At first glance, it appeared to be just another accident on a street that had seen many, many accidents over the years. And had the video of the wreck not gone viral, it would have remained just that. Mill Basin, the neighborhood where I grew up is a pretty enclave, a suburb of New York City, in an otherwise overcrowded city. It’s surrounded by water which makes it inaccessible to most, unless you live or work in the area. There is only one main, uninterrupted street that begins at Avenue U and ends at National Drive. It’s approximately 1 mi (1.8km) from end to end with only one stop sign, installed about thirty years ago. Although beginning to end it curves about 180 degrees, it’s always been a street where one could reach excessive speeds.
Mill Basin was established by the Dutch, as was the rest of Brooklyn (Breukelen), hence the Mill. Before it became inhabited by homeowners looking for a suburban life within driving distance of New York City, it was nothing more than swamp land. All that began to change in the 1950’s with developers realizing the value of the waterfront property available. Mill Basin is actually Mill Island. Within a couple of miles is a golf course and horseback riding. Floyd Bennett Field, part of the Gateway National Park system, is within a short drive and is the airfield where Charles Lindberg took off for his history making flight across the Atlantic.
The first neighborhood inhabitants and even those that later followed in the 60’s and 70’s, were mostly young families, many professionals and business people looking to lay down roots. Many of the families did very well financially and Mill Basin evolved in to a wealthy playground. The homes have grown skyward as there is little room to expand outward. When we reached our 18th birthdays, a number of my friends were given cars which included, Corvettes, BMW’s and even a Ferrari. East 66th street, besides being the only north south, continuous artery in, or out of the neighborhood, doubled as a drag strip. In one tragic story, friends, racing another car, lost control, crashed through a barrier and sank to the bottom of the creek. Fortunately for one of the passengers, her life was saved by the very cold water despite being submerged for two minutes. The other four teenagers, died. Even my uncle, who raced bikes and cars, took me for an eighty mile an hour ride on his Harley when I was eight. It’s probably the reason I never rode on a bike again. And it also almost caused the divorce of my parents.
Fast forward to September 23, 2013 and anyone who grew up in the neighborhood was completely unfazed by seeing a car split in two, particularly a Lamborghini. Accidents have been common and until either speed bumps and or stop signs are installed, accidents will continue. The worst part is, the last thing any of us want are stop signs. Living in New York, we already suffer with too many lights, and stop signs. And in an otherwise quiet neighborhood, they shouldn’t be necessary if everyone could just adhere to the speed limit. The worst part is, the accident wasn’t caused by the speeding Lamborghini but rather a sleepy or blind driver, who turned in to the lane of a speeding car. Fortunately, both drivers walked away and no was walking on the street at the time of the accident. The Lamborghini came to rest at the corner of Gaylord Drive by the home of one of my closest childhood friends and still one of my closest friends. When we spoke today, we recalled a number of accidents some fatal, on that very street, so neither of us was very surprised.