I’ve gotten so involved in parades and the like that I’ve neglected a post I’ve been planning to write for a couple of weeks. At the beginning of September, I ankled my way around Brooklyn Heights and I’ve written two posts about it (here and here).
But there was more and I wanted to give a little more information about this very attractive and well-positioned place. So far, I’ve written about Borough Hall and the Promenade, now let’s see what was in-between.
Brooklyn Heights is quite historic. As mentioned before, its favorite son is Henry Ward Beecher from Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims.
It’s an attractive an modern-looking church that belies its actual age.
A plaque on the church reads “Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims founded in 1847 as Plymouth Church and built in 1849 from designs by J.C. Wells. This Congregational Church became a center of anti-slavery sentiment preceding the Civil War. Henry Ward Beecher was its first minister, 1847-1887. Abraham Lincoln worshipped here twice in 1860. A fragment of Plymouth Rock is in an adjoining arcade. In 1934 it was united with Church of the Pilgrims, founded in 1844. Plaque erected in 1961 by The New York Community Trust”
Inside the courtyard (where I couldn’t go) was another statue of Beecher. And a frieze of Lincoln. And of a familiar figure just to the side of Beecher.
You may have to enlarge it to see better (just click on the picture), but it’s another slave figure like in the original Brooklyn Heights post I did. I have some very mixed feelings about the positioning, but can’t figure out where I stand. I presume the statues are much older and putting “the great man” on a pedestal next to lowly nobodies is probably par for its time. But I don’t know if Beecher wouldn’t complain about his relative elevation. (Of course, I honestly don’t know that he would complain.)
In any event, it is odd that the Heights essentially has the same statue twice within a few hundred yards. (Note that the statues are very different versions of Beecher, but with the same idea of him elevated next to a downtrodden slave figure.)
The Lincoln frieze is good, but it doesn’t show up well on the picture.
It’s been said that Brooklyn is the land of churches, and I think that’s true. Both Manhattan and Brooklyn are filled with churches some well attended and some not. But a lot of them are quite spectacular. Also in Brooklyn Heights is the Episcopal Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity.
Yeah, there’s scaffolding in the front, but the church is big and grand and has a great front door.
But there’s more to the Heights than just that. The streets are incredibly quiet and pleasant and the buildings are first rate. Here’s some Pierrepont Street brownstones.
Pierrepont Street also has the Brooklyn Historical Society.
Historically, there’s a spot in the Heights where George Washington was leading the American revolutionaries during the Battle of Long Island. He eventually had to withdraw in the face of superior force and successfully evaded the British and preserved his army.
There’s a street called Remson Street that had a variety of different architectural types in the same block.
It’s not as evident in the picture, but there is a definite difference among the line of townhouses. And all, apparently, were build long ago during their respective dates of the style.
One weird thing did happen, the only thing out of the commonplace during my visit. I was walking up from the Promenade and smelled smoke. I had noticed a homeless guy about 20 yards ahead of me slow down for a moment or two and then walk on. And then I smelled smoke. When I got up to the area he had slowed/stopped, I found a newspaper on fire! Just a few pages of it and just burning in the middle of the sidewalk. I let it continue to burn for a few seconds, but once the wind kicked up, I stomped it out. I don’t know if the guy started it or just observed it as he was going by (kind of like I did). Hey, it could have been spontaneous combustion for all I know. It sure did make for an interesting moment, though.