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Park life: Brooklyn Bridge Park unveils a packed summer program

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Spend your summer in Brooklyn’s front yard!

Brooklyn Bridge Park will be packed to the shoreline with fun, free events this summer. The Conservancy that runs the waterfront green space has organized more than 500 free events to celebrate its 20th year programming outdoor entertainment. The group has created a broad lineup of shows and activities in order to appeal to Brooklyn’s diverse population, according to the conservancy’s chief.

“From immersive outdoor education, to family festivals, public theater, book readings, kayaking, seining, and more, we’re excited to share a full and vibrant lineup of events to celebrate this momentous year,” said Nancy Webster, the conservancy’s director.

We have gone through those 500 events and picked out a few of the best to help you plan your summer!

All events at Brooklyn Bridge Park, which stretches from Jay Street in Dumbo to Pier Six, at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. www.brooklynbridgepark.org. Free.

Birthday Bridge!

Celebrate the 136th anniversary of the borough’s namesake bridge with a kid-friendly tour. Start by building a model of the Brooklyn Bridge, immerse yourself in its history and design, and take a walk along the span.

Starts at the Park’s Environmental Education Center (99 Plymouth St., at Adams Street in Dumbo, www.brooklynbridgepark.org). May 25 at 10 a.m.

Make a splash

Learn to float on a tiny boat on the East River with the Park’s walk-up kayaking sessions. Once you have mastered moving around in a one- or two-person kayak, in the protected bay between Piers One and Two, you might want to check out the Kayak Polo games, which happen every Sunday afternoon at Pier Four. Kids under 18 must have an adult guardian present.

Pier Two Dock. May 30–Aug. 31, Sat–Sun, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; Thu, 5:30–6:45 p.m.

Space out

The World Science Festival comes to Brooklyn! Tonight you can get a close-up look at the Moon, Jupiter, and beyond through a professional telescope, then lie on the grass for the short film experience “Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe,” by composer Eric Whitacre. The movie reveals the galaxy from the point of view of the Hubble Telescope, while 100 singers from LaGuardia High School Senior Chorus provide a celestial soundscape.

Afterwards, you can stay for a discussion with astrophysicists and the film’s directors.

On Pier One’s Harbor View Lawn. June 1, 6–11:30 p.m.

And for several Friday nights this summer, the Amateurs Astronomers Association will set up high-powered scopes in the Park so you can gaze at the heavens.

At Pier One Promenade on Fridays: June 7, 14; July 12, 25; Aug. 2, 9; 8:30–10:30 p.m.

Walt’s song

This year will be a special “StoneWalt” edition of the annual reading of Walt Whitman’s epic, 52-part “Song of Myself,” honoring both the Bard of Brooklyn’s 200th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which kicked off the modern gay rights movement. Volunteers will each present three sections of the poem. Past performances have included musical and dance interpretations of the verses.

At Pier One’s Granite Prospect. June 2; 4–7 p.m.

Plugging away

The acoustic concert series “Unplugged” will bring intimate shows to the Park every Friday in June and July. The Brooklyn Americana Music Festival presents the first month of roots music, opening with 13-year-old banjo player Little Nora Brown. In July, Gowanus studio Degraw Sound programs a selection of folk, rock, and pop artists.

Brooklyn Americana Music

June 7: Little Nora Brown and Stephanie Coleman, with Ali Dineen and Feral Foster

June 14: Linda McRae, with Tim Grimm

June 21: Queen Esther, with Jan Bell

June 28: Greg Sch├Ątze, with Will Scott and Charlie Burnham

Degraw Sound

July 12: Common Jack, with Kevin Daniel

July 19: Pearla, with Yella Belly

July 26: Ben Rice, with Queue

Aug. 2: Sophie Colette, with 8090

All shows on Pier Three’s Greenway Terrace at 6 p.m.

Blast from the past

Take a trip back in time with the New York Transit Museum’s Bus Festival. Step aboard the city’s buses from the past eight decades!

Brooklyn Bridge Plaza at Water and Old Fulton streets in Dumbo. June 9, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Classical tunes

The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series stops by the park for an evening of arias and duets from several operas.

Pier One’s Harbor View Lawn. June 12 at 7 p.m.

Move in sync

Park Slope dance company Dancewave will offer free, one-hour dance classes for adults and kids of all ages and abilities. Each installment in the “Moving Together” program, happening on one Sunday each month, will explore a different type of dance.

June 16: Latin Dance

July 14: Hip Hop

Aug. 11: Afro-Caribbean

All dance lesson on Pier Three Plaza at 1 p.m.

Call of the Wilde

The New York Classical Theatre will present a mobile, gender-bending performance of Oscar Wilde’s witty Victorian comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The scenes will move across Pier One as the action moves from London to a country estate, and the whole cast will swap roles and genders every other performance, in order to show the Irish playwright’s battle of the sexes in a new light.

Meet at the base of Pier One. Performances run June 18–23 at 7 p.m.

What a view!

The Movies With a View series launched back in 2000, and this 20th anniversary program, titled “Better the Second Time Around” will feature some of the audience’s favorite flicks from previous years, including “Crooklyn,” directed by Brooklyn’s own Spike Lee. Disk jockeys from Brooklyn Radio will start spinning at 6 p.m. each Thursday night, and the movies will start at sundown. Before and during the show, Smorgasburg will offer food and drinks from tents at the bottom of the viewing lawn. The list of movies is:

July 11: “Pariah”

July 18: “Girlfight”

July 25: “It Happened One Night”

Aug. 1: “Crooklyn”

Aug. 8: “The Big Lebowski”

Aug. 15: “An American Tail”

Aug. 22: “Selma”

Aug. 29: Movies with a View Public Vote: choose from “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (1994); “Groundhog Day” (1993); or “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971).

Pier One’s Harbor View Lawn, starting at 6 p.m. Movies at sundown.

Light at heart

Join Indian dance educator Aeilushi Mistry for the Aarti Hindu Lamp Ceremony, which asks the water for peace and harmony. You can decorate a palm leaf, set a candle inside, and set it afloat as the sun sets along the East River, in what has become a Brooklyn tradition.

Pebble Beach (at Main Street and Plymouth Street in Dumbo). Aug. 3, 4–8 p.m.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 2:29 pm, May 24, 2019
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