Friday, January 27, 2006

A View From the Ridge: Back in the Old Neighborhood with Postmodern Prole Gilbert Sorrentino


If you get on the downtown Fourth Avenue Local (that's the R train to Brooklyn newcomers) in midtown, you'll cross under the East River, turn in roughly the opposite direction from hipster-infested Williamsburg, skirt the edge of writer-heavy Park Slope, and eventually arrive at the Eighty-sixth Street station, in the heart of the guaranteed literary-mystique-free white ethnic enclave of Bay Ridge. Which I did one sultry August afternoon in return-of-the-native fashion, walking past the location of the now extinct record store where I bought my first 45s ("He's a Rebel" and "Monster Mash"), the still flourishing Leemark Lanes, where I bowled unironically and unalone, and the car lots and body shops for which the neighborhood is justly famed, to arrive at the not quite accurately named Bridgeview Diner, an establishment featuring several acres of faux marble and silvered mirrors, to share coffee and conversation with another native son, the novelist Gilbert Sorrentino.

Gerald Howard
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