Go to almost any neighborhood in New York City this time of year and the main drag will be garlanded with Christmas lights, hanging over the street like a luminescent canopy. But on Court Street, the primary artery of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, you'll find two, count 'em, two strands of holiday lights, both on the block between Union and President. The rest of the strip? Dark.
In the 1990s, when I moved to Carroll Gardens, the whole of Court Street was adorned with Christmas lights. This continued for a number of years until one year—gone! Nothing. I asked around. Storekeepers told me that the lights were paid for by the area merchants and that year not enough of them would kick in the dough to help foot the bill. The circumstances went back and force after that: sometimes they'd be lights, sometimes not. Lately, it's not. The Court Street BID (if there is such a thing) is a chintzy outfit.
I have never seen an isolated block of Christmas lights, however. It's peculiar, almost anarchic. I asked around. Marco Polo Restaurant laid claim to the strand near them. The other appears to be the work of Esposito Pork Store. "It was like pulling teeth," said the man behind the counter, when asked about the lights. The other merchants wouldn't give a cent. I felt for the guy. The subject was obviously a sore one for him.
So here's to the spirit of Court Street between Union and President! That block has its heart in the right place. As for the rest of the street, well, you know now what your New Year's Resolution ought to be.