Old Park Slope Meets New Park Slope

Home Brooklyn Life Old Park Slope Meets New Park Slope

By Vinnie Rotondaro

Old Park Slope and New Park Slope met today inside a falafel shop at 5th Avenue and 9th Street.

Old Park Slope came in the form of a pair of D.O.T. workers hunched over a tiny table for two. One was a very large man with a handlebar mustache and tattoos all over. His forearms were enormous. The other was smaller—a compact little man with a thick Brooklyn accent and short cropped black hair. They were talking together about cigarettes.

Two svelte mothers represented the New Park Slope. They were sitting at a large table silhouetted by blinding light from the storefront window. They were there with their toddlers, on a lunch date. Their kids were completely out of control.

“I just don’t have a taste for them any more, cigarettes,” the big man said.

“Oh yeah? What happened?” asked the little man.

One of the moms yelped.

“Akasha!” she said, scolding her child, trying her best at calm, cool and collected even though she was clearly agitated. “We don’t go outside, OK? We stay here with mommy.”

The child giggled in her face, ran outside, slapped her hands on the storefront window, put her lips to the glass and ballooned her cheeks like Dizzy Gillespie.


“I’m telling you man, they’re gross,” the big D.O.T. worker continued, unfazed by the clatter. “My wife, she smokes the same cigarettes that I do. Camel Reds. I’m telling you man, we used to smoke in inside, at our place. We were cleaning the other day and we wiped down the windows. They were just covered with this…this gook, this stuff. Gross man. It was gross.”

“Yeah, and you know what?” the little man cut in, “all that gross stuff on the windows, that goes right in your lungs.”

The big man shook his head in disgust.

“Thomas! Thomaasssss!” the other mom yowled. Thomas and Akasha and Akasha’s sister were crawling around under the tables. One knocked over a chair. THWACK! The big man looked back like Big Foot—he didn’t turn his neck, he turned his whole torso.

The D.O.T. workers exchanged a look.

Then Thomas darted outside.


Apparently, the game the kids were playing was called run outside even though mommy says not to.

“So I told her right there,” the big man said, referring to his wife, “No more! Not in the house. I’m done. If you want to smoke, you gotta do it outside.”

“Right on,” his buddy said.

Just then all three kids made a collective break for it. They flew out the door, laughing hysterically. The moms rushed into action, jumped out of their seats and wrangled the pipsqueaks into their arms. Six suspended legs kicked about wildly.

“Nooo! No noooo!” they protested.

“That’s it,” one of the moms said, holding a child with a sinewy arm. “You guys have pushed it too far.”

“You want to get the check?” she said in exasperation to the other mother.


The D.O.T. workers wiped their mouths with paper napkins.

“Alright. Wanna go do that thing in Gowanus?” the big man said to the little man, rising from his seat like a leviathan.

“Yeah, let’s go do that thing in Gowanus,” the little man replied.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” the one mom called out sing-songingly to man at the cash register at the other end of the restaurant. “We need the check.”

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