There are many reasons I left Georgia for New York almost two years ago, but for the most part I have nostalgia and still feel strong ties to the medium-sized Southern city that was my home for 13 years. I still occasionally read the online version of the Athens Banner-Herald (kindly provided in daily digest form by a friend) to keep up with the big, small, and silly issues that affect the community. The guest columns fall into the silly zone (silly as in stupid, not humorous), but I still can’t stop reading them. Mr. Loran Smith is one of those; every week, he devotes a few hundred words to extolling the virtues of porch-sittin’ or biscuit-eatin’, but I’ve never gotten the impression that he was ignorant or unsophisticated. Just corny, kind of like your grandfather might be when reminiscing about the Good Old Days and the Simpler Things in Life. This week, Loran went out of his comfort zone and decided to take on the big, bad, evil war zone of urban blight that is Brooklyn. For those of you (cough *dad*) who find it too tedious to click through and read the column, here’s the money quote:

Now [Brooklyn] is a locale where murder has taken place in broad open daylight. Triple dead-bolt locks on doors have become standard. Gangs and drugs; broken-down buildings and emotionally nauseating debris. Few cities know more blights than Brooklyn.

Right–it’s a place where marauding thugs will shoot you in broad daylight and the few good, honest folk who haven’t fled to the suburbs scurry home to barricade themselves behind barred windows and a complicated system of chains and deadbolts. “Back then” it was a charming place where Dodgers played and apple-cheeked children ate ice cream. Mr. Smith managed to get this impression over dinner in upscale Brooklyn Heights. I guess I could waste a lot of space pointing out Brooklyn’s virtues, but then it might encourage more visits. Maybe next year he’ll tour the Bronx.

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