Song of Brooklyn
An Oral History of America's Favorite Borough
By Marc Eliot
(Broadway, Hardcover, 9780767920148, 320pp.)
Publication Date: June 10, 2008
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The voices of Brooklyn:
“I’m a Brooklyn guy, it’s in my bones and it’s there in Brooklyn. There’s a certain rhythm you get growing up there. Every Brooklyn kid has it. Always on the right beat. The Bronx, no; Queens, you were out of it; but Brooklyn, that was it.”
—Mel Brooks, Williamsburg
“Everyone got along because we had one major thing that held everyone in Brooklyn…together: the emergence of big-time sports that happened after World War I. You could be an Irishman, an Italian, and a Jew and you could all be in Ebbets Field, sitting together, rooting for the Dodgers.” —Pete Hamill, Park Slope
“I never really saw anyplace in the world as a kid except Brooklyn, so to me Brooklyn was the world. Every avenue was another country. It was a rough place, to be sure. You could say the wrong thing, make the wrong turn and be rubbed or killed, and I guess I was lucky because I had a talent that enabled me to get out . . . A part of me will always be that kid shooting hoops, with a dream in my hand as much as a basketball.”
—Stephon Marbury, Coney Island
“Both my parents were hard, hands-on workers, and that was the foundation of everything for me. Their work ethic was just over the top, and as a result of that I worked hard no matter what level job I had in the media. I was that tough Brooklyn girl pushing my way to the front, which eventually became the top. I was never afraid of hard work; I was always a go-getter, and that was something that came directly out of being born in Brooklyn. I cherish that, as I cherish my entire upbringing in Brooklyn.”
—Maria Bartiromo, Bay Ridge
A captivating oral portrait of America's favorite borough, in the words of those who know Brooklyn best—Mel Brooks, Spike Lee, Arthur Miller, Joan Rivers, Norman Mailer, Cousin Brucie, Maria Bartiromo, Pete Hamill, and many other current and former inhabitants.
Song of Brooklyn gathers the oral testimony of nearly one hundred Brooklynites past and present, famous and unknown, about a mythic borough that is also an indisputably real place. These witnesses speak eloquently of what it was like back then, when the Dodgers played in Ebbets Field; later, when the borough fell on hard times; and now, when it has come roaring back on the tracks of a real-estate boom, giving it celebrity chic and hipster cred. With this surprising and inspiring renaissance in full swing, the story of Brooklyn is one of the great and still ongoing chapters of the American urban experience, and Song of Brooklyn sings that tune in pitch-perfect key.
MARC ELIOT is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biography Cary Grant; the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince; Down 42nd Street; and Death of a Rebel. He has written for numerous publications, including L.A. Weekly and California magazine. He divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Los Angeles, California.