Court Street and Montague Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Image via Google Street View
Any New Yorker who has braved a winter here has experienced those quintessential gusts of wind that spiral down our broad avenues and streets. A few years ago, The Daily Intelligencer ran a poll asking New Yorkers for the windiest spot in the city, the response varied from Claremont Avenue and 116th Street near Columbia, to the block by Chelsea Market, to the area around Tudor City.
However, in January 2013, The New York Times set out with a team of “self-proclaimed weather enthusiasts” to collect wind data from what they thought was the windiest intersection in all the boroughs: Court Street and Montague Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
At this intersection, the wind forms a monster “vortex” that will eat everything in its path. Robert Sullivan, one of the “weather enthusiasts,” and author of one of our favorite books, Rats, writes of this intersection in his essay, “A Windstorm in Downtown Brooklyn”:
“This vortex is not one of those tiny tornadoes of fallen leaves that scuttle trash on a lonely side street—the kind that pop up all over New York City, suddenly, silently, momentarily, like haiku. This vortex fills the air above it with sheets of newspapers and inflated plastic shopping bags that swim through it like manta rays and Portuguese men-of-war . . . But there is a delicateness to the vortex . . . At night, under the street lamp, flocks of newspapers separate and dance in daring, flowing rhythms reminiscent of Martha Graham” (154).”
The wind at this intersection comes off of the East River, barrels down the wide Cadman Plaza, and ricochets off of Borough Hall to form quite the spectacle. Go experience it for yourself…or not.
For more on downtown Brooklyn, read about Brooklyn Tech’s strategic plan to establish an ecosystem between DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, and Navy yard. Also, check out Bloomberg’s plan for the Brooklyn waterfront.