Celebrate Brooklyn!

Celebrate Brooklyn/Latin music

Remember those wonderful outdoor events I was talking about in NYC Gym Search Craziness? Well, it finally happened! I was able to go to my first open-air concert in Prospect Park last Saturday. A Latin band and its guru called “Larry Harlow Latin Legends Band” performed with and against the violin experts “La Excelencia.” Together the performance was named “Larry Harlow Latin Legends Band: Battle of the Salsa Violins with La Excelencia” and they played for 3 hours straight. 3 hours, can you believe that?! The musicians must have been very exhausted after the show and so was the audience – in a good way. They lured a good amount of visitors (with a number well up in the thousands) to Prospect Park and had an own area dedicated to the people who wanted to give into the vibes of the music and dance until they drop. It sort of resembled the idea of the “Summer Stage” in Central Park, but of course the spot was smaller due to spatial reasons.

I went with my roommates and we had fun until the end. It took us a while to get used to the intoxicated happy people who were bouncing around and shaking it off in front of the stage. The music really made it easy to swirl around and invent your own creations of Samba, Salsa, or Mumba. No one cared what you did as long as you didn’t just stand there and play plain bored. At events like this you get approached by random persons, usually guys, who invite you to dance a song or two. Don’t worry if these individuals are well over 60, they are just trying to have a good time. And some are still one of the best dancers out there, really. I’m guessing the experience factor comes into play here…

The crowd was mixed, as it did not only attract the Prospect Park inhabitants or the people living in the neighborhood but all sorts of ethnicities from Brooklyn and beyond. Celebrate Brooklyn was initially meant to induce people to come back to Prospect Park after years of neglect. First held in 1979, the festival has accomplished to entertain crowds of spectators with 1,700 artists and groups, some among these who are well-known such as Norah Jones in 2010. This summer it will be hosting many more more musicians. Some shows will be held in the park, some have already happened at the Brooklyn Bridge in Dumbo (be sure to check these out in May of next year, as they are typically earlier than the events at Prospect Park). A great diversity of bands will be awaiting us in the following one and a half months and I cannot wait to seek out a few more. The entire festival will be going on until August 5th – time enough to dwell on jazz, British music, and many more musical fine tunes. For an entire list of happenings, click here.

The place is easily accessible by train: Take the F or G to 7th Avenue and then walk up two avenue blocks, or take it one stop further to 15th St/Prospect Park and walk down six street blocks. If you’re in the area, you might want to hang around earlier in the day and attend a BBQ or two (or give your own one). The park is always nice for a stroll or to lie down and relax from New York’s hectic life.

I was unlucky enough to miss out on all of these events last year but I will make a point in going to a few this year. Alas, what else is the meaning of living in the Slope? Thumbs up to free summer events!