Author Topic: GLORY DAYS  (Read 184684 times)

Offline t123ken

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #165 on: June 19, 2019, 03:31:09 PM »
I've noticed that in a lot of places some of the letters/numbers have been removed, presumably by the members.
I hate to see any firehouse defaced like that.

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #165 on: June 19, 2019, 03:31:09 PM »

Offline 68jk09

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #166 on: June 19, 2019, 04:08:40 PM »
I've noticed that in a lot of places some of the letters/numbers have been removed, presumably by the members.
I hate to see any firehouse defaced like that.
AGREED.... http://nycfire.net/forums/index.php/topic,56501.msg176857.html#msg176857

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #167 on: June 19, 2019, 06:43:41 PM »
82 and 31 are on both sides of the engine and truck in the older pic, in newer pic 82 and 31 are only on one side? From 82 engine 82, to 82 engine. Is there a reason why?
I don't have the answer, I happened to notice looking at the photos. 82 and 31 did not use the numbers from firehouse on their rig as far as I know. Mystery!

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #168 on: June 19, 2019, 08:45:45 PM »
LADDER 31:  DAYS OF RIDING
Part 1

Today I will be going in and spend the day tour  with Uncle Jack at Ladder 31. I had made plans for this visit a few weeks ago and numbered my calendar with anticipation down to the day. I have done this routine about half dozen of times starting back in 1970. Today is April 2, 1972 and Spring recess from High School. The counting down of days is over.

It is a typical April morning, I stayed over Jack and “Aunt” Irene’s house so that I can be ready and leave with Jack in the morning. Jack and Irene have a nice and well maintained 2 ˝ story house with a barn shaped roof that was constructed in the early 1900’s...the house sits prominently on ground higher than the surrounding houses off a dead end street. I had a little trouble falling asleep, being all wound up for the big day... Finally morning comes...I’m up before anyone else, into the shower, teeth brushed, then I make the bed and sit on the corner waiting to hear Jack. I hear Jack coming towards me. He enters the bedroom quietly and we exchange morning greetings. Jack then gives me a blue L 31 tee shirt to wear today and tells me he will meet me downstairs for breakfast. I love the tee...it has a small maltese cross over the left chest, top leaf says LADDER, the middle circle 31 and bottom leaf F.D.N.Y.

All dressed and ready to go... I am sitting across from Jack at his breakfast table, it is just he and I, the rest of Jack's family is still sleeping, it’s about 7:00 a.m. Last night my parents dropped me off at Jack and Irene’s house, they make a social day of it, then head the two hour ride back home. And tonight, my Dad will do the two hour ride back to Jack’s house to pick me up after the tour. My folks were very gracious and accommodating. Because of the logistics, I am only able to pull off these visits during the summer and Spring recess. As much as I wanted to visit Intervale more often, I did not want to push my luck with this arrangement nor did I want to “wear out my welcome”.

Jack is having tea and toast, works for me, too. He is reading the paper, I notice the back page of the Daily News and the headline is about former Mets manager Gil Hodges who died yesterday...After glancing at the paper, Jack gets up and strolls over to the kitchen counter and brings back a small metal index card file. When Jack works he usually is the chef, so today he is thumbing through the card file to come up with an idea for lunch... He picks up a card, looks it over and replaces it, satisfied...he’s got something in mind. Sounds like a nice type of sandwich and a large pot of soup.

We leave his house and walked to his car parked alongside the curb on the dead end street. Jack has a 1965 light blue Buick Skylark, it's the same car he used to drive me and my dad to the Bronx a couple of years ago. He is carrying a shoebox full of study cards for the next lieutenant exam and places the box on the bench seat between us and tells me about them. He writes the questions on the front side, flip the card over for the answer on the back. I think it’s a great idea. He seems pretty excited about the upcoming lieutenants exam and dedicates as much time as he can study for it. The exams generally roll around about every two to three years. At this point Jack has sixteen years on the back step and looking to hopefully being promoted. (He will in 1974)

After I read the “TRUE” magazine I knew clear as day that the fire department would be my way of life...Since that first time back in 1970  when I was introduced to the FDNY culture and Ladder 31 I joined an Explorer Post sponsored by my local volunteer fire department. There was about twenty-four of us, teens the same age with a desire to be a part of the fire department society. We met weekly, had cool denim uniforms...many lifelong friendships grew from our common interest. I became consumed with the FDNY and now my local volunteer fire department. Joining the Explorer Post allowed me and other colleagues to take various firematic classes and learn various firefighting tactics...my conversation with Jack would now be more interesting and engaging as I always had a list of questions for him. I saved the questions while we drove to the firehouse from his home. Jack was always helpful, many times he would spend time with me showing the equipment on both the truck and engine. He demonstrated on an abandoned car how to pop the lock on the trunk, insert screwdriver and pop the trunk open. I remember taking that little ditty back to the Explorer Post buddies and explained how the trunk pop technique works...they thought it was genius!

 The last few trips into 82/31 I make a mental note on how he gets to Intervale Avenue as I continue to bombard him with questions... I anticipate the excitement once we get off the expressway and we make the turn onto Home Street, I know we are getting close. Jacks car makes the rumbling sound going over the cobblestone street. The South Bronx grittiness starts to come alive, I love the grittiness...every corner has a large puddle with rubbish ringing it, colors are gone, everything looks either gray or brown, nothing shines, the neighborhood seems quiet and empty, it is still early...Home Street is one of seven streets that intersect Intervale Avenue and 169th Street, the firehouse sits slightly off the corner...about two doors north on Intervale from 169th Street. As we head southwest on Home Street, about a block before Intervale Avenue I start to look for the firehouse and the red doors, blocking my view is Mother Walls Zion Church, a community fixture that stood throughout the War Years and is opposite the firehouse. Finally, the firehouse appears, the two red doors are open, inside the shaded firehouse I can see the glimmering chrome bumper and headlight trim from Ladder 31, something shines!...82 Engine is set back further in the house and I finally see it as we get a little closer. The two “War Horses” are taking a breather.

As we near the front of quarters Jack mentions the companies had a nice job the other day while he was off over on Prospect Avenue near Freeman Street, he suggests “why don’t we go check it out”?  since we have a few extra minutes to kill before we go into quarters. We make a quick left onto Intervale, pass the firehouse and a quick right onto 169th Street...go two blocks and make a right turn onto Prospect, another block or so we see the burned out windows on the top floor of an apartment building, the building doesn’t look good. It must have been a good job...(I’m thinking, Jack is quite the “buff” too!)

I’ve taken notice, from my first time riding with L 31 a change in the community, there are less occupied buildings, many more vacant buildings than previous times. Blocks and blocks are filled with hollowed out apartment buildings, it resembles a ghost town in some parts. Void of life, a moonscape with buildings upon empty buildings. One thing remains, open fire hydrants with water running out, a gentle flow of crystal clear water splattering onto the street.

We pull up in front of E 82 and L 31 quarters, Jack double parks his car. There is a car parked on the sidewalk, one alongside the curb and Jacks alongside that car, and we walk into the firehouse. It’s a little after 8:00 am, I say hello to the fireman on housewatch and greets me with a smile, I have not met him before, he looks tired....Laughter is coming from the kitchen in the rear, Jack enters the kitchen followed by me, and he introduced me to the guys back there. Some I have met before, like Willy Knapp, Vinny Bollon, Danny Gainey, Charlie McCarthy, Lt. Walsh, and a few others I know by sight but not by name, they welcome me. One member I met during one of my first days of riding is Mel Hazel.

(Mel would become a lifetime Brother to me. Mel Hazel Profile to follow)

When I first met Mel during my very first full day tour visit with Jack, Mel had just come off his probation, he is friendly, he is lean and tall, he shows me around the firehouse and we hit it right off...When I came in with Jack to ride, I usually did not leave the apparatus floor during my visit. Although much of the time we were out on the rig, I did not think it was appropriate to go upstairs or downstairs unless invited. Except when Mel was working, or when he knew I was in the firehouse, Mel would come in on his day off to visit me...we would shoot pool down in the basement between the runs.

Generally, my position would be standing or leaning in front of quarters taking in the everyday activity of the engrossing South Bronx lifestyle. With seven streets intersecting in front of quarters there was always something to see. Colorful Gypsey cabs would zip by, the occasional green, white and black fender police car would amble by, the yellow tow trucks would screech by and every now and then I caught a glimpse of a “low rider”. It was a good spot to see fire apparatus too, many times E 85 or L 59 would pass by returning to their tin firehouse on Boston Road. Anytime they drove by, the guys and officer on the rig would give a big, full arm wave hello to me and whoever was standing alongside the apparatus door. Hanging out at that front door was a tremendous learning experience, a front seat observing the different social culture I was not accustomed to back on Long Island. I was familiar with Canarsie Brooklyn, that was a unique culture too...but this was gripping ghetto culture. Mind-boggling and riveting to a 15 year old.

Jack heads upstairs to the locker room to put on his work duty uniform. I remain in the kitchen with a cup of coffee, guys are still joking and laughing...the television is on, news stories about Gil Hodges death and War in Vietnam.  I give up watching the news, and now enjoy the back and forth friendly banter...every now and then some gets directed to me and usually starts with “Did your Uncle Jack tell you about…”. I’m enjoying the good natured teasing, I take it all in…

I remember the first time entering this firehouse, it was the first time I entered ANY firehouse. Guys were walking around with shoes untied, shiny fire poles, the smell of diesel fumes and smokey gear was prevalent. I noticed fire gear tossed loosely on the backstep and hosebed of Engine 82 more gear hanging off door handles, rubber boots folded over and positioned standing next to the side of the rigs...I couldn’t get over the large pots and frying pans hanging in the small kitchen. There was always something amusing.

The bells ring, announcing the day shift has begun. If I remember correctly it was 15 bells, I’m not sure. I would attempt to help clean the kitchen, of course get chased out. Then I head over to the rig, L 31. It was pretty cool standing next to this “big red machine” (as Jack calls it), an American LaFrance tiller, it has a diesel smoke exhaust stack just behind the cab surrounded by a cage to prevent accidental burns. Over the tiller windshield is a red sign with white lettering “La Casa Grande”, THE BIG HOUSE. It was great to be back on Intervale Avenue!

End Part 1. Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading....  KMG 365




(My photo, crappy little 110 instamatic camera. L 31 on left in quarters, E 82 centered, Squad 2 in quarters on right. Note cobblestone street in front of firehouse)
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 07:24:28 AM by JohnnyGage »

Offline memory master

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #169 on: June 20, 2019, 07:08:15 AM »
"Johnny", it was 11-11 on the bells. 0900 & 1800.

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #170 on: June 20, 2019, 07:22:09 AM »
Thank you Charlie, much appreciated! ....I was a little foggy on that.

Offline CFDMarshal

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #171 on: June 20, 2019, 08:58:31 AM »
I had a 65 Buick Special, 4 door and blue green. 65 MPH downhill!

Offline mack

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #172 on: June 20, 2019, 12:19:48 PM »
The Bells - Telegraph Alarm System Preliminary Signals
 
     


Telegraph alarms noted on housewatch blackboard - Station and Time

     




Offline nfd2004

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #174 on: June 20, 2019, 08:37:38 PM »
Dan, in reading your story in reply #168, "LADDER 31 - Days of Riding" Part 1, the details you give brings me (and a few of my buddies) right back to that Intervale Ave firehouse some 50 years ago.

I've told a few of those buff buddies of mine to check out these "Glory Days" stories and of course #168 makes it all seem to come alive again.

John Bendick, retired FDNY captain, administrator of this site was there too, riding with Squad 2. They spent every third night at that firehouse. The other nights with 73/42 and 85/59.

I am sure, without a doubt in my mind, that we had all met up some time in those streets, we just didn't know it. Other guys too like Mike Dick, aka mikeindabronx.

Dan, as a buff, I could also relate to the anticipation of my next buff trip. It seemed the more I got, the more I wanted. I was drawn to it like a magnet. 

Of course, it's kind of tough to tell somebody now, how it was then.

But who would ever think that 50 years later, a couple of guys like us would become good friends and the majority of the time, whenever we meet up, generally the conversation is about: "The Glory Days".   
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 11:50:40 AM by nfd2004 »

Offline 1261Truckie

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #175 on: June 22, 2019, 11:13:58 AM »
I grew up about a block away from 280/132, so when I wanted to buff there, I just walked to the house and there I was, no car ride from the suburbs or elsewhere. There was also no sense of change from a suburban neighborhood to an inner city neighborhood. To me the area where I lived was the same area where the firehouse was located. I used to pass the firehouse 4 times a day: on the way to school (St. Teresa of Avila); on the way home for lunch; going back to school after lunch and on the way home after school, so I would see the men frequently and they always seemed a friendly bunch of guys. After a while, and if the doors were open, I would stop off and ask questions about the rigs or about the job itself. The men always answered my questions. After a while, some of the men would say, if the doors are closed, knock and we'll let you in. On those days I would stand by the housewatch desk, ask questions or listen to the Department radio. After a while, I would run errands for the guys or do little things they'd ask. By the time I turned 18 and joined the Auxiliaries I knew most (if not all the guys) and was accepted as a house buff. Nevertheless, like Johnny Gage and Bill said, there was a real anticipation of what was to come whenever I walked down the street to the house to ride with them. As the neighborhood changed and the runs and workload increased for 132 there was even more anticipation that any night could be a busy night (and they usually were). I was also lucky, in that, not only did I ride with the company but also got invited to events like promotion parties, retirement parties, annual company parties  and picnics. All in all, it was a great time in my life and I would not trade that experience for anything.

Offline memory master

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #176 on: June 22, 2019, 01:16:40 PM »
The Bells - Telegraph Alarm System Preliminary Signals
 
     


Telegraph alarms noted on housewatch blackboard - Station and Time

     
If I'm not mistaken, that house watch photo is from the quarters of E273/L129. The eyeballs aren't as keen as they were but it looks like a plethora of 4400 boxes and their house watch was on the right side of the apparatus floor if you were looking in from the street.

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #177 on: June 22, 2019, 02:13:52 PM »
^^^^^^Charlie, I took a second gander at the alarm box board, tune into the lower right hand section, looks like the top billing says "WORLDS FAIR TRUCK ONLY" .
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 02:17:18 PM by JohnnyGage »

Offline nfd2004

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #178 on: June 22, 2019, 04:46:18 PM »
Dan, in reading your story in reply #168, "LADDER 31 - Days of Riding" Part 1, the details you give brings me (and a few of my buddies) right back to that Intervale Ave firehouse some 50 years ago.

I've told a few of those buff buddies of mine to check out these "Glory Days" stories and of course #168 makes it all seem to come alive again.

John Bendick, retired FDNY captain, administrator of this site was there too, riding with Squad 2. They spent every third night at that firehouse. The other nights with 73/42 and 85/59.

I am sure, without a doubt in my mind, that we had all met up some time in those streets, we just didn't know it. Other guys too like Mike Dick, aka mikeindabronx.

Dan, as a buff, I could also relate to the anticipation of my next buff trip. It seemed the more I got, the more I wanted. I was drawn to it like a magnet. 

Of course, it's kind of tough to tell somebody now, how it was then.

But who would ever think that 50 years later, a couple of guys like us would become good friends and the majority of the time, whenever we meet up, generally the conversation is about: "The Glory Days".

 Another member of this site who was also a part of that 1970s Era - Engine 82, Ladder 31, Squad 2, was Retired Chief Bob M., aka *******,. He was the captain of Engine 82 during those very busy days that "JohnnyGage" has talked about and that TRUE Magazine wrote about.

 As most of us know, Chief Bob M., has been a frequent contributor to this site who talks about his days working out of Engine 82 in the South Bronx. On this site, in the History section we can find the thread he started called: "Remembrance", plus he has also contributed to other threads here that talk about those days, such as "My Younger Buff Days".

 Chief, I must apologize to you for leaving you out when it comes to that firehouse on Intervale Ave.

 Although "Glory Days" is the focus of members of the FDNY who served during such a special time. Also, as we have seen here, it has drawn buffs who can tell their own personnel stories about the same time frame, in those same neighborhoods.

   

Offline 68jk09

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Re: GLORY DAYS
« Reply #179 on: June 22, 2019, 04:59:27 PM »
^^^^^^Charlie, I took a second gander at the alarm box board, tune into the lower right hand section, looks like the top billing says "WORLDS FAIR TRUCK ONLY" .
Pretty sure it is 129/273.