Atlantic Avenue, depending upon how I choose to get to it, is either two short blocks or one longer block and two short blocks from where I live. Two short blocks if I just head up Boerum/Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard, but that is the less interesting route. Although Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard (I prefer that name, it sounds more exotic) is pretty this time of year when they light it up. If you come into Brooklyn by way of the Brooklyn Bridge and keep going straight this is what you will be on. A nice stretch with multiple lanes and a wide median with plantings that change depending upon the season.
Well, that is what it is until it hits Atlantic Avenue. Then it narrows down and ends, rather ingloriously, a few blocks later at an iron works. Not quite the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, but a lot closer.
Anyway, I prefer walking down Schermerhorn, also known as The Street No One Can Pronounce Or Spell, to Court Street and then south for two blocks to Atlantic.
I live on the corner of Schermerhorn and Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard. I have been here thirty years now and can't imagine living anywhere else. Well, I can, but I wouldn't want to. That is because I often imagine myself living in a small apartment with peeling pea soup green wallpaper in..., well never mind. I don't even know why I often imagine such a thing.
And right across the street from me is the Transit Museum. We were going to go there yesterday but even when it just opened it was getting crowded. They said Tuesdays at 1:00 PM was the best time. We will see. They have a Coney Island exhibit now and I want to see that. I am a big fan of Coney Island, especially the bars. But that is another story.
Anyway, as I walk down Schermerhorn I pass an interesting place. It is owned by a Chinese fraternal society of some kind. The people who live there pretty much keep to themselves but I wave to a few of them who smile and wave back. Some of them collect cans for pocket change and are very industrious about it. I still remember when they were taking them out of a trashcan at a Greek Festival down the street and could not be chased away for love nor money.
This is the Greek Church just down the block where they have the festival. It is a week-long block party that seems to get bigger every year. Sadly, it has now become like a mini street fair. It used to be more authentic with a lamb roasting in the back and a lot of homemade goodies like moussaka and stuff. Slot machines and poker, if you know where to look. They still have some of the homemade goodies and gyros plus Greek beer and wine. They never have retsina though. A pity.
Next door to the church is a tobacco shop that has quite a selection of cigars and pipe tobacco, snuff, and pipes (some not for tobacco products). They don't sell cigarettes, though. Nicky, the owner, said it is too much of a hassle and he doesn't have enough room to stock them. Back in the day I would buy the occasional cigar from him, but I have given them up. I can't help but inhale when I smoke them.
At the corner now there is a bank. Bank branches have popped up everywhere. A pity, there once was a real nice bakery there that also sold excellent pizzas. But, as I have said, everything changes.
And across the street from that, also relatively new, is a Paris Baguette Cafe. That used to be part of the Bruno's Hardware store next to it, if I remember correctly. Then it was a flower shop for awhile. The upstairs used to be just for storage, but now it is apartments.
Not sure what the function of that structure next to it serves. It is always locked but is another entrance to the transit museum. Maybe, back in the day, that museum was an actual subway stop.
Anyway, that is my block. Next I will show you the two blocks of Court Street that I walk down to get to Atlantic Avenue, and then the real adventure, such that it is, will begin.