|Smith Street. Photo by MK Metz © 2007|
In the old days, Wundrich writes, "The pizzeria was run by Albanians, and the Chinese takeout joint on the corner was Muslim and didn't serve pork — in fact its name was No Pork."
The few delis were dirty and poorly stocked. The supermarket smelled strange. The bars were decrepit and forbidding.
But somewhere along the line Alan Harding opened a restaurant, Patois, on Smith Street, and rents started rising. A shabby Chinese takeout joint was made over into Bar Tabac. The hookers and SROs disappeared. The old garage down the block was turned into a showroom for MakerBot.
"Now you can find 'Brooklyn' anyplace in the country — in the world — where a low-rise, run-down old neighborhood has been colonized by the pickle makers and baristas, the craft shoe shiners and the mustachioed young butchers," Wundrich writes.
And while hipster urbanism might be "artificial and even silly," he says, there's something that's a hell of a lot worse:
"You can see it in Manhattan, where over the past twenty years bricks and brownstone have given way to high-rise apartment towers . . . and big-box chain stores have replaced a great number of the quirky businesses that made Manhattan such an interesting place to be."
Read the whole essay here.
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.