Sunday, November 13, 2011

BROOKLYN STATE OF MIND

Most people mean Manhattan when they speak of New York City, that 22.7 square mile strip of an island surrounded by the waters of the East, Hudson and Harlem Rivers and the North New York Bay. But when I speak of New York, I think Brooklyn, that borough across the East River connected to Manhattan by bridges, tunnels, subways and ferries.

In 1988 when we moved here, I wasn’t sure where Long Island was, didn’t know what a borough was and was surprised that New York City was (and is still) comprised of five boroughs! In simple terms a borough is an administrative district or municipality; and, every state can designate the administration and the term any way it likes. In New York City the five boroughs, New York (New York County), the Bronx (Bronx County), Queens (Queens County), Brooklyn (Kings County) and Staten Island (Richmond County) are coexistent with their counties. Long Island is a real island, in fact the longest and largest island in the contiguous United States, not a snooty city somewhere outside of Manhattan where all the rich go to vacation (although there are certainly parts of Long Island that are like that) or a place where only a certain population of people live (though again, that is true of parts of Long Island). But what really blew me away is that Brooklyn is on Long Island, along with Queens and Nassau and Suffolk Counties!

Brooklyn rates high as one of the most livable places in New York City; my own neighborhood, Prospect Heights , ranked number 9 in an April, 2010 article appearing in the New York Times Real Estate Section. Speaking of April, April 1, 2012 marks the end of my 24th year in Brooklyn and the beginning of my 25th year here. It’s been quite the adventure to be sure. Those first years were full of discovery; touring Brooklyn and Manhattan was my hobby. But after a time as I began to live here and I found the sections of the city that spoke to me, I forgot that initial enthusiasm for experiencing my New York. In these next months I’ll be sharing some of the history of Brooklyn as well as some of my history with Brooklyn and some of the sights and sounds of Brooklyn today. So join me as I rediscover my New York.