On Saturday afternoon, I found myself in Williamsburg, which is a rarity these days; most of the time, I leave that city within a borough feeling vaguely like I'm a day late and a dollar short on the latest fashions.
I know it's no secret that W'burg is being built out like there's no tomorrow, but it didn't hit home just how insane the boom was until I actually wandered around. I lived up there back in 1999 -- on N. 3rd between Berry and Wythe -- in one of those absolutely lovely old factories that'd been converted into (illegal) lofts. We had jaw-dropping views of Manhattan; from the roof of the building it almost seemed as if you were looking at a postcard.
Said building is, needless to say, gone, and there's a concrete monstrosity going up in its place. I lost count of the just opened (or about to be opened) developments. I was always horrible at guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, but it easily looked to me as if the neighborhood's population could double in the next couple of years. As I was heading home, Mrs. PPLG and I thought about the hellishness that is the L. Seven long years ago, I'd often have to wait for a whole bunch of trains during my morning commute. Admittedly I'm a bit of a sweater, but I wasn't the only one who found the long wait in those underventilated tunnels to be some modern form of torture. I can't even imagine what a commute on the L is like now. And I really can't imagine what it's going to be like in the years to come.
Apparently, the city can read my thoughts: earlier this week, there was an announcement concerning improvements to the L that should ease the strain on the system. That's the good news...the bad news is that said improvements won't go into effect for another three years. And that's if everything happens on time.
Now, I am, obviously, a PLG cheerleader...but all of this highlights yet another benefit of our fair neighborhood. Way back in the mid-1990s, I lived on the F-train, and it sucked back then. As anyone living in Carroll Gardens, or Cobble Hill, or Park Slope (at least from, let's say, 6th St and points south), South Slope, Windsor Terrace, or Sunset Park can tell you, things haven't improved any. The B/Q line has two very distinct advantages: they're express, they're more frequent, they're marginally less crowded, and unlike the orphaned F and L lines, the B/Q connects with virtually every other line in the city at Atlantic Ave.
To me, those are big-time quality of life issues. So is having more space for less money. So is being close to the park. And so is not feeling like I flunked the too-cool-for-school test by not continuing to wear my multiple earrings now that I'm on the wrong side of thirty...