The Aftermath to Come
by Steven Turner Hart
The problem with low cost housing in Brooklyn is fairly simple and endemic to real estate all over NYC. People want to live here on these islands and there is not enough room for all of them. Most of them don't seem to know that we live on islands here, but we do. So those who own the land use it as a lever to profit from the demand, which can never be fully supplied.
Then again, when I bought my house, it was a lovable dump on a block that my neighbors treated like the poor relations who they allow to live over the garage. There were indeed some characters who were anything but colorful except in the sense of an oil slick. I was often informed with haughty condescension that my block was not even in the historic district, which then and now is just fine with me.
All the houses are pretty nice now either through sweat equity or just big bucks. Because my block is a little wider than others in the area, it's sunnier and feels more generous in the light that comes with the warmer months. We have great trees and lots of birds even though we are in the geographical center of the wreck I love best, NYC. I am happy for my block in that sense, but I miss the people who were here when I got here. What our snootier, tweedier fellow inhabitants really meant was that we belonged to a designation that has now passed from general use, which is to say, Bodega Flats.
Well, we did have a lot of bodegas and we still do. Some of them are friendly. Some are pretty sleazy. All are stuffed with this and that, most of which I don't either smoke, eat or have much use for around the house. But they are a part of the neighborhood that I cherish because they remind me of when more 'real' people lived here who got up in the morning and went to work. A lot of them were pretty dirty when they got back to their abode, but that was all in day's work. There were kids then who went to school on a yellow, noisy bus. That doesn't seem to apply to kids now who have to be at their therapists' before dawn.
Now everyone here is plugged into a cellphone and staring at the tiny screen as they walk down the street, which they don't see at all. They all have tattoos and silly hair and clothes that don't fit or match. Fashion is clearly a trending that has left without me.
But the up side is that more people feel its okay to say, "hello" as they go by me. Maybe that's because they think I'm old and harmless (heh heh), or maybe I've just been here so long, I am part of the furniture so to speak. Who cares? By a combination of good luck and better friends, I get to live in Brooklyn.
Steven Turner Hart