Loving Your City: Osborne’s “Riding In Red Hook”

Michael Patrick King has stated in a myriad of interviews that the fifth main character in Sex And The City is New York City itself.  That show would not be that show if the city were not at its heart.  Sex And The City is about relationships–friendships, romances, and also the human attachment to home.  In Brooklyn Was Mine, Lawrence Osborne touches upon that same kind of connection.  In “Riding In Red Hook,” he avers, “There are moments when a city can suddenly acquire all the kinetic qualities of a human being, a person’s moods and expressions, so that she becomes a character of some kind . . . You find yourself talking to her, asking her questions, pestering her. And living in such a city is a long, monogamous affair, or else a marriage one abandons from time to time. Cities are rarely casual flings” (40).  The local flavor of any particular place becomes part of its inhabitants.  They mesh together and become one. 

Additionally, Osborne quotes a line from Auden: “Hearts that we broke long ago have long been breaking others”(41).  This line has more to do with the personal side of his essay, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to Red Hook and the dilemma that arose as presented in A Hole In A Fence.  The people of Red Hook were let down by their representatives when the IKEA moved in and the yards they held dear were shut down.  However, years have gone by, and Red Hook is still a thriving, artsy part of Brooklyn.  Hearts get broken, true.  But Auden has left out the most crucial part–hearts also mend.

Osborne, Lawrence.  “Riding In Red Hook.” Brooklyn Was Mine. Eds. Chris Knutsen and Valerie Steiker. New York: Riverhead Books, 2008. 33-41. Print.


About Christina M. Rau

Poet, blogger, writer, editor, professor
This entry was posted in Red Hook and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Loving Your City: Osborne’s “Riding In Red Hook”

  1. Pingback: No Place Like It: Mengetsu’s “Home At Last” | Rediscovering Brooklyn: A Local Tour De Force

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