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Monday, July 21, 2008

Cake Man Raven Celebration in Fort Greene

So this past weekend I felt the pull of summer sun and wandered down Fulton Street...

And as I am likely to do, I walked right into the middle of a big ol' something.
The details are below, check out the pics and video:

My approach and discovery...

Battle of the Bands!

Cake Man Celebration Ft. Green Brooklyn - 6
A view of the parading Marching Band "The Approaching Storm"

Cake Man Celebration Ft. Green Brooklyn - 13
The "Brooklyn Steppers" set up to "The Approaching Storm" and the battle is joined!

Cake Man Celebration Ft. Green Brooklyn - 4
A Brooklyn Honoree shares the stage with Boro Pres. Marty Markowitz,
Cake Man Raven & Councilwoman Leticia James

I'd forgotten that it was the day of the celebration and block party in honor of neighborhood residents and Fort Green's own "Cake Man Raven" shop on it's 8th anniversary.

So as I walked to the Habana Outpost or as friends and I call it "the lunch room"I came upon an overflowing sea of people, traffic being redirected, and the sights and sounds of marching band battle.

In the midst of the pomp and circumstance there was Borough Pres. Marty and Fort Green Councilwoman Leticia James, as well as of course the Cake Man Raven.

And to my surprise and delight one of those marching bands was none other than "The Approaching Storm" who I first ran into a few weeks back as they played an impromptu midnight set on the Streets of Bed-Stuy. They in the blue uniforms were joined in a band battle with the yellow-clad "Brooklyn Steppers"

Now I have to confess, though I am "BrooklynBorn" and have lived in Fort Green, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy and Prospect and Crown Heights among other bk neighborhoods for over three decades, I did at one point think I had experienced much of what there was to Brooklyn, and I left the country. Not too extreme, right?

That was in 2000 which was when the Cake Man Raven set up shop, so to this day I am a little behind on my Cake Man knowledge. To improve that I basically try to eat as much Cake Man Raven Red Velvet cake as I can (to see if it improves my historical awareness) but the only thing getting bigger is this Brooklyn Born belly of mine.

I pulled from the Cake Man's website and found that among many culinary accomplishments the Cake Man Raven is originally from Harlem, (Uptown, Uptown!) and has won awards all over South Carolina and additionally he's created confections for the Grammy Awards and Patti LaBelle.

It was really amazing to see the intersection of Hanson and South Oxford transformed with a full stage and attendant audience. My mind started to wander back to the days when a carnival used to be held on the land that is now Atlantic Commons. All those newly built homes on either side of Cumberland were only built around 1994 prior to that the entire area was an open barren field most of the time, except in the late summer when the carnival came. That's probably a story I should get into deeper someday. My mind also drifted to the opening or re-opening of Cuyler Gore park, that tiny little triangle of parkland between Green Av., Fulton St. and Carlton Av. There was a big rededication when that park was restored which I remember because it was about 1981 and I was a Cub Scout whose troop was part of ceremony. We were told Mayor Koch was supposed to come for the open and he never did. I guess pols today have a better appreciation for how an appearance or lack-there-of can form memories.

I didn't stay distracted for long. The music, people, pageantry, warm weather and sunshine snapped me right back and if that weren't enough, some young brothers came by with free Red Velvet cupcakes. And ya know what? Just as the box came my way a group of old ladies bum-rushed and all I got was a good look. But a good look it was.

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