POSTS TAGGED ‘living in brooklyn’

A Tale of Two Cities28

Posted by Deirdre // 10-31-2015


This is not a long post. It’s Halloween and I haven’t posted here in almost a year, officially. I just don’t have the time or energy to do these posts–maybe that says something–but this one had to be done.

I have so much to write as the year has been filled with some big changes for us on the living front. We’re still in Brooklyn but were finally faced with the inevitable–getting booted out of our big apartment in Center Slope that had always been out of our reach. We’re in a tiny apartment now that has other issues and although it was meant to be a transition year, it’s still a big, slap-in-the-face dose of reality. More on that later.

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A pretty block in Prospect Heights

So in case you missed this article from the NY Times last weekend–the one in which people (at least 3 families!) who lived in tiny spaces stayed put because of their close-knit community. One could have moved to a grand full brownstone in Prospect Heights but stayed in their crappy one bedroom for the neighbors, or something like that. Wait, seriously? The whole thing made my skin crawl, as I like my privacy–I’m not one who likes the surprise knock on the door on a Saturday, or any day really. And well, I just don’t have an extra brownstone lying around so that makes me bitter.

Then yesterday they presented the flip side. The story of the family who had just had enough and fled for the burbs. The loud neighbors, the loud commute, the soul-crushing experience of looking for a decent apartment and finding “a beat-up two-bedroom on the fourth floor of a creaky walk-up in one of our coveted school zones — for $1.2 million.”

I found myself having much more in common with the ones who left (of course it was all through rose colored glasses). He says that the neighbor’s techno beats were his breaking point. I feel like I may have just hit mine with a listing that came through from Street Easy this week. A vinyl-sided box needing a gut reno on a deserted block in Sunset Park 1/2 block from the highway for a cool million. But more on that later.

ugly houseugly house info map of ugly house


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!