pmurraymusic 
Member since Nov 2, 2010


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Re: “The Whitest Neighborhood in New York City

As this document is over a year old, I'm surprised it took me so long to come across it. Nonetheless, fate has let the cards fall in such a way that it would be here for me to find.

@Henry, while I'll take heavily into consideration that you're simply doing your job as a non-biased journalist, you have presented a piece on this neighborhood with a residue and undertone upon which the reader (present company included) can easily place their finger. To deny that it's there would be fraudulent, the question that remains is whether or not it was intentional; I won't ask, it's your work and you have a right to lean in whichever journalistic direction suits you. But I would be just as untruthful if I didn't speak to that undertone, if only to help clarify some things for you and anyone else who may happen to read this in the future.

As a Bogota-born Colombian who was adopted into an Irish family, one would think that in a town such as Breezy Point, I would be considered 'weird' or 'different.' If you take into account that as one of the few working musicians from Breezy I am already set apart from the lot of residents here, I would still have to say that I have received the utmost respect and camaraderie from these people. Of course, the argument to this statement would be that I've lived here all my life, so people have had time to "Get used" to the fact that I am of a very different creed than most Breezy folk. I assure you that the same courtesy & deference has always been shown to my Non-Caucasian friends or music colleagues.

I feel that what alot of NYC living & property commentators tend to miss when browsing through Breezy and its people is that, while conceding to the incredulity that such a place exists in an area where we're used to a more multicultural (and crowded) environment, Rockaway & Breezy Point represent one of the oldest American living situations: a small town. John Melloncamp wrote a song of the same name to codify the things that those of us from small towns already know, but those who've never experienced would never fully understand. In small towns, there is bound to be fellowship, friendship, financial solidarity, and an unspoken bond even between the most distant of neighbors. Likewise, because of its modest population and limited geographical boundaries, there also exists prejudice, ignorance, a lack of the broader understanding of the world (for some), and the overall feeling of living in a bubble.

News about Breezy Point is hard to come by, and it's usually presented in a more moody tone by its observers. I suppose it is because small town drama rarely spills over into the rest of the world, but to those living in it, it can seem like the world is falling down around them when it does occur. In all this, though, there is little variation in the way Breezy Point conducts itself than any other small town in the United States (outside of the beach-front property), and any attempt to single out or vilify this Cooperative for its lesser qualities would hypothetically be a moot point. Of course, you've gone out of your way to make sure these points were present in your article too, I'm fairly certain?

At the conclusion of this commentary, I would like to point out several things that pertain directly to your text. You have noted (with poignant italics), that NYC Police Presence in Breezy Point is on an invitation-only basis; this is only partially true, due to the fact that the patrol areas of the 100th Precinct includes Breezy Point, which, as statistics will indicate, has one of the lowest crime rates in the region - there has never once been an issue where NYPD was required where their arrival and assistance was not prompt and professional; I can personally attest to this. You have also stated that people "in general" are not invited to Breezy Point; again, this is a blanket judgement, and were it truth, it would still be within the right of the community to enforce it since it is a privately owned & operated cooperative within the City of New York (even though this is not the case, and visitors are certainly welcome; your note about the parking issues strikes me as odd too, since you would probably encounter similar - and arguably more expensive - complications by doing something stupid like myself and say, leaving your car parked without looking to see that West twenty-something street is a tow-away zone with night hours. Just an example). Finally, that quip about the seasonal Irish residents and their "tow-headed children" is missing the mark, if only by a few theoretical inches. Yes there are Irish, and yes, Breezy retains a population that is mostly White, but let us not forget the German, Norwegian, Dutch, Scottish, English, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Latino, and West Indians that at have at one time or presently call Breezy Point their home.

If you'd like more information about Breezy Point, I'd be happy to invite you down. Just make sure to wear some sunscreen/insect repellent. It is the beach, after all.


Regards,
Joseph P. Murray

18 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by pmurraymusic on 11/02/2010 at 4:29 PM

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