Fun With Rock Photography in New York City
(Or: Don’t F**K With The DOS’s Boulder)
It could be argued that the only thing I like more than getting a good mind fuck is administering one. You know what they say: it is much better to give than to receive. Today I arose to a beautiful day and after catching myself staring wistfully out my living room window one too many times I decided to table the blog and go for a walk. A long walk. On days such as this I long to get a little taste of spring time— albeit not in the manner many of my fellow New Yorkers do. When they head to the park or take a nice stroll along the waterfront I pay a visit to the hinterlands of north Brooklyn Industrialville. To bastardize my buddy Brando Robert Duvall* from Apocalypse Now:
I love the smell of PCBs in the morning.
Which brings me to the not-so-small rock gracing the beginning of this post and the subject of mind fucks. I found this item on Gardiner Avenue just north of Varick Street. For those of you who are not in the know this rock is located on a rather sizable plot of land owned by the Department of Sanitation. This facility is patrolled by a security guard who I had the pleasure of meeting. He was your average Joe with a job to do; in this case, preventing people (ostensibly terrorists) from photographing their installation. Our conversation started as follows:
You can’t photograph that.
He said. To wit I replied:
I’m not going to argue with you, but could you tell me why this rock is painted green?
“That rock belongs to the Department of Sanitation” he said “and they do not want anyone taking photographs of their facility”.
I said. “Believe you me the last place I want to hang out at on a pretty day like this is a waste transfer facility on Whale Creek. I simply like to photograph oddities. Take that truck down the street, for example…
…I’ve found Betty Boop on more things than you can possibly imagine. Just a couple weeks ago a found a refrigerator covered in Betty Boop stickers. I took a photograph of that too. As for that rock, well, I suppose it makes sense that the Department of Sanitation would paint it green. As you said, it is their rock and they can do with it whatever they wish. There are a lot of big rocks in this area. Many of them are painted and I have taken photographs of a number of them. There’s one at the intersection George Street and Evergreen Avenue someone has clad in plaid.
I really like that one.”
There’s also a rather nice boulder at the corner of Vandervoort Avenue and Division Place. It advertises sand and gravel for sale. A pretty witty selling tool if you ask me.
Then of course there’s the rock at Morgan Avenue and Rock Street.
That one has since been removed. Why I don’t know. Some people thought it was ugly but I rather liked it.
And then you have Arbitration Rock. Haven’t seen that one yet but I plan to!
It was at this point my new friend smiled. I suspect his years of experience informed him that a daft 30-something broad clad in pink pants, pink shoes, pink shirt, pink jacket and pink hair held at bay with an aqua blue bandanna (I lost my pink one a month ago) babbling about North Brooklyn’s boulders did not constitute a security breach. At least not one worth contacting the authorities about. Long story made short he relented and let me take a photograph of the Department of Sanitation’s rock.
Whoever you are security dude I will be eternally grateful to your generosity for allowing me to add this big boy to my collection. Thanks!