Either you're red or blue in the political battle. No, we're not talking about the current state of affairs in the United States but the founding of our country in 1776 and the Battle of Brooklyn. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez takes a look, on this anniversary week.
"Say Ahoy, join the revolution or defend the crown."
With that direction, canoers grabbed blue or red life jackets for a mini reenactment of the Revolutionary War's Battle of Brooklyn on the Gowanus Canal. Blue for those seeking independence, red for British loyalists.
This re-enactment is one of several events being held to commemorate the 241st anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn — the first big battle after the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776.
"So we're representing the British tonight, probably not ideal as an American but we'll do our best," said one participant.
"The spirit of revolution, the spirit of change is something that's the embodiment of the Gowanus Dredgers," said Owen Foote, the club's treasurer. "We're here to change. We're here to make a difference."
Foote founded the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club two decades ago to raise awareness about toxins in the canal.
He hopes reconnecting Brooklynites to the waterway will energize them to help clean it up. Some of the canoers in the re-enactment were here for the first time.
"We live nearby," said one. "We always pass it and smell it but we've never been on it."
"I live in Prospect Heights so it's really nice to be down here and actually explore the canal," said another.
The Battle of Brooklyn is considered important because colonial soldiers fought a much larger British contingent long enough to allow George Washington to flee across the East River with his troops — and eventually win the war. Some of that history is preserved at the Old Stone House.
"The Marylanders in particular saved the American Army at the outset of the war here in Brooklyn by keeping an escape route open for their fellow soldiers who were coming down from Prospect Park and they sacrificed their lives to save the American Army," said Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone House"
The commemoration peaks on Sunday with a fully costumed reenactment of the battle at Green Wood Cemetery.
Other events this week include a Battle of Brooklyn walking tour and a rum and cider tasting.
For more information check out the schedule on the Old Stone House website.