Lately, I've noticed a Brooklyn backlash. Which I suppose was inevitable. How long can people stand another article labeling the Williamsburg version of Brooklyn as the Brooklyn. I'm even sick of that version.
But this backlash, especially the latest from PAPERMAG titled "Fuck Brooklyn," ignores the real Brooklyn - the one I adore. It's lazy to characterize an entire borough as a weak, entitled, hipster-fueled, Edison bulb lit, cesspool. My Brooklyn has grit, toughness, and oozes character.
Take the Brooklyn bodega. It's the place on your corner that's ALWAYS open - even during Hurricane Sandy ours was open. You need a last minute item for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? You don't have to question it, the bodega will be open. You want decent, hot coffee at a buck fifty? Your bodega has it. Want fries with that? Our bodega has sandwiches, hot breakfast, fries, and falafel. When you don't want to carry cat litter from Key Foods, the bodega has cat litter (and cat food) for a buck more than the grocery store. It's the place where the homeless guy collecting cans can get warm for a few minutes at 5am and no one hassles him.
The bodega is a gathering place and often a social center of a particular block. Ours is staffed by a huge extended family that sometimes includes a twelve year old kid, who couldn't be nicer or more professional, behind the register. You can buy batteries, candles, toiletries, grade A maple syrup, beer, cereal, cheese, shampoo - almost anything you need.
I'm particularly attracted to a certain version of the bodega that features the iconic yellow signs on the awning. I've taken dozens of photographs of nearby bodegas in the last few years and I think they look best on color film. Here are a few of my favorite shots. You can click on the images for larger sizes via my Flickr account.