Monday, December 12, 2011
ATM $10 Bills
This was somewhat a replay of my experience in Harlem visiting the churches known for gospel singing. People, places, and things are not zoo specimens for the voyeur. I always feel conflicted when visiting areas where I am clearly the outsider. Worse with a camera. I am sure that even my sincerest efforts to be part of another's world for a short time is perceived as slumming. And to some extent, it is.
However, I was curious about Canarsie. For no reason, except that in all the years I have lived in New York City, I had never been there. I had one friend who had lived there for some time, and he painted a much less than glamorous picture. Slumming is not admirable either for the curious or photojournalist, but I went anyway to see what I could see. I thought I would combine the outing with a meal and found Armando's Pizzeria to be highly recommended. Some said it was the best in Brooklyn.
I was chasing the sun as one does this time of year, and by the time I got to Canarsie, it was already dark. Bad for photography and bad to really get a feel for a new place. And bad neighborhoods just look worse at night. Before heading north into the center of the neighborhood, I saw a turnoff for Canarsie Pier. I was right there, so no big investment of time to explore this little waterside park. I was blessed with one of the most spectacular moons I have ever seen. So much so that I was going to call this story Moonrise Over Canarsie (see Ansel Adams Moonrise Over Hernandez). I ran out of my car. The night was frigid, and my hurried snapshot does not do the moon justice.
From there, I headed north on one of Canarsie's main thoroughfares, Rockaway Parkway, where Armando's Pizza was located. Initially, the bungalows and smaller homes just spoke of a neighborhood that appeared to be modest but tidy. When I arrived to the main shopping area, the gritty reality of Canarsie made itself abundantly clear. Dollar stores and discount shops dotted the main avenue. I drove to Armando's, at 1413 Rockaway Avenue. This was not at all how I had envisioned the place. It was essentially a slices-to-go type of operation with a few seats. I was clearly the interloper.
In a flagging economy with 10% unemployment, visiting neighborhoods like Canarsie is not going to lift one's spirits. Slapped over their menu specials, as if it were more important, a sign in the greasy windows said it all: ATM $10 Bills…
Related Posts: Moonrise Over Hernandez, Dot My I, Back to Our Main Feature