This lot used to be an auto repair shop. Visible from almost any direction was a sign reading NO AIR, just in case any deflated motorists or cyclists on Smith Street had ideas about filling up there. The garage burned down years ago, so I’m not sure whatever is going up constitutes gentrification, but given the state of things in that part of the neighborhood, I imagine it will be expensive and therefore exclusive, which is what we usually mean when we say “gentrified.”
I don’t know what happened to this car. I used to see it on the street occasionally but haven’t for a few years now. The day I made this photograph was hot and damp, humid following a late-summer shower or storm. It was a perfect day for a shot like this, the hazy warm light, the blue tint of the auto glass and paint.
It was over 90° when I made this exposure on the east side of Carroll Gardens. The street you see (click the image for a larger version) is a single-block one way, situated between Smith and Court Streets, whose terminal streets are one ways in opposite directions. That is, the only entry to this short street is a right turn from the direction of Smith St., and the sole exit is a right turn in the direction of Smith St.
There are other such streets in the area, but they usually stretch among longer blocks and look very much like their neighboring streets: same kinds of brownstones, mostly, same types of trees, cars parallel parked for the full lengths of the blocks. The street above, however, differs from its surroundings in two essential ways. First, its narrowness prohibits on-street parking and the buildings lack garages, so there is little, if any, car traffic. The street is thus a near-perfect place to play. Except that: second, there are no trees and therefore no shade. This latter distinction was felt acutely on the day I walked by.
Practically speaking, none of these details occurred to me when I took the picture. What did I have my eye on? My eye was on the game at the middle of the block which I had photographed from the opposite end of the street not long before. It was only while editing this photo that I noticed the boy with the placard and unseasonable Sherlock Holmes hat. And so he emerged as the image’s walker.