Tag Archives: Gowanus

Mapping Gowanus: Hoyt st. b/w 4th st. and the Canal

 

Gowanus Sonnet

by Adam Reid Sexton

 

Post-Carroll Street, when you are Brooklyn-bound

On what my father called the IND,

The F emerges from beneath the ground,

And fills with light (by day) and you can see.

 

And what you see, if you look to the left:

Scratchiti; the reflection of your face;

A moonscape, blocks wide, edifice-bereft,

Within the tracks’ Erector Set embrace.

 

Perusal at Hoyt’s terminus reveals

Cement mixers, rotating, marked FB,

A Sheeler painting, all blue sky and steel:

Ferrara Brothers’ concrete factory —

 

The swan song of Kings County’s smokestack past,

As out of reach as Whole Foods’ lot is vast.

 

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Strolling Gowanus

When I first started this blog, I had no idea that the tagline I created, “blink and you’ll miss it,” would be so apropos.

Things have been changing so fast in the neighborhood. And in life; it’s hard to keep up.

I thought I’d share some recent pics from the neighborhood. And please do get in touch if you are interested in contributing to the Mapping Gowanus project here. Get your block assignment before it’s a glass condo.

 

The ironic advertisers have arrived.

the ironic advertisers have arrived.

vitamin water 2

mystery water

Urban geometry

the future is reflected

the beauty of age

signs of progress

OK, that’s it for today.

Mapping Gowanus: 16th st. b/w 3rd ave. & Hamilton

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.

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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.

Mapping Gowanus

As the mission of this blog continues to evolve, I’m finding that Gowanus represents, for me, a state of mind, or state of creative struggle.

To that end, I’m launching a new project called Mapping Gowanus and enlisting my network of creative artists (writers, musicians, visual artists, filmmakers) to take part in the experiment.

Here is the challenge I’m posing:

1)  I assign each artist a block of Gowanus. (I mean this literally, as in: President Street between 3rd and Nevins, say).

2)   The person walks the block, takes it in, hangs out, explores it as much or as little as s/he wants.

3)   He or she then has 3 days to make something, inspired by the block. It can be a song, a poem, a one-page scene, prose piece, a photo or series of photGowanus Block Mapos, a video, drawing, print, watercolor….  as long as it can be posted here. (e.g. no live performances).

The idea is that creative sparks can come from any where at any time. And that constraints can spur, rather than hinder, creativity.  I’m also very excited to see what the resulting artists’ mapping of Gowanus will be.

I am starting with what I call “inner Gowanus” — the tightest neighborhood around the canal. That alone is 82 blocks by my current count.

Stay tuned…