When I was a kid growing up in Queens, there was another girl on the block named Jennifer and I called her "Jen down the block." Not coincidentally she called me "Jen down the block, too."
More interesting, all the way down the block on Furmanville Ave there was an old farm house with a pretty big lawn and a pony grazed on the lawn.
This might not sound amazing, but a pony in a neighborhood in NYC was a rare thing. When I was a kid and my dad took me on walks to see the pony, I would get really excited, but it was normal to me that the pony lived there and I got to visit the pony every day. Looking back, I can't believe we had a pony down the block. Sometimes I wonder if I'm making the whole thing up.
After some time the pony "went to the farm," and the old people who lived in the old farm house died. Some guido contractors bought the old farm house and in guido fashion were preparing to knock it down and build a marble guido mansion, but people from the historical society stepped in and put a stamp on the old farm house.
A landmark designation is different from a historical designation. As I understand it, with a landmark, you can't touch it, but with historical, you can go as far as completely taking the structure down, as long as you store each piece in such a way that if one day someone comes along and wants to rebuild it, it is possible.
Instead of tearing the white wooden frame house down, the guido contractors stuccoed over it, adding outrageous marble columns where the wooden porch supports were.
And on the lawn where the pony once grazed they built another multi-family brick house.
Today if two kids named Tom grow up on 79th St, after they are all grown up, they might say, "When I was a kid there was another Tom and I called him 'Tom down the block' and he called me' Tom down the block.'"
But that is where the story will end, because who cares about the multi-family brick house all the way down the block? Those are a dime a dozen.
If I am ever wealthy enough I will buy that old farm house, remove the flesh colored stucco, tear down the multi-family brick house, grow a lawn from seed, then buy a pony.
We need more ponies. We need less multi-family brick houses.