Brooklyn Gothic
  • Figures dressed in black with strange silhouettes where their heads should be may be Hasidim. Or they may not.
  • The eyes of the street art portrait at the corner follow you. Do not meet their gaze. Do not ever meet their gaze.
  • On the rooftop across from your apartment, there’s a man who keeps pigeons. One day the pigeons don’t ascend, but instead flock toward him, a murmuration of black and gray, moving faster and faster. When they disperse, he’s gone. A rust-colored smear remains, indelible, in front of the coop.
  • Tourists who approach the frisbee players in Prospect Park are beyond your help. Save yourself.
  • They lock the gates of Green-wood Cemetery at night, but not to keep anyone from getting in.
  • Open the last door to the beer fridge in the bodega on your block. Push aside the six-pack of Modelo Especial that has one bottle missing. Reach back, and turn the handle that you feel there. Enter quietly. Do not wake it. Feel along the wall of the chamber until you find a hook. On the hook hangs a key. Do not wake it. Take the key and leave your own apartment key. Exit quietly. For god’s sake, do not wake it. The bodega cat watches you from in between bags of tortilla chips. Do not acknowledge her. Return home. Open your apartment door. Everything looks the same, but it doesn’t. Congratulations. Your apartment is now rent-controlled. You may never leave it again. 
  • When people invite you to events in Manhattan, you scoff and tell them you never leave Brooklyn these days. The truth is, though, that what you saw in the tunnels through the window as the train went under the East River haunts you, and you can’t bear the thought of what might happen if you see it again.
  • The sacred geometry of Grand Army Plaza grows ever more powerful with each passing day. Exercise care that you are never caught in the exact center.
  • If you stand on one of the bridges over the Gowanus during a new moon - everyone knows which bridge, though no one can name it when asked - you may watch as the canal coagulates into an unspeakable black shape and claims its monthly sacrificial brownstone. Do not attempt to warn the occupants. They knew this could happen. There is no saving them now.
  • You live on the top floor of a five-floor walk up. The hatch to the roof is in the ceiling just in front of your apartment door. Every time you come home and shut the door behind you, you hear the telltale rasp of the hatch opening and closing again. You look through the peephole, but see nothing.
  • You are walking down Flatbush Ave. You pass a shoe store, a discount clothing store, a dollar store, a shoe store, a discount clothing store, a dollar store, a shoe store, a discount clothing store, a dollar store, a shoe store, a discount clothing store, a dollar store. They are all the same store. You will never leave Flatbush Avenue.
  • There are packs of wild dogs in Bay Ridge. If they corner you, you must kneel and ask the leader for sanctuary. You will only be granted it once.
  • A whispering has pervaded Williamsburg since 2006. It is not spoken of. Defend yourself with expensive over-ear headphones. Do not listen to the whispering.