Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, December 28, 29, 30

PART TWO
The Team at Brooklyn Artisan is thankful for:

Here’s Part Two of our list. What are you thankful for? We’d love to know. Share with us on Facebook, email, or leave a comment.

Getting to see and play around Natural History, the amazing stick sculpture by Patrick Doherty, at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. By the end of December it will be taken down, because it was not built to last forever. Wear-and-tear and Sandy have done it in. (Photograph, taken in February 2011 is courtesy of One Little Star.)^ Getting to see and play around Natural History, the complex, visually striking stick sculpture by Patrick Doherty, at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Created to be temporary, yet having lasted well over a year, it will be dismantled on December 31 because wear-and-tear and numerous storms have finally broken it down. (Photograph, taken in February 2011 is courtesy of One Little Star.)

Families who’ve donated tons of toddler toys to the Underhill Playground in Prospect Heights

The passing stranger who saw our keys hanging in the lock and kindly put them through the mail slot.

allhandsondeck_coverSeemingly unlimited energy and creativity in fundraising for Sandy restoration efforts.
restoreReStore Red Hook is one such effort, formed to raise at least $5,000 for neighborhood small businesses still reeling from Sandy. Their cookbook, All Hands On Deck, a $15 e-book download, is a collection of well-loved recipes selected from the tightly-knit community. Recipes include home/made’s Flourless Chocolate Torte, Pumpkin Almond Cake from Baked and Lobster Mac & Cheese from Red Hook Lobster Pound. “People put everything they had into their restaurants,” said Monica Byrne, a ReStore Red Hook co-founder whose restaurant home/made and its basement storage was flooded during the storm. This project gives a glimpse into what makes the businesses and the people running them so special. Purchase and download here.

Bergen Bagel for what they do best: bagels.

^ ^ ^ ^ Bagel fight! Terrace Bagels for what they do best: cinnamon-raisin bagels.

Pete Hamill, the former Shabbos goy at Park Slope Jewish Center in the 1940’s, for reading “The Gift of the Magi” at the Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair at Old Stone House.

chemexOur Chemex coffeemaker for its timeless design. No other carafe or coffeemaker matches the elegance of pouring coffee from this glass spout. Ours is circa 1980; the rawhide tie gets replaced every few years.

MTA.info/nyct for keeping us up to date after Sandy flooded the subway tunnels.

Neighbors who’ve turned sidewalks and stoops into free libraries.

NYE_ProspectPark_PaulMartinka

December 31 at 11:59:59pm. (Photograph: Prospect Park Alliance/Paul Martinka.)

New Years celebrations in the nabe:
* Fort Defiance. EVE: an evening with Master of Mixology Charles H. Baker, Jr.  DAY: Southern brunch with Coca-Cola ham, biscuits, lots more. Yes, reserve. Red Hook.
* Fireworks in Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. Thank you Marty.
* Run. EVE: Brooklyn Road Runners sponsors a 5K in Prospect Park at 11:15, complete with glow necklaces and fleece hats for registrants. DAY: Prospect Park Track Club’s 20th annual Harry’s Handicap Race at 10am. One loop of Prospect Park, followed by potluck brunch, coffee, bagels with a great group of runners and friends. It’s been awhile, but we’ve run this one at least ten times, and it’s always a hoot.
* Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge with Dr. Phil. Philip E. Schoenberg, Ph.D., that is. His annual walk is a chance to party and play on the Bridge, complete with fireworks viewings, refreshments, prizes, and lots of chances to pick up little-known facts from one of NYC’s best tour guides.

smilingCat_NYFoodTruckAssnrussia-mccurryThis kitty via NYC Food Truck Association
and This > “A home without a cat—and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat—may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”—Mark Twain. Quote and photograph from Home Again, a series of global photographs defining the idea of home, from the blog of photographer Steve McCurry.

Kings County Hospital ER for taking care of 140,000 of our sick and injured every year.

Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church for their remembrance of World Aids Day.

Everyone in the surf, on January 1, 2013. (Photograph by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.)

Everyone in the surf, on January 1, 2013. (Photograph from the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.)

Coney Island for an amazing summer with beach walks, Nathan’s, Grimaldi’s pizza, and Tom’s. We’ll be back next summer no matter what. And come January 1 at 1pm, we will be (only) observing the annual New Year’s Day Swim by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Happy Happy Joy Joy—so glad to hear the swim is on!

Sally Gil's work FW1, part of 440 Gallery Small Works show.

Sally Gil’s work FW1, part of 440 Gallery Small Works Show.

Gorilla Coffee for even a stroll-by creates a caffeine high.

Ella Yang for allowing us to showcase her Brooklyn-without-irony paintings: see Day Four from our 12 Days of Brooklyn posts. Ella is a member and exhibitor at the artist collective 440 Gallery where the 8th annual Small Works Show is currently on. Juried artwork is no larger than 12” and represents a strong Brooklyn artistic presence. Great things come in small packages indeed. Park Slope. Through January 6, 2013.

Holidays at Fort Defiance. (Photograph by Basia Hellwig/Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

Holidays at Fort Defiance. (Photograph by
Basia Hellwig/Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.
)

3rd Ward and all the other co-working spaces that help give cred and shelter to the artisanal work being done here.

Mixologist and Fort Defiance owner
St. John Frizell for sticking it out.

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2todoNOTE
If you missed Part One, catch up here.

Joy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists.
Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

12 DAYS OF BROOKLYN: First Across the East River Bridge

Day Twelve  12 Views of Brooklyn
More bridge views, see Who's Who

More bridge views, see Who’s Who

dec17IN 1883, THE FIRST PERSON OFFICIALLY TO CROSS the completed East River Bridge connecting the cities of Brooklyn and New York was Emily Warren Roebling. She crossed in a carriage, carrying a live rooster –  a symbol of victory – and really, she had plenty to crow about. More than any other person, she had made this bridge happen. The seemingly ill-fated bridge construction had first taken the life of her father-in-law, John, who’d designed and “sold” it to investors and to the two cities, and then it robbed the health of her husband, John’s son Washington, who had become Chief Engineer.

An intelligent and educated woman, Emily had been at his elbow while he studied and then extended his father’s plans and ideas. But soon her husband’s impairment – caused by decompression sickness while installing caissons at the site – left her to oversee the bridge building day to day, and then year after year. Washington followed the construction of the bridge by spy glass from his infirmary perch in Brooklyn Heights, it was believed, and relayed his instructions from there; in reality, however, for about a dozen years, he was seeing no one face-to-face but his nurses and his wife.

Emily Roebling proved able in the supervisory role for the next 14 years, even facing down challengers from the worlds of politics, engineering and investment, to keep the project in her and her husband’s hands. Did she go on to accomplish more civil engineering wonders in her own name? No. But in 1899, at age 56, she got a law degree from New York University. She died in 1903 of stomach cancer.

125th anniversary fireworks in 2008

125th anniversary fireworks in 2008

Washington Roebling’s medical treatment may have used the addictive drugs of the day. On the day the bridge opened, Roebling did not attend the opening ceremony and at the family’s reception, he was able to stand for only a few minutes and reportedly he showed no emotion; that was left to his wife. But Roebling’s health improved some time after the bridge was completed, at least enough so that he remarried after Emily’s death, and even took the reins of John A. Roebling’s Sons, the family engineering company, at age 80. He had outlived his younger brothers and their sons. In spite of continuing pain from decompression sickness, he ran the company successfully until his own death in 1926 at age 89. In 1915, the East River Bridge was officially renamed the Brooklyn Bridge.

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