Tuesday, October 11, 2016

American Dream: A Park Near Your Home

My American Dream: City Life -- with a Park (or Two) Nearby

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I've wanted to live in New York City since I was a kid. And now I'm doing it! It has its upsides and downsides. Crowds. Constant brand names trying to grab my attention, on buses, taxis, storefronts, signs. I feel like I'm constantly being sold to. Also, lotta concrete.

But there's upsides. Easy access to free and incredibly excellent events, like outdoor opera in Lincoln Center's plaza. The whole mystique of Manhattan, where I work, and Brooklyn where I live.

I have two parks near me. In Sunset Park, which gives its name to my neighborhood, families hang out on nice evenings and the big entertainment is watching the sun set over New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the towers of the financial district of Manhattan.

Interesting that we can see the Statue of Liberty from this park: I've sat there for two hours straight and didn't hear English spoken. I love it! We're still attracting people from all over the world. They remind us to dream big.

There's another park, Bush Terminal Park, which offers views of the same vistas but from water level, rather than from atop a big hill.

This jetty extends straight out into New York Harbor.

The towers of the financial district in the distance.

The gritty Brooklyn harbor side.

Manhattan again.

You can see Jersey City competing for tower attention to the left.

This is Bush Terminal.

Entrance to the park.

Irving Bush, who must have had a thriving business.

View at sunset of the financial district of Manhattan from the hill in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Same view, different sunset.

Different day, post-sunset, as the lights come on. How about you? Got a great park near you? Please tell us, below!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

American Dream: A Brownstone in Brooklyn

Sunset Park, Brooklyn Is Full of Brownstones

Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

My new neighborhood of Sunset Park is chock full of brownstones. It's got so many that it's applying for National Historic District status. That's something that Park Slope and Williamsburg already have.

I find the rooflines to be fascinating. Each street has a different look. 

I love the details in the wood trim at the top. The brickwork is great, too. If you like my blog, would you sign up to follow it? Thanks!!!

Here's a close-up of another street's brownstones and the profile of the roofline against the sky.

This is a long view of the same street -- you can see the brownstones just go on and on.

Here's the roofline of another street whose brownstones sport bay windows.

This is Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, the main commercial street. These brownstones have the elegant trim and brickwork, too.

It's just beautiful.

Here's another set of brownstones, with gently rounded bay windows and trim that echoes the curves.
How about you? Do you like historic architecture? Comment below!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fun in Coney Island -- But it's a Little Creepy

American Dream: Time at the Seashore

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

My trip to Coney Island was a first -- no a second. I was there with my grandfather in the early 60s, the only time I went out with him. We lived far away and were only visiting Brooklyn briefly. As I recall, it was sunny, and the boardwalk was crowded.

So I went back last May and found it deserted, and creepy.

This is just about the creepiest thing I've ever seen. Gates of hell, anyone? Looks like fun, but then it isn't...

Nothing sadder than a ride no one's using.

I've passed this for years on the Belt Parkway, on my way to see relatives on Long Island, NY.

There's a certain artistry to roller coaster design.

New construction in Coney Island. Maybe there'll be a resurgence of prosperity?