Thursday, September 1, 2011

#122: Live Poultry & Slaughter

Greenpoint, Brooklyn

It could be just another one of those standard Brooklyn graffiti-deckled doorways, forgettable and plain. Till you look up and see the huge Live Poultry & Slaughter sign hanging overhead (not pictured).

These poultry-pummeling places -- surprise -- give me the creeps beyond measure. There's a similar one just around the corner from where I live, and despite my best intentions I've witnessed horrible smells, nightmarish squawks, and the disconcerting sight of slaughterhouse employees laying out on manky mattresses on the sidewalk just outside for a mid-morning nap. Worst of all, this past year the poultry place replaced their tatty awning with a brand new one, sparkly and bright red -- which somehow makes it all the more squalid. Here, on Greenpoint Avenue, the fact that there's a cute number just below the slaughterhouse sign makes me feel all sorts of confused. I should look away, shouldn't I?

As neighborhoods go, Greenpoint has been good to me. I'm not there often, but I've strolled past this slaughterhouse a number of times, whether I'm headed to a raucous book reading at the lovely indie bookstore WORD or off to bind books at Booklyn, the book arts collective. For years I've been charmed by the crescent-moon twos on this red brick building. I finally caught it on camera this past June on my way to my reading at WORD, where I was reading an excerpt from my novel-in-progress. And then the lovely Annie, blogger and fugitive, who happened to be breezing through New York that weekend, caught me catching it with her camera. And now you can catch her catching me catch the number and . . . and . . . Well. You get the picture.

I don't want to think about what goes on inside this building. But on the outside, I'm all sorts of charmed.

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