Brooklyn Heights Blog » Nature http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:56:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 A Fall Migration Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84624 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84624#comments Wed, 06 Sep 2017 03:48:55 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84624

On Monday (Labor Day) morning, a group of bird enthusiasts, your correspondent included. met with Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, for a walk around Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, to try to spot birds during the fall migration. As luck would have it, the first bird we spotted was an American Robin (photo; in front of a sumac drupe which at first I thought might be a male Cardinal).

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Indeed, early in the walk we seemed only to spot species common to the Park, if not year around, at least most of the year. Above is another robin, along with two European Starlings. The latter, as their name implies, are an “invasive species.” All of the 200 million in North America today are said to be descended from a flock of sixty imported and released in Central Park in 1890 by Eugene Schieffelin, who wanted to introduce into America all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare. However, no one seems to have found a reference to starlings in the Bard’s works. One source indicates Schieffelin may have impoted them just to rid his garden of caterpillars.

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Up to this point Heather had pointed out various migratory species, mostly thrushes and warblers. Unfortunately for me, whenever I lined up a camera shot on one of these birds, it would immediately fly away. I finally got payday with the Alder, or Willow, Flycatcher in the photo above. Heather said the two types are so similar that they can be distinguished only by their calls. They are usually quiet, as this one was. Fortunately for my camera, they tend to stay still on branches until a fly comes by.

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Moving to the south end of the pier, we found this Double Crested Cormorant resting on a piling…

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… and we also spotted this Great Black Backed Gull. Heather said it’s the largest known in the Americas, and possibly in the world (though that’s in dispute).

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Heading back into the trees, we heard a tap-tap-tapping, and spotted this Downy Woodpecker.

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After we bade Heather farewell — she counted 24 species we saw on this walk — and I headed back towards the Heights on the path that leads through the woods on the inland side of Pier 1, I spotted a bird I had missed earlier, a black and white warbler (photo above). If you like birds, or nature generally, or just getting out to see something other than just the usual, I highly recommend these walks.

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Coming at Brooklyn Historical Societyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84209 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/84209#comments Tue, 04 Jul 2017 20:07:56 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=84209

Aspiring Izaak Waltons will get inspiration at the Brooklyn Historical Society this Thursday evening, July 6 at 6:30 for “Gone Fishin': Brooklyn’s Favorite, Forgotten Pastime,” a panel discussion featuring local anglers and environmental advocates. There’s plenty more coming up in the next couple of weeks, including a book talk on Tuesday evening, July 11 about a biography of Washington Roebling, who supervised the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge designed by his father, John Roebling. There’s more information here.

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World Science Festival Returns to Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83975 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83975#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 03:11:19 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83975

The World Science Festival will return to Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, this Saturday evening, June 3 from 7:00 to 11:00. There will be telescopes for viewing celestial objects (the weather forecast is for clear skies), Bill Nye the Science Guy will be there for Q&A and book signing, and you can meet astronauts Yvonne Cagle and Leland Melvin. You may also participate in the Umbrella Project, arranged by the dance theater Pilobolus. Bring your future Neil deGrasse Tysons and Sally Rides; it should be great for the whole family, and it’s free. More information and directions here.

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The Air Was Cold, But The Birds Were Outhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/83229#comments Sun, 12 Mar 2017 06:29:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=83229

Your correspondent ventured out at 8:45 yesterday (Saturday) morning in sub-zero wind chill to walk from his home on Montague Street down to the Pier 1 entrance. There he met Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge and guide for a bird walk scheduled for what proved to be a very cold morning. The only other walkers present were a man named Brian with his two young sons. Heather said she had recently seen woodcocks in a wooded area near the pier entrance; we looked, but found none.

Heather then led us to a path the cuts through the woods on the landward side of Pier One; a prime spot for birding, she said. She was right. Before long we saw a pair of American Robins foraging on the path ahead of us. Then, off to our right, came a rapid “Tap! Tap! Tap!” It was a Downy Woodpecker (see photo above). As we continued along the path, the little woodpecker kept a parallel course, stopping here and there for more tapping. On the same path we saw a Fox Sparrow, but it was too quick for me to get a photo.

When we reached the south end of Pier One, Brian said his boys were uncomfortable in the cold, so they left. At the same time, we were joined by another walker, Clint.

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Coming down off the south side of Pier One we saw lots of waterfowl resting on the exposed pilings. Here are five Gadwall ducks, and, at top left, what appears to be a Mallard, getting some rest while the cold wind blows. There were two Buffleheads, a male and a female, paddling and diving, but they were too far away and too quick for photography. There were also Herring Gulls on the pilings and on the water.

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Coming to the landward side of Pier Two, we found two Mallards, male and female, also enjoying some shut-eye.

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Standing on the water’s edge at the beach near Pier Four was a Ring-billed Gull. Heather also pointed out some Great Black-backed Gulls, but they were too far away for good photography with my little camera.

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A squadron of Brants (small geese) glided across the water between Pier Four and the Marina.

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On the landward side of Pier Six we spotted this White-throated Sparrow. Out on Pier Six we saw a female Cardinal. but she was too quick for my lens.

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Also on Pier Six, which Heather noted has become a very good bird watching spot, we saw this Mourning Dove.

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Here’s intrepid Heather, aiming her long lens at the Mourning Dove shown above. She led us on a very productive walk for a very cold March morning: by my count at least fourteen species, not including the ubiquitous house sparrows and pigeons. I’m looking forward to her next bird walk, which I hope will be in more clement weather.

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Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park Sundayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/82763#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2017 05:11:12 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=82763

Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, will lead a Bird Walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park this Sunday, February 5. The walk begins at 9:00 a.m. at the entrance to Pier 1, near the foot of Old Fulton Street. According to Ms. Wolf:

Buffleheads [photo] are now being seen near Pier 4 beach and the Pier 1 pilings.
A pair of of Red-breasted Mergansers were courting the other day near Pier 5.

Join me as we look for beautiful winter ducks, geese, gulls, sparrows and more.

The walk is free, but please RSVP here or e-mail to hwbirds@gmail.com

Photo: Photogallery (U.S. National Park Service); public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Presents “The Awesome Oyster” Wednesday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80509 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80509#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2016 04:08:33 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=80509

Someone once said, “It was a brave person who ate the first oyster”, or something like that. No oysters will be eaten at “The Awesome Oyster”, this week’s adventure in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s series of Wednesday Night Tours, but Isa Del Bello, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Director of Education, will tell you about the history of the eastern oyster in New York Harbor, and show you the park’s oyster gardens, as well as “other critters that live in the East River”. The tour starts at the Pier 5 Playground at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 7:30. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Conservancy members. More information and buy tickets here.

For other activities and events at Brooklyn Bridge Park this week see here.

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Coming Up at Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80271 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/80271#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:25:47 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=80271

There’s a wealth of free events at Brooklyn Bridge Park starting tomorrow (Thursday) evening and extending through the weekend. On Thursday evening, June 23, starting at 8:00, park partner BAMcinemaFest presents a screening of Sara Jordenö’s film Kiki on the Harbor View Lawn, Pier 1. Admission is free; there will be “curated food” for sale. More information here

The Harbor View Lawn is once again the venue on Friday evening, June 24, starting at 7:00, as park partner The Metropolitan Opera begins its Summer Recital Series, this performance featuring the dynamic young soprano Angel Blue (photo) along with several young Met stars. More information here.

On Saturday, June 25, starting at 11:00 a.m. at Fornino, on Pier 6, BBP Gardener Jessica Slade will lead a Pollinators Tour through the flower fields on Pier 6, during which you’ll see the work of various pollinating insects and learn about their habits and roles. More information here.

On Saturday afternoon, on Pier 2, the NY Red Bulls Street Team will show off their skills, lead soccer activities for kids and adults, and conduct a 5v5 tournament, the winners of which will get “a VIP experience at Red Bull Arena”. Registration starts at 1:00 at the site, and the tournament goes from 2:00 to 7:00. More information here.

Also on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., at 99 Plymouth Street in DUMBO, the park and the Brooklyn Arts Council will present “a curatorial talk with Larissa Simpson” concerning artwork on exhibit there for the NYC Oyster Project. More information here.

Sunday morning, June 26, at 11:00 is a most lively time in the park, as all of the following events begin then. You can take the young ‘uns to the Pier 6 lawns for the “Pier Kids” event “Wildlife Theater presents Butterfly Boogie”. Young or old, if playing good chess is your ambition, also on Pier 6 you can attend Checkmate 101 with Zeebedee Collins. Up for some water sport? Go to Pier 2 for Kayak Polo. Be there by 11:00 sharp to reserve your space. Want to learn about the origins of the park and the history of the waterfront that preceded it? Be at the Pier 1 entrance at 11:00 for a docent guided tour.

All of these activities are subject to cancellation in the event of severe weather.

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Lots To Do For Free At Brooklyn Bridge Park This Weekendhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79845 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/79845#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2016 03:59:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=79845

From a chance to contribute to scientific knowledge about life in the changing East River to one to see planets, stars, and galaxies, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers much this weekend.

We’ll start with the stars. Saturday evening, June 4, starting at 7:00 you may look at celestial objects through telescopes, meet Astronaut Anna Fisher (photo), ask questions of scientists, watch soccer playing robots, and enjoy other activities, all in conjunction with the World Science Festival. More information here.

Also on Saturday, starting at 2:00 p.m., you may participate in The Great Fish Count: help cast a net and haul in marine creatures that biologists and ecologists will identify and you may help count and then release. More information here.

If you’re busy Saturday but want to see the marine life of the East River, you have another chance on Sunday, June 5 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. “Seining” as scientists use a long net to catch fish and other creatures, let you examine them, then release them. More information here.

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Brush Up On Your Survival Skills At Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturdayhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/78850 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/78850#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2016 04:04:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=78850

Terrified of what the outcome of this year’s election may bring? Want to learn how to live off the land? Come to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s HQ, 334 Furman Street (foot of Joralemon, just past the BQE overpass) at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday, February 20, for the start of a Foraging Tour.

Join author and forager Marie Viljoen on a brisk botanical stroll to discover the indigenous edible plants of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Learn how to spot them in the growing year, how to use them in the kitchen, and where to plant them in your own gardens.

Seriously, if you’ve wondered if any of the plants you see growing wild nearby could supplement your diet, this is for you. The fee for the tour is $5 for Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy members, and $10 for non-members. A bargain, considering what you might save on your grocery bill. More information and buy tickets here.

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76709 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76709#comments Fri, 25 Sep 2015 03:02:36 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=76709

On Saturday, September 26, there will be an Americana/Roots/Alt Country call-it-what-you-like (I like it) music festival in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It will happen from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Granite Terrace on the landward side of Pier 3 (not to be confused with the Granite Prospect on Pier 1) and admission is free. There will be six groups performing, including the M Shanghai String Band (photo). It’s free and there are more details here. Also on Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn there will be an Autumn Moon Festival, “the 2nd largest holiday celebrated throughout Asia.” It’s free, and there’s more information here. Saturday is also International Coastal Cleanup Day, and if you want to help clean up the Park’s shoreline (wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty) please RSVP here (directions included).

You may take a free guided Brooklyn Bridge Park tour by going to the Pier 1 entrance near the foot of Old Fulton Street at 11:00 a.m. Sunday. Looking ahead to September 30, there is the next Wednesday Night Tour, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the entrance to Pier 1 near the foot of Old Fulton Street. The subject of this week’s tour will be “Fall Birds of Brooklyn Bridge Park.” It will be led by birder and naturalist Heather Wolf. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Conservancy members. There’s more information and buy tickets here.

At Bargemusic tomorrow (Friday, September 25) evening at 8:00 Inbal Segev will present the first of two concerts in the course of which she will play the six solo cello suites by Bach. On Saturday evening at 8:00 pianist Jeewon Park will play works by Beethoven and Schubert. On Sunday afternoon at 4:00 the Cassatt Quartet will perform works by Clara Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Schumann. Saturday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert, co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Doors open at 3:45; first come, first seated. There’s more information and buy tickets here.

Don’t forget the Atlantic Antic on Sunday.

If you know of any other events in or near Brooklyn Heights this weekend that should be mentioned, please let us know in a comment.

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Coming Up at Brooklyn Bridge Park This Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76259 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76259#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 01:06:11 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=76259

On Wednesday evening, August 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 there will be a happy hour at Fornino’s on Pier 6, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue. More details here. Admission is free, but you must RSVP here by tomorrow, Monday, August 24.

Also on Wednesday evening is the next Wednesday Night Tour, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the entrance to Pier 1 near the foot of Old Fulton Street. The subject of this week’s tour will be “The Awesome Oyster”; it will be led by Isa Del Bello, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Education Manager. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Conservancy members. There’s more information and buy tickets here.

Thursday, August 27 starting at 6:00 p.m. at Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn, this week’s Syfy Movies With a View free presentation is Die Hard. More details here. Following the movie, also on the Harbor View Lawn, from 8:30 to 10:30 members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will set up telescopes for free public viewing of celestial sights. More information here.

Other Park activities this coming week are listed on the Park’s events calendar

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Events at Brooklyn Bridge Park This Coming Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76127 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/76127#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 02:43:55 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=76127

On Monday evening, August 17, starting at 7:00, Jazzmobile will bring the Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band for a free concert on Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn. More details here.

On Tuesday morning, August 11, starting at 10:30, a children’s librarian from Brooklyn Public Library will read stories as part of a “Summer Reading Storytime” series. This will be held on the other Granite Prospect, the one upland from Pier 3. It’s also free, with no RSVP needed. More information here.

The next Wednesday Night Tour, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on August 12 at the entrance to Pier 1 near the foot of Old Fulton Street, will be “Native Plant Identification,” led by Jenny Blackwell of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tickets are $10; there’s more information and buy tickets here.

Thursday, August 13 starting at 6:00 p.m. at Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn, this week’s Syfy Movies With a View free presentation is Dazed and Confused. More details here. Following the movie, also on the Harbor View Lawn, from 8:30 to 10:30 members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will set up telescopes for free public viewing of celestial sights. More information here.

Other Park activities this coming week are listed on the Park’s events calendar

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Events at Brooklyn Bridge Park Next Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75837 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75837#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:10:24 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=75837

Novelists Naomi Novik, author of Uprooted, and Peter V. Brett, author of The Skull Throne (book four of his The Demon Cycle), will be featured at Monday evening’s (August 3) “Books Under the Bridge,” which begins at 7:00 at the Granite Prospect on Pier 1. This week’s event is jointly presented by WORD Bookstores and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. It’s free; books will be available for purchase and signing by the authors. More informtion here.

On Tuesday morning, August 4, starting at 10:30, a children’s librarian from Brooklyn Public Library will read stories as part of a “Summer Reading Storytime” series. This will be held on the other Granite Prospect, the one upland from Pier 3. It’s also free, with no RSVP needed. More information here.

The next Wednesday Night Tour, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on August 5 at the entrance to Pier 1 near the foot of Old Fulton Street, will be “Bugs ‘n’ Blooms,” a look at the Park’s plant and insect life and how they interact. The tour will be led by Matthew Wills of Backyard and Beyond, one of my favorite local blogs. Tickets are $10; there’s more information and buy tickets here.

Friday on Thursday? On Thursday, August 6 starting at 6:00 p.m. at Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn is this week’s Syfy Movies With a View free presentation: Friday. More details here. Following the movie, also on the Harbor View Lawn, from 8:30 to 10:30 members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will set up telescopes for free public viewing of celestial sights. More information here.

Other Park activities this coming week are listed on the Park’s events calendar

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75821 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75821#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 02:26:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=75821

The U.S. Coast Guard’s tall square rigged training ship Eagle (photo) will arrive at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park this Friday, July 31. She will be open for free tours on Friday from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, August 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, August 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Other Park events this weekend include a Hindu Lamp Ceremony at the Pebble Beach near the Main Street entrance in DUMBO on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to noon Pier Kids, in conjunction with Volunteers for Wildlife will present Birds of Prey. Following that, from noon to 1:00 p.m., there will be art activities. All of the above events are free. We presume Smorgasburg will be back on the Pier 5 uplands on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; we know that you may take a free guided park tour by going to the Pier 1 entrance near the foot of Old Fulton Street at 11:00 a.m. Sunday. For other Park activities this weekend, see their calendar.

At Bargemusic on Friday evening at 8:00 pianist Olga Vinokur will play works in honor of the centennial anniversary of Alexander Scriabin’s death. On Saturday evening at 8:00 and Sunday afternoon at 4:00 the Manhattan Symphonie, under the direction of Gregory Singer and featuring Mark Peskanov on violin and Alexander Mishkaevski on viola, will present works by Vivaldi and Mozart. There’s more information and buy tickets here. Saturday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert, co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Doors open at 3:45; first come, first seated.

If you know of any other events in or near Brooklyn Heights this weekend that should be mentioned, please let us know in a comment.

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Events at Brooklyn Bridge Park This Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75574 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75574#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 18:39:00 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=75574

Tomorrow evening (Monday, July 20) starting at 7:00 at the Granite Prospect on Pier 1, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s “Books Under the Bridge” series continues with readings by Jami Attenberg (photo) and Kate Bolick read from their works. This event is curated by DUMBO’s powerHouse Arena. It’s free, and no RSVP is necessary. There’s more information here.

On Tuesday morning, July 21, starting at 10:30, a children’s librarian from Brooklyn Public Library will read stories as part of a “Summer Reading Storytime” series. This will be held on the other Granite Prospect, the one upland from Pier 3. It’s also free, with no RSVP needed. Rain date is the following Tuesday, July 28. More information here.

Learn about native plants and how they contribute to coastal reslience at the next Wednesday Night Tour, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 22 at the entrance to Pier 1 near the foot of Old Fulton Street. The tour will be led by Lauren Alleman, Urban Ecologist for The Nature Conservancy. Tickets are $10; there’s more information and buy tickets here.

There are three notable events scheduled for Thursday. Starting at 6:00 p.m. at Jane’s Carousel the Photoville crew will lead a free tour of this year’s version of The Fence, which extends for 1,250 feet along the Park’s pathways, and displays the work of photographers whose works will be included in this year’s Photoville which will be on the Pier 5 uplands from September 10 through 20. More information here. Also starting at 6:00 p.m. at Pier 1’s Harbor View Lawn is this week’s Syfy Movies With a View free presentation: Attack the Block. More details here. Following the movie, also on the Harbor View Lawn, from 8:30 to 10:30 members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will set up telescopes for free public viewing of celestial sights. More information here.

Other Park activities this coming week are listed on the Park’s events calendar.

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Events At Brooklyn Bridge Park This Weekhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75460 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/75460#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 02:56:58 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=75460

On Monday evening, July 13, starting at 7:00 p.m., as part of its “Books Beneath the Bridge” series, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, in conjunction with Greenlight Bookstore, will present a Poetry Salon, featuring a distinguished group of poets who will read from their works. The event takes place at the Granite Prospect on Pier 1. It’s free, and no RSVP is necessary. More details here.

On Tuesday morning, July 14, starting at 10:30, a children’s librarian from Brooklyn Public Library will read stories as part of a “Summer Reading Storytime” series. This will be held on the other Granite Prospect, the one upland from Pier 3. It’s also free, with no RSVP needed. Rain date is the following Tuesday, July 21. More info here.

Whales in the harbor? Learn more about marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, and seals, that are visiting the area at the next Wednesday Night Tour, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 15 at the entrance to Pier 1 near the foot of Old Fulton Street. The tour will be led by Paul Sieswerda of Gotham Whale. Tickets are $10; there’s more information and buy tickets here.

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Are There Ospreys in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Future?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/74028 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/74028#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 21:30:26 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=74028

On Saturday afternoon your correspondent joined a group of bird and park enthusiasts for a lecture and tour conducted by Bart Chezar, an engineer by training with an educational background in marine science, who has taken up several projects relating to that subject. One is re-establishing oysters in New York Harbor, and another is luring ospreys, large raptors, related to hawks and eagles, that prey on live fish which they catch by diving into water.
IMG_9421_1Mr. Chezar explained that ospreys typically build nests in the forks of dead trees in locations with good water views. He has built three structures, called osprey towers, that mimic forked tree trunks, with a platform inserted in the fork to provide a base for the nest. One was placed in a new park next to the Buttermilk Channel in Sunset Park, one on a pier at Governors Island, and one on part of the ruined Pier 4, below the foot of Montague Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park. That tower can be seen in the left background of the photo above. There’s a closer view of the tower in the photo below.
IMG_9405_1Ospreys that spend the spring and summer along the Middle Atlantic coast and in New England migrate to the Caribbean and the north coast of South America during the fall and winter. These birds have begun their return flights. Mr. Chezar hopes that a young male that has not yet established a nest site and mated–ospreys mate for life and return to the same nest each spring–will alight on the tower this year and build a nest.

You can learn more about ospreys and their migrations on this website. There’s even an app you can download to your iPhone or Android device that allows you to track the migrations of certain ospreys.

Osprey photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/73990 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/73990#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:13:21 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=73990

This weekend is your last chance to see the Heights Players’ production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. Performances are on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m., and a Sunday, March 22 matinee at 2:00 p.m., at the Playhouse, 26 Willow Place. You may make reservations here. On Saturday at noon and again at 2:00 p.m. the Heights Players will present Snow White, a participation play for children. Tickets are $6; email theaterforchildren@heightsplayers.org for reservations.

On Saturday afternoon starting at 3:00 Brooklyn Bridge Park will present an “exploration,” led by Bart Chezar, “of the features of the osprey [photo] platform that strive to have these magnificent raptors flock to the NY Harbor.” It’s free, but you must RSVP here.

On Friday evening at 8:00 Bargemusic presents pianist Inna Faliks performing works by Clarice Assad, Johannes Brahms, and Clara Schumann. There’s more piano on Saturday evening at 8:00 when Steven Beck plays works by Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, and Stravinsky. On Sunday afternoon at 4:00 works by Schubert, Martinu, and Mendelssohn will be performed by Jesse Mills on violin, Jim Wilson on cello, and Reiko Aizawa on piano. There’s more information and buy tickets here. Saturday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert, co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Doors open at 3:45; first come, first seated.

On Sunday afternoon at 3:00 the Brooklyn Historical Society continues its celebration of Women’s History Month with a screening of Su Freidrich’s film Gut Renovation, a documentary about the gentrification of Williamsburg. The film is being screened each Sunday in March at the same time. Admission is free with museum admission (free for BHS or Green-Wood Cemetery members).

Photo: “Osprey Flying With One Eye On the Prize”; Peter Wallack via Wikimedia Commons.

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Morning Walk Photos in Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park: Birds, Boats, and Dogshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/73545 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/73545#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 20:34:22 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=73545

As I left for my morning walk yesterday, I saw a very well-fed looking robin (photo above) foraging in front of my building. Robins are supposed to be a harbinger of spring; does this one know something I, and the weather forecasters, don’t?

IMG_8984_1Spring seemed far away when I got to Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and saw two ducks swimming past ice floes in the embayment between Piers 5 and 6.

IMG_8988_1As I reached the end of Pier 5, HMS Justice was heading south, out of Buttermilk Channel. “HMS” does not mean “Her Majesty’s Ship” but rather “Harley Marine Services,” her owner.

IMG_8991_1Here’s another view of HMS Justice heading up the East River toward the Brooklyn Bridge.

IMG_8993_1Here’s a view from the north side of Pier 5, looking toward the park and the BQE.

IMG_8996_1Two chilly looking ducks in the channel between Pier 3 and the shore.

IMG_8997_1Seagull chillin’ on a floe between Piers 2 and 3.

IMG_8998_1More ducks on the kayak launching platform at Pier 2.

IMG_9002_1From the south side of Pier 1, I saw old friend Dorothy J. towing a barge “on the hip,” i.e. “The tug ties up alongside the tow, typically aft of the midpoint of the tow.” (Thanks to Working Harbor Committee and the late Capt. John Doswell.) An NYFD fireboat is in the background.

IMG_9005_1Looking across to Manhattan and the South Street Seaport Museum, I saw the Gloucester fishing schooner Lettie G. Howard tied abeam of the lightship Ambrose. Lettie was covered with a protective tarpaulin which was in turn covered in snow. Aft of Ambrose was a New York Water Taxi ferry.

IMG_9007_1As I sat on a bench on Pier 1 taking a break to check my phone, I saw the pretty Coastline Baystar.

IMG_9012_1These two romped in the snow at Hillside Dog Park.

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Tree Chopped Down on Pierrepont Streethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/72322 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/72322#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:34:43 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=72322

We know these things happen in Brooklyn Heights all the time. A tree is deemed to be diseased by the city and the next thing you know it’s kaput. Who cares if it starred in a Hollywood movie like that one on Cranberry Street, eh?

Today we received this dispatch from a BHB reader along with the photo printed here:

What happened to this poor tree on Pierrepont between Hicks and Willow?!

Why!! :(

Anyone know the back story?

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/70403 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/70403#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:05:34 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=70403

There’s a lot going on this weekend. The Brooklyn Book Festival is already underway with “Bookend” events, but the main program is on Sunday, September 21, with events starting from 10:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. (schedule here). Also on Sunday there’s the Montague Street Summer Space from noon to 5:00 p.m.–come meet the BHB crew in front of Custom House–and the BHA Dog Show from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in front of Pet’s Emporium. Registration for the Dog Show ends tomorrow.

Brooklyn Bridge Park will be lively this weekend. Got some energy to burn, and want to help the environment? Saturday, September 20 is International Coastal Cleanup Day, and you can help clean the Park’s coastline from noon to 3:00 p.m. More details here. Also on Saturday, from noon to 1:30, there will be a Seining the River Wild event at the Park’s shoreline in DUMBO. Photoville will be open on the Pier 5 uplands, near the foot of Joralemon Street, from noon to 10:00 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 8:00 p.m. Sunday. Other events in the Park on Sunday include Baylander tours at Pier 5, and Smorgasburg, which will be on the Pier 2 uplands.

Tomorrow evening (Friday, September 19) at 8:00 Bargemusic will present “Tokyo to New York,” a concert of premieres of works by Japanese and other contemporary composers, played by Thomas Piercy on clarinet and hichiriki, and by Noritaka Ito on piano. On Saturday evening at 8:00 violinist Mark Peskanov, cellist Nicholas Cannelakis, and pianist Jeffrey Swann will play works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms. There’s more information and buy tickets here. Saturday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert. Doors open at 3:45; first come, first seated.

This weekend is your last chance to see Heights Players’ performance of The Great Gatsby Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon; more details here.

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/69767 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/69767#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:18:43 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=69767

In town for the long weekend? You can watch live U.S. Open tennis action on a big screen while picnicking on the Harbor View Lawn, Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park. The action starts at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, August 30), and will continue each day so long as match play continues or until Monday, September 8. The first 500 families or groups to arrive on weekends will get free picnic baskets “specially curated” by “famed chefs.” All this is courtesy of American Express. There’s more information here. Other events in the Park over the holiday weekend include Baylander tours, a docent tour of Pier 1 on Sunday, and, also on Sunday, Smorgasburg will be on the Pier 5 uplands. Looking ahead to the following week, the St. Francis College Terriers mens’ soccer team will play their home opener against the Manhattan College Jaspers at Pier 5 on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:00 p.m. On Wednesday evening, starting at 6:30, there will be a “Blooms and Bugs” tour of Pier 1 led by naturalist Matthew Wills. More information and RSVP here.

This evening (Friday, August 29) at 7:00, Saturday evening at 7:00, and Sunday afternoon at 4:00 Bargemusic is presenting a Labor Day Festival of premiere performances of works by many contemporary composers. There’s more information and buy tickets here. Saturday afternoon at 3:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert. Doors open at 2:45; first come, first seated.

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions; Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67099 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/67099#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 05:44:03 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=67099

The highlight of the weekend is the Brooklyn Heights Association’s annual Landmark House and Garden Tour, to be held this Saturday, May 10 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.. Houses on display this year range from an 1820s vintage Federal style frame house (photo; by Judith Angel) to a condo in a recently converted parking garage. There’s more information here. Tickets, the price of which is fully tax deductible, are $40 ($30 for BHA members) and may be purchased here.

The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival will continue through tonight (Thursday, May 8) through Sunday, May 11, with many films being shown at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and others at Founders Hall, St. Francis College. There’s a complete schedule here. Brooklyn Heights Cinema will also be showing The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Lunch Box. More information and showtimes are here.

Bargemusic has three “Masterworks” concerts scheduled this weekend. On Friday evening at 7:00 pianist Tanya Bannister will play works by Handel, Harold Meltzer, Sidney Corbett, and Beethoven. On Saturday evening at 7:00 Wendy Sutter on cello and Olga Vinokur on piano will perform the second in a series of the complete cello and piano works of Beethoven. On Sunday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a concert of works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn performed by the Williams Chamber Players. There’s more information and buy tickets here. Saturday afternoon at 3:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert. Doors open at 2:30; first come, first seated.

On Sunday at 4:00 p.m.the Brooklyn Historical Society will present a screening of Twenty Feet From Stardom, an Oscar winning documentary that reveals “the untold stories of the backup singers for some of our greatest musical legends.” After the screening one of the show’s stars, Lisa Fischer, who has done backing vocals for the Rolling Stones, Beyonce, and Aretha Franklin, will talk about her career. Admission is $10, or $5 for BHS members; reserve tickets here.

Don’t forget the Dance Party on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 this (Thursday) evening, or Smorgasburg on the Pier 5 uplands Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Main Street entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, “Seining the River Wild” will give adults and kids an opportunity to see and learn about the wildlife in the East River. The event is free, but space is limited. More information and RSVP here. On Sunday, starting at noon, there will be a free Docent Tour of Pier 1.

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War On Trees Spreads Further On Cranberry Street In Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65876 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65876#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:04:44 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65876

After the mercy killing of the “Moonstruck” tree on Cranberry Street earlier this month, comes this dispatch from a BHB reader tells that tale of another act of terror against the Brooklyn Heights tree population:

Looks like the developer at 27 Cranberry cut down most of the tree in front of the site (actually not even on their property – the canopy was in front of the construction site but the trunk is actually on the neighbor’s side of the property line)…what a crime. They should be fined, or forced to plant a new tree.

READ MORE: WAR ON TREES

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Morning Walk Photos: Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65634 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65634#comments Sat, 15 Feb 2014 19:35:49 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65634

The robin is supposed to be a harbinger of spring. “If only!” this one seems to be saying to himself.

As I started my morning walk, a few little snowflakes were falling, but as I headed down into Squibb Park and across the bouncy bridge to Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park the flakes got fat and fluffy and more profuse. I saw the robin as I was taking the path up onto Pier 1.

A flock of Canada geese was floating in the East River.

A child enjoyed the snow along the path in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Packing and shoveling on Willow Place.

Sculpture garden off Remsen Street near Montague Terrace.

Looking along the Promenade from near the Remsen Street entrance; by then the snow was coming down very heavily.

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Trees of Winter in Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65523 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65523#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:48 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65523

On Saturday afternoon, your correspondent joined a group of botanical enthusiasts for a “trees of winter” tour in Brooklyn Bridge Park, led by horticulturalists Marina (photo) and Chet, along with Park Program Coordinator Travis Craw. More text and photos follow the jump.

Before venturing out, we spent some time in a classroom, learning how to identify tree types from bare twigs. Characteristic features we studied were buds, leaf scars, lenticels, vein scars, bud scale scars, and pith. From different combinations of these, we could decide from what kind of tree the twigs came.

The first tree we saw along the path from the Park Conservancy headquarters toward Pier 5 was a sweet gum Liquidambar styraciflua, recognizable in part by its rough bark and by corky growths on the twigs.

Looking up, we could see the sweet gum’s characteristic branching pattern.

Marina showed us the fruit of the sweet gum, which is prickly, almost like a pine cone.

Chet, in cap at left, talks while Travis Craw, center, looks up at our next specimen, which is…

…a catalpa, Catalpa speciosa, easily recognizable by the long, bean-like, seed pods that hang from its branches. Some of these can be seen against the background of the building.

This is a river birch, Betula nigra, sometimes called a salmon birch because of the color of the bark of young specimens, such as this one. This tree, and the others below, can be found in the upland area between Pier 3 and the sound attenuating berm.

Our next specimen was a sweetbay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana. This kind of magnolia retains its green leaves through the winter, while others do not.

Our last tree was an impressive one: a dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides. One of these formerly grew behind Two Montague Terrace, near the south end of the Promenade, but was taken down in 2010. This species, a relative of the ancestors of the mighty redwoods of California, was thought extinct until some were found in an isolated area in China in 1941. This one grows next to the scenic overlook near the north edge of Pier 3 that, while it was under construction, I called Fort Myer.

Unlike other redwoods, which are evergreen, the dawn redwood is deciduous; that is, its leaves turn brown and fall from the tree before winter. These are leaves that fell from the dawn redwood.

There will be another tree tour in the Park next Saturday, February 15, starting at 3:00 p.m.: “The Secret Life of Evergreens.” It’s free; more details and RSVP here.

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65456 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65456#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:23:29 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65456

Starting tomorrow (Friday, February 7) the Brooklyn Heights Cinema will be showing for a limited two week engagement Gloria, a film by Chile’s Sebastian Lelio, starring Paulina Garcia (in Spanish, with English subtitles). The Cinema will also be showing Nebraska. Today is your last chance to see Inside Llewen Davis at the Cinema (your correspondent saw it there, and recommends it highly). The kids’ movie at noon Sunday is How to Train Your Dragon. There’s more information and showtimes here.

The Heights Players continue their production of James Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: a Parable, with performances at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and a Sunday matinee at 2:00. Reader “Still Here” commented: “Brilliant performances – tight, tense and draws you right in; also has some funny dialogue; moody and severe set works well.” More information here and make reservations here.

On Saturday from noon to 3:00 the Dodge YMCA will present “Alligators, Turtles and Snakes, Oh My!” This is an opportunity for kids to “experience live reptiles” and “listen to an educational presentation from our friends at New York Wild!” The fee is $8.00 per child; please register by calling 212-924-2414. More information here.

This (Thursday) evening at 6:30 the Brooklyn Historical Society will host a discussion of Frank Decker’s book Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era, with the author and Lois Rosebrooks, Plymouth’s Director of History Ministry Services. The event is free for BHS members, $5 for others. Reserve tickets here. Looking ahead to next Tuesday evening, February 11, at 6:30 BHS will present a screening and discussion of the film The Abolitionists. The event is free, but you must reserve tickets here. There’s more information here.

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Cranberry Street Arborcide May Have Been A Mercy Killing Says BHB Readerhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65378 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65378#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 03:32:20 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65378

A BHB reader sheds some light on why the city may have taken one of the trees at Cranberry Street and Columbia Heights down last week.

“Cedric” writes us that he called 311 about the tree:

On my way home one evening I had seen a fungus growing out of the tree and called 311 to report this to them. I am not sure when this was but it was many months ago. I later received some messages from the Parks Department and I do not recall much about them other than they did not say much.

I reported the fungus in the tree to 311 as I thought the tree needed attention by someone competent and had no idea how such a person should be engaged other than by calling 311. Seeing the tree had been felled it appeared such a person had found the tree to be diseased and best felled. When I looked at the tree after it had been felled the wood did look in good condition, however.

I fully support [the] contention that the tree should only have been felled if diseased or infected beyond healing such that it was endangering people or other trees. Naturally this should be decided by a competent person and maybe it was. It should never have been felled because someone reported it to have some fungus and I desperately hope this is not what happened.

The downed tree in its young and care free days as an extra in the 1970 film “The Landlord” (right).

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Last Minute Weekend Suggestions: Brooklyn Heights and Nearbyhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65236 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65236#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:37:03 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65236

Update: The snow sculpture contest at Brooklyn Bridge Park, PIer 5, will not be held tomorrow. We’ll update you on when it will be held. Saturday afternoon, starting at 3:00, the Park will have the first in its series of “Winter Talks.” This one, on “Living Aquatic Infrastructures,” will be given by Dr. Ido Sella, of SeArc Ecological Marine Consulting. It’s free, but you must RSVP as space is limited. More details and RSVP here.

The Brooklyn Heights Cinema will be showing Inside Llewyn Davis, and Nebraska, and the Sunday kids’ movie, starting at noon, will be Kung Fu Panda. More details and showtimes are here.

Update: this just came in:

Join us at the Dodge YMCA this Saturday, January 25, from 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM for a family focused celebration of Chinese New Year! Kids will ring in the Year of the Horse while having the opportunity to enjoy Chinese culture through food, stories and games. Activities include drum making, Chinese lantern making, a lucky candy bag scavenger hunt and traditional Chinese refreshments. Cost is $3.00 per child and open to members and non-members

The Dodge YMCA is located at 225 Atlantic Avenue, between Court Street and Boerum Place.

Photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park

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A Possum’s Kingdom In Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65004 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/65004#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 15:40:31 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=65004

A BHB tipster sends us a shadowy photo of a possum living on Grace Court. Like Sasquatch he’s been quite elusive, perhaps camera shy. But last night he was caught on film.

This is not the BHB community’s first brush with wildlife – in 2010 Karl Junkersfeld caught a muskrat on tape at Brooklyn Bridge Park and earlier that year your humble publisher and nabe Jazzman Eric Loffswold were accosted by a wild raccoon.

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