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Brooklyn Historical Society

Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Heights, Events, Kids

Brooklyn Book Festival Next Sunday, September 21

September 13, 2014

The ninth annual Brooklyn Book Festival will be on Sunday, September 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m at Borough Hall and Columbus Park (immediately north of Borough Hall). There will be readings by and discussions with writers, readings and activities for children, and books for sale. There’s more information here.

During the coming week and the Monday following the Festival there will be “Bookend” events held in various venues around the Borough. Among these venues are Book Court, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Historical Society, DUMBO Sky, the Powerhouse Arena, Smack Mellon Gallery, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, St. Ann’s School, and Vineapple. A full schedule is here.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Heights, Celebrity Residents

Elizabeth Gaffney, at BHS, Reads, Talks About Bygone Brooklyn Heights

August 6, 2014

Novelist and Brooklyn Heights resident Elizabeth Gaffney was at the Brooklyn Historical Society yesterday evening to read from her second novel, When the World Was Young, on the date of its publication by Random House. She read two segments of the novel. The first told how a physician forced to give up her career because of injuries, both physical and emotional, suffered because of an auto accident in which her fiance, another physician, was killed, was courted by and married an old friend from her childhood and youth. Ms. Gaffney concluded this segment by saying, “So began a very bad marriage.” The second was from the 1950s youth of that couple’s daughter, Wally Baker, the novel’s protagonist, and told of her going to the St. George Hotel pool with a friend, Ham, who was black, and of the cicerone who guarded the pool entrance directing Ham to the “colored changing area.”

Following the readings, Ms. Gaffney was joined by Marcia Ely, BHS’s Vice President for External Affairs and Programs (on left in photo) for a discussion. Ms. Gaffney did extensive research for her novel at BHS, using its library and archives. Asked what were the most interesting materials she came across in her research, the author said she found maps of Brooklyn Heights and nearby neighborhoods in which each block was coded according to the number of black people who lived there. These maps were to facilitate banks’ practice of “redlining”; that is, to deny mortgages in places where there was a majority of black residents, and to increase rates in others that were seen to be likely to become majority black.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Brooklyn Heights, Events, Kids, Music

The Impressions Head the Bill for Free the Slaves Concert at Plymouth

December 31, 2013

Plymouth Church is known for its pre-eminent role, under the leadership of Henry Ward Beecher, in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War. While the Emancipation Proclamation declared the slaves free, and the Thirteenth Amendment abolished the “peculiar institution,” slavery still exists in the United States, and, on a larger scale, elsewhere in the world. Human trafficking for the sex trade is the best known aspect, but there is also slavery of the sort common in the antebellum South–men and women forced to do field or factory or domestic labor without pay and while held in bondage–in almost all parts of the world. Indeed, it is estimated that today there are more people held in slavery than ever in history.

The Brooklyn Historical society, Plymouth Church, and Free the Slaves, an organization that is combating slavery of all kinds throughout the world, are presenting two events, a roundtable discussion at BHS on Friday, january 10, and a concert at Plymouth on Saturday, January 11, featuring the Impressions (video above), the Inspirational Voices of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, and members of the Dap-Kings. The roundtable discussion begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday, but the BHS doors will open at 6:00 to allow you a sneak peek at the new exhibit “Brooklyn Abolitionists in Pursuit of Freedom.” Admission to this event is free, but you must reserve tickets here. The concert, which is a benefit for Free the Slaves, starts at 8:00 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 or, for VIP seating, $150, and may be purchased here.

There is more information here.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Events, Food

“Brooklyn Bounty” Next Week at BHS

October 11, 2013

This year’s “Brooklyn Bounty” celebration of local comestibles, cooks, and cookery (not to mention cocktails) will be next Wednesday evening, October 16, starting at 6:30 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street (corner of Clinton). BHS is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and Brooklyn Bounty will take place in its newly renovated Great Hall, as well as in the beautiful Othmer Library. The event will feature gourmet chef tastings, Brooklyn Food and Heritage award presentations, an auction, historic cocktails, and music. Festive attire is encouraged. Single tickets are $200 and couples $350; they may be purchased here.

Your correspondent attended the 2011 Brooklyn Bounty. It was a delightful and delicious evening.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Books, History

History, Horse Racing, & Politics On Brooklyn’s Sportsmen’s Row

May 8, 2013

An archaeologist by training, Lucas Rubin has spent a good deal of his life immersed in the past. He also loves cities, and he loves sports. In his book, Brooklyn’s Sportsmen’s Row: Politics, Society & the Sporting Life on Northern Eighth Avenue, he indulges his passion for all three.

Rubin earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in classic archaeology with a concentration in urban topography from the University of Buffalo, going on to work at the Brooklyn Museum as an assistant to the director, and he’s held a variety of positions at Columbia University, currently directing the Master of Science Program in Sports Management at Columbia University.

A Brooklyn native, he’s lived for much of his life in Park Slope, most recently on Eighth Avenue, in the home he and his parents purchased in the late 90’s, a vintage Brooklyn brownstone at the northern end of the avenue.

“One day,” Rubin said, “my father made a passing, cryptic comment to me – ‘We finally made it to Sportsmen’s Row.’  I thought to myself, ‘Maybe one day I’ll look into that.’”

It was no idle thought, and last year, the History Press published Rubin’s book, the history of the block that in the 1890’s was home to some of Brooklyn’s brightest sporting luminaries, at a time when the city of Brooklyn, then the borough, was home to three race tracks, at Brighton Beach, Gravesend, and Sheepshead Bay.

The first owner of Rubin’s house was James G. Rowe, Sr., a famous jockey and Thoroughbred horse trainer who was elected to Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame in its inaugural 1955 class; the block also attracted other trainers, jockeys, and horse owners.  Some of its more celebrated residents were the Dwyer brothers, butchers who had a shop at the corner of Court St. and Atlantic Avenue before dominating the racing world as owners.

Other residents of Sportsmen’s Row included men well-known in politics, the arts, business, and law, among them William James Gaynor, mayor of New York City from 1910 to 1913.

Rubin made extensive use of Brooklyn resources in researching his book, finding particularly valuable the collection and librarians at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

“I love what I do, but I love the BHS,” he said. “Working for them would probably be the only other job I’d consider.”

He also used the resources of Green-Wood Cemetery, itself a National Historic Landmark and the location of the burial sites of several of the sportsmen about whom he writes in the book.

This Sunday, Rubin will speak at Green-Wood on “Life and Death Along Sportsmen’s Row: Brooklyn’s Eighth Avenue and Green-Wood,” looking at both the famous and the not-so-famous people he writes about, followed by a trolley tour of some of the cemetery’s sites.

Among those whom Rubin is certain to mention is Edward “Snapper” Garrison, a Hall of Fame jockey who rode from 1882 to 1897 and who lived at 30 Eighth Avenue until about 1897.  In addition to their geographical kinship, Rubin discovered something else he and Garrison have in common: their birthdays. Both were born on February 9.

Rubin’s book is available at The Community Bookstore in Park Slope and from Amazon.  The Green-Wood talk starts at 1:00 and is free; the accompanying trolley tour costs $10 for members of the Green-Wood Historic Fund and $15 for non-members. Space is limited and reservations are recommended.





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Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Food, History

Nice Weather This Weekend; Anything to Do?

November 9, 2012

The weather forecast is encouraging, but with so many institutions, like Bargemisic, which is in good physical shape but still lacks Con Ed power, coping with the aftermath of the Sandy/nor’easter one-two punch, what is there to do if you’re in town? There’s the penultimate Smorgasburg of the season this Sunday, November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Tobacco Warehouse, Water Street at New Dock Street in the Fulton Ferry Historic District (I once described it as being in DUMBO and caught holy heck from the Fulton Ferry Landing Association). The final Smorgasburg of the season will be the following Sunday, November 18.

Brooklyn Heights Cinema, 70 Henry Street (corner of Orange) will be showing The Sessions and A Late Quartet. Showtimes are here.

The Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street (corner of Clinton) will have another of its tours of the Society’s historic building on Saturday, November 10, starting at 3:00 p.m. Details are here. Looking ahead to Thursday, November 15, starting at 7:00 p.m., BHS will present a lecture by independent scholar and author Andrew Coe, “Spilt Milk: the Bloody Food Rackets of 20th Century New York,” about how gangsters controlled much of food distribution in New York City in the first half of the past century. Details are here.

Know of anything else interesting happening in Brooklyn Heights or nearby this weekend or in the near future? Add a comment to this post.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment

So, What’s On This Weekend?

November 2, 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Park is closed until further notice. The Brooklyn Historical Society will be closed through Tuesday, November 6. Fortunately, Bargemusic didn’t sustain any serious damage, but repairs to an outside sprinkler pipe will keep it closed through this weekend. However, Brooklyn Heights Cinema, 70 Henry Street (corner of Orange), which remained open through Sandy’s ravages thanks to the dedication of owner Kenn Lowy, will have its normal schedule of shows. Looking ahead to this coming Wednesday, November 7, the Cinema will present songs and a reading by Steve Witt from his new novel, The Street Singer. And there’s more…

The Troupers of St. Francis College will present three performances (Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday at 2:00 p.m.) of Yasmina Reza’s award winning play God of Carnage, about inter-domestic strife in Cobble Hill (image, taken from the Broadway production, from The New York Times. The performances will be at the College’s auditorium, 180 Remsen Street.

If you want to to help people who were affected badly by Sandy, our neighbors in Red Hook are taking donations of food and other essentials at 767 Hicks Street; for more information see here. Brooklyn Bridge Park may need additional cleanup help; watch the Park’s Facebook page for announcements. The Red Cross has other volunteer opportunities.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Heights, Music

Old Time Music at BHS Oktoberfest

October 21, 2012

Brooklyn has come to be quite a scene for old time string band music of the type indigenous to Appalachia and the Piedmont, from northern Alabama and Georgia up to Nova Scotia. At Thursday’s Oktoberfest, Stephanie Jenkins of Pearly Snaps and Luke Richardson provided some fine fiddle, banjo, and guitar music in the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. If you were there, I was th old fool in the corner who couldn’t keep from dancing. Video after the jump.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Events

Oktoberfest at Brooklyn Historical Society Tomorrow Evening

October 18, 2012

The Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street (Corner of Clinton) will host an Oktoberfest tomorrow evening (Thursday, October 18) from 6:00 to 8:00. You will be able to sample Brooklyn Brewery’s new Oktoberfest beer, and enjoy a performance by a local artist to be announced. Admission is free, but you must RSVP here. Hurry, because space is limited.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Events, Food, Music

BHS’s Final Summer Beer Garden Thursday Features Indie Artist Sarah Dooley

August 28, 2012

This Thursday, August 30, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street (corner of Clinton), will have its final Beer Garden of the season, featuring music by indie artist Sarah Dooley. The folks from Brooklyn Brewery will be there to serve their beers and ales, and to talk brewski. Shake Shack will be giving free samples of their “Brooklyn Blackout” custard. You can read more about the event and the artist here, and there’s a video of Sarah singing her song “Watching the Goonies at My House” after the jump.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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