Sunday, June 06, 2010

Last Wash at the Cascade Company est.1898

Myrtle Avenue and Marcy Avenue; - Brooklyn:

...There stands a staple of the neighborhood.  It's building comprised of multiple units blended together into a factory and acting as one of the neighborhood stalwarts of service and employment.  Their two steam towers rise high above the intersection and cast morning shadows upon the very Housing Units Brooklyn's own Jay-Z used to call home.

Cascade Building Lobby

Up to 300 employees showed up for work to collect their last pay check working for the Cascade Uniform and Linen Supply Company.  A company started back in 1898 which outlived the breweries of near-by Bushwick, the hey-days of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and more recently, just a few blocks away, the closing down of the Pfizer plant, is now out of the business having sold off their business operations.  The property itself will be up for sale.  I could not get information on how the compound would be redivided; if at all.

The last wash came on May 24th.  Not only was there a time when this company was the largest linen and uniform supply company this side of the Mississippi, they never forked over one dime to Con-Edison for electricity expenses.  They generated their own power, making themselves one of the few if any, totally self-sufficient entities in the city, with regards to energy consumption.

1948 photo with old Myrtle Ave. El Train over head.

Cascade ad at Brooklyn's famed race tracks of days past.


112 years since their first wash, they too will fade away into Brooklyn's glorious past.  But it also serves as a stark reminder Time changes everything.  Brooklyn has seen it's old traditional core industries disappear in steady succession.  Yes, there are new ventures and opportunities developing all over the Borough.  The Domino Sugar plant is another example of a past, lost.  But can these new opportunities rise to the challenge and be to the Borough what these once major players used to be?

the Cascade truck fleet.

It's the loss of comfort from the surroundings we're accustomed to all our lives which suddenly get called to task by Change that unsettle us.  We are left with anxieties wondering, what comes next and are they friend or foe?  With the dizzying pace of change in the Borough lately, that's the unknown.

A gentleman was agreeable enough to supply me with these little tid-bits of information.  I didn't want to pry too deeply.  Number one, I am not a reporter.  Two, I'm just opportunistic in these matters and don't mind making a decent post when it concerns my home of Brooklyn when an opportunity like today presents itself.  My point of contact today respectfully requested to remain anonymous, and I respectfully will oblige.  He was kind enough to indulge my curiosity...And I Thank Him/ You!

Take these snapshots and file them into your memories.  Change is upon us once again.  It's always fun to look back.  But I know; ~ The present is where anxieties come from.  What comes next across the street from Jay-Z's old stomping grounds is any-body's guess right now. 

Gentrification has taken to Brooklyn like a California brush fire. 

That means many things to many different people.  The intersection and the neighborhood itself have been many things to many people; sometimes for the better and
unfortunately many times for the worse.

We don't know what will rise next across the street from Marcy.  It is my sincere hope something positive; something that benefits the neighborhood; something that will enhance and strengthen a much maligned community will come to the location.

Bring something tangible that the people can reach out and touch and have it be beneficial to them.  Bring jobs, and positive development and something which reduces idle time among the youths and promotes productive activity.

Obviously the relationship between NYC law enforcement and the local citizens is strained.  The local  male youth feels targeted in and around Marcy Houses and greater Bed-Stuy.

Well, there's an old adage; - Busy hands are happy hands.  Bring something that people can actually benefit from and effectively improve their collective civic goodness.  It's all about opportunity.

Only 1000 feet or so away the Pfizer plant laid-off most of it's employees at that location.  Cascade represents another 300 by their count as told to me as/of Thursday 3rd of June.

I'm a better sports fan than I am addressing matters such as this.  But, once in a while, it doesn't hurt to chime in.  Once upon a time Brooklyn was considered the capital of the East Coast.  In my fantasy I want for that time to exist again for all my fellow Brooklynites in all our neighborhoods.

"Do the Right Thing" (spike lee) on Marcy Avenue, to who ever takes over the sight.

Myrtle Ave., urban Art


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