Posted by Nate Goldman
on Wednesday, March 20th 2019:
In Reply to: Re: Who says you cant go home? posted by Steve on Monday, March 18th 2019:
Steve, I miss that old softball field, adjacent to Westminster Road, as we not only played softball there, but gathered there before going back to our classes, following the lunch break, which was from about 12PM to 12:50PM. I don't remember waiting there in the AM, to go to classes; we may have only gathered outside in the warmer weather, as it would have been too cold to have waited there in the winter. At a predetermined signal, all of the teachers would blow their whistles very loudly. I remember them signaling to each other, by waving their whistles in the air, before they blew them. If anyone was caught talking, by either the teachers or their student monitors, they were pulled out of line, admonished, and written up. One time, as I was leaving school after the 3PM bell (it must have been in either the 2rd or 3th grade-either 1952, or 1953), two big bullies whom I never met before. were chasing me through that softball field. I had no idea why they singled me out. They were obviously older, and physically larger; I was a little kid, and was no match for them. I ran nearly all the way to the gate by Westminster Road, when all of a sudden, my tough cousin Phil Bressel, who was several grades in ahead of me at 217, physically stopped both of those bullies in their tracks, and knocked both of them on their collective tuchas'. He took good care of them; I remember how he came out of nowhere, and knocked one down, and then the other one. I guess that those bullies didn't know what hit them! Incidentally, I forgot to mention that there was a Mrs. Ruben, whom we also had for Physical Education. One of the students in our class, Lou Schaffel become one of the owners of the Miami Heat; another student, Harvey Kolonko became a NYC Patrolman, on the NYPD. Harvey could really belt a softball out of that field, quite a distance. I remember that when he hit the ball, it went all of the way towards the upper floors on the side of 217. One time, in the 4th grade, we were entertained in the auditorium by some Hopi Indians, who danced in their traditional costumes. The speaker for that event invited us to the Hopi reservation in Arizona. I always wondered how the Hopis came to 217 from Arizona. Later, I found out that a number of Hopi Indians were living in Brooklyn. In fact, some of them were seen at a bakery on Avenue J. There was a little girl at the bakery with her parents, who must have been four or five years old. When she saw the Native Americans in their costumes, she started screaming "INDIANS, INDIANS", until her parents calmed her down. In 1995, prior to the extension of 217 being built over that softball field, I visited Brooklyn, and parked my car on Westminster Road, near 217. I took some photos of 217 and that field. It brought back many pleasant memories. Some seven years later, in 2002, when I drove by that area again, I was very saddened to see the softball field of my youth gone, as the new 217 expansion had been built over that area. Incidentally, there was a gate on Westminster Road, at the northeastern end of the softball field, where we would exit from. For some reason, vandals were always tearing up the metal fence, halfway between that gate, and the batting area, of the softball field. In addition, while waiting for the recess to end, we would watch the huge DC-6's and DC-7's passing overhead, on their final approach to LaGuardia Airport.
Reference ID: BK95750
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