159 25th Street, Brooklyn

In his 8th grade science class at the John Witherspoon Middle School, my teacher Mr. Messersmith (Messerschmidt?) once asked us why it is that the majority of car accidents occur within a mile or two of the driver’s home. “Overfamiliarity with the route” was one answer he gently deflected, while allowing that it could be a minor contributing factor. Sometimes when I recall this episode I believe I was the one with the correct answer, but delving deeper I suspect that he ultimately had to reveal it himself, like the punchline to a riddle. The reason, of course, is that this small radius around our homes is where we do most of our driving. Despite some outlying clusters, this same tendency informs the mapped density of houses employing this siding product, in relation to my own home. The effect might be expected to dissipate as the map becomes more complete. Perhaps coincidentally, it was about the same time that I was in Messersmith’s class, in 1977, that I began to stay up late with friends watching television, especially on weekend nights. In the smallest hours of the morning advertising was inexpensive, and dominated by cheaply-produced commercials for the new rage in siding products, Garden State Brickface.