One of the saddest things I heard in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was told to me by the wife of an acquaintance. She said, with a smug sense of pride, that her family — in an act of patriotic protest to the recent attacks on America — would be ending their long-standing Thanksgiving tradition of serving assorted meat and vegetable pies from Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It was a heartbreaking statement of staggering stupidity, offensive on so many levels, not the least of which was personal.
I lived next door to Damascus Bakery in my first Brooklyn apartment. This was before Barney’s, Urban Outfitters and Trader Joe’s arrived. It was when that section of Atlantic Avenue was overwhelmingly Arabic, and I frequented the eateries as often as I could, feasting on delicacies from the Middle East, learning some geography and culture and a little Arabic along the way. And, of course, I met many wonderful people, including the family who owned and operated Damascus Bakery.
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I mingled as I should at the Lambs Club, meeting potential travel writing advocates at a private party in the back of the room, enjoying the playlist of AndrewAndrew, wondering if there was such a word as “Tripleganger.”
6sqft’s Andrew Cotto — an author of two novels and a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Men’s Journal, and Salon.com — will be sharing his experiences as he makes his way around New York City. Here, he describes his chance encounters with NYC icons AndrewAndrew.
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As a Brooklynite surrounded by progressives, I’m well aware of the need to “think globally and act locally” on a whole lot of matters. This persistent mantra seems particularly true when it comes to commerce, prompting those of us who heed such calls to shop (and generally pay more) at farmer’s markets and mom & pop retailers, especially those in our very own neighborhood. This is how vital local businesses can be sustained in an environment rife with soulless, big chain predators. OK. Fine. So I do my part by forking over ten bucks to a farmer for a bunch of kale and a handful of carrots, though I can’t understand why it costs more to buy the stuff direct from the guy who grew it himself. And then there was the time a Hudson Valley hipster tried to sell me a three pound chicken for $27.
“What was it,” I asked. “Raised on truffles?”
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David Foster Wallace is credited with predicting way back in the mid-90s that excessive irony would lead to the ruin of our culture. Around that same time, Alanis Morissette had her own far less erudite and flawed take on irony, which went a little something like this:
“It’s like rain on your wedding day
A free ride when you already paid
Some good advice that you just didn’t take…”
With all due respect to the prescience of DFW, life for me — at least these days in my Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens — far more resembles Alanis Morissette’s screwy version of irony.
6sqft’s Andrew Cotto — an author of two novels and a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Men’s Journal, and Salon.com — will be sharing his experiences as he makes his way around New York City. This week, he describes life in Carroll Gardens.
Carroll Gardens. Isn’t it Ironic?