Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Rebranding in the hood

One of my strongest first impressions of Brooklyn came from walking down Atlantic Avenue from Henry down to Flatbush Avenue. The many Islamic-themed shops at the eastern end of the walk seemed like part of a completely different, parallel culture. Well, apparently not, at least according to this article in The New York Times:

Mr. Nabawy, an Egyptian immigrant, is the owner of the Fertile Crescent grocery, a teeming banquet of a store that sells Islamic books, halal meats, dresses, as well as shea butter skin treatment by the cake. He opened the shop 24 years ago, when drug dealers prowled the avenue, but business thrived until the 9/11 attacks caused some New Yorkers to become wary of Muslims. The shops flank the Masjid Al-Farooq, the mosque used by the Egyptian sheik convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Now that business has revived, Mr. Nabawy is not worried that he is an ideal candidate for a souvenir shop. He has a 12-year lease and, in resilient Atlantic Avenue fashion, he may also transform his store.

"I'll make it a more American look," he said.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Radio nostalgia redux

So sorry to hear that Alastair Cooke has died. Letter from America was one of my favorite programs back in my pre-London days, listening to the World Service from various places.

Meanwhile, while I'm still cross about NPR's classless move with regard to Bob Edwards, I was disappointed in this morning's lame story about the terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan. The pundit o' the day eagerly volunteered at the start of the interview that the violence could be a reaction to the US presence in Iraq. Sure - it could be. But as PotD failed to emphasize, homegrown Islamist violence has been going on in Uzbekistan since 1997 at least.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Wake up calls, now and then

I've been pretty cranky for the past few days about NPR's lack of class in dealing with its morning flagship news program. But little did I suspect, back in the old days, that the bellowing on Radio 4's "Today" would lead to this.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Ripped from the headlines - 4/5 train edition

"Plague of note-passing bank robbers hampers efforts to fight terrorism." Ah, the downsides of improved literacy. If only they would use guns, like the good old days.