Song of Brooklyn: An Oral History of America's Favorite Borough [NOOK Book]


The voices of Brooklyn:

“I’m a Brooklyn guy, it’s in my bones and it’s there in Brooklyn. There’s a certain rhythm you get growing up there. Every Brooklyn kid has it. Always on the right beat. The Bronx, no; Queens, you were out of it; but Brooklyn, that was it.”
Mel Brooks, Williamsburg

“Everyone got along because we had one major thing...
See more details below
Song of Brooklyn: An Oral History of America's Favorite Borough

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99 price


The voices of Brooklyn:

“I’m a Brooklyn guy, it’s in my bones and it’s there in Brooklyn. There’s a certain rhythm you get growing up there. Every Brooklyn kid has it. Always on the right beat. The Bronx, no; Queens, you were out of it; but Brooklyn, that was it.”
Mel Brooks, Williamsburg

“Everyone got along because we had one major thing that held everyone in Brooklyn…together: the emergence of big-time sports that happened after World War I. You could be an Irishman, an Italian, and a Jew and you could all be in Ebbets Field, sitting together, rooting for the Dodgers.” —Pete Hamill, Park Slope

“I never really saw anyplace in the world as a kid except Brooklyn, so to me Brooklyn was the world. Every avenue was another country. It was a rough place, to be sure. You could say the wrong thing, make the wrong turn and be rubbed or killed, and I guess I was lucky because I had a talent that enabled me to get out . . . A part of me will always be that kid shooting hoops, with a dream in my hand as much as a basketball.”
Stephon Marbury, Coney Island

“Both my parents were hard, hands-on workers, and that was the foundation of everything for me. Their work ethic was just over the top, and as a result of that I worked hard no matter what level job I had in the media. I was that tough Brooklyn girl pushing my way to the front, which eventually became the top. I was never afraid of hard work; I was always a go-getter, and that was something that came directly out of being born in Brooklyn. I cherish that, as I cherish my entire upbringing in Brooklyn.”
Maria Bartiromo, Bay Ridge

A captivating oral portrait of America's favorite borough, in the words of those who know Brooklyn best—Mel Brooks, Spike Lee, Arthur Miller, Joan Rivers, Norman Mailer, Cousin Brucie, Maria Bartiromo, Pete Hamill, and many other current and former inhabitants.

Song of Brooklyn gathers the oral testimony of nearly one hundred Brooklynites past and present, famous and unknown, about a mythic borough that is also an indisputably real place. These witnesses speak eloquently of what it was like back then, when the Dodgers played in Ebbets Field; later, when the borough fell on hard times; and now, when it has come roaring back on the tracks of a real-estate boom, giving it celebrity chic and hipster cred. With this surprising and inspiring renaissance in full swing, the story of Brooklyn is one of the great and still ongoing chapters of the American urban experience, and Song of Brooklyn sings that tune in pitch-perfect key.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this nostalgic love song, Eliot (Walt Disney) blends voices of politicos, actors, musicians, writers and business people—strangely, mostly male—to extol the newly hip New York City borough of Brooklyn. "Mama's boy" Neil Sedaka remembers Coney Island in the 1950s as a cozy place. After a decline, the area is being revitalized, with a battle brewing over new development. Spike Lee says that seeing Jackie Robinson play at Ebbets Field was one of the greatest thrills of his life, while contrarian Woody Allen recalls being a Giants fan in the heart of Dodgers territory. Walt Whitman, Arthur Miller and Norman Mailer often wrote about their home turf of Brooklyn, yet contemporary novelist Amy Sohn, a native of Brooklyn Heights, thinks that while there's "kinmanship" among Brooklyn writers today, they are part of the city's larger literary world. Organizing his material by neighborhoods and themes (e.g., music, food), Eliot's done his homework with many original interviews and lists of famous Brooklynites, and the material is diverting, but the work is unfocused and begs to be published as a coffee-table book with lots of photos. (June 10)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Too-easy-by-half portrait of New York City's most famous toehold on the mainland. The book is an oral history of a teeming, immigrant-packed American city that looms large in the nation's psyche, but this is no Division Street, and pop biographer Eliot (Jimmy Stewart: A Biography, 2006, etc.) is no Studs Terkel. He begins poorly with a hokey introduction that seems to be trying to set a cliche record in describing just how awesome (AWESOME!) Brooklyn is. The first chapter, on Coney Island, offers little better, as "the cyclonic roller-coaster ride that is Coney Island's future continues to soar and dip." Subsequent, crudely slapped-together sections on Sheepshead Bay, music and Dem Bums (the Dodgers) prompt fears that the entire book is going to be like that. Then, at about the halfway mark, comes a man speaking his mind about Brooklyn: "It's a shit-fuckin'-hole of roaches and rats," he declares before laying into "all of that candy store nostalgia and egg cream crap." Unfortunately, Eliot gives far too much space to that crap, with long-gone-to-Hollywood entertainers getting teary-eyed about stickball and tenements and dear old Mom. Finally, in the book's second half, he starts to include occasional voices of dissent speaking unpalatable truths. Acknowledging the borough's racism, a rabbi talks about how an entire block would shift from white to black within a month. Blunt recollections of gang violence dispel the impression conveyed earlier that it somehow didn't exist back in the Good Old Days. There's some sadness here, and a more hard-hitting type of nostalgia: not for the old days of the Dodgers and trolley cars, but for a time when neighborhoods of different ethnicities stillinteracted out of necessity. Brooklyn comes across in the end as a crowded, sprawling, beautiful, ugly dream of a place that people can't wait to get out of and then spend the rest of their lives unable to forget. A sappily sentimental but nevertheless vital look at America's neighborhood. Agent: Mel Berger/William Morris Agency
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767929998
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/10/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 495,834
  • File size: 918 KB

Meet the Author

MARC ELIOT is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biography Cary Grant; the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince; Down 42nd Street; and Death of a Rebel. He has written for numerous publications, including L.A. Weekly and California magazine. He divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; and Los Angeles, California.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae     xiii
Introduction     1
Coney Island     7
Sheepshead Bay     31
Music     45
Dem Bums and Other Assorted Sports     79
The Way We Were ... and Weren't     117
Literary Brooklyn     163
The Nabes     189
On the Waterfront     215
Whaddya Got to Eat?     229
Politics and Poker     247
Back to the Future     263
A Representative List of Films Made in or About Brooklyn     277
Notes     285
Bibliography     293
Acknowledgments     295
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)