Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BBBB Bonanza at Summit Garden this Saturday!

The Summit Street Garden is planning a BBBB Bonanza! That would be a Bluegrass Blues Bulb Bake Bonanza! 
Summit Garden is selling bulbs for your garden and baked goodies at their Fall Fundraiser event this Saturday
, September 28th 9:30am-4:30pm. (Rain date is Sunday, September 29th.) Enjoy your cookies with live Bluegrass music in the garden at 2pm. 

Summit Street Community Garden is at the corner of Summit St. & Columbia St.

If you can’t make it to the Bonanza you can still support the fundraiser at Summit Garden's online Bulb Sale: http://tinyurl.com/BBBB2013

All proceeds will be used to beautify Summit Street Garden.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Street Magic: Public Art on Columbia Street Sidewalks

Photo by Rafi Magnes
One evening in late April 2012, on my walk home, I noticed dozens of chalk arrows under my feet, in a rainbow of colors, pointing ahead. As I followed the arrows, the words "street magic" appeared repeating in different colors and configurations. Later I learned that a local young person had put on a sidewalk magic show that afternoon. The next morning I returned to photograph the arrows, but where the arrows had been a perfect square of sidewalk had been removed and the gap was ringed by construction tape. The next day a new square of slate-blue sidewalk magically appeared. Carved into it was a perfect silhouette of the tree growing next to it. This was one of six sites in a public art project by Nobuho Nagasawa, titled Timecast.

You have probably walked over these works hundreds of times over the past year and a half. There are six of them scattered throughout the Columbia Waterfront District, four of them on Columbia Street, one on Van Brunt at Degraw, and one on Hamilton Avenue outside the Backyard Garden.

Nagasawa's press materials describe the work and her process:
The shadow of newly-planted native New York trees was precisely traced at a certain time of the day on the bluestone sidewalk, and became visible as permanent silhouettes on the sidewalk. These tree silhouettes are sandblasted in the bluestone, which is not only quarried in New York, but has been used historically as a paving stone in this neighborhood, as well as in landmarked locations, such as around the New York Public Library and Bryant Park. I want the shadows to be literally 'set in stone,' and to appear as 'jewels' set in time, and to give the impression of time frozen, which is a historical record.

Photo by Rafi Magnes

Photo by Rafi Magnes

I wanted to know more about these tree shadows and how our quiet neighborhood had come to be the home for these works. I was able to reach Ms. Nagasawa by phone and she explained that "in 2004 this neighborhood was the site of a competition to design a work of public art." She won the commission, awarded by 1% for Art. The work of choosing sites and planting trees began, and in 2007 Nagasawa was awarded an Excellence in Design Award, an annual prize given by the City of New York Art Commission Award since 1982.

"It took a long time, the project was delayed because of unanticipated subsurface conditions, poor soil conditions under the ground." They also had to wait until street construction projects were completed before they could move ahead. In 2008, she and Signe Nielsen, the Columbia Street Project Landscape Architect and Vice President of the City of New York Design Commission handpicked the trees from Gowanus Nursery (formerly on Summit St, now on Van Brunt Street) and chose the sites.

"The site at Columbia and Baltic is first one - we call it 'Site One.' The next site is the one I spotted first, at Columbia and Sackett. The third one is by Union Street."

Site 6, at Van Brunt St and Degraw, is different than the others. It is closer to the waterfront. "People should slow down, pause. You can see Governor's Island and Statue of Liberty." But the other striking difference is that here there is no longer a tree, just the carving of its shadow "in memoriam." Nagasawa says, "At Site 6 we planted a Red Oak tree, and somebody came and cut the tree down; it was not an accident. We called the police and investigated." The act of vandalism was tough on Nagasawa. "It is like a little baby for me, tracing the shadow like making a cast of a baby's feet when it is born." The loss of the tree made Site 6 more of a political piece for her. "It brings attention to the fragile ecology. These trees are vulnerable."

Also part of the project are two time capsules, one at Site 5 (Hamilton and Van Brunt) and Site 6 (Van Brunt and Degraw), each in a bottle. "During the installation of the stone, one of the branches of the King Maple it was accidentally broken off. So I placed the tree branch and an artwork of mine, a glass nail I made, and an original site plan in that bottle." In Site 6's time capsule there is also a photograph of the installation.

I told the artist that I noticed rainwater pooling in the tree shapes, glistening. Did she imagine that happening? "I did, and I imagined in the wintertime, water getting in and freezing. i think it will be really beautiful, a frozen tree shadow."

What does she think it will mean for the neighborhood? "I want people who live there and walk there every day, a baby in stroller growing up into a teenager and seeing how it has changed. Since the trees will not continue to cast the same shadows as they grow taller, the shadows will become fixed markers by which the effects of time on the streetscape become apparent as the years pass."

Nagasawa spent the eight years visiting our neighborhood to plan and execute the project. I asked about her favorite place here. "I love the fact that there are so many little community gardens. That's what I noticed. I was really surprised about that. A lot of people have a green thumb here! I enjoyed talking to locals and actually became friends with some, exchanged emails. It was nice to meet the Columbia Street community. They seem really appreciative of the art. I hope they embrace it."

Read more about Nobuho Nagasawa at http://www.artnet.com/awc/nobuho-nagasawa.html.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Word on Columbia Street Needs YOU

We are seeking more neighbors to blog about the best neighborhood in Brooklyn, perhaps the world!

Help us keep The Word on Columbia Street going as the only blog dedicated to news and history of our fascinating corner of Brooklyn.

Contact andreaoncolumbiast at gmail.com if you are interested in being a part of our team. We are all volunteers who love this neighborhood. You can write about what interests you: local businesses, family events, local history, etc.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Columbia Waterfront Fall Festival and garden tours Sept 14

Carroll Gardens Association is holding its Fifth Annual Columbia Waterfront Fall Festival on Saturday, September 14, 2013 from 12 PM to 6 PM. 

The Fall Festival runs from Degraw Street to Union Street on Columbia Street and from Columbia Street to Hicks Street on Union Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District of Brooklyn. This is a free community event that's always a lot of fun. Last year the local restaurants were selling food outside, local hula hooper Celia was demonstrating techniques for the kids, and there was a stage with live music.

To complement the festival this year, from 12:00-1:30 pm, all of the community gardens in the Columbia Waterfront District will be part of a walking tour. The guided tour will begin at the Human Compass Garden on the corner of Columbia Street and Sackett Streets and will make a stop at each of these gardens along the way: the Amazing Garden, Summit Street Garden, Pirate's Cove Garden, the Backyard Garden, the Urban Meadow and then will end at the South Brooklyn Children's Garden. At each garden there will be current members to give a presentation about that garden, answer questions about what is going on in the garden and how to get involved. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Amazing Garden's Best Grilled Sandwich Competition Sept 7

Next weekend, get yourself down to the Amazing Garden on Saturday, September 7th for their THIRD annual grilled sandwich competition!

How it works: three chefs compete for the title of best grilled sandwich (meat) and best grilled sandwich (vegetarian).
This year's competitors: Lauren Rauh (Iris Cafe), Josh Kaplan (Dassara), and Morgan Jarrett (Nightingale 9). As sandwiches come off the grill, ticketholders get to sample them and vote on which was tastiest.

Entry: $15. It's a fundraiser, and all revenues will be used for maintenance and repairs of one of the most popular community gardens in our part of Brooklyn.

Benefits: continuous delicious food, live music, and beverages courtesy of Brooklyn Farmacy.

Time: 3 pm, Saturday September 7th

Location: The Amazing Garden, at the corner of Carroll St. & Columbia St. in Brooklyn.