05 January 2008

Joyous Riot of Signage to Make Exit

Brownstoner asks, re: the visually chaotic Russo Reality buildings on south Smith Street in Brooklyn, which are due to be demolished: "Is this the end of an era or just buh-bye to a few eyesores?"

I'll offer an answer. No, it's not the end of an era. But neither is it the eradication of an eyesore. The assemblage of colors, signs, fonts and detail on the two buildings near the Smith and 9th Streets subway stop is too eccentric, too effusive, too expressive of life in New York in all its multifarious weirdness to be considered simply ugly, simply unsightly. The facades are full of flavor and zest. Whoever mounted these layers of ocular stimuli obviously has a knack for living and impromptu design. (They also made being a notary public look exciting and wonderful.) Artists would readily recognized the buildings as found art. If Berenice Abbott were still alive, she's instantly see Russo as worth recording for posterity with her camera.

It's a different time in the life of Smith Street and Carroll Gardens. But, for many year, the Russo buildings were the only cheering things about this desolate, dejected corner of Brooklyn. They served a role. They can't be saved, obviously, but they should be saluted as they go down.


Lisanne said...

That corner will not be the same (obviously), there is no room for "authentic" homespun eccentricity in the new Brooklyn.

Salutes to Russo are in order!

Anonymous said...

I agree. And I wouldn't dare say that on some of the other blogs, because then the "you hate progress, move to Kansas" contingent would pile on.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Yeah, what is it with that claque? They're lying in wait for any sentiment in favor of the past. And they're always so angry and so adamant. I guess they'll find me here one day as well.