Crushing on Fort Greene

Yes, that’s right… I’m developing a total crush on our neighborhood.  It’s definitely helped that the weather has been beyond lovely. Also, my pregnancy butt pain has gotten a little less intense over the last couple days – enabling me to walk around a bit and enjoy the fresh air and this fine neighborhood.

Of course, I’ve been wanting to document the loveliness so that I can share it here, with all of you.  Normally, I would be walking for miles with my camera and a couple lenses and I would do it up right.  Unfortunately, with the extra pregnancy poundage and the sore butt/back – that’s been a little tough and the thought of schlepping around my camera bag has not been too appealing.  Luckily (glass half full), I dropped my Droid cell phone in the toilet a few weeks ago, forgetting it was in my back pocket (pregnancy brain), which was the perfect excuse for me to go out and get myself a long-awaited iPhone.  And I must say – the iPhone camera is far superior to my old Droid camera.

Thus begins photography fun with my iPhone…  lightweight, fits in my pocket… and the photos are not too shabby.

First – there is South Portland Street.  This is one of the most beautiful blocks I’ve seen – in Brooklyn, in Manhattan – pretty much anywhere.  It is lined with trees and gorgeous old brownstones.  It’s a special street.

When you stop and pay attention to the details, you notice the little things – like the railings and balusters decorating the front stoops and entryways to these beautiful brownstones.  Just on this one block alone, I spotted more than ten different styles.  Here are a few:

Then, within a manner of blocks, you experience this amazing variety of architecture:

A modern, renovated Brownstone:

Next to a beautiful renovated church (at least it looks like a church – I’m not sure):

Then down the street – buildings like these… which to me, make me feel like I’m not even in New York anymore:

And this is all within about six blocks of my apartment.  I can’t wait until the spring, when my pain (and extra weight) is hopefully completely gone, my little man is born and fits snuggly in his stroller and I can strap on my proper camera and go out on walking photography adventures to see and document everything this fascinating neighborhood has to offer.

Oh – and for those of you who are interested in learning more about Fort Greene and the surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods, there has been a documentary airing on Showtime recently called Brooklyn Boheme (future airings listed here).  The film, made by Diane Paragus and Nelson George, chronicles the black arts movement that exploded in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill during the 1980’s and 90’s.  Filmmakers (Spike Lee), Musicians (Wynton and Branford Marsalis), Comedians (Chris Rock), Poets/Hip Hop Artists, Writers, Actors, Photographers… they were all part of a cultural renaissance and it all happened right here in this neighborhood.  Here is the trailer for Brooklyn Boheme:

To make matters more interesting, the apartment we now live in, housed Spike Lee’s production company 40 Acres and a Mule for over twenty years.  So a lot of this meeting and creating and magic happened right here… now that’s inspiring.  Here is an old photo (clipped from the doc) taken on what is now our staircase – featuring Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Chris Rock and many other creative players from that time:

Photo from "Brooklyn Boheme"


Anyway – that’s all for today!  Looking forward to watching the game later and being the sole person in New York rooting for the Patriots!  GO PATS!

Happy Superbowl Sunday.



6 thoughts on “Crushing on Fort Greene

  1. Hi Nell,

    Loved all the wonderful photos and information!

    The ‘group’ shot in your apartment on the stairs is just too much:))

    As always your blogs are great great great!!


  2. (Small correction, in a whisper, so as not to seem rude after such a lovely article about my neighborhood:)
    South Portland Avenue (not Street).

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