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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Brooklyn ain't here to follow your rules!

I remember reading “Winter’s Tale” and thinking that New York was a character in the piece because you got a distinct sense of each part of geography visited (from the semi-lawless downtown to the fairy-like upstate). And Brooklyn was its own thing.

The same could be said of Harlem in the Luke Cage series. Harlem was a character on to itself—it had a personality, a feel, an influence on other characters. And those who created the comic book and then recreated and committed it to film, felt a love and admiration for it that was palpable and brought it to (and gave it) life.

Of course, you’d have to understand a love so deep that “place and setting” becomes almost vulgar as a description for the thing that breathes alongside your own yearning sighs for it.

Borrowing the beauty from

I loved Brooklyn the moment I stepped into it. I became an adult in Brooklyn. I gained my personal freedom in Brooklyn and was finally able to be who I wish to be. Even after 9/11, I pledged to it that I’d never leave and I’d die here because I am part of it.

I have visited other places, and adore several--Boston, Montreal, and San Juan top my list. But I do not think I could live anywhere else as (thoroughly) myself as I do here. It is part of who I am.

Brooklyn is old but also quite adaptive; it is also its own reality. That "Brooklyn attitude" extends to the place itself.

Right now, we are supposed to be under a blanket of nor’easter storminess. And certainly, the skies have been gray all day and grown progressively darker as the day inches along (we have lights on and it is not 3 pm yet).

But when snow already blanketed roads along New Jersey and flakes were beginning their dance onto the scene on Broadway, on my end of Brooklyn it was raining. A few hours later, snow began to fall, but falling diagonally to the right were tiny flakes that began to accumulate on our backyard. Falling, diagonally to the left were giant flakes—frozen bits of water that began melting on contact as they hit my window screens, leaving drops in their wake that look like tiny jewels against the gray sky and the blanket of white that rapidly encompasses all visibility…

And then, almost as soon as it started, and before a firm film of snow could take hold, the snowing stopped.

It won’t snow in Brooklyn just because the storm is supposed to hit the whole of the Eastern seaboard.

“Screw you!” Brooklyn says. “Here, I’ll give you high winds and maybe some thunder and lightning. What? Nobody predicted high winds or a light show with accompanying percussion?” And here Brooklyn sucks its teeth and gives you the finger. “I ain’t here to follow your rules.”

Brooklyn does what it wants when it wants and if you have a problem with it, move to Queens! We freestyle in Kings County.

I love Brooklyn, but I wonder if I am talented enough to do Brooklyn justice on the page and make it come alive the way I see it stand in its mythical glory. Could you?