Thursday, April 13, 2006
come take a look at Leah Beeferman's gowanus,
"a map of history, fact & fantasy" about the gowanus canal neighborhood in brooklyn.
it’s a lovely map, full of cool details, her site has a larger, downloaded version that you can print out and imagine the place with. “Washington Park, formerly located at roughly 3rd Ave, between 1st and 3rd Streets, was the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers (then called the Superbas) from 1898 – 1912, the Dodgers then moved to their famous next stadium, Ebbets Field, before relocating to Los Angeles. All that remains of Washington Park is the wall, which – although it has been painted over – still stands along 3rd Avenue.”
this map feels like a many things at one time - a sketchbook, an afternoon of coffee and wandering around with a friend, and visual/anecdotal history of a place, it feels, you know, real...
there are so many layers to a place, hard and soft layers, who lived here, what used to be here, things come in, things vanish without a trace, all the time, you really have to literally read the sidewalk to learn about a place’s history – different textures, for example, indicate the original size of a street, give clues about what kind of place a neighborhood once was.
and the softness a city, not buildings nor bones but the spaces in between, the morsels made for us, living in rhythm, losing our breaths. between the stanzas of telephone lines... a calligraphy of pigeons swirling above us in fading ink, the breakbeats of the marketplace, earrings, beads, and butchers, twinkling and cleaving in synch, the ghost stories we hear about... “that blue building, with the balconies, they say it’s haunted, you know... think about it... why else would there be a temple nearby?” and, of course, under all this, concrete, gravel, piping, electrical lines, and deeper still, infill. all of this was water once.