As you would expect of an old city, Brooklyn has a long relationship with fire, man’s greatest foe and greatest ally at the same time. On the one hand, fire provides warmth, cooks meat or seitan and is fought by hunky firemen. On the other hand, fire destroys and hurts, fire bad. The Brooklyn Historical Society and Green-Wood Cemetery are teaming up for a series of talks on all of those facets of fire happening over the next few weeks, talks that are either free or very cheap.
The first of the talks is happening this week, on Thursday, October 30 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, as three firehouse chiefs talk about what goes down in a firehouse with Brooklyn Magazine‘s Sarah Zorn. Beyond finding out fascinating firehouse stuff, you’ll also be able to drink complimentary cocktails and eat chili from a chili cookoff, because apparently firemen know chili. Hey, works for us, especially since it’s just ten bucks. On November 17, head back to the Historical Society, because author Jonathan Mahler (Ladies and Gentlemen…The Bronx is Burning) will be moderating a panel discussion about Bushwick in the 1970s, when fire swept through the then-neglected neighborhood and turned it into a burnt out husk. Whether you’re a fan of the book, a fan of the 70s or a fan of Bushwick, we bet it’s a night that’s worth your $5.
Finally, on November 22, Green-Wood Cemetery will be hosting a talk on the Great Theater Fire of 1876. It was enough of a well-known tragedy that it got its own monument on Green-Wood, so historian, Joshua Britton will talk about how the fire changed Brooklyn as it grew from that moment. That’s free, and will be followed by a trolley ride through Green-Wood that costs $20, but you can also just go to the talk. No matter which of the talks you go to though, you’ll more than likely come away with a new fear of fire, so for any neurotics out there, this is definitely for you.