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Day 1315

Ferris Street mural

August 6th, 2015



You can check out the entire block-long painting in Street View.

Day 1315

FIRE

August 6th, 2015



I'd never seen a manhole cover labeled "FIRE" before, but there are at least three in the immediate vicinity of the former Lidgerwood factory in Red Hook. As this 1916 map shows (look for the 12-inch high pressure line on Dikeman Street between Ferris Street and the water), the manholes are remnants of an old network of high-pressure water mains and hydrants installed in the early 1900s to improve firefighting capabilities in and around Downtown Brooklyn. Similar systems were also built in Coney Island and Manhattan.

Pumper trucks eventually eliminated the need for the high-pressure hydrants, which spent their last couple of decades operating like standard hydrants before being taken out of service altogether around 1980. Even though they were just useless relics from that point on, the city continued issuing tickets to vehicles parked in front of them.

Finally, in the mid-1990s, the city began getting rid of the old high-pressure hydrants. The associated manhole covers were removed as well, which explains why I've never noticed one before. I imagine the cover pictured above and the neighboring one — as well as the F handhole cover pictured above — were left in place because the block they're on is now a private street. (I don't know why the third, newer-looking FIRE cover a block away on Coffey Street wouldn't have been removed, however.)

Day 1315




This is the northwestern facade of the old Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company factory complex. A major builder of cableways and hoisting machinery, Lidgerwood supplied cableways for the construction of the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam, and many other large infrastructure projects. The company was founded in Brooklyn in 1873 and lives on today as the Superior-Lidgerwood-Mundy Corporation of Superior, Wisconsin.

The Brooklyn Edison electric company purchased this property from Lidgerwood in 1926, and by 1937 had painted over this wall (which at that time was fully visible from the harbor) with a big "COOK ELECTRICALLY" ad featuring Reddy Kilowatt. If you look closely (zoom in), you can still make out faint traces of the word "COOK" on the left side of the wall, on top of the older Lidgerwood lettering.

Day 1315

Bidet manufacturer?

August 6th, 2015


Day 1315

Atlantic Basin

August 6th, 2015



Gazing out across the Atlantic Basin, we get a good look at the Lower Manhattan skyline and the cranes of the Red Hook Container Terminal.

Day 1315

Red Hook garbage can

August 6th, 2015



The anchor motif reflects the neighborhood's maritime identity, past and present.

Day 1315

’71 Chevy Nova

August 6th, 2015






Gun cartridges on the front license plate...



Hood locks



Please Don't TOUCH!



In Loving Memory of Mom



...and gun cartridges on the rear

Day 1315

Monarch Luggage Co., Inc.

August 6th, 2015



This old factory is now an apartment building.

Day 1315

“Just R”

August 6th, 2015



Since before I was born, a big red R has loomed mysteriously over the streets of Red Hook, leaving decades of perplexed passersby to wonder why such a prominent sign would be used to display such a nonsensical message.

There was a time, many years ago, when the R was just one of several 30-foot-tall letters perched atop that cream-colored building. In those days, the sign read "E.J. TRUM", the name of the paper box manufacturer that owned the place.

After John Turano & Sons, a furniture wholesaler, acquired the building in 1978, the Turanos wanted to put their own name up on the sign. But as Frank Turano told New York magazine in 2001:

We went on the roof and started pulling down these giant letters. The E, the J, the T. But the R got stuck. We couldn't move it. Someone almost fell off the building trying. It put a scare into us. It seemed better to leave it up there. It's been like that for 22 years. Recently a lot of people looking for billboards have come around asking about the space. But we'll leave it like that: just R.
The Turanos have since moved on, but the R remains. (The period after the E is still stuck up there as well, of course, but it never seems to get much attention.) Of the four old neon rooftop signs that stood in the industrial Gowanus-Red Hook area when I started this walk, the R is one of only two left. Bruno Truck Sales is its fellow survivor, while Eagle Clothes and Kentile Floors have been torn down. (There is some talk of Eagle Clothes possibly being resurrected, however.)

Day 1315

1966 Volvo 1800S

August 6th, 2015



Irv Gordon, a retired science teacher from Long Island, has put a world-record 3 million miles and counting on his red 1966 Volvo 1800S (not pictured).

Day 1315

Love loves Love

August 6th, 2015


Day 1315

Solar-powered honeybee

August 6th, 2015


Day 1315


Day 1314

No bums allowed!

August 5th, 2015



This stegosaurus of a standpipe connection is just one of the many tushie terrorizers conspiring to make the city's streets inhospitable to the weary keisters of pooped-out pedestrians. The sprinkler connection outside this building, pictured below, is equally unwelcoming.



But don't despair. While this callous indifference to the suffering of others may be on the rise, there are still plenty of other Siamese connections that continue to welcome the tired, the poor, and the huddled asses of the world with open arms (a.k.a. spikeless sitting surfaces). Just around the corner, in fact, I found one providing refuge for run-down rumps in three different Street View photos — a sanctuary sitty, if you will.

Day 1313

12 West 129th Street

August 4th, 2015



You can see a wider shot of the building in Street View. And here's what the place looked like in 1932.

From the building's 1994 landmark designation report:

The house at 12 West 129th Street, erected c.1863 when the village of Harlem was undergoing development as a suburban center, stands as a rare survivor of Harlem's early history, prior to its rapid development as an urban neighborhood. Built for two carpenters, William Paul and Thomas Wilson, and their families, it was a two-and-a-half story frame structure characteristic of suburban architecture. Subsequent changes to the house reflect adaptations by new owners to their needs, as well as changes in the surrounding community. In 1883, piano merchant John Bolton Simpson, Jr., added the distinctive Moorish-inspired porch, the most significant architectural feature of the house, with its perforated ornamentation created by the use of a scroll saw. In 1896, the house was acquired by an order of Franciscan nuns which was expanding its mission in the greater New York area. In order to accommodate a new use as a convent and children's home, the building was enlarged to a full three stories. Since that time, the building has continued in institutional ownership; it was purchased in 1979 by the Christ Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, which plans to convert it to a senior citizens' residence.
I'm not sure what's currently happening with the building, but I do know it was used as a hostel called "Jazz on the Villa" for a few years around 2006 to 2009.