At least once a week – usually more – I get a message from someone along these lines:
- Sheepshead Bay was better/safer/more entertaining when I was a kid, or…
- Sheepshead Bay was better before [insert code word for immigrants/Russians] took over the neighborhood, or…
- Sheepshead Bay is ruined because the businesses/homes/lifestyles have changed.
Folks, I’m tired of hearing it. If you want to express it – leave it in the comments section or on Facebook, but stop sending me private messages. I’m not sympathetic.
I love Sheepshead Bay. If I didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading Sheepshead Bites right now because it wouldn’t exist.
I’m not saying there aren’t things that need improvement. And I’m not saying that things haven’t changed. There are and they have.
But there were always problems in the neighborhood, and there always will be. It always felt like it changed from previous eras, and it always will feel that way. What you’re seeing, in my humble opinion, are the cultural and generational changes that are ever-present.
But if you truly think Sheepshead Bay is a terrible neighborhood, then I encourage you to venture outward. Go and assess. What you’ll find is that our neighborhood is safer, that our school district better, and our atmosphere more enjoyable than most of the borough (not to mention the city at large). Go to Mill Basin and be bored. Go to Williamsburg and be frazzled. Go to East New York and, well, you get the idea.
Sheepshead Bay is a beautiful neighborhood. And it’s a much more perfect balance of city and suburb than can be afforded anywhere else. When you’re done venturing outward, come back and think about the neighborhood from a new standpoint, an open mind, and a sense of adventure.
Do that and you’ll find that while there are real, substantial things to complain about, the rest is trite and ignorant, and I don’t have an ear for it anymore.