Monday, October 24, 2011

Brooklyn is the Cool Borough

I was born in Brooklyn, and while it might be true, as Thomas Wolfe once wrote, that "only the dead know Brooklyn," it is also true the living are getting to know Brooklyn.  Recent pop media are referring to Brooklyn as the "cool" borough.  Maybe.  I've been retracing my roots to some extent in Brooklyn while walking what can be found of the Revolutionary trail.

Take Prospect Park.  My mother spent her girlhood here, and now joggers brave the hill that was Porte Road, separating the hills of Flatbush from Brooklyn and Gowanus.  The road across which the American line of defense formed, as noted by the plaque on this boulder and the rock across the road, just near the trail lit up by the morning sun.  We are looking from the north towards the south, from which came the Hessian attack.  The Americans retreated from here to fight desperately at the Stone House.

The geography of Brooklyn and the sense of place makes mental time travel difficult.  Here, though, the terrain retains, or so it seems, a verisimilitude.  We are in Brooklyn, that mystical (and now cool) borough, known to the dead and the living.

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