I adore the skyline of Brooklyn. When I first moved here way back in 1993, I remember being so taken with the wood water tanks that stood on top of many buildings near the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the East River. This was ages before Brooklyn Industries came on the scene with their water tank logo and multiple store locations. Over the years I have climbed up on to the rooftop of many a Brooklyn row house to watch fireworks, partake in friends’ barbecues, and one time, to see a meteor shower in the middle of the night. In a city with a street level as dense as ours, looking up where man-made meets sky can be a beautiful respite.
Rooftop Bees on DVD by honeybeeproductions
As a film-maker interested in the urban environment, I wanted to find a way to incorporate rooftops into a project. When I heard about a beekeeper with beehives on his rooftop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, I immediately thought that he and his honeybees might make great film subjects. I could document the pleasures of both urban beekeeping and Brooklyn rooftops. John, the beekeeper, agreed to let me film him at work with his thousands of amazing honeybees. He checked their hives throughout the summer and then harvested their honey, selling it at Habana Outpost, a local outdoor market. It was quite an experience to be on the roof next to the buzzing hives. The views of the Williamsburg Savings Bank building and Fort Greene Park were lovely and although it was ridiculously hot and I got stung twice, I fell in love with the Brooklyn skyline all over again.
Evidently there are other Etsy sellers who derive inspiration from the Brooklyn skyline:
LivePoultry is a t-shirt company based in Red Hook, Brooklyn that specializes in limited edition silk-screened tees. They take inspiration from Coney Island and the industrial buildings, waterfront and street scape of New York City past and present. This design features the big metal Kentile Floors Sign, which can be seen from the elevated F train as it passes through Gowanus, Brooklyn.
KateBlack loves the view from her elevated train station so much that she took a photo of it and turned it into a bottle opener key chain.
LaurenCastillo’s “New York Rooftop” painting sets rooftop antennae, chimneys and vents against a beautiful blue sky.
Classattire’s skyline t shirt is actually a writable and erasable chalkboard so you can sketch your own drama on to the cityscape.
Coney Island offers some of the most iconic structures of the Brooklyn skyline. And while redevelopment plans are under way and will definitely change the gritty character of Coney, the Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone are here to stay. Toybreaker makes a screen-printed necktie for the Parachute Jump fan.
Maggie Campbell of BrooklynBookbinder uses a detail from the Cyclone roller coaster as the background for the July page of her 2009 letterpress calendar because there’s nothing like riding the Cyclone in July!
SherriJackson’s beautiful photograph of the Wonder Wheel captures the saturated color, typography and fun of Coney.
Another asset of Brooklyn’s cityscape is its proximity to the water — you can see the ocean, the harbor and the river from many spots in our fine borough. This painting shows just that, and is one of many landscape paintings he has made of Brooklyn.
NateDuval’s screenprint of the Domino Sugar Factory on the East River looks good enough to eat, in a post-industrial waterfront kind of way.
With over 2 million residents, Brooklynites live in apartment buildings, row houses, private homes and even a few houseboats. LauraMccabe captures the beauty of Brooklyn’s row houses (and the beauty of knitting) in this print.
StephanieLand offers a Brooklyn tableau in her photograph of a house in Bushwick strewn with Puerto Rican flags, against a gorgeous blue sky.
And for the crown jewel of the Brooklyn skyline, let us not forget the incredible Brooklyn Bridge, which has been the pride of our borough since it opened to the public in 1883. GreenwichLetterpress has made both Brooklyn Bridge holiday cards and greeting cards. Get ‘em and send ‘em!
Brookadelphia’s very cool Brooklyn Bridge necklace is made of black acrylic.
WabisabiBrooklyn’s cufflinks have an image of the Bridge decoupaged on to five cent coins.
Serimony has hand block printed a tiny Brooklyn Bridge onto onesies for the newest Brooklyn appreciators. They also make shirts for full grown fans.
A water tank and the gorgeous Williamsburg Savings Bank Building both adorn Pennyvictory’s cool canvas tote bag.
HomespunCity makes an elegant silver pendant, water tank necklace. Wear it or gift it with Brooklyn pride.
Further Resources to appreciate the Brooklyn skyline:
The Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment is dedicated to educating individuals about the built and natural environments of New York City. For information about events and walking tours visit http://bcue.org.
Forgotten New York is a great resource for little-known facts about New York City, past and present. http://www.forgotten-ny.com.
The Place Matters mission is to foster the conservation of New York City’s historically and culturally significant places. On their website you can nominate a place that matters to you. http://www.placematters.net.
Rooftop Films is a summer screening series that brings underground films outdoors at venues throughout New York City. Go see a movie on a rooftop! http://rooftopfilms.com.