Brooklyn can't keep secrets, according to Ta-Nehisi Coates.
The best-selling writer and journalist, who hails from West Baltimore, had purchased a brownstone in the New York borough until his new-found celebrity ruined his plans, as he revealed in one of his latest pieces for The Atlantic, titled "On Homecomings."
Coates, who now resides in Paris, was planning on moving to the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens area of Brooklyn, a "low-key" area in which he had once lived with his now-wife and son when Coates was in his 20s, he wrote.
But his nostalgic dreams of returning and owning a haven for his family were stifled once word got out. Multiple news organizations linked the author to the home, publishing pictures of it online. Some even photoshopped Coates into the photos of the home. Corcoran Real Estate Group broker Keith Mack was quoted in an article discussing Coates' family's move-in date, Coates wrote. Mack declined to comment for this article.
"Within a day of seeing these articles, my wife and I knew that we could never live in Prospect-Lefferts Garden, that we could never go back home. If anything happened to either of us, if anything happened to our son, we'd never forgive ourselves," Coates wrote.
The 2015 MacArthur Fellow, who received the organization's "genius grant," wrote about the unexpected success of his book "Between the World and Me" in The Atlantic piece. The book, which won the 2015 National Book Award, is written in letter form to his son, discussing issues of inequality and race as well as Coates' memories of coming of age in West Baltimore and his experiences as a black man in America.
Coates wrote in his most recent piece that he hadn't expected to live anonymously. Still, he emphasized the need and longing of privacy, safety and "home."
"You can't really be a black writer in this country, take certain positions, and not think about your personal safety. That's just the history. And you can't really be a human being and not want some place to retreat into yourself, some place to collapse, some place to be at peace," he said.
Coates did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Baltimore Sun.