Spring has finally arrived! It’s time to get out and explore everything that is blooming in Park Slope. With everything that happens in the neighborhood, where do you start? We have suggestions. Explore some of our favorite books, activities and events this season. If you have something you would like to share, send it along to us at email@example.com.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
P.S. 39 Spring Carnival
P.S. 39, 417 Sixth Avenue June 4, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Born out of a simple plant sale to raise funds for P.S. 39, the school’s annual Spring Carnival has grown into a full day of events and activities. Offering something for everyone, Carnival events and activities will include: pony rides, live Bluegrass music, clowns, games, prizes, face-painting, raffles, crafts and fantastic local food. Park Slope business owners and residents donate art, food and raffle items, adding to the community aspect. Admission is free and all precedes from the event support the school. Keep an eye on the P.S. 39 website, www.ps39.org, for more details.
FRIENDS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
Beasties: How to Make 22 Mischievous Monsters That Go Bump in the Night by Diana Schoenbrun [Penguin]
Park Slope illustrator Diana Schonebrun has true creative insight. Her Beasties are imaginative, playful, and a bit tongue-in-check. To be perfectly honest, they’re right up my alley. In her book, Beasties, she provides sewing patterns for 22 of her creatures so you can sew yourself. The accompanying illustrations are irresistible as each finished piece is photographed in a setting that tells a story and something about its personality. The instructions are simple and easy to follow, and allow room for you own creative input. If you are new to sewing, this may be the perfect book to build up your skills. With the book’s no muss, no fuss attitude, you will feel like one of Santa’s elves when you complete The first one. If you have been sewing for a while, it offers a refreshing break from the standard. Just try and decide which one to make first.
BROOYKLYN IN BLOOM
Hamani: Celebrating the Cherry Blossom
Brooklyn Botanical Garden April 2 – May 1
With the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s annual Cherry Blossom celebration, you know that spring has officially arrived. As you stroll the grounds, take in the beauty of these delicate blossoms. Forty-two different varieties of cherry blossoms are scheduled to bloom at different times during this four-week period. You can learn more as BBG offers free walking tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm, explaining the highlights of the exhibit. The festival culminates with Sakura Matsuri, a “rite of spring” celebration of Japanese culture on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1. For more information, visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s website www.bbg.org
ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN
Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity, and Ingenuity Can Change the World By Steve Crawshaw & John Jackson (forward by Vaclav Havel) [Union Square]
In this book, authors Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson (a Park Slope resident) celebrate the people around the world who took small steps to fight against injustice. In some cases, these smallest acts of resistance could prove dangerous for the protester, even life-threatening. Despite the risks, they found creative, non-violent means to provoke true change. The examples in this book prove that no act is too small; a single person can make a difference. In total, the book relays over 80 examples of bravery throughout the 20 and 21st Centuries. From boycotts of government-run news, to withholding sex, to staging pageants in war-torn areas, people have stood against their oppressors. On it’s own each story is more inspiring than the next. Collectively, they provide hope in an ever-changing world.
KIDS PARTIES MADE SIMPLE
Cheeky Monkey Party
It’s an ingenious idea: an entire party using colorful, reusable materials. Goodbye flimsy plastic party favors. Not sure how to organize a kid-centered party? Brooklyn mom Joanna Tallantine’s Cheeky Monkey Party, Inc. supplies everything you need. Each kit includes, a craft project, a game, a prize for each quest and gift bags for each guest. It also comes with instructions and tips to ensure your party is a success. A variety of themes (princess, pirate, under the sea) are available or you can mix and match to create your own special theme. Check out all your options at the Cheeky Monkey Party website www.cheekymonkeyparty.com.
HAVE A BALL
Bocce at Union Hall
Bocce seems to be a bit of a Brooklyn phenomenon. With outdoor courts in Carroll Gardens and McCarren Park, locals have ample opportunity to perfect their rolling skills. As sports go it’s very meditative; balls are rolled in a calculating manner and moves are well planned. It possesses the physics of pool, but allows more camaraderie and team play. Park Slope bocce enthusiasts are particularly fortunate. With only indoor bocce courts in Brooklyn, at Union Hall rollers are able to play year-round. Want to pick up some pointers? On Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, you can root for your favorite teams in the seasonal bocce tournaments. It’s the perfect way to spend the evening. For more information visit Union Hall’s website www.unionhallny.com
GET DOWN AND DIRTY
Talking Dirt by Annie Spiegelman [Perigee]
My experiences with gardening aren’t what you would call “successful.” Attempts at window boxes and potted plants in the past have yielded anemic plants that resemble E.T. (during his “phone home” phase) more than pansies. Thankfully, Annie Spiegelman with her trowel, garden gloves and a sense of humor tackles all aspects of organic gardening. Her focus is on sustainable. With easy to follow steps, she takes you through each and every aspect of gardening from soil to pruning and from herbs to fruit trees. She makes the steps to growing your own organic garden seem achievable. The books is also chocked full of handy resources and suggestions. At the end of every chapter, she offers a plant recommendation based on the skills you just learned. Each one is paired with her “Universal Botanical Whaa-whaa Rating,” which is based on “practical merit” as well as “level of whining.” Throughout the book, she also explains the importance of organic gardening and its advantages over using harsh chemical pesticides. If you feel inspired by the buds sprouting from the thaw, Talking Dirt can assist you in creating your own piece of paradise.
A HIDDEN GEM IN NEW YORK HARBOR
Figment Festival, Governors Island June 10-12
Over the past four years, for me at least, the annual FIGMENT Festival on Governors Island marks the beginning of summer. This free art event converts the small island into a wonderland of art, music, and activities for adults and children alike. When you arrive at FIGMENT, you’ll have the opportunity to experience 400 art pieces, projects, and performances. They share one common theme: you are asked to participate, create, and engage. A former military base in New York Harbor, Governors Island was closed the public for many years. Now open from May through October, it functions as a state park. During this time, a free ferry provides transportation to and from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to the festival. And who doesn’t like a ferry ride? To learn more, visit the FIGMENT website, figmentproject.org.