« Ghosts of turkeys past | Main | Gopher wood: So far, so good »

Flatbush fantasy

A Sunday afternoon of Indian summer in "Victorian Flatbush" starts out looking like a dreamscape of autumnal Main Street, USA.




But on this Brooklyn afternoon, all the colors seemed a little deeper...at the Cortelyou Road farmers' market...










...and along the leafy streets with names like Argyle, Rugby, and Marlborough.




Inside, the second Flatbush Artists Studio Tour unleashed more color, and colorful neighbors. Our houses are like the TARDIS of Dr. Who--bigger on the inside than on the outside--and this weekend, some of the most magical were opened to the public. For those who expect to find artists in dreary garrets or grim industrial lofts, the cognitive dissonance is delightful.

Visitors took in the kaleidoscope of Karen Friedland's lush canvases, and fingered dazzling little beaded necklaces and earrings. (If you missed the FAST event, Karen will be hosting a holiday art and jewelry sale on December 12 from noon to five.)


Very young, very talented Simone VerEecke is currently creating vibrant, exciting abstracts (click on her name to see more), but I was drawn to her huge high-school self-portrait.





As a family friend, I was also allowed an audience with the artist's mother's Russian tortoise, who displays a more moderate temperament. You look at that face and think, "the dude abides"...from the Jurassic era or so.



Down the street, in another rambling house/atelier, five artists live and work. One, Arturo Garcia, lavishes the golden light and shadow of the Old Masters on hams, pomegranites, and even some Italian cookies from the local bakery. Another, Marcelo Pittari, channels Rembrandt in soulful portraits, including one of himself here.

As we kicked along homeward through drifts of leaves, the very teenaged Daughter complained that I was "doing my spiel again about our marvelous neighborhood, blah blah blah." Guilty as charged.

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 12:30PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments5 Comments

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (5)

You got both the inside & outside of my house. Bravo!
November 10, 2009 at 12:17AM | Unregistered CommenterKaren
This is so disturbing. Where is the diversity? You people come into my neighborhood with your kids and just take over. What about the minorities that were here before you? I don't see you trying to photograph and promote them.
November 16, 2009 at 02:14AM | Unregistered CommenterEloise
Dear Eloise,
Presuming that you belong to a minority group, I would remind you that the words "you people," when used by whites to people of color, are invariably interpreted as coded racist provocation, with good reason. The hurt goes both ways, and since this is primarily a "house and home" blog, I ask my commenters to use the same courteous and charitable speech I would expect in my home, or yours.
One theory behind your comment is that you are simply trying to be a 'troll,' since it's hard to argue that a greenmarket or a robustly multiracial artists' studio tour constitutes some sort of white takeover. (If you have ever attended either event, you would realize that this contention is pretty inconsistent with reality.) You might wish to check the Flatbush Artists Studio Tour website artists' bios to confirm this; better yet, come on the tour next year, you will be most welcome by the multiracial and multiethnic participants. And as for this neighborhood, CrazyStable has covered the diversity story here (our lived experience of it, that is) with more sharply observed nuance than just about any other reporting entity on the web. For two representative posts, go to my search box on the right ("Search the Stable") and type in the following terms: "ratbag Park Slope realtor" and "multicultural musings". You may, in fact, get more than you bargained for. Your further comments are welcome, provided they are civil, neighborly, and charitable, because those are the rules around here.
November 16, 2009 at 07:38AM | Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn
I have followed both of your blogs for a while, and I just saw your response to "Der Schwarze Koelner" - and I wanted to let you know that there is a very delicious and authentic German restaurant in Bay Ridge called Schnitzel Haus. Its chef is from near Koeln, and the portions and decidedly German. No need to publish this - I just didn't know how to contact you!
November 19, 2009 at 04:14PM | Unregistered CommenterKristin
Eloise...I bought my home from a white family who had been there 30 years. My white neighbors have been there 30 years. My other neighbors bought their home from an elderly white woman who had been there 40 years. All of our youngish friends in the area bought their homes from old white folks! Yes, some people of color own homes on this block too, but they came in the mid-80's. Face it, most of the single family homes in the neighborhood have been lived in by white families since they were built. And that was pretty much what the tour was about -- the free standing homes in the area, not apartment buildings. And by the way, my grandmother lived in this neighborhood and my mother was born here and lived in one of the apartment buildings as a kid, so who is the newcomer? I love it when people complain about "gentrification" when a neighborhood was already gentrified before they moved in, went downhill a little bit for a while, and then sprung up. In fact, I work with a woman of color from East Flatbush who told me when she was a kid in the 70's she couldn't even go to this neighborhood back then, "no blacks allowed." Obviously that changed, as well it should. But now, if people of color with money want to buy a house here, there's nothing stopping them and sometimes they do.
November 20, 2009 at 11:02AM | Unregistered CommenterWM

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.