The Brooklyn Divide
I know that Medium was made for written stories but this one is going to be told in images, take it or leave it.
Today I realized I’m living half an hour away from Hyperakt design agency. Which is not a big deal, unless you spent months curating a project they started, On the Grid, which is exactly what I did. Last winter we launched On the Grid Kiev and curated Podil area. It was pretty intense and a lot of fun, I wanted to meet the makers so I just decided to drop by without invitation or prior notice. Entirely unlike me, must be New York influence.
Hyperakt reside on the opposite side of the Prospect Park, on the half-industrial outskirts of Gowanus district. I took off from my trashy hood that I’ve grown to like and plunged into the lush green of September forests.
I didn’t get far before catching a thunderstorm that slowly turned into hot drizzle under the sun. Apparently, rain is an added incentive for PE classes because it seemed like all neighboring schools have rushed to send kids into the park and it was swarming with sweaty, wet, screaming, and brawling first-graders, glued to water fountains.
When I finally emerged from the park, tired of waiting out seemingly endless rain bursts, a brave new world has started. North Prospect Park area looks nothing like the busy corner below my AirBnB windows.
It’s clean. In fact, it’s so clean you can almost count the number of black people, using only fingers on your hands. And they’re probably just moving somebody’s furniture. What you get instead is a perfectly normal, upscale town with some good old American spirit.
“No parking on Saturdays” signs, fancy people caring yoga mats, ads for personal trainers in flexibility and strength, smoothie cafes, beauty parlors for pets, minivans everywhere, I thought I entered hell itself.
Sure, style-wise it’s amazing. The old architecture is straight out of every romcom and corny Netflix series you’ve seen in the last 10 years. Red bricks and classy doors, you’re being played by Keira Knightley or Amy Adams, and you’re going through a divorce realizing the thing you valued most in your relationship was the dog. And you didn’t even want to get it in the first place.
When my Annie Hall session was finally over, I have been frankly glad to see humans again. Regular, oddly dressed, playing poker on a cardboard table, listening to bad hip-hop kind of humans. And the place by Hyperakt is a beautiful (in its own dark way), pastel-painted area with a touch of dystopian fleur about it. Maybe it was the weather, though, can’t tell.
The last thing I catch on my way back from there was a funny little act: a small boy riding his toy police car in a kid-sized police uniform, honking at people and giggling happily at his dad before jumping out and going up the stairs of his posh-looking home in his all-white neighborhood. Anyways, good night. Here’s a pretty deli with flowers to cheer you up.