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Brooklyn Counts!

If separated from the rest of New York City, our beloved borough of Brooklyn would be the fourth largest city in the United States.  With an estimated 2,539,206 residents, Brooklyn’s population surpasses the official #4, a place below sea level in Texas, by 297,013 people; and we trail #3, a place in the Midwest that still likes to think of itself as #2, by a mere 313,098 heads.  Even more important, Brooklyn is comfortably #1 among the five boroughs, with Manhattan a distant third.  In terms of sheer numbers, #3 is actually much closer to the Bronx, a place where few Manhattanites would dare tread.

All of this is by way of saying that it’s census time, so we need to let people know who we are and why we’re here. Yes, many of the questions on the census survey are a bit mundane, but the survey does provide respondents with the rare opportunity to evaluate their housemates’ language and motor skills. So let folks know. Pretty soon we’ll catch Chicago, and be able to call ourselves the real “Second City.”


Regular readers of this column may find the above entry unusually earnest, upbeat and civic-minded. But so much happened in the first two weeks of this summer that not even Nostradamus could predict what’s in store for the next two months.  Of those events, allow me to say that: I have nothing to add  to the conversation regarding Michael Jackson; my poster of Farrah meant an awful lot to me as a boy; like Mark Sanford, I find the temptations of Argentina to be greater than those of Appalachia; and I do hope that Sarah Palin retires somewhere north of Alaska. Closer to home, the ongoing shenanigans of the State Senate have pleased nobody except the real estate lobby; and it was absurd that in the same week that our fares went up, the MTA gave yet another sweetheart deal to a certain well-connected developer. 

In any case, thus began the summer of 2009—and right now, my only hope is for a few consecutive days of sunshine.  See you in September.

—T. Hamm


Theodore Hamm


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2009

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