Day 1328

Unlikely farmland

August 19th, 2015





There's not much in the way of greenery at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal — just three perfunctory little planted areas surrounded by acres of pavement. But growing in these tiny patches of dirt are some tomatoes and what look like acorn squash (as well as lots of purslane and lamb's quarters).

Day 1328

Le Comte et la Reine

August 19th, 2015





Tin Cans, Galvanized Iron and Terne Plate Drums for Export and Domestic Trade

Founded in 1903, Le Comte & Company manufactured "a specialty general line of metal cans and metal waste baskets". The company apparently managed to stay in business until 1993, though it had long since left Red Hook at that point.

This building is part of a late-19th-century industrial complex that was in pretty rough shape when it was bought in 1998 by its current owner, a man named... Rhett Butler. Mr. Butler, who moved with his wife into the top floor of the building above, spent years restoring the complex to house production studios for the "meticulously crafted, often jewel-like hinges, locks, levers, escutcheons, pulls and the like" that have made his business, E.R. Butler & Company, "one of the most prestigious hardware companies in the world". He also built an impressive-looking walled garden on the property and installed a rooftop hot tub (which I believe you can see here).

Day 1328

An oddly colored puddle

August 19th, 2015



I took this photo outside Dell’s Maraschino Cherries in Red Hook. Dell's was in the news a few years ago when a couple of local beekeepers discovered that their bees' honey, not to mention their bees' stomachs, had turned "an alarming shade of Robitussin" — if you can even use the word "honey" to describe "a red concoction that tasted metallic and then overly sweet". Meanwhile, unusually large numbers of bees had been seen buzzing around the cherry factory...

Dell's made headlines again more recently, in a much more tragic fashion, when the head of the company shot and killed himself after a team of investigators, visiting the factory on an unrelated matter, began to suspect he was secretly growing marijuana here. As it turns out, he was, big time. His basement farm was "the largest indoor marijuana growing operation any of the investigators had ever seen in New York City".

Day 1328

Red Hook mosaic

August 19th, 2015



This piece was installed in 2006 (photos) by the artist and self-described "fat dyke" Max Airborne, a fat activist and disability justice activist.

May we learn to love ourselves, and may we show each other how. May we be free.

Day 1328




Built 1899-1900

UPDATE: The church is apparently for sale. Check out the online listing for photos of the interior.

Day 1328

Red Hook Memorial Doughboy

August 19th, 2015



This World War I memorial was dedicated in 1921 in nearby Coffey Park. It was moved here, outside VFW Post 5195, around 1972 after having been vandalized in the park on multiple occasions. One such incident occurred in 1948, when the doughboy "was torn down by a gang of about 40 young toughs . . . [who] shoved at the statue until it broke off just above the ankles and toppled face down to the ground".

The doughboy was sculpted by Augustus Lukeman, who was later hired to carve what would become the country's largest Confederate monument on the side of Stone Mountain, the Georgia landmark where the modern Ku Klux Klan was born. (Lukeman took over at Stone Mountain after the departure of Gutzon Borglum, who would go on to carve Mount Rushmore.)

Day 1328

199 Van Brunt Street

August 19th, 2015



Now home to Friends of Firefighters, this building was an active firehouse from 1872 to 1960.

(That's the R of E.J. TRUM in the background.)

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62 Degraw Street

August 19th, 2015



Zoom in to check out the mermaids and (what I'm guessing were once identifiable as) seashells floating between the corbels at the top of the first-floor facade.

This building is known locally for the OBAMA mural painted on its upper stories.

Day 1328

Looking across the BQE

August 19th, 2015



at the Tower Buildings

Day 1328

Adam Yauch Park

August 19th, 2015



A year after his death, this park was renamed for the late, great member of the Beastie Boys, who grew up playing here. The park's seemingly mundane former name, Palmetto Playground, was actually one of Henry Stern's strangest appellative concoctions. As told by the Parks Department:

Palmetto Playground’s nomenclature was inspired by the names of the surrounding streets: Atlantic Avenue, Columbia Place, and State Street. Columbia is the capitol of South Carolina, an Atlantic state, and the state tree is the Cabbage Palmetto, hence, Palmetto Playground.
(There is at least one trace of Mr. Stern's personality still remaining in the park, however: those dancing bear statues in the background.)

Day 1328

Montero Bar & Grill

August 19th, 2015



Montero's is "the last of the longshoreman’s bars on Atlantic Avenue".

Day 1328

Bret and Nina

August 19th, 2015


Day 1328

Collyer’s Mansion

August 19th, 2015



Homer and Langley Collyer were NYC's most famous hoarders. The reclusive brothers, rumored to be quite wealthy, lived out their lives in a jam-packed Harlem row house "honeycombed with tunnel-like passageways through the piles of newspapers and debris."

One day in 1947, while bringing food to Homer, who had been blind and paralyzed for several years at that point, Langley accidentally triggered one of the many booby traps he had set inside the house, causing a mountain of rubble to collapse and suffocate him. Left alone with nothing to eat, Homer died some days later. Responding to a call, the police discovered Homer's body on March 21. Because the house was so crammed full of junk, they were unaware that Langley lay just ten feet away from his brother. His body wasn't found until April 8.

The Fire Department still uses the term "Collyers' Mansion" to refer to a dangerously overstuffed dwelling. The owners of this home goods shop adopted the name for their original Ditmas Park location, "a tiny store . . . filled with stuff" arranged "like Tetris".

(In the window at left, you can see a reflection of what once was a painted sign for John Curtin Inc., Sail Makers & Canvas Goods — and what now is essentially decor for an Urban Outfitters store, helping to convince its customers that they're enjoying an authentically vintage shopping experience.)

Day 1328

9/11 memorial #257

August 19th, 2015



Lt. Robert F. Wallace

9/11/2001

Day 1331


Day 1331

Sam the Glazier

August 22nd, 2015



Here's a closer look. The window-breaking ballplayer reminded me of an old painted ad I saw on a wall in Bushwick back in 2012. The company name is no longer legible on that ad, but the phone number is — and it matches this one!

Given the age of these two ads, I figured the business had probably gone under some time ago, but it turns out Sam is still glazing away, just down the block from the aforementioned ad in Bushwick.

Looking at Sam's store in Street View, you'll find, on an adjacent wall, another painted ad for the business, this one with a catchy slogan: "Don't hold your new windows up with sticks".

(The Street View image linked to above also reveals an impressive collection of pigeon coops on the roof of the building where the ad is painted.)

Day 1331

Fugitive grapevine

August 22nd, 2015



It escaped from someone's backyard and climbed into the limbs of a mulberry tree.

Day 1331

Eliot Avenue

August 22nd, 2015



That's Mount Olivet Cemetery on the left and All Faiths Cemetery on the right.

Day 1331

Mount Olivet Cemetery

August 22nd, 2015



Rising above the surrounding areas, this hill in Mount Olivet offers an impressive view of the Midtown Manhattan skyline.

Day 1331

Japanese Cemetery

August 22nd, 2015



The Japanese Cemetery at Mount Olivet was established in 1912, making it the oldest Japanese burial section in a city cemetery.

Day 1331

HALLETT

August 22nd, 2015





The patriarch of the Hallett family in Queens was William Hallett. Born in England in 1616, William arrived in America during the 1630s or 1640s and eventually acquired some 2,200 acres that included all of what is now Astoria.

Many of William's descendants were laid to rest in a little family graveyard near the modern-day intersection of Astoria Boulevard and Main Avenue, where the earliest documented headstone was dated 1724. In 1905, the contents of these graves were transferred to this lot in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Here's a look at the site of the old Hallett burial ground today.

While we're on the subject of deceased Halletts, I should mention the grisly demise of William Jr. (William the patriarch's grandson), his pregnant wife, and all five of their children, who were axe-murdered one night in 1708, allegedly by two of their slaves (specifically by one male slave at the urging of his female counterpart).

After the slaves were found guilty and sentenced to death, "the woman was burnt at the stake; her accomplice was hung in gibbets, and placed astride a sharp iron, in which condition he lived some time, and in a state of delirium which ensued, believing himself to be on horseback, would urge forward his supposed animal with the frightful impetuosity of a maniac, while the blood oozing from his lascerated flesh streamed from his feet to the ground."

The preceding account was taken from a history of Newtown, Queens, published in 1852. After retelling the story, the author went on to comment: "How rude the age which could inflict such tortures, however great the crime committed."

The slaying of the Halletts led the New York provincial assembly to pass, later in 1708, "An Act for preventing the Conspiracy of Slaves". The murders also served as part of the backdrop for the slave revolt of 1712, "a violent insurrection of slaves in New York City that resulted in brutal executions and the enactment of harsher slave codes."

Day 1331




I first heard of Louis Windmuller, founder of the Pedestrians Club and "the noblest walker of them all", back in the summer of 2012 when I passed through a little park named after him in Woodside. It seemed fitting that it was only by wandering around myself that I learned about this forgotten practitioner of the peripatetic arts. And then today, completely by chance, I came across his grave right here in Mount Olivet!

Day 1331

Died in accident

August 22nd, 2015


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City Folk

August 22nd, 2015


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Laundry line rainbow

August 22nd, 2015



Looking out through the fence of Mount Olivet Cemetery

Day 1331

Don’t be a fool!

August 22nd, 2015



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Built for the Polish community of Maspeth, this church was dedicated in 1913 and still maintains its Polish identity today.

Here's what the AIA Guide to New York City has to say about the building: "The voluptuous curvilinear verdigris copper steeple makes this church extraordinary. Disney must be jealous."

UPDATE (Oct. 11, 2017): Holy Cross is in the NY Times today: "23 Women Accuse Former Queens Priest of Abusing Them as Children".

Day 1331

Pope John Paul II

August 22nd, 2015



In 1969, nine years before he became the first Polish pope (and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years), the future John Paul II spent the night here at Holy Cross Church during a trip around Canada and the US. (As we previously learned, he also visited St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Brooklyn while he was in town.)

Day 1331

Pope John Paul II Way

August 22nd, 2015





Commemorating the future pope's overnight visit to Holy Cross Church in 1969, the block of 56th Road where the church is located was co-named Pope John Paul II Way in 2014. You can find about a dozen replicas of the street sign on display outside different houses on the block — a show of pride unique among the hundreds of co-named streets I've walked so far.

Day 1331

Our Lady of Lourdes grotto

August 22nd, 2015



Located behind Holy Cross Church. A plaque, dated 1961, reads:

THIS GROTTO IS DEDICATED TO ALL THOSE WHOSE LOVE FOR THE BLESSED MOTHER PROMPTS THEM TO SPEND A MOMENT HERE IN PRAYER AND MEDITATION

Day 1331

Maspeth Central Shop

August 22nd, 2015



Maspeth Central is home to the city DOT's sign shop, which makes traffic and street signs for all five boroughs — some 9,000 to 12,000 signs per month, according to this video. (There was a much cooler sign out front here during the Bloomberg administration.)



Day 1331

Imposing gourds

August 22nd, 2015



They're growing in the same tiny, paved front yard as the cinder-block peppers in the previous photo. Not a bad harvest for a couple dozen square feet of concrete!

Day 1331

Excellent signage

August 22nd, 2015





This is the backside of the city DOT's Maspeth Central Shop, where most of the city's traffic and street signs are made.

Day 1331




This church (not to be confused with the church of the same name in Brooklyn that I mentioned a few posts back) was built in the 1920s on the site of an old Quaker burial ground.

Day 1331

St. Stan’s grotto

August 22nd, 2015


Day 1331

Custom fountain attachment

August 22nd, 2015



A great technological leap forward for those who prefer their drinking water straight from the hydrant.

Day 1331

Curbside cacti

August 22nd, 2015



Day 1331

Portal of the day

August 22nd, 2015


Day 1331

8-month-old Buddy

August 22nd, 2015



Day 1331

F. Kowalinski Post No. 4

August 22nd, 2015



This Polish Legion of American Veterans post is named for Frank Kowalinski, "the first U.S. Army soldier of Polish descent to be killed in combat during World War I".

From 1895 until about 1914, this building was a firehouse, home to Maspeth Engine Company No. 4. You can see a couple of old photos of the firehouse here and here.

UPDATE: On Veterans Day of 2015, a couple of months after I passed by, this block of Maspeth Avenue was co-named Frank Kowalinski Way.

Day 1331

Pathetic little weenie plant

August 22nd, 2015



Colocasia

Day 1331

1963 Ford F-100 pickup

August 22nd, 2015


Day 1331

1953 Buick Super

August 22nd, 2015





Day 1331




Corporal Rodriguez, a Marine, was the first serviceman from New York City to die in the Iraq War.

Day 1331

The upper Lower

August 22nd, 2015



This is an odd spot on the NYC street map. The Lower Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, in the foreground, passes over the through lanes of Flushing Avenue, at bottom, while the local lanes of Flushing Avenue, on the upper level, terminate on either side of the Lower Montauk tracks. If you're not following my unintelligible description of what's going on here, this aerial view should prove much more elucidating.

Day 1331

FUCK YOU

August 22nd, 2015



From The Catcher in the Rye:

But while I was sitting down, I saw something that drove me crazy. Somebody'd written "Fuck you" on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them--all cockeyed, naturally--what it meant, and how they'd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever'd written it.

. . .

I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another "Fuck you" on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn't come off. It's hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the "Fuck you" signs in the world. It's impossible.

. . .

I was the only one left in the [Egyptian] tomb [at the Metropolitan Museum of Art] then. I sort of liked it, in a way. It was so nice and peaceful. Then, all of a sudden, you'd never guess what I saw on the wall. Another "Fuck you." It was written with a red crayon or something, right under the glass part of the wall, under the stones.

That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "Fuck you" right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say "Holden Caulfield" on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say "Fuck you." I'm positive, in fact.

Day 1331

Mildly ominous

August 22nd, 2015