Friday, January 21, 2011

New York Times Complaint Box essay: Powerless in Brooklyn (without meaningful local government and broad-based media, civic organizations)

I have a Complaint Box essay in the Metropolitan section of Sunday's New York Times, now online at CityRoom, headlined Powerless in Brooklyn.

The gist:
Of the boroughs outside Manhattan, Brooklyn gets the most buzz — as a tourist attraction, a “hipster brand” and an incubator of art and artisanal products. That has provoked a backlash from longtime Brooklynites and others wary of smugness from the borough’s Brownstone Belt.

However entertaining these debates, Brooklynites — and, I dare say, all of us in the non-Manhattan boroughs — share one common problem: we’re essentially powerless. We lack meaningful local government, as well as broad-based media and civic organizations.

Marty Markowitz, the borough’s president and its relentless cheerleader, says that Brooklyn has nearly everything a city needs and that fulfillment will arrive when a professional sports team, the Nets, finally moves to an arena here in 2012 or 2013.

If only that were true.
It's a bit of a departure for Complaint Box, which tends toward examinations of the nuances of such things as subway etiquette or tipping, but, given the limited space for op-eds in the paper--after all, the former City section is gone--any space is welcome. (Fun fact: they don't pay for this type of reader contribution.)

And yes, in only about 500 words, my essay is less nuanced than a longer version, so let's see how the comments play out.

Comments and responses

Go here for some comments and responses to them.

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