Southern Brooklyn

NY Times Writer Grouses About Belt Parkway

Photo by nolastname.

A writer for the New York Times’ reader contributed blog Metropolitan Diaries submitted a post that I think many of us can empathize with: “Dear Belt Parkway, A Brooklyn Tale of Woe.”

The piece dances around the daily frustrations of the Belt Parkway, personifying the Department of Transportation as a contemptible Puck figure taunting us along our Midsummer Traffic Nightmare.

Nancy Katt writes:

I despise you, Belt Parkway. You are just miles and miles of miserable tie-ups, never-ending construction, and gut-wrenching “signs” (both literal and figurative), that are, to put it mildly, less than truthful.

For instance, why do you welcome me to Brooklyn, Belt Parkway, with a “How Sweet It Is!”, when you really mean “What you lookin’ at?”

Ugh, those signs. And the construction, of course, isn’t spared the writer’s barbs:

Why, Belt Parkway, do you proclaim “Men at Work: Fixing Bridge Pylons,” when you actually mean, “Men fixing to work, watching bridge pile-ons”?

I’m a little confused by her dig at our neighborhood’s name. She should definitely come and try some of the lamb from some of our Turkish and Uzbeki restaurants. But, I couldn’t agree more with her assessment of the Belt Parkway’s terminus:

Why, when I pass Knapp Street, am I suddenly sleepy? And, why, when I pass Sheepshead Bay, am I imagining an inlet of lamb stew?

And, nearing the end, why do you finally, across the Verrazano Bridge, lead to Victory Boulevard, when, in fact, all I feel is a crushing sense of defeat?

What do you think of the Belt Parkway? Is Katt too nasty, too nice, or right on the mark?

Comment policy


  1. grouse1    [grous]  Show IPA
    noun, plural grouse, grous·es.
    1.any of numerous gallinaceous birds of the subfamily Tetraoninae. Compare black grouse, capercaillie, ruffed grouse, spruce grouse.
    2.British . the red grouse.

    Ned you are a jerkoff.

  2. fucking belt parkway…….. i hate you too…. i dunno how people with claustrophobia drive there….


    i found this to somehow apply to your comment Ned.  🙂

  4. The point is, who uses “grouse” as noun or a verb? Who knew that word in a first place?
    This is not Slope stop being booji.

  5. If you don’t like the Belt Parkway, just think how much extra time it takes to avoid it like by using Flatlands Avenue. It is at least 20 minutes extra. So if you are moving at any speed over 20 mph on the Belt, it pays to stay on and grin and bear it. I woud hate to think where we would be without the Belt. When it moves well, it is great. That rarely happens in the summertime which is why DOT was just foolish not to widen it to 4 lanes on the bridges it is rebuilding.

  6. I think adding 4 lanes at a point on the belt would make things work.  Merging isn’t a strong point for people who drive on the belt.  Look at the area where the southern state and the cross island meet the belt and its 4 lanes for a few miles.  then dead stop to merge.  Same thing in SI where the SI Expway and 440 meet.  Madness

  7. From wiki “The Belt Parkway was proposed by builder and highway advocate Robert Moses in 1930 to provide modern highway access to Manhattan and to connect to, and use similar design principles to, parkways already constructed on Long Island and Westchester County, New York. Construction began in 1934. The full loop was completed when the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (also known as the “BQE”) was finished in 1960″

  8. I’m talking about four lanes where there are no service roads. Prior to Knapp there is a service road so you can get off and not have to merge if you don’t. Also after Cross Bay Blvd, you can go into the Nassau Expressway or Conduit Blvd. Again, no merges.

  9. Now I have to object to the vulgar language 🙂

     I would never argue language with a dude whose job it is to write. That’s why I stick to dese, dems, and dose.  I have such bad language skills that nobody objects or corrects because they wouldn’t know where to begin.

  10. When I drove, at first, I drove only locally, so I thought all highways were pretty much like the Belt Parkway.

      Then I went to California and rented a car. Then I got on that Highway 5, I think it’s called (it was a long time ago).  Shoot, one lane on that sucker was equal in width to all three lanes of the Belt Parkway. What a difference in stress driving on a highway like that.  People were doing like 80mph. I know it because I was up to 70 and getting beeped all over the place. But the lanes were so wide that the speeding didn’t even feel anywhere near as dangerous as the Belt. Man, on the Belt, if your turn your wheel like one degree, you’re into the next lane.

  11. We should be honored that AC/DC wrote a song for us called “Highway to Hell”. That is the Belt Parkway’s theme song. Wonder how many other messed up roads can hold the same honor?

  12. Thanks to all that construction and wobbly temporary lane lines the belt is now slow even late at night when there is no traffic. Cars slow to a crawl and I’ll swear those new lanes are narrower.

  13. (writing from the Pentagon)

    I grew up in Brooklyn, moved away in 1974, but never really left.  I’m 60 years old.  When I die they will bury me under the Belt Parkway.  Near the intersection with Flatbush Avenue.

  14. I agree about the 4 lanes. The whole point of the construction was that the overload because the population and amount of drivers have quadrupled since it was built. They have the room and the work going on, why not provide an extra lane…all of this to replace the overpasses. 


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