light pollution

October 19th, 2009 | Posted by Jill in parks and museums | south slope - (2 Comments)

light pollution

I admit: I have a love-hate relationship with the Prospect Expressway. I know Sufjan Stevens already got dibs on the BQE, but I would be more than happy cursing and praising the Expressway while I’m hula hooping in the South Slope.

The majority of my hate (or serious dislike, since we’re all about the love here) stems from living next to the Expressway three stories up from the traffic below. Its lovely dim roar was a kind of post-apocalyptic urban lullaby from which I could never escape. It also afforded beautiful views of Manhattan and the Empire State Building… as long as you could drown out the noise.

On the flip side, because the city knew what a grand gesture it was to split the South Slope up with a massive highway in the 1950′s, they planted a beautiful series of parks which line the Expressway with benches and picnic tables and trees and dog runs and small community gardens. Whew.

And lots of nice walking paths. I love them especially.

Check out a map here to see how these 15 small parks are laid out. And do yourself a favor next time you’re in the neighborhood — Take a walk, even if it’s nighttime!

[ed. note - Thanks to the fine folks at Brownstoner for featuring this shot. I learned from one of the commenters that the dog run along this stretch of the Expressway is unofficial, but there is a petition out to get it recognized by the city. If you're so inclined, sign it here!]

open house new york

October 11th, 2009 | Posted by Jill in Uncategorized - (5 Comments)

the tunnel

This weekend marked the seventh annual Open House New York celebration, which grants public access to many architecturally-significant and culturally interesting landmarks in the NYC area not otherwise open often (or ever, in some cases). The program this year featured loads of really exciting tours, many of which sold out in advance.

I opted to try and grab tickets for the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel tour, and to my good fortune, I was able to reserve two spots before it sold out. The tour takes you down below the street level into the world’s oldest subway tunnel, which was lost for decades until a man named Bob Diamond rediscovered its location in 1980. After excavating the tunnel and trying (without success) to petition the city government to put it to good re-use, Diamond founded an organization to lead tours, preserve its history, and promote the tunnel as a fascinating historical landmark in New York city history. Check out his organization’s website (and full history of the tunnel) here.

I can heartily recommend the tour, which they give monthly, and with plenty of excitement, I brought my tripod and a flashlight. Check out my Open House photos and captions below!

Two volunteers from the Open House New York staff and BHRA set up traffic barriers and remove the manhole in the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in Brooklyn.

Two volunteers from the Open House New York staff and BHRA set up traffic barriers and remove the manhole in the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in Brooklyn.

The tour guide led groups of us down into the tunnel via the manhole in the middle of the street.  That felt pretty awesome, as the cars were zooming by.  Strangely, you couldnt really hear much street noise at all.

The tour guide led groups of us down into the tunnel via the manhole in the middle of the street. That felt pretty awesome, as the cars were zooming by. Strangely, you couldn't really hear much street noise at all.

After coming down through the manhole, we entered the antechamber. This is where Bob Diamond crawled through and made his discovery.

This shot is from near the end of the tunnel, not 200 yards from the Hudson River and New York Bay.  There is a giant stone wall at the end of the tunnel, in which they believe that an old steam engine is buried.  Lets hope that the city and powers that be grant them money to excavate and find out!!

This shot is from near the end of the tunnel, not 200 yards from the Hudson River and New York Bay. There is a giant stone wall at the end of the tunnel, in which they believe that an old steam engine is buried. Let's hope that the city and powers that be grant them money to excavate and find out!!

brooklyn harvest

October 10th, 2009 | Posted by Jill in food + drink | south slope - (2 Comments)

brooklyn harvest

My neighbors up the block have been growing wheat all summer in their front yard. While I’m mildly surprised on a regular basis by all the things I see in my neighborhood, this one takes the cake for this week. I’m just waiting until someone is out there, threshing the grains with old farm tools and grinding them into flour out on the sidewalk.

I really wouldn’t be that surprised.

dream factory

October 9th, 2009 | Posted by Matt in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

factory

It seemed like a dream. Prior to this day, I had no idea this place existed, and until I found it on Google Maps, I was pretty sure it was all a dream.

It had to be in the 90′s that day, and after riding my bike for the previous hour in the blistering sun, I was delirious. Peter knew where we going and the sun didn’t seem to bother him too much. But I was dying. It was nice to hide in the shade given off by the factory wall and drink some water. Looking down the abandoned cobblestone street in between these massive structures, one could only imagine what it would have looked like filled with trucks, workers, industry and life. The desolation added to the hazy dreaminess of the locale.

Now as the cold breeze begins to blow the leaves from the trees, I daydream of a Sunday in late August, riding along the Gowanus Bay taking pictures.