Frankly, it made my day.
It was about 9:30 AM and I was walking North on Atlantic between 4th and 5th Aves, heading to the subway. It's usually a pretty empty stretch despite it being something of a shortcut to the station. Mostly residences and brownstones on the left and after a little public garden on the right, just the brick wall and emergency exits of the building that fronts onto Flatbush.
I saw just his shoulder at first, approaching at such an angle that only a teeny bit of his body was revealed at a time. Of course, I immediately knew what he was doing, but had to wait for auditory confirmation just to let myself be sure.
Standing in one of the doorways, sheilding his genitals from the wind, a homeless, or perhaps just lost middle-aged man was urnating in a doorway, quite near the busy intersection of 4th ave and Atlantic.
Sure enough, as I approached the tinny staticy spatter of piss on pavement announced itself to my ear and an arc of glittery prisms caught my attention from the corner of my eye.
Indeed, even I have stoppped in one or two of these doorways late at night, but only in cases of the most extreme dire emergency. But there he was at 9:30 in the morning. He just had to go.
3 years ago when I first moved to Brooklyn I would have probably looked away in horror, scandalized and crossed to the other side of the road, thinking to myself what a dirty and lawless town Brooklyn still is. How little I truly knew.
Now, in the shadows of towering highrise condos and amid the boutique pet clothing stores and Latin Vegan Bistros, I look at his actions as a welcome reminder of the Brooklyn of old; The Wild Wild West of the East. He is a vigilante and a hold out from the times of old, when there were no hipsters to beat away from the Salvation Army stores and no upper-middle-class yuppies to terrify with public masturbation. He could do as he pleased back then and to hell with the rest of them.
Whether consciously or not, this man is using the only weapon he has at his disposal to reprise the increasingly tight borders of what was once his home. Like the Native American's last Ghost Dance on the shrinking reservation, he uses his contemptuous stream of urine to try to put out he fire of gentrication and eminent domain. The last vestage of a fading Brooklyn I used to call my scary home.