It's strange to think of New York City having dead end streets. It feels like the city just goes on and on forever in an endless loop, always bringing us somewhere new, or back home again. But culs-de-sac aren't strictly a suburban thing, you can find the end of the road here, too.
David Mandl has been documenting the less explored parts of Brooklyn for 15 years, and recently released a set of photos showing dead end streets in the borough. He tells us:
"The project started by accident. I was taking a lot of pictures (as I tend to do) around the rougher, less-inhabited parts of Brooklyn, really trying to find areas where I’d never normally be, and by chance I kept finding myself at dead ends, most of them with those END signs. The idea struck me to go with it and actually start seeking them out, and eventually to try to find every one of them. That seemed doable, but still enough of a challenge to keep the project interesting and fun. It also forced me to drop any biases I might have had as I was exploring the borough—the shots I took were dictated purely by where those signs were (or might be, since I had to guess by looking at a printed street atlas).
Once the project got going, in addition to the joy of the hunt, I started to like the idea of the signs and locations because they feel vaguely spooky and forbidden: I was seeking out precisely those spots in Brooklyn where 'the road ends.' A collection of all the dead-ends in Brooklyn also felt like a collection of all the most 'nowhere' spots in the borough (or as close to nowhere as you can get in Brooklyn). I’m a bit of a proselytizer for getting out to the less-hyped parts of the borough, so for me I guess there’s an element of propaganda in all this. But mostly I like how it’s a guide to the outer reaches of Brooklyn as defined by some outside measure, rather than my own subjective tastes."
Mandl says he only documented the streets with the END signs for the project, and believes he "got every dead end with an actual END sign, at least at the time of the project. Much later I’d see that one of those spots now had an END sign, but I wanted to keep the project limited to the original time (between the years 2002 and 2003), so—too late!"
All in all he shot about 120 dead ends, click through for a look (and there are more in his Places feature, as well).