Tonight, Will Oldham, aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, is performing at Town Hall. Among other things, he is an enemy of poetry.
His sharpest and most prominent attack came in an essay in Poetry, in the June 2012 issue, in one of my favorite sections of the magazine—a feature each month in which non-poets write about poetry. I suppose it was generous of the editors of Poetry to allow what could be called a dissenting voice. Faith, after all, necessitates doubt. But it was not so much a dissenting voice as a voice that said we should shut down the proceedings. It made me ponder canceling my subscription [...]
The final installment in a seven-day series exploring how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn would pass across modern-day New York. Shown in photo, the Watchung Mountains.
It's over. The Battle of Brooklyn is done, or at least it was on this day 236 years ago, with the Americans momentarily out of reach of the British, having evacuated to the island of Manhattan.
The British were shocked. "In the Morning, to our great Astonishment, found they had Evacuated all their Works on Brookland and Red Hook, without a Shot being fired at them," a soldier wrote. Earl Percy wrote to his father, the Duke of Northumberland, [...]
Day six in a seven-day series exploring how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn would pass across modern-day New York. Shown in photo, morning on Gowanus Bay.
On the American side, 2,000 rebels were killed, wounded or captured. On the British side, only a few dozen were dead. And so, back up on the Heights of Brooklyn, a mile's stretch of water from New York, the Americans began the evacuation.
It would be over by dawn, and, until dawn, only the Americans will know. The British line that comes upon the last boats leaving will see a tall red-headed officer push off towards the island [...]
Day five in a series exploring how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn would pass across modern-day New York. Shown in photo, a potential burial site of the Maryland regiment, near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 8th Street, that went uninvestigated when it was recently dug up.
The day after the battle, there are dead and wounded all around: 1,000 American soldiers in the woods and the fields all around what is today Park Slope and Greenwood Cemetery, all along the Shore Road that is today in the vicinity of 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street, as well as Pep Boys, Hotel Le Bleu and J.J. [...]
Day four in a series exploring how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn would pass across modern-day New York. In photo here, the blueberries represent the American side, the cherry tomatoes, the British.
You don’t hear a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking as far as the Battle of Brooklyn goes. The battle was a loss, but let’s face it: the odds were never good for the Continental Army, and there are not a lot of ways it could have played differently. Sure, there was a general who got sick and had to be replaced at the last minute on the American side, and maybe that was a [...]
Day three in a series exploring how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn would pass across modern-day New York.
On August 24, 1776, there is not a lot going on fighting-wise in Brooklyn.
There are skirmishes amongst the woods and the farms where the British have landed, but Washington still has not figured out how huge the British landing is. He has sent General John Sullivan over to Brooklyn, a general who will be captured when the Battle of Brooklyn begins and will have a controversial record there after, despite several victorious battles after the crossing of the Delaware. Sullivan would wreak havoc on Native American settlements [...]
Day two in a series exploring how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn, beginning with the British landing on August 22, 1776, would pass across modern-day New York. Shown above, the hills of Greenwood Cemetery.
In the lull before the battle—the first battle of the Revolutionary War, the 236th anniversary of which is coming on August 27th —it made sense to go out and look around, like a scout. A general on the side of the Americans would have used this time to survey the landscape, to traverse the hills and woods of Brooklyn and into New York (here are the receipts Washington sent to congress [...]
The British invasion began on this day in 1776. For the next couple weeks, Robert Sullivan will be considering how the trail of the Battle of Brooklyn would pass across modern-day New York.
Say the Revolutionary War had never happened back in 1776. Say the British and the American colonists had been able to keep their relationship patched together for another 236 years, puttering along like an old car. Say things were at last things coming to a boil—perhaps due to some remark made by Bob Costas during the Olympics, or due to a break in the Murdoch phone-hacking scandal. Say the British were at last about to invade. [...]
Many of my friends initially scoffed at the notion of an adult stroller, and not a few even doubted my sincerity. After all, I am a healthy, active 46-year-old man, married, with a wife and two children both of whom are grown or at least in school all day, as far as I can tell. I still enjoy walking, and I try to get a few runs in a week on the treadmill at the gym. But I love my adult stroller. It’s one of those things that helps me cope with my career and my life, both of which are, to say the least, hectic. If people ask me [...]