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This is one of the many staircase entrances to Lookout Hill, and at 186 feet above sea level it’s the highest point in Prospect Park. Battle Hill in Green-Wood Cemetery takes the prize highest point in all of Brooklyn at 220 feet above sea level. I visited Lookout Hill just before the leaves started turning in early autumn. To my surprise, it’s an abandoned part of the park. These staircases used to lead up to a summit in which visitors could once look out over Prospect Lake below, and see all the farmland south to Coney Island and the Narrows. Since park is no longer manicured as it was 100 years ago, trees have now obstructed this view. The top of Lookout Hill contains the remains of this popular viewpoint. There are rusting light posts and fire hydrants scattered about the bushes. It’s actually a scary place to be alone and some web research reveals that a few murders happened up there over the last few decades.
See the map of this post from New York, New York, United States.
At this year’s Poetry Walk, Galway Kinnell read Walt Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry for the fourteenth time at the Fulton Ferry Landing, the poem that veiled and unveiled Whitman’s sexual orientation. His poem as yashmak—offering those sensitive to his femininity to look in through the slit he widened with his words, a poem he suspected and hoped might find a larger, more open crowd among the men and women generations after him, seeing mast-hemm’d Manhattan and sea-gulls oscillating their bodies much like he did in his time of thick-stemm’d pipes of steamboats. “Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!” he says, “Stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn! Throb, baffled and curious brain! Throw out questions and answers…”
On his land use and transportation blog, Starts and Fits, Aaron Donovan, examines Charlotte Street, and the effort to bring suburbia to the Bronx in “New Hope in the Bronx.” The post is from 2006, but thoroughly examines the history of development in the area using detailed maps and diagrams. If you’re interested in urban planning and Bronx history, it’s a fascinating read. While on the site check out his other posts on locations from St. John the Divine to DUMBO, and browse the Planning and Urbanism link collection.
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For anyone interested in above, or below ground NYC history, Forgotten NY is an absolute treasure. Curious what your neighborhood looked like 100 years ago? Find detailed street necrology and photo galleries for neighborhoods from Greenwich Village to Astoria. Whether you live in Bushwick or Jamaica, St.George or the Lower East Side, this trove of original source documents will keep you occupied for hours. Want to get even closer to NYC history? Take a Forgotten NY walking tour anywhere from Prospect Park to Hell’s Kitchen.
Although the departure of Kim’s video in the East Village is indeed a tragedy, as Sophia Hollander’s article reveals, the new home for the collection actually seems like a fitting one, and the story behind it is fascinating.
See the map of this post from Salemi, Sicily.