The wild tenements and illicit stills of Little Street in Irishtown have been replaced by a massive Con Edison substation, and most of Vinegar Hill is a ward of empty streets, surrounded only by the buzz of transformers and the whisper of the river. Dickson’s Alley is buried under a tower of the Farragut Houses, a housing project just steps from the current location of Kings County Distillery. The Navy Yard has been decommissioned, and the officers’ quarters, which once abutted Irishtown, are overgrown with trees and slated to become a supermarket. Al Capone—the greatest bootlegger of all time—was born a few steps from the Navy Yard, but today his birthplace is the site of an on-ramp to the BQE, and the brothels of Sands Street, where he contracted the syphilis that killed him, are gardens surrounded by public housing. All of this recent history has quickly covered over the past, the stench of alcohol having left only bitter memories in the public consciousness.
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