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Post-Apocolyptic Fort Greene

May 6, 2010


Fort Greene Park '76

There are a lot of off the wall statements in the local blogosphere that gives insight to the mentality of some of my new “neighbors”.  Here’s a statement made today on brownstoner in the open thread by a commenter named donatella:

“When I moved to Ft Greene almost 6 years ago, it looked post-Apocolyptic.”


She then goes on to state that she was talking about retail services, then notes the lack of services currently in Clinton Hill where a decent cleaner JUST arrived (oh really?!), no shoemaker, no place to buy a bunch of flowers, no drug store nearby, no green grocer and no restaurants that are any good (surprise, surprise!).  It had to be pointed out to her that there is a shoemaker on Waverly, drug stores on Fulton street the other on Vanderbilt, a flower shop on Fulton street not to mention there have been more than a few cleaners in the area for years.  How did all of us who lived here pre-2004 survive in such sub-standard “Escape from New York” like living conditions?!

 In 2004 you would be hard pressed to find an empty store front on DeKalb avenue, it’s been that way since the early eighties. On Myrtle at that time it may have been a few but it was scarce, Myrtle has NEVER been desolate as far business goes. On Fulton street from S.Oxford down to Ashland place there were viable businesses. Basic service businesses like laundry mats, cleaners, hardware stores, pharmacies, shoemakers, barber shops, beauty salons have ALWAYS been here, along with the vet and various other medical practices. Do my new “neighbors” see the absurdity in their comments?! If you felt this way about the neighborhood I can only imagine what was subconsciously thought about its longtime inhabitants. How do attitudes like this affect your communicative dealings or the universal dialect of body language with longtime residents?  

 One more thing, what’s up with all the Brooklyn transplants that have the absolute need for fine dining within 2-3 blocks? In the case of Clinton Hill, there are plenty of restaurants in Fort Greene. Walk your ass there!! What’s the big deal?! Or you hear “I’d like a bar within 2 or 3 blocks…” If the bar or bars in your closest vicinity doesn’t appeal to you or your social paradigm then simply walk to one that does. Every retail strip in the neighborhood does not have to turn into to a trendy row of restaurants w/ sidewalk seating to dignify the vibrancy of the hood.

 “Love thy neighbor as thyself…”

23 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 8:40 pm

    I didn’t see the comment on Brownstoner itself, I tend to avoid the site due to the comment streams and therefore have no idea of the context of the comment you quote or the demographic of its writer. However, a comment like that always screams with a sense of entitlement to me. Since August, so I can’t speak for before that, when my wife and I moved to CH we have LOVED the neighborhood for what it is, a community. Your sentiments are right on the mark here.

  2. May 6, 2010 9:09 pm

    Ugh. 6 years ago – are you kidding me. Really – I wish they’d used their trust fund to live somewhere else. BTW – the shoe guy on Waverly IS THE BEST!

    • bknesto permalink
      May 6, 2010 9:17 pm

      Yes, the shoe guy on Waverly is very good!

  3. JMB permalink
    May 6, 2010 9:36 pm

    Awww man, you shouldn’t judge your “neighbors” based on some random idiot’s comment in the Brownstoner comments field any more than you should judge your “neighbors” based on the color of their skin.

  4. bknesto permalink
    May 6, 2010 9:50 pm

    “How do attitudes like this affect your communicative dealings or the universal dialect of body language with longtime residents? ”

    Now, I won’t judge ALL my new neighbors based on blog comments but I posed this question based on experience. I have neighbors on my block that wouldn’t recognize me or my wife & kids if we came through an IMAX screen in 3-d. On the other hand we know who they are and their spouse, when they moved to the block, how many kids etc., just simply from being observant to who lives on the block and who’s our supposed “neighbors”.

  5. May 6, 2010 9:51 pm

    Wow, post-apocalyptic?? I moved here in ’04 and couldn’t disagree more. Most of my basics were met right on Waverly Ave. Also, I much prefer Prospect Drugs on Vanderbilt to Walgreen’s. I do admit to enjoying the new flower shops.

  6. bknesto permalink
    May 6, 2010 9:59 pm

    lesterhead, I too enjoy the flower shops. I used to frequent the now closed one on Fulton and Cambridge place regularly. I guess they didn’t get enough local business to survive, the bodega that replaced it seems to be doing fine though.

  7. May 6, 2010 10:00 pm

    Also agree with Ed and JMB that the comment you reference certainly does not reflect the attitudes of all “new” neighbors.

  8. Alex permalink
    May 6, 2010 11:07 pm

    I don’t read Brownstowner either, seems like a lame site (and the shoe guy on Waverly is great)

  9. Park Slope Native permalink
    May 6, 2010 11:32 pm

    These transplanted hipster-yuppie inbreds are obsessed with eating out. They do it seven nights a week, blowing God knows how much money. Combine that with the ripoff gentrification rent they’re paying and the fact that almost none of them work real jobs, and their entire lifestyle becomes mind-boggling. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    My friend (also a Slope native) was just mentioning the other day that he didn’t understand how all of these outdoor bars and restaurants on Fifth Ave in Park Slope are packed from front to back with yupster transplants on weekday afternoons when normal people are out working for a living. It’s like these yups have an infinite amount of leisure time and money to piss away. Who knew that there were so many parentally-funded overgrown brats in this country?

  10. I killed Josh! permalink
    May 7, 2010 12:30 am

    Hi Guys,

    To me there’s a little truth in both sides of this. first let me say that I am definitely glad to hear sane, friendly and respectful comments from people that have recently relocated to Brooklyn. Its all about building that good community vibe.

    Sites like Brooklynian, Brownstoner and Fucked in Parkslope are full of assholes, bknesto…. I mean you can get wrecked good if you take them seriously or stay on there too long. So, go easy there.

    However,new guys, while you might not share that POV, these kinda sites are indicative of the mentality of alot shitheel transplants. This attitude is all over the media too, like New York Mag, NYtimes, Brooklyn New, NY Observer, etc. And also, where is the alternative website/mag/newspaper where everyone is mellow, like it used to be…? Aside from Diehipster (which is largely an anti hipster/gentrification funny-ass site), there isn’t one. My take on it is that donatella bitch’s attitude is the predominant one.

    Maybe you new guys don’t see it the way we do. But this revisionist view of Brooklyn, where our history and our neighborhoods are recast through the eyes of some midwestern, uncouth, money grubbing shitheel transplant tying to live out their urban-wonder fantasy..just won’t do.

    When someone makes a statement like that, that our neighborhoods are grossly inadequate…which is basically saying we and our history and memories and experiences are inadequate (see previous post on shared history)there is this ever so subtle undercurrent of pioneering, colonizer dismissiveness. “Post Apocalyptic” can be roughly translated to mean the jungle or savage fronteer. We of course are supposed to be the dark savages. The shitheel is the great civilisor. See…I don’t wanna be related to that way,…I don’t wanna be in *that* kinda relationship with these kinda people.

    Our neighborhoods were fine before the shitheel onslaught…obviously or they wouldn’t be salivating over them like they do. For reals, *something* attracted them to BK, right? And, what kinda moron moves into a “post-apocalyptic” area and pays high rents? (yeah, Ft. Greene wasn’t cheap 6 years ago..either)

    Anyways, I think the answer here is to keep your site going, bknesto (and post more often man, I love reading your stuff) and all you sane good people with the positive, collaborative attitude speak your mind, share your stories and grow a good community where that shitheel mentality can’t get a foothold.


  11. wasder permalink
    May 7, 2010 3:02 pm

    This was a truly bad choice of words on the part of the poster donatella. I don’t know her personally but I would say that the only thing that mitigates the harshness of the words “post apocalyptic” is that she said it in the context of a discussion of Fulton Street rather than the neighborhood as a whole. That being said, it was truly a strange and unfortunate choice of words.

    I have been reading with great interest your last few posts on the nature of “amenities” and what various people look for in a neighborhood and think you did a great job of articulating the fault lines that exist in the way people view this area. I feel like I straddle several different worlds and cultures in Clinton Hill. On one level I have lived here for coming up on 10 years and feel like I am pretty deeply enmeshed in the street life here as I both live and work in the neighborhood. I know my neighbors well and am generally well integrated into the fabric of the neighborhood, particularly the southeastern corner of the neighborhood. On the other hand, despite having lived here as long as I have, I still wish for certain kinds of businesses and services in the neighborhood. I don’t think that this means that I don’t love the neighborhood but just that I wish I didn’t have to travel outside the neighborhood to buy certain things or have certain kinds of social experiences. I think that this is a perfectly valid way to feel and certainly with regards to Fulton Street there are so many vacant store fronts that there is plenty of room for businesses of all kinds, catering to the wide variety of people who live in Clinton Hill.

    What I do think is noteworthy about this whole conversation is that it does open one’s eyes up to the different ways people perceive a place and its inherent “values”. I very much appreciated, Nesto, the line you wrote in the “history in the neighborhood” post about how when you ask long time residents what they value about the place its more likely to be an answer about family ties or spiritual ties. That really moved me and I wished I had a neighborhood, any neighborhood, that I had that kind of ties to. Hopefully with my children growing up here they will be able to answer that question similarly.

    Anyway, glad to see you back in action and I look forward to more great posts from CHC.

    • bknesto permalink
      May 7, 2010 4:12 pm

      Wasder, the discussion was about fulton street in Clinton Hill but her comment was about Fort Greene. Then it had to be pointed out to her that certain services she claimed CH was lacking are indeed available in the hood. She’s also said on other blogs that she wished the Country House on fulton would move to another country. Why such disdain for a business because it doesn’t appeal to you?

      It was a stupid comment by someone who clearly doesn’t even know the neighborhood she lives in. People like her live her by default, because if she could afford to, why would she move to an area that lacks all the services she claimed, if its so imperative to your everyday living?

  12. wasder permalink
    May 7, 2010 4:18 pm

    Yep, it was a stupid thing to say no doubt.

  13. May 7, 2010 5:09 pm

    “It was a stupid comment by someone who clearly doesn’t even know the neighborhood she lives in. People like her live her by default, because if she could afford to, why would she move to an area that lacks all the services she claimed, if its so imperative to your everyday living?”


    Jackasses always talking out of their Asses!

    They cannot afford the neighborhood with “Amenities’ so they move the Ghetto and bitch and whine about this and that!

    Good work Nest!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end..

  14. Gerry permalink
    May 7, 2010 5:28 pm

    I understand where you’re coming from, CHC, but I just want to point out that this isn’t a one-sided issue. The longtimers aren’t always particularly welcoming to their new “neighbors”.

    I moved to Fort Greene 3-4 years ago. I’m single, I work in the neighborhood, and with no parents or trust fund to pay the bills I usually bring home just enough to buy groceries and pay the rent.

    When I first moved to the neighborhood, I would smile and wave at my neighbors on the stoop or out on the sidewalk. They never smiled back.

    Then I tried the friendly nod. All I received in return were blank stares.

    These days I just walk right by.

    Is it because I dress like a gentrifying, hipster douchebag? I’m sure I probably do. I do shop at thrift stores.

    The point is, I made the effort to reach out to the old guard. But all they saw was another white hipster souring their neighborhood. I was shunned from day one.

  15. wasder permalink
    May 7, 2010 5:34 pm

    I wonder why you refer to Clinton Hill as the ghetto What. Seems incongruous with the spirit of the place as described by BKNesto.

  16. May 7, 2010 7:16 pm

    “I wonder why you refer to Clinton Hill as the ghetto What. Seems incongruous with the spirit of the place as described by BKNesto.

    Nest I want to apologize in advance. Wayne Brady is gonna have to kick a motherfucker’s ass!!!!

    Motherfuck you Wasder you fucking Covert sidewinding motherfucker! You try to side in like a snake but in all reality you’re a Asshat piece of shit! Don’t fucking talk to I’m not your friend!!!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end..

  17. wasder permalink
    May 7, 2010 10:06 pm


    The point I was trying to make is BKNesto has taken exception to a negative stereotype of the neighborhood. I don’t know too many people who consider ghetto to be a positive description, so I am wondering why you chose to characterize it as such.

    As far as me being whatever it is you want to call me, I live here and work here, buy almost everything I consume here, and generally am a good citizen of Clinton Hill. I know my neighbors on all sides by first names, am friendly with all. You most likely know some of them. Ask them what kind of person I am.

  18. outsidechild permalink
    May 16, 2010 6:13 pm

    What is so ironic is that I lived right off DeKalb for nearly 20 years but recently got gentrified out. Back in the day in the early 90s, within a few blocks I had every type of neighborhood business and service one could possibly need! Shoemaker, butcher, several cleaners, several hardware stores, key cutter, sporting goods store, produce, several drugstores, etc but now all there is is overpriced mediocre restaurants! So perhaps NOW is “post apocalyptic Ft Greene”!

    I was on my old block yesterday(Saturday) afternoon and before, the WHOLE BLOCK would be out on a nice Saturday afternoon, the old men playing cards on their little folding table with their little radio playing the Chi-Lites, everyone would be on their stoops, people would be grilling in their front yards, children would be playing, etc. Yesterday it was like a GHOST TOWN!!! Not a soul and it was actually quite frightening! FINALLY one of my old neighbours walked up and told me about all the other people who had since been gentrified off the block and about how the new people call the cops on the old men playing cards and the stoop sitters and even the playing children! He went on further to tell me how old residents just cannot live any longer! Before, we were a music block, we would all take turns playing our music and when it was my turn, neighbours would call out the window to ask if I could please turn it UP!!! He said that now you can’t play any music at all or they call the cops! So then he said he had to hurry to his card game and I asked where it was and he said Bed Stuy!!! Old Ft Greene people now go to Bed Stuy to hang out where they can relax and be themselves!!!

    What is wrong with this picture?

  19. Maigirl permalink
    May 17, 2010 12:30 am

    The statement that was made on Brownstoner is insane, but I’m not surprised.
    I live in Fort Greene and my “new Neighbors” put a petition together to stop the Mr. Softee trucks from playing their music in Fort Greene. Just recently a Mr. softee truck parked to sell ice cream in front of where I live and my crazy new neighbor called the cops on Mr. Softee just for parking his truck and selling Ice cream. He had no music so he did nothing wrong. When I asked her why she called the cops, she said that she didn’t want that unhealthy ghetto crap in her neighborhood. She compared Mr. Softee to a drug dealer selling drugs to children! Whats crazy is that the cops actually responded to that complaint, and in under 3 min too!

  20. May 18, 2010 11:01 pm

    “Yesterday it was like a GHOST TOWN!!!”

    Brooklyn has lost her soul. The Asstards don’t wanna be your friend, they want you to leave.

    “What is wrong with this picture?”

    Covert Race/Class Warfare being waged against you everyday. Don’t believe the hype!

    “. When I asked her why she called the cops, she said that she didn’t want that unhealthy ghetto crap in her neighborhood. She compared Mr. Softee to a drug dealer selling drugs to children!”

    Well just relax Sister – The Whole Mutant Asset Bubble thang is going to fall apart!

    The What (Peace Nesto)

  21. Diana permalink
    June 28, 2010 2:16 pm

    You can’t judge all of the newcomers from comments on Brownstoner. As a relative newcomer, I find myself at odds with many, if not most, of the comments there. Not everybody who moved here within the last 10+ years has a stick up their ass, doesn’t acknowledge their neighbors, or worship the flea. I personally loved the neighborhood when I first got here. I’m grateful for a bit more variety in food shopping and dining but all of my needs were met in 1998. My shoes didn’t have holes in them, I had my dry-cleaning and tailoring done, and I didn’t die of malnutrition or boredom.

    And by the way the best drug store is Prospect Drugs on Vanderbilt and Greene. Love those people!

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