This is what I saw looking out of my kitchen window into the backyards of Union St. There was an odd feature to these back yards. There was a regular apartment building or row house facing the street, and then another house or small apt. building behind the first house. These "backyard houses" were funky affairs with many layers of siding, stucco, and brick in disrepair.
There was a great Mexican wedding in the alley one summer night. A mariachi band with slightly out of tune fiddle, trumpet and guitar floated some great woozy folk music until the wee hours. Viva La Gowanus!