Back when I was living in New York City, one day I went walking through Brooklyn’s Windsor Terrace neighborhood – adjacent to sprawling Prospect Park – and saw something that stood out from the swarm of late-model Camrys and crossovers. It was a ’70 Cadillac Sedan de Ville that had more stuff in it than a Manhattan Mini Storage lockup or, to be less charitable, more junk in one place than a Midtown street corner on trash collection night.
This Sedan de Ville had rocker panels that were dissolving like snow on a salted sidewalk. Its rear was sagging like a sweaty New Yorker in this interminable September humidity. It was such a stark contrast to other cars in Windsor Terrace, a fairly homogenous group of late-model sedans and crossovers that had the usual NYC scratches and dents but were generally in good shape.
I figured this de Ville had to be some kind of local fixture. There’s an old Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme – I believe a ’78 or ’79 – that resides in Chicago and is so thoroughly rusty that it’s become a bit of a social media star. I imagined the de Ville was probably the same, that it rarely left its neighborhood and that local residents were very familiar with it.
I happened to be in Windsor Terrace this month and I decided to try and find the old Caddy. It didn’t take long as it was parked in almost the exact place as when I photographed it four or five years ago. This time, I was able to take some more photos.
From the front, it doesn’t look all that bad. A little dirty and faded, sure, but the grille is intact and the chrome is recognizable as chrome. The right-hand side looks to be in better shape than the left-hand side, too. The side moulding is still intact and there’s less rust. And this Caddy still has a full complement of wheel covers.
Ah, but that left-hand side. Woof. Talk about rust!
I know NYC apartments tend to be a bit on the smaller side and storage lock-ups are expensive but I’ve never seen a car so full of stuff. You might think somebody lives in this car but I don’t think that’s possible. You can’t even recline the front seat.
With street cleaning and parking rules here, this de Ville must be capable of moving under its own power. This isn’t the South Bronx in 1977 – you just don’t see abandoned cars in New York City nowadays.
Every car has a story. I’d love to hear this one.
Photographed 4 September 2018 in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, NY.