This entry of Mapping Gowanus is by Henry Tenney.
Ode to 16th Street (bet. 3rd Avenue and Hamilton)
Sorry little strip
More on-ramp than road
Does the sun ever kiss your oil-stained stroll?
Do you ever feel the footfalls of one not lost? One not frantic for the handheld
deliverance of GPS?
A rust-and-macadam behemoth mocks you from above, ferrying thousands.
Home, to a show, to anywhere else.
While you, ungainly, squat below.
Unnoticed. Unloved. Barely mappable.
Do you care when every now and then SUVs packed with Park Slope’s soccer
promise gasp and cluck their tongues when unintended, they ply your weary lane?
Do you even exist in the dreams of children now that your once-proud giant
inflatable blue gorilla no longer sits above to announce your presence?
Yet across eight lanes lies hope.
Well actually across eight lanes (with barbed wire betwixt) lies the waste transfer
station, but across eight lanes and the canal lies hope — in rosy Red Hook.
But the promise of Fairway is a cruel left turn, with all heads turned away from you.
You will never house a cold-brew coffee shop with terrific scones, 16th Street.
The cars will just keep whizzing and honking past you, just out of reach.
A river of cars, oblivious to your hidden charms.
But some day they’ll know!
If they’re in the market for a rolling steel garage door, say, or are thinking about
trying their luck at the weekly seized auto auction.
Some day they’ll know.
Henry Tenney sings in several actual bands (Highland Shatners, The Cheese Beads, Sea of Scarves, Dondi’s Bloody Sputum), a few imaginary ones (The Stupid Locks, The Heinous Codpiece Experience [as Hamish Codpiece]) and has a TV food thingy called Burnt Is the New Al Dente.