These images are from a series I shot at the Institute of Higher Burning, an “outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere graffiti Mecca, where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building”.
This weekend I got to wander a Brooklyn landscape that resembled my old Suffolk home more than anywhere else I’ve seen this side of the pond — and it used to be a huge garbage landfill site. Gentle hills, empty trails, butterflies and wild flowers are all part of the newly restored Pen Park, just yards from the Belt Parkway. Thanks to the Jamaica Bay Greenway Coalition for setting up the trip, and to NYCDEP for access and the guided walk around the site.
“Where once was visible garbage, native little bluestem and other grasses wave in the winds off the water. Small plantings of cedars, oaks and pine trees are beginning to thrive. Osprey are nesting along the shoreline. Gravel roads circle the shoreline of the landfills and run to their summit, offering extraordinary 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline to the Atlantic Ocean.” From The Regional Plan Association.
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“buildOn’s afterschool youth service programs mobilize urban teens to lift up their communities and change the world through intensive local community service and by building schools in some of the poorest countries on the planet. We are a movement of students, educators and communities. We believe in the power of partnerships that passionately act for the common good. Through our afterschool programs, teens inspire people across neighborhoods, across cities, and across continents to reach and think beyond their realm of possibility.”
Friends at RockStar Games invited me to shoot the Red Hook Crit — a series of bike and running races at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
“The Red Hook Criterium is an unsanctioned race series consisting of world class road racers, track specialists, bike messengers, and urban athletes competing over multiple laps around a short, technical circuit. Fixed gear track bikes are mandatory requiring riders to possess both street tuned handling skills and high levels of fitness.” More here >
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In Gerritsen Beach in southeastern Brooklyn, near Marine Park, people are experiencing intense post-Sandy hardship. The flood damage to the area was severe, and residents have no prospect of power being restored anytime soon; one resident heard that Gerritsen Beach would trail at least seven days behind lower Manhattan in powering up again.
Many households are almost out of gasoline, with no methods of cooking or heating available to them. In every home I visited, the ground floor was sodden and covered in sludge. A strong, muddy-chemical smell pervaded the damp air. (New York magazine has some excellent reporting from Gerritsen Beach.)
People in this part of the city feel forgotten and cut-off, that their prospects are grim. They are steeling themselves for the unknown number of cold, dark days and nights ahead of them. Thankfully, the Red Cross is on the scene, and you can donate or apply to volunteer here.