There was no breeze to be found on Breeze Hill when we headed up for the opening day of Smorgasburg, the oh-so-Brooklyn phenomenon of all things curated and artisanal, in Prospect Park. We had despaired of the fair's recent incarnation in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which we renamed "The Sun's Anvil"; it doesn't feel right to "fork over" big bucks for fancy chow and then have to eat it squatting on a dusty curb or juggle it on the hoof. With the vast acres of Prospect Park, we figured, the hungry hordes would fan out--bringing both the possibility of new audiences discovering its treasures, and pigs turning it into their personal trough.
Breeze Hill is a somewhat neglected plateau overlooking the gorgeously restored Music Grove area; in my few visits there, it has been home to dumpsters and such. It's somewhat isolated and not readily seen from outside, but the hip folks found it, following their noses to the smell of barbecue.
Bam! We'd barely made landfall when we encountered two manbuns and a quilt with fey young ladies weaving $10 flower crowns (an activity we deemed "very Zooey").
The vendors are a perfect kaleidoscope of all current "new Brooklyn" obsessions: irony, meat, no meat, etc.
"Lawless Jerky" came in mango and curry flavors, but I opted for the classic. I am ashamed to say I paid $6 for a bag of it, but I had to reward the guy for listening to me tell him how I had a granduncle named "Lawless Loadsman." It is awfully good, but not that much better than the gas-station stuff.
...but a representative from the Prospect Park Alliance assured me that the Smorg team had been sworn to a total clean-up by day's end. (I haven't gotten over there since to verify.) These guys were trying their damnedest to keep up with the tide of cups, troughs, and plates cast off by the gourmets.
As for Where to Eat Your Stuff, the answer yesterday was: Right there. In a park of more than 500 acres, it seemed the entire crowd had jammed themselves under 3 big trees in the center of the vendors, like a herd of cows in a blazing pasture. "I guess they want to be where the action is," Spouse observed.
But if they'd only skibbled down a steep, uneven granite stairs to the Music Grove, they could have basked on a bench in the shade, surrounded by busts of great composers (and now, alas, overlooked by a bloating condo at the park's eastern edge).
A few folks, like these quaint corn-nibblers, did take up the option, but the glade was surprisingly empty. Park newcomers may not even realize it's there (although the Alliance was earnestly providing maps at the chief Smorg entry point).
That's a shame...because anyone who wanted to walk off their roast-pork-and-pepper sandwich (yes, I indulged in half of one from Federoff's Roast Pork) could have been here in under five minutes.
And if they'd kept going five more minutes, they could have paddled off those porky calories on the lake itself, on the fleet of new boats in bathtub-toy blue.
And if they'd walked all the way to the Grecian Shelter, as we did on our way home, they might even have snared an "inbitation" to Serenity's spooky birthday party. We declined, and headed home to digest and rehydrate.