Goin’ back to…Brooklyn0

Posted by Deirdre // 06-12-2012


Two anecdotes for you to start. One is about my friend Peggy, who never was a huge hip-hop fan but tolerated it because it was almost all I listened to in the early 90s. Peggy was dating some guy who lived in Brooklyn, which was then still a bit fringy, as in not EVERYONE from Manhattan had moved here yet. She was telling me about her night, as we did in our single years and recounted singing “Goin’ back to Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn…” on the way to his house and mentioning something about the Beastie Boys. “Um, Peg,” I said, “It’s ‘No Sleep ’til Brooklyn’. You were singing LL Cool J ‘Goin back to Cali’.” Needless to say, it didn’t work out with Brooklyn guy for her – I think he wore fingerless gloves anyway. But I always think about this story when I hear of people leaving Brooklyn – and coming back, which some do.

The other anecdote is about my husband’s grandfather, Malcom or “Malchy” as they called him. My husband grew up in a small town outside Syracuse, Malchy lived in the “city.” As my husband and his sisters went off to college and began considering lives outside of the area, he would often pound on the table and chant, “Stay in Syracuse! Stay in Syracuse!” This is now family lore that’s brought up anytime someone talks about moving, and what I would feel like saying – replacing Syracuse with Brooklyn, of course – if any of our friends wanted to leave Brooklyn (which we might end up doing).

I’ve interviewed two friends in the past week who are each here and staying put. One went to Maplewood and came back three years later with no regrets. The other went from Manhattan to L.A. to Brooklyn, and would advise people to leave to shake things up and get it out of their systems, but with end goal being to come back. The thought of leaving and coming back, like that couple who run Reclaimed Home did, or like all those people in this article from a few years ago in the NY Times about city people running back home from the burbs, used to make me shiver. I always imagined it as you’re those people who decide emphatically to finally pack up and leave town for a brand new life and come crawling back with your tails between your legs, like you somehow had to feel sorry about it. But now the idea of leaving and thinking that we may not be gone forever, is kind of appealing in some odd and exciting way. I will perhaps never have the shelves up or the kids’ art hung the way I want it, but maybe that’s ok.

Posts coming soon about Maplewood and L.A. stories, as well as an alt-Brooklyn hood that’s been on the brain, Windsor Terrace.

No...Sleep...Till Brooklyn!