Elisabeth Eaves lives on Pineapple Street. Along with neighbors Cranberry and Orange, it's one of only three fruit streets in Brooklyn
. Eaves, a writer who has published on topics ranging from travel to politics to stripping, knows the accompanying local lore to explain its origin.
"Back when a lot of people were just moving to this neighborhood, it was dominated by old Dutch families," she says. "The gentlemen of the neighborhood would affix their names to the streets. And there was a woman, a botanist and a horticulturalist, and she was annoyed that the men would just stick their names up on the street corners. She would take them down in the night and put up the names of plants. This went back and forth as kind of a cat and mouse battle for a while. And when the street names were finally grandfathered in by the city, she won, because she was the last person to stick up her names."
This anonymous horticulturalist would no doubt be pleased that, more than a century later, Ms. Eaves and I are meeting for lunch at Iris Café
. As if in deference to that earlier era, you're not allowed to use computers or iPads at this restaurant that opened in 2009. Surrounded instead by folks engaged in the old-fashioned perusal of books and newspapers, we feast on delicious avocado sandwiches and talk about how Eaves, who was nomadic for years, finally settled in New York. She's been here for four years and owns a small studio apartment. I ask if she's found the geographic commitment difficult.
"It's not as hard as I would have expected," she says. "It's partly because I love this city. As a traveler, I think many of us have a need for hyper-stimulation. I love big cities. Big, serious cities." She doesn't always find New York thrilling, the way she did when she first arrived. "But I still have days, and moments, where I'm like: wow."
Eaves is, of course, one of many writers who've wound up in the area and she's well aware of the borough's literary legacy.