These abandoned streetcars make for an unusual sight in a redeveloping area of Brooklyn, New York. Derelict objects and buildings are normally cleared to make way for modern renewal. But in the reviving waterfront district of Red Hook, the rusting trolleys are as much a part of the streetscene as the converted warehouses.
The streetcars likely owe their continued survival to the slow regeneration of industrial Red Hook. Now the domain of artists, independent stores and organic eateries, this strangely quiet corner of Brooklyn is still cut-off from the mainstream hustle and bustle of New York City.
Parked on long-disused rails outside a modern cafe, the abandoned streetcars make strange attractions. Once an active part of daily life, ferrying passengers along the waterfront, they continue to provide a service by offering shade to customers seated at tables on the cafe’s patio.
So perhaps the old trolleys aren’t so abandoned after all. It’s almost as if Red Hook would be incomplete without them. In an odd way they resemble urban art exhibits and stand as memorials to the Brooklyn City Street Car Company that once operated them – and may one day run them along the waterfront again.