There’s nothing like a little gentrification to get the sparks flying.
In her first-ever self-published book, “Million Dollar View,” author Silver Krieger explores the ever-changing demographics of New York City through a story about a real estate agent tasked with clearing out a Park Slope building of its artsy women residents — but instead finds himself in a tight predicament when he falls in love with a rebellious painter who has no intention of moving out.
“I wanted to write a romantic comedy and this is how it came out with little social, political implications,” said the native Manhattanite, who lived in Park Slope for 16 years before moving to Sunset Park more than a year ago.
The story behind the story is one of an unlikely muse. Krieger said that developer Bruce Ratner and his Atlantic Yards megaproject inspired her to start penning the 186-page novel three years ago.
“The Atlantic Yards controversy was so front-and-center for so long that it made the issue of gentrification hard to get away from,” she said. “The issue of old versus new was captivating to me.”
Not just using a topical issue to prop up her story, the author also wrote from experience when it came to the changing demographics of Park Slope.
“I’ve seen the neighborhood change a lot,” said the wordsmith, who lived in a run-down rent-stabilized apartment on President Street with no heat for eight years. “It was a great rent, but only a place artists would live.”
The author said that the clash between the struggling artist-types of the neighborhood and the influx of stroller-pushing parents also worked as inspiration for the book that she published a year ago through the independent Manhattan bookstore McNally Jackson.
But what hits closest to home for the author is the book’s co-protagonist Nicole De Gioia, who lives and paints in the apartment above the lesbian bar that’s in danger of being bulldozed — and who becomes real estate agent Flynn Sharpe’s unlikely love interest.
“Some of the rants the character goes on are definitely me more than anyone else,” said Krieger, who added that the Park Slope building in the story is supposed to be on Fifth Avenue somewhere between Ninth and Union streets. The layout of the ground level bar is inspired by Fifth Avenue’s Ginger’s Bar, she added.
The book makes references and unfolds scenes in real-life Fifth Avenue businesses like Blue Ribbon Restaurant, Al Di La Trattoria, and the Gowanus Canal area. The novel also makes hints to the corporatization of the neighborhood through the mention of Seventh Avenue’s Starbucks and Barnes and Noble.
“This book is about exploring about what I think beyond the black and white issues,” said Krieger, whose prose is accompanied by 12 drawings by Brooklyn artist Keith DuQuette.
“I would like people to be able to get a little bit of humorous respite from the difficult complications of an issue like [gentrification] and hope that I’m able to illuminate some of the different aspects and different angles of general concern.”
Silver Krieger’s “Million Dollar View,” at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
©2013 Community News Group
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