The character of Sunset Park comes from its buildings, its park, but primarily from its people. On my walks through the streets, I hear the soft y’s of Caribbean Spanish from Puerto Rico, the rhythm of Mexican slang, the musical highs and lows of Mandarin and Fujianese, all mixed with that ubiquitous Brooklynese. Yet access remains perhaps the biggest challenge to reporting in Sunset Park.
Language and wariness makes covering an immigrant neighborhood dynamic, and sometimes difficult. People all over shy away from press, but particularly so in neighborhoods where many people would prefer to avoid the spotlight. Yet Sunset Park is a neighborhood rich in material. The best stories talk about change, shed light on tensions, injustice, everyday heroism and great characters. They tug at heartstrings, answer questions (or ask them) and compel. I am perpetually running behind–too much material, and too little time.
Sunset Park has also become my lens. I read articles everyday in which the neighborhood garners nary a mentions, but that relate directly to issues here–real estate, industry, economics, immigration, violence, housing. You name it. I aim over the next few months to post more of these. They are simply food for thought, a chance to expand the conversation, and offer those in the neighborhood more information about issues that, I hope, matter to you. In that spirit, the Chron is always open to suggestions and reactions. What works? What doesn’t? What’s missing? These are questions I ask each person I interview. Now I’m asking you.
P.S. One thing I’ve struggled with of late is comment moderation. Thus far the policy has been comments go up, unedited. Period. Stories on Daniel Vargas have sparked a back and forth that have made me question that policy. At the same time, they have raised questions about that murder that my reporting has not. I will continue to let comments go up un-moderated, unless they stray so far from the post topic, or into language so offensive that it no longer serves the readers, the blog, or the community. I’m hoping that won’t happen. However, if it does, there will be some kind of notice–no comment will be pulled without an explanation to both the author and readers.