Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Morning in Greenpoint: Breakfast at McGolrick Park

We got the B48 bus on our corner early on this gorgeous morning and took it up Lorimer Street, Manhattan Avenue and across Nassau Avenue deep into Greenpoint to have breakfast outside at a peaceful, beautiful Msgr. McGolrick Park, which people have been telling us for years to visit more often.

This early-bird squirrel was so into munching his food, he didn't notice us.

Others were enjoying baguettes, croissants and other Frenchy stuff.

There are some huge, thick old trees lining the park, which dates to the 1890s, when it was known as Winthrop Park. It was renamed in 1941 for the Irish priest who had been pastor of St. Cecilia's for fifty years, Msgr. Edward J. McGolrick.

According to the Parks Department,
A handsome shelter pavilion was erected in the park in 1910. Designed by the architectural firm of Helmle and Huberty, the curved building of brick and limestone features an elegant wood colonnade. It is listed on the National Register and recognized as a New York City landmark.

Apparently, like a lot of us in New York, the park went through hard times in the 1970s and there was a major restoration in 1985. That included the shelter pavilion and this World War I memorial, designed by Carl Augustus Heber, to the 150 Greenpoint residents who fought in the war.

Wikipedia says,
The statue depicts a female allegorical figure, holding aloft a modified laurel, a symbol of victory, and in her right hand supporting a large palm frond, a symbol of peace. The granite pedestal is inscribed with the names of battle sites in France.

Most people seem to know that the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor was built here in Greenpoint (Monitor Street is the eastern boundary of the park) and outfitted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This 1939 sculpture by Antonio de Filippo celebrates the 1862 battle of the Monitor and Confederate Merrimac. It's pretty cool and buff.

This is tulip season. Unlike the ones we saw Monday at the Fordham Lincoln Center campus or at the Brooklyn College quad yesterday, the McGolrick Park tulips were only red: no yellows here.

After a couple of hours (thanks to the park workers who cleaned the bathrooms so assiduously) of sitting on a bench and drinking iced tea and reading the Sunday sections of the New York Times delivered today, we got back on the B48 bus. We're grateful for nice mornings like this and that old-fashioned Coca-Cola luncheonette signs still exist over real, functioning Brooklyn stores, like this one by the park at the corner of Nassau Avenue and North Henry Street.

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