Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday Morning in Bensonhurst: Breakfast by Gravesend Bay at Bensonhurst Park

Due to spring break, we didn't have to teach our Short Story class on the Brooklyn College campus this morning, so we decided to have an early breakfast by the waters of Gravesend Bay in Bensonhurst.

Back in the late 1880s, when William Merritt Chase created his pastel Afternoon by the Sea (Gravesend Bay), Brooklynites enjoyed the view too, though they could see the traditional catboats back then.

We got here by taking the G train to Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street, where we changed for the D train to Bay Parkway. There we got the B6 bus at 86th Street to the Ceasar's Bay (yes, that's how it's spelled) Shopping Center on the other side of the Belt Parkway.

We came to this shopping center by car in the '60s and '70s, when the department store E.J. Korvette (along with Macy's, the best customer for our father and grandfather's Art Pants Company fine men's and young men's slacks, designed by Marc Richards and Jon Scott [us, our brothers and cousin]). There was later a KMart here, and now there's a Kohl's, a Best Buy, and other big-box stores, in addition to several banks and a Wendy's at the intersection.

Some fish must have gone shopping and left their cart by the rocks.

It was a glorious spring morning, and lots of people were out: mostly older ones, but a few young'uns too, running,


doing group calithenics

and individual tai chi

or just resting after a bicycle ride around the Belt Parkway.

Every garbage pail we saw was filled to the brim and even more, which was kind of disgusting.

In 1973-74, when we were in the master's program in English at Richmond College, we'd drive over the Verrazano-Narrows to classes and back to Brooklyn four days a week, sometimes more.

In the evenings a lot of times, we were still immersed in what we did in class that we'd find ourselves on the Belt Parkway

without having any memory of going over the bridge.

Two adult children, a brother and sister, were scattering their mother's ashes into the bay. We thought that was too private to take a pic of, but they left some flowers by the rail.

On the railing were reproductions of the sea life in the estuary,

which of course is where the sea water of the Atlantic Ocean meets the fresh water of the Hudson River and creates an incredibly vibrant ecosystem.

There's a tennis court and gym by the shopping center. People who don't know any better pay for parking meters here when they could just park for free at the lot just off the Belt Parkway (of course they may be coming from a different direction).

We had a nice couple of hours at the park

and then walked up Bay Parkway and across 86th Street, past where we used to help out at our family's old Pants Set store,

and back to the Starbucks near the 20th Avenue D train stop of the West End el.

It wasn't running into Manattan so we had to go to Coney Island and get the train home from there.

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