Category Archives: brooklyn

Williamsburg Street Art

If you wander around Williamsburg close to the shore of the East River, you can find some pretty cool street art. Animals and strange creatures in vibrant colors seem to be particularly popular right now. On the same day that I explored 5Pointz with Bron and Mark, we took the East River ferry from Long Island City to Williamsburg to continue our street art photography expedition. Below are some highlights:

Finally, this isn’t street art, but a pretty silly pun that required photographing:

Oh, and you can never have too many shots of NYC bridges:

Dekalb Market

This past Sunday I stopped by the newly opened Dekalb Market, an outdoor mall of sorts built from 22 shipping containers and housing a collection of local vendors. (I know, another Brooklyn locavore market in a quirky location! How will the New York Times process this?) The offerings were sparse, but perhaps it will get more popular in its downtown Brooklyn location. I got an iced coffee and walked through containers offering cupcakes, jewelry, innovative ideas, and music. The visual of the industrial containers transformed into pop-up stores is a great visual, so here are some photos. The market is open seven days a week, so go by if you have a chance! It makes for a fun afternoon.

Obscura Day at the Green-Wood Catacombs

At the beginning of the month, I led a couple of tours into the catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn for Obscura Day, organized by Atlas Obscura, an annual worldwide event that happened this year on April 9. The idea is to explore the wondrous places that are in your own backyard. Being that I live in a rather industrial part of Brooklyn, Green-Wood Cemetery is the closest thing I have to a backyard.

The catacombs are rarely unlocked, but the fantastic Green-Wood Historic Fund allowed them to be opened for us that Saturday. I also led us to some of the cemetery’s graves and other sites along the way, as Green-Wood is such a gorgeous place and dense with New York history. This included the geographic features carved by the glacier that once covered New York, the Revolutionary War site Battle Hill and the Minerva statue that gestures to the Statue of Liberty, the graves of American icons Leonard Bernstein and Boss Tweed, and beautiful statues like the Valentine Angel. It might seem unusual to visit a cemetery for reasons other than mourning, but Green-Wood was designed as a park and visitors once took carriage rides on the winding paths and ate picnics by the glacial ponds. I apologize that I could not arrange carriage rides.

The catacombs aren’t like those you would see in Paris, which were created in response to the city’s overflowing cemeteries (literally, putrid bodies sometimes spilled out from churchyards into the streets). Rather, these catacombs were built as a middle class option for above ground burial. If you were unable to afford to build your own mausoleum, you could buy a space in the Green-Wood catacombs. The catacombs are basically one long tunnel lined with vaults, with light coming in through skylights. The most notable permanent resident in the catacombs is Ward McAllister, a self-appointed arbiter of 19th century New York society, who unfortunately died not as wealthy as those in his carefully curated social circle.

More catacombs photos are below. To see my complete set of Obscura Day photos, click here.