Crossing the East River into Brooklyn on the Williamsburg Bridge, the Domino Sugar Factory stands like a fortress gate, marking home. As Brooklyn's manufacturing days wound down, the artists' migration from Manhattan to Brooklyn grew, flowing to its vacant, fertile creative ground. Again, at the winds of change this spring, history was noted at the factory with Kara Walker's Marvelous Sugar Baby installation presented by Creative Time. The factory's original nineteenth century sugar shack will be spared and re-imagined for living. Its scripted iconic, neon sign currently being disassembled for storage, awaiting renewal.
Both my father and Russell's had fresh starts in Brooklyn. Mine was born in the Prospect Heights Hospital next to the Brooklyn Museum. His father raised in Paris, arrived at eighteen at the Brooklyn Navy Yard aboard a troop ship at the close of World War II. A notebook of Russell's started in 1989, marked the year he moved to Brooklyn. Looking through the pages, I could track his steps, drinking in his new surroundings. With this portable studio, pausing to observe, taking ownership of his newly planted life.
A sketch of a winged globe with a hand-scrawled note: Flying Globe From "Allegorical figure of Manhattan" 1916 removed from the Manhattan Bridge, Daniel Chester French 1850-1931. A pair of statues one representing Brooklyn, the other Manhattan, was commissioned for a formal entrance to the newly constructed Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side. In 1961, it was demolished to make way for Robert Moses' epic construction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. The sister statues moved up Flatbush Avenue to their permanent home at the Brooklyn Museum.
This summer, one of our favorite things to do was to go for an end-of-day bike ride to Transmitter Park. The original home of WNYC radio station from 1937-1990, this newly renovated, pint-size park is nestled between two warehouse buildings at the end of Greenpoint Avenue. Its up-river location looks south equally to Brooklyn and Manhattan. A walk out on the zig-zag pier soothes the soul with a big sky view.