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BrooklynBornThis blog started in my head when I listened in the 90's to friends who feared Brooklyn and newcomers who blogged about BK as if it barely existed before they arrived. Brooklyn as Tabula Rasa. My blog satisfies my need to hear and air feelings of B'klyn from the people whose life experience was born here. Also I hope to provide balance to some of the revisionist historical musings I've seen how Brooklyn and her residents used to be, we're still here. If we can all live as best possible while appreciating the past and neighbors we've inherited that would be great too.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Photo Wednesday 103013 Sandy Revisited Edition


One year today Hurricane Sandy hit and this is just some of the fallen trees, damaged buildings and aftermath of flooding I saw: The Lower Manhattan being a silhoutted outline of black, the lower East River Bridges being half illuminated, the then flooded Battery Park underpass, (not to mention the south ferry subways station and the river tunnels) old steakhouse in the meat packing district cooking their inventory outside as to not let it go bad in the blackout that followed. Incredible. We survived lower Manhattan and subway tunnels flooding, and explosion at one of our main electric power stations. I remember mine and the neighborhood's lights flickering as a result. I knew that was bad but when my lights stayed on I thought the city had gotten by unscathed, little did I know Manhattan south of 28th street was suddenly and near totally dark and would remain so for days. I enjoy complaining like a lot of New Yorkers, but it really is amazing that the city got itself back together as much as it did so quickly.

Friday, October 25, 2013

OBAMA IN BROOKLYN, BAM!

So yeh. I'm excited. I like the President, and I write a blog about Brooklyn. So if the 1st African-American President of the United States comes to Brooklyn (to the P-Tech High School on Albany Avenue in Crown Heights), just a few blocks from where I was born and I didn't have something to show for his visit, this site would be useless.

So without wasting more time, here's video of President Barack Obama landing in Prospect Park (which I am all down for)

And a photoslide show (who loves ya baby!)
(PS I just heard the President and our soon to be Mayor Bill DeBlasio are eating cheesecake downtown at Juniors) What's your Brookyn/Obama sighting?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Missed it Monday : Brooklyn Art Bounty

Art is making it's presence know in New York in many ways that go beyond Banksy's current October "New York Residency" although few give and get the attention as easily Banksy's. I'll get more into Banksy in a piece to be posted soon.


This past weekend in Brooklyn was a great example of the abundance of art to be found.

The Brooklyn Museum has been in deliciously demonstrative form recently opening an exhibition of Wangechi Mutu's work appropriately entitled, "A Fantastic Journey". 

The works are to be seen, not described. But you should know Wangechi's work is as layered in thought as they are in process and equally balanced between beauty and filth in a way that to my eyes is perfect and enlightening. All the aspects of Wangechi's work I saw are like that. Including a video of filmed and animated elements featuring the equally dynamic and surprising recording artist Santigold (who like Wangechi makes her home in Brooklyn).

On Thursday the museum threw a party not only around Wangechi's work but inclusive of the larger tribe of creative Brooklynites including the fierce singer-songwriter and dynamic performer Wunmi, the deceptively powerful DJ Reborn supplying seductive and demanding dance music from half way around the globe and back. As they worked the dance space the 3rd floor had become, opposite the stage were an array of fashions, essentially wearable art being sold by Ngozi Odita of HAE Harriet's Alter-Ego fame), and AFRIKA21. The common thread between all these creative peoples is that travel similar physical and conceptual paths as Wangechi and each of these artists have made Brooklyn their homebase.

Wangechi Mutu's "A Fantastic Journey" is open now through March 9th, but see it soon because when you look at her work thinking you know what you're looking at, prepared to give credit for it's ingenuity, you'll likely find more subtle detail of thought and action to make freeze you in place with wonder. So yeh, you'll need to see it more than once.



Also collaborating with the Brooklyn Museum as well as Creative Time is artist Suzanne Lacy, whom I confess I've never heard of in my life, not even in my art life.

Suzanne's work became physically apparent as I was on the way to the opening of Wangechi's show at the Brooklyn Museum. The side steps of the Museum (one of the genius touches of the museums facade renovation nine years ago) have become a stoop in every way that is Brooklyn. On these steps you'll find families together enjoy the frolicking of their young while parents sit and catch their breathe, a few feet away a couple is likely meeting on their first date.

Suzanne's work in this space was to dress the front facing side of the steps in bands her signature process yellow color with text that asked questions related to gender issues.

Unfortunately for me this didn't inspire me to investigate and I nearly missed the broader work of Ms. Lacy that the stoop dressing was meant to direct viewers to, a full street of stoop conversations near by in Prospect Heights. As the universe would have it, a few days later friend told me she was participating in an art event nearby and when I came to see, it was in fact the entire block of Park Place between Underhill and Vanderbilt that was full with people sharing and trading personal reflections on issues of gender, sexuality, race and society in general.

It was a great time. Art aside the event reminded me of how far Brooklyn has come not simply in terms of cool factor, or gentrification (although those things have lifted Brooklyn's appeal with outsiders and new comers that increases the success of events like these) but in the overall willingness of residents, many new, some long-term who have now allow Brooklyn's public spaces to be party to these types of events. To put that succinctly, I couldn't help but think of all the resident's who gave up their parking spaces that day for the street to be shutdown, which any New Yorker knows is tantamount to giving your baby to a stranger.

I'll post video of the crowds on at Suzanne Lacy's event on Park Place later today.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wangechi Mutu, DJ Reborn, Wunmi, Party! Brooklyn Museum: TONIGHT

Tonight if you are out anywhere in Brooklyn, you ought to be at the Brooklyn Museum where there will not only be a rare Thursday night dance party spun by the beautiful talented and renown DJ Reborn, Venus X & Wunmi (with her internationally known sassy musical funk) but it'll be the first event held during Wangechi Mutu's Exhibition: Fantastic Journey which opened last week.



As if that isn't enough there will be dance performances by Afro-Mosaic Soul and fashions on sale in a pop-up shop by Ngozi Odia of Society HAE (Harriet's Alter-Ego if ya' didn't know) and AFRIKA21.

Today Thursday Oct 17, 6:30 - 9:30
Beaux-Arts Court, 3rd Floor

Seeya there.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Vote Today, NYC for Public Advocate!

This October 1st has no shortage of activity. Between the House Republicans  refusing to fund the federal government's operations, the start of national enrollment for what we call Obamacare and the today being the run-off election for NYC Public Advocate, there's going to be a lot stories fighting for attention.

Those three events have a common theme, government's responsibility to act in the best interest of the citizenry. When politics trump the need of the people you get a shutdown. When the people's needs are put first you get a national healthcare reform. 
Here at home I hope out eyes are wide open and we're ready to vote for a new Public Advocate.

The primary election resulted in Letitia "Tish" James receiving 36% of the vote which forced today's run-off election and I believe we need Tish elected our next Public Advocate.  By design, the office of Public Advocate is the overseer of city government and a general watchdog against government mismanagement.The office of Public Advocate has the power to submit policy changes based on the needs and will of the people. 

Here in Brooklyn Tish has been a tireless advocate for the needs of the entire community, whether it's long time native New Yorkers, or new comers, young old and all backgrounds. She's helped bring the need for affordable housing to the forefront and has worked to help bring many actual units of affordable housing to Brooklyn.

She is quick to respond to the community and unexpected events such as helping to activate city resources to help cleanup damage after Hurricane Sandy and she's work on these issues and more for a decade in the city council where she currently chairs the Economic Development and Sanitation Committees, and serves on the committees for Parks & Recreation, Small Business, Technology in Government, Veteran Affairs, and Women's Issues.

Like many people in community I've met Tish at events and political rallies working for the will of the people and often having the pleasure of hearing Tish speak truth to the powerful.

This is why of the two candidates I'm totally in support of Council Member Letitia "Tish" James in the run-off election for Public Advocate. She's one of us, a New Yorker, a Brooklynite and a defender. She's got our back and this Election Day I hope we'll elect Letitia "Tish" James, Public Advocate so she can continue fighting and winning for us all.

Update: as of 10:30pm NY1 is calling the election for Tish! Link http://www.ny1.com/content/news/189754/ny1--james-defeats-squadron-in-democratic-public-advocate-runoff