Wednesday, May 20, 2009
On many one-way streets in Brooklyn you'll find mounds of asphalt and gravel marked "Bump". The reason for this is so motorists (who for a variety of debatable reasons began especially in the 90's, speeding down residential roads like a starship warping out of a movie's climax) would be forced to slow down. Personally I wonder how many times drivers have ignored the warning to heed the bump and plowed right ahead. Probably didn't turn out well.
Which brings me to today's photo Wednesday; Basically I moved, recently.
My head, My spirit, My residence have all been in transition for the last two months. It's been tough to write in this blog, because I've wanted to maintain a safe distance between my personal life and my concept of this blog, which is meant to be a unique voice about Brooklyn; past, present and speculating on the future.
Somewhere in my recent experiences I'm sure is a metaphor for what interests me most about Brooklyn specific and the nation as a whole. The idea of place is so important because it's tied to identity, of course. And identity, etc, shapes how we see the world around us. So the conversations raised on the issue of what a place is now compared to what it has been, and who is mainstreamed and who is marginalized, those issues and arguments are shuffled and shifted by something as simple as who moves where and why, clearly.
And I was still unprepared for how my recent move has effected perceptions of self-identity despite the small physical distanced I've traveled.
Although I still want a comfortable distance between my private life and my blogging I can say I've been living in Clinton Hill since before the start of this blog (which you may have guessed by my posts) and I've moved to Crown Heights.
That was my third or fourth or fifth time living in Clinton Hill depending on how you draw the boundaries and this is my fifth time living in Crown Heights again, depending on the boundaries. CH vs CH (...fight!)
The distance according to my iPhone is 1.6 miles and should take 30 minutes walking (accurate!) and 5 minutes by car, and yet it is, like the space between many Brooklyn neighborhoods, some worlds away from each other.
The last time I lived as deep in "the heights" (which was what I recall people referring to it as when Prospect Heights wasn't an all embraced/known moniker) it was the mid 70's when I was a little kid living on Union St and Troy (very different from Union and 7th Ave worlds away in Park Slope).
I've been reacquainting myself with the area (I have friends spread all over so I never really left) but in the process I am finding places and things I somehow never saw or paid enough attention to.
My current residence doesn't change the focus of this blog very much. In my three decades I've lived in over 50% of this borough, and shopped, dated and hung out in another 30% at least, so for what it's worth my focus will still be on all things relateable to Brooklyn. Of course personal discoveries and my usual past/present comparisons will guide and mix in with many of my posts in the weeks to come so keep on coming back I've already started writing and there will be a lot to see and hear, with the same personal/historical on things like:
Why there's no cafe's on Nostrand (although there is a great natural juice spot nearby)
Why Hasidic popcorn is my current favorite
What it's like to see the place you grew up hollowed out and re-inhabited
When gentrification is and isn't in the interest of the neighborhood
and of course,
Where to get the best curried goat Roti dinner in Crown Heights.