First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving to our vibrant and wonderful Brooklyn Based community! In what has been an objectively grim year, capped off with one of the more unsettling political developments in the modern era, feeling “thankful” hasn’t been top of mind of late, but know that our appreciation for you, our loyal readers, has never flagged. We are endlessly grateful for your continued support and for the opportunity to share our stories, tips, events, and news about our beloved borough with you. We wish you peace, joy, and relaxation this Thanksgiving weekend.
In the spirit of the season, we have to admit that despite all of the downers occasioned upon us recently, there are loads of other things to be thankful for too, and these sometimes come from the most unexpected places. Take this example: On a particularly grumpy morning last week, I was cursing all aspects of my life as I pushed on to a crowded R train to make my way into the city. The most enjoyable part of my morning ritual is when I get to fold my NYT Arts section into quadrants and dive into the crossword puzzle, which transports me from a lurching, smelly subway commute into a fun-for-a-dork-like-me exercise in word play. This particular morning, though, it seemed that there was a vast conspiracy afoot to prevent me from being able to concentrate on my comforting little grid and its clues for more than 10 seconds at a time. Among the characters I encountered: a woman in a coat evidently made of Shi-Tzus who was playing Bejeweled at full volume on her iPhone, a group of teenagers for whom yelling expletives on a crowded subway was apparently the apex of comedy, and a man standing near me whose breath, to put it as succinctly as possible, sucked. Just when I was considering whether to ratchet up my passive aggressive paper rustling and eye-rolling to out-and-out glaring, I heard from the other end of the car the unmistakable strumming that all New Yorkers know will inevitably be followed by a “Ladies and Gentlemen. . .” and some sort of inescapable “show” that no one wants or needs at 7:30am. “Are you f’ing kidding me?,” I thought to myself as my irritability levels rose to an unprecedented high and I steeled myself to perpetrate a bonanza of audible sighing and muttering.
But then something crazy happened happened. The busker, a petite man with an unnaturally cheery disposition, broke out into an infectious, rollicking rendition of Rockin’ Robin that was actually pretty great, complete with well-placed tap dancing routines, skillful crowdwork, and a megawatt smile that made it impossible to look away. Suddenly I was smiling too, not to mention tapping my foot with the beat—we all were—and as the guy took us all the way over the Manhattan Bridge, the mood in the car full of hardened NYC subway commuters shifted seismically. People took out their earbuds to listen, the hipsterish dude next to me said incredulously, “This guy is really good,” and even the surly, cursing teens put some loose change into our entertainer’s hat. By the time a group of us got off at Union Square, we were all looking each other in the eye, smiling, and saying things like “have a good day” to total strangers. I had been depressed for days about the looming Trump presidency and his increasingly disturbing picks for top positions in his administration, but that day I basically skipped into work. And I was reminded of something important, which is that no matter how awful it gets, it is never bad enough to extinguish the power of the limitless reserve of talent, beauty, diversity, decency, and common experience that we are blessed to encounter in our lives.
Because this Ideal Week includes Thanksgiving and a long weekend where we assume that lots of you will be out of town or otherwise occupied with family and friends, we are skipping our normal day-by-day roundup of events and activities this time around in favor of a brief list of things for which we are feeling extra thankful this year.
If it didn’t make you feel better, they wouldn’t call it comfort food. It’s hard to not feel grateful for your lot in life if Thursday puts you and people you love at a table laden with warm, nourishing foods like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and pumpkin pie. Still looking for a dish to contribute to the feast? Good thing we talked to six chefs from some of our favorite Brooklyn restaurants, each of whom gave us an awesome new T-day recipe to try, including a few for leftovers. While you’re rummaging around in your kitchen, make sure you set aside anything you haven’t used since your last move for our Great Cook Swap happening on Dec. 13.
And if you wake up on Friday and you’re somehow hungry again, you can thank your lucky stars that you live in one of the best restaurant destinations on the planet, and NO ONE is around this weekend. If there were ever a time to try to walk in to Olmsted, this is it people.
One of the many ways that the year 2016 has been the gift that keeps on sucking is that it has robbed us of so much exceptional talent. We’ve mourned the true greats—David Bowie, Prince, Garry Shandling, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, Patty Duke, Harper Lee, and, most recently, Sharon Jones are just some of the iconic artists, actors, writers, and musicians who left us this year. This week feels like a good time to remember how lucky we were to have them and for the invaluable legacy of their work. After reading our own David Chiu’s review of Miss Sharon Jones!, a documentary about the legendary soulstress, that is available now on iTunes and Amazon Prime, I am setting aside a block to watch it when I’m at my parents’ house this weekend.
For those of us who have been fighting a persistent feeling of dread and despair since the election results ticked in, at least a modicum of relief has come in the form of solidarity and the incredible willingness of people to jump to action when fairness and justice are on the line. As you might have already discovered, most of the volunteering organizations in the area have been totally overwhelmed with people wanting to lend their time and energy to causes that have been threatened by the spector of a Trump administration. While it if frustrating if you are one of the people who has been temporarily turned away, take a minute to think about how awesome it is that so many have been compelled to action, and remember that the need for volunteers will continue in the weeks, months, and years to come. There are also lots of other things you can do to help vulnerable people and make your voice heard as the parade of horrible cabinet appointments marches on. Check out our new weekly #actiontrumpshate feature if you are looking for ways to get involved, or join Councilman Brad Lander’s #GetOrganizedBK initiative, which gets you on the list to receive a newsletter full of helpful info and actionable tasks to help fellow Brooklynites facing discrimination.
You’ve probably heard about the rally held at Adam Yauch Park last weekend after anti-Semitic graffiti was found there, but something that you might have missed is this quote from an impassioned speech made by Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, urging us all to action: “If you’re a musician, write that anthem. If you’re a writer, write. Take what you’re good at, and what you truly enjoy, and lend your services to the causes you care most about, because we can’t and we won’t and we don’t stop.”
Let’s all figure out how we are going to take that sentiment to heart and act on it in our own individual ways this Thanksgiving, and keep it going all year!