Monday, April 14, 2008

Return of the Non-Native

Years ago, after I moved to the City from Iowa but before I moved to Brooklyn, I had a couple blogs, one about poetry and politics, the other about cooking and food. Good times, as my friend Daniel would say, but I deleted them both when I recognized that I just wasn't keeping them up and I didn't really want to leave relics of myself lying around cyberspace like so many old tires. It seems that detritus might be detritus even if it is just made of numbers and light.

Fast-forward to around two months ago (fast-forward, then rewind) when, over lunch at a vegan restaurant in the West Village, my friend Chris suggested that I start posting some photos of my neighborhood online. I thought about it but, "No, I'm not getting back into that world. Nope." Then tonight, after a great run on the McCarren Park track, feeling particularly happy, I mulled it over again and decided, "Why not?" My commitment was strenghtned by a visit to the site of media guru Chris Brogan, who offers a list of 100 blog topics he'd like to see covered. #4 is "A Community I Love," which is what, ostensbily, I'll tell you about here. That said, I've been told by fortunetellers and the like to avoid formulizing my life, so this may be about my "community" as much as it's about my community. It's open. Let x=x.

My Community is Under the BQE and on either side of it, with Williamsburg to the south and Greenpoint to the north. I'm on the edge where streets that have been running nearly east-west tilt to run northwest-southeast, all the way to the East River. My community is changing like a prairie on fire, but that's okay. I'm not here to decry the new but to bear witness to the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience of living in a New York City neighborhood that is changing faster than probably any other neighborhood (at least visibly) and which has a once-in-a-city experience to transform its skyscape in a short period of time. We who live here now will never again see as much sky as we do now, or as the Italians who've been on my street for decades or the Polish who've been on Nassau for decades or the artists who've been on Bedford since the 80s saw even before the Changes started happening. We're all blessed, in this little corner of the world, on this little pinhead of time. One of my favorite poets writes,

"How wondrous strange it was at that moment
to be in the flesh."

And it is.

So I raise a glass of wine from Fame Discount Liquors on the corner of Metropolitan and Union, to a land neither before nor after time but firmly planted in it, like a palm tree in a desert, or like the BQE itself, giving perpetual shade and sounding of perpetual sea.

Is a great blog born? Probably not. But perhaps it will be more than a tire.

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