I read the Brooklyn Borough President suggested people “move back to Ohio.” Which made me laugh. As if they’re the problem. No laughing matter the gentrification. He also said “New York City belongs to the people that were here and made New York City what it is.” Well, guess what, many of those people are long dead. My great-grandfather was from Brooklyn, contributed to making it what it is. Does that give me any rights to the place? I say, people from Ohio will be among the people who make New York what it is in the coming decades.
I moved to New York from Ohio, to Manhattan, not Brooklyn. I can’t tell you how many people I met, on finding out I was from Ohio, said “why is it everyone I meet from out of state is from Ohio?” I’d tell them it was a great place to grow up but I’d had enough of it. I wasn’t born in Ohio. I guess a politician in Ohio could say go back to where you were born. That would send me to Washington D.C. We moved away when I was 2. I don’t know anyone there.
What was so great about Ohio? There was freedom in safety in my Ohio neighborhood. Unlocked house doors, kids playing in the neighborhood without adults monitoring their every move. Walking to school and everywhere else. No guns showing up where they shouldn’t be. There was one degree of separation between the residents. Maybe typical of a community with a population of 10,000.
What was lacking? Diversity of race, religion, you name it. The cultural resources of a big city. My experience was unique to my geography. Some Ohioans lived in large cities, some experienced diversity.
Leaving, I had an option of Chicago, which is a great city that I have much affection for, and New York. I decided on the bigger city, the one that was further from home. I had the safety of graduate school and living in student housing once I arrived, I got to know the city at my own pace.
My niece moved to Brooklyn in September. Works in Brooklyn. She’s from Fort Walton Beach and I’m sure unaffected by the Borough President’s tirade, comfortable that Florida didn’t get singled out in his speech. He wouldn’t go there. What if Florida kicked out all the people who moved there from New York and the former Brooklynites returned from whence they came?