Friday, May 9, 2008

My Father's Subway Stop

There was an amazing piece of art in the Greenpoint subway yesterday morning. My father's stop on the G line...

I love this. I'm not quite convinced of the paper towel imagery -- but I really like the concept and the execution.

The thing about public conversation, though, is that... well... the public gets involved.

Here's a comment from AnnonEMouse

"Why are there such pointless idiots living in Brooklyn? Why? All that's gonna happen is those papertowels are gonna litter the entire platform --or worse be used to clean noses & butts-- and then disposed of on the tracks to create fires just in time for rush hour..."

Pointless idiots. One could say this of all artists, really -- couldn't one? Just littering the streets... filling the world with more pages and pages of waste.
The word idiot is a little contagious...

"What kind of idiot knowingly moves into an area on top of a oil spill?
This wasn't a big secret, tards. We've known about it for years. Thats what happens in a district that used to contain oil refineries." jaja007

I suppose I'm a little defensive. And a little annoyed. Defensive because not everyone chose to live there, of course. In this sentence seems such the clear disposal of the people who lived there before the gentrification -- and still live there. I was amazed at how much polish there was there still -- people still speaking it in the streets and in the stores -- young people, children. Furthermore, the only reason anyone cares at all now is because of the desirable land -- the view of Manhattan -- the proximity to the city.

I was at a poetry reading last night, and out to dinner after I was talking with my friend about one of the poems in the program -- wasn't it tongue in cheek, he said... the poem talked about the misfortunes of a family in poverty in Gloucester Massachusetts. The poem laughed at pregnancy and alcohol and drugs and poverty. I know, I sound like such a stick in the mud. "maybe he lived there," said my friend. Maybe -- but he didn't live there -- live there as in understand and reside.

The obvious exclusion in both of these conversations is the fact of lack of choice and alternative for so many people. And not just the lack of choice -- the way that the people without choice simply disappear in the sentence
as if they didn't exist.

Who moves there? Idiots. Who lives there...

This is what Nassau Avenue (or near) looked like when my father was little.

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