By Adam Cohen
My family grew up in Brooklyn including my parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and both sets of grandparents. I was dubbed a first generation New Jerseyan by many of my family members. As you could imagine, we spent a lot of time in Brooklyn. My parents would take my sister and I into Brooklyn on a whim and show us where they grew up, met, and dated. They liked to show us places like Jan’s, Seniors, Lundy’s, and what used to be Brighton Beach Baths. I loved these nostalgic trips down my parents’ memory lane.
During Yom Kippur, the whole family would meet at my grandparent’s on Neptune Avenue across from Lincoln High School. This is a tradition that started at 3003 Avenue X in the 1950’s and lasted until 2008. My grandfather, uncle, and father, including myself would walk to Temple Beth Abraham for services before we would break the fast. This walk to and from the synagogue is my most treasured memory of my time spent with my family in Brooklyn.
In 2009, my grandmother passed and the tradition was broken. I cannot tell you how much I miss not only the walks to and from Beth Abraham, but the amazing feeling of being with my family in a small apartment breaking fast in Brooklyn. We recently cleaned out that very apartment that played a huge role in my childhood. Over the course of three weeks, we picked apart 60 years of memories closet by closet, picture by picture. I cannot tell you how difficult it was to hold back from completely breaking down.
Aside from Yom Kippur, one Brooklyn memory that stands out is when I knocked on my father’s old apartment (the one he grew up in, 3003 Avenue X in Sheepshead Bay). My father and grandfather were sitting in the car, and the woman living there actually welcomed us in. It was incredible to see both of their faces as they looked around an apartment they hadn’t been in for almost 30 years. Lastly, my parents always speak about their childhood in Brooklyn as being this magical place to grow up (1950’s). I wish for a few minutes I had the ability to go back in time and experience Brooklyn during that time period.