Monday, October 16, 2006

In the Aeroplane over Brooklyn

Walking home last night, I turned right on Conselyea, past an apartment building that I used to be able to see from my place at 354 Graham. The building was built while I was living there, so I got to see it go up and be occupied. As such, I was a little obsessed with its inhabitants, whom I could see from my kitchen windows. I no longer live at 354, but I always think about looking at that building and its balconies from my old windows whenever I walk by.

And but so: walking by last night I heard guitar and voices, coming from that building. At first I thought it was a stereo, but I soon discerned it was four guys sitting on their second-story balcony, playing guitar and singing. As I passed the building, one of the fellows shifted to playing the first song from Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane over the Sea, "King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1," and another of the guys began singing along:

When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers
And how you built a tower tumbling through the trees
In holy rattlesnakes that fell all around your feet

And your mom would stick a fork right into daddy's shoulder
And your dad would throw the garbage all across the floor
As we would lay and learn what each other's bodies were for

And walking by I thought how amazing that Jeff Mangum's song, ten years on from its release, via Athens, Georgia's Elephant 6 collective, was being sung from a balcony in Brooklyn at night. I stopped and listened for awhile, as a plane whistled overhead into LaGuardia, and walked on.


Billy Burger said...

I think Williamsburg is the only place on earth where this is actually not surprising.

Hunter Slaton said...

True; but just because we live in Williamsburg does not mean we should discount this.