Tag Archives: neighborhoods

Forward, forward, forward

Some things never change. Those things don’t exist in New York.

I walk down Columbus Avenue with the dog pulling against the leash, racing past drunks and couples and the old man who lives downstairs. We blow through the intersection, the dog frantic now, practically sprinting forward and forward and forward through the city. We get to the pet store, and she tries to go in. It’s one in the morning, I tell her. It’s not open. She wags her tail, an act of naïveté or defiance.

(Three years ago I ran down Avenue A drunk and bewildered and reaching out for everything and anything and waiting for someone to watch me fall. By the time I hit 8th Street, he was there, of course. I was running to him in some sped-up tragicomedic scene playing out in the movie of my head.)

The wind picks up and the dog’s ears blow back slightly. She whines and paws at the pet store. I gently tug at her, and then use a bit more force to try and yank her away.

The kids at the bar smile. They are outside, waving around cigarettes and hunting down cabs. One of them approaches the dog, already on his knees. She ignores him, desperate to go inside the pet store. The guy could be my age, but from the crowd at the bar, I assume he’s younger. His jeans are tight and torn. He pets the dog’s head and scrambles away, his cigarette stuck against his bottom lip, his tail between his legs. The dog looks away.

We begin the slow walk home, across the avenue, to our apartment. She will eventually lie down on the corner of my bed, her head pressed up against my ankles, the same happy-sad expression on her soft, sleeping face.

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Williamsburg

On every single New York message board and every single blog, in every crowded car of the L train you hear it: that whiney, smug self-proclaimed artist complaining about Williamsburg.

It’s not just Williamsburg; it’s a product of massive fast paced gentrification that has spread around New York and oozed its way into Brooklyn. New Yorkers become loyal to a neighborhood in a vain, self-important way not unlike sophomores in high school thumbing the freshmen.

The complainers, the ones who put up the most fuss and noise, are the ones who moved in over the past five years. They are the finger-pointers, the screachers, the writers making fabulous claims of the value of their worth. They clog the internet with their shit. They react to rent hikes the way my parents’ generation reacted to the Vietnam war.

I have news for these so-called protesters:

Real estate is a mercurial enterprise. And neighborhoods in New York are all starting to bleed together — even, dare I say, humble Brooklyn. If you want to claim a bit of land as your own, a few streets to your people, I suggest you move to Wyoming and form a compound. Better yet, develop the poor land way upstate that young people are fleeing, leaving behind a wounded economy with little to show for it but acres of snow and blue collar contempt.

Unless you’re a Native American who has left the casino for a life of literary torment and low-brow astheticism, shut the fuck up about Williamsburg. Seriously. Shut the fuck up. It was never yours to begin with.