On Brooklyn as an Unfortunate Phase of Life Through Which You Too One Day Might Pass

01Oct07

Of all the outer boroughs, Brooklyn seems to offer the least potential for the gay recluse in search of refuge and contemplation. Having once lived in Park Slope — there, we admit it — we remain mystified by the unceasing torrent of adulation heaped upon the borough — and in particular, we address these comments to the newly gentrified swath that extends from Williamsburg and Greenpoint down to Park Slope and then east toward Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, i.e., that which exists in the pages of The Times — by a mafia of literati and music scenesters in an apparent effort to convince themselves and a few others — who perhaps have never had the opportunity to visit New York City and experience the self-evident — that to live amid a few three-story brownstones and converted warehouses is really much better than anything in Manhattan, where the buildings are too tall, the streets too crowded, and life in general just too extreme for their suburban sensibilities. We also note the outer-borough sense of civic pride — “I love Brooklyn!” — that seems particularly noxious amid the rampant nationalism that has descended upon the country since ____.

We have thus come to view Brooklyn as less a geographical location than an unfortunate phase of life — like adolescence — marked by naive idealism, a severe lack of self-awareness and denial of the infinitely more terrifying yet beautiful world we must come to know as an adult. This, of course, is why we are thankful to have left Brooklyn for Washington Heights; not, of course, that we “love” it — any more than we “love” being an adult — but it is still Manhattan’s most forgotten and perplexing neighborhood, where we are never far removed from the crumbling, gilded apartment palaces, the maddening noise and debris, the armies of rats and — most of all — the thousands upon thousands who like us must scratch out a futile existence in the high cliffs above the Hudson.

Apartment Palace

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