The view from the Gerritsen Beach branch of the Brooklyn Library
With so much development going on all over Brooklyn, it's nice to every now and then find myself in a section that's kept some older-Brooklyn character. Gerritsen Beach filled that bill nicely last weekend.
I'd been hoping to get out for a paddle, but looking at the forecast around mid-week, it was pretty clear that that wasn't happening, way too cold and windy, so when my Sebago friend Shari mentioned that there was a quilt exhibit at the Gerritsen Beach branch of the Brooklyn Library, I said "Sure!"
She actually grew up in this area, so after the exhibit (which was pretty cool, I'll show some pictures from that in my next post), she took us for a tour of the neighborhood, which started out in the 1920's as a summer bungalow colony and still retains some of that feel, although these days most of the bungalows have been winterized and expanded and now serve as year-round houses. An arm of Gerritsen Creek run through the neighborhood, the library is beautiful and there's the nicest view out of the back windows of a canal that runs down to the creek, with boats and docks. The neighborhood did get hammered during Sandy, of course -- in fact one of the women at the quilting exhibit was saying she still hadn't gotten back into her house yet. I'm not sure I would have the stamina to still be trying, but this seems like a place where people's roots are pretty deep.
It was great getting the tour from Shari, and among other things she brought us to the Tamaqua Bar & Marina, which was just about as salty a bar as you'd ever care to see (great stuff on the walls!), and which we're thinking might be a fun destination for a paddle in the summer. Unfortunately, they don't have food any more - they do have a full kitchen there and when we saw that, we were thinking lunch paddle, but when we asked the bartender she said they'd never been able to make a go of the food. However, she said we'd be welcome to pack lunch or order out and have it there. Could be fun!
Fun bit of trivia from the Wikipedia page for the neighborhood: the neighborhood was and still is popular among Brooklynites of Irish descent, and "A few long-standing residents...refer to the community as being cois farraige, which is an Irish language phrase meaning 'by the sea'". I thought that was pretty interesting.
We tried to finish up with a visit to the Salt Marsh Nature Center, on the other arm of Gerritsen Creek, but that turns out to be open by appointment only in the wintertime. Another time, then. We finished off our afternoon with a delicious early dinner at Randazzo's, in neighboring Sheepshead Bay. It was a fine way to spend a cold and blustery day.
Click on any photo for a better view!