“I’ve often heard people say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, they’re all the same,” said Jimmy Ellis, a 56-year-old MoveOn.Org member and host of a calling party Thursday night for Barack Obama in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “But now, since the election in 2000, I think we can see really clearly, even if you don’t have your perfect candidate, it makes a difference who gets into office.”
Playwright and native New Yorker Danny Hoch knows where the money is, and he’s showing everyone.
When the Dow plummeted on Monday after Congress failed to pass a bailout for Wall Street’s many woes, Brooklyn’s creative class was already bracing itself. A downturn at the top of the food chain can’t bode well for those closer to the bottom, like the plethora of visual and performing artists that reside here.
“It’s just a drag,” said Karen Brooks Hopkins, the president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, whose fall season opens this week. “What I feel bad about is that the arts organizations, the cultural organizations, have finally recovered from 9/11, and now this.
While Williamsburg has spent the last decade getting a face lift, Atlantic City did the same, with developers putting up towers on the waterfront. While Brooklyn got luxurious condos, Atlantic City got luxurious hotels: the Chelsea, the Borgata, the Water Club and, tallest of them all, Harrah’s. Crime and drugs are still busy in both, but hidden a few blocks in from the unsuspecting eye, and developers are falling over themselves to draw the young and the hip to the waterfront in both locations.
There he was standing in front of me giggling, arms outstretched, and totally naked. He was bald and wrinkled, like the dancing old man from those Six Flags commercials, but he was just over a foot tall and, from his mostly toothless smile, drooled a bit. His mom scooped him up and got him dressed.
On a recent Saturday night, I did a little experiment: I broke the rules of youthful social engagement and went to a bar by myself. I sat in the dimly lit courtyard behind Union Pool in Williamsburg. I made myself available, quietly sipping a pint of Blue Moon.
I’ve recently found myself traveling north to Williamsburg and Greenpoint for a night out more often and apparently, I’m not alone.
On a recent chilly night, I was bundled up and on my way to Boerum Hill to have dinner at a friend’s apartment. As I walked down Washington Avenue the B45 bus pulled up next to me, and I hesitated. “Which would be faster, the train or the bus?” I thought. Before I could make a decision, the bus doors had shuttered. Luckily, the light at Atlantic and Washington was still red and I approached the bus and knocked on the door. The driver, a middle-aged African-American man, refused to open the door, gesturing to the next stop, three street crossings away, even though his bus was still idling perfectly in front of a designated stop. It was 15 degrees outside and I’ll admit it, I felt like the driver was sticking it to me for being white.