April 05, 2014

The Belfast-NY Digital Project - Brownstones and blogging

Sharon Otterman (@sharonNYT), writing in the New York Times here, talks blogging and brownstones. Brownstones being a Brooklyn monument and icon. Otterman profiles the brownstone blogger, Suzanne Spellen a lay historian who writes daily on Brownstoner (@BrownStoner) about brownstones under the name @MontroseMorris (a well known 19th-century Brooklyn architect). Spellen is a lady who once lived between brown walls but was priced out of the borough.
Ms. Spellen’s own Brooklyn story was made in two Brooklyn addresses, 321A Jefferson Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant (an 1875 brownstone she began renting for $500 a month in 1983) and 1310 Pacific Street in Crown Heights (an 1899 three-family rowhouse that she bought in 2000 for $290,000). Both are in neighborhoods where house prices have skyrocketed.

About twice a month, she visits Brooklyn and gives walking tours of neighborhoods she can no longer afford to live in. The irony. She now lives in Troy. There she spends much of the day at her desk researching and writing. Recently she wrote about an 1850s home in Wallabout, Brooklyn where Walt Whitman wrote "Leaves of Grass". She also recently looked at a neo-Classical church in Bedford-Stuyvesant that was built in 1910 as a music hall.

New York Times article in full here.

How apt for the Belfast-NY Digital Project. The project I'm running with Tejas Yadav (@ytejas) from New York. (Tejas introduced the project here. Me here.) Tejas's thing is photography. My thing is art, writing and blogging. I'm a Venn Diagram of different by complimentary crafts.

When I read about the brownstone blogger Suzanne Spellen it clicked for me. She operates at the intersection of history, architecture and writing. I can join that intersection with my art. I can remix and spin a tangent and create something new.

Tejas served the ball with his photography here. It's in my court and now it's my time to make the reply. His medium was photography. Mine is art. I'm going to take his vistas of Brooklyn streets, mix it with the brownstone blogger and create something totally new.

The photos Tejas took are near Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The cafe is called Urban Vintage, and is reminiscent of a chic and sepia era, all at once.

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