That the The Brooklyn Cottage exists is itself a mini-marvel of the 21st century. This salon series is the brainchild of the eternally curious, questioning, meditator, aesthete and bon vivant Jenny Douglas. Founded in the aftermath of her divorce, this “urban farmer of the heart” has husbanded something quite extraordinary into being—proving that yes, idealism alone is a sufficient fertilizer! She hosts her meetings-of-the-minds in her Brooklyn townhouse’s bona fide parlor with its bona fide hearth, which she uses in the way that these gracious spaces were intended: to provide a welcoming setting for people to mutually engage, entertain, educate and delight. This has proven to be the perfect backdrop for the parade of types of all stripes she has invited to share their discoveries—and spark discoveries in others (including yours truly). Like the Shinto Torii gates of Japan (the country of her childhood), Jenny’s evenings are portals from the mundane to that simple, sublime sacredness that occurs when great people of goodwill convene under one roof—offline!
~Victoria C. Rowan, Ideasmyth Creatrix-in-Chief
In January 2015, the Brooklyn Cottage hosted an event to talk about race. We called it, “After Ferguson: Where Do We Go From Here?” The evening’s exploration felt painful and honest, complicated and important.
“White solidarity is more than simply claiming allyship and showing up at marches,” noted Nyle Fort, an activist with Black Lives Matter and one of the evening’s presenters.
“It’s about doing anti-racist organizing work in white communities. Black people don’t need white people to save us. Black people need white people to save themselves.”
Kent Shell and Kim Irwin, two participants at our January gathering, convened a followup event the next month called “The Whiteness Conversation: an Intimate Exploration of White Complicity, Privilege and Culpability in the Context of a Multi-Cultural Reality.” And in March, Park Slope’s Old Stone House invited us to continue the conversation, which we titled “Love Thy Neighbor: Brooklyn in Black & White.”
~~~In the spring of 2012, serendipity prompted Jenny Douglas to integrate her experiences as a TV/radio news producer, her degrees from Sarah Lawrence and Columbia Journalism School, and her globetrotting childhood into her new calling: an urban farmer of the heart. The result was The Brooklyn Cottage.