Fifteen Brooklyn parks share the same name: "Park"—they were never given special distinguishing monikers, the Brooklyn Paper reports
. Most of them are modest open spaces or tiny triangular plazas, but at least three are legit parks, "complete with benches, trees, fences, and neighbors grateful for a patch of grass in the concrete jungle," the Paper reports
, each a part of the patchwork of greenspaces that run alongside the Prospect Expressway. It's strange that they haven't been named, as there are no shortage of public figures worthy of such an honor. And since we're the sort of people who read books and stuff, we have some ideas for Park Slope artists worthy of distinction.
Give this guy a park; heck, give this guy everything (even if his brother Denis continues to sully the family name with his idiotic columns
for the Daily News
). Hamill wrote one of the best Brooklyn books, A Drinking Life
, much of which chronicles his childhood and young adulthood living not far from the present location of the expressway—up and down Sixth and Seventh avenues, 13th and 15th streets, a war-era mix of trolley tracks and taverns. This is basically Hamill's neighborhood, and his years of journalism (a sort of public service) and book-writing surely make him someone the community should remember, even if he now lives in Manhattan. I mean, the guy's almost 80; he's from one of those generation for whom Brooklyn was a place you escaped, not stayed and prospered.
Unlike Hamill, Auster's not from Brooklyn, but he moved here before the borough was "repulsive with novelists, cancerous with novelists," as whatsisname once said
. Auster arrived in Park Slope in the mid-80s, decamping from a half-decade in Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill, and has remained there since. "It's a little more lively than Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens," he told me
in 2010. "And there is the park, which is the great advantage. And I've always felt that Park Slope was like a miniature Upper West Side, it has that kind of bustle and density to it." He may be more Central Slope than South Slope, but he's the quintessential Park Slope writer, aka the quintessential Park Slope resident.
Even if (or because?) he doesn't like
people documenting the goings on of his stoop, Buscemi is classic Park Slope. I don't think any resident is more universally beloved and respected—for his unpretentious demeanor, for his appearances at rallies to prevent the closure of firehouses, for his respectable resume. I think everyone in the borough and beyond could get behind a Buscemi Park: it'd be a tourist draw, even if it were just a strip of greenery above an expressway.
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart