One block in Brooklyn

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St. Patrick’s Day came a bit early to Brooklyn as a man selling souvenirs donned a green beard and a purveyor of tasty fare called Blue Apron Foods turned out cookies with Irish flair. I decided, after hitting a Brooklyn origami studio one afternoon, to walk the rest of the block — curious about what I might find within one block in Brooklyn. Clearly it was good. After sampling a piece of authentic shortbread and getting a bakery tour of everything from dinosaur cookies to thin multicolored licorice ropes, I headed out in search of all things Brooklyn.

As I walked, a lone book title — “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” — kept running through my head. It’s actually oodles of trees, many still sporting bare winter branches — but others just beginning to show tiny green sprouts of life. I realized, after strolling through a bit of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, that many were the sort of crabapple trees I’d seen there. Often streets were lined with trees, beautiful even when bare.

I made my way to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden after a lovely gentleman at Blue Apron Foods gave me directions. Really good ones. Seems his father was in the service, and there’s a Grand Army Plaza honoring folks who’ve fought in the military near the turn you take to enter the garden — which is accessible off the street or one of New York’s plentiful parks. The garden was filled with woody Japanese wisteria, bright yellow daffodils in bloom and bulbs yet to open.

I actually got a bit distracted en route to the garden — spying one of my favorite places in any town I visit. The local library. The Brooklyn Public Library has a magnificent edifice featuring gold designed inspired by mythology and a pair of quotes etched in stone. Quotes from A.A. Milne and other children’s author wrap around a portion of the children’s area, and an exhibit of botanical theme quilts from the Quilters’ Guild of Brooklyn is currently exhibited in the library’s grand lobby.

Curious about a building I’d spied adjacent to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I decided to do more exploring and stumbled upon a truly exceptional find — the Brooklyn Museum, where an exhibition featuring works by Keith Haring has just opened. Exciting stuff, but not quite pitter patter material like the works of Auguste Rodin — my favorite sculpture, and someone whose work I first enjoyed during a year of study and travel abroad. I admired Rodin’s work while thinking about Arizona’s own John Waddell and his newest installation adjacent to the Herberger Theater Center. Often I find the hands and feet most fascinating.

Like our own Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum, the Brooklyn Museum has a special room dedicated to children and teens. Their Con Ed education gallery exhibits sculpture, paintings, drawings and multi-media works created in various programs and classes offered by the museum. Many of the youth works reveal real skill and depth of emotion.

My mission to meander through just a single block in Brooklyn turned into something much more. Two boroughs down, three to go.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to explore our own Desert Botanical Garden and here to exlore our own Phoenix Art Museum — both of which offer programs for youth. Click here to enjoy a post by Marina Chetner featuring photos snapped throughout the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Coming up: Big read meets big quilt, A serious superstar

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