The Narrative Month in Brooklyn: Angels, Wizards and Karaoke


Sometimes (just sometimes) we like to think in longer form than blog posts and tweets. Curated by the team over at Narratively, here’s a look at 10 in-depth stories, videos and graphics that had Brooklynites talking this month.

1. Illicit Views from Williamsburgh Bank BuildingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ever wonder what the borough looks like from those clocktower penthouses atop One Hanson Place? In this Narratively article by Moses Gates, the writer literally goes out on a limb to check out the best views of the city and is reminded of the many viewpoints we’ve lost.

2. It’s Alright, Williamsburg (I’m Only Bleeding)

Will we ever get tired of debating gentrification? Unlikely. Over at Brooklyn Rail, Cynthia Lugo discusses Gut Renovation with filmmaker Su Friedrich. The film is a personal account of the impact of gentrification in Friedrich’s beloved neighborhood of Williamsburg…from the point of view of an artist who admits that the film’s alternative title could’ve been “I Hate Rich People.”

3. Brooklyn’s New Gentrification Frontiers

Bad news (except to those who can afford it), residents of once-affordable Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Carroll Gardens are looking to move to more currently affordable neighborhoods like Bushwick, Kensington and Sunset Park, the new frontiers of hipster Brooklyn. It’s official because The New York Times said so.

4. No Fix for Broken Angel

Arthur Wood, an 81-year-old artist, was forced to leave his iconic home in Clinton Hill this March 15, even after his neighbors created petitions and a party to try to stop his eviction. Over 30 years ago Wood began to make a creative project out of his apartment, which he named “Broken Angel,” adding installations from reclaimed items—some called it art, others an eyesore; many agree it’s a timeless part of Brooklyn that will be missed.

5. Friday Night Magic

Moving over to one of our less frequently covered neighborhoods–Midwood–this short film goes inside the Magic the Gathering competitions at Kings Games (and two other NYC comic book stores), showing that nothing brings people of all ethnicities, financial strata, and ages together quite like waging imaginary wizard battles.

6. Hurricane Sandy Empowers a Film it Almost Ruined

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, a film by Sam Fleishner, is about a 13-year old autistic boy who is trapped on the A-train for ten days. The movie had to pause filming because the entire neighborhood was flooded after Sandy. But instead of completely scrapping the work, the storm actually became its driving force. Shots of a skate park, boardwalk, and diner, all located in Far Rockaway, where the movie takes place, were destroyed by Sandy, but preserved on film.

7. Crash of the Century

(Photo courtesy Narratively/Alison Brockhouse)

(Photo courtesy Narratively/Alison Brockhouse)

Check out this Narratively story about a devastating subway train crash in 1918 that killed over a hundred, left the last private transit systems broke, altered the career of a mayor, and changed the transportation system forever. You’ll never complain on your way to work again!

8. NYPD Mapping Muslims Program

From 2001 to 2011, the NYPD conducted a surveillence project to create a “human mapping system” of every Muslim business owner in NYC. They found no terrorists, but instead, jeopardized the privacy and freedom of speech of entire communities. This Atlantic Cities article details how they did it.

9. Adorable Stop-Motion Video May Be Your Last Look Inside the Domino Sugar Factory

Whether or not you’re sad to see the Williamsburg Domino Sugar Factory go, you’ll definitely rejoice when watching this stop-motion video starring a cylinder of Domino Sugar and cylinder of Coffee Creamer.

10. Karaoke Kills in Brooklyn

Love the part where you get to perform and sing during karaoke night, but hate all the waiting and watching your sad drunk friends belt out Celine Dion that comes afterward? Karaoke Killed the Cat in Union Hall is your answer. In this Narratively video, Chris Goldteeth and Lord Easy host a karaoke party like you’ve never seen.

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