Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ten Rows In

Stickball in Blissville was played on an empty block by the cemetery, close enough so mothers could watch over, far enough to give the players a sense of freedom.

A home run, as Bobby Czartoryski explained to me in an email, was when the ball was hit so hard it went ten rows into the cemetery. It took several boys to lift one over the wall to fetch the ball. Bobby is one of the old-timers still living here.

November tenth marks a reunion, the first of its kind, for residents of Blissville during the 1940s, 50s, 60s and any other epoch. It will be held at what was once the Old Bradley's Inn. I once photographed, simply by coincidence, a man whose father once owned the inn. He remembers a childhood of Christmases there, marked by watching his father stuff a paper bag with money, under the counter and ready for when the police came by.

His father finally sold the inn. By the time I moved here it was the Cork Lounge where ceilis were danced and potatoes were grown in the tiny backyard behind the kitchen. Now it's the Bantry Bay Publick House. Little is changed inside from the days of the old Cork, but now they serve a shepherd's pie more divine than words could describe. These are the marks of time in Blissville.


Anonymous Bobby C - former resident said...

Our "ballfield" was a empty cement lot bordered by Borden, Van Dam and Bradley Avenues. Bradley Avenue had a off ramp from the LIE, our "stands" to watch the game. The outfield was Borden Avenue. Have you ever been told to play in traffic? We did. If you hit the ball onto the LIE it was an out and of course the poor guy who hit it had to retrieve it. Softballs cost money. Now if you clubbed one OVER the 6 lane highway, that was a homer. I remember only one guy performing this feat...Chickie Carpellis.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's slices of history like this one that paint a masterpiece of life in Blissville! What an interesting post. Keep them coming.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Bobby C said...

The Polish Democratic Club which stood at the corner of Greenpoint and Starr Avenues held an anuual "bus ride" to either Dover or Somerville NJ. It was a HUGH event as we city kids and our parents could leave the hot cement of the city behind and enjoy fresh air and see grass. It was usually in July. Normally 2 buses would leave at 7AM on a Sunday and come back home Sunday night. A great deal of drinking took place on the bus. One year the entire back section, younger people would get smashed before we arrived at our destination. We would wake up just in time to leave. Sometimes we would "spike" the fruit with vodka or rum in the watermelon and peaches. The old ladies would down the fruit in record time and begin singing to the bus driver above love and the birds and the bees. I guess you had to be there. I was there but I barely remember what happened (>young whippersnapper circa 1960)

8:04 PM  
Blogger Blissville said...

Now I will have to go back to these familiar blocks and study them anew. I thank you, thank you for these memories.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Blissville folk!

Like Bobby C. I played baseball on the concrete at the Van Dam st exit of the LIE. This was 1946-54 and I remember the name Chickie but I recall his last name was Carpells. Do you recall the black and white painted home plate and bases???

I could be wrong about the name, so many years have passed.

Bobby also noted the Polish club.

My family was greek-italian but virtually all our neighbors were
polish. I remember when I was about 8 (in 1948) seeing one of my relatives by marriage named Mrs. Chupas peeling hundreds of pound of 'taters' and mashing them
into a giant metal tub on the street! This was in preparation for the tater pancakes which were for the upcoming polish wedding. I now recall thanks to Bobby C the whole aura of the polish club on the corner of Starr and Greenpoint Ave as we owned the house immediately east of it.

Perhaps one of you knew of my uncles Paul and Sam Reres who owned the barber shop 4 doors east of the Polish club. My family name is Larosa. If that rings a bell please let me know. We may have old friends in common. my email is
I am in St petersburg florida
and am very grateful for the effort you all have put into the
Blissville blog. It is wonderful!
Thanks for the memories!!!

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Paulie and Sammy. They would hide the "dirty" magazines behind the TV. If one of us kids attempted to drool over the mag Sammy or Paulie would cut us off at the pass.

4:40 PM  

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