I know a lot of my readers have never set foot in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn they know is the one they see in the movies. Those who have seen my photography also know of the parks and wetlands and beaches of the borough.
But what I want to talk about today is something I am very excited about — the grand opening of the new entrance of the Brooklyn Museum.
The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest in New York City. Let me explain how large that is — the building is over 500 thousand square feet, and has a bit of a garden, and this amazing new, huge entrance. It’s surrounded by the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and right by Prospect Park. The main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is right there, too.
The museum has been around since 1897, and is well known for it’s Egyptian Art collection (over 500 pieces on display), and it’s Rodins. It was the first in the USA to display pieces from Africa as art. The American art galleries are wonderful and welcoming. You can curl up and stare at something for ages. Over the years they’ve made it a very warm and open place. First Saturdays are nice, too, when they stay open until 11pm, free admission after 5pm, and offer movies, gallery talks, hands on art projects, music, and a dance party. Soon they will have wi-fi, too.
So now they’re opening up this new entrance. It visually replaces the steps that were torn down in the thirties. It’s got a beautiful fountain, a newly landscaped promenade, this massive glass roof of sorts over much of it. It’s a large enough entrance to have it’s own ampitheatre! It’s amazing how many people, even living in New York, are unaware of this huge museum sitting in Brooklyn.
This weekend, they’ll be opening this all to the public. It will be open from 11-11 on Saturday, and 11-6 on Sunday. Free. Not only will it be free, but there will be music, dancing (both by visitors and performers), films, talks. There will be book signings and scavenger hunts. There will be art projects to make. It’s going to be fantastic and I am going to be there.
This is just the start of something big, I think — a museum trying to become part of their community, part of their borough, welcoming the residents in for a big huge party. It’s nice, it’s friendlier, it’s accessable. I don’t just mean by their renovations of a nearby train station, I mean by how they’ve been treating the visitors to the museum.
It’s OUR museum, now. For a while it was almost as if it was a desperate suitor vying for the attention of the attention of the Manhattan art scene, but now it stands on its own.
Just as in romance, desperation can be smelled a mile away, and nothing is more attractive than someone, or in this case, some place, that knows how to have a good time, and stand on their own merits.