Where is the Leaving Brooklyn – Fuggedaboutitsign on the Belt Parkway?Who took it down and what misguided authority would have perpetrated such a heinous act?
Recently, while celebrating one of Aunt Mary’s traditions of having dessert in her dining room after a family lunch, we all gathered there one last time. Barbara wanted us to have a memento of her mother, so sheinvited us all back to the house to select an item or two before disposing of Mary’s worldly possessions, of which she had more than her share. We always kidded my aunt, “Mary – you know when Macy’s runs out of stock, they just call you up for a re-fill.”
When Bri and I arrived,cousins Sis (Rochelle), her husband Charlie, their daughter Laura,Gail, Philip, Marla, Barbara and George were already sitting at the table enjoying coffee, cake, stories and, of course, lots of laughter. We have never been a somber group,so why should now be different?
Cousin Laura, who was visiting from LA, asked if I knewhad happened to the sign.“What sign” I asked. “You know, ‘Leaving Brooklyn…….Fuggedaboutit’” … Since I now use public transportation for work (two trains and a boat), I had no idea it was AWOL. Sure enough, on the way home that night, I discovered the ‘Fuggedaboutit’ sign was conspicuously absent.
The funny thing about things, signs in particular,is that one never really appreciates their presence until their absence.Both signs – enteringBrooklyn and leaving the borough — have alwaysmeant home to me. No matter how far I’ve strayed from the borough, there have always been two constants, the sign coming in and the sign going out. Like Pavlov’s dogs, the sight of them switches on a set of emotions for me, security, relief and homecoming.
This borough of churches and diversity is the only place I will ever feel at home. Nowhere else have I ever travelled where the water from the tap tasted as good as the tap on Village Road North normy salivary glands worked as hard as when getting a whiff of jelly donuts frying in George’s Bakery late on a summer’s evening. No other place that I might live will ever elicit the same loyalty or love. Even the air in Brooklyn is different -the way it shimmers on the hot asphalt of the Belt Parkway on a hot summer afternoon or the way it smells after a summer rain.
I’ve accepted the fact that as a native Brooklynite I will never get the borough out of my blood.As the Eagles once said, “Youcan check out any time you like,but you can never leave.”
I’m hoping that the replacement of the sign was just a construction oversight and not a permanent condition and that it will be back in its rightful place soon, because not replacing it – Not for nuthin’ DOE you can Fuggedabout it…. J DelBuono@cnglocal.com