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Michael Codella p7

Michael Codella talks about a change in direction in his reading, and changes to Brooklyn over the years…


READERSVOICE.COM: Can you recommend any other books you’ve liked?

MICHAEL CODELLA: As far as what I’m reading these days, I’m currently reading a book called Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda, and I recently read The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East by Spalding. Prior to that I read Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I guess you can say my taste in books and in life has mellowed some.

RV: I was watching a Youtube video of a guy walking down Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie. It had a lot of old buildings and nice little houses along the road. But has Canarsie changed a lot since you were there as a kid, and Brooklyn, too?

MC: Brooklyn has changed so much over the last 20 years or so it’s incredible. My old neighbourhood, for example, changed from a mostly middle class neighborhood of Italians, Irish and Jews, to a mostly African American population.  The people and families I grew up with all moved out to Long Island, Staten Island, or New Jersey.  There are very, very few original Canarsie people in that neighborhood anymore.  Canarsie now has one of the highest crime rates in Brooklyn, and probably throughout New York City. 

Brooklyn has changed in other areas as well. Parts of Brooklyn that were considered ghettos years ago have had a resurgence, and many younger individuals from other states have come to New York and bought houses and rented apartments, changing neighborhoods completely.  Williamsburg, Bedford Stuyvesant, parts of East New York. It’s actually amazing.

Alphabet City, although in Manhattan, has undergone a complete makeover. When I worked there it was a drug infested ghetto.  Now, I believe in great part to the work my partners and I did, it’s a nice place to live. Million dollar Condos and apartments. Avenue D is a safe street to walk down: hip restaurants and bars on every block.

Like I say in the book, it resembles more a college town then the hood I chased drug dealers in. It’s even got a cool new name. It’s rarely called Alphabet City; now the new and improved moniker is The East Village.

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