Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Republic, and or Soviet of Brooklyn"










































Brooklyn, Flatbush Avenyah. I took the above random tilted, shaky snaps while waiting for the light to change. I was out shopping for Thanksgiving like zillions of others.

I would have taken snaps of the chaos at the market, but was busy trampling the other shoppers as they attempted to trample me. Hey the apple pies was on sale.

Our traditions are nuts.

America is like a weird movie to the rest of the world. They can't stand us, but they can't look away either.

Thing about Brooklyn though is that it was an independent city for 120 or so years before New York stole it under the infamous Boss Tweed. So when we go to Manhattan we say we're going to the "City" or "New Yawk".

Brooklyn is a happy jumble of 19th, and early 20th century stones. Okay there's some bits of 18th century stones, and timber still around here, and there. In fact there was an old colonial farm house a few blocks from my boyhood home. Might still be there.

Also as you can see in the second pix our streets, some of them are still too narrow for cars. Sort of like the winding horse'n wagon streets of lower Manhattan.

As for over-building we only have one skyscraper. You can see it in the top pix. They threw it up in the 1930's, and thought,...bad idea. Fuck it.

We haven't had any more since,...thank gawd.

(Btw in the second picture there you can just see the "bulls eyes",...I mean towers of Manhattan on the horizon. Click then double click on the snap, and you'll get an eyeful.)

We're Brooklynites not any of them gussied up clowns from Tribeca.

...and don't you forget it!

I'll take more Brooklyn snaps when I'm slightly saner. Btw when I was a lad I thought it was "Brooklyn Knights". I like that better.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're blessed when you can be in a placve you can call home...I really enjoy reading about your stomping grounds.

Me, I'm just another displaced person playing out the string in a strange ladn.

Mr. Chips

Zaek said...

I live in a place I can call home, and wish I didn't. I tried becoming an expat once, but chose the wrong destination and hated it. Now it's probably too late to move abroad, at least without a huge slice of luck. Where does happiness await?

There's something about the feel of these photos that I like. There's a solidity to them. America would be a nice place to live, if it hadn't become a nightmare.

Bodmin said...

Back when I was living there I knew somebody who often wore a t-shirt with stuff like the silhouette of the Williamsburg bank tower and the Brooklyn Bridge on it and the slogan 'Brooklyn: If you aren't lucky enough to live there, move!' It was a neat place, although I'm told that my old stomping grounds along the north Brooklyn waterfront have been changed beyond recognition by spill-over development from Manhattan, which thankfully hasn't reached into the centre, around Prospect Park, yet.

Unfortunately, like Zaek says, it is in America. Even though the country I settled in turned out to be a shithole too, and even though America continues to cast its baleful influence on the rest of the world, when I wake up every morning I do give thanks to anyone who is listening that I got out of there when I did.

John said...

Hey guys this is still a Great County with fantastic people !
And like that old saying goes
Love It Or Leave It !
On behalf of the Ameriacn People
Bye bye !

Great pics Sid ! Isn`t there a
Cemetary there too with the remains
of the POW`S from the Revolutionary War ?

Zaek said...

Hi John. What would you say is the greatest thing about this country? The palpable bigotry? The history of lynching? The War on Drugs, and the way millions are imprisoned who shouldn't be, sometimes as a result of false convictions deliberately sought by police and prosecutors who often suppress exculpating evidence? The way the legal system works well for those with plenty of money but not so well for those without? The way the usurious financial industry and their buddies in insurance and banking have been sucking the life blood out of everyone, to the ruin of American manufacturing and every industry that actually produces wealth? The lying manipulative electronic and print media? Or the way the Bill of Rights is pretty much a dead letter? Or chauvinistic nationalists who mindlessly intone "Love it or leave it" when they hear criticism they can't handle? I have a hard time making my mind up which of those things is the greatest here in the "Ameriacn" Republic.

Lino said...

Zaek blathered:

"Hi John. What would you say is the greatest thing about this country? The palpable bigotry? The history of lynching? The War on Drugs, and the way millions are imprisoned who shouldn't be, sometimes as a result of false convictions deliberately sought by police and prosecutors who often suppress exculpating evidence? The way the legal system works well for those with plenty of money but not so well for those without? The way the usurious financial industry and their buddies in insurance and banking have been sucking the life blood out of everyone..."

I'd say you were in Thailand (my second home)..and almost every other Asian country is even worse.

The key difference here (USA) is a relatively free press. Many countries have both written and unwritten laws against criticizing the government.

With the proliferation of blogs, internet news --which now sets the agenda for traditional media-- the ubiquity of recording devices such as cell phone cameras the areas for government cronies other crooks to hide grows smaller each year...and these devices won't be outlawed and confiscated as they are often in China and Iran.

If you have found -your- true nirvana in some land, more power to you. My guess is that you are being purposely blind.

Lino Tristan

New York/Bangkok

John said...

Ha ha I love you guys !
Yeah, uneducatied not a globe trotter here for sure and yes some
of what you all say is true.
But taken as awhole it`s a pretty
good place to live and raise a family.
If something is`nt right how can you change anything by running
away ?
The Power is Always in the hands of The People.
If you don`t belive this you don`t know your History.

Zaek said...

Blind to what, Lino? You characterize my remarks as "blather," but fail to adequately rebut any of them. Merely because other countries also are unfree, and some much more so, does not make the United States the wondrous home of liberty it claims to be. Your argument essentially consists in pointing out that the global standard for freedom is abysmally low. I find that unpersuasive.

I've been to Thailand, and know those who lived there for decades. I've traveled much, lived abroad, and spoken at length with those still better traveled than myself. I know sufficient of this world to speak my mind. You give no good reason why I should not criticize a nation which is far too given to singing its own unwarranted praises.

Uncle 2012 said...

Good grief!

I can't take you guys anywhere without a fist fight breaking out.

Now everybody have a nice cup of tea, and chill,...there that's better.

'Be nice if I could have you all over to "Juniors" in downtown Bklyn for some cheese cake.

Now that's something I'm sure you'd all like!

Uncle 2012 said...

Btw yeah there's a bunch of Revolutionary era monuments, and shrines in Brooklyn.

When I was a kid I stumbled onto a war grave site in Prospect Park.

Also many streets are named for assorted patriots, and generals from that time.

Brooklyn is where General Washington was defeated, and nearly captured. This near my current neighborhood.

The whole shebang was almost lost right here.

If Washington hadn't got across to Manhattan we'd still be in the British Empire/Commonwealth.

Just think George Bush could have been the P.M.!

Lino said...

"Zeak" opined: "Your argument essentially consists in pointing out that the global standard for freedom is abysmally low. I find that unpersuasive."

....Ok.

""Hi John. What would you say is the greatest thing about this country? The palpable bigotry?"

Asinine statement. 40+ Years ago and maybe in some backward areas even today you might find "palpable bigotry" -very little of that today.


"The history of lynching? The War on Drugs, and the way millions are imprisoned who shouldn't be.."

I should handle these separately but the lynching issue is so out-of-date that it shows more grasping for an argument on your part than realistic condemnation.

The so called "war on drugs" well, what would you do? If you condone legalization it shows that you haven't thought this out. At all. Are we as a Nation to now add more poisons to our list of legal but dangerous "products"? And just who shall then provide these now legal poisons..add another line to Phillip Morris..perhaps negotiate with the various (and murderous) drug cartels and in your naive view, make them legitimate businessmen.

Then after we do that we will have the minor issue of a huge increase in the addict population..and all that it entails. I worked in the theater industry, on and off B'Way. In the late 1970's virtually everyone I knew was using cocaine, often on a daily basis. I saw firsthand what happened to these idiots and how within a few years they could not even hold onto their well paying jobs. The drugs came to dominate their lives just as they had to the artists I had met in my father's art galleries in the mid- sixties.

"You give no good reason why I should not criticize a nation which is far too given to singing its own unwarranted praises."

I don't recall telling you not to be critical of this nation.

I cite some of your reasons as naive and idealistic..Sue me for noticing.

Lino

Bodmin said...

Lino,

Where is there palpable bigotry left in the US? Palpable bigotry a thing of the past? Just what is all the hatred of 'Osama Obama' and the right wing birther's attacks on him about, if not palpable racial bigotry? Just in backward areas? Try Queens, New York. Take a look at a few days of a blog like Queens Crap, with the reactions against Chinese, Mexicans, Blacks, Russians, and all immigrants in general. Archie Bunker is alive and well, and no laughing matter. But of course any localised examples you will just dismiss as 'backward areas'. Better stick with the right-wing nuts. They are ubiquitous.

Lynching a thing of the past? Try some of its current forms: Rodney King. Abner Louima. Sean Bell. So not just in the boondocks either. Or try some of today's alternate targets: Matthew Shepard. Or people on the SROs, like the two hunted down and killed by Stephen Marshall. Or the 15 year old kid executed by his father in Detroit last week.

Legalise drugs? It works. I can cite the experience of the Pauluskerk, in Rotterdam, where after several years of providing needle exchange and a 'toleration zone' where junkies could shoot up under clean circumstances, with medical intervention available from the church's clinic for the homeless if something went wrong, the pastor actually selected 'house dealers' who committed themselves to selling drugs of known quality (no rat poison cut) at a reasonable price, on site. The programme ran quietly for several years; the church was even paying sales tax on the sales! One result was that, without having to spend their time committing thefts and reselling the goods to fund their habit, then seek dealers, many of the junkies were able to work again, in Top Score, the church's employment agency. Their work funded their habit; crime in the area dropped. No, it didn't solve all the problem: the foreign junkies from France and Belgium, who travel to Rotterdam to purchase, were excluded, and street dealing continued. The city's Labour government tolerated the programme and told the police to keep their hands off, as an experiment; it helped deal with the problems. But when the Nazis took over the city in 2002 the police were unleashed and the programme destroyed. They have a better idea: the American solution. Throw them all in prison. Feed the prison industrial complex.
OK, a distribution programme in a whole country would have to be run by the government, or health authorities (on a sort of prescription basis). Because you remove the market factors (i.e., you don't have dealers pushing kids to try drugs to increase their sales), your addict population doesn't increase. But I suppose that would be SOCIALISM, and America can't have that!
(Parenthetically, though, what's wrong with doing business with criminals? I mean, in New York you've got the building trades and rubbish hauling and towing and ...)
Another point with regard to your claim it would increase the addict population: during the years that The Netherlands tolerated marijuana use, the level of use consistently remained lower than in England, which fanatically enforces laws against possession and use. Legalisation (or in that case, toleration) did not increase addiction; it appeared to counter it. But of course that's not what the police really want. Now that you can't go to a 'coffee shop' in Rotterdam, you have all the problems with street dealing or house dealing again, and the ties with hard drugs. But that's what law enforcement wants: now they can demand millions of euros to counter a problem they themselves created by killing the toleration policy. Keeping drugs illegal benefits only two groups: the criminals who control the trade, who can jack up prices because of the illegal nature of the trade, and the police and prison systems, which can demand higher budgets to try to suppress it.
The American Way! The Market and the world's highest imprisonment rate!

Lino said...

"Try Queens, New York. Take a look at a few days of a blog like Queens Crap, with the reactions against Chinese, Mexicans, Blacks, Russians, and all immigrants in general. Archie Bunker is alive and well, and no laughing matter. But of course any localised examples you will just dismiss as 'backward areas'. Better stick with the right-wing nuts. They are ubiquitous."

Reality check: I go to six areas of Queens on business each month, often two per week. With only a couple of recent fluke results, the borough is -overwhelmingly- Democratic. Those people do have some legitimate complaints and they should not be dismissed as "Archie Bunker".

Latin American drug gangs are fighting for "control" of turf in Elmhurst-Jackson Heights-Corona. Caribbean gangs have long been a factor in S.E. Queens.

Long Island City is in danger of becoming a dumping ground for prostitution and drugs as well.

As for "the reactions against Chinese, Mexicans, Blacks, Russians" -a lot of that is just the normal reaction of a few vocal posters on a message board against changes in their surroundings.

I have to report that I have seen more English on signage and adverts in Bangkok than I do in Flushing Queens. I understand how some of the long-time residents may feel alien in their own neighborhoods.

The "Russians" -actually Bukharin Jews bring their own baggage and often millions of dollars from questionable sources. They are repeatedly the subject of arrests for insurance scams, fake documents, fake jewelry, and bank fraud including identity theft.

These aren't my assertions, they are simply facts deduced from the public arrest records of those apprehended. The added fact that they come in with millions of dollars to buy and tear down existing houses and replace them with huge, vulgar "McMansions bristling with high security walls and cameras doesn't endear them to their neighbors. I am frequently in Forest Hills, it's one of my favorite areas of the borough but, you can not help but notice the increasing presence of sinister Russian mafia "clubs" along Queens Blvd.

As for "a 'toleration zone' where junkies could shoot up under clean circumstances, with medical intervention available from the church's clinic for the homeless if something went wrong". That concept is -sick-. Heroin and other "hard" drugs have always been illegal in Holland..there is good reason.

Sorry if you consider America and most other countries fascist police states because they don't legalize drugs but as I wrote before, you are naive.

Lino

PS: Sorry about this exchange Uncle.

Zaek said...

I'm glad to see you've addressed some of my points Lino, after a fashion at any rate.

So my reference to historical lynching is a sign of desperation, a rhetorical grasping at straws. Sorry about that. Since history doesn't matter, I'll have to refrain from mentioning it.

I'm so glad to hear there's no bigotry in America now. Izzy and his fellow girly boys will be glad to hear that now it's safe for them to venture out in drag in any randomly chosen neighborhood in the United States. The thugs on the corner won't beat the crap out of them but instead will be friendly and kind, as I'm sure Izzy will be glad to tell us if he gets back home alive.

I was getting worried about some stuff I've been hearing on TV and radio and reading in the papers and magazines - in just about every medium of communication, come to think of it - for the last 25 years or so. It seems these media folks aren't very fond of people belonging to a certain sexual minority. They just can't find anything nice to say about this depraved bunch. If fact they and a lot of politicians and quite a number of the public seem to be constantly calling for harsher laws against them, and harsher punishments, and no one who disagrees ever seems to get a chance to voice their views - not so you would notice, anyway. But that's not bigotry. That's freedom of the press. I'm very glad to hear this, it puts my mind at rest. Nothing bad can happen as long as there's a free press, especially when all the members of it agree with such amazing uniformity on what one might have thought was a controversial topic calling for meaningful debate.

I wouldn't want to condone any terrible life-destroying drugs like, say, marijuana. I'm sure the people whiling away years behind bars on account of it would be quick to agree that there's absolutely no difference between pot or LSD or other non-addictive consciousness enhancers on the one hand, or addictive and physically destructive substances like heroin and cocaine on the other. They're all Schedule 1 drugs and strictly forbidden, as the extremely disinterested and totally objective DEA keep reminding us, so it must be for a good reason. I was beginning to be a little skeptical about the things our friends from Reefer Madness land keep telling us, but now I'm sure you and they must be right. To suppose otherwise would be so... naive.

That's why I want the government to protect me from my own ability to put what I choose in my body. The thought of being allowed to do that is scary to me. I want them to decide for me what I'm allowed to ingest, the responsibility is too much for me. I'm sure you feel the same away about your own freedom too. Being permitted that kind of choice as if you were the master of your own body is just.. asinine, don't you agree?

But the real proof of the wisdom of the War on Drugs is how well it's achieved its declared aims. After decades of prison booms and ever more intensified police intervention, look how the drugs problem has shrunk. It's helped make the mafia go away too, in much the same way that Prohibition was such a blow to the mob. What a fine investment of public funds.

By the way, did you know that when pot was first outlawed in the 1920s, it was specifically to target blacks who were known to enjoy it, and hence was at least in part racially motivated? Oh, I'm sorry - I mentioned history again.

I do so want to apologize for being... idealistic. It's a terrible thing to be, I know. Perhaps with much hard work I can attain that state of hidebound complacency and self-contentment which characterizes the mature citizen.