Jerry Build: South Park Slope, Brooklyn by Beth Botshon

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I’ve lived in South Park Slope for 12 years now. Over the time I’ve been here, the neighborhood has changed drastically. When I arrived, there were only dollar stores, local laundry spots, and little salvadorian and mexican restaurants. The markets held tons of specialty goods for the many latino families who lived in the area.

But now – everything is changing. Two coffee shops, a bagel place, a wine bar and an organic health food store have moved in within the past year – and now that Bloomberg has helped his developer friends to rezone this area of Brooklyn, what used to be a low-rise little town, has become the final frontier for 6 story and higher apartment buildings.

The structures go up in record time with shoddy materials. Most contractors pay undocumented workers 10 bucks an hour for hard labor – some of the men go without hard hats.

One of my friends bought an apartment in one of the newly constructed buildings. Within a year, she ripped out her cheaply made bathroom, and had the whole thing redone (to her standards.)

Besides pushing rent rates up, the haphazard construction of 20 unit buildings clogs up the area with more traffic. It also pushes out lower-income families who have called this area home for over 20 years. I look forward to the day when there are no more lots left, and the noise of drills and hammers moves further down 4th avenue which I know it inevitably will…  (Beth Botshon)

More info on this topic here:

Jerry-Build: Anatomy of Abecedarium Blog

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Perhaps the word Jerry-Build perfectly describes how Abecedarium blog was conceived. It was a very long process of trial and error. All of us had to work together to come up with the best way to build a blog that could allow general public to post their artworks easily, but at the same time we had to make sure that they were moderated every step of the way.

You can see the example of Abecedarium Jerry-Building from my scribbles:

pseudo code scribble

Our discussion

Day by day, it was as if nothing was happening. But as I look back on it now I feel that we achieved something special and very unique. Here’s to all of us who had to work so hard on this project…

Jerry-built: No longer culminant

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Eddie Boros’ Tower of ToysEddie Boros’ Tower of Toys grew and stood for a few decades on 6th and B. It was taken down in May 2008, a year after its creator’s passing. At my first encounter with the tower, the garden was closed. It was a cloudy day. It drizzled. The tower stopped me in my tracks. I lingered to take it in, looking through the bars of the fence. As a recent art school graduate, the Tower of Toys mesmerized me. It both honored and defied design theory. The structure was showing honesty in how it was built, starting on a broad base, tapering towards the welkin of this skyscraper city. It showed clarity in how it was created. If there is a comparison worth making with an architect-built structure it might be San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid, while in the realm of outsider architecture the structure has evoked Simon Rodia’s Watts towers for many. Eddie Boros defied what I learned in design theory in his construction and connection details. Although his tower looked and stood like a tall structure, its details did neither suggest that it should, nor assure its stability or longevity, where Rodia’s creation does. But Boros wasn’t a designer or architect in that schoolish way. He built from passion, with intuition, using that rough-n-tumble New York grit as the tower’s backbone and his own longevity as mortar. How cool is that

A photo album:

An elegy:

Taking it down:

Jerrybuild and other J words

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Here’s a list of J words that I discovered during my artist Abecedarium:NYC residency at the McDowell Colony. I spent two weeks reading the dictionary, looking for words that sparked my curiosity, sent my brain into a reeling spin, or simply sounded good when read out loud. A few of my favorites in this list include: jejune, jackstone and joey. With all of the ramshackle building going on in New York right now, there seemed to be no choice other than “jerrybuild” if we wanted to reflect the zeitgeist of the day. LS

Lynne’s Possible J words

Click the image to enlarge it for an easier read.