Thursday, July 29, 2010


It's amazing how tightly packed people can get. Sardined and crammed til they're breathing over and under each other, stepping on toes sandals shoes dreams personal spaces. It's like every sidewalk is a misinterpreted sneeze away from a rather bloody riot. Young and old and old neighbourhood and new immigrants.

I kinda like seeing more than the usual Vancouver minorities.That is, Pacific Rim. Korean Japanese Chinese (Hong Kong and Taiwanese and every single possible shade of acculturation that represents the Chinese in Vancouver), Indians (Sikhs, Muslims, Hindu, Canadian-born), Persian. That's the norm, anyways, in Vancouver. People gush about how multi-cultural Vancouver is, but that's really only for a very small subset of 'culture'.

Every other shade is out in Brooklyn. They're so many and the varied. And, since it's Brooklyn, apparently the home of the hipsters, you get that extra strange and weird and sadly predictably subculture. But it's still interesting. It's multitudinal and mosaic and strange and kinda neat and oddly scary.

Scary, sure. I mean, from a distance. But when you get up close you find it's not really anything. Everyone is moving around, trying the best they can to eke out a personality for themselves and a place in whatever number of culture stratas they care about. Sure there are small, and infrequent groups of young men with too little hope and too much experience that make me drop my eyes and give way, but that's the same in everywhere. I think.

There's no room between the buildings. That's the first thing I noticed. No space, no alleys, really, no bit of scraggly pathetic greenery between this property and that. Just concrete on concrete and brick on brick.

And damn, is it hot, and humid, and did I mention how it's concrete from end to end and front and back? Cement, concrete, asphalt, tarmac. Heat is radiated from the walls and seems to hunt you indoors. Stairwells and laundro-mats and bodegas are thick and oppressive and just plain hot.

Little vestiges of shops as evidence of the grusty and grangy past of Brooklyn That Was. And then the even littler vestiges of kicky and upscale shops of Brooklyn That's To Be. Gentrified and pricey and pseudo-grunge authentic.

The whole basket of it all is pretty great though. Everything lives and breathes and there's a dizzying array of life everywhere you look.


1 comment:

Bella's New Mama said...

Brooklyn sounds so unappealing. Especially compared to our lush backyard, which may I remind you, nearly went up in flame in a brush fire last night!