Day 258: 419 Words About Starrett City
I was at a place yesterday. I hadn’t been there in a while. It was cool. I enjoyed myself. I decided that instead of writing about a random object, I’d rather write about a place today. But I won’t be writing about that place, because Zook didn’t pick it. Instead, he chose that I write 419 words about Starrett City. Coincidentally, I almost wrote about Starrett City a month ago, but I wrote about Sonic instead. So here’s 419 words about it!
On the rocky shores of Jamaica Bay sits a peninsula unlike any other place in New York City. I realize that sentiment is cliche, but really, a lot of things about New York are. The 140 acres of seaside land is colloquially known as Starrett City. It’s essentially a self-contained community based around a housing project. There are 46 short buildings that house over 13,000 people. They have their own shopping center. Their own schools. Their own power plant [in fact, they were one of the few neighborhoods spared in the great 1977 blackout]. It’s a free-standing community on the outskirts of one of the biggest cities in the world.
They even have their own private security. You see, these geniuses decided to build this new community right smack in between East New York and Canarsie, two of the most infamously dangerous neighborhoods in the city. When the towers opened in 1974, they enlisted their own security force to supplement the NYPD’s 75th precinct. Within 5 years, it had one of the lowest crime rates in the city and has generally stayed that way since then.
So why would you ever go to Starrett City? You have no reason to. That’s the beauty of Starrett City. It’s not easy to get to, there’s nothing attracting non-residents and if you live there, there aren’t many reasons to leave. And honestly, I appreciate that. Just like I appreciate any neighborhood in New York that isn’t accessible by train. Some real people live there, living real lives and they decided to be disconnected in a hyper-connected city. It’s the equivalent of moving out into the woods. Hiding in plain sight but still of the grid.
Zook and I visited Starrett City on a random Wednesday in February of 2013. Here’s a picture of him as he may or may not be peeing.
We were overly fascinated by the place and just had to see it for ourselves. We were also tickled by the fact that we had to traverse the most dangerous neighborhood in Brooklyn to get to the safest. We were young and yes, probably on drugs. Which is probably why I don’t remember much of the trip. I remember physically going there, finding out a girl I dated might get a job at WWE and peeing at an Applebee’s.
Rachel and I also went there last month to return some cable equipment. She was flustered by all of the old people and golf carts. She asked me,
“Are we in Florida?”
“Nope. We’re in Starrett City, baybeeeeee!”