This picture of sunset reflected in the sky over Coney Island is a tribute to a friend of Brooklyn.
I was shocked to learn this morning of the untimely death of Robert Guskind, a citizen journalist/crusader via his blog Gowanus Lounge (now offline) and as a chief contributer to Curbed.
Bob was a generous mentor to others in the fractious Brooklyn blogosphere, and used his own forum to advocate passionately and tirelessly for Brooklyn: his eponymous Gowanus, of course, but also all of brownstone Brooklyn and most especially, his beloved Coney Island. His blog was a quirky mix of personal passions as well; on any given day, it might feature a rare punk-rock video, a photographer's strange glimpse of urban street life, or the hilariously existential "Street Couch of the Day."
Most of all, though, Bob used his platform fiercely as a Fool-Killer and Weasel-Slayer, the two occupations I have come to respect most in this age of untrammeled greed and comatose consciences. He was merciless to crappy architecture, sleazy deals, and Bloomberg; he raised a flaming sword for all things old-school, unique, oddball, and endangered. His most recent crusade was to keep eagle eyes on the dangerous bloom of neglected construction sites around the borough. He will be deeply missed, as confirmed by today's tributes from fellow bloggers Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn and New York Shitty.
I was not a close friend of Bob's, but rather a friendly acquaintance; he would offer instant and open-hearted support to anything I sent his way, and was a booster of all things good, Brooklyn, and blogospherical. In person, he was pure Brooklyn, gruff, funny and kind. His quixotic fury at the slow, graceless death of Coney Island bespeaks a heart moved by things both broken and beautiful. My condolences to his friends and family at this terrible loss.