Category Archives: videos

Mapping Gowanus: Sackett st. b/w Bond & the Canal

Homage to crud

On my way to Sackett St. between Bond and the Gowanus Canal, I may have passed a dozen construction sites, where luxury housing is slated to fill any and every crevice of my hyper-gentrifying neighborhood, Cobble Hill. Gowanus, too, is now home to luxury “waterfront” properties situated on the Canal, which is, never mind, a highly polluted, odiferous Superfund site. The block I was mapping is a piece of pre-gentrified Brooklyn that will no doubt soon be another astronomically expensive enclave, after all there are some large empty lots on this block that simply cannot survive the low interest, cheap money that is fueling the latest frenzy of development.

There was evidence of impending change – a surveyor was there, and a construction site sign that warned visitors not to enter. Nothing was actually getting built, and the block was quiet, save for a few stragglers like myself. I felt like I was documenting some last remains of industry, poverty, detritus, vandalism, and even art.

I was touched by the deconstructed air conditioners that had been slaughtered for their copper, the residue of a meal, a puddle of broken glass, cracked sidewalks, patched cobblestone, a shredded plastic bag, graffiti (even a pathetic “Trump” stencil), and all the crud that left traces of transient activity – a few Bud Lights, an abandoned work glove, a no parking sign for a film shoot called “Cyclops” that I’m guessing was a flop. The block reminds me of the kinds of decayed places I sought out in my teens to kick around and smoke cigarettes or get high. I will miss this block when it becomes sanitized by the encroaching money, eager to smooth out its edges and discard the trash.

Joan Grossman, Feb. 28, 2017

     

 

 

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One-Minute Vacation: Culver Lake, NJ

We have been lucky enough to enjoy some special weekends at Culver Lake with the extended Turco clan – the family of our pal Louie, owner of our local Gowanus watering hole, Canal bar. (Or “Louis,” as his family calls him.)  I couldn’t help myself, I had to go a bit over on this one. Too much to choose from. I wish my camera work lived up to the quality of the soundtrack.

 

One-Minute Vacation: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Full Moon

Many people flee New York in the summer, but sometimes this is the best time to be here. It’s less crowded, it has a weirdly empty feel (unless you are in, say, Times Square).

There is a long-term development project to connect various Brooklyn waterfront parks. While I often visit the Brooklyn Bridge Park on my occasional jog, and I have been to the waterfront in Dumbo, I had not yet walked the entire stretch which has now been joined. This weekend, on the night of the full moon, Chris (husband) and I had the chance to do so. It was hopping. So much to do. So much to enjoy. This might have been the most exuberant energy I’ve encountered so far on my mini-vacays.

One-Minute Vacation: Neponsit, Queens

The weather has been so beautiful in New York this week, I convinced my friend to drive out to the beach for a quick swim in the ocean. Neponsit is a beach community in the Rockaways that is less crowded than the neighboring boardwalk beaches. The name means “the place between waters” – with the waters being the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay.