This latest installment of MyInwood Memories comes from frequent reader and contributor Herb Maruska. Herb, who now lives in Florida, grew up in Inwood and is currently writing an autobiography. Here’s a taste of what we can look forward to. I’ll let Herb take it from here:
“My family moved to 157 Vermilyea Ave in 1946 when I was 2 years old. My parents took some photos back in the 1940’s and 1950’s with a simple box camera.
Here we have three little boys in Inwood Hill Park in 1952. From left to right, are my brother Rolly (4 years old), my friend Peter, and me (8 years old). We are in an open grassy area above Payson Avenue where there used to be park benches, near the Prescott Avenue rotary. In later years all of these benches were lost to vandalism. The three little boys are catching large black ants and storing the ants in the shoe box. There is a spoon under the bench for scooping up the ants. I have no clue why we did this.
The next two pictures were taken on Broadway at Isham Street in January 1954. The beautiful Elm Tree still graces the front yard of Good Shepard Church. Later the tree fell victim of Dutch Elm Disease.
Here I am trying to play baseball on Diamond #1 in the park. The original concrete bleachers are still in place. There was no chain link fence around the field. The view is north from the vicinity of the Isham Street entrance.
Finally, I took this photo of the Shorakapkok Rock back in June 1970. I include this photo because it is amazing what trouble we had in New York City back in 1970. The city was facing bankruptcy after the fiscal excesses of the Lindsay years. Here some hoodlums had ripped the commemorative plaque off the boulder, and sprayed the rock with paint. Ugh! I am not sure how the plaque was returned to its place. The picture is black & white, and the trees are covered with leaves, so many details are incomprehensible. Just a short distance along the path behind the boulder there used to be a site where white Inwood marble protruded from the earth. I remember that geology students from Columbia used to come and examine this formation. Also if you looked across the soccer meadow, there was a fairly large daughter of the great tulip tree growing maybe 30 feet northeast of the rock.”
Thanks again to Herb Maruska for this Inwood time capsule. If you are reading this and have photos or memories to share just shoot me a line in the comment space below and I’ll get back to you soon.