Have you ever been?
When I first moved to Brooklyn back in the nineties, I had people tell me they couldn’t visit me because they couldn’t come to Brooklyn. They just could not leave Manhattan, their oh so precious Manhattan…
And a taco place on 7th Avenue in Park Slope proper refused to deliver burritos past 8pm because I lived on 4th Avenue and St. Marks Avenue (not Park Slope proper). Not for nothing, but 4th Avenue is trying to be crazy bougie right now. A vast difference from the mini ghetto it used to be. It looks like annoying Williamsburg’s cousin now––trying to lure in the young and affluent by giving imitation “hip” and “trendy” and forsaking its eclectic, electric Brooklyn roots.
But look a little closer, past the Starbucks and Barclay’s arena and you’ll find the DIY side of Brooklyn.
The “We’ll just do it ourselves” attitude that brings library students and architects together to create an outdoor lending library in response to Brooklyn Public Library’s cutting of Sunday branch hours. Branch was a project spearheaded by Jerome Chou during the summer and fall of 2009 that asked the question, “What is a library?” and expanded the discussion, just a little, to include what a library could be. We were glad to be just one pop-up response.
Keep looking and you’ll see the Brooklyn of garden activists who transform empty vacant lots to create community gardens in the middle of busy, noisy thoroughfares, fighting off land developers and Giuliani to keep them green and open to the community. The Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden has been building community on Flatbush and Pacific Avenues since 1985. We are a fully working garden completely volunteer run. Check us out on our Facebook page and blog.
And in January of this year, the Brooklyn Bear’s garden banded with four other neighborhood community gardens to form a land trust of our own to make sure we remain gardens in perpetuity.
Do you know what time it is?
Time to say NO to high rises and yes to DIY!