Beadel Street & Porter Avenue

16 Jul

I kind of want to start a column about the weather. Not a weather forecast but a weather “aft” cast – looking back (of course, the past!) on what the weather was on any given day or week. A sort of summary of highs and lows and sunlight. The ultimate idea being to see if one can find the weather “mood” of any certain stretch of time. What did a week of this type of weather feel like? And when we imagine that feeling, do the days themselves, as they actually were, suffice to stand in as the image of that feeling, or can we think of something else that’s better? It’s fairly easy with the extremes: a string of 95 degree days can more or less represent themselves, as their own image, but what about a string of 39 degree days? Especially as compared to, let’s say, a few days of 34 degrees?

Luckily this past week is pretty easy – because we had a blizzard! Remember? Remember what it felt like? You knew ahead of time what it would feel like, right? Did it feel like what it should have felt like? For me it felt like what it should have felt like, and so I was happy, because my mood was already there in preparation, waiting for the blizzard to come – to come and confirm my mood. There was a wonderful amount of purple in the air as the night came on, and the snow never really let go of it. Turn off all the lights in your house and lie down on the floor – this color doesn’t exist any other time of year.

That’s the great thing about a lot of snow: you can’t pretend (like we inevitably have to the majority of the time) that a snow day is just another day, the same as any other day and interchangeable. That’s generally why when you know that it’s supposed to snow you want it to really snow. The schedule we place upon reality is shown up by reality. Rampant capitalism* wants to imagine that there’s no difference between this place and any other place, they’re all simply the market. And it wants to make that imagining come true. Well sorry rampant capitalism, not today, it’s snowing out!

Yeah, so I didn’t do too much; I let the snow provide a break from my normal routine. I did take a nice walk with my gal-pal, around the edges of Newtown Creek and the BQE, any street where ours would be the first footprints of the day. I usually equate this industrial landscape with the summertime, a humid pause in the shade of some sheet metal, but it can stand in so nicely for the wintertime as well. The snow whites out the rest of the city and you’re left certain that you’re standing on the fringe of things. Porter Avenue runs right along Keyspan’s giant property in East Williamsburg, or maybe along a barren farm in Kansas – on a day like Wednesday it can be hard to tell. So turning from that view onto Beadel Street made it feel like that much more of an arrival.

Beadel Street is a perfectly intact residential block of two story brick buildings – most of them two family houses by the look of things. It’s a beautiful street and it’s significant in that it’s the only completely residential block any where around here. The fact that it’s as far east as you can get without being in total industry, and that it’s made up of all small buildings, only adds to its perfection. Turning onto this street, I wasn’t home yet, but that’s pretty much the emotion it imparted. All the lots and warehouses and trucks that surround it serve a similar purpose to the falling snow – they blanket and cushion and make the space you’ve chosen to live in that much more defined. All right, maybe they’re noisy and ugly most of the time; there’s an oil-spill right underneath you, and to actually live here you’re basically cut off from everything else. But what are the chances you’re actually going to live here? You can pretty much only live in one place at a time. You can dream anywhere though.

*No affiliation with Rampant Sipping

(Originally posted Feb. 12th, 2010 on


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