Today’s news:

Big screecher

In last week’s column, I wrote about how great it was being on Bay Parkway south of 86th Street waiting for my wife to take the three‚ąíminute trip from Bay 50th Street. Thanks to the MTA, an hour later she finally met me in Pet Land where I was supposed to buy another Siamese fighting fish. We decided to come back to Pet Land after we finished walking through the festival, rather than jostle the Betta in a bag for hours. It was like we were in a different world, not like the Bensonhurst we grew up in. True there were lots of Asians, Mexicans, Russians, Pakistani, Polish and many other new Americans of various nationalities, not only in the streets enjoying themselves but vending their wares, foods, games, rides and what have you. It was a fun day.

Having grown up in Little Italy, I was born and raised on Italian feasts and after moving to Brooklyn have learned to avoid them or at least the food vendors. There were stands selling ears of corn, charcoal roasted, for $3 each. Businesses took advantage of the volume of people who gave out special prices to try their foods, such as the “On A Roll” restaurant at 1964 86 street who put chairs and tables in the street to accommodate all the customers trying their exquisite $3.95 roast beef sandwich for $2.95 like we did…it was totally delicious and we will be going back!

There were balloon type rides for the kids. There was one stand selling Karaoke CDs three for a dollar, playing on giant speakers great disco music. I asked which CD had the numbers of the music I was listening to and she brought out a CD for $14.95, I ran! Nearby there was a stand selling Chinese plants. Another stand was selling bedroom linens and sheets, and all over there were many stands hawkng real as well as costume jewelry. Some vendors sold their wares or toys or balloons from their hands. It was hectic going through the huge crowd in my scooter, but everybody was amenable, friendly and courteous. Smiles were contagious as strangers were strangers no more under the El.

The festival was put together by the Community Emergency Response Team CERT 1011, The South West Brooklyn Parks Task Force and the 62nd Precinct Council. Kudos to all that made this event so successful. Enjoying himself with Community Affairs Officer Steve Agosta was 62nd Precinct Commander John Sprague who visited the service stands such as the one sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Colton registering people and dispensing literature of what his office does for the community. There were tables sponsored by the United Progressive Democratic Clubs and the Knights of Pythias, spearheaded by Carl Broder. Stephanie Wong and Steve Chu of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn were there greeting everyone.

A word of caution to those responsible for the successful event…someone should check with the Transit Authority that service would be available and alert their staff on duty as to familiarize themselves with the Festival and directions to get there quickly. And as I was scooting underneath the El, every time a train passed I prayed that no nuts and bolts would be falling. It wouldn’t hurt the TA to check the rails and baskets before the parade to insure that nothing was loose. Meanwhile, again kudos for a very successful festival.

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