Mitchell Trinka is a multimedia journalist living in New York. During his summer internship at the New York Times Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Local, he spent some late nights in the public library, searching through old photos from Brooklyn’s past. He went out with the black and white images, took shots of the same spots, and melded them together to not only show what’s changed in the borough, but also to ask where it’s going. While we grumble about gentrification and development on a regular basis, it’s clear from these photos that the basic character of our neighborhoods and leafy sidewalks has been around for a long time and is here to stay.
At 330 President St. in Carroll Gardens, an iron fence surrounding the front yard still stands, but is now backed by a verdant garden. The original photo, taken July 17, 1978, shows why the quiet neighborhood has attracted families for decades.
Willow St., in Brooklyn Heights, has seen many changes through the years. The black and white photo, taken in 1939, shows a bustling waterfront business community. Since then the brownstones have been knocked down. Today, a busy BQE on-ramp stands in the footprint of the original buildings.
In the original photo of 134 Noble St. in Greenpoint, taken in 1978, the trees are smaller and car styles are quite different, but residents still rushed to work–with briefcases in tow instead of laptop bags.