Art and Gardens

Art and Gardens
Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn, NY

Today we went to another corner of the Prospect Park area to see the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Botanic Gardens. They are right next to each other along a major through street called Eastern Parkway.

The Museum specializes in Egyptian antiquities as well as contemporary American artists. Right now there is an exhibit of major acquisitions made by Arnold Lehman, the long time director who is about to retire. Lehman’s tenure has been controversial. He felt that museums were elitist institutions designed for rich white people, and wanted to make the museum more welcoming to the community where it’s located. A new entrance on the ground floor is more accessible than the three flights of stairs it used to take to enter through the imposing columns. Attendance has dropped in recent years, but Lehman points out that the folks who do come to the museum are much more diverse.

Our guide pointed out several current exhibits including works by a South African woman who has documented the lives of Lesbians in her country, and one that focuses on the notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the street artist who passed away at the age of 28. Permanent exhibits include the skateboards covered in prayer rugs, and The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. The Dinner Party was first exhibited in 1979. The table settings commemorate famous women who tended to be left out of history books.

The Botanic Gardens are over 50 acres and include thousands of different kinds of plants. There is a Shakespeare garden containing plants mentioned in the works of Shakespeare, and a huge Rose Garden, among many others. The Stein*********servatory has separate buildings for different climate zones. Many visitors come in the spring to see the cherry blossoms.

Does anyone know the name of this flower? I could only find a small sign that says it’s in the Dogbane Family. I thought it was beautiful.

After strolling through the Gardens and the Museum we all took a walk down Eastern Parkway to catch a bus to Williamsburg. Williamsburg used to be an orthodox Jewish neighborhood but is now a very trendy area with lots of new shops and restaurants. If you are a fan of the TV show 2 Broke Girls, this is the neighborhood where Max and Caroline supposedly live.

I ate a terrific dinner at a Thai restaurant called SEA in Williamsburg before catching the subway back to Manhattan.


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