Direct Your Feet to the Sunny Side of the Street


I grew up listening to my parents sing in the front seat of the car. (Stardust and Melancholy Baby were my father’s favorites.) I knew the words to The Sunny Side of the Street by the time I started school. The melodies and lyrics that have followed me through my life play quietly in the background as I go along the way. Taking photos on the East side of Washington Street between Thomas and Tarboro on a sunny, lovely day a few weeks ago, my mind’s Juke Box was playing Willie Nelson: CLICK ON https://youtu.bm6DJdiPQmGc

There is a new stretch of sidewalk that has been poured, and restored facades with the typical commercial windows and set-back door. Jesse Gerstl owns the May Gorham building where work is on-going. Jesse is one of the prisms of light I write about that is saving commercial architecture, an architectural gem like Machaven, and shotgun houses that make him a hero to me.

You must drive slowly by, or better still, walk the block and see for yourself an example of preservation, restoration and repurposing. The people involved are what I call, repairers of the breach, essential to the revitalization of Rocky Mount. My photographs don’t do justice to the results of these restorations, but you are with me as I check on things. I hope my excitement makes you excited. Do grab your coat and hat and direct your feet to the sunny side of the street…in this case, Washington St.

The image I use on my calling card has now been restored to look like this. Love it!

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