West Indian Day Parade Brooklyn 2015

The annual West Indian American Day Parade is one of New York City’s most vibrant and popular events. And yesterday’s festivities didn’t disappoint. More than 2 million people — of all ages, cultures, and affiliations — celebrated along Easter Parkway from Schenectady Avenue to Grand Army Plaza, many decked out in fantastic body paint and colorful plumage.

Tragically, several early morning celebrations near Prospect Park were interrupted by violence — First Deputy Counsel to the Empire State Development Corp, Carey Gabay, was shot in the head by a stray bullet. Another man was stabbed to death a just few blocks away. In a third incident, a 21-year-old man was also shot and hospitalized.

The parade began at 11am and continued into the afternoon. It was a day of young and old, of every West Indian nation dancing together and enjoying each other’s company and culture — from food to music and costume. The West Indian Day Parade is a true representation of what it means to live in Brooklyn.



Brooklyn Bridge Park fireworks. Photo by Etienne Frossard via Facebook

Pyrotechnic-loving Brooklynites, rejoice! Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks are returning to the East River. This year, the 25-minute-long show will be launched from two different locations instead of one. A double barge will be placed just south of the Brooklyn Bridge and four additional barges will sit between East 23rd and East 42nd streets.

The East River location is a major win for Brooklyn — but you’re going to need to strategize if you want an Instagram-worthy view. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up the borough’s most firework-friendly spots. Even though the spectacle kicks off at 9:20 p.m., you’ll need to arrive a few hours early if you want a front-row seat.

Too agoraphobic to deal with the crowds? Start texting everyone you know in north Brooklyn. Williamsburg and Greenpoint will both have stellar views of the display. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to (smugly) watch the fireworks from your friend’s roof. If you prefer teeming throngs, though, these spots should give you a good vantage point. (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…)

Theater for a New Audience

The first Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Summit will bring together 300 Brooklyn entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, and others to discuss what it means to make it in Brooklyn. Speakers include Steve Hindy of Brooklyn Brewery; David Walentas of Two Trees, who helped transform Dumbo and is redeveloping the Domino Sugar Factory site in Williamsburg; Director of the Weeksville Heritage Center Tia Powell Harris, and hundreds more.

There will be panels on real estate, manufacturing, the arts and the restaurant business. Following the talks will be a business pitch contest, with $50,000 in seed funding going to the winner. (more…)

Sewer Construction1

This week the Brooklyn Historical Society opened its exhibit dedicated to one of the least examined but most important parts of our borough — the sewers. The exhibition, “Brooklyn Sewers: What’s Up Down There?” details the creation of the system with a look at four neighborhoods: Flatlands, Bushwick, Coney Island and Fort Greene.

Visitors can discover the challenges that each of these neighborhoods faced in creating their systems and why an integrated municipal system became necessary. Also, the exhibition was created by teen curators who participated in Exhibition Laboratory, a free after school museum studies program. (more…)

221 Kingston Avenue

As the demographics of central Brooklyn have changed over the years, synagogues in once heavily Jewish areas have gone on to have other lives. Ellen Levitt, author of “The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn” will lead a bike tour of former Jewish houses of worship in Crown Heights, Brownsville and East Flatbush next Sunday.

Many are now churches and retain many of their original details. Participants will visit the former Shaari Zedek at 221 Kingston Avenue (pictured above) and the former Congregation Men of Justice at 1678 Park Place, a Building of the Day last year. (more…)

Bed Stuy Art Walk2

The First Saturdays Bed Stuy Art Walk takes place this Saturday — and every first Saturday of the month. Five galleries and several other locations are participating.

Spots to visit include Welancora Gallery on Jefferson Avenue,  the Restoration Center for Art and Culture’s Skylight Gallery on Fulton Street, and the House of Art on Marcus Garvey Boulevard (pictured above). The walk includes exhibitions and short films at Vodou Bar at 95 Halsey Street.


Bushwick Open Studios

It’s that time of year again: Bushwick Open Studios, one of the largest open studio events in the country, kicks off on Friday, June 5 and runs through Sunday, June 7. The event, organized by Arts in Bushwick and now in its ninth year, is a chance for anyone to visit artists in their studios, see new work and learn more about the arts community in Bushwick.

In addition to open studios, several events take place throughout the weekend. The launch party and Seeking Space exhibition — the official group show of the open studio event — begins at 8 pm on Friday, June 5 at Be Electric at 1298 Willoughby Avenue.

The family-friendly Community Day event takes place on Saturday, June 6 starting at 11 am at Maria Hernandez Park. There will be visual arts, dance, hip hop, spoken word, theater, performance art and more.


Rooftop Films

Summer is officially here, and with that comes Brooklyn’s bounty of outdoor movie options. Here’s a roundup of organizations that have published their schedules.

Rooftop Films has been showing movies atop Brooklyn buildings and in parks since 1996. This year it will screen films on top of the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Trilok Fusion Center for the Arts in Clinton Hill, in Industry City in Sunset Park, in MetroTech Commons and more. Click here for a full schedule of films.

SyFy Movies With a View screens films every Thursday night in July and August in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Click here for a full schedule.

SummerScreen shows free movies in Williamsburg’s McCarren Park every Wednesday in July and August. The events start at 6 pm. There are also food vendors and live music. Movies begin at sunset. Find a full schedule here.

Click through for lots more….


The line was pretty long but the people watching was fun at the Kehinde Wiley show at the Brooklyn Museum Saturday. Some seemed to have matched their outfits to the art, mostly by combining brightly colored prints.

For those of you not familiar, the Brooklyn based painter is known for his vibrant, highly patterned portraits of contemporary black men and women in compositions from well-known Old Masters paintings. New work in the show included portraits in stained glass and gold-leafed icons.

Click through for lots of photos. Did any one else go? (more…)


As part of the Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks exhibit, the Museum of the City of New York is hosting several panel discussions that will run through the summer. The first panel talk, Preserving the Fabric of Our Neighborhoods, takes place this evening and examines the relationship between historic preservation and affordable housing. The panelists include Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Ingrid Gould Ellen, the director of the urban planning program at NYU Wagner.

Is Preservation Elitist? will examine the question of not just how to preserve buildings but how to preserve a “culturally distinctive” place. Tia Powell Harris, the arts director for the Weeksville Heritage Center; Nikolai Fedak, founder of New York YIMBY; Claudette Brady of the Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, and others will examine the question of how to preserve more than just buildings in the city’s rapidly changing neighborhoods. (more…)