Brooklynites Offended by Capote Quote on New Signage

07/25/2011 12:16 PM |

The offending part of the sign
  • The offending part of the sign

Brooklyn-boosting map-signs, newly installed in Downtown Brooklyn, have stirred controversy over the Truman Capote quote they sport. “I live in Brooklyn. By choice,” the signs read, quoting the opening line from Capote’s 1959 essay “A House in the Heights”. But Brooklyn residents are all like, what’s that supposed to mean? The Post reports that people on the street have not received the sign warmly. “Before I asked and learned that [Capote] said it, I took it to mean that we live in Brooklyn because we can’t afford Manhattan,” one architect told the paper. It implies that “we’re forced to live here,” said a Brooklyn Heights resident. “It sounds like it was put up by someone who doesn’t live here,” offered another critic.

Many of those criticisms just seem to stem from misunderstanding, except maybe that last one. It does seem like only someone with a Manhattan-centric attitude would feel it necessary to defend their decision to live in Brooklyn in public by appealing to a respected man of letters like Capote, as though such a quote lends legitimacy to a cause that needs legitimizing. Aren’t we long past the point of needing to stick up for Brooklyn like some bullied younger sibling? Man, if Manhattan doesn’t get it, that’s its problem.

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