On Tuesday evening, the Brooklyn Collection held its first trivia night at Bar Sepia, in Prospect Heights. Yours truly attended and acquitted himself well. (Unfortunately, he did not receive any compensation for his effort, and the bar tab put quite a dent in his wallet. But he digresses.)
After, I had beers with two of the librarians, Ben and Ivy. They wanted to hear more about my experience on a certain game show, but of course we went off on Brooklyn-related tangents. I recounted my psychological barrier for not having visited Prospect Heights even though I picked it in December and announced it in February.
Yesterday was beautiful, and I was out of excuses. It was so beautiful I’m not going to use Instagram filters.
As King Charlemagne commands in Pippin, the recent revival of which I highly recommend: “MAP!”
Here’s a six-second highlight reel of the neighborhood’s southern half:
— Keith Williams (@TheWeeklyNabe) April 17, 2013
We begin our full-length tour in the southwest, at Grand Army Plaza, which belongs to no neighborhood. The bust of JFK was rededicated in 2010; the fountains behind will probably come on in the next few weeks. At right is the impressive underside of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, which is perhaps second only to the Brooklyn Bridge in association with the borough.
Nearby, along the south side of Eastern Parkway, are three important cultural institutions: the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (home of the Brooklyn Collection), the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The cherry blossoms were out in full force, and many Brooklynites were enjoying the shade underneath. I did not visit the Botanic Garden (protip: it’s free on Saturday mornings and all day Tuesday!)
Speaking of bloom, here are some photos of flowers from elsewhere around Prospect Heights. One woman walked by and exclaimed to me, as we passed under a blossoming tree, “I love nature!” Agreed, ma’am.
We move on to architectural styles, which are varied, but skew toward brownstones on the cross-streets. The avenues are more row-housey, while big buildings are the order on Eastern Parkway and in the north, near Barclays Center.
In light of the second picture below, I should mention that Prospect Heights has a bit of a thing for bicycles, and rightly so. Three of the four main avenues sport bike lanes, and two important east-west routes – the Dean Street/Bergen Street pair and Eastern Parkway – cross the neighborhood.
A few cool older buildings: the 1924 Peter F. Reilly Storage Inc. fireproof warehouse (I was shocked to discover the company still exists) and the headquarters of NYPD’s 78th Precinct, built in 1931.
… and some new buildings, too: the Barclays Center and the Great Mistake of 2008, Richard Meier’s glass eyesore, which has absolutely no business lording over Prospect Park.
And yes, I did take a look down Atlantic Avenue. It’s a wasteland, as it is farther to the east.