A downhill slalom in Windsor Terrace

I took 189 pictures on my Friday visit to Windsor Terrace. I figured separating the wheat from the chaff would be easy, but it’s not. You can expect a large gallery on Monday. Many of the pictures there could easily have gone in this post.

This was the first trip for which I used the RunKeeper app to track where I walked. The GPS took a toll on my battery, but it’s a good witness to how I meandered through the neighborhood. I’ve marked the points of interest.

From the countless loops I’ve run in and around Prospect Park, I knew I’d have gravity on my side if I started in the north and worked my way south. I took the B69 to the stop at 19 St and Prospect Park West. I began at the gate to Green-Wood Cemetery one block west [1], built for the car-service that terminated there. This entrance is open only on weekends.

Back on 19 St walking south, I came across Bishop Ford [2]. It takes up the entire block on the site of the terminus of the original Culver Line. Thanks to my research, I finally understood why there are Chinese elements on the logo, and why there is a pagoda on top of the school. (The school’s colors, red and black, are symbolic of the Maryknoll Fathers, the group to which Bishop Ford belonged when he was in China.)

That tower [3] in the background is tall — 260 feet tall, in fact. It’s used to broadcast programming for the Diocese of Brooklyn. I did not see any red-tailed hawks or peregrine falcons, which are occasional visitors.

Most of the architecture in Windsor Terrace is traditional, although there is a group of modern buildings at 11 Terrace Place [4]. It has one of the shiniest garage-doors I’ve ever seen. I imagined a game of laser tag going on inside.

As penance for tearing up the neighborhood to build the Prospect Expressway, the city built a few parks. Seeley Park and Thomas J. Cuite Park [5] are on either side of Seeley Street on the west side of the highway. I can’t imagine that either is a good place to read a book.

I had neglected to eat breakfast, so I was already hungry. I stopped in at Terrace Cafe [6], which has been in existence for a year and a half. It was a quiet day: I was the only customer until near the end, although they had plenty of orders for delivery. The owner and the staff are Hispanic, representative of the diversification Windsor Terrace has seen over the past few decades. A regular came in with her toddler and exchanged pleasantries with the staff. My breakfast platter hit the spot, and everyone was friendly and chatty.

Temple Court [7] must be in the running for shortest road in New York City. Signs say that parking is for residents only.

Prospect Park Southwest has a few shops, including the popular Johnny & Tino’s [8], which serves Italian ices. (Lonelyville Coffee is true to its name — it closed three years ago. That nothing has moved into its space says something about the state of local shops.)

Twice I saw that classic method of drying clothing: on a line!

The area around East 7th Street has some funky newer housing.

Prospect Avenue in south Windsor Terrace is a major commercial area. It also has a lot of day-care centers from what I could see. Brooklyn Commune [9] gets much of its ingredients from the Kensington-Windsor Terrace Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. (I’m also convinced that the Fort Hamilton Parkway station is humongous.)

Farther down Prospect Avenue, toward where it meets Ocean Parkway, is the firehouse of Engine Company 240 [10]. It dates from 1895. Across the street is another of those parks right along the expressway. Concentrating on your game of chess must be a blast.

I walked over the bridge alongside Fort Hamilton Parkway. There’s no way a vehicle is getting on to the footpath, although the set-up does make for some interesting lateral movement when you’re running through the fences. Traffic was light on the highway.

On the other side of the bridge is Greenwood Playground [11], complete with an asphalt baseball-diamond. There were a few guys practicing fielding. (I would not want to be involved in any close plays on that surface.) There is a dilapidated entrance to the subway nearby.

Immaculate Heart of Mary School [12] is on Fort Hamilton Parkway in the southwest part of the neighborhood. Its distinctive tower is a beacon of sorts for the area. Many Easter ribbons, in memory of loved ones, danced in the wind.

It’s spring — what better time to take care of some work around the house (or in the backyard)?

Greenwood Avenue has a few cool spots. I have no idea what the thing on the left is supposed to represent, but I really like it. The two free-standing buildings on the right [13] remind me of the children’s book The Little House.

On McDonald Av between Greenwood Av and Fort Hamilton Parkway is a cluster of large, drab buildings [14]. They overlook Green-Wood Cemetery, where a lone cherry-blossom was holding on to its flowers. As I took this picture, it began to rain; I was lucky that it was light and only lasted a minute or two.

One thing I noticed about the south end of Windsor Terrace is there is a lot of open space. Maybe this stems from the same source as the empty Lonelyville Coffee storefront.

I had been looking forward to visiting Kensington Stables [15]. I often see horses in the equestrian ring in Prospect Park near the Bartel-Pritchard entrance, and along the path from the southwest corner of the park. It was cool to see a group of horses and ponies in their stables. The gentleman in the first picture was petting a horse for the first time. He was very excited, although he was worried about getting bitten.

The circle at the southwest corner of Prospect Park is called Park Circle [16]. It’s completely undeveloped. I was amused by the “horse lane” next to the road. Many schoolkids were using the bike lane on their way to the park.

I didn’t fancy walking uphill on Prospect Park Southwest, so I caught the B68 to the northeast part of the neighborhood, which I had neglected earlier in the day. At 253 Windsor Place [17], there is an unusual 24-foot-wide multi-family building. It dates from 1920.

At the top of the hill is Holy Name of Jesus School [18]. Classes were just getting out, and excited students were running up and down Prospect Park West, happy the weekend had finally arrived. (Apparently it was “dress-down” day — a double bonus.)

While I still had some juice on my battery, I took a few pictures of Bartel-Pritchard Square [19]. The distinctive pattern of the interior — an inner circle with four paths radiating — remains from the early 20th century. At center now is a memorial, erected by VFW Post #964 in 1965, honoring local residents who have died fighting for America.

I finished my tour at Farrell’s [20], just in time for the start of the Red Sox-Yankees game on the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. There were a dozen or so persons at the bar and a few more at a table in the back. I was the only outsider at the bar, but the bartender, Mike, wasted no time pouring me a Budweiser. (I’ve never liked Bud Heavy, but everything I’d heard about the Bud at Farrell’s was true — it’s really tasty, for some reason.)

The atmosphere was jovial and fraternal. “Hey, weren’t you at the first game at Fenway Park?” one end of the bar ribbed the other. Mike attributed Dustin Pedroia’s error in the first inning to his being blinded by “Jeter’s aura”. A few patrons watched horse-racing on another screen.

“Farrell’s was always more than a neighborhood watering hole,” wrote local author Denis Hamill. “The citizens of Windsor Terrace have always used Farrell’s as a local meeting place to celebrate a new baby, mourn their dead, or to ask around for a job when a pink slip made for a blue Christmas.” (from Brooklyn’s Windsor Terrace, Kensington, & Parkville communities by Brian Merlis and Lee A Rosenzweig (Israelowitz Publishing, 2010))

I’ve been to a few “neighborhood” bars in my life, but Farrell’s is unique. There is no music. The original tin ceilings are intact, and fans on them whir. There are memorials to victims of 9/11, most prominently to Vincent Brunton, a firefighter who tended bar on occasion. Regulars leave their change on the bar for the bartender to take on subsequent rounds.

The guy next to me, sitting on one of the few chairs at the bar, ordered a shot of Dewar’s and a Bud, then another a few minutes later; Mike had left the handle in front of him. On the third round, the TV was showing prices of household items in 1912, about which the customer made a wistful comment. Mike sympathized and rewarded him with a knock on the bar, signifying that this round was on the house.

Windsor Terrace as a whole — the north end in particular — had that same neighborly vibe. As I first started out, I came across a man sitting on his stoop, reading a newspaper. He looked up, nodded, gave me a “how you doin’?”, and went back to his paper. Later, I stopped at the office of the local Marshal; curious to know what exactly a Marshal does, I walked in and asked the woman at the front desk. She told me (he evicts people, collects civil fines, etc.), and then looked at me and said, “Wait, did you come in here just to ask what a Marshal does?” We both had a good laugh. Toward the end, a few older ladies, deep in conversation on a stoop, gave me a smile. Maybe they took their cue from me — for most of the day, I had been smiling myself.

This entry was posted in Visit recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply