Investigators have identified the lifeless body of a man pulled from the Marine Park salt marsh on Friday, and they don’t suspect any criminality was involved.
Alex Bender, 45, was pulled from the waters behind the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center, at Avenue U and East 33rd Street, by authorities after being discovered by a passerby. According to the New York Post, Bender’s parents reported their son missing earlier in the day, and sources told the paper he suffered from depression.
Though little details emerged in the hours during and after the recovery, neighbors described the scene and their concerns on GerritsenBeach.net‘s comment section.
Commenters wrote that sirens rang through the neighborhood for more than half an hour and were heard as far away as N&D Pizza on East 29th Street and Avenue U. Another commenter said he witnessed firefighters pulling the body from the water.
When we told you about the Pop-Up Piano at Marine Park’s Salt Marsh Center - on Avenue U and East 33rd Street – we asked readers to send in videos of themselves playing at the piano. We weren’t sure what we were going to get. Would it be 5-year-olds playing Chopsticks? A lovely couple mashing the keys for some fun? Or would we get a virtuoso giving an impromptu performance?
Luckily for us, the first videos that came in were from the latter. Professional pianist Mikhail Pais hit up the hidden venue to play some Chopin and Tchaikovsky to an audience of birds and grass.
Pais is a classical pianist born in Odessa, Ukraine and raised in Sheepshead Bay. A graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School, and attendee of the Boston Conservatory, he currently studies at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. As recently as June 26, Pais played the Davidzon Radio Theater Hall, performing pieces from Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and others. You can find more about Pais at his website.
Of course, you should also check out the videos above and below, to see his stunning performance at the Salt Marsh Center.
Oh, and this doesn’t mean the rest of you would-be pianists are off the hook. Don’t worry if you don’t stack up against Pais – we still want videos of your 5-year-old playing Chopsticks.
You know those cool pianos that have been popping up all over the city? Well, the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center is playing host to one of only two pianos in Southern Brooklyn.
The Pop-Up Piano Project is organized by Sing for Hope, a non-profit organization that mobilizes professional artists in volunteer service programs that benefit schools, hospitals and communities.
Aside from the Salt Marsh – on Avenue U and East 33rd Street – the other Southern Brooklyn piano can be found in Coney Island, on the Riegelmann Boardwalk. But if you want to play these very public pianos in private, we strongly recommend the Salt Marsh. The place was empty when we stopped by for a photo, and the piano was still covered in a tarp (we uncovered it for the photos, and someone came by to play moments later).
Wondering about the moss on the side of the thing? No, it hasn’t been there that long. Here’s the description from the Sing for Hope website:
A tribute to nature and the piano’s wooden origins. The design means to emphasize the wood of the piano and capture the environment through moss and painted leaf, liana, xylem, and phloem cell patterns.
It’s got a name, too: Llana, designed by artist Jenn Wong.
Go check it out, and send us videos of your performance. We’ll post them on the site!
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to restore some of the salt marshes along Gerritsen and Mill creeks in Marine Park, bringing it back to their wildlife-suited environment.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started working on the $8 million project last spring, and are expected to finish by this winter. Most of the work required to create the 67 acres of marshland habitat was completed over the summer. The grading of the grassland is scheduled to be completed by spring.