Like most people, I was ready for 2016 to end. Unfortunately, I don’t see things getting all that better for the evolution of humankind. We’re going to take a step backward in time from some of the progress we’ve made. But as some have pointed out, it’ll probably be good for punk rock, at least. Let’s hope it’ll be good for books about Brooklyn! Particularly those connected to the Auld Irishtown trilogy.
I’m very lucky to live in the same place I write about. Although I’m working on a different book between Exile on Bridge Street (2016) and Divide the Dawn, which we are expecting to release in Fall 2018.
Every day I am amazed to be living close to Green-Wood Cemetery, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Gowanus Canal (haha) and only a few blocks away from where one of my characters (three characters actually) was murdered in 1925. It’s true, Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan was murdered by Al Capone and other Italians on the corner of 4th Avenue and 20th Street, a five minute walk.
The Adonis Social Club was a rundown brothel owned by the Stabile family, who were associates of Capone and the Prince o’ Pals, Frankie Yale.
The building, shown in the photo, was made of wood and is gone now, obviously, but the old neighborhood is still quite working class. Yes there are lots of hipsters, but also a very large Puerto Rican, Mexican, Arabic and Asian population as well.
Immigrants. What all Americans were at some point or other. I happen to appreciate them more than your average New Yorker. Luckily I speak Spanish too, so I can talk to them if I like. Most of the time I’m too shy though, so I just listen to their conversations at the grocery store and on the R, W, N and D trains.
I don’t pray to any Gods, but I do hope for their safety in the coming year. I understand that they have limited opportunities. That they often come from violent
countries and that those circumstances are not their fault. I also understand that they are conflicted here. Even in New York there are a lot of people who don’t care that immigrants have their own culture and struggle to learn ours.
On my street, we have an Islamic school and Mosque, a Spanish church and funeral home, a Turkish restaurant next to a Peruvian restaurant, a Jewish bakery and a busy bodyshop owned by a Polish family. I feel honored to be around them. I appreciate them and I know they are good, solid Americans.
This year I’d like to ask you something. Talk to a person of a different culture. Find out what is important to them and compare those concerns with your own. And most of all, welcome them. Tell them about your immigrant story and where your family originally came from and the trouble that caused them to come to America.
Go on then 🙂