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Friday, August 23, 2013

St. Rosalia Feast

Since the St. Rosalia Feast/18th Avenue Feast began last night in Bensonhurst, I thought I would re-post a blog I had written four years ago from an old blog. Once again, my middle finger gets me in trouble...

If I was back in Brooklyn this weekend I'd be heading down the block to the St. Rosalia feast. That's the Bensonhurst equivalent to the more well known from Little Italy, San Gennnaro feast. I've always liked St. Rosalia's better, less crowded, bigger with more stuff, and in walking distance to the house. For those folks who aren't familiar with Italian feasts think of the Salem Fair stretched over 10 blocks without the animals, funnel cakes or carnies. Instead there are live bands, games, rides, great food like zeppoles, cannolis, "real" sausage and peppers, wine with peaches, toblerone, saints, and all sorts of characters. For the next week anyone that lives near 18th Avenue will not be moving their cars from a parking spot because if they do they won't find another one.

I have a feast parking story to tell. Years ago in the 80's when I lived on 74th Street and 18th Avenue I hated when the feast happened, only because of the parking situation. It was bedlam. I would come home from work and could spend hours searching for a spot. On this particular night after driving around for what seemed like hours in search of a spot, I saw one on the opposite side of the street on 20th Avenue. I pulled a two-wheeler U-turn and zipped into it. I had no idea that there was a car filled with people who also wanted that spot. I got in first and they weren't too happy about it. The girls in the packed car started cursing me out claiming that was their spot. I wouldn't budge, and they jumped out of their car.

I was outnumbered five to one, so quickly locked my car doors, which wasn't an easy feat because I didn't have electric locks. As they surrounded me I had second thoughts about staying in the spot because I figured when I got to the car the next morning in all likelihood my tires would be slashed and my windows broken. One of the girls pulled a knife and told me to open the door. She must have thought I had a death wish. I wasn't that stupid. But I was stupid enough to give her the finger. If I had any doubts about staying in that coveted spot, they were long gone when they began pounding on the car ala the apes in the opening scene of "2001 A Space Odyssey." There was only one thing I could do, get the hell out of there quick.

I think I might have hit one of them, ever so gently with my car, because as I pulled out of the spot, they got really pissed off and decided they too would not take the prized parking spot after all but would instead take me. "Quick, get the bitch!" They jumped into their car and followed in hot pursuit. It was a real challenge to lose them. I had only about a block lead. I sped through the lights and made turns on two wheels. They did the same. I then made a major mistake of going down one of the side streets that led to the feast. The end of the street was blocked off. As soon as I realized it, I zipped into some stranger's driveway, shut the lights off, and ducked under the dashboard. I prayed to St. Rosalia that they wouldn't find me. I saw them zip down the block then back up slowly past me. Thank God they were too stupid to look in the driveways. I stayed in that hot car a good hour until they opened up the street. As soon as it was clear I crossed 18th Avenue and found a spot close to home. I figured it wouldn't be smart to go to the feast that year just in case they would recognize me so missed out on all the good foodstuffs. And I never ever parked on 20th Avenue again, but the next year and every year that I lived in Bensonhurst I did go to the feast. Good times...good times...

The Feast runs until September 2, daily from 5:00pm - 11:00pm. I recommend taking public transportation!

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