The Times is fascinated with the idea of camping in Brooklyn, and can you blame them? The idea seems a little outlandish. But in May, travel reporter Matt Gross spent the night in Floyd Bennett Field, the only park in the five boroughs where camping is allowed year-round. And this August, photo editor Sandra Stevenson spent the night in Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park. Both wrote about their experiences for nytimes.com, marveling separately at how far away from the city one could feel while actually remaining in it.
But it’s impossible to truly escape the fact that you are in Brooklyn. According to Gross, his friends had trouble sleeping because of “the whoop-whoop of N.Y.P.D. helicopters flying low nearby, and by the rumble of cars along the Belt Parkway and Flatbush Avenue.” Here’s how Stevenson tells it:
Much to my surprise, the parks department provided hamburgers, hotdogs, vegan patties, baked beans, chips and drinks to hungry campers. We joined other families sitting on the stone overlook to enjoy our meal and observe the view. Parents shared childhood stories and tales of raising their children in New York, while kids shared their tales of childhood. Suddenly the vegetation sandwiched in between the overlook and water began moving. My son chimed in in between bites, “Perhaps it’s a frog …” and another child responded, “Maybe it’s a snake … .” Then a mother screamed, “It’s a rat!”
What, you thought someplace in the five boroughs that gives away free food wasn’t going to have rats? It could have been worse; there could have been a deranged sidewalk person crawling through the bushes toward your child. Or a coyote.
Camping in a Brooklyn Wilderness [City Room/NYT]