green-wood black history month

In case you missed it last year, in honor of Black History Month, Green-Wood is again offering a tour focusing on famous black New Yorkers buried in the cemetery. The trolley tour will highlight and celebrate abolitionists, freed slaves, artists, musicians and Civil War heroes. Notables include artist Jean-Michael Basquiat (pictured above); Jeremiah Hamilton, who was New York’s first black millionaire; and Susan Smith McKinney Steward, New York’s first black doctor (also pictured). The tour will run from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday and costs $20. Head over to Green-Wood’s website to buy tickets. 

Image via Green-Wood Cemetery

chinese new year sunset park

Thursday was the Chinese Lunar New Year, and to celebrate, Chinese organizations in Sunset Park are throwing their annual parade down 8th Avenue and celebrations at community centers throughout the area. On Saturday, kids and families can check out martial arts performances, folk dancing, games and costume contests at P.S. 310 (942 62nd Street) and Sunset Park Recreation Center (42nd Street and 7th Avenue).

Then the big parade to welcome the Year of the Ram will begin Sunday at noon at 50th Street and 8th Avenue. Expect fireworks displays, line dancing, Kung Fu demonstrations, various performances and amazing costumes, starting at 10 am. 

Photo by Michael Vito

green-wood couple colin winterbottom

If you missed out on the already full tours of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant scheduled for Saturday, there are other interesting and offbeat tours happening in Brooklyn this Valentine’s Day. Kings County Distillery at the Navy Yard is offering a tour of its whiskey-making operations as well as a tasting this Saturday at 4 pm. The $15 event includes a taste of the firm’s special chocolate whiskey and explores the scandal-tinged history of whisky making in the Navy Yard in the 19th century.

Or if you’re looking for something a little darker, take a Valentine’s-themed trolley tour of Green-Wood Cemetery. The guide will explore “historic power couples, romantic monuments, and tales of love everlasting” among the graves. There will also be love letters from the Civil War on display in the Gothic chapel. Tickets cost $25, and the tour runs from 1 to 3 pm.

Photo by Colin Winterbottom for Green-Wood Cemetery

BRIC 4

BRIC’s television channel, Brooklyn Independent Media, is hosting a town hall on gentrification tomorrow evening and inviting experts, politicians, activists and urban planners to weigh in on how rapid economic development is transforming Brooklyn. “Where do market forces and policy need to meet so that we can preserve the integrity of our diverse borough?” asks the event description.

Speakers include New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Brooklyn College Sociology Professor Sharon Zukin; City Council Member Robert Cornegy (36th District); Ron Shiffman, urban planner and founder of the Pratt Center for Community Development; Jherelle Ben, an organizer for the Flatbush Tenant Coalition; and Juan Ramos, chair of the Broadway Triangle Coalition.

The free event will take place tomorrow from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the BRIC House Ballroom at 647 Fulton Street, and you can register to attend through Eventbrite. It will also be broadcast live here

winter berries dave allen brooklyn botanic garden

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hosting a bunch of events this Sunday designed to get you moving and exploring some natural beauty, including a winter bird walk, a hot cocoa and chocolate tasting and a “chase away the winter blues” plant tour. Visitors can sample JoMart Chocolates from 11 am to 2 pm, and check out a pop-up shop by Swedish clothing and home goods brand Gudrun Sjödén between 10 am and 4:30 pm.

Besides the walking tours, there will be children’s dance classes, a Victorian toy parlor, and a “nestfest” where families can search for nests or build their own. The hour-long bird stroll begins at 10 am, and the winter plant walk, which is led by a licensed psychotherapist and BBG guide, starts at 1 pm. All the events are free with admission to the garden. Take a look at the full schedule of First Sunday activities over on the BBG website.

Photo by Dave Allen via BBG

prospect park fireworks

We know you’re thinking about Christmas right now, but don’t forget about the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks show at Grand Army Plaza! There will be live music and hot chocolate starting around 11 pm, followed by the fireworks at midnight. The best vantage points for the show include Grand Army Plaza, on West Drive inside Prospect Park, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street. Head over to Prospect Park’s website for more details.

Photo by Pixonomy

christ church 326 clinton street 12013

The Municipal Arts Society is hosting a walking tour of churches in Cobble Hill this weekend, exploring existing houses of worship, converted ones and even ones that were demolished. Local historian Mary Ann DiNapoli will lead the walk through Cobble Hill’s historic district.

Pictured above is the Christ Church and Holy Family Episcopal Church at 326 Clinton Street. The tour will take place Saturday at 11 am, and tickets cost $20 or $15 for MAS members.

And at 2 pm on Saturday, our Montrose Morris columnist Suzanne Spellen and preservationist Morgan Munsey are leading a tour of Crown Heights North. Tickets are also $20, and can be purchased here.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

arts east new york

Community group Arts East New York is bringing some holiday cheer to New Lots Avenue next weekend by hosting a tree lighting, holiday craft market and live performances from local musicians and dancers. Attendees can enjoy free hot chocolate, raffles and giveaways, photo booths and an awards ceremony with speeches by local politicians.

There will also be a preview of the [re]New Lots Arts Market and Incubator Space, where performing and visual artists can rent cheap studios in converted shipping containers. The free event will take place December 13 from 11 am to 8 pm at 170 New Lots Avenue.

festive fifth

Park Slope’s 5th Avenue is hosting a holiday festival this Saturday, complete with a tree lighting, Santa Claus and carolers. The fun begins with a tree lighting at 6:30 pm at the corner of 5th Avenue and 3rd Street (in front of S’Nice). There will be free hot chocolate, marshmallows, cookies, brownies and popcorn during the outdoor festivities, which will last until 9 pm. Puppetry Arts and NY Kids Club will present puppet performances and games, and singer-songwriter Amy Miles and carolers from Opera on Tap will perform. And there will be specials and sales at shops and restaurants all along 5th Avenue in honor of Small Business Saturday.

brooklyn theater fire

Green-Wood Cemetery and Brooklyn Historical Society are hosting a lecture and tour about the tragic Brooklyn Theater Fire, a conflagration that killed hundreds at a Brooklyn Heights theater in 1876. After the fire, a mass grave was donated to Green-Wood, and a memorial was erected at the theater’s former site on Washington and Johnson Streets (now Cadman Plaza).

Historian Joshua Britton will give a free talk in the cemetery’s chapel examining how the blaze affected the city’s policies and Brooklyn’s cultural growth and development. Then there will be a guided trolley tour of the cemetery, which costs $20, or $15 for members. The event will happen Saturday, November 22 from 1 to 3 pm. Head over to Green-Wood’s event page to buy tickets.

Image via Bowery Boys

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Brooklyn College is hosting a panel this week called “Bed Stuy in Crisis,” about race in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. “Many believe Bed Stuy is in fact dying” as “black renters are being forced out and black homeowners are tempted to sell” while “optimists say many middle class blacks are also moving in and will help make Bed Stuy a special multiracial venue,” says the writeup for the event.

The panel will be moderated by Brooklyn College journalism professor Ron Howell, who penned the controversial essay “Goodbye, My Bed Stuy.” Speakers include Richard Flateau, a Bed Stuy native who owns Flateau Realty Corp. and chairs Community Board 3′s Economic Development Committee; Mark Winston Griffith, a community organizer and executive director of the Brooklyn Movement Center; Brooklyn College professor emeritus Jerome Krase, a sociologist and activist who wrote “Seeing Cities Change: Local Culture and Class“; Judge Betty Staton, a former family court judge who helps Bed Stuy renters being illegally forced out of their apartments as president of Legal Services NYC; and Lupe Todd, a longtime neighborhood resident and the communications director for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.

The panel will take place on Thursday from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Glenwood Lounge, located on the second floor of the Brooklyn College Student Center at Campus Road and East 27th Street. Take a look at the flyer for a full description and more details on the speakers.

2_Nobutaka Aozaki_Smiley Bag Portrait_2011

As part of its “Crossing Brooklyn” exhibition, the Brooklyn Museum is holding a slew of film screenings, musical performances and author talks tomorrow from artists based in the borough. The schedule for tomorrow’s Target First Saturday includes a hip-hop-inspired brass band, a screening of Union Docs’ “Living Los Sures” film about the South Williamsburg neighborhood, and a talk from Brooklyn-based author Bridgette M. Davis. They’ll have interesting events all evening long from 5 to 11 pm. Check out the schedule as well as the two pieces of performance art (pictured above) planned for Saturday evening.

Photo by Xiaotian Yang via Brooklyn Museum