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Evidence of the Invisible on New York City Streets

Evidence of the Invisible on New York City Streets

This short photo-essay is a look at the many ways Brooklynites address and interact with the invisible, be it perceived demons, gods, a God—or the dead. As Herman Melville wrote: “Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright.” The invisible breaks through into our sphere constantly. Despite of our fear of the invisible, we call it forth, commemorate it, celebrate it, and at times, literally, feed it.

Brooklyn, New York – April 2018. Jesus Christ stands in a locked glass box in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Neighbors leave flowers and candles for Him on holidays.
Brooklyn, New York – March 2015. Sign for a Funeral Home in Carroll Gardens propped up on concrete planters, blocking the door. They were open for business.
Brooklyn, New York – June 2014. A Thai restaurant on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn presents the gods with a daily meal.
Brooklyn, New York – June 2014. Some pious soul in the Gowanus area was moved to make a cross out of their old CDs.
Brooklyn, New York – June 2017. South Road Tabernacle Outreach Ministry in Bedford-Stuyvesant offers this balm: “Christ Is the Answer for All Your Needs.”
April 2018. A window on Lewis Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant keeps bad spirits out with straw, rocks, shells, and mirrors.
March 2016. Here mourners have left candles and liquor for Jamel under his mural, his Urban Gravestone, protected by a milk crate. A student has also left a school science project on “What Can I Do To Make Flowers Last Longer?” Has Jamel’s grandchild left this for him?
March 2015. A man was murdered on this spot in Bedford-Stuyvesant an hour before this memorial went up. His bloody shirt lay twisted in the street a few feet away.
May 2019. A gang goodbye. The t-shirt and knotted kerchiefs telegraph both violence and love. B.I.P is said to mean Blood in Power. Or, according to another source, the B indicates Brooklyn, and the P is either Power or Peace, as in B.I.P., i.e., Brooklyn in Peace.
June 2014. Here Sharon Bien died when her motorcycle hit a truck on May 19, 2013 at 7:20 in the morning.
June 2014. This man’s family keeps his sidewalk memorial altar under Plexiglas.
June 2014. A sticker of a praying woman (possibly Mother Mary) suggests that we ourselves pray unceasingly, perhaps without knowing it. The deteriorating sticker is like us in that we too decay—and ultimately vanish. This sticker is completely gone now, lasting about two years before it disappeared.
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Regan Good

[b.1967] Regan Good is a poet and writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

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