We always welcome and Brooklyn or Genealogy related guest posts on the site. Enjoy the following:
I started recording music under the pseudonym “Here Comes Brooklyn” in 2011. According to an infamous family story, my grandma Edie’s cousin used to say at the sight of my grandfather, “Ay! Here comes Brooklyn!” in her low, scratchy, Yiddish ridden accent. My grandfather always found it vaguely irritating, but the story has since become an integral part of the Fox-Tepper family oral history, and has resonated with me ever since.
As three of my four grandparents are from Brooklyn, I find myself living an eerily parallel existence to my grandfather in his 20’s. Originally from Rockville, MD, I moved to New York for college and soon found myself attending concerts in the deep end of the dried McCarren Park Pool where my grandpa Murray and grandma Edie swam in as children.
I wrote the song “Bluebirds” using a very repetitive, circular musical phrase to represent the circular nature of generations, specifically my parents growing up, becoming adults, having children of their own, and watching their children, my sister and me, grow up.
After the song was finished, my mom found old reels of 16mm film in our basement and realized they were long lost home films dating from the late 40’s to 1963. My grandma Edie died of lung cancer when I was only five and, as those were the days before Facebook, Instagram, and iPhones, I had not seen real film footage of my grandmother at any age or of my grandfather as a young man. I had at least pictures of my mom and uncle as children, but up to that point only grainy black and white renderings of my grandparents.
Eventually I took the film and cut it up to “Bluebirds,” superimposing the song on a generation earlier so the boy and girl depicted at the beginning were my grandpa and grandma, and their kids my mom and uncle. Out of everything I’ve done as Here Comes Brooklyn, this is the most personal.
My grandfather grew up on Siegel Street where his family owned a housewares store called Fox’s Trimmings, and my grandmother on McKibbin Park where her father was the neighborhood’s kosher butcher. While my grandmother sadly is no longer with us, my grandfather at 85 has not matured a day since his goofball days in Brooklyn.
I hope you enjoy this little slice of my family.
Alex Tepper/Here Comes Brooklyn