STARGAZING AT THE CEMETERY: The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will hold a free stargazing event next Friday, July 30, from 8 to 10 p.m. at The Evergreens Cemetery in Bushwick, offering attendees the rare opportunity to observe the night sky in an area relatively free of glare from city lights. Association members will bring high-powered telescopes and binoculars through which everyone is invited to look, and will provide instruction on how to find objects in the night sky, but attendees are welcome to bring their own binoculars or a telescope as well. Registration is encouraged for this event, being held at the meadow near the cemetery office. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stargazing-with-the-amateur-astronomers-association-of-new-york-tickets-162832758163.
The stargazing event will take place weather permitting, and will be cancelled in case of rain or thick clouds.
NYC HOMECOMING WEEK: NYC Homecoming Week, a citywide celebration taking place August 14-22, aims to drive support for the mom-and-pop businesses that define neighborhoods and that kept the heart of our city beating throughout the COVID pandemic. The celebration, spanning all five boroughs, will feature live concerts, free movie screenings, hosted by Rooftop Films, NYC Restaurant Week, Summer Streets, iconic events, cultural activities, public art, and more in all five boroughs. In Brooklyn, concerts will be held at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on Thursday, August 19.
The celebration of New York City’s resilience will culminate in a historic concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park on Saturday, August 21, featuring such talents as Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson and Bruce Springsteen. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office will announce the full lineup in coming weeks. Sign up for email updates on NYC Homecoming Week events and tickets, via nyc.gov/HomecomingWeek.
BOY SCOUTS REFURBISH PEACE GARDEN: Members of Boy Scout Troop 815 of Cobble Hill-Brooklyn Heights, earned their Eagle Scout Badge by volunteering to improve the Peace Garden of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights. Paul and Matthew Malefyt, whose parents are parishioners, parish, built benches for social use and reinforced the structure of the garden, projects that were intended to deliver a tangible benefit to the local community.
Scott Little and Bill McVicar of Kamco Supply Corp in Brooklyn donated all the lumber and building materials for the Boy Scout project.
ART AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: Barclays Center will host an art show featuring 150 pieces that Brooklyn middle and high school students have created under the inspiration of Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Students created the artwork as part of a Basquiat educational arts program developed in partnership between the Brooklyn Nets, the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) and the Fund for Public Schools. The free-admission gallery, in the arena’s Geico Atrium, will be open to the public on Sunday, Aug. 8 and Monday, Aug. 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. The private opening for the students will take place the previous day.
The art program was funded by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, which established a Social Justice Fund last year to work toward economic mobility and racial justice for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Brooklyn. Due to the course’s extraordinary reception, the program’s curriculum will be expanded to all NYC public schools beginning this fall.
STRIKE FORCES TO FIGHT GUN TRAFFICKING: As New York’s Gov. Cuomo took steps this month to end gun violence, the U.S. Department of Justice last week launched five cross- jurisdictional strike forces of its own, by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country, including New York. Leading each strike force region will be designated United States Attorneys, who will collaborate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and with state and local law enforcement partners within their own jurisdiction (where firearms are used in crimes), as well as law enforcement partners in areas where illegally trafficked guns originate.
The strike forces represent one important, concrete step in implementing the Department’s Comprehensive Violent Crime Reduction Strategy, which was announced on May 26.
STREET NAMING WILL HONOR COMMUNITY LEADER: and Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. and Peter Williams were scheduled to host a co-naming ceremony on Saturday, July 24 in memory of Williams’ wife, Jacqueline Berrien, chairperson of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Berrien’s four years under the Obama administration capped a decades long career as a civil rights lawyer that included work with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ms. Berrien, who died in 2015 at age 53, was beloved in her Brooklyn community and was an active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, in whose choir she sang.
WILLIAMSBURG HAS NEW SUSTAINABLE PLANT SHOP: Pollyn, a sustainable plant shop and garden cafe under the famous Mona Lisa of Williamsburg mural, kicks off its opening weekend with a summer program series, stunning projections, music and a unique drink selection. This Saturday, July 31 from 4 p.m. to midnight, the Pollyn Pop-Up celebrates with an all day and night program of live music, DJ performances and video projections on the mural. Pollyn, situated at the intersection of Broadway, Bedford and South 6th St. in Williamsburg, also offers events, workshops and talks centered around topics like horticulture & plant care, composting & food waste, or mushroom & hemp growing.
Various community members and volunteers helped transform the formerly-vacant building lot into an urban oasis, powered by solar energy.