Nobody can know Brooklyn, because Brooklyn is the world, and besides it is filled with cemeteries, and who can say he knows those people? But even aside from the cemeteries it is impossible to say that one knows Brooklyn. Three blocks from my present house live two hundred Mohawk Indians. A few blocks from them are a group of Arabs living in tenements in one of which is published an Arabic newspaper. When I lived on Schermerhorn Street I used to sit and watch the Moslems holding services in a tenement back yard outside my window, and they had a real Moorish garden, symmetrically planted with curving lines of white stones laid out in the earth, and they would sit in white robes—twenty or thirty of them, eating at a long table, and served by their women who wore the flowing purple and rose togas of the East. All these people, plus the Germans, Swedes, Jews, Italians, Lebanese, Irish, Hungarians and more, created the legend of Brooklyn’s patriotism, and it has often seemed to me that their having been thrown together in such abrupt proximity is what gave the place such a Balkanized need to proclaim its never-achieved oneness.
[Note: If it can be proven that the following editor’s note isn’t the greatest editor’s note of all time I will gladly eat not just my own hat but any additional hat presented to me.]
ONE DAY not long ago, an arrow sped through an open window of the HOLIDAY editorial rooms, bedded itself in a desk top, and stood there quivering before the startled eyes of the editor. Attached to it was a letter, a letter born of a Brooklynite’s bitter hurt at the story Manhattan Holiday, in the October issue of HOLIDAY, and the snubbing it contained of the writer’s beloved borough. We had of course known all our lives of the feud that existed between Brooklyn and Manhattan, warmest rivals among the five sister boroughs of Greater New York. We know how Manhattanites tend to ignore Brooklyn, and snub it, and how Brooklynites grow sullen and hurt under such cavalier treatment. Knowing this, we have made it a firm part of HOLIDAY editorial policy never to say anything against Brooklyn, just as we never say anything against MOTHER, or FREE ENTERPRISE. We do not believe our article insulted Brooklyn, but perhaps we did somewhat neglect her. In fairness, therefore, we are printing hurt Brooklyn Citizen Goodwin’s letter. Further, we have even made the courageous editorial decision to show actual pictures of Brooklyn.