Pete Hamill, journalist, former editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News, and author of The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories, talks about his new collection of stories reflecting life in Kings County.
I see Pete Hamills book as not just as Petes relationship to time and place, but also as a way for one to also understand their relationship to time and place.
He is one of the greatest writers living today. His love of New York, the loving but truthful way he tells his stories make you want to be right there where he is in the book. I am talking about his biographical writing to his short stories. You always read his life and what a great life he lived.
Ick. I had to turn the radio off on this one, and I usually listen to everything on Brian Lehrer. This guy's astonishingly pompous.
He's got nothing interesting to say but how great it used to be. He's congratulating himself on finding a great cemetery plot.
If I wanted to hear mumbles on how things used to be, I'd go to a senior citizen home.
I have lived in the South Slope for 30 years just two blocks from where Pete lived. I have to say that the nieghborhood has changed. I came here at the end of the era that he talks about. People still sat on the stoop and talked to passersby. You knew your neighbors. Around 1980 New York Magazine chose Park Slope as the friendliest neighborhood in New York. The neighborhood has changed immmensely just in the last decade or so. It has been invaded by smug newbies who have an incredible sense of entitilement and an air of superiority. Where once your neighbors whoild say hello as they passed by now they stare straight ahead with no desire to connect with their neighbors. And the moms with strollers walk three abreat using their strollers to push peole out of their way. The restaurants and bars are filled with screaming kids running around. The one word that Park Slope kids never learn is no. Those years when you walked down streets lined with broken glass from the cars with the no radio signs in their windows, those years didn't campen my enthusiasm. But after all those happy years in the Slope I am ready to leave.
I grew up in Brooklyn from 1949 to 1980 and, of course, it's not the same place anymore. Much better in most ways, however it has lost that grit, that unique toughness that made it both dangerous yet very much alive. It used to be cut up into ethnic turfs primarily between Jews, Italians, Irish, Blacks, and Puerto Ricans. Today there are no more turfs, and no more dangerous areas. It's now a true but bland melting pot. Not the dangerous but exciting place I grew up in.So that's a big gain, but a loss in some ways as well.
Ha - all the hate on Brooklyn --- "South Slope" - no such thing for real Brooklyners - Greenwood Heights!!!
I have written a book about Brooklyn in the 1960's: DAZZLED BY DARKNESS / SEEING THINGS IN BROOKLYN. The story shifts from one old Brooklyn neighborhood to another, including Park Slope, Flatbush, Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Williamsburg. The novel is about a romance between a telepathic Jewish girl from Brooklyn and an Afro-Latino art student who is destined to become America's most controversial artist.
Pete Hamill is a treasure and The Christmas Kid is a great book. You can see his gift for observation in the stories.
What is Pete's next book going to be about and when can we look forward to its release? And will it be fiction or non-fiction?
It's not so much that it's about Brooklyn, it's that it's so "back in the day". Who cares? This is one guy's view of one neighborhood that he doesn't live in anymore. Move on.
Is anyone else sick of hearing about brooklyn? I am. And why doesn't he live there if he loves it so much. Yeah, he cant' afford to. <click!>
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