BILL LEE AND THE NEW BROOKLYN

Musician and composer, Bill Lee, with wife Susan Lee, in front of their brownstone in Fort Greene Brooklyn

There’s no doubt Brooklyn, or more specifically Fort Greene, is changing.

For example, there was a church off DeKalb Avenue that used to hold services with its doors open so you can hear swinging Gospel tunes – and God’s word, of course. No one ever complained about the sounds until years later where the church was nearly demonized for being noisy. Sometime after muting its emissions, the church was converted to a condominium.

Now I read in the New York Times today that the revered Bill Lee – pictured with his wife, Susan – after composing and playing music in his Fort Greene brownstone for more than 40 years without complaints from his neighbors, has been the subject of 17 noise reports to the police so far this year?

Some observations:

  • Fort Greene became a hip neighborhood oozing with cultural flavor not because of its new neighbors, but because of the natives.
  • My previous point reminds me of how many times we’ve seen this story play out: the TriBeCazation of Fort Greene is in full effect.
  • Anyone who says they no longer like Jazz after hearing it late at night not only sucks, but also has never been a Jazz lover.
  • The next time Barbara Corcoran asks where you live, shut up and keep walking. Change your route home while you’re at it.

Play on, Brother Lee…

song currently stuck in my head: “love me or leave me” – nina simone

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