The Cicada Apocalypse!: or 5 Ways Brooklyn Has Changed In the Last 17 Years

Just look at this little guy. Adorable.
  • Just look at this little guy. Adorable.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the cicada plague that is about to descend (or, rather, ascend… billions of these little suckers are going to be crawling up and out of the ground!) upon us all. But in case you haven’t heard, gather round, and I will tell you about one of the freakier tricks that nature plays on us. You see, every seventeen years, billions of magicicada periodical cicadas emerge from beneath the ground, where they have been suckling off the vegetal teats of deciduous trees for all that time, waiting for that magic moment when the ground temperature hits approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which is when they know it is finally time to come out of the ground and reach maturity. Isn’t nature amazing?

Yes. Sure it is. But here in New York City, where we are relatively protected from the vagaries of nature, it might seem scary and almost biblical in its end-of-timesishness to know that the cicadas are coming. But you know what? We shouldn’t be afraid. They’re just bugs. Bugs that apparently taste like “cold, canned asparagus” and can be made into a tasty pesto? Really, there’s nothing to worry about except for a few weeks of cicada chirping as they lok around for a mate so that they can begin the whole process all over again.

And, really, imagine how hard it is for the cicadas. Let’s think about those poor little suckers for a minute. The last exposure they had to Brooklyn was when they were still larval. And that was seventeen years ago. Think of how much Brooklyn has changed. Think of how much everything has changed. Anyway, with the re-emergence of these cicadas, I figured it wouldn’t be the worst time to take a look back at what Brooklyn was like way back in 1996 so that we can all be in as much awe as the cicadas will be as they start coming out of the ground. Which, well, they probably won’t care very much as their whole purpose right now is to find someone to mate with and then, you know, die, but whatever. Isn’t that what we’re all here for anyway? Sure it is.

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