The Old Stone House

As I was on my way to an artists’ market at The Old American Can Factory, I stumbled upon an old stone house that I’d never noticed. Literally called the Old Stone House, the building is a 1930 reconstruction of a Dutch farmhouse built in 1699. The original played a somewhat significant role in the Battle of Brooklyn, the largest battle of the American Revolution (we did not win this battle, but being positive Americans, we were able to put a good spin on the situation). In the 1800s, the Old Stone House became the first clubhouse of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who in 1890 switched to the National League and made it to the World Series, only to have it canceled because no one cared. The original Old Stone House was razed in 1897.

The current OSH (should I start abbreviating?) was rebuilt using the original stone and is now run by a nonprofit that has activities there all the time. I started chatting with the director, who invited me inside to see a free play about Walt Whitman.

My day got even better as I walked up the OSH’s stairs and discovered air conditioning and gigantic glasses of wine for $3. Unfortunately, they cut the air when the play started and the room became unbearably hot. Windows locked, sweat streamed down our faces and grown children fell asleep against their parents. Trooper that I am, I continued to drink my red wine even though my face burned as if someone had thrown me in an oven with a plastic bag tied around my head. The room took on the swamp-like qualities original to this part of Brooklyn, and I thought, “What is this, the opera? Do the actors really need to save their voices from artificial coolness?”

Sitting upstairs roasting away, I felt as if I was at church, as I kept spacing out and thinking about my own life. However, I did walk away inspired by Walt Whitman. He lived a simple life and dedicated years to caring for wounded Civil War veterans in Washington, D.C. At one point, he worked for the Department of the Interior, but he was fired when the Secretary found out he wrote Leaves of Grass, which the secretary found offensive.  

Sarah Mikutel