As always, the main event on July 4 is the Macy’s fireworks — which are back on the East River this year, for prime Brooklyn viewing. But there are other things to do in the borough on Independence Day, if you’re not headed to someone’s beach house. Here are 10, free unless otherwise noted:

Watch professional speed-eaters stuff themselves at the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in Coney Island. Will Joey “Jaws” Chestnut rack up his ninth straight title? Women’s event starts at 11 a.m., followed by men at 12:40, by Nathan’s on Stillwell Avenue.

Stick around Coney Island for the annual July 4 Beach Party held by Salsa Salsa Dance Studio, on the beach in front of the parachute drop. Music by DJ John John BK, starts at noon. (more…)

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A biker at the now-closed Havemeyer Park. Photo by Brooklyn Bike Park

A waterfront pop-up park with an urban farm and a mountain-biking “pump track” is currently being constructed in stealth mode, under wraps and behind a fence next door to the Domino Sugar Refinery on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, we saw when we stopped by yesterday afternoon. It will open this weekend — on Saturday, the 4th of July.

Developer Two Trees will eventually replace the pop-up with a permanent park, as part of its redevelopment of the Domino site.

This isn’t the first pop-up park for the project: Beginning in July 2013, the temporary Havemeyer Park operated across the street at 317 Kent Avenue, pictured above. The popular space shut down last September so work could begin on a 16-story building, the first step in the $1.5 billion redevelopment of the Domino property. (more…)


When preservationist Joe Svehlak was growing up on 57th Street in the 1940s and ’50s, that neck of the woods was still called Bay Ridge. Much has changed since then, but his former block is still “a study in working class housing built over a century ago.”

Those homes include single-family frame houses, two-family brick houses with porches and garages, and small apartment buildings. On Sunday he’ll discuss his old block and more on a Municipal Art Society walking tour titled “I Remember New York: Sunset Park, Brooklyn, The Early Years.”

In addition to talking architecture and housing stock, Svehlak, a local preservationist and historian, will offer tales of growing up in the area. Hear about life on his old block, and the street games he and his buddies played back in the days when cars were few.  (more…)


You could call it Brooklyn’s premiere annual athletic competition — depending on how far you’re willing to stretch the definition of “athlete.”

It’s the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, where fields of male and female competitive eaters vie to down the biggest pile of dogs in a 10-minute frankfurter frenzy. Some 20 eaters will go head-to-head in each division, drawn from qualifying events held around the country. (more…)


The city’s outdoor pools open for the season tomorrow, bringing back for another year a Brooklyn summer tradition that ranks right up there with outdoor movies and trips to Coney Island.

Brooklyn is home to over a dozen, from a handful of mini-pools to the massive ones in Red Hook (pictured above), Sunset Park, Bed Stuy (the Kosciuszko Pool), Brownsville’s Betsy Head Park, and Williamsburg’s McCarren Park. The latter’s been a crowd magnet since it reopened in 2012 after a major renovation — lines are common. For a complete list, click here. (more…)


The first Manhattan-to-Coney Island subway ride took place 100 years ago this week, as a train left Chambers Street, crossed the East River on the Manhattan Bridge, and headed south along 4th Avenue, to the cheers of 10,000 school children and other onlookers.

It was the inauguration of the 4th Avenue Subway line, opened by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, which a few years later would become the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation — the BMT. (The photo above shows the tunnel being built between 9th and Union streets, circa 1912.)

This weekend you can celebrate the 100th anniversary of the subway’s arrival in Brooklyn with rides on a quartet of vintage trains, which will run continuously from the Brighton Beach Station from noon to 4 pm, both Saturday and Sunday.  There will be a handful of different car models to ride on, the oldest being the BMT Standard cars, put into use in 1917. (more…)


The choiring strings of the Brooklyn Bridge have played muse to many a writer — among them literary heavyweights Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Brooklyn favorite son Walt Whitman, and Hart Crane. Crane is the one who coined that “choiring strings” line in his poem “To Brooklyn Bridge.”

This evening, poet Adam Fitzgerald will lead a literary walk entitled “My Hand in Yours, Walt,” that will “examine the legacy and connections of Brooklyn Bridge’s shadow” within those writers’ works. (more…)

jah_panDumbo under the arch

Enjoy free concerts every Thursday evening through October in the archway under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo. Acts playing Live at the Archway include Nadia Ackerman and the Harold Pinter Orchestra this Thursday, June 25, and Jah Pan, pictured above, on July 9.

Other acts this month and next include an all-female worldbeat dance jam band called Paprika, the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, Throw Vision and more. (more…)


The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) is holding a board meeting Monday where the public can speak out on its plan to build a pair of residential towers – one 30 stories, the other 15 — at Pier 6.

The meeting is the result of a lawsuit the People for Green Space Foundation brought to quash the towers, which focused on their inclusion of affordable housing. While the group failed to derail the project in court, as we reported, they succeeded in making the BBPDC apply for a modification of the General Park Plan in order to move forward — allowing for public commentary on the plan. (more…)

Food Truck Rally

Some of the best food trucks from around the city will gather at Grand Army Plaza for a Food Truck Rally later this month. Some of the trucks participating include DUB Pies, Carpe Donut NYC, Toum, Kimchi Taco Truck, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Milk Truck, Phil’s Steaks and many more.

If you can’t make it Sunday, June 28, no need to worry. The event, with a rotating cast of trucks, continues through the fall on July 12 and 19, August 2 and 16, September 20 and October 4 and 18. (more…)

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Hudson Companies today released new renderings showing a different, less glassy look for the wedge-shaped mixed-use tower it plans to build on the site of the Brooklyn Heights public library at 320 Cadman Plaza West.

The release of the renderings comes just before Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee plans to hold a public hearing on the redevelopment of the site Wednesday as part of the formal land-use review process the proposal must go through.

As readers will recall, Marvel Architects is designing a new 36-story building with 139 apartments at 280 Cadman Plaza West, the current location of the library’s Cadman Plaza branch. Hudson Companies is in contract to buy the site for $52,000,000 and the library will own a condo on the ground floor. The library will relocate during construction.