Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brooklyn Mysteries

Over the past two days, I've wandered about Brooklyn looking at older buildings and wondering about their history. These particular buildings reveal their pasts through painted facades. Here's one near the Brooklyn Bridge. The name of the business is affixed to the upper level. it reads "The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company. Today the building is probably lofts and condos, but once it was part of the Brooklyn Docks area where goods were stored awaiting shipment to other destinations whether by ship, rail, or truck. The Brooklyn Bridge area teamed with shipping and warehouses, dockworkers and ships. Today it's full of upscale restaurants and housing. 

Near this warehouse is another fine building which housed business offices for the Brooklyn City Railroad Company. I wish I'd taken a closed picture of the historic marker and of the stonework. I'll have to walk down and photograph this building again. The ironwork is stunning and the gates have dragon finials on them.

Today, I walked over to Park Slope. It was a really long walk. I now have a better sense of the neighborhoods between Brooklyn Heights and the Slope. Both are very upscale and trendy although I must say when I returned to Brooklyn Heights, it felt like home.

Along the way, I was more warehouses which have been turned into artists studios. This one was the National Packing Box Factory.

It's just on the east side of the Gowanus Canal.

There's actually a drawbridge over the canal and I could smell the salt water as I crossed over the very stagnant water. Here are some photos of the area as it is today

Once a swamp that the colonists used to their advantage to foil British troops, it's been channeled and dredged. Today there are projects to study the Indian tribes and early settlements in the area. The Ratser map shows the area in 1766 Wikipedia  has a nice historical essay about the canal which has been neglected and is now being cleaned up as part of a superfund project.

Once I found Park Slope, I found a beautiful branch of the Brooklyn Public library. It is in a traditional building. I really wanted to go inside and peruse the collection but my feet were tired and there was a huge hill to climb from whence Park Slope gets its name.

One more interesting building, this one in white with metal or enamel plaques with lions heads. I couldn't resist taking a picture.

I'm discovering that the sights and sounds of Brooklyn are endless. When I left Park Slope, footsore and thirsty, I boarded the B63 and rode up 5th Street to Atlantic Avenue. In front of me was the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, an extremely tall building that marked the street where I lived 30 years ago. I now know that I live about a mile from Fort Green and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I have no recollection of any of the landmarks however. The area is completely gentrified and absolutely renovated. The streets headed away from the tower on Atlantic Avenue were filled with signs in Arabic, a definite change from the Brooklyn of several decades ago.

1 comment:

Robin said...

That whole area of Brooklyn is so different than it was 25 yrs. ago- Williamsburg is the most changed.