Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’

IDnyc: The Dreaded Mystery Drip



That this weekend is Memorial Day tells us that summer is approaching. For many, this is a good thing. For others, it means you are never quite safe from the mystery drip.

Anyone who has experienced a New York City summer knows the mystery drip, unfortunately. One of the most unclean, disgusting, inhumane phenomena on the planet, the mystery drip occurs when one is peacefully going about one’s business on a sunny day and is suddenly intruded upon by a splash of water from above. A glance upwards reveals that it is not raining, so what could it be?

Ah, the mystery drip. Yes, so I am exaggerating slightly, and the mystery drip is in fact no longer any mystery at all. I quickly learned that the mysterious drops of water that so often fall on your nose while walking about New York City on a hot day are in fact the products of window air conditioning units. Completely harmless (we presume).

But for months when I first lived here, I would always feel disgusted when I got hit with one of these drops—was someone spitting on me? What someone discarding their most vile fluidic waste onto innocent old me walking below? My imagination always seemed to somehow come up with the worst possible explanation.

It is all settled now—those little unpleasant intruders are the innocent enough offspring of another summertime NYC staple—air conditioning. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to keep walking right next to the building…I’ll take the curbside lane, thank you.

Those pesty in-window A/C units are everywhere...

Those pesty in-window A/C units are everywhere…


IDnyc: Brooklyn’s Humble Origins


Brooklyn in the late 1800s

Brooklyn in the late 1800s

So yeah, you’ve been to Brooklyn. Good for you. You got hyped up the first time you could tell your hip hop friends you saw where Jay-Z grew up. Or the first time you told your hipster friends you found your apartment in “East Williamsburg”…a.k.a. Bushwick. And the first time you told your baller friends that you shot hoops on Coney Island. But how many of you know anything of the origins of the place that’s pretty much synonymous with “cool” in popular culture today?


Welcome to Brookly—err—I mean, Breuckelen!

Yes, that’s right. The original Brooklyn was called exactly that, named after a small town in the Netherlands called Breukelen. Of course as with all of America, the land that the first Dutch settlers took over as their home was originally occupied by Indians—the Lenape tribe. But, as with most of this country’s history, we seem to choose to ignore them (I often wonder is it that we just don’t’ have any lasting records of their culture or we just don’t care to find and publicize them?).

Getting back to the Dutch colonization, Brooklyn’s first settlement was Gravesend (named after Gravenzande, Netherlands), which existed before there was even anything known as Brooklyn. The following year this was replaced by Brooklyn (which was in fact spelled “Breuckelen” back then), and within the next few decades, more of today’s neighborhoods started to be born—Flatbush, New Utrecht, Bushwick, and so on.

Downtown Brooklyn today

Downtown Brooklyn today

Brooklyn was actually an official town before the capital of the new colony across the river—New Amsterdam—which I’m sure you can deduce would become Manhattan. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that the urbanization of Brooklyn began, with the area that is today considered Downtown Brooklyn, immediately across the East River from Lower Manhattan. With reliable steam ferry service, Brooklyn Heights became a commuter town for Wall Street. Around the same time, the independent towns of Bushwick and Williamsburg were growing faster than they could handle, and thus they were soon incorporated into Brooklyn.

For most of that century, Brooklyn was an independently thriving seaport and manufacturing center, considered a twin city to Manhattan. They did not merge into what is today New York City until 1898.

Brooklyn Bridge today

Brooklyn Bridge today