When I say Brooklyn it probably brings to mind hipsters, yoga studios, loft apartments, cafes and cute little restaurants. But for those of us who grew up in New York City in the 80s & 90s, we remember when Brooklyn was much different.
If I told you I was staying at an AirBnB on Atlantic Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn back in the 1980s or 1990s (if AirBnB existed), you would have called me a daredevil. Like many areas of New York City back then, Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, Crown Heights were not safe neighborhoods. Crime and drugs were at a record high. People wouldn’t dare to walk down Atlantic Ave at night. My mom told me to avoid these areas at all costs. Even the hip and trendy Myrtle Avenue (today) was often referred to as Murder Avenue in many hip hop songs. Check out this infographic from NYC.gov.
The point is, a lot of Brooklyn wasn’t safe but boy has that changed in the last 20 or so years. New buildings have been popping up, old buildings have been renovated, warehouses have been converted into loft apartments, and Brooklyn has become one of the last few places in New York City to find decent real estate deals while also quickly becoming extremely expensive.
Just last night as I was exiting the Ralph Ave train station, I noticed a white blonde girl, a balayage-haired Filipina (I got her Instagram and we’re going out Sunday night) and myself exiting at the same time. This type of sight would never have been seen in the 80s or 90s and is just a small example of how much Brooklyn is changing and becoming more diverse every day. Say what you want about gentrification, but it’s happening in full force in Brooklyn. Check out this infographic from CityLab.com. You can clearly see that a majority of NYC-based gentrification is centralized in Brooklyn and the Bronx (likely because the rest of NYC has already been gentrified lol!).
With that said, there are still a few remnant of 80s-90s Brooklyn that I’ve noticed during my week here in Brooklyn and I wanted to share them with you.
When I saw this car my first thought was “that’s so Brooklyn.” If there is one thing in life I love, it’s a good rim job, and whoever worked on these rims deserves a raise. Look at those rims! That car is elevated a good 2 feet off the ground. I’m in the market for a new car and I would totally rock this gorgeous classic.
This is not something I’ve ever seen before. It looks to me like somebody dropped their weave on the ground, or maybe the person got into a fight with their weave and the weave shouted “WEAVE ME ALONE!” (Dad jokes). If anybody you know is missing a weave, contact me.
It looks like a lot of Brooklyn dog owners haven’t gotten the memo yet that they’re supposed to clean up after their dogs. In Thailand, this was a common sight. I remember one time when I had just moved to Thailand I was walking my dogs with a Thai girl and my dogs pooped. I bent over to pick it up and she stopped me and said “this is Thailand, you don’t need to pick it up. We have so many street dogs that poop everywhere that it doesn’t matter.” I compromised and kicked it out out of the walking path and that was the last time I attempted to pick up dog poop in Thailand.
One thing that Brooklyn will always be known for is their unique fashion sense, including this woman’s bizarrely colored crocodile or alligator or pangolin shoes. Regardless of how hideous these shoes are, the one thing they’re good for is brightening up somebody’s day. Literally, I bet they glow in the dark.
As many of you already know, crime has been on the rise in New York City lately. Sure, NYC is still a relatively safe city but that doesn’t change the math or statistics. This is why I wasn’t entirely surprised when I saw a kitchen knife on the ground in Brooklyn. I of course was a good citizen and carefully picked up the knife disposing it in the nearest McDonald’s trash can. If this knife was used to commit any crimes and my fingerprints are now on it, may this blog post and video act as my alibi.
And if there’s one thing about Brooklyn that I hope never changes, it’s these beautiful views of Manhattan. It’s a reminder that Manhattan has always been perfectly far and close at the same time and always a 30 minute train ride away.