Thursday, August 27, 2009
Thursday Night in Williamsburg: Summer Starz movie "Babe" with Grand Street Community Band at East River State Park
We headed over to East River State Park this evening to get a last whiff of summer. As a college teacher at various schools, we've already gone back to work, so our idyllic summer off is finally, abruptly over. We brought with us to the park a book which we needed to read for work, and we did get some work done, but to the music of the very professional Grand Street Community Band and the crooning of Assemblyman Joseph Lentol before tonight's kid-friendly SummerStarz feature, Babe.
The community band, founded just last year, was tuning up when we got to the park around 6:30 p.m. Few people had arrived at that point.
There were more people on the grass by the river, enjoying the end of one of the last days of August.
It was no longer so hot and humid. We were in t-shirt and shorts, as were others, but it was nicely comfortable and nobody was sweating.
We found two benches behind the movie screen. One had a picnicking family; we sat on the other one and read.
The Grand Street Community Band skillfully played (you can hear their music here) a series of marches and then John Williams' familiar themes from the Star Wars trilogy.
Then, Susan from Town Square introduced Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, who's represented this district in Albany for ages. The legislator, she said, was going to sing a song.
Joe Lentol thanked the community band and praised their work but noted that they didn't know any of the songs in his repetoire. So he sang "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific a capella.
"Now do 'No Sleep Till Brooklyn'!" cried a hipster on the right side of thirty. The assemblymember demurred or, more probably, didn't hear this constituent's plea. It was getting dark (which is why our cell phone takes these blurry pics). The last selection from the band was the John Philip Sousa march that we always associate with "for a duck may be somebody's mother." The little kids went wild.
While they got the movie ready, we found the one open porta-potty amid about two dozen locked ones. Actually, a bicyclist had found it before us. When we walked back, two blondish boys about 5 or 6, started interrogating us about why we were there. We said we were inspecting the concrete.
One boy asked if we knew who he was. No, we said. "Conrad!" he shouted. Then his littler friend, or brother, named Monroe we think, began hitting us, and Conrad joined in. Their mommies were not far away but paid no notice, so we grabbed their hands and said, "No hitting."
Then we found a seat on one of the little concrete stubs on the side and watched Babe, which was very sweet without being saccharin. There were a bunch of Orthodox Jewish guys who came in with Joe Lentol, and they looked like big machers, but they left before the film began. We don't think it was because its star was a pig.
Anyway, it was a nice, relaxing evening, and as we walked through the still-summerlike bustle of people on Bedford Avenue - at 7th Street a street preacher was asking people loudly if they ever thought about God - we were grateful for this respite in a kind of stressful week. That's what kids' movies and parks and community bands and singing assemblymen are for, isn't it? That'll do, Pig. That'll do.