Archive for the ‘Robert Caro’ Category

Brooklyn Adventures

February 4, 2008

Yesterday I went to Brooklyn Heights for the for first time. I knew it was a fancy neighborhood with a lot of old money, and I thought it would be like Park Slope type of place. It’s actually nothing like Park Slope at all.

We walked through downtown Brooklyn on our way to Brooklyn Heights. We walked past the Brooklyn court houses, Borough Hall, some libraries, the main branch of Brooklyn Post office, various non-descript municipal buildings, Camden Plaza, rows of Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds. Then quite suddenly, we were in Brooklyn Heights. It was like stepping through a portal. One minute you are walking through office building complexes, the next you are walking past rowhouses and mansions from the 1800’s. The neigborhood is small and feels cut off from the rest of Brooklyn. The old money in this area kept it safe from the urban decay of the 1970’s. There’s a lot of of old, turn of the centry buildings around Brooklyn, but none so beautifully preseved than those in Brooklyn Heights.

Robert Moses wanted to build the Brooklyn-Queens expressway right through the neighborhood in the 1960’s, but all the rich folks who lived here said hell no, and made him build it along the East River. Then they build a promenade on top of his expressway that now has the most amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Everytime I look at the skyline of this city, I try and pretend I’m a tourist looking at it for the first time or I’m afraid I’ll just “get used” to seeing it. I’ll upload some pictures soon.

Speaking of Robert Moses, Robert Caro is giving a lecture at Sarah Lawrence College on Friday evening and I’m going because urban planning is sort of an obsession of mine. Caro wrote The Power Broker, the colossal 1000+ page biography of Moses and the fall of New York. It’s a must read for anyone with too much time on their hands and who wants to know why NYC is the way it is. I started reading this book, and one day I hope to finish it.

Advertisements