Western Brooklyn

VIDEO: “Brooklyn We Had It All” Full Length Version

If it seemed like the “Memories of Brooklyn” video we posted last Tuesday ended a bit abruptly, that’s because it was merely a shortened version of the original.

The video is actually named Brooklyn We Had It All. Its author Lou Rizzo was kind enough to reach out to Bensonhurst Bean and offer us the original full length version, which he posted on YouTube late last night.

“I originally did it to show the youngsters of this generation how simple life was,” Rizzo told Bensonhurst Bean. “How we didn’t need today’s technology to have a good time and how we had everything we needed right in front of us. No need to leave Brooklyn…”

Sharing this video with the world via the internet is a clever move on Lou’s part. He uses today’s information age technology like a Trojan Horse, showing us in music and images how, in so many ways, we were happier without it.

The above video, created by Lou Rizzo, is dedicated to his cousin Susan Pugliese, who, in Lou’s words, “taught me more about life through example than any book, school or teacher could ever have.”
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  1. Hi Joe —

    The wonderful video assembled by Lou Rizzo actually brought tears to my eyes. How great is this? To those of us fortinate enough to live here it’s a compendium of times we will long remember. Thanks to Lou Rizzo and to you, Joe, for allowing us to enjoy it. Surely, this Bensonhurst Bean goes in my BB folder.

    Thanks for the memory.
    Honeybear of Bensonhurst

  2. Got this from a high school friend now living in Utah (of all places) that I have known for over 50 years. Gifts are not just physical and this email outstrips many gifts that I’ve had in the past. Thanks Mike for remembering me and stoking the embers of Brooklyn memories! Capn Denny, aboard M/V PIZZAZZ, Boat Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas

  3. So many great memories ! Made me smile, laugh out loud and even get a little teary eyed , thinking of the good old days. It’s always wonderful taking a stroll down memory lane ! We had it all then and we didn’t even known it . Always proud to say I’m from BROOKLYN ! Thanks Lou , I kinda feel like I known you now lol.

  4. Great video. I grew up on Ave C and East 2nd St in Brooklyn, but I remember alot of those places, and seeing “Johnny on the Pony” and “Stoop Ball” really brought back some memories of playing all day in the school yard of PS 179. Thanks for sending this to me.

    Dave St. Hill

  5. Wow this was amazing. I loved it. I wish Brooklyn was still like this. So sad that it is now changing.

  6. I loved this video. Hats off to Lou Rizzo. I lived in Bensonhurst (68th St and 18th Ave) from 1947 to 1961. The video brought back many happy memories. I saw a photo of my old high school (New Utrecht) and some of the movie theaters I went to. I have recently published a novel based on my Brooklyn childhood and youth. It is called Candy Stores I Have Known: The Brooklyn of my Sweet Dreams. It is available thru Amazon and will soon be on Kindle. Best Wishes and thanks, Sheldon Neuringer

  7. double parked cars, italian bread, italian ices, girls with great asses walking down 86 th street, guys driving thier caddies around radio blasting, yankee baseball with phil rizzuto, abbott and costello on sunday afternoon, bowery boys sunday morning, honeymooners on pix at 11pm, the nuns of st mary’s mother of jesus parrish, the knicks of the 70’s, I could go on and on.

  8. Lou,

    Thanks for this. This seems to me more of an “Ode to Brooklyn” not Bensonhurst which is fine by me other than some slight confusion when it was passed on. That said, there is some fun stuff in there despite the over-arching cheese factor (and I don’t mean ricotta).

    I know you put in a lot of work here, so please see my words as constructive criticism.
    There is no crime in being sentimental, but that said, I feel compelled to point out this works’ short comings, in the hopes that you might take another look at your work.

    I love period stills (even poorly photographed ones) because they often contain unintended artifacts that the photographer initially didn’t care about or notice… the elevated tracks, old busses, Dodge Chargers, Big Wheels, and of course the clothing, hair-styles, & make-up. Love seeing Grimaldi’s and L&B Spumoni Gardens, but missed seeing Totono’s on Neptune Ave, or more pictures of Coney Island, so omitting the Cyclone, The Parachute, Wonder Wheel, and repeating the Vegas Diner and some other pics showed lack of imagination and effort. Also omitting Ebbets Field {not to mention the Brooklyn Dodgers (Gil Hodges in a Mets Uniform notwithstanding): Especially Jackie Robinson, Ralph Branca, Duke Snyder, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe or Johnny Podres, is a crime. And leaving out some real jewels of “the Garden Spot of the the World” like Prospect Park, or the Botanical Garden, and instead taking up valuable space with board games like “Operation” and bad 70’s disco-graphics creates an work of sentimental wanderings. By the way, Phil Rizzutto was born in Brooklyn and deserves a spot, just as much, if not more, than Mickey Mantle or Thurman Munson. I know there are just as many Yankee fans from Brooklyn as anywhere, and are dearer to the heart than any NY Sports team and deserve mention, but they are located in the Bronx… But that said, you can’t leave them out as they are woven into the fabric of every borough!

    Seeing Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor called back some interesting memories, and those pictures of man-made desolation, Korvette’s, and Kings Plaza were truly a gut-punch! It’s funny how you remember certain buildings or street corners like you’re there right now… The human brain is an amazing piece of equipment!

    Some suggestions for pictures that could replace movie stills from “The Godfather” (which was not set in Brooklyn!), or other board games or repeats: The Brooklyn Bridge (how’d you leave that out?!!!) The Verrazano Bridge, The Marine Park Bridge, Grand Army Plaza, The Boardwalk at Coney Island, Alba’s, Mangano’s (SP?) Bicycle Store, The Buster Brown Shoe Store on 86th, & that great old Bank on 86th Street… Even a still of a Poly-O or Boars Head Truck would be better! And how about some Asians, or Orthodox Jews? They were there as long as any of us can remember! How about an architecturally memorable church? Suggestions abound!

    Ah… what can I say… if you’re gonna make something, by all means, please try to “make it great”!

    “To The Moon!”

  9. Born and raised in Brooklyn, I loved this! You can take someone out of Brooklyn but you can’t take Brooklyn out of that person! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Can’t express my gratitude, just wonderful, so many memorable places I’ve visited. Grew up on 42nd. st bet. 9-10th. ave, lived briefly on Fort Hamilton bet. 51 & 52 st then moved to ave z and east 12th. Bowled at maple lanes eat at Jahn’s. One place they missed was MICHELL’S a local car hang out and eatery, where the waitress would skate to your vehicle and serve a you on a tray which hung from your door window. Afterwards we would race our cars down the block to Ft. Hamilton’s gate, the race was adjacent to the golf course. I had a 66 GTO tri-power convertible, rare version, my mechanic is still under the ell at 64th st., Nunzio (Home of the GTO).

  11. Wow! I’m from 59th Street and remember when FDR High School was being built. I graduated New Utrecht in ’63, the year FDR opened. This was indeed the best Brooklyn video I’ve ever seen. Thanks for the memories.

  12. FDR, and the famous Navigators who went there, opened its’ doors, to its’ first two classes of Freshmen and Sophomores in September of 1965, not 1963! Though most of us Borough Park and eastern Bensonhurst regulars, thought we were heading to New Utrecht, while growing up, that’s what the Baby Boom, Brooklyn style, of the 1950’s created!

  13. And omitting Sanford Braun, a.k.a. Sandy Koufax, is a further crime. Not only was this Dodger, the biological son of Evelyn and Jack, a true son of Bensonhurst and Borough Park, but arguably the greatest Major League pitcher of all time! THE TRUE ARTFUL DODGER, AND SOUTHERN BROOKLYNITE, TO THE CORE!

  14. i grew up on east 2nd st and ave i…right around the corner from the ave i flea mkt….miss those days..i know we have some friends in common…, i went to fdr…

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