Thursday, January 25, 2007

Writer Goes Back to Boerum Hill

Smith and Pacific

Head over to this week's New York Observer to check out a nice account by Alexis Swerdloff of going back to the neighborhood (Boerum Hill). A sample:
During the summer of 1996, my parents and I crossed the pond, as it were, and moved from Boerum Hill to the Upper East Side. Several months later, Patois opened up on Smith Street, inciting the so-called “Smith Street Restaurant Revolution,” which went on to incite a full-on Boerum Hill revolution. A year after we left, Boerum Hill (née Gowanus) had transformed itself from Cobble Hill’s pockmarked younger step-cousin to a full-fledged swan of a neighborhood...Like the burnt-out punks who wax nostalgic for the East Village of yesteryear—when you couldn’t walk an inch without stepping on a crack vial—I did my own back-when-ing.

“Back when I lived here, Bar Tabac was a Chinese restaurant—with pictures.”

“Back when I lived here, there was a drunk guy who sat on the stoop across the street from my house and shouted obscenities at me.”

“Back when I lived here, I had a gymnastics birthday party at the YWCA on Third Street and Atlantic Avenue, and it was too dangerous to walk there, so we drove.”

...Whenever people ask me why I don’t live in Brooklyn anymore, I say, “I’m not ready.” I’m a little intimidated by what it’s become. I live above a Duane Reade in the East Village, a neighborhood that is moving closer and closer to Fratsville as we speak. It’s hard for me to think about the boys with calculator watches and girls with WNET tote bags, drinking Stellas at Boat on Smith Street and browsing the paperback section of Book Court, without feeling a little left out. I feel like the girl who was best friends with the fat kid, who then started being mean to said fat kid because that was the cool thing to do, and now that fat kid has grown up to be Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Absolutely worth a read in its entirety.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding her NY Observer article,

"...Boerum Hill (née Gowanus)..."


Since when was Boerum Hill originally known as Gowanus?

11:37 AM  

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