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The Scorpion Departs &

barely returns. Why? Well, in this case, the Scorpion isn’t a submarine (look it up), but rather one of the Five Deadly Venoms, on long-term assignment to assess the state of Spanish Brooklyn in all its roiling, sprawling complexity, from Columbia St to City Line and all points in between. Why? Because Spanish Brooklyn still exists, despite what you won’t read about in the virtual monoculture of “neighborhood blogs.” Indeed, perhaps the best Brooklyn hip-hop album of the year is by a Puerto Rican– Joell Ortiz– who’s from Williamsburg, no less. He didn’t grow up in a condo but that’s just one of an uncountable number of cuentos. Scorpion reports another: “so i’m walking down 5th Ave in Sunset Park the other day; 90+ degrees, 200% humidity but folks are out, women are selling ices & fruit, hydrants are open for the kids, etc. folks would be out later too– notice how in ‘hoods w/$$$ to keep the a/c running all day/night, few people sit on the sidewalk anymore? here it’s con todo: 5th Ave is mostly Mexican but not entirely so– Puerto Ricans & Dominicansevil eye remain, Central Americans arrive, blink and there’s another… record store. record stores? si. even more eye-catching, however was the old-time botanica. tho’ happily godless like everyone at WWIB, we all love botanicas. well, this one had mammy in the window. mami too, & when she saw my camera, the look she gave me wasn’t quite… beatific.”

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