Summer Plans for Local Parks

Hills & Gardens
By Trudy Whitman

Hills & Gardens — the Summer Fun in Local Parks Edition! The beginning of June is when the hum of what awaits us in the parks and gardens of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Carroll Gardens begins to morph into serious buzz. We’ll begin in Cobble Hill:

If you’ve been to the free Concerts in Cobble Hill Park at Verandah Place and Clinton Street over the past few summers, you know that the eclectic music mix — rock, soul, bluegrass, swing, classical, etc. — attracts everyone from bootie-bopping toddlers to wheelchair-bound residents of the Cobble Hill Health Center on Henry Street. Some worried that when neighbor Rudy Kamuf put down his directorial baton after many years of yeoman service, there would be no volunteers to take up that baton.

No worries! Cobble Hill Association president Roy Sloane has informed Hills & Gardens that the popular concerts will continue. Bryan Johnson is the new concert organizer, and four of five planned events have already been scheduled, although dates have not yet been released. We’ll publish them as soon as they’re available.

For young children, the Free Stories in the Hoyt Street Garden at Hoyt and Atlantic Avenue are pure magic. It’s twilight; you are surrounded by greenery; someone offers you lemonade and cookies; and pleasing voices read pleasing bedtime stories aloud — with only the occasional truck backfire incident to remind you that you are really in the city.

Hoyt Street Garden Stories will be featured every Tuesday evening from June 28 to July 26. Volunteer readers (it’s fun, I’ve done it) are needed, as well as helpers to set up and tidy the garden after the reading circle.

Melanie Hoopes is the person to contact to become part of this neighborhood tradition. Send an email to offer your services to Melanie at

Children can make merry with music in Carroll Park, Court and Carroll streets, during the summer-long Carroll Park Kids’ Concert Series, which kicks off on Sunday, June 12, at 4 p.m. Perennial favorites Audra Rox and David Weinstone will perform selections from Music for Aardvarks at the first concert.

Concerts are free, but parents are asked to arrive with “a little pocket money” to buy healthy snacks and crafts. All proceeds benefit Friends of Carroll Park. These monthly concerts run through September. Visit for the full schedule.

Witches, ghosts, bloody daggers — they’re all in a day’s work for Smith Street Stage players in their new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which will be performed free in Carroll Park from July 13-17 and 19-24. Smith Street Stage is the group of Brooklyn-based thespians that brought Romeo and Juliet to the park last summer. As was the tragedy of the doomed lovers, Macbeth will be mounted as family fare, pared down to 90 meaty moments, according to artistic director Beth Ann Leone. Children as young as two were enthralled during last season’s production Leone recalled.

Rather than highlighting costumes and sets, the emphasis will be on the beauty of the language as spoken by classically trained actors from the drama schools of NYU, University of Connecticut, and Yale, said Leone.

See next week’s column for an interview with Beth Ann Leone. Meanwhile, get thee to a neighborhood park this summer!

* * *

Fresh from an enlightening lecture on the BQE at the Cobble Hill Association’s Spring General Meeting, noted historian Francis Morrone returns to the community to lead a Walking Tour of Cobble Hill on Sunday, June 19, from 2-4 p.m. Participants will meet in front of St. Paul’s Church at Court and Congress streets. The fee is $10 for Cobble Hill Association members and $20 for non-members and is limited to 40 people. To R.S.V.P., send an email to


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