A Night of Local Talent in Brooklyn Slayed Me

Joe Ardigo
Joe Ardigo

Marie, a really terrific BFF, called me and asked if I wanted to hear a friend of hers sing at Knapp Street Pizza (pronounced “napp” ~ the “k” is silent). She said, “He’s really good.”

That’s all I needed to hear because the food at Knapp Street Pizza is really good. For many years it’s been the premier spot for pizza in Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn…and the way Brooklynites feel about their pizza is well known.

Knapp Street Pizza and Restaurnat
Knapp Street Pizza and Restaurnat

 

But that’s not the kicker. They expanded. Took over the store next door and added a restaurant. What’s not to love?

There were six of us around our table, all friends, or friends of friends of Joe’s and we all went for the eggplant parm dinner. Everyone agree it was delish.

 

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As Marie promised, Joe Ardigo was really good. He sang pop, blues, standards, R&B, soul, and rock. The room went crazy for Joe’s rendition of Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”

Our table stayed to the very end of the last set. You can tell our little group was…ahem, shall we say…seasoned citizens. Well, whatever, but you might’ve been able to tell that because we chose to join Joe and sang a rousing rendition of “Mustang Sally” ~ complete with hand clapping and swaying from side-to-side.

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South East Brooklyn

Marine Pk Marsh

I abide in South East Brooklyn…I live there.

Most people don’t realize there are marshes in Brooklyn. When they think marshes their minds drift to Louisiana, south Florida, never Brooklyn. The truth is quite beautiful marshes and protected wetlands stretch for miles.  The photo at right is of Gerritsen Beach, not technically part of South East Brooklyn, but nearby.  NETWORK THAN DIE, a contemporary whodunit I hope to release next year, opens with a body on a reedy beach in Gerritsen Beach. Hurricane Sandy kind of messed me up by decimating Gerritsen Beach and I’m going to have rewrite a bit to be accurate about the local scenery and neighborhoods.

Barren Island, Bergen Beach, Flatlands, Georgetown, Marine Park, and Mill Basin are the local communities in South East Brooklyn. It’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the Queens border and an easy drive to Long Island.

Out of towners think Brooklynites are rude and don’t speak well. You know…they think we say dees, and dems, and doughs. And you’ll find some of that. There’s even a Brooklyn neighborhood-style walk. The shoulders swing back and forth in opposition to the stride of the feet. Sometimes the head bobs up and down, but only slightly. To get the full effect, it helps a lot if you’re wearing a black leather jacket and dark glasses.

I know the South East Brooklyn where the neighborhoods used to be populated with Italians, Irish, and Jews. The Irish were cops, the Jews were the teachers and accountants, and the Italians were in the construction trades unions, or some will claim, in the mob. Now you’ll see turbans and saris on the streets. Tonight is Rosh Hashanah and I can hear my religious Jewish neighbors blowing the shofar as they usher in the Jewish New Year.

It’s all changed and yet it’s all still the same.