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'I Heart BK-BX' Pits Brooklyn vs. Bronx at Bi-Borough Storytelling Event

By Patrick Wall | February 14, 2012 1:24pm
Speakers will share borough-inspired stories at
Speakers will share borough-inspired stories at "I Heart BK-BX" starting 7 p.m. Tues., Feb. 14, 2012, at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
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I Heart BK-BX

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — When Cupid fires his arrows this Valentine’s Day, will he aim at Brooklyn or The Bronx?

That will be the question Tuesday night at “I Heart BK/BX” in Brooklyn Heights, where storytellers, poets, a Dodgers historian and a former Yankees batboy will reflect on their boroughs by birth or by choice.

"It's about the different ways the boroughs have made their marks on us," said event organizer Bridget Bartolini, who also produces the monthly storytelling event Bronx Stories for the Bronx Museum of the Arts, which is co-sponsoring Tuesday’s event with the Brooklyn Historical Society.

For $10 to $15, attendees can munch on Tumbador chocolates and make the epic choice between Brooklyn Brewery and Bronx Brewery beer, while listening to the six featured guests speaking inside the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. After the speakers, the audience can share their own borough ballads during an open mic session.

Michele Carlo, a Bronx-born storyteller who has lived in Brooklyn since 1988, will host.

Growing up in the northern Bronx, Carlo said she was “a redheaded, freckle-faced Puerto Rican growing up in an Irish-Italian neighborhood.” In her late 20s, she moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn, to "become more of who I was," she said. She plans to share her coming-of-age Tuesday.

"My story is about being bi-borough," Carlo said, "about having two loves."

The Bronx storyteller and motivational speaker Bobby Gonzalez plans to talk about growing up in the Melrose Housing Projects and helping his parents run a nearby bodega, where Gonzalez said he learned to perform.

"Once you step behind the counter at a bodega, you’re on stage," said Gonzalez, who has lived in different parts of The Bronx for more than 60 years.

Though he has friends in Brooklyn now, Gonzalez said, it took him many years even to set foot in the other "B" borough.

"When I was growing up, Brooklyn was a foreign country," he said. "I thought you needed a passport to go there."

Joe Dorinson, a Long Island University professor who has worked at that school since 1966, will impart wisdom gained from years of studying the old Brooklyn-Bronx baseball rivalry.

"When I view the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Yankees," said Dorison, "it seems God clearly preferred the Yankees."

Dorinson, who has family ties in both boroughs, said he hopes the event Tuesday evening will foster some inter-borough love among New Yorkers who may have more in common than they realize.

"There’s a sense that we’re outsiders," Dorinson said of Brooklyn and the Bronx. "During snowstorms, we both often get short shrift."

The event costs $15 for general admission. Members of the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, as well as visitors who sign up for an open mic slot, can pay $10. Tickets are available at the door starting at 7 p.m.