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Artist Plasters Plaques On Brooklyn's Ignored Historic Sites

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Anna Robinson-Sweet has mounted 10 handmade plaques on various sites in Brooklyn (map) that proclaim them historically significant. The twist? These places, which range from the now-demolished Empire Roller Rink east of Prospect Park to the former Vinegar Hill home of the National Licorice Company (which invented Twizzlers), are not actually on the roster of the National Register of Historic Places, an official designation bestowed to "places worthy of preservation." But Robinson-Sweet purposely employs the same language and style that the National Park Service uses in their authorized plaques. As part of her borough-wide installation, spotted first by arts site Hyperallergic, the recent Yale grad complicates what it means for a building to be historic, arguing that there are many, many places that deserve to be remembered but aren't granted any formal status. In essence, she is attempting to implement signposts, both literal and figurative, which point people towards a past that is especially elusive in a constantly changing part of New York City:

Collective memories are often lost along with the alteration or destruction of buildings. National Register seeks to bring ten places back into the visual history of our city, in a borough that finds itself the new playground of developers and speculators. Eight of the ten buildings commemorated in National Register are gone; the other two are significantly altered. The contrast between these vanished buildings and what now stands in their place is often stark: where the bath house once stood is a glazed condominium tower; a self-storage complex now occupies the footprint of the rink where roller disco was born.


· National Register of Historic Places, 2013 Additions, Brooklyn, NY: An Installation Project [http://annarobinsonsweet.blogspot.com]
· A Guerrilla Registry of Historic Places Pops Up in Brooklyn [Hyperallergic]