Poet Along The Shore

If you can read backwards, then you know these words are Walt Whitman’s. His poems expose the inner workings of a city that parallel the inner workings of the mind.  The Long Island influence in his work is as noticeable as the influence Brooklyn had on him.  In turn, his influence on Long Island and Brooklyn, and their histories thereafter, is incredible.  From poetic style to images to simply finding inspiration, Whitman is the forefather of many poets, the reason many others have come after, and the impetus to find life in the city sublime.

Inhabitance

Whitman still walks

Fulton Ferry Landing,

spilling around its perimeter

in his typical endless flow—

words, words, words,

lines extending, tumbling

forward in urgency, immediacy,

progressive, bounding forwards,

words repeated and louder each time

yet only on the page,

or, here, cut through metal,

praising the current,

the gulls,

embodying the flaneur,

lauding the city—

its buildings, its streets,

and always coming back to

the basis of human beings,

the what of humanity,

the simple curiosity of human experience,

breathing life into everything it touches.

— Christina M. Rau

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The Purpose Of The Promenade

I’ve returned to the promenade several times already. Last night, a group was dancing while someone played the accordian for them. I unfortunately did not have my FlipCam with me, so I’m left with two measly still shots:

Something new happens every time I’m there. Mostly, though, it’s not about entertainment. With all the rush of the rest of the streets, the promenade is a place to watch the sunset and to maybe fall in love–with the waterfront, with the bridge, with someone on a park bench, with the city.

Down The Promenade

… to now see this poem, you need to go to Greatest Lakes Review.

— Christina M. Rau

Rhythm Of The City

You know those fairy tales about living creatures under the bridge that pounce on passersby from the shadows to challenge them, scare them, or make them pay a toll? Instead of scary creatures under the bridge, we ran into an off-beat gang of musicians ready to entertain and spread the word of peace. We also ran into a pianist.

Things you should know about this experience:
1. The musicians were so frenzied because they’d been lounging (rightly so) in the shade, waiting for an audience.

2. NYC has a program that encourages music; two weeks this summer, the government left pianos throughout the city for people to sit at and play.

3. The pianist understood the concept of spreading the music a bit more than this group, who asked him to stop playing so they could start.

4. The backstory of who this group is and how they found each other and why they seem to get along only some of the time or why they are displeased with piano music (seriously, go back and look–the guy in the white complains about him and the leader of the group goes to ask him to stop) are all unclear.

This is why the new Brooklyn Bridge Park is being built. These are our Brooklyn memories.

— Christina M. Rau

Brooklynbridgebury

The Ken Burns documentary on the Brooklyn Bridge strikes home the point that the BB has inspired a Bloomsbury-like intellectual and artistic climate of artists, poets, musicians, philosophers, and photographers the likes of Georgia O’Keefe,Joseph Stella, Hart Crane, Frank Sinatra, Lewis Mumford, Walker Evans and Edward Steichen.  All these creative individuals have been inspired over the years by what Arthur Miller calls the “steel poetry” of an unpresumptuous monument which does its job and carries its load every day.

Observations Along the Brooklyn Shore

Observations Along the Brooklyn Shore

Observations Along the Brooklyn Shore

a slide show of a week exploring the Brooklyn shore

Boating Newtown Creek

Tour up Newtown Creek yesterday with Jack Eichenbaum. Amazing East River views of Domino Sugar Factory and Williamsburg waterfront. Having the perspective from the water was meaningful and started completely new conversations. Wouldn’t want to swim in Newtown Creek but the view was nice.