I just read the above article the other day, and had to write you regarding our family’s history at Clearwater Beach. I also realize the article was written before Hurricane Sandy, and so I am thinking of the devastation in that whole area and what’s left.
My husband works for Con Edison and so it’s not unusual for him to do a drive by — so he’s been telling me of the damages done.
My family (specifically my Mom–Anna Soccorso), used to rent a bungalow at Clearwater Beach from a gentleman by the name of Mr. Johnson (don’t know his first name) beginning in 1952 thru 1960 and I would spend the summers there with aunts and uncles. The weekends were especially busy as everyone, literally, would come in and stay. My biggest memory was the card playing that went on beginning Friday and would end on Sunday! Another favorite pastime would be viewing the Coney Island display of fireworks every week from the beach — the sands would still be warm in the evenings and so you could dig your feet in while you were watching the display.
There was a Pete Safunni (phoenically spelled) who would run movies on Friday nights and whoever wanted to could bring in their chairs and join in. All of this outdoors, of course, but good god, the mosquitoes would be atrocious!
I have boxes of photos that will show you the beach and the opened field at the beginning of the colony right off Cedar Grove where we would play baseball games and had costume shows contest. My mother and I would take the bus from the ferry and it would drop us off right in front of the complex. I remember the horseshoe driveway that would take you in and around the whole colony. Most of the bungalows had outdoor showers and you would fight off the huge spiders that would hang out in the stalls and you would have to run the water to get rid of them before you entered! None of the bungalows had insulation, so they weren’t meant for year-round use. However, I remember a gentleman by the name of Milton, who, I think must have bought the bungalow, and made it year-round because we would see him every summer when we came back and he always had the same bungalow. He lived right on the beach just a few yards away from the hand-ball court and shuffle-board. I could go on forever with the memories but OH, how I miss those days. Once we left in 1960 we never saw the families again. Many of them came from Brooklyn, and we came from the Bronx.
It took me a while to realize that New Dorp beach is the same as Clearwater Beach. Every now and then I will do a google search on Staten Island and poke around the web pages to look for information about Clearwater Beach. This article was perfect!
The above is a bit choppy. As I was typing, the memories are flooding and so there is no particular sequence or sentence structure. As I said above, I could go on forever!
Hope you get this email. As Bob Hope would say, thank you for the memories — my photos keep me smiling of those wonderful times gone by.