Two of Brooklyn’s most influential figures in art and real estate, choreographer Elizabeth Streb and developer Jed Walentas, will discuss the borough’s evolution and the importance of supporting artistic ventures next month at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer started the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM) in a Williamsburg warehouse in 2003, and she has since built the space into a creative and educational center that offers classes, workshops, demonstrations and rehearsal space.
Walentas, one of the principals of Two Trees Management, has been one of the driving forces in transforming Dumbo from an industrial ‘hood into one known for million-dollar condos, art galleries and coffee shops. Two Trees is also demolishing much of the old Domino Sugar Refinery complex and constructing a large mixed-use development that incorporates the factory’s landmarked main building as office space.
“Both have transformed community through art: Streb by creating an artistic home — whose doors are always open to passersby — in a formerly industrial neighborhood; Walentas by providing free and low-cost space to artists and arts organizations,” BHS writes in the event description. The talk will take place Wednesday, May 7 at 6:30 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street. You can grab tickets on Eventbrite, and the event is free for members and costs $5 for everyone else.
Preservationists Elizabeth Finkelstein and Chelcey Berryhill will teach a class next week on how to research the history of any wood frame, stone or brick townhouse or apartment building in Brooklyn. Making use of digitized, online resources as well as other repositories in Brooklyn and Manhattan, “Research Your Historic Brooklyn House” will cover how to research the history of a building and find what it looked like originally and who lived there. Renters and homeowners both welcome.
Particular attention will be paid to finding historic photographs to show to an architect or contractor for an exterior restoration. The class costs $25 and takes place at 67 West Street, Studio 612, in Greenpoint at 7 pm Wednesday, April 23. For more information or to buy tickets, go to The Wooden House Project.
Next weekend, the third annual Brooklyn Zine Fest returns to the Brooklyn Historical Society with panels and a wide variety of publishers, artists and writers selling their wares. Panels will discuss topics like queer and trans zine writers, zine collecting and publishing zines anonymously.
And over 150 zine enthusiasts will be selling self-published magazines on everything under the sun: art, comedy, graffiti, comics, environmentalism, food, film, local history and much more. Check out the full lineup and the panel schedule for the festival, which will take place April 26 and 27 from 11 am to 6 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street.
The Municipal Art Society is hosting a walking tour of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill that will explore its history and the ethnic enclaves that settled there a hundred years ago. Local historian and genealogist Mary Ann DiNapoli will delve into the lives of various members of the Arab American community that moved to the neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th century.
She’ll also discuss the foods and traditions that are unique to this time of year, and tour attendees will get to sample some wares from some of Atlantic’s wonderful Middle Eastern shops. The tour will take place this Saturday at 10 am. Tickets are $20, and you can purchase them through the MAS website.
Park Slope’s annual Taste of Fifth festival will bring 40 of 5th Avenue’s bars and eateries to one place next week and raise money for local charities. Restaurants like Al Di La, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Bogata Latin Bistro and Luke’s Lobster will be serving up their cuisine at Grand Prospect Hall next Wednesday.
Attendees also get to enjoy live music and complimentary wine and beer at the festival. Tickets cost $45 online or $50 at the door, and $20 of each ticket goes towards one of 14 Park Slope charities of your choice. The 5th Avenue BID has a full list of charities and vendors that will be at the event, which will take place April 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Grand Prospect Hall at 263 Prospect Avenue.
Dumbo was once a major port and an important stop for goods and people. It was also an important place for Brooklyn’s free blacks and the location of many abolitionist activities. Suzanne Spellen, aka Brownstoner columnist Montrose Morris, will lead a walking tour next weekend on the neighborhood’s history, with a focus on its role in slavery and the anti-slavery movement.
The tour is offered by the Brooklyn Historical Society as part of its exhibit “Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom.” It will take place next Saturday, April 5 at 11 am. Tickets are $15 for BHS members or $25 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.
Head down to Gowanus tomorrow afternoon for the grand opening of School of Rock, where kids and parents can take part in sample music classes, live performances, workshops and jam sessions. There will also be food and giveaways during the event, which will run from 1 to 4 pm tomorrow at 327 Douglass Street between 3rd and 4th avenues.
To reserve a spot in a class during tomorrow’s opening, email email@example.com. The international franchise has 100 locations around the world, including another New York location on the Upper East Side.
Despite the weather, spring is officially here, and Brooklyn Brainery is offering classes on how to identify trees based on their bark, buds and shape in Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens and Prospect Heights. Taught by former forestry major Lisa McNett, the courses will begin with an overview of tree terminology and then move out onto the streets.
The Prospect Heights and Greenpoint walks seem to be full, but there are two Carroll Gardens classes on April 5, by which time hopefully some buds will have started to appear. The two-hour classes begin at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm on April 5, and the group will meet at Carroll Park. If you want to go, tickets are $13 and can be purchased through Brooklyn Brainery.
A baseball expert and Green-Wood’s resident historian will lead fans around the sprawling cemetery to the graves of baseball greats next Saturday.
Tom Gilbert of the Society for Baseball Research, along with historian Jeff Richman, will discuss the lives and monuments of Henry Chadwick, who invented the game’s scoring system; Charles Ebbets, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers; and Charlie Smith, a well-known hitter who played for the Mets and the Yankees.
The tour will last from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, March 29. Tickets are available on Green-Wood’s website.
The Center for Black Literature is hosting its 12th annual National Black Writers Conference next weekend at Medgar Evers College, featuring talks from black literary icons like Angela Davis and Walter Mosley as well as film screenings, workshops and panel discussions. Highlights include a screening of Gordon Parks’ 1984 film “Solomon Northup’s Odyssey,” based on the same memoir as “12 Years a Slave,” a free tour of the African Burial Ground National Monument, and a talk with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott on “The Search for Self in Caribbean Literature: Past, Present, and Future.”
The organizers are also hosting a concert next Friday featuring jazz pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs and poets Dasan Ahanu, Tai Allen and Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets. The event, which is a tribute to the Native Tongues, costs $10 and will take place at 1037 Atlantic Avenue. The rest of the conference will happen on the Medgar Evers campus in Crown Heights, beginning Thursday, March 27 through Sunday, March 30. Tickets are cheaper if you register before March 21 and free for Medgar Evers students.
Learn about gardening and food policy at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend during its 33rd annual Making Brooklyn Bloom conference. The event, which is free with admission to the garden, includes workshops, networking lunches for gardeners and urban famers, walking tours and gardening how-tos. Workshops will cover topics like composting, soil contamination, nature walks and kitchen botany.
Attendees can take a seasonal guided walking tour of the gardens, visit the Rotunda and learn how to build an indoor terrarium. The conference will take place from 10 am to 4 pm, with workshops starting at 11 am and 3 pm. You can register the day of, and BBG suggests you arrive early to reserve space in your preferred workshops. Check out the full schedule here on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website.
Come out to Brooklyn Bridge Park this weekend to enjoy spring temperatures and classical music played on a floating barge off Fulton Ferry slip. Violinist Mara Milkis and pianist Francine Kay will play tunes from Telemann, Prokofiev, Schubert and Schumann Friday evening at 7 pm.
Tickets are $35, $30 for seniors and $15 for students, and can be purchased through Bargemusic. Or attend a free performance Saturday at 3 pm, which will be followed by a question and answer session with the musicians.