I first stumbled upon Susan Gardner's mosaic house in Boerum Hill sometime last year when I was walking from my apartment in Prospect Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park. It stopped me dead in my tracks but I was too embarrassed to take any photos of it—I'm getting better at not caring what people think, but my confidence comes in waves.
Recently I spent a Sunday wandering somewhat aimlessly around Brooklyn, eager to soak in as much of the borough as I could before I moved. I remembered the mosaic house and how I had been meaning to come back and photograph it, so I made my way to 108 Wyckoff Street. Luckily it's easy to find and googling "mosaic house Brooklyn" gave me the exact location.
Gardner began gluing trinkets, beads and bits of tile to the front of her home as a form of art therapy after 9/11. It's not just Gardner that contributes to the display, and visitors are encouraged to "enjoy, look, touch, but don't take objects." There are so many tiny pieces that you could spend hours poring over her work—it's interesting both from far away as well as up close. Bits of mirrors and beads trace the architectural details of the house's facade, but it's the tiny plastic animals that I loved the most.
Her beautiful mosaic work reminds me a lot of Philly's Magic Gardens, and her house would fit right in on South Street. New York can be a crazy place—peacocks ride the subway and no one even pays attention—but I never want to be desensitized or get too cynical and miss how incredibly beautiful and unique this city can be. I'm so thankful I get to share it with people like Susan Gardner and the joy and whimsy they bring to the world around them.
Susan Gardner's Mosaic House
108 Wycoff Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Closest to the F/G to Bergen Street