Brooklyn Boro

Montague BID, BHA bring music, joy to Brooklyn Heights

Shoppers and strollers literally were dancing in the streets

June 24, 2021 Mary Frost

After a long year of COVID lockdowns, merry melodies had shoppers and strollers literally dancing on Montague Street on Monday — as well as parading to the beat of free-wheeling bands across nearby neighborhoods.

Concerts of classical, jazz and rock music enlivened Montague’s “Bankers Row,” while Dawn Drake led her funk percussion band ZapOte on a “MAD about Make Music” march from the Heights to Atlantic Avenue, where they serenaded the shops. Free outdoor events were also held in the parks and plazas of Downtown Brooklyn.

In the evening, bands took over the west end of Montague Street, and residents shook it all out. One of these was the Bond Street Theatre’s Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, which led a sidewalk parade from Court Street to Pierrepont Place — yes, while on stilts.

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The all-day music fest was part of the annual citywide musical festival Make Music NYC. The Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn events were sponsored by the Montague Street BID, the Atlantic Ave. BID and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Heights Association.

“Make Music is an international celebration that is held annually on the summer solstice,” Kate Chura, executive director of both the Montague Street and Atlantic Avenue BIDs, told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Dawn Drake led her funk international percussion band ZapOte on a “MAD about Make Music” march from Montague Street to Atlantic Avenue, where they rocked shoppers. Eagle photo by Marc Hibsher

“Throughout the 76 NYC BIDs, it is an event that highlights the neighborhood small businesses and their close relationship to the community through the celebration of music,” she said. “Make Music celebrates the creative and passionate spirit expressed through music and small businesses.”

Chura said the Montague Street BID has a “unique relationship to small businesses in our commercial corridor and the local community and the families in the surrounding neighborhood.”

The Brooklyn Heights Association has been working hand in hand with the BID to help revive the local shopping street, and members manned a table on the street during the festivities.

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“We had a wonderful time meeting new neighbors, discussing the local issues which matter to all of us,” said Katherine Davis, the Brooklyn Heights Association’s membership and communications manager. “The BHA has been actively working with the BIDs, in particular the Montague Street BID, on strategies to attract and support the kinds of businesses which people need and want — so sponsoring this community-building celebration was a wonderful opportunity to show our support, engagement, and to finally enjoy some live music again!”

“It’s a true pleasure to see people out and enjoying themselves on Montague Street,” BHA Executive Director Lara Birnback said.

“Not surprisingly, music has a way of spreading joy,” she added.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership also released a schedule of this summer’s lineup on Monday. Planned events include “Distanced Disco” with Vinyl Nights on Thursdays, a weekly happy hour musical series at Albee Square, fitness and dance classes, and pop-up curbside drag shows, to name just a few.

Under a tent on Montague Street across from Giulia Cafe are Chris Bastian, BHA’s transportation chair; Jane Platt, a member of BHA’s Board Of Governors; and Katherine Davis, BHA’s membership chair and communications director. Eagle photo by Marc Hibsher

“After a long, hard winter, we are excited to announce a summer lineup that will give Brooklynites something to look forward to,” said Regina Myer, president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “DTBK Presents finds creative ways to put one of our most important assets to good use: the parks and plazas that make up Downtown Brooklyn. We look forward to transforming these vital spaces with a vibrant calendar of events and having residents and visitors join us for fun, fitness and entertainment outside.”

Highlights of Monday’s musical fun included a clarinet concert on Montague Street by Hannah Lee, along with performances by a jazz ensemble and rock ensemble, and dance party performance by Mr. Evan Bumblebee Jamboree.

From 6 to 8 p.m., DJ CprodG took the mic to keep Montague Street dancing. (The story is that the musical “prodigy” DJ CprodG “learned how to turn on the stereo, put on headphones, and rock out while in diapers, before uttering his first words.”)

This year’s event was the 15th celebration of Make Music Day in New York City.


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