Thursday, April 27, 2006

Welcome to the Gowanus Lounge, Meet Our Mascot

Brooklyn's Amsterdam, originally uploaded by rsguskind.

Welcome to the Gownanus Lounge (Beta). Gowanus Lounge is the culmination of months of rumination, if not planning. It will seek to cover, through words and pictures, whatever moves me, with a particular focus on New York City as it is today and is becoming. The focus will be Brooklyn--and particularly Gowanus, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Williamsburg and Dumbo--with frequent excursions into Queens, especially Long Island City. Manhattan, too.

Up front: While I am a realist about what cities need in order to survive and thrive, I am not a fan of what is happening in our communities, and particularly of the looming Manhattanization of Brooklyn and of the ongoing Theme Parkization of Manhattan. The blog side of Gowanus Lounge will be joined, some months down the road, by a literary magazine intended to feature the work, especially, of Brooklyn-based writers, and stories that feature a strong sense of place.

At least, that is the plan.

For now, Gowanus Lounge is in its beta version. I put it up with the intention of getting feedback from my girlfriend and friends, but it is together enough for those who click a link or stumble upon it. Hopefully, you'll be curious enough to come back.

Although I've got plenty of mainstream journalism experience under my belt, I've edged into blogging, learning from my some of my favorite blogs and sites: Curbed, Gothamist, City Rag, Daily Slope and others. Ironically, my photography and my postings on flickr, which were turning into an ersatz photoblog, nudged me into finally taking the plunge.

For many years, I worked at National Journal in Washington, writing serious policy and political stories before life took me in a different direction. I learned at the side of Neal R. Peirce, the founder of the Citistates Group and one of the great urban writers of our time. Neal is the smartest and most thoughtful person writing about planning and development issues that I know.

These days, I run a small community newspaper, and write short fiction which appears monthly at Cherrybleeds and creative non-fiction drawn from a previous chapter of my life, also monthly at Underground Voices. I also take a lot of pictures. If I were to spend time with a writing psychiatrist, he or she would likely tell me that I have several personalities and that they are not well integrated.

I don't take myself as seriously as all this might make it sound.


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