Did you ever notice that UFO's are never reported in Brooklyn? Its obvious to me why...those folks can't be bothered. My fellow Brooklynites know that if a weird civilization with inter-galactic capabilities from beyond Pluto had the technology to come that far, they would have already annihilated us for our resources. Or on the up side, they would've shared their profound knowledge with us to make this the ultimate party planet.
Whether you outsiders like it or not, what makes Brooklyn people tick is realism. We have too much going on and so much more on our mind to worry about mother earth being colonized and enslaved by the malevolent tulip people from planet Xenon.
This concept of realism is supported by Brooklyn's rigid perpendicular grids of numbered streets, (1 to 108) and lettered avenues, (A to Z) that dominate the borough. This system makes even more sense because as an example, house numbers off Avenue D...the fourth letter of the alphabet are in the 400's and houses numbers on avenues start with the previous cross street's prefix, like 9822 coming after 98th Street.
I grew up in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, on 103rd Street at Avenue N. Our address was in the 1300's because the preceding avenue, M, is the thirteenth letter. On the adjacent avenue, those address prefixes started with 102. Therefore, the straightforward approach to addresses is an important for a Brooklynites need for realism. So no matter what kind of wackiness I hear involving the Bermuda Triangle, Big Foot, Killer Crabs of the Canary Islands or some such nonsense, you should never be surprised by my, "seeing is believing," attitude. Plus, these convictions are consistent with tangible things as well as ethereal matters.
Some people might consider me boring when I shrug off their spacemen theories. When they scoff at me, my response always is; maybe you're right, but some things I have to see for myself. Besides that my mother taught me; its okay to be the only one out of a hundred to disagree with something. And if you truly think you are right, you should stick to your guns at all cost. However, you should realize that in a situation like that you are probably wrong. And when you are proven to be wrong, stand up, be a man and admit you were wrong. I try to be fair and look at most lopsided arguments from both points of view. I also try to pass-on that independent mindset to my son Andrew...so far, he, (not being a Brooklynite), has achieved less than stellar results.
I was using that sticking to your guns idea before entering my adolescence. While my peers were influenced by 1950's science-fiction movies, I never ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Because these films weren't a threat, they were nothing more more than spooky or silly entertainment.
WHEN I WAS EIGHT, A FRIEND HAD A COMIC BOOK WITH A GIANT HYBRID DINOSAUR EAGLE RIPPING THE EARTH IN TWO ON THE COVER. IT WAS A REALLY COOL PICTURE BUT I COULDN'T FIND IN ON THE INTERNET.
In my teens, most of my Brooklyn friends and I were at peace with the notion that we weren't getting invaded from space. There were no marauding Martians attacking any time soon, intelligent extraterrestrials were non-existent and UFO's were nothing more than typos. Nevertheless, even a cynic like me can look up at an endless tapestry of stars and be inspired by its beauty and infinite possibilities.
WE TOOK MY SON TO THE AEROSPACE MUSEUM AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE WHEN HE WAS THREE. HE LOVED SEEING THE COLORFUL PLANET DISPLAY. WHEN HE WAS SEVEN, WE TOOK HIM TO THE STOCKTON COLLEGE OBSERVATORY WHERE HE SAW SATURN THROUGH A TELESCOPE. IT DIDN'T THRILL HIM BECAUSE THE REAL THING WAS AN ODD-SHAPED WHITE DOT. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE REALITY THRILLED ME.
I may not think there are Saturnites coming to eat our flesh but I have a deep appreciation for celestial bodies, our solar system and all of outer space. So much so that I couldn't wait for the 1973 arrival of the comet Kohoutek. Ballyhooed in the press as the, "comet of the century," it was commercialized, merchandised and advertised to be the greatest show "over" earth since Halley's comet.
VISIBLE FROM EARTH WITH THE NAKED EYE, HALLEY'S COMET IS THE MOST FAMOUS OF ITS KIND. THIS ONCE IN A LIFETIME SPECTACLE WON'T REAPPEAR UNTIL IN 2061. IT CAME AND WENT IN 1986...I DON'T RECALL HOW I MISSED IT?
Comet Kohoutek preceded Halley's big 1986 show by 13 years. It was reported that in New York City, the best night to see it would be March 7th. So my friends and I chose the top of the Kings Plaza Mall's parking garage to see it. THE KINGS PLAZA MALL OPENED IN 1970. IT WAS THE FIRST OVER SIZED, INDOOR SHOPPING MALL IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA.
We decided to make it an all night affair. We met in Sheepshead Bay, at the Pizza Bowl Restaurant on Avenue X for dinner. Afterwards, it was a short drive through Marine Park to Kings Plaza on Avenue U. It was with great expectation we reached the roof. However, the colossal building's bright lights hindered the show but far worse, even if it was pitch black, the thick cloud cover made the comet's humongous event, a dud.
To dull our senses after the big Kohoutek disappointment, we drove to the Chesterfield Lounge on Avenue H, in Flatbush. Over cocktails, our conversation switched from the comet to aliens. I was the only one who didn't believe that little green magma-spitting humanoids with oblong heads would strafe our planet in the immediate future.
Later, we split up. A bunch of people went home but me and three others ended the night at the Copper Penny (a Denny's type restaurant) on Avenue R in East Flatbush. Over cinnamon Danish and coffee, I continued my argument that red midget ramrod-shaped robots from Uranus weren't preparing to do a drive-by shooting of earth. "Yes," I added, "the cosmos is beautiful to look at and to ponder its possibilities...I'll even concede that there maybe something, or somebody out there...but I guarantee they won't be causing mayhem or melting the earth and drinking its nectar anytime soon.
One friend said, "C'mon, you never thought, even for one second..." I interrupted, "Well, yes I did." I told them in 1970, I had a girlfriend from Bensonhurst. One moonless night, we saw a movie on Kings Highway. After a snack at the Chock-Full o'Nuts lunch counter restaurant, we took a walk along the less congested Avenue P. Through the trees, she pointed out an unusual object in the sky. We ran out into the street for a clear view. She called it a flying saucer. I was thinking; no way, because these things don't really happen but I was too enamored to call her crazy. My opinion was getting swayed her way fast because this was NOTHING that I ever saw or could explain. With a silent gulp, I wondered if the fate of our world might depend on a couple of fifteen-year olds sounding an alert.
We became transfixed on the distant, high sky. The craft had an irregular strip of lights flashing along its bottom. In the blackness, we couldn't discern where this monstrous ship started or ended. We looked for help but at that hour there was nobody to share our discovery. So we just stared up at it in awe as the potential armada of lethal androids crept closer.
A lady walking her beagle puppy came up from East 13th Street. We stopped her and showed her our finding. She was equally puzzled at first but when the dog started barking and pulling her along, she shrugged, "I gotta go to work in the morning, so you two astro-nuts oughta get over it. Besides, kids your age should be home at this hour."
BEFORE SHE LEFT, THE WOMAN KNELT DOWN AND STROKED HER PET'S HEAD AND SAID, "IF ANY OUTER SPACE BASTARD MESSED WITH MY SLUGGO, THERE WOULD BE NO PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE THEY COULD HIDE...I'D KILL 'EM !"
A few minutes later, the menacing juggernaut became more defined when it was almost over head. It was a cigar-shape and the flashing red lights were running across the width of the narrow underbelly. That's when my girl turned around and said, "Those are letters...upside down!" I turned and read along with her, "C-O-M-I-N-G S-O-O-N G-R-A-N-D O-P-E-N-I-N-G K-I-N-G-S P-L-A-Z-A M-A-L-L."
I've never encountered anything stranger than that advertising blimp, so I rest my case...we're safe. But if you really want to be laughed at, tell someone from Brooklyn you didn't show up for their party because you were abducted by aliens.IF YOU FORGET YOUR HUSBAND'S BIRTHDAY, DON'T TELL HIM VENUSIANS IMPLANTED AN INTER-DIMENSIONAL TRANSPORTING DEVICE INTO YOUR SKULL...YOU'LL NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT.
All that really matters is, in Brooklyn, if aliens land on Avenue N and survive the street toughs, the aggressive drivers and the high volume of sarcasm, they'll still have to walk two blocks to P.