While July 4 is the pinnacle of patriotism across the country every summer, Aug. 27 is a date that holds a lot of historical significance for Brooklynites, too, because it was the day the Battle of Brooklyn was waged during the American Revolutionary War.
The battle actually started brewing 245 years ago, on Aug. 22, 1776, when the British landed at Gravesend Bay in an attempt to capture the city—but the real action took place in Brooklyn Heights on Aug. 27. George Washington and his men may not have walked away the victors, but an ingenious escape to Manhattan saved the Continental Army from capture—and we all know who went on to win the war.
There are plenty of ways to commemorate this momentous occasion in our nation’s history this weekend, including these below.
1. Battle of Brooklyn Neighborhood Walking Tour
This Friday, commemorations kick off with a walking tour hosted by The Old Stone House in Park Slope. Local historian Dylan Yeats will lead participants on a 60-minute stroll through the neighborhood while highlighting historical sites significant to the skirmish. The tour starts at 6pm and will begin and end at the OSH. Tickets cost $12.
2. Society of Old Brooklynites’ 114th annual Memorial Tribute to America’s first POWs
Saturday morning at 10am in Fort Greene Park, members of The Society of Old Brooklynites will gather around the base of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a tribute to the 11,500 American colonists who died aboard British ships during the American Revolutionary War. The remains of some of these men and women are actually interred 40 feet below Fort Greene Park’s surface. “To get off the ships, all they had to do was swear allegiance to the British Crown, and they absolutely refused to do it, so a lot of them died aboard those ships,” Ted General, a member of the society previously told Brooklyn Based. “It’s crazy to think that all this is in a public park. Fort Greene Park has a lot of history surrounding it.”
Fort Greene Park is actually the largest American Revolution burial ground in the nation, which is a little-known fact the Society of Old Brooklynites hopes to make more people aware of with its annual memorial. This year’s tribute will include a maritime piping ceremony, a ballet performance, and a wreath-laying.
3. Battle of Brooklyn: An Eighteenth-Century American Faire
The Battle of Brooklyn actually took place on land that’s now owned by Green-Wood Cemetery. From 11am to noon on Aug. 28, the cemetery, in partnership with Old Stone House, will host an afternoon of family-friendly activities to commemorate the battle, which was the first one waged after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Events include a reenactment, demonstrations, music, and storytelling. Admission is free (but a $5 donation is suggested for adults), and anyone over the age of 12 needs to register for a ticket in advance.
4. Battle of Brooklyn Trolley Tour
History buffs, you’re in for a real treat: On Sunday, Aug. 29, from 10am to noon, historian Barnet Schecter, author of The Battle for New York, and Green-Wood Historian Jeff Richman are hosting a two-hour trolley tour of Green-Wood Cemetery’s Revolutionary War-related sites. The tour will be rain or shine (though it looks like the weather will be nice), and admission costs $25. Tickets sell out every year (FYI), so scoop yours up asap if you plan to attend.