Friday, August 30, 2013

Ode to Brooklyn

Although most tourists who visit New York spend their time exploring Manhattan, it's actually in the less glamorous borough of Brooklyn that many of the city's artists live, not least because rent is much cheaper there.alone is a landmark in American poetry, and many contemporary American writers call Brooklyn home, like Paul Auster and Jennifer Egan. Lots of rock bands are also based there, like Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend. Brooklyn is also the setting for the critically acclaimed T.V. series Girls, as well as the backdrop for several films directed by Noah Baumbach, including Frances Ha, in theaters now. After telling a story about family life in Brooklyn in The Squid and the Whale (2005), in the new movie Baumbach gives us the life of a young woman named Frances making an awkward transition into adulthood, mostly in Brooklyn but also with episodes in Sacramento and Paris. Like all Baumbach films the dialogue is great, and it gives you an interesting slice of life in the United States today.

In July I took a group of students from Sainte Croix to the East Coast of the U.S., and on one of our days in New York I decided to take them to Brooklyn. Their mission was to do a treasure hunt, finding various typical Brooklyn things like a vinyl record, a newspaper in Hebrew (Brooklyn has a large Orthodox Jewish population), a used book and a person with a tattoo. Amazingly, all three teams found every single item on their list in an hour, and we celebrated with ice cream on the train back home.

Do you think Paris has an equivalent of Brooklyn? Perhaps not Neuilly...
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