Street art Sunday: self-referential irony

IMG_5760 (Edited)Today’s look at Brooklyn street art focuses on street art that’s not only aware of itself as street art, it demands that you be aware of it, too.

Like this late, great piece in Gowanus, dripping with irony as well as gold.

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Then there’s this contribution, which can still be seen in Bed Stuy.

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And this from Bushwick, with extra irony courtesy of a passerby.

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But my hands-down favorite is the piece at the top of this post, found in Sunset Park. I like the fact that there’s nothing ironic about it. It’s clever, sure, but it’s cleverness that celebrates creativity, not the other way around.

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Street art Sunday: women

IMG_6888In honor of women’s history month (a thing only in the United States, where we like to declare months to compensate for our neglect the rest of the year) and International Women’s Day, coming up on Friday, this week’s street art post focuses on images of strong, beautiful women and girls around Brooklyn. The spectacular mural at the top of this post can be found at Nostrand and Greene Av in Bed Stuy. It celebrates women who’ve changed the world for the better, including Shirley Chisholm (on horseback, armored for battle), Audre Lorde, Dolores Huerta, Clara Lemlich, Dorothy Day, and many others.

If you don’t know who any of these women are, you should. Continue reading

Gowanus speaks

5E992C7E-78BF-4DEB-BB32-F6ED93413FA7The street artist who pastes cryptic sayings on walls around the city is back at it. And how better to dip my toe back into the world of blogging than to post these two additions to this blog’s coverage of his/her work? (You can see previous examples here and here.)

The photo at the top of this post is from the “build it green” re-use center on 9th St between Second Av and the Gowanus Canal. The one below is from the exterior of the defunct Morbid Anatomy Museum at Third Av and 7th St.

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And yes – the fact that I’m once again posting snapshots of things seen on the run around Brooklyn means I’m, well, back to running around Brooklyn. It’s been a long and tedious recovery from my elbow fracture, but I now have more-or-less full use of both arms, which means: more running! more birding! more two-fisted eating!

And more blogging, too.

(In the meantime – if you see more examples of these posters, please: pass ’em along.)

I find my Cuban spot

My Cuban Spot

Louie Estrada’s Cuban spot is now mine, too

What does it take to rouse this blog from its slumbers? What it takes, evidently,  is a jolt of sugar and caffeine, followed by a sharp slash of yellow mustard. Sour orange juice, garlic, salt and pork help, too.

Which is to say . . . I had lunch at this counter in Gowanus, and just had to write about it. My initial plan was to include it in my annual NYC marathon course round-up (yes, installment #3 will be arriving soon), but (a) My Cuban Spot is closed on Sundays and (b) it really deserves its own post. (UPDATE: the restaurant is now *open* on Sundays starting at noon. It’s closed Mondays.) Continue reading

Afterlife of a sign

IMG_5318One of my first posts when I started this blog three years ago was a tribute to the Kentile Floors sign that once graced the Gowanus skyline, rising above Second Avenue at 8th Street. The last letters disappeared in early July of 2014; coming home on the F train hasn’t been the same since.

The sign is gone, and Kentile floor coverings themselves are even longer gone, but you can still buy a “Mens Kentile Floors T Shirt in Rust Orange” from Livepoultry designs for $28 on Etsy. Or, for $20, a DIY model kit made from chipboard (“a 100% recycled material”) by Boundless Brooklyn.

Or you can seek out tributes on walls around the borough – from the walls of the luxury condo developments that have replaced manufacturing enterprises, to walls shadowed by public housing projects where former manufacturing workers and their children and grandchildren, employed in other sectors or not at all, live.  Continue reading

Race report: Superfund, super fun (September 8, 2016)

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Pre-race. Is that red “stop” hand trying to tell us something?

Here’s a great idea. Let’s gather a group of runners at an otherwise deserted playground in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, at 10 pm on a Thursday night and instruct them to run from one of the nation’s most polluted waterways (Newtown Creek) to another of the nation’s most polluted waterways (the Gowanus Canal). Other than starting together and crossing the same finish, there’s no set route for the (roughly) 10K distance. It’s up to each runner to figure it out.

Sound like fun?  Continue reading