Friday, April 19, 2019


Shards of glass from earlier decades continue to emerge from the dirt.  There seems to be an inexhaustible supply.  Who were the household residents of forty, fifty years or more ago who drank all those sodas and beers?  The other day a marble pushed its way through, mottled but whole.  A common little thing.  A planet hardly had more mystery.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


The Comfort Inn on 20th Street (Third/Fourth) opens in a couple of months.  I punched in a random midday date for June and $279 came up as the best price.  I hope that includes expressway views.  When the Stephen Imports warehouse was there, the block felt less dense.  And I realized the other day that the height of the warehouse and the line of barbed wire fencing on top blocked a sideways view of the building next door.  I'm sure there's an architectural term for the structure and the style of this facade, but I don't know it.

It's got a kind of mission or southwestern, feel.  Or is it Italian in intention?  At any rate, I like its stage-set duality.  On top of a regular looking house, it's a real facade.  And perched on the cornice, a devil/gargoyle and heraldic lions guard the home.  This is the kind of building that expresses a distinct creativity and pride.  Someone put their own stamp on the place.   

Industry fades as office spaces and hotels are deemed acceptable substitutes.  BrooklynWorks has co-working-spaces here, and there are (nice one) dance studios and an OT gym for kids.  Permanent Records was here for a while but I think it's closed now.  Some of the old businesses are still around - auto shop, air conditioning, heating, metal, glass - but the metalworks and Tony Cuonzo's Golden Anvil sculpture smithy at the corner are long gone.  There are warehouse vacancies. Residential's mostly frame.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


The facade on the building is only a couple of years old.  In 2003, according to DOB records, a section of an earlier facade "approx 20' x 20' collapsen to the sidewalk crusing a dangerous conditiion to public." A vaguely medieval description.  Other structural defects are on record.

The new facade does not inspire confidence.  There's an open permit for work not conforming to approved documents and amendments (2017) and a related SWO issued a year ago.  Bricks are missing, and cinderblock repairs are evident.  You'd be wise to cross the street or walk by swiftly. 

Cue music.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ten Years On

There isn't an abandoned couch or worn-down armchair that doesn't make me think of the discarded beauties on author Robert Guskind's Gowanus Lounge blog.  It's a reflex action. Just over ten years after his death (the Brooklyn memorial was on April 4th, 2009) his influence lingers.  Reading his obituary on the Gowanus Lounge website, I'm still touched and impressed by the tributes of local bloggers, journalists, photographers, artists and activists - of all varieties and combinations - that were influenced by his writing and encouraged in their own work through his generosity of spirit.  Do take the time to read it, and while you're there, dip into the three years-worth of entries preserved on the site.

Monday, March 25, 2019

A Far Cry from Brooklyn

It's hard to keep track of that elusive world traveler Carl Douglas, who every so often surprises us with a comment on the blog or photographs from distant parts.  Taken last week, El Paso: streets - & Wall.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Freshness Guaranteed

The tail-end of winter is fickle.  Out today, at lunchtime, the weather had a bitter, blustery nip about it, and even in a coat & scarf I was cold.  Home & out again fifteen minutes later it was all spring all the time.  How did the sun pull it off?  The kids bursting out of middle school had spring fever all right.  Jackets off, they were loud, flirty and aching for liberty. 

Along the edge of the cemetery, the dog nosed in sidewalk piles of leaves.  I remember when there were junked cars and mounds of other garbage dumped at the perimeter.  It's a lot cleaner now, but still kind of trashy.  Delivery boxes, and takeout containers, tires and miniature liquor bottles, somebody's supermarket shopping cart and remnants of blown away gravestone flowers.

I've spent most of the last few months walking around without my better camera, relying instead on the phone. Weather & circumstances have conspired against me, and I never seem to be traveling light.  Spring, I hope, will free up the time to watch and wander. 

"Freshness guaranteed"