I was twelve years old when my mother told my brother and I we were leaving Ridgewood. It was 1984 and we were moving to Starrett City, just beyond East New York. Then as now Starrett is the largest federally-subsidized housing project in the country and stood at the very gutter's-edge of Brooklyn, at the foot of a garbage dump. Clouds of pigeons and gulls flew above more trees, grass, community, and middle-class diversity than we could have fathomed. Our new home—a spot in one of the 46 towers—would overlook a series of footpaths, playgrounds, sandpits, benches and ball fields that softened the complex's otherwise harsh geometry. Barred from the complex were tenants entirely dependent on welfare, and having been such ourselves, we knew what... More >>>