The latest entry for Mapping Gowanus is from writer Alison Humes.
The Cardiologists of Union Street
This block shows off its personality via three of its old-timey residents, for the sake of argument called Vern, Griswold, and Ruffy. The buildings on the street where they operate are nondescript to the point of seeming opaque, even if one, which is painted all green, is called the Green Building (purportedly the setting for “events”). The signs speak exclusively to the cars, a clue to their importance*. Vern, Griswold, and Ruffy try to fly under the radar, what with their democratic and egalitarian snow costumes, but they can’t help but radiate their inner verve. Moving east with the flow (of traffic), one sees Vern first, standing sentinel and wearing a special tree disguise, while quietly acknowledging an affiliation with Big Green on its cab door and indulgently ignoring the youngster across the street stopped exactly where instructed not to.
Haughty Griswold, the stuffiest of the Union St. denizens, likes to think of its style as “easy elegance”—neutrals, with the graphic allure of white walls, black undercarriage, and always gleaming chrome. Class means not calling too much attention to yourself while dominating the street anyway.
Even when a tacky “cab” tries to steal the limelight with a little flashy razzle-dazzle.
Finally, or last but not least, there’s Ruffy, who keeps an eye on the canal and doesn’t have time for the nonsense bullshit chatter of Vern and Griswold.
Over many lifetimes Ruffy has seen it all. Comfy and capacious, Ruffy is the neighborhood historian and adoptive father to the generations of kids who’ve come and gone along Union Street. (One of the kids did his portrait, though he misspelled Pops.)
Despite a tendency toward hoarding, which is not up for discussion, Ruffy is usually the easiest to talk to. But not today. It seems Ruffy overdid it last night and was too wasted to hide the evidence.
All he could get out was, “Come back tomorrow.”
So, till then. Ta ta for now.
* For instance, see exhibits A & B: