New Neighbors at Night

brooklyn bed-stuy apartment building night lights

My neighbors' lights signal life in the low-rise apartment building.

May 26, 2014

There are far fewer people on the streets here in Bed-Stuy than there were in Williamsburg. What people there are on the streets at this hour aren't on their way to a destination. They're seated and stationary, their activity extending to holding group conversations on stoops or in unfolded folding chairs near the entrances of their buildings. I'm on a folding chair on my roof. I purchased two of them from Ikea recently, along with a folding table. 

There are few public places to hang out in this neighborhood except on the sidewalks. The park two blocks down is underlit and not of much utility unless I can develop street basketball playing skills and an ability to not stand out as a thirty four year-old white guy in a crowd of black teenagers.

There are places to go and return from. Those are the take-out restaurants, from which I'd have to bring a meal back in styrofoam and a steamy plastic bag. There are fried chicken joints and corner bodegas selling burgers. There are poorly-named greasy Chinese take-out joints with all-picture menus, the photos on which are faded to a narrow spectrum of cyan. Blotches of yellow let the backlight through where chicken meat or noodles were once or are represented. The options are limited. There are no sit-down restaurants, no bars in this part of Brooklyn. There's nowhere to go. 

The neighbors across the corner in the low-rise apartment building are evidently home, as indicated by the lights of varying color temperatures showing through their windows. Far more apartments have lights on than off there. This is the opposite of what I saw through the windows of condo buildings in Williamsburg. Most were dark most of the time, as though nobody lived in them at all. 

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