Maria Walks: 7th Avenue Sightseeing
“Until lately the best thing that I was able to think of in favor of civilization, apart from blind acceptance of the order of the universe, was that it made possible the artist, the poet, the philosopher, and the man of science,” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said. Civilization, and more specifically city dwelling, offers the opportunity to see life abound. Outside of our quaint New York City apartments exists innumerable lives, both simple and lavish. We are given the chance to be exposed to all of the world’s every-changing beauty. From city blocks to entire neighborhoods, we see the evolution before our eyes, and it is remarkable.
Brooklyn — the now lavish and coveted borough — was once known for its high crimes rates and unsafe city streets. “Streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city, are its most vital organs,” Jane Jacobs writes in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. When we think of cities, what do we imagine? Its streets, Jacobs contends. If a city’s streets appear colorful, captivating an audience, the city itself looks interesting; likely, “if they look dull, the city looks dull.” Park Slope, before becoming the ‘baby-stroller’ capital of the world, was a dark and menacing neighborhood. Its streets were not void of fear.
Today, we see another version. We are greeted by bountiful tree-lined streets, a bustling Prospect Park, a combination of vintage mom and pop stores, street vendors, and chains like Barnes & Noble, Rite Aid, and Bare Burger. A neighborhood residents once longed to leave has become one of the most pricey and inaccessible. In this video, we take viewers on a peaceful Sunday afternoon stroll down 7th Avenue, observing the onset of warm weather, and coming upon an all too familiar street fair that returns to the neighborhood summer and after summer.