What I learned about Brooklyn tonight.
It is no secret that many Brooklynites have moved to Staten Island for a more affordable and slower-paced style of living over the years. The relationship between the two connected boroughs reminds me of the big/little brother relationship that the New York Knicks now have with the Brooklyn Nets. If you don’t believe me, just compare the major parts of Staten Island to Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn (or even the horrible 2011 stats of the Nets & Knicks). Simply put, our walk and talk says it all.
After spending some time tonight with my uncle who owns a plumbing supply store in Sunset Park (with a net-worth of “$80M if it wasn’t for the economic housing crash”) and last night with my moderate Christian friend involved in the political field, I realized the two share a cultural connection that most of these parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island equally share — an emphasis on the family structure.
My uncle (a free thinking Muslim who wonders such things as why fellow Muslim women wear headscarves in 2012 and if our family struggles with bipolar disorder, allows his employees to hang pictures of Jesus in his store, trusts a Jewish business guy with a handshake over slimy Muslim people who want to take from him, and entrusts a hard-working Guatemalan guy to run things when he’s not around) has given sacrifically to the kids of a man he hardly knew growing up (reason being, he was given a dollar - yes a single dollar - when he had absolutely nothing himself). My friend (who works for a certain councilman on Staten Island) sacrificially gives to his wife and two daughters that he absolutely adores and wants the best for (something I’d like to think his parents instilled in him).
So, how does this all tie in to what I learned tonight? Well, Brooklyn is family … families of different faith … families that operate small businesses which in turn cater to other families … families that struggle with mental illness, and families that are, get this, not even blood related. Truth is, your family will always be YOUR family, so I plead with you to not take them for granted.