787 Dwight St

by Laurel | January 30th, 2012

787 Dwight Street, Holyoke

787 Dwight Street, Holyoke. Photo by © Llewellyn Lafford, All rights reserved.

Note re the above photo: There is to the far right in the center, under the satellite dish, a decorative insert on the building that reads “ISAB.” You can clearly see it if you click on the image to enlarge. It is also obvious there is some brick repair next to it on the corner of the building. This makes me think perhaps there was a mirror image of this building or a duplicate building next door where the vacant lot is. I am guessing that the building may have been named Isabelle or Isabella and this gray sign extended equidistant across the building now gone. Anyone know anything about the building name? What follows is a little narrative about taking this picture last Saturday.

Edit: The building was indeed named Isabelle (thanks to Crystal via Facebook). The building that occupied the vacant lot to the right of the building was 783 Dwight and burned in a two-alarm fire on 09 December 2006. Thanks to Jeff via Facebook for the Youtube link to the burning building and Holyoke firefighers at work.

30 January 2012

From 2002 – 2006 we lived in Brooklyn, NY. Not in a gentrified area of Brooklyn but in a marginal neighborhood or in PC speak an “up and coming neighborhood.” Prior to that it had been Manhattan where my husband resided for more than 30 years, from back in the days when the Upper West Side was iffy and you could (and he did) get mugged there. From my house in my marginal Brooklyn neighborhood I walked, a lot. Often to seriously depressed areas and frankly during daylight hours I never had an issue, ever. I walked with my camera because I maintained a blog in Brooklyn as well (no longer online) and loved to document the classic homes as well as the (often bizarre) and cheaply constructed new builds.

There are rules about photography in all neighborhoods, the most important being never photograph anything with people in it because said people do not like it. Unless, of course, you first get approval. That’s the deal in cities and perhaps everywhere, that is the one rule to never deviate from, and it is a rule we take seriously.

So on Saturday we drove into downtown Holyoke area via Dwight Street from Northampton, stopping to take pics. We spotted 787 Dwight, I love these old apartment blocks, it reminds me of the building I lived in on the corner of Sargeant and Walnut, so we pulled over to take a picture.

No one hanging out front, no one in windows, rules met therefore good to go for a picture. So we thought.

My husband Llewellyn got out of the car to snap a few from different vantage points. Suddenly, from out of nowhere — seriously no idea where this guy came from, he wasn’t anywhere near the building and approached from a totally different direction — a young man with an in-your-face attitude screaming about having his picture taken.

“You take my picture, I’ll take your camera!”

“I’m not taking your picture,” Llewellyn replied. “I’m taking pictures of the building.”

“Why are you taking pictures of the building!?”

“Because I like it — it’s beautiful.”

Of course we didn’t take his picture and since this guy came from a totally different direction he knew we didn’t take his picture too. But it seems he needed to grandstand and play tough guy, who knows why. Demanding to know if we were going to buy the building, why did we want his picture, threatening to steal our cameras multiple times, why a picture of this building — spewing out a stream of repetitive questions, not bothering to wait for us to respond.

“I watch this building for the owner!” he screamed at Llewellyn. Yes, he wasn’t talking he was screaming, as if high volume would make us understand better. And he wasn’t waiting for answers or looking for dialog. Think rant.

“Well, you are doing a great job!” Llewellyn told him encouragingly as he made his way back to the car.

Tough Guy looked at our license plate and screamed “I know your plate now!” in a threatening manner, we noted he did not write it down.

We drove away, we had the pics we wanted and it was clear Tough Guy wasn’t really interested in conversation. Later I thought maybe a call to the police would have been in order, but why bother them for this kind of incident. A waste of time.

So if you happen to own 787 Dwight, it might serve you well to chat with your “employee,” though I doubt this guy works for anyone. Definitely do not hire him for the Holyoke Welcome Wagon, he needs an upgrade in communication skills.

For the record, in my experience, there are two reasons why people go insane over picture taking. One is, of course, they do not wish to be in a photograph. Understood, we covered that base — I like to avoid being in pictures too, I get it. The second reason is they are involved in something they shouldn’t be and are, well, lets just call it “concerned.” I’ve been confronted in Holyoke before regarding my photography — but with civility and mostly curiosity. No one has ever threatened to steal my camera and I am always happy to answer questions, this was a first time event for me. I can’t even equate it with the scariest Brooklyn ‘hoods cause I’ve walked though those Brooklyn streets alone without this kind of reaction.

Meanwhile, to end this post on a positive note, we continued our photo excursion, met and talked with lots of very nice and interesting Holyoke people the rest of the afternoon with absolutely no problems at all and really enjoyed our day of bright sunshine and blue sky as seen in these images.

787 Dwight Street, Holyoke -- View from adjoining empty lot

787 Dwight Street, Holyoke -- View from adjoining empty lot. Photo by © Llewellyn Lafford, All rights reserved.

Below: Location of 787 Dwight Street:

Map of 787 Dwight Street, courtesy Bing.com

Map of 787 Dwight Street, courtesy Bing.com

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