Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about Brooklyn.

'At Frank's suggestion we walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Two men, walking side by side; fat or thin, tall or small, rich or poor; there's a magic in that.'


WELCOME!

What can you tell me about the massive Atlantic Yards development proposal along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, New York?

Biblitz replies:

Ah, Brooklyn.

Shadows on a Dime

Audio CD
Album classic from Ferron


Snowin' in Brooklyn

If you're thinking of coming back
then come back you will
If you're afraid of them talking, friend
They're all talking still
It's old human nature,
It's cold or it's hot
But if it's snowin' in Brooklyn



You say it's snowin' in Brooklyn
Well if it's snowin' in Brooklyn
I'd say snow's what we got

It's old human nature,
It's cold or it's hot
I think of you often, I like you a lot
But if it's snowin' in Brooklyn
I'd say snow's what we've got.

And it's everyone's secret and muttered refrain
That for all of our trouble
For all of our trouble
For all of our trouble
We'll be lonely again.

... But back to that awful development scheme:



Brooklyn Matters is a 2007 documentary film by Isabel Hill that eloquently describes community opposition to the Atlantic Yards project, the brainchild of Bruce Ratner of Forest City Development and the Empire State Development Corporation. The plan is for a New York Nets basketball arena and 17 office and apartment buildings along Atlantic Avenue, which will place much of that sunny, vibrant, green, well-kept community with its attractive, affordable housing, including a number of highly-prized historical buildings, in the shadows.

No more sun, no more sky, no more nature.

Interviews with community leaders, including Councilwoman Letitia James, reveal the standard developer approach, which invariably begins with the appointment of a 'celebrity' architect, in this case, Frank Gehry, a guy with money for all those slick-spin ads that have somehow given his monstrous designs the go-ahead and not just in North America. Next, Ratner made the usual developer promises to (a) hire local and (b) include affordable housing, that is, not-quite-as-expensive-as-the-penthouse housing, the amount of which depends on the availability of public - not Ratner - subsidies.

Too often, as taxpayers know, decent communities like Brooklyn with good, sound, affordable housing are levelled and replaced with tiny, upscale, kid-and-senior-unfriendly condos with construction contracts going to the lowest non-union builders regardless of ability thanks to brain-dead deregulation in the Reagan years.

Happily, Brooklyn is not taking the proposal lying down:

Update April 9/10: Peter Williams v. NYS Urban Development Corp. Oral argument on Article 78 seeking to compel ESDC to make new EDPL 204 findings. Some owners and tenants in the footprint brought this lawsuit in January, 2010 arguing that the eminent domain takings were based on a plan that no longer exists - if the takings are going to occur, they must be for the current plan, which is a basketball arena and one building, not for the project originally conceived with the promise of 2,250 affordable housing and jobs. So the takings require new findings and determinations by ESDC. The suit is in Manhattan State Supreme Court. (From Develop - Don't Destroy Brooklyn, accessed online April 18/10).

Huh?
TeaMan90
Basically, it now seems the project will take 25 years to complete, not the 10 or 15 originally claimed, so argument now concerns whether this new information is sufficient to require a new judgment. Alas, none of the contact info provided at this or the Brooklyn Matters site yielded intel. Pls. check back soon for updates!

Brooklyn history is not for prudes, it seems:

Welcome to the Monkey House

Audio CD
By Kurt Vonnegut
Narrated by David Strathairn, Maria Tucci, Bill Irwin, Tony Roberts and Dylan Baker

... When Mario Pei reviewed the savagely-bopped third revised edition of the "Merriam-Webster" for The Times in 1961, he complained of the "residual prudishness" which still excluded certain four-letter words, "despite their copious appearance in numerous works of contemporary 'literature' as well as on restroom walls." Random House has satisfied this complaint somewhat. They haven't included enough of the words to allow a Pakistani to decode Last Exit to Brooklyn, or Ulysses, either - but they have made brave beginnings, dealing wisely, I think, with the alimentary canal. I found only one abrupt verb for sexually congressing a woman, and we surely have Edward Albee to thank for its currency, though he gets no credit for it. The verb is hump, as in "hump the hostess."



(From New Dictionary, Disc 4, read by Tony Roberts, pgs. 118-119 in the book)

Brooklynite Capote on how to write like Capote

Life

100 Photographs that Changed the World

Hardcover
An essay, poetry and pictures by Gordon Parks

jackieR

Everything he did in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform was electrifying, designed to keep the opposition off-balance, ill at ease, on the defensive. It was a mirror image to everything society was laying on him, every pitch, every game, every morning, every night, every day of his life. The first black major leaguer had to turn the other cheek ... Here, in the third game of the 1955 World Series, Jackie Robinson terrorizes the Yankees en route to a world championship. Photograph by Ralph Morse. (-- p. 59)

Brooklyn's gift to Gotham:

Nightclub City

Politics and Amusement in Manhattan

Hardcover
By Burton W. Peretti

Black 47's Larry Kirwan on Brooklyn - the clubs, places like Tomorrow's Lounge on 86th Street, and the girls, girls, GIRLS - in the '70s.

Nightlife was one of the most colorful and well-known service industries in this colossus. Generations of leisure establishments in New York City had variously provided drink, food, entertainment, and social mingling. Pre-Civil War stages and tavern floors featuring song and dance were succeeded by concert saloons, which began to standardize the integration of performance with dining. Meanwhile, vaudeville, genre theater, and circus-like spectacles made Broadway the national capital of live entertainment and the home base of national touring companies. Massed electric lighting, pioneered at amusement parks on Brooklyn's Coney Island, transformed Broadway into "the Great White Way." ... (From Chapter 1, The 1920s,pgs 3-4)

Celebrated Brooklynites:

The Villager
My brother Frank: The teacher who walked beside me
By Alphie McCourt
Volume 79, Number 11
Aug. 19 - 25/09

More of Alphie, the third McCourt brother to submit a lyrical set of memoirs to an admiring public, Biblitz included. Indeed, Biblitz is the unofficial president of the Become a Lost Brother of the McCourts of New York Society, membership conditional on approval. Apply within.



In 1949 Frank left Limerick, the city of his rearing, and returned to New York, the city of his birth. We were left behind: Mam, Mike and myself. Malachy was already away in England. Our hearts broke when he left.

A long 10 years would elapse before I came to New York. And, a couple of years later, in 1961, when I was staying with Frank and his wife in Brooklyn, Frank and I went for a few beers in a bar in Downtown Manhattan. All too soon it is 4 a.m., closing time, with the dawn coming up, too late and too early to take a subway or bus. At Frank's suggestion we walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (a wondrous monument Biblitz has himself bought and sold - several times). Two men, walking side by side; fat or thin, tall or small, rich or poor; there's a magic in that.

We are nowhere near drunk. It would be hard to get drunk even on a succession of small 15-cent glasses of beer. But we are cheerful. By this time I am as tall as Frank, my oldest brother. Out of the night and into the day we walk, out of the darkness, into the light and the promise of the future. Only in retrospect, and only after many years, did I see the symbolism. To this day I treasure it. Ever the teacher, Frank didn't send me or walk behind me. Nor did he lead. The teacher walked beside me.

A surrendipitous move by one famous resident:

Summer Crossing

Hardcover
By Truman Capote

More Capote.

As a lawyer, I realize more than most the responsibilities of a trustee of a charitable trust. I am also very conscious of the high standard of care that any fiduciary must apply in reaching his or her decisions. However, it is not often that a trustee or even a literary executor is put into a positiion where he must decide whether to publish a work of an important deceased author that, very likely, the author would not have published in his lifetime. Truman died in 1984. What would he have thought now? Would he have had the historical perspective and indeed the clearheadedness to decide what was best for the manuscript? After much thought it became apparent to me that in the final analysis the novel had to speak for itself. Although it was imperfect, its surprising literary merits seemed to demand an escape from its previous captivity. It would be published.

I wish to thank my advisors and everyone else who has helped make this publication happen. At the end of the day, of course, the respobsibility for this decision, legally, ethically, and aesthetically, is and must be mine alone. In this I am mindful of the ironic twist of fate that prevented us from publishing a novel Truman believed he had finished (Answered Prayers) but allows us to publish this novel, which most likely he did not want published. As I write this I see Truman with his impish grin wagging a finger at me. "You are a naughty avvocato!" he is saying. But he is smiling.

I wish to thank my advisors and everyone else who has helped make this publication happen. At the end of the day, of course, the respobsibility for this decision, legally, ethically, and aesthetically, is and must be mine alone. In this I am mindful of the ironic twist of fate that prevented us from publishing a novel Truman believed he had finished (Answered Prayers) but allows us to publish this novel, which most likely he did not want published. As I write this I see Truman with his impish grin wagging a finger at me. "You are a naughty avvocato!" he is saying. But he is smiling.

Alan U. Schwartz
October 2005

The Truman Capote Literary Trust trustee on certain contents of a box of documents containing inter alia four school notebooks and sixty-two supplemental notes left by a Brooklyn curb when their author decided not to return to the apartment following an absence but to move house.

A Capote Reader

Hardcover
By Truman Capote, a Biblitz favorite!

As a group, Brooklynites form a persecuted minority; the uninventive persistence of not very urbane clowns has made any mention of their homeland a signal for compulsory guffaws; their dialect, appearance and manners have become, by way of such side-splitting propaganda, synonymous with the crudest, most vulgar aspects of contemporary life. All this, which perhaps began good-naturedly enough, has turned the razory road toward malice: an address in Brooklyn is now not altogether respectable. A peculiar irony, to be sure, for in this unfortunate region the average man, being on the edge of an outcast order, guards averageness with morbid intensity; he does, in fact, make of respectability a religion; still, insecurity makes for hypocrisy, and so he greets The Big Joke with the loudest hee-haw of all: "Yaaaah, ain't Brooklyn a kick - talk about funny!" Terribly funny, yes, but Brooklyn is also sad brutal provincial lonesome human silent sprawling raucous lost passionate subtle bitter immature innocent perverse tender mysterious, a place where Crane and Whitman found poems, a mythical dominion against whose shores the Coney Island sea laps a wintry lament. Here, scarcely anyone can give directions; nobody knows where anything is, even the oldest taxi driver seems uncertain; luckily, I've earned my degree in subway travel, though learning to ride these rails, which, buried in the stone, are like the veins found on fossilized fern, requires fiercer application, I'm sure, than working toward a master's. Rocking through the sunless, starless tunnels is an outward-bound feeling: the train, hurtling below unlikely land, seems destined for fog and mist, only the flash-by of familiar stations revealing our identities. Once, thundering under the river, I saw a girl, she was sixteen or so and being initiated into some sorority, I suspect, who carried a basket filled with little hearts cut from scarlet paper. "Buy a lonely heart," she wailed, passing through the car. "Buy a lonely heart." But the pale, expressionless passengers, none of whom needed one, merely flipped the pages of their Daily News. (From Brooklyn, p. 300)