This post is not about bicycle routes in Brooklyn (above). Except I’ll mention they’re reasonable. Really this is about what you see while biking in Brooklyn – the murals, street side cafes, writers scribbling away, walls of graffiti, brownstones, new condos, old warehouses and men on crates drinking beer with cigarette packs in their shirt pockets, sitting outside of grocery stores that sell ripe bananas you can smell from a block away.
What else? Mutts on generous leashes, a band hanging out with some long boarders that will go cross country… Wait! What?
I turned around on Berry St. and made my way back to the mostly shirtless band and a guy with dreads and a kitten. The guy with dreads, Solomon told me all about his crew and their plan to long board cross country to raise awareness about people who needlessly complain they are BORED! We all know life is too short to ever be bored. Laying dead in a coffin, now that’s boring. So Solomon and the crew which includes Eric and his two dogs will set out cross country in early July. You can follow their journey on their blog. Back to the band. This set of young, friendly and pleasant men go by the name of Electric Tickle Machine and you should check out their super cool site here.
Heading south from Williamsburg I made my way down to school, my high school that is. Built as a job stimulating project after the Great Depression, Brooklyn Technical High School was an all male school well into the 1950’s. Back then it touted its commitment to excellency in engineering and mechanics. It continues to do so today as well as in many other areas including science and art but as a mixed gender specialized high school, one of three in New York City that require an admissions exam. The mural below was painted by a Russian artist for the price of about $500. The school has one of the largest public theater style auditoriums in the city. A sunny day in Fort Greene park directly across from Brooklyn Tech looked especially clean ever since home values shot through the roof several years ago.
But some things in Brooklyn never change. One Italian resident who has lived on Court Street for the past 73 years remembers a time when houses cost $20,000, the Sicilians lived on one part of the block, the Neapolitans on the other and everyone had seven or eight kids. Not so much anymore. Today it’s places like Court Street Pastry Shop and Francisco’s Meats and Cheese that remind us of era by gone. Biking by Boerum Hill, I can’t help but delve into Jonatham Lethem’s world in A Fortress of Solitude. It’s hard to imagine a group of kids in black hoodies standing here even thirty years ago asking “Yo, you got a dollar?”