'Celebrating a Century' Event Update

Join Us to Commemorate a Century of Service and the Best of Brooklyn Heights

The Brooklyn Heights Association is proud to announce Celebrating a Century, an exciting year-long series of events highlighting Brooklyn Heights history, famous residents, and the BHA’s plans for the future. This series will include dozens of events, with something for everyone: from special exhibitions and readings to an outdoor concert, from walking tours to a pub crawl, from a community stoop sale to a picnic on the Promenade.  The Celebrating a Century series will take place primarily within our historic neighborhood, but some will venture out to the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge Park or to the Brooklyn Museum.

Check back here regularly as we move through the year for reports on events as they happen, and previews of what's coming next so you can put us on your calendar. And thanks to our Media Sponsor, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


December 6:  An Evening at Mr. Wolfe's:  Special Literary Event


Jan 20: Hollywood in the Heights’ Kicks Off Centennial Year

Jan 20: Boro Pres Commemorates BHA Centennial

Feb 26: ‘Brooklyn in Prints: A Special Gathering’ (Exhibit thru March 13)

March 6: Building Bridges Family Workshop

March 27: House Genealogy Workshop

April 25: Walking Tour: History of Brooklyn Heights (1610-2010)

April 26: An Evening at Mr. Capote's

June 12: The Historic Churches of Brooklyn Heights, A Guided Tour

June 19: Picnic on the Promenade

June 27: Jane McGroarty's Made In Brooklyn Heights Tour

July 1: I Do Not Doubt That I Am Limitless: Walt Whitman's Brooklyn

October 6:  Brooklyn Bash  ____________________________________________________________________________________________

What a Night!

'Hollywood in the Heights' Kicks Off Centennial Year

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the BHA kicked off its Celebrating a Century series with a packed house at St. Francis College auditorium for "Hollywood in the Heights." The star was Brooklyn Heights itself, as a crowd of 300+ viewed an entertaining video montage of some of the memorable movie scenes shot in the Heights through the years — from Moonstruck to Manhattan, from Prizzi's Honor to The Age of Innocence, up to more modern classics including Catch Me If You Can and last year's Coen Brothers caper Burn After Reading. Hosted by Academy Award-nominated writer/director Peter Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Pieces of April, About a Boy), the film retrospective was followed by an enlightening panel discussion that featured Hedges and two seasoned colleagues, line producer Mari Jo Winkler and location manager Kip Myers. All three described the unique appeal this historic district has to directors and discussed the special challenges of working in a neighborhood in such high demand for location shooting. Prompted by a flurry of audience questions, they also presented a rare inside view of moviemaking. One commenter on the Brooklyn Heights Blog's coverage of the event described the evening as "thoroughly entertaining and very informative." The overflow crowd seemed to agree.

More Photos from 'Hollywood in the Heights'

BHA Pres Tom van den Bout does his best "Phil Donahue" fielding
audience questions

Special thanks to:
David Rogow (film editor)
Claire Shanley and Jonathan Hoffman of Orbit Digital Midtown (post-production)

And we thank our sponsors for their generous support:
Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Lassen & Hennigs

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BHA Still Has That 'Brooklyn Attitude'

Boro Pres Marty Markowitz Commemorates BHA Centennial

As the BHA kicked off its Celebrating a Century series with "Hollywood in the Heights," Boro President Marty Markowitz took the opportunity to present BHA President Tom van den Bout with a proclamation commemorating the BHA's 100 years of service. "I want to congratulate President Tom van den Bout, executive director Judy Stanton, and all the members of the Brooklyn Heights Association, for carrying on BHA's 100-year mission," Markowitz said. "From day one, BHA has had the 'Brooklyn attitude.' The New York Times covered the organization's very first meeting, on February 6, 1910, and noted that people 'arose in their might, and, to some extent, their wrath, and succeeded in giving a very forcible object lesson of their demands for better transit facilities.'

"The article went on to say that Rev. Newell Dwight Hillis, one of BHA's vice presidents, stood up and said that the people of the Heights had remained too silent about their own interests, and that the time had come to — in his words — 'get busy.' And get busy you did, so much so that today the world is divided into two types of people: Brooklyn Heights residents and Heights wannabes. So here's to another hundred years of getting busy in Brooklyn Heights!"


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Debut Draws Crowd Despite Snowstorm

Brooklyn in Prints: A Special Gathering

Still Time to Visit: Exhibit and Sale Go Through March 13

A record-setting snowstorm couldn't stop eager Brooklyn fans from trudging their way to the Brooklyn Historical Society on Friday night for the opening of the BHA'S centennial Brooklyn in Prints show. Some 170 storm-clad visitors arrived to pore through bins of images of Brooklyn and peer at a once-in-lifetime exhibition of prize prints showing the borough in virtually all of its manifestations, from revolutionary battleground to today's lively urban settings.

The images which seemed to capture everyone's imagination were the super-size, 19th century aerial views of the New York harbor where Brooklyn Heights and its special features could be spotted. But there are also modern views of simpler things like the etching titled Brooklyn Deli by Joseph Essig and Maya Hardin's aquatint, Subway Entrance on Montague Street.

The theme seemed to be a picture and a price for every taste. The framed prints, provided by the The Old Print Shop of Manhattan, also a centenarian institution, will be on view through Saturday, March 13. (The display is in the long gallery down the steps from the main hall.) A price list is available at the desk and a portion of any purchases go to the benefit of the Historical Society and the Association. A preview of the images may be seen at





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Building Bridges & Bringing History Alive
Family Workshop Puts Kids 'In Touch' with the Brooklyn Bridge

The BHA teamed up with the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Center for Architecture Foundation to bring the history of the Brooklyn Bridge to life through an engaging educational workshop for kids ages 6-12 and their parents. Twenty-three families (including the Rosenbaums, at left) turned out on a Saturday afternoon to learn a little about the colorful history of the bridge’s construction, then get to work building their own.

It was hands-on learning at its best, and a great family experience. Should we do it again? If there’s enough interest, we will, so let us know!

To see more photos from the event, go to the Center for Architecture Foundation website.


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If Walls Could Talk:

A Workshop on the Genealogy of Your Home

As part of the BHA’s Celebrating a Century event series, there will be a unique two-hour workshop at the Brooklyn Historical Society on March 27th to help you uncover the history of your house using the Society’s resources. You will be introduced to the Society’s Othmer Library collections and the essential tools for house and building research. Then you will have the opportunity to use your new skills to piece together the architectural and social history of any Brooklyn home or block. If you have an interest in your home’s history, don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity. Space is limited, so act now!

Saturday, March 27 at 2 PM
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street
Admission: $10

To confirm attendance please call 718-222-4111 x250 or email

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A Guided Walking Tour


Sunday, April 25, 2010, 12:00 pm
Tour leaves from the front steps of Borough Hall

Last Sunday's tour sold out, so Jane Carroll McGroarty is giving everybody a second chance to join her on a walk through the Heights, with stops at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Plymouth Church, Cadman Tower, the former residence of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, as well as other interesting Brooklyn Heights buildings and landmarks as you’ve never seen them before!

Jane McGroarty — architect, long-time Heights resident, and member of the BHA Board of Governors — is uniquely qualified to provide a window into the architectural history of the Heights and help you identify once and for all the differences in the range of brownstone styles we enjoy in our neighborhood: Federal, Greek Revival Gothic Revival, Italianate, Renaissance Revival, and Queen Anne.

Jane is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Architecture and Planning and is a registered architect practicing in Brooklyn. Her architecture firm has completed alterations and historical preservations of brownstones, co-operative and condominium apartments in Brooklyn and Manhattan.


Admission: $15
Rain Date: May 16, 2010
Space is limited. Space is limited. To reserve your place please email

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Join Us for a Special Literary Event!
An Evening at Mr. Capote's: A Reading and Musical Reception

The Celebrating a Century series continues with a unique event celebrating the literary legacy of our neighborhood. We invite you to join us for "An Evening at Mr. Capote's" on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8 PM.

That's Truman Capote, of course, and the event takes place in the elegant 19th Century mansion on Willow Street where Capote lived and wrote. Curated by novelist and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Peter Hedges, the evening will include readings from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, appropriately, A House on the Heights. The evening will also include a brief musical interlude of songs from the score of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Capote’s Broadway musical House of Flowers. A dessert reception will follow.

Seating is limited so act fast! Admission: $125. To purchase tickets please RSVP to Auster Agency by calling 718.243.1414 or email

More on Capote and A House on the Heights
Want to prepare for this special evening by brushing up on Capote's work? You can pick up a copy of A House on the Heights at the Brooklyn Women's Exchange at 55 Pierrepont St.

Here's how the Little Bookroom, publisher of A House on the Heights, describes Capote's connection to the neighborhood and this classic little book: "Truman Capote spent several years in the 1950s and 1960s in Brooklyn Heights, once telling a reporter: 'It's the only place to live in New York.' George Plimpton writes that 'a love of history, gossip, character, and a skill at putting all this to words...brings Brooklyn Heights to life as vividly as any landscape Truman ever undertook to survey.' Long out of print, Truman Capote’s evocative essay on Brooklyn Heights brings to life the landscape that was for the author a world of grand homes and dimly recalled gentility, of mysterious warehouses and menacing street thugs, of antiques and dowagers, a garden overhung with wisteria, and the famous Esplanade—all rendered in his deft and stylish prose and with obvious affection for the neighborhood. Originally commissioned for Holiday magazine in the late 1950s by John Knowles (later the author of A Separate Peace), the essay remained one of his favorites—especially its surprise ending."

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The Historic Churches of Brooklyn Heights

A Guided Tour, lead by Alex Herrera of the New York Landmarks Conservancy

Brooklyn Heights boasts an astonishing collection of architecturally stunning churches — in fact, it is a veritable outdoor gallery of 19th-century ecclesiastical design. Outstanding figures in American architectural history, including Minard Lafever, Richard Upjohn and James Renwick, all had a hand in designing churches of various denominations in the Heights.

Join us on a tour beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 12th that will celebrate the grandeur of 19th-century American church design, starting with the simplicity of the venerable Plymouth Church — whose first preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, influenced the course of our nation’s history--to the Gothic exuberance of Holy Trinity Church, and winding up at the serene, chapel-like Grace Church; along the way we will admire other notable masterpieces. These inspiring buildings serve as anchors to the community both spiritually and architecturally.

Alex Herrera is an architect, a preservationist, and an historian. He is the Director of Technical Services at the New York Landmarks Conservancy and has spent 30 years studying and helping to preserve and restore the historic landmarks of NYC.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot by emailing Admission price is $15. The tour will begin at the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims on Orange St. between Hicks and Henry.  The tour will take approximately 1 1/2 hours.

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Picnic on the Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade - North End (Enter at Orange Street)
Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Come celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Brooklyn Heights Association with family and friends on one of New York's most iconic cityscapes, the Promenade. Pack a picnic lunch or buy a bagged lunch at your favorite Brooklyn Heights deli or restaurant--or swap a sandwich with your neighbor. The festivities begin with a CRUMBS Bake Shop cupcake ceremony, followed by a FREE concert from Brooklyn's own educational rock band, The Deedle Deedle Dees. Attendees can also relax in the Promenade sunshine while viewing a J. McLaughlin Mother/Daughter Fashion Show.

Brooklyn Heights residents and visitors are able to enjoy the Brooklyn Heights Promenade today thanks to the BHA’s efforts in 1945 to block Robert Moses’ plan to build the BQE through the Heights; the alternate route resulted in the world famous Promenade. More recently, in 2009 the BHA launched a Private-Public Partnership to preserve and grow the spectacular Promenade Gardens.


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Made in Brooklyn Heights:

A Literary, Artistic and Cinematic Walking Tour with Jane McGroarty

Sunday, June 27 at 11 a.m.
Meet at the Montague Street entrance to the Promenade
Price: $15

Join Jane McGroarty on another unique walking tour of the Heights. Jane, the BHA's newly elected president, is following up her popular architectural walking tours with a tour focused on the Heights' rich legacy in the arts.

You'll see where film classics including Prizzi’s Honor, Moonstruck and The Sentinel were shot, then see where writers and artists from Walt Whitman to Norman Mailer lived and worked. Ever heard of February House? You'll hear all about this legendary rooming house — long ago torn down to make way for the BQE — that was home to a remarkable array of literary and musical talents before and during World War II, including Gypsy Rose Lee, Carson McCullers, W.H. Auden and many others. It was even the subject of a wonderful book by Sherill Tippins, available here.

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The BHA Joins with ISSUE Project Room to Celebrate Walt Whitman
A Special Evening of Music and Poetry in Brooklyn Bridge Park

I Do Not Doubt I Am Limitless:
Walt Whitman’s Brooklyn
Thursday, July 1
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn (Rain Location: The Tobacco Warehouse)
5pm – Midnight

The BHA is collaborating with ISSUE Project Room for a special outdoor performance, "I Do Not Doubt I Am Limitless: Walt Whitman’s Brooklyn." This free event will channel the psychedelic spirit of poet, journalist, humanist and Brooklynite Walt Whitman, set against the stunning waterfront backdrop on the Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn of the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Musicians and bands — including the Wingdale Community Singers, Christy and Emily, Prince Rama, and others — will perform original work along with new pieces set to a marathon reading of "Leaves of Grass," recited by some of the nation’s most intriguing poets.

The free outdoor concert is part of Celebrating a Century, an exciting year-long series of events highlighting Brooklyn Heights history, famous residents, and the BHA’s past & future. “We’re especially excited to work with our newest cultural neighbors, ISSUE Project Room, and bring Whitman’s poetry to life at the water's edge of New York City’s new Brooklyn Bridge Park,” says Tom van den Bout, BHA governor.

"Brooklyn Bridge Park is thrilled to host the Brooklyn Heights Association’s centennial celebration at Pier 1," said Regina Myer, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. “The marriage of Walt Whitman and Issue Project Room, symbolizing Broooklyn’s illustrious past and future, promises a compelling cultural happening in the borough’s new front yard.”

So put it on your calendar and join us for what promises to be a unique and memorable Brooklyn event.

Performers Include:
CSC Funk Band
Wingdale Community Singers
Jonathan Kane's February
Prince Rama
Henry Grimes
Christy and Emily
Shannon Fields Ensemble
Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille
Sexual Energies School: Quebec City
Cat Martino
Steve Dalachinsky
Bruce Andrews
Lilah Freedland
and more...
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The BHA Hosts a Centennial Party with The Brooklyn Bash

Featuring culinary delights from the New York Times' Amanda Hesser and music by Michael Berkeley

Wednesday, October 6th
6:30-9:30 p.m.
Plymouth Church, Brooklyn Heights

The BHA continues its Centennial Celebration with The Brooklyn Bash, a festive party to be held Wednesday, October 6th at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights, from 6:30-9:30 PM.

The evening’s bountiful buffet will be curated by New York Times food columnist (and Brooklyn Heights resident) Amanda Hesser from her forthcoming cookbook, THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK, which highlights over 1,000 of the paper’s best recipes, including those by beloved cooks Julia Child, Mark Bittman and David Chang. The book celebrates leading chefs and food writers of every decade, going back to Bob the Sea Cook, who was the 19th century’s answer to Molly O’Neill.

Guests at the Brooklyn Bash will preview some of the dishes from Hesser’s new book before its October 25th release. Hors d'oeuvres and dinner will be prepared by Brooklyn's Nigel Teare and Melody Ozdenak of EventfullNYC, whose client list includes two U.S. presidents, two NYC mayors, New York celebrities and European royalty, not to mention many of New York’s Fortune 500 companies.

Our celebration will feature live music by Michael Berkeley & Friends. Michael is a composer and lyricist who is writing a new musical about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and will perform two of his original songs about Washington and Emily Roebling. Brooklyn audiences may be familiar with Michael's critically-acclaimed Irving Berlin review, I Love A Piano, which has played Brooklyn twice during its National Tour. He is currently the Artistic Director of TriArts Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, CT, where he has directed and/or musical directed over 40 shows. His directing credits include Grease, My Fair Lady, Will Rogers Follies, Gypsy, and Little Shop of Horrors. Brooklyn audiences may be familiar with Michael's critically-acclaimed Irving Berlin revue, I Love A Piano, which has played Brooklyn twice during its National Tour.  For more information about Michael, visit his website:

Be sure to purchase your tickets for what promises to be a memorable event by logging on to the BHA’s website, And for questions about the Bash, feel free to call the BHA office 718-858-9193 or send an email to See you in October!