Area 51, Sheepshead Bay Road

IMG_8268On a Mother’s Day otherwise unremarkable save for a spring day already febrile with summer fever, I was running my eyes across the familiar row of awnings and storefronts lining the path from the Sheepshead Bay subway stop to Emmons Avenue. Countless nail, hair, and tanning salons, and generic “Law Offices,” broken up by the occasional sushi restaurant and small surprises such as Arbuz (think Russian Pinkberry/Red Mango) and Coney Island Vinny’s Tattoo parlor (at press time, Vinny’s Coney Island bonafides can be neither confirmed nor denied). Not too much has changed in the neighborhood since the time I was a member of Bally’s, other than that very Bally’s being renamed 24 Hour Fitness.

There were no surprises, really… That is, until my brother and I both zoomed our lenses into an odd sign over a an empty space resembling a driveway or small alley, between “Beatiful Q” nail salon and “Dental Clinic.” SPACECRAFT, the sign announced in a wide font. That itself was enough for a minor double take, but it was the words Research and Development in a smaller font below that held our attention. This is not the first time my heart stirred ever so slightly at the promise of unexpected delight on Sheepsheadbay Road. Indeed, a few years ago, I spotted the words Bay Improv Group painted unto the wall of the Subway station across from Dunkin Donuts. Is it possible, I wondered, that edgy New York culture has reached the timid shores of south Brooklyn at last? Would the next Bobby Moynihan or Tina Fey emerge from the intersection of Voorhees and Ocean Avenue? Alas, it was not to be. When I looked at the phone pic I had snapped as proof for others, the real sign, previously obscured by my excitement, revealed itself: “Bay Improvement Group.” Sigh…

So it was with a healthy dose of skepticism that I beheld the latest anomaly. What was this mysterious Spacecraft, and what was it researching and developing? Is it possible that the next Space-X or Virgin Galactic is being forged right here? Not in some garage of two middle class Ivy League dropouts in some Pacific Northwest Hamlet but in a community drive behind a dumpster full of old cuticles and errant dental molds? Why not? Why not us? Russian Brooklyn dreams too, and looks into the skies no less than any other citizen of this great nation. Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the cynical voice that whispers in my ear, It’s a heavy-handed name for some contractor or a front for something more nefarious, maybe it’s right. But I until I know for sure, beyond a doubt, or even once I do, I can close my eyes and see a rocket launching into the skies from the humble asphalt of Shore Parkway into the heavens above and the galaxies beyond.


Ex-Soviet immigrant turned wanna-be scribe. I bite off more than I can chew, but at least I've got good teeth.

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Posted in improv, Real Estate, Sheepshead Bay

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