Tuesday, September 23, 2014


On Saturday mornings, during the summer and fall, I used to bike over to Grand Army Plaza.  Five streets intersect there, including the most famous, Flatbush Avenue which runs across Brooklyn from the Manhattan  Bridge to Rockaway in the Atlantic.  There’s a road leading into the main entrance of Prospect Park   This roadway was blocked every weekend for Brooklyn’s farmer’s market 

I’m not sure where the farms are that are selling produce – it would hardly be worth it to travel from upstate or New Jersey – but there were bakery items and hand-made cheese and soap.  The best part of the market to me was the truck that accepted old, stained clothes that some business turned into insulation for houses.  The truck wasn’t there every weekend, and when it wasn’t, I had to take my stuff home, but it was a great idea for any farmer’s market to have donations trucks.

Grand Army Plaza is sort of the Arch de Triomphe of Brooklyn.  There’s a traffic circle, an arch, a fountain, its own little park, and a lot of statues.  It was intended to be a break from the city before entering the park, and it has retained its peacefulness.  It was a beautiful place to walk (or bike ride) – especially in summer when the trees were shady.
The arch was designed by Olmstead and Vaux (who designed Prospect Park and Central Park) to commemorate the triumph of the Union Army in the Civil War.  The arch is called the Soldiers and Sailors Arch.  The statues were added later.  There’s a John F. Kennedy. monument, statues of two Union Army generals, a couple of governors.  

The top statue reminded me of the Brandenberg Gates in Berlin.  At one point “winged victory,” above the arch, fell over in her chariot and remained that way for several years (because New York City goes broke from time to time) until finally repaired by donations from private citizens.

The main public library faces Grand Army Plaza.  The plaza arch faces the main entrance to Prospect Park.  The Brooklyn Museum is less than a block away, and the Botanical Gardens are right behind the library and museum.  It’s really a nice cultural center.

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