An on-line photographic project that captures the changing streetscape of 5th Avenue storefronts within three adjacent
Brooklyn neighborhoods over time, and engages local communities to contribute to this ongoing "map" of their neighborhood.

NOTE: This project is still under construction. We have thus far photographed the entire stretch, and completed most of the
stitched streetscapes.

Click on one of the orange or red segments to view the stitched panoramas from that section. Don't forget to Let us know, or take a
picture and send it to us whenever you see a change in any of these storefronts.

The red rectangle contains the most developed prototype of how the layering will occur, over time (so please spend most of your
time there).




24 Brooklyn Blocks is an on-line photographic project that captures the changing streetscape of
storefronts within three adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods over time, and engages local communities
to contribute to this ongoing “map” of their neighborhood.

The Context:
The metaphorical and physical role which “Main Street” plays in small towns across the United
States is not mirrored in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or Broadway, but instead in countless smaller
commercial streets, nestled into their neighborhoods where they act as civic connectors: people
shop for groceries; meet up with friends; wait for their bus; collect signatures for petitions; and
catch up with folks they just happened to run into.
These mixed-use blocks, made up of small independent businesses and serving their immediate
neighborhoods are affected much more directly by the ebb and flow of money into the area (in
the form of taxes and dispensable income--“local” dollars) than commercial strips with corporate
(chain) businesses. These commercial streets are continually in flux, mirroring the economic
conditions of their surroundings.

The Site:
Brooklyn’s 5th Avenue, in the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Greenwood Heights and Sunset
Park, is a great example: Mostly boarded up after the black-out riots and generally neglected in
the 70s, only a few 99¢-stores, bodegas, butchers, Chinese take-outs and family-run grocery
stores occupied very few of the storefronts in the area. In the late 90s, more storefronts were
rented out, and soon a second generation of occupants replaced the first, selling goods targeted
to an increasingly gentrified crowd. The stores selling basic goods and groceries were edged out
by high rents only luxury boutiques could afford. This trend started in Park Slope and worked its
way southward, stopping just short of Sunset Park.
Once a recession hits, the tide does not simply turn back--the butcher store that has been edged
out does not move back in, and many of the storefronts sit vacant. Our project will track some of
the changes this economic downturn brings.

The Project:
We have started to create a long panoramic photograph stitching together the storefront street
elevations in three parts: one for each of the three neighborhoods mentioned. This scrollable
streetscape will be housed on a website ( and will serve as a base layer
(a snapshot in time) upon which additional photographs will be layered as occupancies of the
storefronts change. Also added to the layers will be historical photographs found in NYC
archives, and we will experiment with transparent and superimposed, and sound layering when
applicable, adding a temporal depth to what is a seemingly straightforward visual documentation
of an avenue.

The emphasis of the project is on engaging the general public in witnessing the changes
manifesting themselves on Fifth Avenue. We hope the photo-based panorama of the Avenue will
change over time via the layering of images submitted by the general public and by ourselves.
We expect this participatory approach to actively engage residents of the three neighborhoods
and the general public in how their neighborhoods are changing.

Concept and design by Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo and Meret Lenzlinger with funding support from
The New School Urban Festival, 2011

Photo stitching assistance by Mónica Arias Román

Photographs of Prospect Pl. through Carroll St. by Ho Chang. Additional photographs by Aron Cohen
and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo.