Wednesday, June 13, 2007
June 13, 2007
I’ve had quite a trip, navigating the subways and looking for a neighborhood that hit me between the eyes. In the process I’ve discovered that I still love New York, and the city itself has been reborn into a safer, cleaner place than the one I lived in from 1964-1988. Even the transportation system has changed, been updated, expanded, and made more convenient. Living in New York used to be an endurance contest with a lot of perks. Now it’s even more perks -- and less endurance is required.
Overall, it has a lot more to offer – but the price is way higher than it used to be, which is to be expected. Well, New York, you’ve changed. I’ve changed too. (That’s a line from a 1970’s ad for a now-defunct bank.)
I’ve been to neighborhoods I never heard of in the old days: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Long Island City. I’ve been to places that have been washed down, cleaned up and scaled up. I’m staying in a neighborhood that was once full of dirt, homeless men, and prostitutes – and is now one of the prime residential areas of the city, with elegant brownstones sporting roses in front and power-washed facades.
But nothing struck me like the neighborhood I found yesterday. I had heard about it but nobody I asked was clear how to get there. Everybody had heard of it, heard good things about it, but seemed to think it was remote or difficult to find. I was determined. With a moniker like “Dumbo,” how obscure could it be. There’s TriBeCa, SoHo, NoHo, and Dumbo, which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. There is some question if there even is a Manhattan Bridge overpass, but everybody has heard of Dumbo.
I made my way via the subway to Brooklyn, went a stop too far, but I hadn’t wanted to get sidetracked into Brooklyn Heights, a beautiful neighborhood I already know pretty well. I asked a cop where the bridge was and was pointed in the right direction with the instruction, “It’s a good little walk.”
As I approached my destination, I took this picture. The sight of that activity in view of the bridge literally took my breath away. This is it, folks, Oz. The section of Brooklyn, overlooking the city with converted warehouses, great restaurants, parks, and apartments that recently were deserted offices and storage buildings. I had found Dumbo, and I loved it at first sight.