As things go, when people meet a man in uniform, that is
often the first question. "Where yah from son."
"Brooklyn sir", I would snap back. "Ohhh - I lived in
Brooklyn for over 30 years. Wish I never left.
I can still remember..." a bakery, movie theater, park or
business..." on ..." either Pitkin Ave., Manhattan Ave.,
7th Ave., Bedford Ave., Flatbush Ave. or fulton Street.
"Is that place still there? Gosh those were great days."
And so would go the conversation. Telling folks that your
from Brooklyn is the ultimate ice breaker. I've seen grown
men turn misty eyed from nostalgia from home.
Sometimes it seems that we have lost this feeling of pride.
We at Brooklyn On Line try to instill within the community pride
in our heritage, not only as Irish, Italians, Haitians or Jews,
but as Brooklynites. We have been passed a mantle, whether we
realize it or not, and what we make of that mantle for the next
generation largely depends on our understanding of what makes
THIS town special, how we came to live here, and what we bring
to this mix of cultures, industry, community and history.
When I stand on the Waterfront, may it be at Coney, Canarsie,
1st Ave., or Downtown, I always feel as if the collective weight
of the memories of all those folks I have met is upon my shoulders.
"Read, and one day all this may make sense to you" urged Captain
Pickard to Young Wesley Crusher in an episode of Star Trek, as
they glazed out over the stars. And I urge you likewise, Read,
Learn and Explore, and all this will one day make sense to you,
as we stand on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. Everyone who
lives in Brooklyn should at least once in their lifetime walk over
the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, stand in the center span in rush
hour, and read a poem.
Take the time out at least once, and go to Coney Island and wait
for the sun to set on a summer evening. And glare out at the
Boardwalk as the wind shifts and Coney lights up, remembering that
we are only looking at a fraction of what once was here.
Then walk up the boardwalk to Brighton Beach, and take in Odessa
by the Sea, with Russian Music and old women in folding chairs
spending quality time with their neighbors.
Walk to the Gowanas Canal, and wonder about the backbone of
enterprise it once was, and conptemplate what it is today.
Stand at 7th Ave. and 20th street, and see the Statue of Liberty
over the Harbor, in the background of rundown tenement, with the
sound of children's laughter in the air. Stand in mid afternoon
at Fort Greene Park, at the vault where dead soldiers of the
Revolutionary War lay, and glaze over the Navy Yard where 100's
of American prisoners of war were allowed to slowly starve to death
in the prison ship Jersey, just off Wallabout Bay.
If you experience these things, and it spurs you to read about our
past as a city, then the pieces of the puzzle will come together in
your mind, and the pride will begin to swell up in you.
You see, the future of our waterfront, and of our city itself,
depends on our knowledge, and pride in ourselves as Brooklynites.
Brooklyn, without a doubt, sits on the greatest natural harbor
in the world. We also have some of the finest beaches in the world,
and a National Park on our south shore. We hope to provide this
section of our web site as a place to exchange ideas on our
waterfront. As of now, many plans are fighting it out, to shape
our coast line. From Sanitation, to Park Lands are competing for
our shore. Often people who have very little at stake in our
Borough are making major decisions which can change the very shape
of our lives.
Two of the largest currently proposed projects is the renewal
project at Coney Island, and the needed freight tunnel between
Brooklyn and Staten Island to put our docks back to work.
Without a tunnel, it is likely that New York Harbor will die as a
center of shipping and import export. When all is said and done,
it is really that simple. And very little needs to be said about
Coney Island. Bookmark this page to watch the development of these
projects in the coming months.
- Coney Island Renewal Plans
- Gowanas Canal Clean Up
- Cross Harbor Feight tunnel Proposal