Can’t Go Home Again
Can’t Go Home Again
Took a ride by myself Sunday afternoon, heading no place in particular. I Ended up coming off the highway onto the Crossbay Blvd. in Howard Beach. You would not recognize the place. The Blvd is so built up. The New Park Pizza is still there and still making a pretty decent slice (yes, I stopped off for one). The bowling alley appears to be gone and I didn't recognize about 90 percent of what was there.
I continued into Broad Channel and that seemed pretty much the same. Actually, the only way to change that place is by blowing it up and starting over.
From there I continued into Rockaway. The new Cross Bay Bridge is very modern and without the personality of the old one. The old carousel near the foot of the bridge is gone and the toll plaza is totally modern.
In Rockaway almost everything has changed. Even the roads don't seem to follow the old paths. Beach Channel Drive, I am sure, has been reconfigured and at one point there seems to be considerable landfill and a high school sits on it. In Belle Harbor (I think Fredda lived on 141 Street and Dave on 142) there was a mixture of newer and the old homes. I'm not sure if I recognized anything.
Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Hammels down used to follow under the old elevated tracks. All of a sudden it was Beach Channel Drive. I believe that was reconfigured as well.
My old shul, Derech Emunoh on Rockaway beach Boulevard and Bch 67 St. still stands after to arson attempts at destroying it. It was rebuilt and is once again functioning. However, the brick Hebrew school behind it is gone as are all the old homes and boarding houses. The entire area is a wide open field right up to the beach. It's almost scary.
I then drove to the bay front where my ouse was. It's gone and not a trace of it remains. Yet two old trees that were there in 1948 when I moved in are still there, although they are now misshapen. There's a sign that two "affordable homes" will be built on the site. The little beach on the bay across from the house is blocked by a highway type metal divider and the beach itself is very small and flithy.
Believe me, it was time to leave. I just headed back to the bridge and New Jersey. I still have mental pictures of how things were and I will always have that. I don't know if I'll ever go back.