One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. It started with a late afternoon post about Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo/Vinegar Hill buying nothing. St. Ann’s School just threw hundreds of books in the trash. “Roadside Alert: 3:50pm Tuesday, parking lot near 40 Clinton… Hundreds of books. So many good people.” The post sparked outrage and garnered 66 comments in the last count.
As residents of Brooklyn Heights began to return from get off work, some stopped to forage among eight or more clear plastic bags filled with classic literature and textbooks. Titles include Deakins’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Walter M. Miller Jr.’s “Leibovitz’s Ode,” Merrill’s “Wagon Wars” ” and many other writers, including Camus, Dahl, Cather, and others.
“Buy nothing” sparked a lively discussion as members brainstormed how to save as many books as possible ahead of the night’s predicted thunderstorms. “So many books have been dumped, and a lot of us are trying to hide them or take them somewhere at the BBB tomorrow.” The BBB will be a Brooklyn Book Bodega nonprofit that collects unwanted books and puts them in Distribute to underserved schools and communities to promote educational equity and reading opportunities. They have drop-off locations in Brooklyn, including the latest additions (or “releases”) nearby, and books are magic.
The blog asked a member of St. Ann’s maintainers if they were aware of any donation attempts. He replied that he thought the school had tried, but had no idea how hard they tried. Brooklyn Heights resident Alexandra shared her disgust, “I have to repeat…I see piles, piles, piles of books, all the kids need Books, books that adults need…this one could be donated…they could have held charity bazaars…there’s a lot more to do than just throw the book on the street.”
Long-term research has shown that poverty is the single largest contributor to the “achievement gap.” The blog argues that it should be called the “equity gap.” for example. The draconian cuts to the New York City Department of Energy’s budget have sparked a public outcry and were recently revoked by a ban. By comparison, tuition at St. Ann’s Kindergarten is $51,000 per year. Truly a tale of two cities.
This is a developing story. The blogger will try to follow up on the St. Ann government’s position, and will also visit Buy Nothing to learn about the fate of literature. In the meantime, tell us what you think!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the post are those of the journalist and do not represent the views of the blog as a whole. The author is a parent of a child with special needs and an advocate for educational equity.