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Holiday Lull Challenges Clinton Street Decoration King

Carroll Gardens has long had a reputation for going a bit nuts, decor-wise, around the holidays. (Not Dyker Heights crazy, but still crazy.) The don't just the halls for Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years', but also for Halloween, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Independence Day and Easter. The trademark front-yard gardens of the neighborhood fill up with large plastic crap and lights which would be vulgar if it the motivation behind it weren't so innocently joyous.

One of the most dedicated of the decorators is a brownstone on the east side of Clinton Street near DeGraw (technically Cobble Hill, I know, but the attitude is Carroll Gardens). He's rigged up a couple ledges just outside the two first floor windows to the right of the stoop. Neighbors have come to expect that roughly one month ahead of any major holiday, this ledge will be heaped with various symbols and accoutrements of the coming celebration, along with perhaps a hand-printed sign voicing some message the designer wishes to communicate to The People. In recent years, the building rarely goes un-festooned. And this can be a challenge. After all, there are big holes in the calendar, holiday-wise. Times like, say, now.

But invention is Clinton Street's middle name. At present, the master is giving over his brownstone facade to a salute to the astrological sign Leo (July 23-Aug. 22). What looks like a mannequin, wrapped in a royal robe and topped with a lion's head stands above the sidewalk. Beside it is a sign, in very light marker (invest in a Sharpie, dude) listing the virtues of all Leos: "Artistic. Generous." Etc.

I confess, the display did not exactly inspire me. I had to admire the initiative, though.