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

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