Tucker Place Park

February 18, 2007

Wedged between the fishing piers and a bait store, Tucker Place Park is a tiny bit of land (1/10 of an acre) alongside Sheepshead Bay.

Located at the corner of 27th Street and Emmons Avenue, it is named for J. Driscoll Tucker, a hard-drinking Brooklyn politician once known as the “Mayor of Sheepshead Bay.”

The little park contains a drinking fountain, some flowers, a few benches and, on a good day, a couple of sunny little faces.

Sign at Tucker Place Park
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Twin gulls at Tucker Place Park
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Twin girls at Tucker Place Park
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Driscoll Tucker Place

Mysteries of Brooklyn: The Painted Kiosk

February 17, 2007

Dere’s no guy livin’ dat knows Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo, because it’d take a guy a lifetime just to find his way aroun’ duh f_____ town.
— Thomas Wolfe, Only the Dead Know Brooklyn, 1935

A narrow, wooden pedestrian-only bridge connects Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay to Shore Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. Built in 1880, the span is known as the Ocean Avenue Bridge.

At base of the bridge, at the corner of Shore Boulevard and Exeter Street, stands a shabby wooden kiosk. No signs indicate the purpose of the hexagonal structure. 

On one side of the minuscule building is a boarded up door and an ancient air conditioner clogged with paint. The other five sides feature plywood panels carefully painted with fanciful, colorful scenes. 

Who painted them — and why? A name and date appear on some of the panels, but time has made the script difficult to decipher. Is the date “74″ or “94″? Does the signature say “Salystein”? “Sacystein”? “Szcystein”? “Sackstein”?

For those in the neighborhood, it is just part of the landscape. Every day dozens of joggers and strollers pass without even glancing at the little kiosk or its fantastic menagerie. Just another of Brooklyn’s many mysteries.

The kiosk
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Dog panel
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Fish panel
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Cat panel
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Bird panel
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Flower panel
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Wikipedia: Manhattan Beach
NY Times: Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach Community Group
Kingsborough Community College

The Windows at 65 E. 97th St.

February 8, 2007

East 97th Street marks the uppermost border of the Upper East Side, New York City’s wealthiest neighborhood. Turn south and you will face mansions and embassies. Turn north and you will be in El Barrio, Spanish Harlem.

I was walking along East 97th Street when, at Number 65, I was capitvated by an unexpected display. The ground-floor resident has decorated the front windows with an array of plants (both real and artificial), garlands, animal figurines, flags, signs and bric-a-brac.

On this otherwise staid, quiet block of stately Manhattan residences, the tacky, gaudy riot of color bursting forth from Number 65 is startling, puzzling and (to me, at least) amusing.

Elephant in window
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Frog in window
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Bull in window
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Rooster & artificial flowers in window
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Living La Cheeto Loca

February 1, 2007

I appreciate good design, but interior decorating isn’t a part of my life. In fact, you’d probably have to look hard to find someone less concerned about styles and trends in interior design.

I can’t imagine what an interior decorator would do in my home, but it’s a fair bet it would look like an entirely different place; I don’t have “themes” and “color schemes,” just furniture and stuff.

Nevertheless, I recently visited the New York Design Center, a building devoted to interior designers and furniture showrooms. While entering the fifth floor offices of Cliff Young Ltd., I saw a piece that made me stop dead in my tracks.

The item, created by Italian furniture manufacturer Della Robbia, is called the Bon Bon Ottoman. It measures 20” w x 20” d x 17” h and it is mounted on casters so that easily rolls across the floor.

The tag says that it is solidy constructed from hardwood and New Zealand wool, but to my eye it appears as though it is made entirely of Cheetos.

I imagine this thing in the den of a weary suburban dad—someone, perhaps, like Homer Simpson. He slumps in his lounge chair, a can of beer in one hand, the television remote resting on his belly. His eyes are glued to his big-screen TV. With his free hand, he gropes blindly for the bowl of cheesy snacks resting on the Bon Bon near his elbow. He grabs a handful, stuffs them in his gullet, and then, unthinkingly, wipes his orange-stained fingers across the surface of the woolly ottoman.

His long-suffering wife watches him smear crushed Cheetos on the furniture, smiles to herself and thinks, “Yes, my man is still a slob, but thanks to my Bon Bon Ottoman, no one will ever know.”

I can’t remember ever lusting after a piece of furniture (OK, I’ve never lusted after furniture before), and I accept the fact that the price-tag puts this thing firmly out of reach, but I am now madly, hopelessly in love with the Bon Bon Ottoman.

If anyone out there has a spare Bon Bon, I’ll happily give it a new home. Just let me know; I’m ready to start living La Cheeto Loca.

Bon Bon Ottoman
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Originally uploaded by annulla.

Homer Simpson
Originally uploaded by annulla.

New York Design Center
Cliff Young, Ltd.
DellaRobbia Furniture
Homer Simpson

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