powerHouse Books, Hardcover, 9781576873984, 157pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
“Brooklyn is the conscience of New York. While Manhattan tears everything down and changes everything, Brooklyn does a similar thing, but fails miserably at it. It is a crazy quilt of a place. A mongrel place of sorts. It mixes old and modern in a haphazard way. It represents a tiny microcosm of the world—functional utopia.”
A complex and quixotic urban animal found ranging across southeast New York City, the Brooklynite has obtained a sort of mythological status, representing the “you tawkin’ to me?” attitude for which the city is world-renowned. For over three years, writer Anthony LaSala and photographer Seth Kushner trekked tirelessly across the borough, documenting these charismatic characters in The Brooklynites, a collection of images, interviews, and essays.
Kushner and LaSala, native Brooklynites themselves, sought out the famous and the nameless, current residents and former inhabitants, providing a profoundly comprehensive portrait of both the metropolis and its denizens. Featuring the likes of Paul Auster, Spike Lee, Steve Buscemi, Rosie Perez, Sufjan Stevens, John Turturro, Casey Spooner, Steve Schirripa, Matisyahu, and Jonathan Lethem—as well as local heroes—The Brooklynites features figures from the widely diverse neighborhoods of the city’s most populous borough: Brooklyn Heights, Bay Ridge, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bensonhurst, Boerum Hill, Brighton Beach, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Coney Island, DUMBO, Dyker Heights, East New York, Flatbush, Flatlands, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Gravesend, Greenpoint, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Midwood, Mill Basin, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Red Hook, Sheepshead Bay, Sunset Park, and Williamsburg.
With a population of 2.5 million people, Brooklyn is one of the most celebrated locales in all the world. Its landmarks (The Brooklyn Bridge, Greenwood Cemetery), renowned neighborhoods (Coney Island, Park Slope), history (The Brooklyn Dodgers) and institutions (Brooklyn Academy of Music, Prospect Park) are recognized in every corner of the globe while its stories and legends have been recounted in hundreds of famous novels (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Motherless Brooklyn, Last Exit to Brooklyn), television shows (The Cosby Show), theater productions (BKLYN the musical) and films (Saturday Night Fever, Crooklyn). The Brooklynites gives readers an all-inclusive tour of the “home to everyone from everywhere”: Brooklyn, New York.
Anthony LaSala, a contributor to many national magazines, served as guest curator as New York's Alice Austen House Museum. He lives in New York.