Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Storefronts and Scapegoats

The mural above graces the side of the Solid Rock Pentecostal Church on Classon, and brings a smile to my face when I pass it. A cynic might drive home the irony (the Garden of Eden has a parking lot?), but I think that would be getting the message exactly wrong: paradise might well be right around the corner, if you're looking in the right places (and the right frame of mind). I wrote a bit about storefront churches in Brooklyn awhile back and I wanted to use this photo to re-post a link to a great album of storefront places of worship.

Speaking of great photos, the Brooklyn Historical Society folks have a nice little slideshow of the Williamsburgh Bank Tower rising from the edge of the railyards in the late 1920s here.

An addendum to yesterday's post, since the link to the Forgotten NY page seems to be on the fritz: The Malbone Street Wreck, the deadliest accident in the history of the NYC subway, took place beneath what we now know as Empire Boulevard, where the tracks take a sharp right into the Prospect Park station after running a mostly straight shot from Franklin and Fulton. The interesting part of the story, at least to my mind, is that the wreck was largely the result of an attempt at union busting. The normal operators were all on strike in 1918, and the company shoved an inexperienced younger employee named Antonio Luciano in front of the controls. Unfamiliar with the route, Luciano hit the deadly curve well above the recommended 6 mph (different sources report 30-50 mph), and while his lead car made it, the trailing cars were whip-cracked off the tracks into the tunnel wall, killing 93 people. The event spawned a movement to replace wooden mechanical elements on elevated trains, and is examined in a book by Brian Cudahy.

I'm going to dig into some archives to see if I can find out what sort of response the wreck garnered from the union. It would have been difficult to mention it without seeming callous, but if ever there was a case for skilled labor, this is it.

No comments:

Post a Comment