Defying Devastation: Bushwick Then & Now (Brooklyn Writers Remember)

Defying Devastation writers with curators Meryl Meisler and Vanessa Martir
Defying Devastation writers with curators Meryl Meisler and Vanessa Martir

Brooklyn, NY- June 1, 2013- Today writers from Brooklyn came together and shared their memories of what it was like growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The first installment of Defying Devastation resulted when Brooklyn born writer Vanessa Martír discovered an image of herself taken 30 years ago by photographer Meryl Meisler.

The photo was one of many taken by Meryl as she walked to and from the Bushwick school that she taught at. While it was nothing more than a pile of rubble and dilapidated buildings at the time, Meisler’s photos sought to capture the beauty of the neighborhood despite the despondency that surrounded it. The images not only captured the families of the neighborhood, but they also captured the love, beauty, and tenderness of a community so full of life despite living in conditions that didn’t reflect that all.

In last year’s exhibit, Vanessa’s words gave life to Meryl’s iconic images as she reflected on the Brooklyn neighborhood that she called home for most of her childhood. In this year’s installment, Vanessa and Meryl invited other Brooklyn born writers and poets to share their reflections of the neighborhood. The writers ranging from ages 8 to 101 all shared what Bushwick/Brooklyn meant to them by using one of Meryl’s photos as inspiration. From Andres Chulisi Rodriguez’s monologue about growing up gay and proud to Maria Rodriguez’s “Ode to Brooklyn’s Daughters” the result was a delicious gumbo of love, pride, strength, and resilience, that anyone who was raised in Brooklyn can attest to. I am proud to have been a part of such a beautiful and important event.

For more information on Meryl Meisler and her work visit To learn more about Vanessa Martír and her work visit

Photo Credit: Tequila Minsky

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