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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Smile! You're on Atlantic camera

Just found out there will be a gathering of photographers in the area of the proposed Atlantic Yards "footprint" today. The gathering is to show solidarity and express the rights of photographers in light of an incident between a photographer and an MTA police officer last week.

I was headed out the door anyway, so I'm going and I'll be back with my impressions.


WTF is the deal with the weather?!? (y'know besides adverse effects brought on generally by global warming) Intense snow flurries and freezing winds followed minutes later by bright sunlight??

Well anyway, those conditions I guess, were a means of testing the mettle of the souls intrepid enough to gather on Pacific Street, to exchange anecdotes of law enforcement interrogations as well as hearing from the young woman,Katheryn McInnis who had a similar interrogation last week while taking pictures at the Atlantic Yards site. For more on Katheryn's story check out BritInBrooklyn's blog.

The group walked along Pacific Street, passed the now blocked and soon to be destroyed Carlton Avenue bridge up to Vanderbilt Avenue. Then the group turned and headed back on Dean Street. It's remarkable to walk these long blocks, a space larger in acres than the World Trade Center site, and imagine the overbuilding proposed for this area. I have a lot more thoughts about the experience, the fellowship of the community and the activities of the photographers which was benign and jovial despite the weather-insanity. But I'm still too numb from the cold to process. So thoughts, soon come, for now here's some choice photos I took of the moment.

"You could be shopping" was one of the comments an MTA officer made to Katheryn McInnis (above) when asked why she was taking pictures of the Atlantic Yards proposed site last week.

The fate of the this part of Prospect Heights hasn't been decided yet, but that hasn't stopped the bulldozers

The group was shadowed during the short walk by uniformed officers,
because of course nothing is more threatening than people with cameras

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Do you smell a rat?

The protesting rat and the building under protest at 525 Clinton Ave.

As you may know (and was mentioned previously in this blog) a worker was killed last week when the scaffolding of the luxury apartment building he was working on collapsed dropping him twelve stories at 525 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn.

This morning I saw the rat, specifically the inflatable rat that many New Yorkers have encountered at the site of various forms of usually labor related protest.

According to the men who summoned the rat (self-described members of Local 73 a construction union) they wanted to draw attention to what they say are unsafe conditions on the site, low wages paid to the workers, the fact that construction was not halted the day after the accident, as well as their contention that a local church picked up the cost when the planned building owners took no action toward the funeral of the worker who died on duty.

More to come, I'll keep you informed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Alas no voting, parade for me...

It's noon in NYC and the ticker-tape should by coming down in buckets by now. It reminds me of my amazing tickertape experiences especially from 1999 when I was IN the parade with the Yankees, but that's a story for another time.

I had an energetic moment when I thought about grabbing the camera and heading to the "canyon of heroes" to do a first hand report, but work calls, and besides a tickertape parade is not something to enter into lightly. The Atlantic Avenue train station this morning was proof of that with what looked like 1 out of every 5 people dressed in some sort of Giant garb headed off to show support.

I remember after that 98' parade (and probably others) there was a ripple effect of fans migrating uptown from the parade route so that hour by hour each manhattan neighborhood was awash in a sea of team spirit and humanity. That being the case and me being in midtown, I expect to see the big blue wave up here around 2:30pm. Go Giant's!

And nope I won't be voting either, as I am a registered Independent and New York's Democratic party is closed to the likes of me.
Why is it that Indies get the snub in NYC? Anybody know why besides the fact that political parties choose their own rules?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Breaking News:
Anything IS possible
NY Giants Super Bowl Champs

(Photo Credit: Chris O'Meara / Gene Puskar / Associated Press)

The Super Bowl Champ NY Football Giants will be spoken of a thousand times before I finish this posting.
For those who cared to watch the game, it was at times, pure electric. I loved it as I think any New Yorker should and I accept the doubts I will attract when I say I never doubted them.

But for those of you reading this I'd like to offer you a moment unseen by the millions that happened beyond the field of Glendale, Arizona. This is was my highlight straight outta Brooklyn USA.

Ya see, I was lucky enough to be invited to a massive and annual Super Bowl party thanks to Dana, Shay and Des (as well as thanks to true blue Giant fan Leigh for introducing them to me last year) and the crowd seemed only %66 in favor of the Giants, which shocked me. And I don't know what this meant but a large number of the Patriot fans seemed to be women.

Except for one brother, one excited and vocal brother.

Late in the game the Patriots scored which put them in the lead which for some, seemed to be the setup to impending victory. That was when that (almost) lone Patriot fan who had been a one man pep squad all game, leaped into a boisterous rant, going as far at one point to insist that we all, each of us, shake his hand like men after the upcoming Giant loss.

That was his retort you see, because minutes earlier the Giants had scored what seemed to be their winning touchdown. At that time, that Giant touchdown was their first after a long period on non scoring, and it motivated all the New York fans in attendance to leap to our feet, hugging, celebrating, whooting, hollering and spontaneously breaking into that now well known political chant of "Yes We Can!" "Yes We Can!" We must have chanted for a minute solid. From my perspective, there was a whimsical glance passed from fan to fan, each of us soaked in hyperactive joy.

So yes, as mentioned the Pats did score again, and as you know the Giants did as well, winning the game. But for me that moment of celebration in that Giant room with Giant screen TVs and excited Giant Fans of various and even dark and lovely shades chanting "Yes We Can!" felt like victory and was a moment I'll remember just as much as the game.

After all if the Giants could win, anything could happen.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Thursday morning as I was getting ready for work I heard sirens. It took a few minutes for me to realize that instead of going away they were getting louder. So I grabbed my camera, set for video and from that point on recorded what I saw. Sadly, a construction worker with hopes of earning money to support family in his native country, lost his life while laboring on a building project neither he nor his family could afford to live in.

This is the aftermath of that unfortunate incident.

A detailed story is here at NY1's website.
Family Mourns Loss Of Man Who Died In Fall From Scaffolding

Exhibit "A" or "A reason for this blog's being"

I didn't expect it to happen so soon.

It all started with the banging radiator promptly at 6:58am just two hours into my new found sleep. I'm sure apartment dwellers can relate but that my true-believers is a rant for another time.

Being cocksure and industrious, I reached for the wrench. Then I decided a little googlin' was in order before I ended up opening the scalding radiator water onto my unclothed early morning nether-regions. Somehow one bit of googling led to another (weird how that happens) and the next thing you know I found myself reading an interesting attempt at self-awareness by way of gentrification on the New York Observer site.

The writer posed the question, is she "Destined to be Gentrified and Gentrifying"
I read it and found the perspective to be what I've come to expect from recent transplants to brooklyn, visions from a tunnel painted with bright colors.

the link is:

I think it's worth reading, and discussing. Which is why after I read it I wrote in my two cents.
The type of experience written about in that article is a lot of why I felt compelled to make this blog and I was surprised to see the very type of experiences I have been witnessing for the last nine years detailed so thoroughly just a day after I decided to write this blog. (hang on a sec the pipes are a bangin' again)
Okay um back. (for those who care I'm going with the radiator off method starting now)
So yeh, Brooklyn is, as New York is (and apparently most of the major cities in the western world at least) in transition. I'm as interested in this as much as anyone and I think essential in this transition is the expression and discussion of our viewpoints so we may all live as best possible while appreciating the city we've inherited (one way or another) and the people who are our neighbors.

I'll let you read the original Observer posting and the response but just to give some context here's an excerpt form the Observer column;

On a recent chilly night, I was bundled up and on my way to Boerum Hill to have dinner at a friend's apartment. As I walked down Washington Avenue the B45 bus pulled up next to me, and I hesitated. “Which would be faster, the train or the bus?” I thought. Before I could make a decision, the bus doors had shuttered. Luckily, the light at Atlantic and Washington was still red and I approached the bus and knocked on the door. The driver, a middle-aged African-American man, refused to open the door, gesturing to the next stop, three street crossings away, even though his bus was still idling perfectly in front of a designated stop. It was 15 degrees outside and I'll admit it, I felt like the driver was sticking it to me for being white.

So just to summarize one point of my response to this writing; for any who don't know; A New York City bus driver will not pick up, if you are not at the bus stop. No matter how close you are, what color you are, or how cold it is.

"Brooklyn! Brooklyn! always funky fresh"

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's born...


After much over consideration and constant yet inadequate planning, the blog you are reading, "Brooklyn Born" was, well, born on this rainy day in Feb. of 2008. The virtual weight at this point is impossible to measure in any real world and or useful sense, however the idea I hope is clear from the title; this blog will be from and about perspectives born in the borough of Brooklyn new york city.

This being the first posting I can say thankfully I no longer have to think about what to say in my first posting, or to put it locally;

Now dat it's stah'ed I don't gotta worry 'bout it no more.

(that's a one-timer folks, I won't be writing that way again but I know my uncle would appreciate it. ; )