Spent the day with Signe and Josh in their hood of three years, Sunset Park. Although it's only 15 minutes by car from home, I've never made it over there to visit. And it's nice. They are 3 blocks from Sunset Park itself, the highest point in Brooklyn, which is home to a filled and working WPA-era swimming pool, opened for the season yesterday. Signe and I spent a couple hours there, dipping and watching the many-hues-of-Brooklyn-children dunk and toss each other in the pool. We watched, fascinated, as 40-50 teenage boys made a mad group dash of prohibited diving into the pool. It was hilarious to watch the lifeguards blowing their whistles like mad, as they tried to figure who they needed to kick out but were utterly unable to separate out the hordes of Latino youngsters in Jams from one another.
The park is gorgeous and well-maintained with a thriving, diverse community of mostly Latino and Chinese residents living, playing, barbecuing and relaxing in it at all hours of the day. The city runs tons of programs out of the park for the neighborhood, and for once, the NYC government is doing something right, for you can see the pride everyone takes in this jewel of their community. It was impressive (and not much like McCarren Park) but a model of what a park should be to the taxpayers in this land of concrete and grass free spaces.
We also strolled around Chinatown on 8th Avenue (the boroughs have FIVE different Chinatowns!), had some pretty good Vietnamese at Nha Trang Palace, pastries from a Chinese bakery and then drove over to Victorian Flatbush (Cortelylou/Argyle/Marlborough Sts, etc) on the other side of Green-Wood Cemetery to gawk at the giant Victorians with yards in the heart of Brooklyn. How do I get me one of those? Some of them are fixed up but a bunch are a little faded, and seem an almost reachable dream. What a gem of a neighborhood. Brooklyn never ceases to amaze me with it many facets and ranges of communities.