This is a Transportation Alternatives sponsored mural in the Gowanus area, on Butler Street and 3rd Ave. The painting depicts 3 children who have been killed by cars and trucks along 3rd Avenue. According to the Gowanus Lounge, "[t]he project was inspired by the tragic death of James Rice--who was struck and killed by a Hummer at Third Avenue and Baltic Street on his way home from pre-school in February--and many other children that have been injured and killed by cars."
More information about the mural is available at the Groundswell Mural Project.
Great map of Prospect Park showing the elevations at different points of the loop.
The new entrance to the Brooklyn Museum is one of the most welcoming public spaces that I've ever experienced. Walking in, you feel like the landscape and architecture are hugging you, inviting you in to linger outside, to look around at and maybe meet other people, and to stay awhile. All of the designers got what Brooklyn is about. It's a space for people. A space to let people move among their neighbors, that carries over from the same populist spirit embodied in our Park's long meadow and our garden's cherry blossom esplanade.
Herbert Mushcamp gives a very good review of the architecture in the NY Times, discussing the Polshek designed glass front and steps, the Judith Heintz landscape architecture and WET design dancing waters. He describes the new "glass steps" as a waterfall cascading from the original McKim Meade & White entranceway into the new amphiteater space created by the stone steps on the left and curved grass steps in the front. The review, written before the space was unleashed on the people, predicts that it's all about access and use. But, you can't truly experience that concept until you've moved through it.
After sitting for a few minutes on the grass steps while my son was busy slupring up an Italian Ice, grinning cheek to cheek with the excitement in the air, I began to quickly feel like this place reminded me of someplace else I had been. In looking around at the people I couldn't believe how many people were here, but I also couldn't believe how un-crowded it felt. Amazingly, the sound of street traffic on Eastern Parkway seemed to be unnoticable and nothing but the sound of dancing waters and people filled the air. I started getting deja vus of being in a Roman space. Then, looking up at the suspended glass entranceway, I began to think of the ways that this space was reminiscent of Roman theater design. The suspended glass made me think of the canvas sails that would be pulled over theaters like the Roman Colloseum to provide shade for the spectators. Looking back at the grass steps and the higher stone steps facing the fountain you begin to feel the effect of this kind of design. It's very successful in making you feel welcome to the museum as a civic place as much as a place for art and education.
What's most exciting about the space, however, is the dancing waters fountain. When we visited on Sunday, the weather was in the 70's, but there was a cool breeze. This didn't stop all the kids that were there from running back and forth screaming as the fountain shot up and sprayed them in the chilly waters. If you looked back at all the parents and other adults watching with huge smiles from the theater steps as the kids squealed with delight, you had to think that this was one of the best outcomes of this entranceway. I don't know if the museum had this use in mind, but these kids were so happy. The museum administration has to feel good about giving that to Brooklyn. It makes my eyes well up when I think of how amazingly free and alive they all were yesterday, dancing through the cold water.
So if you plan to make it to Brooklyn, plan on hanging out at the Museum. They promise to provide a cafe in the winter garden glass atrium (with WiFi?) some day. And if it's a summer day and the fountain is on, bring some extra clothes and water shoes for your kids!
I think it's typical that real estate money monger Bruce Ratner cares little about the Brooklyn families and businesses that he will need to evict in order to fill his pockets further by moving the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn. And of course our mayor and governor could give a damn about how this move would affect the people who live in this beautiful neighborhood that's full of character and great families who love living there. Bloomberg helped arrange $300,000,000 in government subsidies to put the Nets here. This from the Mayor who wanted to close down the Zoos that our children enjoy. Yeah, he cares about New Yorkers.
The plan is to steamroll over 800 homes to build some enormous monstrosity that will evict people from their homes and businesses and cause terrible traffic in an already congested area surrounding Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. This area of Brooklyn, surrounded by Prospect Heights, Fort Greene and Boerum Hill/Park Slope has seen such tremendous growth and gentrification in recent years. It's filled with lovely townhouses, residences and businesses in converted factory spaces, and little shops and restaurants. Moving a stadium here would demolish the neighborhood character that's come from years of Brooklynites investing in the area by buying and improving the homes around Atlantic Avenue. In place of this neighborhoodliness, we'll see our neighbors turned out and traffic like we've never experienced before.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of the Nets. I just think there are better places to put up a stadium. Take the Brooklyn Navy Yards, for instance. That area of Brooklyn, separated by the moat that is the Gowanus Expressway -- that big Robert Moses project that evicted huge numbers of Brooklyn residents and separated us from accessing our waterfront -- is in great need of restoration and development. Give Ratner the right to buy up commercial land there and force him to develop waterfront parks for Brooklyn and maybe you might be doing something for New Yorkers rather than just taking from us to fill your pockets.
I don't want this stadium here to spoil my skyline and the experience of living in Brooklyn. We're here because we love where we live. Just as we overturned Bloomberg's effort to take away our children's Zoos we can fight this Golliath and stop them from ruining our neighborhood. If you want to send a message to Ratner and his political cronies that not everything or everyone is for sale and that we have a right to fight for our way of living, feel free to sign the petition against this move to our neighborhood. I'm sure there's some vacant or unused land somewhere that they can make good use of rather than rape and destroy the land and homes that people have poured their lives into building.
big thanks to the owner of this park slope access point for the free wifi. u rock!
[Nikon Coolpix 880]
[Nikon Coolpix 880]
The Brooklyn Public Library's searchable electronic text database of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
"The Brooklyn Daily Eagle was published from 1841 to 1955 and was revived for a short time from 1960 to 1963. Because of the enormity of the collection, the digitization of the historic Brooklyn Daily Eagle from reels of microfilm is broken into more than one phase. Phase I, which can presently be found on this site, concerns the period from 1841-1902, representing half of the Eagle's years of publication. This period includes all of the years for which there is no index as well as the eleven years during which an index was published. Access can be gained either by date of issue or by keyword searching."
The Long Meadow in Prospect Park is one the most enjoyable city parks I've ever experienced. We used to come to the Long Meadow once in a while after work and on the weekends when we lived in Cobble Hill. Now that we live here, we're in the park a few times a week since it's nearly right outside our door. It's a great place to relax, to fly a kite, to jump in on a pickup soccer game, to stroll. It's one of the reasons why I love Park Slope.
Great Public Spaces' description of the Long Meadow:
- "Sublimely beautiful, Prospect Park is a flexible space which accommodates almost any pastime. Its distinguishing features include woodlands and streams, ponds, picnic areas, playing fields, a children's zoo, a bandshell -- and the world-renowned Long Meadow, an undulating lawn stretching across the entire west end of the park, bordered by trees and a ravine. Rather than separating uses into active or passive areas, the design of the Meadow allows for all to occur together. Along with sports such as organized baseball, pick-up soccer and volleyball, it welcomes quiet picnics and people-watching along its shady borders and on the grassy hills that provide perfect vantage points. All these activities are well-integrated into one of Olmsted and Vaux's finest landscapes."
Nicholas Quennell in Mahattan User's Guide:
- "The Long Meadow is certainly one of the greatest manmade landscapes in the world. As three-dimensional sculpture (no, really four-dimensional - it has to be moved through to be experienced); as a place which satisfies spatial needs for social interaction and recreation"
Other resources of interest for park goers:
- The Prospect Park Alliance is an organization which furthers the restoration and preservation of Prospect Park. Their web site includes a lot of great park resources including:
- Prospect Park Audobon Center
- Schedule of pickup games
- The Bridges of Prospect Park
Also in the park environs:
Free WiFi in Brooklyn? According to this guy's page 8th Ave. between 7th and 11th Streets is a good place to go. But what the hell is that a residential block? I suppose I could loiter on someone's stoop and work from there, right.