Not all my thoughts are of the gloom and doom variety. Every now and then—fairly often, actually—I stop and consider how lucky I am to be living where I do.
Today was such a day. Beautiful weather, so I took to my battered old black bike to run some errands. I rode down Hicks, turned right at the bike lane on Kane and then left on Court, to Jim & Andy's green grocer. There are now quite a few bike lanes in South Brooklyn. Clinton, Bergen, Kane, Congress, 3rd Street, Union, Fourth Avenue. More are to come. My son has asked for pie tonight. Rhubarb is in season, so I grabbed a few stalks and a carton of strawberries, as well as some pears that looked good. My purchases were bagged and paid for, without the benefit of an actual cash register.
I went outside to my bike and noticed a good-sized crowd in Coffee Peddler, the new coffee place that purveys Stumptown Coffee. I went in, had an exchange with a tattooed barista who thought she knew me from Gimme! coffee in Williamsburg (she didn't) and another exchange with a tattooed cashier who was curious what I had in the bag. (The idea of pie-making made him smile.)
I ordered an espresso and sat down to drink it, and thought, this coffee was roasted in Red Hook. It's local coffee. If I walked further down Court to Court Street Pastry, I could buy some cookies made on the premises. At Mazzola Bakery, I could get locally produced bread. Esposito Pork Store could give me some house-manufactured sausage, and Mazzola Fine Foods makes its own Mozzerella. At Prime Meats, I could have an Old Fashioned with pear bitters made from a pear tree in the bar's back yard, or a Manhattan made with homemade Buddha's Hand bitters. Soon, the place will be curing it's own meats and making its own sausages.
At any number of bars in the area, I could get a Six Point brew made a stone's throw away in Red Hook, which will soon be producing its own wine label, via Angel's Share (just across the street from Six Point). On Clinton, at One For the Pot, I could acquire some locally contrived honey. Soon, the Carroll Gardens and Park Slope and Borough Hall farmer's markets would be back in full swing.
As I traced all these criss-crossing connections across South Brooklyn in my mind, I felt very grateful to be living in such creative, industrious, thoughtful, quasi-self-sustaining urban micro-universe. A neighborhood's a neighborhood here, not some corporate-sponsored simulacrum of community