Thursday, June 30, 2011

#185: Claw-footed Serifs

Turtle Bay, NYC

A couple of those "rugged individualist" serifs you see from time to time on New York City's mean streets. The elegant gold color's nice enough, but look out for those claws.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

#186: Red Hook Ghost Story

Red Hook, Brooklyn

It was Thursday night, late enough to be early Friday morning, and I was in the back seat of a car headed home from a gig, accordion under my arm. It was my first memory of being out late at night in Red Hook. We were on our way back from the now-defunct Lillie's, where we'd played through our set in coats and wool hats and fingerless gloves in front of two small space heaters -- the only heating in the whole bar though it was mid-January. (Shutting down venues was what we did best. See also Curse of the Peacocks.)

Though we weren't lost, the deserted streets and warehouses suggested that we well might have been. Almost total darkness surrounded us. There was a haunted, distant creak from the marine dock. What if the car ran out of gas? What if something was after us? Where were we, that we could be in New York and yet be plunged in so much darkness? What I remember most is the quality of fear -- not that we were going to be robbed, or shot, or robbed and then shot. But fear that we were going to be attacked by the ghost of a dead sailor.

Looking back on it now, it's too bad we weren't. We could've made a great post-punk sea shanty out of that. And if there are no longer ghosts of dead sailors lurking about Red Hook at night, I can always break in to IKEA and steal a lamp.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#187: Dublin Historic Stone Paving Disbelief

Pearse Street, Dublin

Can a number make you homesick? And if it can, does it matter that the place you're homesick for isn't really your home? I've posted this 187 before, but this image -- the regal, faintly decaying number on Pearse Street -- is fixed with some crazy mnemonic epoxy to my brain. It makes me nostalgic. Nostalgic for Dublin, nostalgic for my just-finished novel, nostalgic for the hours I used to eagerly waste online on Irish architecture websites trawling for up-to-the-minute updates on planning permission quibbles, ignorant fenestration, and, perhaps my favorite: "Dublin historic stone paving disbelief."

Yes, not only did I read about such things in my "research" days, I was an active irritant in these contentious discussions, commenting from my balcony like some Statler-less Waldorf on the warp and weft of a city's urban fabric -- a city, by the way, that was not even my own. I fancied myself some sort of stone paving paparazzo, snapping up pix of Chinese granite on Henrietta Street on my research trips to Dublin, then dashing back to the nearest computer to upload the pictures before anyone else could. All of this stuff felt so important to me.

And still does. But my research is done. Pearse Street is an ocean away. It's funny to look at the finished product, this coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl in Dublin in the mid-nineties, and wonder how leafing through complicated An Taisce conservation documents and poring over meticulous descriptions of external weathering made my book any better or worse. The hamfisted masonry work on Dublin's pavements did not make it into my final manuscript. Cracked syringes did.

In any case, I'm still interested in the life of this #187. Despite all the changes going on in the area -- Trinity College has designs on it -- this building on Pearse Street is a protected structure, which means that despite its weathered appearance, it will be around for at least a little longer. The nostalgic side of me is happy to hear it, though I'm reminded of what my friend Stephen used to say to conservationist building-huggers such as myself: "That's a protected structure! Don't knock it down, just let it turn to shit."

He should've added: "And then write a blog post about it." Nostalgia this bad dies a slow death.

Monday, June 27, 2011

#188: Primary

Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

#190: Boxed In

East Village, NYC

Friday, June 24, 2011

#191: Frosted

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#196: Tapestry

U.N. Building, NYC

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#197: Shadowboxing

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Friday, June 17, 2011

#198: Lonesome 8

Yorkville, NYC

Some see ill-spaced numbers; I see pathos.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#199: Saint Andrews House

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Note to the grammar police: there's no apostrophe on the Saint Andrews sign so I'm not adding one here to the title. Note to the &7 police (dear readers, occasional followers, curiosity seekers): word duties (riffing, spinning, storytelling, blathering on, wondering, speculating, and related nonsense) to resume here shortly. It's been a long offline slog that's taken me away from my writing here but the end, I believe, is in sight. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures as we boldly go onward through the next hundred numbers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#200: Texturized

Upper West Side, NYC

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#201: Grasslands

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

#203: Curtains

East Village, NYC

Saturday, June 11, 2011

#204: Red Hook Pier 41

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook in the summer can't be beat. While you're in the neighborhood, grab a frozen "piesicle" from Steve's Key Lime Pies. Seriously, folks. A mini key lime pie covered in chocolate -- on a stick!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#207: Intrepid Wheelie Bins

North Circular Road, Dublin

This one's from my Intrepid Wheelie Bins Series (TM). See also Dublin City Logo: Three Castles, Eight Ways. What can I say? I'm in this line of work for the status and glory.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#208: Ragged Banner

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Monday, June 6, 2011

#209: Blue Brick

Meatpacking District, NYC

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011