The Nature of Bushwick/Williamsburg
When one speaks of the area’s of Bushwick/Williamsburg during the 40’s and 50’s era it must be established that these were more simplistic time’s in the area’s
Many businesses were formed prior and during this era.Many factories sprung up in and along the Flushing Ave,Morgan Ave area’s.Jobs were plentiful after the war and men and women learned and worked at trades.All types of manufacturing was taking place during that era.Help Wanted signs abounded on buildings asking for workers.It was a smorgasboard of employment.
Many breweries that produced beer were in the area.Rheingold and Schaefer were two
of the biggies in that time.Along Kent Ave by the waterfront was the Brooklyn Navy
Yard and the Domino Sugar Company.
Maspeth, Queens touched the area of both Bushwick and Williamsburg and factories were abundant.It was all a gigantic industrial complex.Welbuilt Stove,
Phelps Dodge Corporation ,Williamsburg Steel Corp.
There were slaughtering houses and meat packing plants along Johnson Ave.
The music of the forties were the big band era with singers such as Frank Sinatra,Vaughn Monroe and Helen Forrest.Came the 50s and we had Connie Francis,
Tony Bennett,Johnny Mathis and countless others.Toward the middle 50s and a DJ
by the name of Alan Freed bought us Rock N’ Roll.The sound was Doo Wop.Then
Elvis arrived on the scene along with Buddy Holly,Frankie Avalon and Dion and
We had movie spectaculars in the Forties and these would have been
“Gone With the Wind” or “Duel in the Sun”.The Fifties brought us “Spartacus”,
“Quo Vadis” and the “Ten Commandment’s”.One picture stands out in my mind and
that was “The High and the Mighty” starring John Wayne.
The price of a local movie house admission was a couple of milk bottle deposits.
Many women would place a pillow on their window sills and look out their windows
like watchdogs.They would keep an eye out for their children,husbands coming home from work or perhaps waiting for a neighbor friend to pass by.
Sometimes one of the women would call one of the neighborhood children and ask them to go to the local grocer for something.Upon his return they would always offer the child something for going and give them a few cents.Grocery Stores also known as Mom and Pop Stores were plentiful.Large Supermarkets didn’t exist back then.Superettes did exist such as Bohack and A & P, but they weren’t as large as the Supermarkets we have today.
Cake bakeries were also plentiful and many sold lemon ices which were a big seller during
the summer.The bakeries in Bushwick were primarily Italian Bakeries.Some of the names were Caputo,Circo,Falcetta,Palermo,Montalbano,Saieva,Serro,Stallone,local bread bakeries were Giangrasso and Venezia.
Main shopping was on Knickerbocker Ave. or perhaps Myrtle Ave in Ridgewood.The main shopping in Williamsburg was Siegal St.,Moore St.,Graham Ave.and Grand St.
Within a short distance from my home lived two former boxers.
Each of them had excellent boxing records and these can be seen online
by doing a search for their names.
They are in the record books and I saw them many times.
Izzy Jannazzo a Lightweight fighter was a retired quiet family man.
Danny Giovanelli a welterweight lived a few blocks further and also
was a quiet man.
Both of these fighters would always give you recognition when you said,”Hello”.
Both fighters were well respected gentlemen.
The scene was Trolley cars passing by,kids playing stickball,men flying their pigeons
from the rooftops while waving a long pole in a circle.
Young girls walking in two’s and three’s,young boys playing skully’s with
bottle caps and little girls playing potsy.
And while all the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood took place a
Mother would call to her child to come in to eat with a voice that
would have made an opera singer stare in amazement.