Brooklyn during the late 1960’s and early 70’s was probably not too different from most places as far as neighborhoods go. We were part of NYC but I defy you to find one person from BROOKLYN to say so. We were still in denial about the Dodgers leaving and expecting them to come home and the flag draped coffins kept parading out of St. Patrick’s Church while the Vietnam “War” came to our living rooms each night on the evening news. It didn’t make much sense to me as I watched with horror the agonized cries of mothers while fathers tried to hold back the tears over the their little boy who” was just playing little league” as the coffins were loaded in the hearse.
As frightening as that was, there was another deadly drama playing out in streets right before my eyes each day. I lived across the street from a park built under the Verazano Bridge. Saturday mornings I would wake up early , have a bowl of Captain Crunch and find an adult to “cross me”( get me across the 2 way street) called Fort Hamilton Parkway so I could go play in park and sneak off to the ” Girders” which was the fenced in area directly under the bridge adjacent to the Army base- Fort Hamilton. We would climb under the Bridge and walk along the tiny girders 100 ft. off the ground. It took years before the fear of heights was given to me. Many times I would find the carnage from the night before; hundreds of empty beer bottles, vomit, unconscious or dead teenagers, pills, hypo-dermic needles, used condoms and the occasionally discarded model airplane left behind by glue sniffers with the glue covered tissue filled paper bags. The models were the prize I was after.
Posted on Routine Patrol.