Memories of a 90s Childhood in Williamsburg Recalled in Group Photo Exhibit

Before the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfront ushered in dozens of luxury buildings with the 2005 rezoning, the yearning to create something out of nothing permeated the native youth in the 1990s recalls Dominic Bielak, who was born and raised with his identical twin brother Damian on Berry Street.

Dominic and Damian in McCarren Park in 1999

“Things felt neglected,” Dominic said recalling the days when he would explore the abandoned, decrepit industrial buildings near the Williamsburg waterfront.

A group photo exhibition, “I CAN BE PRETTY TOO” from the creative collective The Brooklyn Social Club, which includes the Bielak twins and photographer Terrence Miele, will showcase 90s-era photos from their forthcoming book on Friday, March 29, at the Sideshow Gallery (319 Bedford Ave.) at 7 p.m. The show will be displayed through March 31st.

 

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Williamsburg Waterfront. North 7th Street and Kent Avenue. 1991. Photograph by Ted Barron. When me and my brother were young this was our playground. In some ways it was dangerous and it other ways it was safe. It felt safe for us always maybe because we were small and Naive from the worlds dangers. No one bothered you here and no one owned it so you were able to get away with anything and everything. My dad used to come here and go fishing and drinking with his polish friends and sometimes catch a fish maybe to eat it or throw it back into the east river restoring its life. #Williamsburg #Brooklyn #Film #Photo #Photography #Pretty #Escape #Greenpoint #Williamsburgbridge #Home #Family #documentary

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Dominic and Damian Bielak ended up homeless as teenagers following their mothers’ eviction from their Williamsburg apartment. “I CAN BE PRETTY TOO” subtly addresses displacement through focusing on the people and the environment of Williamsburg in a pre-Instagram era.

“We are hoping that with this project we can add to the honest archive, documentation, and story of Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” Damian said. “And we are also hoping to connect with like-minded folks in our neighborhood and elsewhere so that we can work and expand together.”

 

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