Yesterday, we walked to Red Hook for some Central American food and photographs.
To me, Red Hook is the most interesting of any neighborhood in Brooklyn. This is partly due to a quirk of geographic proximity/difficulty: I can see it out my window; if I could walk on water, I could be there in seven minutes. In the realm of physical possibility, if there weren’t electric fences between me and the water, I could swim there in 15, tops. Or a bridge would work fine.
So it’s tantalizing.
The 50-minute walk keeps me from going there as often as I would otherwise, but it’s not prohibitive. On weekends in the summer, food carts are set up on the edge of the Red Hook Ballfields, where people play soccer and baseball. The
food is great and the games are fun to watch. Recently, I read something in which this person was knocking people who knock places for their lack of diversity. (I remember: It’s the annoying first comment on this interesting essay by Nick Jaina.) Places like Norway and Japan and Portland, Oregon. The writer’s point was that lack of diversity is a-okay.
It is, I guess; it’s just way less awesome. I like eating a Salvadoran pupusa while watching a Hasidic baseball team play a Puerto Rican one. I like that I can spend a Sunday afternoon with hundreds of families from Central America and not feel like I’m out of place. I like that this isn’t even weird. It’s not because it makes me feel hip or liberal or whatever; it makes me feel like I live in a place where there are lots of different ways to be. Endless possibilities (to eat food).
That is what I will miss in Portland. We are moving there on September 24. We decided this in Red Hook.
Something that exists in both Portland and Red Hook is IKEA. I have never been in one, but man, those suckers are enormous. In Red Hook, they constructed a nice park along the piers. This was the least they could do, after demolishing dozens of Civil War-era buildings and unleashing vast amounts of asbestos upon the neighborhood. A free water taxi brings Manhattanites over for their shopping convenience. Nothing in Red Hook is new except IKEA. And some of the razor wire. The rest of it is very, very old. The warehouses are beautiful. There is a lot of rust. And many non-adjacent acres of school buses.
Also, key lime pie.