Photo Courtesy of Christine Finn
If for some reason you are traveling to England later this month, you might want to travel to Deal, in Kent and check out a cool exhibit that features stunning photography of the aftermath of Superstorm Sand in Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island.
Dubbed Leave Home Stay – Gone, the exhibit is a collaboration between 53-year-old Christine Finn and 85-year-old Harry Chapman, both Deal natives. Finn, inspired by Chapman’s low-fi photographs of transient life in Paris during the 1950s, found herself in Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island right after Superstorm Sandy crashed through the region.
She captured some stunning photographs like the sand strewn boardwalk at Coney Island featured above, of post-storm relief kitchens in the Rockaways and of salvaged personal effects from flooded out Sheepshead Bay homes.
The project is a followup of sorts to Finn’s Leave Home Stay exhibit from 2007, in which she turned her childhood home in Deal into an art exhibit. That project explored the concept of home and her emotional torment as she faced a decision to move from home or stay, following her parents’ death. The Sandy-related exhibit handles similar themes of loss, and the definition of “home.”
The exhibit is sponsored by Arts Council England, starts on February 21 at 58 Golf Road, Deal, Kent. If you find yourself across the pond, and happen upon the exhibit, let us know what you think!
Source: GK tramrunner229 via Wikimedia Commons
When the staff here at Sheepshead Bites combs through the daily news alerts for mentions of our area, we are inundated with a deluge of photographs, videos and news items from our similarly named haunts in Great Britain.
Sometimes we come across fantastic stories for Gravesend that we can’t believe we haven’t covered, only to quickly realize that they are for the British Gravesend located in the South East English County of Kent. Apparently, the writers of Gravesend Reporter, a local UK website, probably have had the same problem and decided to just see what life is really like for Gravesend residents located on our side of the Atlantic.
Their article is a fascinating exposè on the ins and outs of Gravesend life, its local history and what connection, if any, the British Gravesend has with the American one.
In reading the article I learned that the connection is dubious at best. The American Gravesend was named by British colonist Lady Deborah Moody in 1645 after a town in Holland (s-Gravenzande) oddly enough. On the one hand it makes sense that Gravesend would be given a Dutch name since its earliest (European) inhabitants were Dutch, yet the town was still founded by a British colonist. (Another fun fact, Lady Moody was the first female landowner in the New World, and the only woman to ever found a settlement in colonial America. According to Wikipedia, she was considered “a dangerous woman.”)
The only real link dredged up by our neighbors in Kent was when (English) Gravesend councilor Peter Dyke made a visit to our American home over 30 years ago, carrying the declaration, “To designate June 9, 1979, as Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York, and Gravesend, England, Twin Communities’ Anniversary Day.” Sadly, the twin city status no longer exists and is barely remembered.