I felt like Paul Revere shouting “Channel 12 is coming! News12 is coming” the Wednesday before the rally as I scooted up and down Harway Avenue to mobilize the shopkeepers.
Frank and Son’s Shoe Repair has been in business since 1939, Frank is 90 years old and every day you can see him hammering away at the shoes like Geppetto. Three generations the shoe store has served the community. Good shoemakers nowadays are hard to find. I remember the late city Councilman Sam Horwitz coming from Seagate to get his shoes fixed by Frank. Michael, the son, said, “if our customers can’t get here by bus, they’ll find another shoe repair shop closer to home.”
B & M’s Hardware store a block away on Harway Avenue is also a rare find — the old-fashioned hardware store where you could ask the shopkeeper for anything you needed and in a second he would have it on the counter before you. Robert Brigante said, “As it is now, this isn’t a very busy block. If you take my trade away that comes by bus, I’m afraid this is going to become a ghost town.”
These fears were echoed by Express Laundry owner Vito, who did a thriving business from customers taking the bus to use his laundromat. His neighbor, Nick, who owned the barber shop/beauty parlor next door, feared at least a 20-percent loss in business with the demise of the bus service.
In Bensonhurst, a longtime old-fashioned bread bakery on Bay 50th Street and Harway Avenue was bought by three bakers who invested a lot of bread to modernize, expand and sell the bakery’s delicious breads, cakes, deserts and foodstuffs.
The B64 bus stopped right outside the bakery heading northbound to the Ulmer Park Bus Terminal where all sorts of bus connections could be made. Most Precious Blood Church and the Shorefront Jewish Center were several blocks away. Across the street in front of Harway Terrace stopped the southbound B64 that merged onto Stillwell Avenue, which took you into Coney Island’s Stillwell Terminal with multiple subway lines.
Hello MTA, aren’t Councilman Recchia and Mayor Bloomberg trying to restore Coney Island to its former status as “Playground of the World?” Brand-new subway terminal, Cyclones baseball team and stadium, Luna Park being reincarnated on the site of Astroland. Millions being spent and the MTA, in its stupidity, will deprive thousands of visitors from southwest Brooklyn easy access to it. I’m so mad I can spit. And that’s why I sent this letter, “Misdirected Spit,” to the Daily News Voice of the People column.
“I semi-disagree with your ‘All Wet’ editorial which stated ‘Come on New York, there is never good cause to spit on a bus driver-or anyone else.’ If anyone deserves to be spit on, it’s not the bus driver, but his bosses, the MTA Big Wigs! Those inept, overpaid, chauffeur-driven managers deserve all the spittle, anger and hatred of thousands of handicapped, elderly and students who will be forced to seek other means of transportation because they will lose their handicap-accessible bus service. Is the MTA chairman in sync with New York City? How can he callously allow service cuts to Coney Island, when the mayor is hoping to revive Coney Island to its former glory? The incredible salary the MTA chair receives is disgraceful, how can he command a half million dollar salary, when he’s not earning his keep and cries poverty for the authority he heads? I remember Harold Fisher, took a dollar-a-year salary, as did the very capable Dick Ravitch. Let’s send the obviously overrated chair back to London and offer the job to Donald Trump! We want better transit service, not less!”
Screech at you next week!