Entering through Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, past tall iron gates, wide green spaces flanking the central car lanes, and up a sloping path are the famed arches — gateway to the gardens, gravestones, and crypts beyond. Perched on these spires are the nests of Brooklyn’s wild parakeets, mostly heard in their raucous arguments and seen only by bullet streaks of spring green, and by legend, descendants of monk parakeets escaped from a crate at JFK airport in the 1960s (thanks to Susan for the information!).
|Sketch in brushpens|
|A man and his two little girls stopped by to chat with us and a funeral procession |
arrived for services as we waited for other sketchers to gather and join us.
|Early birds are productive.|
The gates open into diverging lanes leading upward, away, and into the rest of Green-wood. To the right are the Crematory, the Tranquility Gardens, and the Community Mausoleum, and even further, the Chapel, which was our first stop inside Green-wood proper. We reached the Chapel just before it opened at noon, but I’d already found a spot to sketch its exterior and had to leave a visit inside for another day.
|The Chapel in watercolor.|
Some of us braved the steep incline to reach Battle Hill and view a swath of Brooklyn and the Freedom Tower at World Trade Center (Lady Liberty was obscured by some persistent, enthusiastic trees). The hilltop would probably be spectacular in full autumn, and I hope my legs forgive me for a second attempt then. (They did not this time around. Hello, Salonpas, and owww.)
|The gates behind the trees.|
|Mark setting up to sketch.|
|Sketchers make really great, unsuspecting models. |
And they don't get offended (much) when they realize they've been painted.
For lunch, the group…regrouped…and walked some distance to Greenwood Park, an outdoor beer garden. Oddly enough, the bouncer at the door asked for ID, which I did not have on me. Who knew I’d have to produce it in the middle of the day? Happily, Mark intervened and asked if I could be let in. And once we were, we found children romping around this rather adult garden. (There was some kind of kid-friendly event right before we arrived.) The group ate and sketched, chatted and sketched, and replenished energies through various preferred libation. And sketched some more.
After sharing our sketches, some of us with control of our food coma (and/or tipsy?) walked back into Green-wood for a final stretch of sketching.
|Walking back slowly.|
|Sketchers in a row.|
And what cemetery visit would be complete without a record of a strident angel?
|Said strident angel in stone...|
|...and in watercolor.|
Also, Hurlbut. Note the full stop. Hurlbut. (I’m sorry, I am a juvenile when I am not busy aging.)
Read more about Green-wood here and here.
And a great many thanks to Allison for hosting this event. It was a lovely day made miles better by great, talented company.