The Weekly Nabe’s top five posts of 2013

It’s December 30, so it’s well past time for some reflection on the year that was. First up: a review of the pieces that got the most eyeballs.

My favorite (and possibly best) piece didn’t appear on the blog. Curbed was the lucky publisher of that one, my comparison of NIMBY tactics on Prospect Park West between the 1890s and today. That analysis sparked a lot of discussion and is a fun entry into the Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes saga.

Some of these articles were well received on their own merit; others, because they went viral within certain interest groups. Without further ado, here are my five most popular posts of 2013.

5. The great Brooklyn explosion of 1956

IDC explosion immediate aftermathMy friend Max helped co-found Industry City Distillery. One of his colleagues there told me a story of how a Nazi warship did damage to the building. I hadn’t heard of any such attacks on U.S. soil, so I investigated.

The result was unearthing one of the biggest disasters in New York City history.

4. The Wyckoff House – an ancient treasure

Tulips in front of a Dutch house. How appropriate.

I finally got to meet my friend Harley in person at the Wyckoff House, the oldest residence in New York State. It was a beautiful spring day, and the Dutch tulips were in bloom.

The Wyckoff House staff took kindly to my piece, and promoted it actively on their social channels. I got emails from various Wyckoffs, Wycoffs, Wykoffs, and other mutations about how they couldn’t wait to visit their ancestral home. (All of them descend from the founder of this building.)

3. The MTA’s Key Station Plan for subway accessibility

April 2013 accessible stations New York City subway v5After watching Jason DaSilva’s The Long Wait, and having a chance to speak with the disabled filmmaker, I resolved to show how difficult it is to get around our city by subway. I started with the Vignelli “Weekender” map and took out all of the stations lacking ADA compliance.

I, for one, was shocked by how large swaths of the outer boroughs (see southern Brooklyn) lack this basic service.

2. A brief history of some “bogus” Brooklyn neighborhood names

Greenwood Heights Reformed ChurchAfter a Brooklyn native complained about several “new” neighborhood names, I took to my notes, figuring out which were legit and which were deserving of ridicule. Such a discussion was the main impetus for my “Blurred Lines” series at Curbed. (Pictured here is the Greenwood Heights Reformed Church from the 1800s.)

1. So Boston sank to grief

Boston Marathon finish line.jpgThis was a personal reflection written in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, helping me to make sense of the event. I wrote one other such piece this year, after witnessing the death of Sammy Cohen Eckstein on Prospect Park West in October.

Some have said that such pieces don’t belong here. I disagree. They give a fuller picture of me as a person – much more so than my thoroughly researched, objective articles could ever do.

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