Thursday, September 4, 2014

Battle of Brooklyn

For my piece in this week's Metro, a visit to the Battle of Brooklyn celebration.

On a beautifully temperate Sunday afternoon, I went to Green-Wood Cemetery to watch a group of Revolutionary War reenactors celebrate the Battle of Brooklyn. Dressed in their eighteenth-century best, they stuffed a cannon with balls of tinfoil and shot them towards the distant harbor. “Cover your ears,” warned a man in a tricorn hat before the boom and the ring of floating smoke. The monk parrots nesting in the nearby trees were not pleased.

Benjamin Franklin walked around with his kite, ostensibly waiting for lightning to strike, but the sky was stormless, a clear summer blue. Another man held up a leafy twig, explaining, “This is from a tree planted during the American Revolution. It grows in Woodside, Queens. I think it’s called a beech tree, but I’m really not sure.”

I walked to the top of Battle Hill to look at the statue of Minerva. In her helmet and armored breastplate, she waves down to the Statue of Liberty, who seems not to notice or care. They’re like a couple of estranged sisters, these two, one ignoring the other’s overture...

Please read the rest of the essay at Metro

1 comment:

ShatteredMonocle said...

I took a night tour there recently and they told us a great story about that Minerva statue. Apparently the condo on the corner of 7th and 23rd was originally supposed to be two stories higher which would have blocked the sisters' view of one another. Some neighborhood cranks and Green-Wood enthusiasts were able to petition against that and the developer ended up lowering the building.