The Berkeley Carroll School

Project Brooklyn

Project Brooklyn and Beyond is what we call the experiential education opportunities students participate in during the last two days of school each June. These projects, created by our faculty, allow us to end the year with exuberance, adventure and camaraderie as students and teachers learn from and with one another on bikes, boats, and bridges, in museums,theaters, zoos, cemeteries, and animal shelters, or while climbing, jogging, rowing and sampling cuisines.

Project Brooklyn 2016 Course Descriptions

All Hands on Deck

Join the BC crew as we ride the waterways around the city! Participants will kayak all day on the East River and learn from the Clearwater environmental educators about the biodiversity of the Hudson River. The two-day voyage culminates with a high-speed ride on the world-famous “Shark” which traverses the bridges and harbor of New York City, highlighting the Statue of Liberty.

Artisanal New York: Bread, Cheese, and Jam by Hand

What’s better than fresh bread, cheese and jam you’ve made yourself? Nothing! We’ll begin the first day making ricotta cheese and mixing dough for our own bread loaves. We’ll set the dough to rise, and head to the professional bakers at the bakery/restaurant Pain Quotidien for a hands-on baking workshop. Day two, we’ll visit the Greenmarket in Manhattan’s Union Square to choose berries to transform into jam, and return to the kitchen to bake our bread and can our jam. Each participant will return home laden with bread, cheese and jam aplenty -- and some serious kitchen skills. (If we have enough time, we’ll visit food meccas such as Eataly and DiNapoli’s on Grand Street.)

Arts and Recreation

We’ll draw inspiration from the city to create original works of art. Embracing Picasso’s idea that “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” we’ll learn new skills, have fun, and make original paintings and carvings. We’ll spend both afternoons painting original compositions at an art studio in Chelsea. Our mornings will focus on creating prints of iconic NYC images from an original woodcut design -- one of the oldest printmaking techniques -- through the process of cutting away everything except the lines or shapes to be printed. We’ll balance out time in the studio with some urban recreation - including a picnic lunch, watercolor painting on The High Line Park, and pastel sketching of the sights and sounds of the city!

Bach in New York

This project culminates in a concert: we will go to hear a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations at Carnegie Hall on the evening of Wednesday June 15. The Goldberg Variations are not just pretty music: they are full of mathematical patterns and secrets. Two field trips will help us explore their inner nature. In Manhattan, we will discuss Bach with a professional pianist, who will also play for us. Later we will visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and take a close look at some instruments that were played in Bach’s day.

Botanicals: The Art of Plants

In this Project Brooklyn we will dig down deep into the world of plants through the lens of art. We will have our hands in the soil on the first day at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint. We will also learn some plant anatomy and physiology through the art of botanical drawing. On day two we will visit both the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park, looking to flowers and plants as a source of inspiration for our own artmaking. The last afternoon we will spend in the art studios at BC drawing, painting, and printmaking.

The City from a Bicycle

There’s nothing quite like hopping on a bicycle and exploring the city! Participants in this Project Brooklyn will immerse themselves in the world of urban biking -- a fun, practical way for people to stay fit. We’ll spend day one biking Manhattan’s Waterfront Greenway bike trail and day two exploring Central Park on our bikes. While it will be thrilling to feel the wind in our hair and break a sweat, this project is as much about touring as it is about biking: we’ll make plenty of stops to take in the views, visit attractions, and study the urban biking subculture. For safety reasons, we won’t ride on any city streets and we’ll wear helmets while biking. To avoid traveling with bikes on the subway, we’ll rent bikes at our starting point each day.

The Extant Feathered Dinosaurs of New York City

Dinosaurs did not become extinct 65 million years ago; thousands of different species survive even today. They are the birds. Hundreds of species of birds pass through or take up residence in the confines of New York’s urban environment and, like an oasis in a desert, green spaces in our city provide food, water and shelter for them. Join us as we search for birds, the only surviving descendants of the dinosaurs, as we bike around Governor's Island with a birdwatching expert. We’ll explore the new Dinosaurs Among Us Exhibit at the AMNH and finish our adventure with a trip to search for the famous red-tailed hawk, Pale Male, in Central Park, and a visit to the Central Park Zoo Aviary.

Finding Your Inner Chef

Learn how to prepare a full course meal with fresh ingredients from start to finish. This could be your culinary dream come true! A former pastry chef and our school chef will guide students in the BCS kitchen facilities. The first day we will learn some of the basics of great French cooking and get to work in different teams doing prep work for the big meal coming up on day 2. We will also all prepare our “family” lunch that first day--good old-fashioned comfort food. On the last day we will prepare a formal table setting for our sit-down meal with guests from the BCS Business Office. No one goes home hungry!

Haiku at the Zoo

In this Project Brooklyn, students will see a variety of wild animals that you can find in NYC. We will go to the Bronx Zoo on the first day and visit Congo Gorilla Forest, ride the Wild Asia Monorail and take a spin on the Bug Carousel. We’ll sketch and write haiku to note our observations about the animals we observe. On day two, we will explore the edge of the sea at Coney Island and learn about the living and nonliving components of the sandy shore habitat. Later, we will visit the sea lions, sharks and the different species of fish at the New York Aquarium. And we’ll also take advantage of being in Coney Island and enjoy the beach and boardwalk -- and maybe a ride on the Ferris wheel!

Hang Ten!

Do you love living on the East Coast but want to try your hand in a West Coast activity? We will venture out to the Rockaways to ride some waves! It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or pro at surfing; all skill levels are welcome. We only ask that you are comfortable swimming in ocean water and have swimming experience. After a day of surfing in the water, we will head to dry land to participate in a variety of beach games. With beach volleyball as the focus, we will have other activities planned as well. You will be taking your knowledge of fitness and health to a whole new level!

The House that Jeter Built

Are you a sports enthusiast? Ever wonder what it is like in the dugout at Yankee Stadium? Or what the view is like from the court at Barclays Center? Interested in how sports affects the economy of NYC? We will explore the sporting life in NYC with tours of Yankee Stadium and Barclays Center and the Track and Field Hall of Fame at the great Armory in Washington Heights. We will become players ourselves with a healthy dose of fantasy drafting and the chance to play some sports in our own iconic Prospect Park.


This Project Brooklyn will focus on all things comedy: why we need to laugh and how to tap into the funniest parts of ourselves. We will spend time learning unique improv games, watching a just-for-us stand-up comedy show with working comedians, and talking to a writer from a late night television show! Throughout all of this, we’re going to examine the powerful impact humor has on our world (it is, after all, the best medicine). The final activity will be our own comedy show! Students will perform original skits, share satirical writing, and try out their own stand-up sets!

Make a Difference: Community Service

Do you enjoy helping others? Join our Project Brooklyn and make a difference in the lives of others! We will be working in a local soup kitchen on our first day, and in a warehouse that ships essential medical supplies to international communities in crisis on the second. We will also make our own gift packages of toiletries for a homeless shelter. We will take a break from all our hard work to do some roller skating at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park on Tuesday as well.

Mystery in the Metropolis

In Mystery in the Metropolis, we will work collaboratively to solve mysteries through theater. We’ll spend our first day playing theater improvisation games to build ensemble, and start rehearsals for a mystery play. Every student will be cast in a role in our two-day play! Then, we’ll head to Escape the Room in Manhattan, where our group will be put to the test. On day 2, we’ll rehearse our theatrical whodunit, and dig deep into our characters. The day will culminate in a performance of our one-act play! Join us on this mysterious, theatrical adventure!

Old New York/New New York

Before going off for summer break, let’s explore how many great things there are to appreciate about our city that are reminiscent of older times and innovative for the present. On Tuesday we will focus on the older side of New York by going to Brooklyn Bridge Park and then walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. We’ll explore lower Manhattan/City Hall on a historical walking tour that we’ll create ourselves. On Wednesday we will focus on the newer side of New York during a day filled with games and physical activities on Governors Island along with a healthy, picnic style lunch.

A Passion for Fashion

Calling all fashion enthusiasts! Join us on our fabulous exploration of style and fashion to learn what inspires designers to create the way they do. We will visit some of Manhattan’s best fashion designers including Diane von Furstenberg and Public School. Diane von Furstenberg is a fashion icon known for creating the wrap dress, and for designing pieces to empower women. Public School is a hot new brand, owned by two New Yorkers, that recently won the young men’s designer award from the CFDA, and whose style attracts the young and modern. We will also tour the Parsons School of Design, including a visit to their admissions department to examine careers in fashion. We will also discuss and delve into our own sense of fashion. What inspires us to dress the way we do? We will end our quest by creating our own piece inspired by our experiences in the world of fashion.

Peace Builders

Who will fix the world’s problems? You will! This project features an in-depth role play in which you will take on the identity of a citizen of a town in crisis. You will need to navigate and negotiate your way through a thicket of predicaments in order to keep the community from falling apart and shriveling into a violent little village in the middle of nowhere! We’ll explore the complexities that real peacemakers face every day, and we will be visited by a few professional activists and mediators who will help us figure out why some strategies lead to success and others lead to lots of angry shouting. We will also visit the United Nations and meet real diplomats and negotiators hashing out the world’s problems.

Project Brooklyn Strikes Back: Exploring Star Wars

For almost forty years, the Star Wars saga has been an important part of popular culture for people around the world. In this project we’ll explore what makes Star Wars so special. What inspired the original films? How did a group of inexperienced young artists and veteran masters create a film classic? What does the future of Star Wars hold? We’ll analyze the movies, take a trip into the city to see Star Wars costumes, recreate groundbreaking special effects and figure out, once and for all, who shot first.

Soulful Steps!

Come dance the school year away with us as we flamenco and tango! Flamenco originated in the southern regions of Spain, but it's thought to be influenced by many world cultures, including Latin American, Cuban, Spanish Gipsy and Jewish traditions. The Tango began in the working-class port neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it’s thought to be influenced by African music and rhythm, and a bit of Italian music. For lunch, typical foods of Argentina and Spain will be shared by all in authentic Hispanic restaurants, culminating each day with typical “meriendas” (snacks) from those countries. Dancing and eating: what could be better? No need to be great dancers: the focus will be on FUN. Left feet encouraged to join!

Sports and Culture: NYC Street Games

Before Xbox and Playstation, the kids of New York City played street games until well after the sun came down. Without access to fields, courts, and backyards, many New Yorkers had to improvise and create sports of their own. Games like stickball, skully, and handball are as rich a part of NYC history as basketball, baseball, and soccer. Learn the history of these innovative street sports, visit historic sites, and play the street games that your grandparents invented and passed down.

Xocolatl - The History and Making of Chocolate

In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors went to México in search of silver and gold, and returned instead with chocolate! We will learn all about the delicious history of chocolate as we embark on a tasty scavenger hunt through SoHo and enjoy a private tour of the Raaka chocolate factory in Red Hook. We’ll explore everything from the science of cocoa composition to the economics of raw cacao and what it means to be fair trade.


Why are zombies so popular in our culture today? What about zombies just won’t let them die? In this project, we will investigate the popularity of these monsters and then add our own contributions to the ever-growing canon of zombie work. We will meet with writers, makeup artists, and historians before creating our very own Berkeley Carroll zombie masterpieces.

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