After reading the book and seeing the musical, I was pretty eager to see the site of the famous February House. I had yet to even see Brooklyn up close so all I could imagine was what I had heard from the descriptions given in both works. I knew that the house obviously wasn’t there anymore but I hoped to gain some insight into the artists’ love for the location. The view and surrounding neighborhood sounded like a breath of fresh air from the sometimes claustrophobic conditions of the city.
Upon entering Brooklyn heights, I could already see that this was more like what I would think of as a “residential neighborhood” – a very nice looking one at that. However I learned enough about the area to know that 70 years ago, it wasn’t quite as upscale as it is today (along with most parts of New York that were affordable in those days). And though I felt an understanding of the desire to inhabit a house there, just out of reach but still within view of the towering island, it became evident that even though I probably could see the neighborhood somewhat like McCullers or Davis did, our two views were going to be inevitably different.
I wouldn’t like to use the word disappointed to describe what I felt when we were shown where the February House once stood. It was a great experience to be in the same location in which these remarkable people once stood, walked, and lived their daily lives. Even though buildings blocked most of what used to be a picturesque view of the Brooklyn bridge and lower Manhattan, I could still peer through enough to see some of what the residents saw. With the unlikely site of any kind of house – a street next to a small slope down into a highway – it’s still hard to imagine what it could have looked like or what it would have been like to be in such a place before its modernization. What I felt, I can best describe as the common disappointment that I or anyone feels when they visit a historical spot such as the many that are within New York City and think “I wish I could have seen it back then”. It’s not a bad feeling really. I just remember that everything ends and humanity is constantly moving forward. I remind myself that there will be a place I visit that will one day be a historical landmark and on that day I can say “I was there”.