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The nation will be awash in parades commemorating fallen soldiers this Memorial Day weekend — but only one has run continuously since Civil War casualties were recent memories.

That would be the Kings County Memorial Day Parade, which kicks off for the 148th year in Bay Ridge on Monday. Run by the United Military Veterans of Kings County, it brings together veterans from every war going back to WWII, along with high-school marching bands, Irish pipers, antique cars, fleet week sailors and contingents from the FDNY and NYPD. Everything you want from a Memorial Day parade, in other words.

Leading the throng will be Grand Marshal Howard Dunn, a WWII vet and lifelong Bay Ridge resident. (more…)

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Fifty years ago last month the city passed the Landmarks Law — and if it hadn’t we’d be living in a very different place today.

That’s the premise behind “Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks,” an exhibition currently running at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibit, which opened last month, looks at the growth of the preservation movement, the roots of the pioneering law, its evolution and its impact on the city.

There’s plenty there relating to Brooklyn, including a section on the role of Brooklyn Heights in creating the law. (more…)

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Visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park will find a new feature starting Sunday: a set of whimsical art installations designed for public interaction.

“Please Touch the Art,” by the celebrated Danish artist Jeppe Hein, includes 18 sculptures that represent three separate bodies of work. On the Bridge View Lawn near Pier 1 will be the water sculpture “Appearing Rooms,” which shoots up seven-foot walls of water that abruptly appear and disappear, forming a series of virtual rooms that visitors can move among. (Check out a photo below.)

At the Pier 3 Greenway Terrace is the “Mirror Labyrinth,” featuring mirror panels of polished stainless steel that “multiply the surrounding landscape through myriad reflections.” (A rendering appears above.) (more…)

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If you’ve noted an above-average number of stylish types buzzing around Sunset Park’s industrial precincts this week it’s due to WantedDesign Brooklyn, a 12-day festival that runs at Industry City through next Tuesday.

There will be installations, pop-up stores, workshops, demonstrations, forums and other design-centric programming. There’s a daily exhibition whose offerings include an interactive mural designed by Dusen Dusen using magnetic wallpaper, above. Visitors can place magnetic geometric shapes anywhere on the wallpaper’s surface, creating a constantly shifting pattern. (more…)

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Forty of Park Slope’s best bars and restaurants will once again set up shop tomorrow at Grand Prospect Hall for A Taste of Fifth, which benefits 15 neighborhood charities. Participating restaurants include Stone Park Café, Taco Santo, Luke’s Lobster, Bricolage, Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn, Beygl, Jakes’s Handcrafted, Bogota Latin Bistro, Freddy’s Bar, M & S Prime Meats and The Chocolate Room. (more…)

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The Brooklyn Historical Society is hosting a seminar next month on how to unearth the history of any home or block in Brooklyn, using archival documents and databases. Historical Society Librarian Elizabeth Call will show house nuts how to conduct research in the organization’s library.

Attendees will pore over historic maps, archival images and ancient public records. “If These Walls Could Talk” will take place on Sunday, April 12 from 2 to 4 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street. Tickets cost $50.

The photo above shows an aging wood frame that once stood at 47 McDonald Avenue, across from Green-Wood Cemetery in Windsor Terrace. It was eventually torn down and replaced by a condo development.

Photo via Brooklyn Historical Society

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The Transit Museum is hosting its yearly “Platform” performances inspired by mass transit and urban development next week, where attendees can experience animation, dance, film and interactive art pieces. In a decommissioned subway station on Court Street, the Shakedown Dance Collective will perform “riffs on real-life NYC transit experiences collected from the general public” — including manspreading and public drunkenness.

Genevieve DuBose will host a museum-wide game of human bingo, and Bob Goldberg will present a video time-capsule and live accordion journey based on riding the subway through Brooklyn and Manhattan. There will also be a two-man play based on the demolition of the old Penn Station, and live comedy inspired by conversations overheard in a subway car. (more…)

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Artists, developers, gallery owners and community leaders will gather at Brooklyn Borough Hall Friday morning for a conference on creating and preserving art along the Brooklyn waterfront. The event, “Spaces and Places,” will explore the history of art in the borough. Artists and gallery owners will discuss how art has been made, shown and sold along the Brooklyn waterfront and the issues facing those who make and display art there.

Speakers include Tom Finkelpearl, commissioner of NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs; Deborah Schwartz, president of the Brooklyn Historical Society; Borough President Eric Adams; Anita Durst, artistic director of chashama; Kathleen Gilrain, executive director of Smack Mellon; Lisa Kim of Two Trees; and Greg O’Connell Jr. of the O’Connell Organization.

See the full list of speakers here. The Brooklyn Historical Society and CUNY’s Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center are organizing the free event, which you can register for through Eventbrite.

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For the fourth year in a row, City Council Member Brad Lander is organizing info sessions and voting for participatory budgeting. Lander has committed $1,500,000 from the city budget to make five public works projects a reality, and residents of the 39th District will decide how the money will be spent.

There are 13 proposals on the ballot, including an art installation for the 4th Avenue-9th Street subway station (pictured above), a storytelling garden at the Park Slope Library, new technology for local arts nonprofits, an A/C for the cafeteria at P.S. 124 in Park Slope, and street greening projects in Windsor Terrace and Gowanus. (more…)

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The New York Landmarks Conservancy and Brooklyn Historical Society are hosting events and tours later this month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Law. The law made possible the creation of the city’s first historic district, Brooklyn Heights, in 1965. (Above, row houses in the Heights.) On Monday, March 30, Gregg Pasquarelli, principal of SHoP Architects, will discuss the firm’s plan to transform the landmarked Domino Sugar Factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of the Architectural Record, will interview Pasquarelli at the Brooklyn Historical Society at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10.

The next day, the Landmarks Conservancy will host a series of free panels and tours at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in Foley Square, in Manhattan. There will be tours of the courthouse from 5 to 5:45 pm, followed by a panel discussion with Kent Barwick, former LPC Chair and President Emeritus of Municipal Art Society; Andrew Berman, Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; Peg Breen, President, The New York Landmarks Conservancy; Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic; Phillip Lopate, author and essayist; Gene A. Norman, former NYC LPC Chair and Principal of Architecture Plus!. See the full schedule for the events, which will happen Tuesday, March 31, from 5 to 8:30 pm at 40 Foley Square.

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The first day of spring is almost here, and next weekend, tree expert Lisa Nett will teach two classes at the Brooklyn Brainery on identifying London Planes and the science behind maple syrup. The London Plane class will explore why the trees shed their bark and include a brief outdoor walk through Prospect Heights at the end.

Anyone who attends the maple syrup class will get to taste some syrup and learn about the “science and seasonality” behind it. The tree class will happen Sunday, March 28 from 10:30 am to noon, and the syrup one will take place Sunday, March 29 from 10 to 11:30 am. Registration is $8 and $10 respectively, and you can sign up at Brooklyn Brainery.

Photo by Lisa Nett for Brooklyn Brainery

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Crown Heights was once home to the city’s first black-owned gay club – the Starlite Lounge at 1084 Bergen Street, on the corner of Nostrand Avenue. Filmmaker Kate Kunath set out to chronicle the bar’s 50-year legacy in “We Came to Sweat,” which premiered last year and will screen tomorrow at the Queens World Film Festival in Jackson Heights. She told Vice the film began as an effort to save the bar, “the oldest black-owned, non-discriminating club,” which was sold in 2009 and finally shuttered for good in 2010. The whole interview is worth reading, but one quote in particular caught our eye:

“There was this unspoken common ground of the patrons, which was their willingness to say ‘f*ck the establishment!’ — whether that was over politics, religion, sexual shame, or social norms. And the energy of that was intoxicating. But what I took away from the plight is that nothing is permanent, progress is not a straight line and losing space is losing ground in the bigger picture.”

“We Came to Sweat” is screening tomorrow at 10 pm at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens. Tickets are $12 or $9 for seniors and students, and available here. Pictured is the building in 2006, before the bar closed. It still stands, but a deli and dollar store have moved into the Starlite’s old space.

“We Came to Sweat” Tells the Story of New York City’s First Black-Owned Gay Club [Vice]
Starlite Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Gregg Snodgrass for PropertyShark