Screeching cars and honking horns from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway drown out much of the chaos from the noisy basketball courts at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, occupied by sweaty men, women, and children.
“Aye! Aye! Aye!” yells one of the players. “I’m open, I’m open!” A young woman with a messy ponytail and tattered blue and green Nike shoes crosses up her opponent and passes to the open man. He misses the shot. A few vulgarities bounce back and forth as the players chase the ball down the court.
Orange, black, and blue backpacks line the cement walls adjacent to the players warming the unsteady benches. The occasional pigeon creeps close to people sitting on nearby picnic tables, waiting for its next meal.
There is an array of activities at the park. The playground swings creak like rusted doors on an abandoned house as kids swing to and fro. A skating rink next to the courts is blasting Swedish House Mafia, “Don’t You Worry Child.” The staffers use white oversized skate guards with wheels to teach small children how to skate.
Brooklyn Heights overlooks the park that sits on Pier 2 of the East River. People take pictures, run, and walk their dogs on the promenade. Along the river, several cargo boats pass by, leisurely hauling teepee-size mounds of gravel, while speedboats zip past them. A Sonny Rollins jazz song is playing somewhere nearby, an afternoon practice on the Brooklyn Bridge.
It’s supposed to rain today and the sky is getting darker over Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty stands in the background.