Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Peace of Brooklyn

The exact same night the Gates, Crowely, and Obama kerfuffle was resolved over a few beers, my wife and I attended a quintessential Brooklyn event in Asher Levy Park in Coney Island. After a half-hour ride due south on the F Train and employing squatters’ rights with fold-up lawn chairs slung over my shoulder, we chose a park plot facing due west. Even though the sun was directly in our eyes, we knew it would be only minutes before a 20-story apartment building would provide shadow creep over our camp. Rummaging through our BHMS sack for our picnic dinner, we quickly chomped on a leftover spare rib, avocado salad, and stuffed mushrooms.

As the park filled, you could repeatedly hear “ ‘scuse me, sorry, ‘scuse me . . .” as the 20,000 spectators slowly made their way to their own turf. Listening to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz on stage chatter about politicos as they entered their select seats, I could not help but notice people of many races, beer-bellied shirtless men, kids texting cellphones, three-generation families reminiscing, candidates handing out leaflets, people with walkers, and an air of community spirit. One passerby was a 60-year old man with his 92-year old father who engaged us in conversation, saying how since his brother passed away four months ago and his mother’s recent death left his father alone, he makes it a point of driving in from Pasaic twice a week to take his father to the Park.

After crowd scanning and reading a chapter from my book, we settled in under a cloudless sky and beautiful half-moon with a perfect 75-degree temperature to listen and watch
Jersey boy Frankie Valli demonstrate why he was one of the all-time best selling rock stars. He had the crowd singing, waving their hands, and bobbing heads. What I loved about the performance was the fact that he introduced new, young talent and gave them a piece of the stage—not too much—to develop their own careers.

While nestled among enough people to fill a small town, we enjoyed a wonderful performance, and at the same time, the President and friends were in the process of trying to correct poor behavior and miscommunication in front of the world. Ironically, when I checked my email the next morning, I clicked on one message that had a link to reporter Jehmu Greene’s article
“Everything Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley Needed to Know, I Learned at a Montessori School.” It’s an excellent article see what you think and let me know.

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