On being a Brooklyn Jewish Working-Class Kid in the '70s


I have a short essay on my upbringing -- "The Lost World of Jewish Flatbush" -- in Rebecca Solnit's Nonstop Metropolis (Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, co-editor). I'm honored to be in this resplendent collection of maps and essay, the first work to successfully reconceptualize and reorient NYC towards its future within a comprehensive 5-borough approach. My organic understanding of cool as a concept comes from growing up during white flight in '70s Flatbush in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic public schools that were more than three-quarters Black, Latino, and Asian. Cool was then a mode of survival, style, integrity, autonomy, and self-presentation --the opposite of superficial popularity, hip irony, or product placement.