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Friday, July 11, 2014

A Rink Rolls in Brooklyn! BklynBridgePark RollerRink Opens Today!

"Come on everybody get your roller-skates today!" Happening NOW (as of 3pm Friday July 11, 2014) The free opening celebration of the new roller rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park!

(The New Rink with City and River views, Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park)

In addition to today's free event, there are free hours on Fridays, Sundays and throughout the week.

When not free the rink charges $5 on Weekdays and $8 on weekends. I've never mentioned it on here, but I'm a skater so I'm very excited about the Adult only skate session they have scheduled.

For full details on hours and rates for entry and rentals check

I am a fan of Brooklyn Bridge Park the new green addition that has figurative and literally sprouted up to the south of the Brooklyn Bridge.

You'll flip for it, Brooklyn Bridge Park
(A photo of the park on opening day, 2010 The park's trees were just saplings, and that budding gymnast is probably about to graduate elementary school now.)

I was there on day one of it's opening as covered in a previous post. The park which is still expanding features open fields, a huge pro level set of enclosed basketball courts,Bike paths, photogenic lookouts and nooks, the Smorgasburgh food festival on weekends and music and film screening venues. It exists as an urban oasis in the space formerly occupied by less than inviting looking Port Authority piers. Check any riverside movie from the 70's & 80's and you'll spot them.

The problem with the current debate of all vs new, is that it's often had in very simple terms. For example I complain about many things new and I will say that is because subjectively (and occasionally objectively) many new things suck here in NYC or come with intense consequences for hard working people that for them, suck.

I don't care that there is the Toll Brother's development that we have to thank in part, for the park. I'm not a fan of some of their developments, but somebody was gonna develop this space eventually.

Even as a kid, in the beat down years of trash along the river's edge, I realized how fantastic it is to view Manhattan from riverside I wondered why less people lived there. Developers were going to build like the Toll Brother's corp. is doing and if public citizens get new park land as they do in this case, then I'm for it. Plus there's no chance in hell of anyone developing something in front of Brooklyn Heights that walls off their view they way that is currently being done in Williamsburg thanks to the Bloomberg administrations rezoning of that water front.

Apparently the new development the Toll Brothers corp is building is doing so well, they've raised prices on the units 6 times (according to CurbedNY) and the first apartment isn't even completed.

Seems like everyone wins on this one, and if that's the case, I'm all for it.


the last Soul Summit of 2009 in Fort Greene Park - 50
(Photo from 2011 Soul Summit)

Soul Summit, the dance party made of love peace and of course, soul, will return to Fort Greene Park's top hill this Sunday and if the past is any indication you will not want to miss it.

Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0162
Dj's on hand will be mixing Rare Grooves, House and Dance Classics. Adding to the soundscape will be an untold number of drummers and percussionists who are likely to show and then their hands to the rhythm.

Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0210

If that's not enough the Soul Summit a festive tradition that began in the early 2000's, is a free gathering, customarily filled with dancers of all ages, united in gracefully soul speaking motion.

the last Soul Summit of 2009 in Fort Greene Park - 37
But don't take my words for it, here's photos from previous years.

Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0316
Fort Greene Soul Summit

Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0306
Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0212
Beside the dancing crowds, the nearby hill side usually becomes an family affair of spread blankets and spread plates of home cooked meals, children rollicking and tumbling and older folks laying back and enjoying the summer fun.
Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0195
the last Soul Summit of 2009 in Fort Greene Park - 53

And here's a clip of video (a little shaky sorry) from the last Soul Summit of 2009 when in the middle of the set a light but persistent rain began to fall. How the crowd responded is part of why this event is so spiritual for many, it basically became a baptism.

The Soul Summit has been a hard to find event for years now, because the times the group producing the event has been given to hold the event has been altered nearly every year since it began the City.

Originally the dance party was held at the same Cuyler Gore Park on Fulton. It moved and expanded to Fort Greene where it was a weekly Sunday event.

However one year the part was shut early by the park's department and it was called off for that summer. Ever since the even has occurred and on occasion had it's permits revoked seemingly without reason. Some years there have been no events at all. So I was happy to hear last week there will be at least one this Sunday. Hopefully there will be more this summer.

Nothing has been as good as that magical day in the summer of 2011 when The Fort Greene Music Fest, a full on free music festival was put on in Fort Greene Park, which had local food vendors at booths semi-encircling the soccer field, a stage with emerging artist and world famous musicians, among others Game Rebellion, and headliner Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def). Mos Def rocking the crowd in Fort Greene Park
Despite that being a peaceable day, attended by thousands, where profits were made and no entry charged (run-on alert) that ended on time (sunset) and didn't destroy the park, new home owners in the area complained and a similar event hasn't been held since.
Ft. Greene Park Summer 2011 DSC_0744
So with the track record of the past, I really suggest if you're a dancer or lover or music, or just want to take the kids out and enjoy good energy, you come out to the Soul Summit this sunday, who knows how long it will go on, so like summer, enjoy it while's here.

Read about previous years' Soul Summit's here:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Photo (Video) Wednesday July 4th edition.

Where were we, ah yes.

I totally missed the Do the Right Thing 25 years in the making block party. Not only did I miss it, I wrote the wrong date on this blog. Apologies. Everyone down for 2039 right!!?? Ah.. yah.

Back to the block party, Public Enemy Performed their classic "Fight The Power" as featured in the film, DJ Spinna keep the party amazing, Brooklynites enjoyed an unexpected bonus reunion day with familiar longterm Brooklynite faces meeting up from around the Borough. And if that wasn't enough The artist formerly know as Mos Def: Yasiin Bey spun the packed crowd into a musical frenzy with some of his classics and more than a little dancing to LL's also classic, "Rock the Bells". I know all this from my Facebook timeline of the folks in attendance while I was far away.

Speaking of throwbacks, The New York Times wrote another article about how Crown Heights isn't just about rioting anymore, which I guess makes the previous 5 articles they've published saying the same thing just wishful opinion engineering? Or maybe they've been so busy reminding people for 23 years that 4 days of protesting, 2 days of looting, 1 horrible act of vehicular homicide that went unpunished (innocent 6 year old Gavin Cato's death at the hands of a driver who avoided scrutiny by fleeing to Israel) followed by a terrible mob attack on an innocent student Yankle Rosenbaum (who was stabbed and later neglected at Kings County Hospital where he died) all of which occurred in an area less than 10% of the neighborhood is all Crown Heights is about, that they need this many articles to set the record straight. Except thats not the purpose of the article, it's really about making prospective buyers feel good about the area.

Speaking of Independence, the fourth of July happened! And for the first time in a kindergardener's age, the fireworks launched from the East River as opposed to shining so much light on our beloved Jersey (Really Hoboken) neighbors. I wanted to capture great images from the show that was, including the sparkling pyrotechnics cascading off the Brooklyn Bridge itself, (first time I've seen this since the Bridge's centennial celebration back in '83) but my life got in the way (or more accurately a wedding in the family in of all places, upstate, 4th of July Weekend) so here's some cool video from folks with better views than I.

More coming up this month, The Brooklyn Bodega HipHop Fest (is being held in Williamsburg this year and if you want tickets, hurry, they're selling out fast. Last year's lines we're pretty expansive.)

"Back to the Future is screening in McCarren Park in Williamsburg, kicking off their outdoor movie season (tonight FREE!)

The FREE Wingate Concert series kick's off next week with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds headlining and theres a variety of great of other stuff (Ex: Summerstage events all around the city) I'll try to make time to post. 

Or hey send me an email with your event at umbrooklynborn @ and I'll post it here, free of charge.

Spread Love is the Brooklyn Way