Somebody has to figure out Brooklyn’s neighborhood boundaries, and that someone can’t be Google.
That was one of the many takeaways from the latest episode of Brooklyn Paper Radio, on which Boerum Hill legend and real-estate whiz Bill Harris — who, seeing the future, ingeniously bought his first Boerum Hill brownstone for less than $10,000 back in the day — agreed with hosts Vince DiMiceli and Anthony Rotunno that local newspapers are better qualified to decide where Cobble Hill begins and Carroll Gardens ends than a bunch of egg heads in Mountain View, Calif.
“You are the arbiters,” Harris said after playing a game of “Neighborhood or Nonsense” — made up on the spot and, on the show, called “Neighborhood or Ridiculousness” or something stupid like that. “I Googled ‘Boerum Hill,’ and it came back saying there is no hill here. That’s ridiculous. The whole neighborhood is built on one.”
For his part, DiMiceli said he has been fighting the good fight, forcing fellow editors and former bosses to include “Gowanus” while demanding reporters never use such made-up monikers like “Bococa” — a horrible acronym created by real-estate agents who probably never spent a day in Bath Beach.
The concept of the show came about earlier this month, amid the ongoing debate over the exact location of the polarizing megadevelopment 80 Flatbush — which developers claim will rise Downtown, but locals argue sits within Boerum Hill — and after proud Park Sloper and mayor Bill DeBlasio claimed a new drug center was opening in gentrifying Gowanus, when it was actually coming to the upscale Hill, leaving some to speculate he did it on purpose to fake out the electorate.
“It did seem odd he would make that mistake knowing how much Brooklynites love to point out where they’re from — and tell you where you’re from,” DiMiceli said. “And where you can go.”
Of course, with Harris on the show it was only a matter of time before the hosts and guest bonded over a number of issues, including:
• DiMiceli’s and Harris’ love of the old, granite New York Times building hidden in plain sight on Third Avenue in Boerum Hill.
• The fact that movie stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz have purchased a home in Carroll Gardens, and not Cobble Hill.
• Harris’ anecdote about his time as a radio host while in college in 1957 — a gig that sadly did not lead to a job spinning rock ’n‘ roll records on WINS.
• Rotunno bashing either Canadians or Americans (you have to listen really closely to find that one).
And you can hear it all right now, right here, on Brook
Brooklyn Paper Radio is recorded and podcast live on Tuesday afternoons — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on Brook