Monday, August 10, 2009

My Mission Statement

(This will soon be my profile.)

I was born in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn was born in me. If I go above 14th Street in Manhattan, I get a nose bleed because I have strayed to far from my beloved Brooklyn.

I named this blog Shouts From The Stoop because I believe the most important things you can learn in life can be achieved by sitting on a Stoop in Brooklyn. But you have to keep your eyes, ears and most importantly, your heart open.

You learn on the Stoop that there are a lot of us. That we pretty much live on top of each other. But we don't look alike. And it is OK, even more than OK, it seems natural if you were born into it.

You think it was an accident that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Brooklyn? Where else could that have happened? As Pete Hamill says, not only did Robinson integrate baseball, more importantly, he integrated the stands.

And those stands that were integrated by Robinson in 1947? Those are the stoops I have been sitting on since 1966. Listening, learning, debating, and yes, sometimes shouting.

You keep your eyes open on a stoop for good and for ill. When you keep your eyes open, you will see the most beautiful women in the world stroll by your Brooklyn stoop. You will also see the sleep-walking junkie that has lost his way. With eyes wide open you see his life as a cautionary tale, and the longer you sit on the stoop, you realize he could be you, and you could be him.

The stoop is where a lot of elderly Brooklyn residents congregate. Sometimes, its a matter of function, as they can't really walk anymore. Other times, its a matter of design, as they have seen all that they have wanted to see, and are content to live the stoop life.

These are the people who won a world war, fought their way out of a Depression, and raised families. They are a living Library of Congress of information, experience and humanity. And they did it here. They are willing to share, if you are willing to listen-all on the stoop.

Before the Internet and the 24 hr. news cycle, the whole world was settled on the stoop. Ali or Frazier? Williams or DiMaggio? Who made the best pizza? The people on the stoop made their own news cycle. You had to have an opinion. You listened, learned and adjusted.

The free-wheeling discussions that took place on the stoops of yest-er-year are sorely missed in modern America. You had to be fast and quick which, by the way, on a Brooklyn stoop are two different things.

On this blog, my aim is to electronically replicate stoop life. The people, the discussions, the debates. The forgotten who should be remembered. The overrated and underrated. Heroes and cowards. With subjects and opinions as diverse as my beloved hometown.

Don't be a wallflower, tell me when you think I am wrong, or full of it.

Lets work it out on the stoop.

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