Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Morning in Manhattan Beach: Good Friday Breakfast at Manhattan Beach

On this beautiful Good Friday morning we made it to Manhattan Beach in less than hour from Williamsburg, thanks to quick connections on the B48 bus at Lorimer and Metropolitan, the B train at Prospect Park, and the B1 bus on Brighton Beach Avenue after we got a bialy and iced tea to take to the beach.

So we were here before 8:30 a.m. and it was beautiful to smell the salt air and see the ocean again.

This was "our" Brooklyn beach in adolescence and our twenties and was pretty much the same for kids like us who lived in southeastern Brooklyn and were driving in our teens. We remember one time when we'd driven here alone when we were about 20 and started chatting up the two girls at the next blanket. Finally one said, "You don't realize how old we are" and told us they were married women around 30. (Of course they'd assumed we were about 17, not 20.) We have a June memory of someone's transistor playing Beatles songs, and later, "Band of Gold." Today the bare trees made it clear that it is not yet June.

We first came here with our ninth grade friends from Meyer Levin J.H.S. 285 on the Brooklyn Day holiday in 1966. Unlike Coney Island or Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach didn't have a subway right there, nor stores or amusements. In those days the B49 bus, which we took on our way back, to the Sheepshead Bay Road Q/B station, didn't go into Manhattan Beach but ran only to the end of Ocean Avenue, and we had to walk over the wooden Ocean Avenue bridge over the bay and then through the streets of Manhattan Beach (the neighborhood) to get to the beach.

It's a lot smaller than Coney and Brighton to the east, a little curved cove of sand. To us, it's the nicest stretch of beach in Brooklyn except for the little private beach slightly to the east on the campus of Kingsborough Community College, where we taught between 1978 and 1980. In those days our step-great-grandmother Bessie Shapiro lived a few blocks away along with her sister Etta.

Ordinarily the buses are jammed with KCC students on weekdays, but this is spring break at CUNY and that's basically why we came today. The beach actually didn't look so good, with something we'd never seen before:

trenches of water due to the deluge downpour a few days ago, and there was sand on the concrete walkway. The sand also seemed darker and coarser than we'd remembered.

Mostly older people were about, jogging and speedwalking and chatting in Russian (or a few in Chinese), along with a couple of bicyclists.

It was nice to hang out and look at the water. The beautiful Marine Parkway Bridge is faintly off in the foggy distance here.

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