Friday, July 23, 2010

There's no place like Brooklyn

Whether you're coming or going, you gotta smile at these signs I saw today on Flatbush Avenue.

Entering Brooklyn? How Sweet It Is!

Leaving Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sea turtles in danger not only from the oil spill

The older I get the more I realize how much I don’t know. So when I come upon something that’s new to me, be it history or science or just plain everyday items, I feel the thrill of discovery.

Sea turtles are just such an example. Two years ago during the week I spent with my friend Nancy on Siesta Key, Florida, we went across the street to the beach one afternoon where a local environmentalist was giving a talk on sea turtles. Until then, I had just the basic knowledge about these sea creatures.

The speaker presented a comprehensive and interesting picture of this endangered species, emphasizing the environmental dangers to their existence. She explained how they crawl ashore at night to deposit their eggs and then return to the Gulf of Mexico, and why the owners of homes that line the beach are encouraged to turn off or dim their lights after dark so the turtles will find nesting places without any distractions.

Now with the oil spill, sea turtles are in the news. For an up-close view of how the disaster has affected their existence - it’s not only direct contact with oil - click on “What’s Killing the Sea Turtles”, a six-minute video on the investigation to find out what is killing endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brooklyn mothers-to-be heading to Manhattan hospitals to have their babies

The recent New York Times article, “Manhattan Birth Certificate, Brooklyn Address” caught my attention because I also commuted from another borough and from another state to have my children; but mine was a case of reverse migration.

I had my first child while living in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn (Avenue K and East 35th Street). The fine obstetrician recommended to my husband and me had his offices in the Park Slope section and was affiliated with Methodist Hospital. When I was pregnant with my second child we were living on Staten Island. It was a no-brainer for us - he (it turned out to be a boy) must be born in Brooklyn. With our third child (also a son), we were living in Matawan, New Jersey, but knew we’d trek into Brooklyn for his birth.

Of course there were fine doctors on Staten Island and in Monmouth County, but I wanted all my children to share the birthplace of their mother and father. The reason was simple: I have always been immensely proud of the fact that I’m a Brooklynite. Today you hear much about the Park Slope and Carroll Gardens areas, but hardly a word about the Flatbush and East Flatbush areas where I grew up and went to school. Or about the East New York section where their father was born.

My sister Nan and I often bored our friends I’m sure, with our stories about Brooklyn back in the 1940s and 1950s. Yet of all the books written about Brooklyn seldom will you find one about our neighborhood.

The babies born in Queens or Manhattan, the Bronx or Staten Island will always be able to claim they’re native born New Yorkers. But for those born in Brooklyn, it will be an added cachet to say “I was born in Brooklyn.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird

In celebration of the 50th anniversary this month of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, I plan to re-read Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel this summer. On my Facebook page I mentioned that I was forming a book club for anyone who’d also like to read or re-read this classic.

To see and hear more about the impact of the book and the movie, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1962, click on this National Public Radio story about the book and the author.