The Dodgers split in ’57, Steeplechase Park was closed in ’64, and Lundy’s restaurant went belly-up in ’79. But to native son Gary David Goldberg, Brooklyn is still the best borough on earth. ”You forget how beautiful it is,” the 47-year-old TV producer said one recent fall day, motoring through Bensonhurst in a big black limousine. ”You forget all the beautiful trees and buildings and playgrounds. ”
Thanks to Goldberg’s new autobiographical sitcom, Brooklyn Bridge everyone can get teary-eyed over Brooklyn’s bygone years, even those who never tasted an egg cream or cheered at Ebbets Field. The show — starring Marion Ross as Goldberg’s grandma, Danny Gerard as his 14-year-old big brother, and Matthew Siegel as Goldberg himself, at age 9 — isn’t actually filmed in Brooklyn (the stage set is in Hollywood). So to help Goldberg recall those halcyon days of his youth, Entertainment Weekly took him for a ride down memory lane — well, more like 67th Street. Here’s what he saw — and what he had to say.
1 HEAD OF THE CLASS
”One teacher used to seat us according to our ranking in the class — a really nice touch,” says Goldberg, sitting in classroom 417 at P.S. 205, his old school. ”I was second most of the year….I broke a window in here once. They gave me a pole to pull down the shade; I broke the overhead light, turned around, and broke the window.”
”Stein’s deli was the kind of place where you could go and they would just mark down what you ordered — no money was transferred. I would say, ‘My mother said I could have a knish and a cream soda,’ and they would give it to me. You didn’t have to pay anything,” says Goldberg, sitting in a neighborhood deli (Stein’s is gone) with cowriters David Tawil and Peter Schneider.
3 SWING TIME
”When you hit one over the fence, that was a big day,” Goldberg says of the P.S. 205 playground. ”Shelly Brodsky once hit an unbelievable shot onto that fire escape over there. He went on to play with the Dodgers’ AAA team. In the middle of a football game, my grandmother would come with milk and cookies. I’d be in a huddle, and she’d come over with a snack.”
4 LOCAL HERO
”That’s my grandma’s apartment right in the front there,” says Goldberg, visiting with two current residents. ”We used to play in the alley — stickball, punchball, slapball, everything. You had to hit the ball straight. If you hit the wall, you were out. One woman used to throw water at us from the window upstairs, but she was slow, so you could get out of the way.”