Monday, December 29, 2008

"Brooklyn Is Beautiful"...Or Is It?


I do love Brooklyn and my Carroll Gardens neighborhood, truly I do. But when I have family members or out-of-town visitors stay with me, I have a tendency of seeing what they see: dirt...and lots of it. Normally, I can ignore the trash, the filthy streets. When company is in town however, I become a bit more critical of my surroundings.
During the holidays, I hosted my family. I felt more than a bit ashamed that our streets looked as they did. Yes, Brooklyn is beautiful...but damn, its filthy.

Do you have the same conflicting feelings when company comes knocking?

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knithound brooklyn said...

Always. It's embarrasing.

Ferran Porta said...

Katia, I'm afraid this is the usual thing in any big city around the globe (well, you can take the Scandinavia out of the list! :-)

But I understand the feeling you talk about: seeing your own city/neighborhood "through" other's eyes is, sometimes, a cruel exercise.

Happy 2009!

Kelly said...

Hi Knithound,
Thank goodness I am not the only one feeling bad about it.

Kelly said...

Hi Ferran,
I am not quite sure I have seen as much trash in Paris. Madrid or in Berlin.
But you are right, walking along my relatives here in Brooklyn is a cruel exercise. You can only make excuses for so much.
Happy New Year to you as well.

Anonymous said...

I used to put up a sign--No New York bashing allowed--because when a guest wants to visit you make time and energy for them and it is hard when they say negative things--these things are not our fault and spoil the time

Anonymous said...

That blue bike has been abandoned and deteriorating next to the Carroll St stop since I moved to the neighborhood two years ago. It was once a lovely bike. I've often wondered if there would be a way to get the cops to declare it abandoned so that it could be donated to recycle-a-bicycle, or a similar group.

wren said...

Ah, if that's dirty, then Brooklyn is going to look spotless to me after living in Mumbai.

Anonymous said...

Same situation with my guests but I found a quick explanation: usually when you have guests it is around holidays and the Sanitary Department is (unfortunatly) very slow/closed during those times (like most other business/services)

And during this economic "downturn", extra services is only a dream

Kelly said...

Great idea with the sign, Marlie. I shall try it next time someone comes to town.

Anon, isn't it amazing that the bike will spent another winter chained up with hundreds or even thousands of people avoiding to trip over it?

J.M.A., I guess compared to Mumbai, Brooklyn is just a wee bit clean. Thanks for putting it in perspective.

And to Anon #2, that is an excuse I have used myself, but frankly, I don't think my guests buy it any more since they always see trash on the streets, even when its not after a holiday.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps instead of taking so many photos, you could pick up a piece of trash or two.

Anonymous said...

The trash/vandalism is also due incoming students from other neighborhoods to the school on henry and rapeleye, as for the bicycle, a hacksaw and 5 minutes will take care of that problem.

annulla said...

I had some out-of-towners with me during the holidays, and I never felt that I had to aplogize for the dirty/gritty side of Brooklyn; after all, I've been to their communities, and that enviroment -- miles of look-alike tract houses, strip malls and freeways packed with gas-guzzlers -- is nothing to brag about.

Plus, they can't function without their cars. They don't know how to walk! They were huffing and puffing after walking a couple of blocks and kept whining about how they wanted to take taxis everywhere.

I did, however, feel sorry about the state of the subways: the filth, the stench, the crumbling ceilings and broken lights, the rats scurrying on the tracks and
the endless wait for a train on a Sunday night, while my visitors kept asking if we could PLEASE just go outside and hail a cab.

Um, no, this isn't a movie, this is Brooklyn and the streets aren't filled with cabs cruising along and looking for fares.

Blather From Brooklyn

Kelly said...

Hi All,
Believe me, I pick up enough trash as a volunteer with the Friends Of Carroll Park. But it is a good point nonetheless. We should have a neighborhood clean-up.
As for taking a hack saw to those bikes, that's a great idea. Anyone want to provide some muscle power? I think we have a saw i the house.
No kidding, I am up for that.

Anonymous said...

Me and my family are all native NYers, not tourists like you and your family.

All they notice is how clean it is in Brooklyn compared to 20-30 years ago.

Boo hoo. Trash. Waah!

If you didn't live through the summertime garbage strikes of the 1970s and 80s - STFU!

Or, why don't you pick it up. If not, you can just go home to Pennsyl-tucky (or whatever flyover state you were hatched in).

Your pick, tourist.

Anonymous said...

Many places are cleaner, but they have less people and are very very boring. So if you compare Brooklyn and NYC to aplace that has the equal amount of people i think we handle ourselves well. Plus Sanitation has not been on schedule due to the holidays.

Anonymous said...

hey katia
id be game for helping cut the you live near enough to run an extension to a sawzall?...way faster

Kelly said...

I live close but not enough to provide an outlet.
Sawzall would be much faster. Maybe we could ask the people in the bagel store across the street?
The Gowanus Yacht club certainly had electricity. We could plug an extension cord there.
I totally would tackle the job with someone's help.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but Court Street, from about Sackett to Atlantic, is a total tip.

It is nothing to do with this being a big city, or the "usual thing" or "you shoulda been here in the '70s" or you should try Mumbai.

It is simply an unexplained dumping ground for trash from filthy people and overflowing trash cans on street corners and uncollected commercial waste.

So the question should be why is it like this?

Is it poor collection schedules? Possibly but how come the street always looks WORSE after a truck has been down the street?

Is it people just tossing trash on the sidewalk?

Is it retail stores not caring about their frontage?

Is it something else? Ghosts? Poltergeists?

The next question should be what to do about it?

Local reps? Street sweepers? Education campaign?

Forget about being an embarrassment, it's just plain disgusting.