What Happened to My Brooklyn?

All politics is local, or so the saying goes.  And all local issues are personal.

Today’s issue of The New York Times, includes a finely observed piece about the changes and similarities of “The Brooklyn Experience”  — comparing the 70s with today.


About 80 percent of his tale is in congruence with our experience there over 25 years. I lived in Park Slope from ’85 to ’10. When we announced our move to Brooklyn, my grandmother looked at us as if we announced we were moving to a death camp. She was scared for our safety. It was sketchy, but we had stars in our eyes, and we made a family, and built a life.

We moved for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest was that we felt we no longer belonged there; it was time to give the space to a younger family of greater affluence. Departure was bitter sweet. It was a lovely neighborhood, and our hearts still ache for all the good times and friends we had there. But time has passed and I firmly believe that there is a proper place to be, for each stage in life. It is unnerving to consistently be the only person in late-middle age at every restaurant.

We are, still, amazed by the velocity of change, whenever we visit. New York is always about the “change” — but it was the quicksilver movement from “balanced” to “uber-wealthy” and “very young” that told us it was time to decamp. If you want to visit us now, we’ll see you not at Elora’s or The Gate, but at Estrellita Poblana and An Beal Bocht. At ABB, there is — by design — no tv, plenty of free live music and theater, and lots of multi-generational conversation. The drinks are generous and the beers on tap varied and in good shape. In short, balanced — unlike the Park Slope I left.