Sunday, February 10, 2008

OHS saw her first red-tailed hawk in Fort Greene Park today. It coasted to a perch in a tulip tree and we walked under it to get the sun out of our eyes. I think it was a juvenile female. A passerby said there was a couple in the park. I wonder if there’s a nest, and where it might be. A couple of months ago, my friend D had a red-tail drop down on the sidewalk in front of him in the Fort Greene neighborhood, mobbed out of the sky by some crows. The bird stood there for a moment as a crowd gathered, then it flew off, seemingly fine

This morning was overcast. By midday, the day was beautiful, the sun bright, the sky intensely blue, a few cumulus clouds puffed by. At four, the snow was blowing horizontally.

From certain points in Brooklyn, like on the F train as it rises above the Gowanus, you can see Fort Greene Park’s Prison Ship Martyrs Memorial tower. I suppose Ratnerville (or “McBrooklyn” as I saw the Atlantic Yards development so accurately described somewhere) will block out the sight. The Memorial is being restored, so it’s fenced off, its bottom half shrouded. Anticipated date of the rededication is this year.

FYI: 11,500 Revolutionary War POWs died on the English prison ships in Wallabout Bay, where the Navy Yard is. The bones would wash ashore for years after the war. Many of the recovered bones were stored in a vault on Hudson Street in the early 1800s. Walt Whitman, newspaperman, advocated for a park in the area during the 1840s. Olmsted and Vaux, that torrid duo, designed it in 1867. In 1873, the prison ship remains were moved to a crypt in the park, and in 1908, Stanford White’s Doric column was dedicated by our fattest President, W.H. Taft. It was White’s last major work; H.K. Thaw shot and killed him on the roof of the old Madison Square in 1906, after being shocked, shocked that his wife Evelyn Nesbit had had a torrid affair with White while she was a Floradora chorus girl. Nesbit lived until 1967. I'm a sucker for Pre-Raphaelite hair.

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