Monday, December 12, 2011

How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back

Kay S. Hymowitz, a contributing editor of City Journal writes about how New York’s biggest borough has reinvented itself as a postindustrial hot spot.

I moved with my husband and our two young children into a partly renovated brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Last year, New York pronounced the area “the most livable neighborhood in New York City,” but in those days, real-estate agents euphemistically described it as “in transition,” meaning that the chances you’d get mugged during a given year were pretty good.

Educated middle-class couples like us, who had been moving into the area between Seventh Avenue and Prospect Park for more than a decade, lived alongside the Irish, Italian, and Puerto Rican immigrants who had given Brooklyn its working-class identity and its former nickname, “Borough of Churches.” For us, Saint Francis Xavier’s was just the sponsor of our children’s Little League teams, but it remained a religious and community center for those who also frequented smoke-filled bars on Seventh like Snooky’s and Moody’s.

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