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October 10, 2006


2006-10-05_BNY 112.jpg

We toured several houses during our last visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This time, we were far more methodical, Alexis looking at the big picture, I the small. We watched light filter through dirty, broken windows and took note of how the traffic on Flushing Avenue made shadows dance against the peeling walls.

Things had changed since my spring visit. A cornice had fallen. Trees leaned. Ivy had made its way further into bedrooms and a small sapling protruded from an upstairs toilet bowl. In some cases, entire pieces of houses-- later additions to the original structures-- had slid off. When I closed my eyes and opened them slowly, it was sometimes difficult to discern what was inside and what was out.

Environment had reclaimed space. It was a stark reminder of how insistent and resilient nature can be. We might intrude upon it, dig, build, shape and prune but eventually, when we stop looking or caring, it regains control. Despite the politics surrounding abandonment and accountability, seeing nature surround and conquer left me with an odd but peaceful feeling. Perhaps I shouldn't feel that way, but I can't help it.

Now I want to know how all of the cedar closets seem to have survived. Most looked untouched, almost as though someone had snuck in during the night and relined them, despite the fact that, more often than not, the surrounding floors had all but disappeared.

Posted by callalillie at October 10, 2006 7:06 AM | Brooklyn Navy Yard , City Life , Introspect


Cedar is a naturally strong and resilient wood--it is what a large number of home decks are made of. It does seem strange that, based on the shape of the rest of the structures, the closets survived so well though.

Posted by: RD at October 10, 2006 10:33 AM

One was even doing well near an open roof, surrounded by charred debris from a fire. Pretty remarkable.

Posted by: corie at October 10, 2006 1:18 PM

photo is beautiful.

Posted by: leyla at October 10, 2006 3:58 PM

It makes me feel peaceful too. I've always liked it when nature starts to reclaim a space. Probably why I'm attracted to ruins and to old houses with ivy peeking through. I like the newest "Secret Garden" movie for that reason too: a tower room with vines and doves flowing through it.

Posted by: kelly at October 12, 2006 4:16 PM

Please take me along next time, guys! Dying to check it out.

Posted by: Brownstoner at October 15, 2006 8:31 PM

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