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It was dark when Peter got off the subway in Brooklyn. The streets were thronged with people bound for movies, restaurants, bars or just strolling pleasurably in the night and eating hot dogs at the Fulton Street stands. With a feeling of orphan loss and mystery, and a kind of odd, enigmatical consolation, Peter hurried towards home. Just because his parents lived in Brooklyn it seemed a more human place than Manhattan. It also struck him sorrowfully that while all his friends where engaged in the morbid demonisms, these people working gravely and living earnestly and enjoying their evenings with quaint and homely gladness. He felt humble and glad.

When he reached his new Brooklyn home, Peter stood in the dark street looking in at his family with inexpressible joyful confusion. His mother was ironing in the kitchen his father was reading the papers, and Mickey was in the front room listening to the National Barnce Dance with its cowbells and cheers and old-time music blaring on the radio.

For a moment Peter simply sat down on the iron railing fronting the sidewalk over their basement windows and looked about him, at the mournful-looking moon over the rooftops, at the corner where the boys stood whistling at the girls, at the lovers who passed arm-in-arm talking in low voices in the soft night. Nearby, with thrilling closeness and magic, among the murmurs of Brooklyn and the misty April night, was the deep sonorous quaver of a big ship in the harbor.
—Jack Kerouac, The Town and The City (1950)

Kenny Wisdom adds: Even in the same book, Kerouac is getting better, if not quite all the way there, yet. John Strausbaugh too has written about downtown Brooklyn including, as the New York Times’ “Weekend Explorer,” a piece on Duffield Street and its mooted history as part of the Underground Railroad. More recently, from a secret location near downtown Brooklyn, Strausbaugh has been posting his own fictions, written in a variety of styles, perhaps with “orphan loss and mystery,” probably not. Feel their “deep sonorous quaver” here and if you dig them, contact the author and persuade him to upload the  flexidisc to “Another Fine Mess.” Flexidisc?!

Jack Kerouac lived in North Carolina, near Rocky Mount. You’ve read all about that, probably. Somewhat less known is Brian Berger’s hilobrow.com piece on artist, designer, educator and even poet Josef Albers of the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College (in North Carolina), Yale and even Enoch Light album covers.

albers-brooklyn-wwib

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