When I moved back here for good in 1991, I could describe Brooklyn in two words: Not Manhattan. When you’re 43, have three small children, and are living in a fourth-floor walk-up on St. Marks Place in the East Village, you know: It is time to go, to move on to the then ass-end of Park Slope reserved for less financially successful breeders. Brooklyn: It was admitting your youth was all used up. I thought I’d have to pay people to come visit me.
Now, with the advent of Airbnb.com, they pay me. They arrive with the regularity of waves crashing on Coney’s mucky shore, these huddled masses yearning to breathe free of the leafy suburb their parents decreed to be their home so they might spend high school stoned out of their gourds, bored to death in a world without black people. Each day they come, tempest-tossed refugees from Republican Interstate eateries, the college-loan-burdened, the Europeans bored of Harlem, the painters and musicians of hopeful but uncertain talent, the bearers of $7 bottles of artisanal mustard. To Brooklyn, of ample hills, they come to scrawl their names, like the graffiti taggers of old, upon the Zeitgeist’s improbable Golden Door.
What does the Brooklyn of the new Barclays Center have to do with the Brooklyns that came before it? A native son walks among the ghosts.
Haunts by Mark Jacobson for New York Magazine