HOBART HUGHES ........home

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New York Scale is an important concept in New York. The self awareness of the size and nature of the city is a key factor in it’s sense of itself. I was staying in Brooklyn and it’s huge I think the fourth largest city in the US or something like that. I was staying with my friend Charlotta who owns two restaurants in Fort Greene, A very mixed race suburb in which leads down to the Brooklyn Bridge. One of her restaurants is in the leafy streets of Fort Greene and the other is on the busy bustling Myrtle Av. The contrast between the two is striking and happens almost immediately you start to walk east of Myrtly. There is a bit of tension regarding the gentrification of the suburb. But this seems as if it’s been happening for a long time. Go east on Clinton Av and you find it is full of the rail baron houses of the 1880s. Brooklyn was the place to live away from the dirt and mess of Manhatten.
Fort Greene is also closely linked with the history of Brooklyn and indeed the birth of the American republic itself. It’s where George Washington got his name as the Fox. He got roundly defeated and lost New York for the rest of the war, but he escaped with most of his force and lived to fight and win another day. All very ironic really as the war was fought over a tax that was imposed because the colony had and wanted to keep it’s own money system. The British wanted them to come join the party and have money owned by others. I say ironic as after all that effort and bloodshed they ended up with the same system and then some worse when the Federal Reserve was privatized. I think George would be very disappointed.

As I was hearing and piecing together the history of Brooklyn I also heard the story of how Charlotta ended up owning these two rather nice restaurants as well one of the buildings. In a nutshell she was left with a huge tax bill after a couple of years of running the restaurant. Her first partner laughing told her I put the restaurant in your name because I had a criminal record. He had not paid any tax the entire time and now it was her problem. Charlotta was just not prepared to let this place that she had lovingly created vanish so she did a deal with the tax department. As it was turning out that she was going to make it work the business partner came back claiming his restaurant back. She got some help from some local heavies who also tried to muscle in on the party but in the end didn’t account for the sheer bloody mindedness of a woman who refused to accept that she could not have what she had worked so hard for. She payed off the back tax over a number of years then attempted to start another restaurant only to have the landlord leave the building to a local drug dealer and her born again Christian son as it was going up for auction. Both were ignoring each the auction and fighting each Charlotta decided that the best option was to try buying the whole building and a week before the auction convinced both parties not to bid but to sell to her. I hope she will write it as a screenplay one day as it is such a perfect immigrant story of the fashion model arriving on the shores of the land of promise and having to create justice where there was half a chance.
Talk about the fox, I do think George would be proud.