May 23, 2006
And Then There Was Brooklyn
Authentic and fabulously wonderful in its glory and lack thereof, I discovered a part of Brooklyn, that was not Park Slope, my only other exposure to New York on the other side of The Williamsburg Bridge.
A new industry friend who lives in the hood, told me to move beyond the East Village, jump onto the L train at 14th and get off at Bedford Street.
Easing me into new neighborhoods, Bedford Street was a great start. As I started to explore, my first impression was how quiet it was relative to the clutter of SOHO, which of course compared to mid-town is quiet and unassuming.
The street is lined with community bars, restaurants, second-hand thrift shops, Internet cafes, and alternative book stores.
On the corner of N. 6th and Bedford, I enter what looked like it a newly painted New York Muffins coffee shop. As I peer over my shoulder, I notice Pedro’s Groceries on the opposite side of the street. No Starbucks in this neighborhood or Silicon Valley or Alley-like Internet bars. Instead, its home to the colorful Internet Garage on N. 5th, which sits immediately next to a locally owned audio, video and computer store named Mikey’s Hook.
Couples sit inside Fabianes Café at tables for two, with windows open looking onto a dimly lit Bedford Street, as the skies started to cloud over awaiting the skies to open up and bless us with a sun shower, the third for the day.
While parts of this fabulous neighborhood reminded me of my own upstate New York small town, particularly the side streets with its graffiti-caked brick buildings, some of these shops brought me back to a few London neighborhoods I lived during the late eighties.
Most notably, Spoonbill & Sugartown, which drew me in, in the same way that anyone and everyone was drawn into Meg Ryan’s local bookstore in “You’ve Got Mail.”
Outside this small funky literary treat sat a worn antiqued table with some of the best classics, including Hermann Hesse’ Steppenwolf, Dicken’s Hard Times, Hiroshima, Homers The Iliad, Moby Dick, John Irving, Bluebeard’s Egg, Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and the Forgotten Tales by Edgar Allen Poe.
Perhaps they rotate them daily, but that’s what was sitting atop this little table on the day I traveled past.
A mere sample, but definitely worth more exploration on future trips.
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