I’ve always been fascinated by The Brooklyn Rail. It’s got a local vibe but it also celebrates a broad political, literary and artistic landscape that encompasses Brooklyn and the great beyond.
It’s smarter than smart and sometime a little intimidating in its erudite concerns. In other words, it’s challenging and compelling, which is a good thing. Even Paul Auster reads it. He writes,
“The Rail is the best publication of its kind in New York—and it keeps getting better. The Rail covers the waterfront in a highly responsible and original way, mixing controversial political journalism with poetry, the arts, and nearly everything else of importance in this complex, ever-changing city. Long may it flourish.”
This months issue is chock full of the local and the far reaching. There’s a teriffic essay by Dave Mandl called I was a Brooklyn Townie. In it he writes:
I’m from Brooklyn. I mean, I’m really from Brooklyn. I was actually born here—and 50 years ago at that; both of my parents were born here; I attended school in Brooklyn all the way through college, except for a brief stint in graduate school (Manhattan). I’ve lived in Brooklyn my entire life, except for a year and a half or so working in Europe when I was already around 40.”
I think my favorite part of the Brooklyn Rail are the interviews or conversations in the Books section. This month’s issue includes an conversation with my friend, Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright, author of the forthcoming As It Is On Earth, and journalist Scott Cheshire. About Peter he writes:
He is tall, affable, and the sort of guy who wears his intellect well, like an old denim shirt, comfortably, with a cool and unassuming style. We talked over coffee at the Housing Works Bookstore Café about his love of philosophy, Walker Percy, Deep Time, the power of stories, and how designing a building is not so unlike writing a novel.