The moon was full over Brooklyn last night, more specifically over the Gravesend neighborhood. It cast a lovely, ghostly light as always. Spiritual or macabre depending on your mood.
Gravesend is a unique place, the spot in Brooklyn where immigrants tend to first settle. It was settled in 1643 by Lady Deborah Moody and a merry band of English Quakers – the first of many immigrants to follow. I know this because of the plaque at the historic cemetery nearby (fitting).
Fifty years ago it was an Italian neighborhood. Now it’s Russian, Chinese, Korean, and still has some Italian residents. My in-laws’ neighbor is from Albania – he is a Muslim and a wonderful neighbor – something my Italian in-laws thought was an oxymoron.
Gravesend is a no frills place. There are no fancy expensive shops. Ok – there is a pretty fancy liquor store, run as many of the liquor stores are by Russians. When our 25 year old hip daughter visited last year she was tickled by the proprietor who was quite suave and elegant with a cultured Eastern European accent. Asking me to swipe my credit card he simply gestured and said “pleez.”
The avenues are for shopping. Avenue ‘U’ and ‘X’ and 86th street – ok not an avenue but under the ‘EL’ it functions like one. 86rh has many shops of all sorts – including a very large and well stocked oriental market. (86th street is probably in Bensonhurst officially anyway.)
On Ave ‘X’ there are a few blocks of mostly utilitarian shops Bagels and Beyond, a corner connivence store with a perpetual hot dog special – $1.50. But my favorite is a new coffee shop – Amore & Baci – very pretty and unlike it’s surroundings.
The Rite Aid drug store just announced that it was renovated and new – we did some shopping there today – Tucks and nasal spray. The store seemed a little cleaner but we couldn’t see any renovations.
Cuccio’s was another story. Completely renovated, it’s an old Italian bread store and pastry shop. Until recently it was pretty dirty and run down but over the holidays it was redone. And the result is much nicer. But the display cases weren’t full and they didn’t have any sfgyadelles – tomorrow the baker said . We think might always be tomorrow for sfgyadelles at Cuccios. The biscuits I just had with espresso where great though so we’ll give them another go.
I’ll continue this post when I’m back at my computer and can post photos more easily. The one of the moon is a photo of the screen on my camera taken with my iPhone. It’s still a picture of the moon thou, eh?