty well, but only by car.

From where we grew up in Mill Basin/Flatlands and Rockaway Park, it was a quick ride - maybe 15 minutes on the Belt Parkway from Flatbush Avenue or, when we lived in Rockaway, straight up Cross Bay Boulevard from the Cross Bay Bridge via Broad Channel.

Even in pre-ZIP code days, we had some friends in the 11414 neighborhood, like Arlene, our uncle's sister-in-law, who we'd known since first grade when she lived near us in East Flatbush and was the flower girl to our ring bearer at the wedding of her sister and our uncle.

We also used to hang out at some of the places to eat along Cross Bay Boulevard like Pizza City and The Big Bow Wow [pics below by Bill Aiello], which we put in our story "Heat of the Moment" in And To Think That He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street.

In the 1980s, when we came up from Florida for the summer, we'd sometimes take our grandmother to Howard Beach for New Park Pizza or TCBY.

Like Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, Howard Beach has homeowners who are serious/funny about decorating their homes for Christmas. But as we walked from the station to Cross Bay Boulevard, mostly on 102nd Street and 157th Avenue, we noticed a lot of Halloween decorations in this neighborhood near the airport where jets fly overhead constantly.

At first the decorations seemed kind of subtle.

Like this buried skeleton, which can't really be seen from a passing car.

Or just these guys hanging around in the breeze.

Some of the bigger decorations haven't even been blown up yet. After all, Halloween is still almost three weeks away.

The blocks seemed pretty festive, though.

Jack-o'-lanterns, of course, were prevalent.

Scarecrows too.

As we walked, we noticed some decor was slightly more elaborate.


Crows are big this year.

Witches not so much. Maybe objections from feminists?

Anyway, it made for a nice walk when it was still pretty chilly around 8 a.m.

One look at this scary guy and we speeded up toward Starbucks.

While there, we read in the Times an article citing data that holidays like Halloween make Americans happy, according to data from Facebook. We guess folks in Howard Beach must be really happy. They seem to know how to celebrate Halloween.

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