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My Place or Yours?


Map by Jason Lee; photographs by Julia Gillard  

The Old-timer: Lorraine Romano
Age: 59.
Profession: Waitress at Manducatis for the past 26 years.
Resides: A two-family stone house on 5th Street with her husband, brother, sister-in-law, and, years ago, their children—now “married and out.”
Years in the neighborhood: 59. “When I was a kid, I lived in the house next door.” “It used to be everybody was related to everybody around here. Everybody was friends with everybody. It was that kind of neighborhood. But the waterfront was not pretty like it is now. It was wooden planks—dead-endlike. It’s nicer now, but you’ve still got to get used to it.”


13. Duane Reade
47-02 Fifth St., at 47th Ave. 718-472-3600
“A few weeks ago, a Duane Reade opened here. The first time I walked in, I was like, ‘Oh my God! I’m in the Twilight Zone.’ We’ve never had places like that.”


14. Brasil Coffee House
48-19 Vernon Blvd., at 49th Ave. 718-729-5969
“It’s very soothing to sit here. They have nice big chairs. When I used to watch my grandkids, I’d have my cappuccino, and they’d be looking all around.”


15. Waterfront Crabhouse
2-03 Borden Ave., at 2nd St. 718-729-4862
“We’ve had a lot of parties here with family—a party for my father when he retired as a policeman. I get the prime rib and a baked potato. And wine. My husband drinks Budweiser—that’s it!”


16. Dorian Café
10-01 Vernon Blvd., at 50th Ave. 718-937-1120
“I’ve been going here since I’m a kid. We used to get either a malted or ice cream in a cup. Now I go for a coffee and a cheeseburger.”

17. Manducatis Rustica
“The owner, Gianna, is the daughter of Vincent Cerbone, who owns Manducatis. She just opened this café with every flavor of gelato: pistachio, mixed berries, pineapple-coconut. I like mango.”

18. Andrews Grove Park
49th Ave. nr. Vernon Blvd.
“I call it 5th Street Park. That’s where we played when we were kids and where I brought our children and now grandchildren.”

19. St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
10-08 49th Ave., at Vernon Blvd. 718-786-0705
“I got married here in 1970. My parents got married here and remarried here on their 50th anniversary. My children went to grammar school here, too. But the school doesn’t exist anymore. My last son had to transfer out in seventh grade to a school in Greenpoint.”


20. Gantry Plaza State Park
“I take my grandkids to see the helicopters take off and land from the 34th Street heliport. My grandson brings his dump truck and plays with the rocks.”


21. P.J. Leahy’s
50-02 Vernon Blvd., at 50th Ave. 718-472-5131
“If we’re going to go for a nightcap, this is where we go. The place has had four different names over the years, but it’s basically the same.”

22. Jackson Avenue Steakhouse
12-23 Jackson Ave., at 47th Rd. 718-784-1412
“My son was a busboy and became a waiter here. It’s sort of like a Peter Luger. It’s good.”

23. Food Cellar & Co.
4-85 47th Rd., nr. 5th St. 718-606-9786
“For years, there was no grocery store here. I used to go to the Stop & Shop in Sunnyside or Key Food over the bridge. This place just opened. I’ve bought chicken cutlets, sausages. The paninis are good, but it’s kinda pricey.”


24. Vernon Blvd. Pharmacy
48-15 Vernon Blvd., nr. 48th Ave.; 718-361-7390
“You get your medicine pretty fast, and everybody knows everybody.”


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