When I was a kid we used to go up Todt Hill Road and about halfway up the hill to the left was a limestone cave, they called it, it really wasn't all that cave-like. There was a steep hill called the ski jump. I used to see the men, including my father, ride motorcycles up the dirt slope, which was steep. Rarely could they make it all the way to the top because of the steepness and the soft red clay that gave way under the rear wheel. Before I left the Island in '66 the place was all houses.
There was little skiing on the Island in my time there, except at the Richmond County Golf Club up on the top of Todt Hill, as far as I knew, and perhaps at Silver Lake.
Regarding the field across from the Buddy-Buddy club, it is now a school, a grade school. When I was in the eighth grade at PS29, our class was marched down there for the groundbreaking ceremony, which included speeches by schoolboard members and politicos about the wonderful school they were going to build there. Then they turned over a spadeful of earth with silver colored spades; first time I ever saw one of those ceremonies. It was a nice field. My dad, who grew up in Sunnyside, a five-iron shot away, told me it used to be a driving range. There was some opposition, or rueful remarking, at least, about destroying that field, as it had been large and undeveloped. Nowadays those opposed to developing it would have found a butterfly or squirrel colony to block it.
I remember my father telling me of a friend whose game was to stand out in the field while his friends hit golf balls, and this guy would catch them in his teeth. If it weren't my father telling me he saw it, and if I hadn't been young when I heard it, I would say this was doubtful. However,there have been stranger things, especially on S.I.
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