I walk by it on lunchbreaks. Sometimes I stroll by after I clock out. Outwardly, the building itself has no real significance. It's an unassuming redbrick three-flat with an unused ground-floor store front. There's little to distinguish it from any other building on the block, but I keep going back. I'm in awe of its cultural importance. I'm in awe of Henry Miller.
The old goat's account of "the neighborhood" is one of many repetitive, hypnotic constants in his writing. His Fourteenth Ward appears promimently in several of his best works -- in essays, memoirs, novels, etc. -- so whenever I pass the rising redbrick, I immediately succumb to a dizzying carousel of comparisons: Miller's Williamsburg vs. its modern counterpart, his Brooklyn vs. others', his struggle to break through a square existence vs. my looming 5 p.m. beer urge.