What’s It’s Like To Live In Crown Heights – A Photo Exhibit

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CROWN HEIGHTS — A neighborhood non-profit wants everyone to know what it’s like to live in Crown Heights. 

The Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association's photo exhibit in Studio 1 of the The Black Lady Theatre.
The Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association’s photo exhibit in Studio 1 of the The Black Lady Theatre.

The Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association, Inc. (NAIA) is highlighting Crown Heights culture in a photo gallery for the next nine days. The second-floor gallery showcases 182 photos inside Studio 1 of the The Black Lady Theatre at 750 Nostrand Avenue.

Longtime Brooklynites are paired with neighborhood newcomers. Side-by-side black-framed, 11X14 photos punctuate the white painted brick and tell the story of local retail, pet culture and of course the West Indian Day Parade that runs through the nabe.

“We hit one year,” said John DeWind, president of NAIA. “It’s like almost everything I’ve done over the year has a picture attached to it. So I thought this is like a birthday celebration.”

Snapshots of the West Indian Labor Day Parade at the photo exhibit on living in Crown Heights. The gallery is curated by the Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association (Photo: Kadia Goba/Bklyner)
Snapshots of the West Indian Labor Day Parade at the photo exhibit on living in Crown Heights. The gallery is curated by the Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association (Photo: Kadia Goba/Bklyner)

The non-profit incorporated last October after first organizing a year ago in March 2018. The initial 10-member crew has grown to 25 with the purpose of improving the quality of life along Nostrand Avenue, spanning from Atlantic Avenue to Empire Boulevard.

The artwork, from 15 photographers, serves as sort of a chronicling of the past year. Images of State Sen. Zellnor Myrie campaigning in Crown Heights before his win hang just feet away from another recent neighborhood celebrityRalphie, a Poodle-mix who was fatally attacked by an unleashed dog in Brower Park.

Neighborhood icons from George Booth a contributing cartoonist to The New Yorker since 1975 to Jimmy Burton, a Lincoln Place bastion, hang in the “elder” section of the studio. Combined, the two men bring more than 180 years of character to the neighborhood.

Vonecia Carswell, a teacher and photographer, contributed a piece she’d snapped while taking classes at Fit4Dance, a local dance studio. The group of tweens and teens donned tutus and ballet slippers in preparation for a show at The Black Lady Theatre.

Snapshots of Zellnor Myrie campaigning in Crown Heights at a photo exhibit on living in Crown Heights. The gallery is curated by the Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association (Photo: Kadia Goba/Bklyner)

Even the not-so-glamorous side of the hood is featured. In the homeless section, DeWind pointed to a photo of a man lying on a sidewalk and described a brief exchange between the two men.

“He woke up and said, ‘Am I alright? I’m homeless, what are you talking about?'” DeWind said.

The exhibit runs until March 7 from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm, every day, except Wednesday when the theater is closed. There’s a reception Sunday, March 3, 2019, from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

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