Monday, February 05, 2007

MLK Goes to Brooklyn

Here's another dream. This one belongs to Still Wonderin':

With my apologies to Dr King.

I have a dream that someday, the son of a Chassidishe man from Borough Park can get married and buy a house in Flatbush without scandal.

I have a dream that one day this newly married heimishe yungerman will choose to forgo taking on 184 years of debt in order to build a cheesy McMansion on a semi-detached 16' x 100' plot on East 37th and Ave. S in Marine Park, but instead begin his new family without crushing debt and the hanging threat of foreclosure and home abandonment.

I have a dream that one day, his young frum wife will allow her self-worth to be measured by the self-confidence and maturity she demonstrates by insisting she and her husband live below their means, and to resist the goading of nudnik friends and family to buy granite counter tops and antique furniture, and lease an Acura.

I have a dream that some day this man will be judged by the content of his character, not the square footage of the extension he added to an over-mortgaged house.

I have a dream that someday, even the Zoning Boards in Brooklyn will decide that those who build monstrously outsized homes right up to the property line and covering the windows of older homes on each side is a gross violation of the legislated neighborhood zoning and should be prohibited and enforced.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the files of Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian that one day residents of Brooklyn will rise up to live the true meaning of the creed: "We hold these truth to be self-evident that it is right and just to work on the books, to strive to improve one's credit score, and to acknowledge that accepting public assistance while driving a $74,000 BMW is nauseating.

Let financial realism ring from the congested sidewalks of Avenue J.

Let practical spending habits ring from cash registers of Russian-owned 99-cent stores on Kings Highway!

But not only that; let pedestrians walk a few blocks to shop instead of contributing to the traffic nightmare that has become Avenue K and Coney Island Ave.

Let sanity ring from $7 million Syrian-owned houses on Ave. T!

Let revulsion be heard about the never-ending line of pizza shops, shtiebelach, and half-built yeshivas and shuls from McDonald Ave to Nostand Avenue.

And when this happens, when we recognize that the Flatbush Eruv Shabbos siren is terrifying, disruptive and intrusive to non Jewish people who live nearby and a near-certain inroad for Brooklyn's growing Muslim community to one-day argue their constitutional right to construct noisy, creepy prayer alarms along Coney Island Ave and which will disturb people five times a day every day; when all of God's Jewish children in Flatbush, those that hold from the eruv and those who don't, will be able to say 'Good Shabbos' to each other, we may sing words rarely necessary to sing by earlier, more frugal Jewish residents of Brooklyn, "Debt Free at last! Debt Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I can afford tuition and shul membership fees at last!"

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