Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My City of Neighborhoods

When I started the job I've had for the last 15+ years one of the goals was to "build an outreach program," for my small division of a very big government agency. I knew Manhattan pretty well, but didn't know my way at all around the other four boroughs -- the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. I'd been to all of them but to visit the Bronx Zoo, see friends in Brooklyn, relatives in Queens and very rarely to Staten Island. It's a big city, but we were the little unit that could. I still work with the staff member I began this assignment with and honestly, I'm not sure it could have been done without him. Russ is a great guy and over the years we've shared literally hundreds of programs at senior centers, churches, community groups, VA hosptals and public schools. We've been joined by a number of other folks over the years and there have been great days and less great days, when the audiences for our presentations have been less than friendly.

One of the best parts of being part of these programs all over New York City is the opportunity to get to really know all of the neighborhoods that make up New York. It is really a city of small towns, some gritty, some quaint, some beautiful and all interesting. One of my favorite discoveries is Greenpoint, in Brooklyn. We saw the movie filming there yesterday -- drove through today and they were filming the fourth of July parade with the float -- and I want to share some other photos of the neighborhood.

Greenpoint's development began in 1834. Across the East River from Manhattan it soon became a site of ship building and the Monitor was built there in 1862. The houses in the photo were built in the 1850s and 1860s. The bottom photo shows some of the industrial buildings that line the blocks along the river. These buildings are gradually being converted to stores and housing, but some still remain for industrial use.
So glad I can share one of my favorite neighborhoods in my city of neighborhoods!


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I love little neighborhoods! That's the bad thing about living in a place like I do, which is basically a very new city with the vast majority of growth in the past 40 years: No real neighborhoods and no old houses or buildings to speak of, nothing to "gentrify" -- what can I say, no character to the place, really.

But New York is just amazing. I bet there are areas that you could overlook even if you lived there 80 years. It's just so big and varied!!!

Chatty Crone said...

I love the little ethnic neighborhoods myself. We're originally from Chicago - not exactly like New York I know, but has its share of history too.

Atlanta is 'new' as most of it was burned down. But it is a beautiful city - just different.

New York seems so wonderful. You can't just come up and stay at a hotel and get the insight to it that you bring.

Thanks - very interesting.