2008-09-11 / Top Stories

Memories Of "Buddies" Brings Memories Of 9/11

By Lorraine Thorpe

You would think that with everything going on in the world today, not much thought would be given to a tiny little amusement park on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn being torn down after fifty years.

Recently, without any fanfare, Buddies Amusement Park closed forever. I know this because driving by and glancing over, as I have done hundreds of times before, it was gone. Not to be dramatic, but I really felt so sad about it.

Thirty-nine years ago, my parents would take me, my sister and brother to this wonderful little place that did not seem to belong there. With its Carousel, little (but intense) rollercoaster, boat ride, helicopter ride and most memorable for me, the flat wooden characters that had not changed in 50 years. The clown, Pinocchio, wooden soldiers and Mickey Mouse (in his early years). To be honest some of them gave me the creeps as a child and still did as an adult. But that just made me love it more.

I may not have many memories of when I was four, but there is one at Buddies that has always stood out. My father put me on the helicopter ride—I can remember it being filled with kids, and all the parents standing around the gate. If you pulled the bar up on your helicopter, it would go up. All were up, except mine. I was too scared to pull on that bar.

As we went around and around, I could see all the parents waving up to their children. Except mine. My dad was yelling "Go on, pull the bar!" I could not do it. Why I remember this so vividly I really do not know. Regrettably, Buddies long outlived my dad. He passed away when I was ten.

Taking my son, nieces and nephews there when they were children was a lot of fun. Buddies was a bit battered over the years, but that was okay. I know how that is.

Believe it or not, I found myself there September 12th, 2001. The day before, I was running through the smoke-filled streets of Manhattan with thousands of others. The day after, my brother and his pregnant wife were going for a sonogram. I was watching their three-year-old daughter, who begged me to take her to Buddies. An amusement park was the last place I felt like being.

But for an hour, I could almost pretend nothing had happened the day before, almost pretend things were normal. Well, that would only last for so long. When we returned, my brother told me they were having a baby boy. I cried from complete happiness and total despair. I do not think I have ever felt those two emotions at the same time.

It's funny how a place that may be so insignificant to others may hold so much to another. But I believe I am not the only one who will miss Buddies. And just to let you know, eventually I was able to pull that bar and go up. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more to scare me now.

Editor's note: The writer dedicates this article to her brother, the late Michael Albert Brunetti, a paramedic who "did his part" on 9/11/01.

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I thank the Canarsie Courier very much for printing my story. However, there is one correction I have to make. The dedication at the end to Michael Albert Brunetti. He was the father of my son, not my brother. And just to note, today, September 11th is also his birthday. He would have been 48.
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