Another Look at Fort Greene

Fort Greene

History is all around us, especially in Whitman’s Brooklyn. I am aware that New York City has many historical landmarks but I didn’t realize the significance of Fort Greene and how Whitman helped create it.

The class met at the park, along the way I saw Walt Whitman projects across the street. We met in the spot below near the small building:

fort_greene 003

We where greeted by people from the Whitman Project.

The CUNY Walt Whitman class had the pleasure and privilege to be guided by  artistic director Greg Trupiano. He gave us some background

We first spoke about Leaves of Grass. The artistic director (Greg Trupiano)  pointed out some physical qualities of the first book and an image of Whitman. Most people in the 19th century, especially writers like Emerson dressed in a very professional manner. Whitman instead is dressed in a working man’s clothes. He looks like a regular blue collar worker in his book of poems. This is more significant then I thought and one of the reasons that Whitman is seen as the people’s poet.

Blue Collar Whitman

Blue Collar Whitman

Mr. Black who is another person affiliated with the Whitman project read a poem from Whitman’s Collection. I didn’t get a chance to record his passionate reading but I think one of my classmates capture it with a flipcam.

Chris Black








The next discussion was about setting type. The image below is a keep sake that Greg Trupiano gave the class from his own private collection.

California Job Case

California Job Case







We then dicussed the reasons why Whitman pushed for the creation of Fort Greene. To summarize:

1. He felt the Wallabout Martyrs deserved a proper monument.

2. He used his influence as the editor of the Daily  Eagle to persuade people to support his cause.

3. He lived in the area and thought that people should have a park to enjoy.

Fun Anecdote # 1

I learned about how the terms uppercase and lowercase came about. Uppercase or capital characters are higher and harder to reach then lowercase when people use to set type; makes sense.

Fun Anecdote #2

“Having a copyright doesn’t mean you wrote the book.”

Fun Anecdote #3

Leaves of Grass was banned in Boston in the early 1880s which added to the book’s controversy. Subsequently, the 1880 copy was the best selling edition of Leaves of Grass.


We made our way torward The Tombs which you can see in the video below.

The Tomb is really an incredible piece of history. Some of the old bones from the old memorial wihch just fell apart over time.

Best picture I took in my life… ever

fort_greene 008

A look at the momunent from a distance

Our tour concluded with a walk around the Brooklyn neighborhood and a look at 99 Ryerson street. It’s the last piece of history in New York that Whitman lived in that is still standing today. Students from Pratt currently inhabit the building.








Resources: These are additional links to learn more about Walt Whitman and the park

[1] This is the website of Greg Trupiano about Whitman

[2]Wikipedia is a decent place to start when looking for leads and additional information regarding a topic. It is by no means authoritative.

[3]  Fort Greene Park Conservancy

[4] This website provides a historic context of the park:

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