This is not going to be a terribly deep or trenchant blog today, but we took a trip to the Fairway Market in Red Hook this afternoon to see what the fuss was about. Indeed, the fuss was earned; this place puts most markets in the country to shame. Built into an ancient coffee warehouse right on the water overlooking the Statue of Liberty, it has every kind of food you’ve ever known. Hell, this is a partial sampling of their salmon section:
They had this banana walnut oatmeal I like, “Bounty” coconut bars from England, and even the Bristot coffee pods I usually have to get on eBay. It being mid-day on a Tuesday, there was hardly anybody else there, and checkout took three minutes. If you’re in Brooklyn and have a car, you owe it to yourself.
Here’s the not-so-deep part: driving there, you go through some neighborhoods – if one could use that word – that look like they were hit by a daisy-cutter bomb. These streets aren’t even dangerous; they’re dead. If you live in the more gentrified parts of Brooklyn, you no doubt harbor hope that the Gowanus canal could become another Riverwalk in San Antonio. But if you see where the Gowanus actually goes, you lose all inspiration.
Coming back from JFK airport, you may have also traversed the long part of Atlantic Avenue. I have been to the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, and I have to tell you that Atlantic Avenue offers less hope. We live in our cute little brownstones in Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and Prospect Heights, but we are surrounded on all sides by despair. Venture five minutes out of your comfort zone, and you are presented with the American Dream gone devastatingly sour. You begin to ask big, stupid questions, like “is this the best humans can do?”
How unbelievably blessed most of us are. I know it’s a boring sentiment that inspires defensive posturing, even in me, but to drive through the ass-end of Red Hook’s decay and blight en route to a 12-dollar brick of cheddar cheese just put it in sharp relief.