Thursday, March 05, 2009

In Memoriam: Robert Guskind, A Brooklyn Blog Hero I Never Met

This is an unspectacular photo, a shot of a row of brownstones taken from my window on the day I moved to Brooklyn. I took it because I wanted to document this place, this fascinating melange of spaces, humanity, and history that I'm trying to make my own, at least for the present. As part of this most personal of endeavors, I've sought company, starting a blog of Brooklyn musings to plunk my drop in the bucket, to join a choir of Brooklynites who sing the borough's praises and problems.

Robert Guskind, the journalist and photographer who published Gowanus Lounge and contributed regularly to Curbed, was one of the strongest voices in this chorus, a legendarily hard worker who poured two-thirds of his 24 daily hours into documenting all things Kings County. I couldn't eulogize him properly if I tried: some of the thousands who knew him better than I--which is to say at all--have already done so (Curbed, Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, and Brownstoner, among others). I never got to meet Mr. Guskind, but he was an inspiration and a mentor to me, someone whose writing I read daily to glean both knowledge and craft, and who linked my little endeavor from his own far more comprehensive enterprise.

Gowanus Lounge was the quintessential one-man blog, a wonderful cocktail of encyclopedic coverage and straightforward, honest prose that always felt local even as it ranged across the borough. Guskind produced a Platonic form for others to imitate, but from everything I've read, he never carried himself like a philosopher-king (Gary from RunsBrooklyn spoke very highly of him, and the way he helped RunsBrooklyn get noticed, here). I wish I could have met him, to thank him for reading my stuff and to thank him for writing his.

Rest in peace, Robert Guskind. Brooklyn will sorely miss you.

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