Monday, August 24, 2009


#236, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Stoop-sitting in Brooklyn is one of the few pleasures I can think to squeeze out of these infernal New York summers. I think fondly of all the times I've trespassed on my neighbors' front steps, slurping happily on a nuclear-colored ice from Uncle Louie G's while the evening set in, bikes whirred on by, and the street lights started to buzz overhead. A sort of calm settles in, a subdued, heat-induced torpor (damn, I've always loved that SAT word) that lends itself perfectly to doing nothing. Not far from this stoop, though I can't place the exact location, I scored an accordion at a stoop sale for twenty bucks: case and all.

A stroll through a stoopified neighborhood like Cobble Hill is one of endless possibility. You never know what you'll find on your neighbor's steps as you walk to the subway or the bar, what offerings have been left for the casual scavenger to pick up or contemplate. Nothing goes to waste here; it's better than Craig's List. Want a stack of 2004 Architectural Digest issues tied together with twine? It's yours. How about an aluminum tea tin with "TEA" written in Art Deco lettering? Hell yes. Does that pair of worn white knee-high go-go boots fit? They never do: something's wrong with that zipper.

I don't have a stoop of my own, but I do like the communal aspect of them. And while I'm sure that proposal of Frank Gehry's (as part of the ill-fated Atlantic Yards project) to build a giant stoop at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues must've sounded great to someone in a board room meeting, how many of you would want to perch atop that chaotic intersection with fifty or a hundred of your closest strangers? The stoop, according to the proposal, would be "visible to 60,000 vehicles that pass through the intersection daily". Um, no thanks. Unless it's coming with a giant Uncle Louie G's and a giant accordion -- and last I checked, it isn't -- I'll take small scale, thank you.

In the meantime, what's the best -- or weirdest -- thing you ever saw left out on a neighbor's front steps? And more importantly, did you take it or leave it?


Pierre said...

I have a bit of a stoop, but it's related to posture. I've not seen any on housing here in Phoenix. We have yard/garage sales and the leftovers end up in a box on the sidewalk with broken assortments of whatever.
The oddest thing I saw at a garage sale was a full size pool table. It must have taken some effort to get it out in the yard.

Therese Cox said...

Makes it kind of hard to "impulse scavenge" with a full size pool table. Sadly.

Jackie said...

On Willow Place, where you once took a picture, there is a house with a fenced in stoop next to the Height's Players stoop. And in that fenced in yard, on the stoop, lives the most beautiful golden retriever I have ever seen. I've named him Aslan. And every time we got a break during rehearsal, I would go outside to visit the dog. And someday, I hope to take-- borrow-- er... spend a lot of time... with him.