Showing posts from June, 2007

The August 2003 Blackout

10 Things We Did During The Blackout (2003) by James Enright 1. Crossed Coney Island Avenue without getting hit by cars. 2. Turned on my Playstation then realized it wouldn't work without electricity (duh!) 3. Had Sarah & Anthony & Henry & Isaac over to eat up all the melting ice cream--a pint apiece! 4. Lit a lot of candles. 5. Played charades by candlelight. 6. Laid in the driveway with my dad when it got dark and watched the stars. 7. Walked down to the cut and back with a flashlight. 8. Listened to people walking by on the street late at night when there was no noise. 9. Turned on the TV out of habit then realized it wouldn't work (duh...again). 10. Watched a lot of people listening to the news on their car radio.

Halloween Through The Years (2000-2008)

HALLOWEEN, 2001 By Homeowner Harry Last year I wrote a little fluffy codicil to my wife Virginia’s article in which I joked that the parade was an accurate predictor of weather and market trends. Well, I made all that up of course. But watching the parade this year, I felt that it was a very important step on the road back to fighting fear. Inspector Coan remarked that there was NOTHING else happening in the 70 Pct. that night -- many other planned activities had been cancelled, what with the anthrax attacks so much on everyone's mind. “You guys are the only ones going forward.” I’m glad we did. I remember most vividly standing with Joe Lerner on his front porch, as we watched our sons Jesse and James, dressed in full ghoulish regalia, gleefully distributing great gobs of candy to hordes of youngsters. Across the street, a “mood lamp” in the 2nd floor window of an otherwise dark house kept changing its color, lending an eerie glow to the street. It was

West Midwood Centennial & The Internet (2002)

The View From Argyle Heights by Homeowner Harry While waiting for the D train one day, admiring the trees hanging over the edges of the local tracks down near Dekoven Court, and how they swayed with each passing express, I thought: “I should write about this for the newsletter.” That was 8 years ago. Then last night I saw a solicitation for articles in the newsletter. So I called up editor Laura Givner and told her about the trees-swaying-over-the-cut incident. After an uncomfortable silence, Laura advised me to try and work some other stuff in. And so I came up with an idea to do a “West-Midwood-History-on-The-Internet-Extravaganza-Type-Situation” while at the same time providing some Internet tips. Sort of an “old-meets- somewhat-new” angle, get it? First, to see some 1908 photos of the neighborhood I put on line, point your browser to: TIP: If you put your mouse on this page of the newsletter and click on the web address rig

House Tour Type Situation (2006)

The View From Argyle Heights by Homeowner Harry Another in a series of observations about life in West Midwood as it is lived today…or maybe not June 4, 2006. Well, the Victorian Flatbush House Tour is next Sunday and here I am cleaning the house to make it presentable to the hordes of strangers who will descend from the heart of the empire to marvel about the adaptation of life in such cruel habitats. I speak from experience since I have been through this before. Mingling with the tourists gives you a truer appreciation of what they’re really thinking after they’ve given you the usual “Nice house” comment and pass out of earshot … “Nice porch if you overlook that hideous sofa.” “Do people actually sit out here? People on the street can actually see you! What’s to stop them from starting a conversation and then maybe rob you and shoot you or maybe just kill you and rape you?” “Hmmm. With so many windows, where’s your privacy? And oh look – that drape is way too mauve.”

A Media Adventure. Sort Of. (2006)

A Media Adventure. Sort Of. Another in a series of observations about life in West Midwood as it is lived today...or maybe not... Back in March of 2006 we got a letter from our insurance carrier, who shall remain nameless in somebody else’s column, but in this one, they’re called Allstate. Their letter reminisced about what a crumby year it had been for the insurance industry and all, what with Katrina and stuff, and, oh by the way, we’re canceling your homeowner’s insurance. Apparently we lived on the wrong side of the Allegheny Mountains. Well, word got around and our teenage son has a lot of influential friends in this town, so pretty soon, I’m pulling my car over one night, blocking some guy’s driveway on Stratford Road while trying to have a conversation with a New York Times reporter. “How did you get this number?” I demanded. “Your wife gave it to me. She also asked me to tell you if you could pick up some juice on the way hone, she’d appreciate it.” “Did she sa

The View From Argyle Heights: Movies (2007)

The View From Argyle Heights by Homeowner Harry Another in a series of observations about life in West Midwood as it is lived today...or maybe not... On February 25th, “The Departed” won the Academy Award for Best Picture. As Argyle Heightsians are well aware, that movie featured an August 2005 “shoot” on Dekoven Court. However, most Argyle Heightsers probably missed another feature movie that included a scene shot in our neighborhood six months earlier - “The Protocols of Zion” - a documentary about anti-Semitism. Marc Levin, the director/narrator, interviewed his father, Alan Levin, in front of what appears to be Rob and Lance’s “Loralei”, at 667 Argyle Road. Shot at twilight on a snowy Winter night, Alan, who was born in 1926, discusses how he was tormented by the Irish kids who used to live on that block when he passed by as a school boy in the 1930’s. The camera looks North over Alan’s shoulder toward Foster Avenue as he recounts his memories of a harsher time. As I was