I shot both these videos tonight, which means, yes, the holiday season is in full swing. Even if not all the lights and displays are up--I estimate it at 60-75% of full strength--it's still a great visit, especially given the absence of crowds.
Yes, we stop outside the above house on pretty much all my Dyker Heights tours.
As to the house below, well, we'll stop by on some tours.
I recently saw the touching film Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, based on the novel by Colm Toibin.
Yes, it's primarily a portrait of the challenges a young woman from Ireland faced in truly leaving home and family, and finding her path in New York City, not without some twists and complications.
(And see Richard Brody's critical review, in which he observes, "But if Brooklyn greenwashes Ireland, it utterly sanitizes Brooklyn.")
But what was astounding, for contemporary observers of the borough, is that the boardinghouse that young Eilis Lacey lived in was a brownstone on Clinton Street. (Google Books tells me no address is listed, and Clinton Street is mentioned exactly twice.)
Clinton Street today runs from Carroll Gardens through Cobble Hill, then across Atlantic Avenue into Brooklyn Heights. Presumably Eilis and her beau Tony were walking around the part that today is called Carroll Gardens but back then was just undifferentiated "South Brooklyn," before new residents and the real estate industry pushed for new names.
Back then, it was a working-class zone. Today, those brownstones are very, very precious.
By the way, according to a Crowley interview with Deadline Hollywood, they shot for exactly one day in the brownstone district and one day in Coney Island, with the rest of the shoot in Montreal to save money!
Here's another relevant Crowley quote, from Brooklyn magazine: "Modern-day Brooklyn is so different from 50s Brooklyn that the art department budget would be astronomical."
It's a crude shorthand, I know, for the complicated phenomenon of gentrification that involves people's homes and businesses and lives, an issue that comes up in most of my tours.
But... the three clearest signs of retail gentrification, I like to say, involve expensive coffee (well beyond Starbucks), yoga/Pilates, and dog grooming/doggy day care. And it just so happens the field of dog-related services lends itself to puns (as does the human hair salon business, I'm reminded).
Below are (and the list will grow) some notable examples:
Please note: I have nothing against these establishments! But they do provoke chuckles.
Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.