Blotter to Return Next Week

We shall return to our regular scheduled programming of cops and robbers next week. Until then, enjoy this intro courtesy of Capt. Frank Furillo.

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  • nabeguy

    Probably just a coincidence, but a long-time resident of the Heights, Frank Spano, passed away last week. Frank came up in the nabe during the 50’s, a period during which even the Heights was not immune to the turmoil that hit a lot of urban areas when the middle class fled to the suburbs of Long Island and beyond.While Frank could never be described as middle class, he always did maintain an aura of class about him, even if it was of a rougher variety. He held his own regardless of the circumstances, whether it be the gang wars of the Black Diamonds or the scourge of heroin that led to the death of many of his running-mates. He grew up in tough times, but always managed to keep his upbeat spirits intact. I never doubted his ability to throw a good punch, but it was his ability to roll with them that enabled him to survive.
    RIP, friend.

  • since47

    Aw, Frankie.

    I attended PS 8 from Kindergarten through the third grade; Frankie (as I always called him) was next door at Assumption. I had no idea who he was until one day, in the second grade, while waiting to be picked up from school, I was attacked by the class bully, who threw a large piece of coal (yes, coal) at me, hitting me in the forehead because I was Jewish.

    Frankie appeared out of nowhere, grabbed my attacker, had some words with him and sent him on his way. He then came over to me, introduced himself, told me not to cry, and waited with me until my mother came. I always remembered that little second-out-of-time scenario, and would wonder through the years what became of him.

    Fast-forward to the late 1980s, when Marty had his video place on Henry Street. People were in and out of the store all the time, and there always seemed to be discussions about the ‘old neighborhood.’ During one of these ‘Do you remember…’ talks, Marty says to one man, “Hey, Frank, you grew up here too, right?” He did. I zoned right into that conversation and asked Frank what his last name was: “Spano” was the answer. Thirty-odd years later, I’d met my childhood Guardian Angel – and it was like meeting a rock star.

    After that, every time I saw him in the neighborhood, we’d stop and talk, or reminisce about the years gone by, even though we didn’t seem to have many friends in common. I know he was rough around the edges, but his friends and this neighborhood have lost a man unlike any other.

    A peaceful journey to you, Frankie.

  • nabeguy

    Since 47, I don’t know if you’re into Facebook, but if you follow this link and join, it has some great pictures of Frankie from around the time you first met him in the 50’s. Even at 10 years old, he was wearing a black leather jacket.

  • since47

    Thanks, nabeguy. I’m on Facebook and joined Growing Up Brooklyn Heights when it first began. But because it’s dedicated to those who spent their formative years here between 1970 and 1995, it’s a pretty closed group, so I rarely go there. I presume it’s thought that those growing up before that time are all dead, and there’s no point in widening the field.

    I went through all the photos, but only found one of Frankie, sans leather jacket – and although I remember seeing him at that age, I wasn’t yet aware of who he was. So many of the B/W photos contain familiar faces – especially the one of the guys hanging out in front of the candy store on Hicks & Middagh. But because I was probably told to steer clear of them, they’re still unknown to me.

    And very coincidental – when I first saw the above photo with the name Spano, I thought Frankie…

  • Eddy de Lectron

    Thanks nabe and 47, I knew Frankie since I was a kid. He always looked out for us younger guys, he may have been a bit “rough around the edges” but he had a good heart. He will be missed.

  • Heather Quinlan

    Oh, no! RIP Frank.

  • nabeguy

    Funny you say that since47. The guys in that photo were actually the “good” altar boys, as opposed to the ones who snuck the communion wine. Sorry to have mislead you on the photos, the one I was thinking of was actually in somebody elses page. In regards to Frankie and neighborhood memories, he once mentioned to me that one of his first jobs was as a busboy at the Candlelight Restaurant, famous for its popovers. Did your family frequent that restaurant?

  • nabeguy

    BTW, one of the kids in that partcular photo was Bill “Whitey” Abramson. Sweetest guy in the world, even to a punk kid like me who grew up worshiping him and his crew in the schoolyard of PS 8 back in the 60’s. He never gave up his crewcut, and he never failed to tip me when I brought him a Mission orange soda from Schlemmer’s Deli. Sadly, he lost his life on 9/11 working at a job in the WTC that he had just started the week before.

  • since47

    Billy Abramson. I didn’t know what happened to him until Frankie (Spano) told me – and then I came across his ‘Portrait’ in the NY Times – I believe he’d just started working at Marsh. And yes – ‘sweet’ is the perfect word for who he was. Always.

    Schlemmer’s Deli – Udo was a friend, and someone else who is missed.

    Patricia Murphy’s Candlelight was my introduction to popovers – and I don’t believe I’ve had a good one since.