I’m writing on the morning of my 61st birthday — a phrase that does not trip off the tongue, or emerge easily on the keyboard! I am the only one awake yet — Brian is still asleep, and Loki, his fluffy fur having grown back after his late-summer grooming, is snuggled again him, napping too.
We are staying in Brooklyn, in a beautiful neighborhood built up during 1900-1915, my favorite period of American urban architecture.
Here, the texture of the streetscape is mostly intact. Old trees still line sedate red-brick tenements and elegant, historically preserved townhomes.
The early 20th century was a time of wonderful whimsy in relation to urban development, and you can see the immense hope and imaginativeness in our country at that time, in the very architecture of many of our cities. All around us, in this neighborhood, you can still see apartment buildings with castle-like crenellations, and crazy coats of arms that are entirely invented, depicted in plaster ovals placed high along the rooflines; you can still see half-timber walls, a notion lifted straight from Elizabethan English architecture, while, at the same time, entire blocks look like Edwardian London’s Mayfair. All of this wild architectural pastiche surrounds and adorns the businesses, churches and institutions of a Caribbean community that still seems culturally rich and intact; that feels, at least to me, as if, unlike Manhattan now, it has not been blown apart yet by overdevelopment, or crushed by the corporate interests that used the pandemic to destroy small businesses. For these reasons and many others (the food is sublime) it fills me with happiness to be here.
We are being propagandized to believe that human culture does not matter, but a rich, intact culture around us makes humans stronger, happier, more interesting, and better able to resist oppression.
There is a reason that Jane Jacobs’ classic 1961 book on urban civic health — The Death and Life of Great American Cities — has had such an impact on my thinking. She made the case that walkable cities, that are dense, that have public gathering-places, that allow “eyes on the street” (the eyes of caring neighbors, not of the State), and that mix residential and retail buildings, create a culture of neighborliness and civic engagement, and thus support and sustain robust, healthy, vibrant civic societies.
I come back to Brookly
Article from LewRockwell
LewRockwell.com is a libertarian website that publishes articles, essays, and blog posts advocating for minimal government, free markets, and individual liberty. The site was founded by Lew Rockwell, an American libertarian political commentator, activist, and former congressional staffer. The website often features content that is critical of mainstream politics, state intervention, and foreign policy, among other topics. It is a platform frequently used to disseminate Austrian economics, a school of economic thought that is popular among some libertarians.