A pirate with more than a passing resemblance to Captain Jack Sparrow opened the treasure chest.
Inside the sturdy wooden box – hauled to the stage area of the Showboat Barge in Red Hook’s Waterfront Museum by the museum’s director, David Sharps – were artifacts from eight Brooklyn cultural institutions which have banded together to form the borough’s latest collaboration, the Brooklyn Cultural Circuit.
The pirate connection was hardly accidental. The group of organizations – the Coney Island History Project, The Doll and Toy Museum of New York City, Green-Wood Cemetery, the Micro Museum, the New York Transit Museum, the Old Stone House of Brooklyn, the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, and Weeksville Heritage Center’s Historic Hunterfly Road Houses – are featured on a brand-new treasure map whose purpose is to promote the variety of smaller, more personalized cultural institutions that make their home in this borough.
“We got together and said we have some great hidden treasures,” noted Sharps, “some off-the-beaten-path places we’d like you to visit.”
“One of the amazing things about New York and Brooklyn is that there are always places to discover,” enthused Liz Koch, arts and culture specialist for Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has supported the effort.
Indeed, while the city attracts tourists from all over the country and the world, Koch added, “Everyone who lives here is pretty much a tourist as well.” Visiting the institutions within the Brooklyn Cultural Circuit, she went on, engenders in people, “An incredible sense of discovery.”
That sense of discovery can lead Brooklynites and those from beyond the borough’s borders to the site that hosted the event, the last surviving railway barge whose home at 290 Conover Street, Pier 44, provides awe-inspiring views of New York harbor, as well as a myriad of other wonders. 718-624-4719 or www.waterfrontmuseum. org.
The Coney Island History Project, nestled beneath the historic Cyclone roller coaster, at 1000 Surf Avenue, offers up a taste of the past to visitors even as it strives to make a record of oral histories regarding the area. 718-265-2100 or www. coneyislandhistory.org.
The modest wooden homes of Weeksville, 1696 Bergen Street, which stand out dramatically against a backdrop of large apartment houses, provide another window into the borough’s storied history, bringing visitors back in time to a pre-Civil War community of free African-Americans. 718-756-5250 or www. weeksvillesociety.org.
For further information on the Brooklyn Cultural Circuit, log onto www. BrooklynCulturalCircuit.org.
©2008 Community News Group
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