50 Favorite Places #18
Okay, so it’s not a “place,” exactly. It’s many places, scattered across the borough. Perhaps it’s better described as a style, a statement, even a culture. But the creative things that Brooklynites do with their tiny front yards deserve a shout out. For instance, I’m not sure why the folks in the Park Slope building depicted at the top of this post turned their yard into an amusement park, but I’m glad they did. If I had the ability to embed video, you’d see those sparkly rainbow pinwheels spinning wildly and it would be guaranteed to make you smile.
In fact, many tiny Brooklyn yards seem calculated to make you smile, like the one below, in the Gowanus section. (“They must be Italian!” was the reaction of an Italian-Canadian friend.)
The care that went into this topiary horse in Sunset Park is truly impressive. I’m especially fond of its bushy tail.
Some yards are a celebration faith, like this one in Carroll Gardens.
Meanwhile, this Park Slope yard celebrates patriotism, hummingbirds and . . . sinister skeleton garden gnomes?! (Check out the creature lurking at bottom left.)
This yard in Boerum Hill is a constantly-evolving art project (look and touch, a sign says, but please don’t remove objects).
It occurs to me that cultivating an oasis of greenery and color in a tiny yard is a profoundly unselfish act. There’s nowhere for the owners of this South Slope building to sit and enjoy their yard, and yet – they plant and care for it anyway. The benefit of their work goes to passersby.
This Brooklyn pedestrian is grateful to all the Brooklynites who’ve made their tiny yards into personal statements, be they beautiful, funny, spiritual, thought-provoking or just plain weird.