Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sid's Hardware Store Closes In Downtown Brooklyn

After 78 years in Downtown Brooklyn, Sid's Hardware store at 345 Jay Street (in the National Grid building) has closed up shop. They will be moving to 435 Hamilton Ave. where they can cater more to contractors.

Originally located on Myrtle Ave., Sid's was the first retailer to move to MetroTech in 1991. The only store that carried lumber and a full array of paints, plumbing supplies, lighting and professional building equipment in the Downtown area, their closing is a loss.

Photos by MK Metz

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The Queen of Tazza, Brooklyn Heights

Artwork drawn on the foggy window of Tazza coffee shop on Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Nets Set to Rent Luxury Suites at Barclays Center in Brooklyn

The Nets are set to launch the sale of 104 luxury suites at the future Barclays Center next month, according to The Real Deal.

It's not yet clear what the suits would go for. At Madison Square Garden you can rent a private hospitality suite for the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament for roughly $12,000 for a full day (4 games) or $50,000 for a full tournament (that's 8 sessions =15 games). Food and drinks are not included. But MSG is scheduled for a renovation over the next couple of years, and the new suite pricing is anybody's guess.

Luxury suites at the new Yankee Stadium run from $600,000 to $850,000 a season. Yankee Stadium's suites include access to the private lounge, personal concierge service, a private entrance, elevator and concourse, Wi-Fi and Sony HDTVs and more.

In response to the bad economy, according to the Wall Street Journal, teams are "offering financing for season tickets, shortening contract commitments on luxury suites, and in the case of the Yankees, re-designating seven unsold suites as 'party suites,' sold on a game-by-game basis."

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

NYC Warns: Avoid Parks, Trees

After a man was killed by a snow-laden falling tree branch in Central Park earlier today,  the city's Parks Dept. advised pedestrians to avoid walking under trees and through parks.

Branches are down across the city, according to NY1.

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Could Be a Foot of Snow in Brooklyn by the End of Today (Thursday, Feb. 25)

Remember how you laughed at those folks loading up at the supermarket yesterday?

According to the National Weather Service, parts of Brooklyn could get up to a foot of snow and Manhattan could get 13 or 14 inches today. The snow will start at rush hour and accumulate all day.

The westernmost parts of Brooklyn are expecting from 5 - 9 inches of the white stuff. Moving easterly towards Brooklyn Heights, we're looking at anywhere from 6 - 12 inches. Midtown Manhattan could get from 6 - 14 inches.

Further west, to East Orange, NJ, expect from 7 - 15 inches of snow.

Another 1 - 3 inches may arrive on Friday.

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Rather Sharp Looking New Information Booth In Downtown Brooklyn

Remember the coffee/donut kiosk next to the subway entrance on Jay Street behind the crummy old MTA building? On Feb. 9 it was re-opened as the new Downtown Brooklyn Information Center.

It's right across the street from the TKTS booth, and we must say it's pretty attractive. Visitors can get maps, guides, information and assistance from local college students ("ambassadors") manning the booth. 

More information here.
Photo by MK Metz

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CB1 Nixes Domino, BP Markowitz Sued, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Community Board 1 Land Use Committee voted against the $1.2-billion redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar factory on Tuesday night.  Brooklyn Paper

- Borough President Marty Markowitz’s former speechwriter is suing him for discrimination. Brooklyn Eagle

- The Brooklynian boards are buzzing about this new restaurant behind Loki Lounge.Brownstoner

- Gov. David Paterson has suspended a close aide and is asking for an investigation after the NY Times  published a report linking the aide to a claim of domestic violence. Huff Post

-  Nearly 15 percent of NYC job-seekers are willing to leave the city.  Crain's NY Business

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Update at Heights Association's 100th Annual Meeting

Folks were pretty psyched to hear Brooklyn Bridge Park details from its architect, Michael van Valkenburgh Tuesday night at the Brooklyn Height's Association's 100th Annual Meeting. The BHA has helped "move the park forward" for about 20 years.

For example, 1,000 benches are being constructed from the remains of the old Cold Storage Warehouse on Pier 1 that is now slowly being dismantled.

Another interesting factoid: all the trees that will be planted – including many that already have been -- are raised to prevent salt-water damage to their root systems in case of storms or climate change.

For more details see the Brooklyn Eagle and also the Brooklyn Heights Blog

Photo by MK Metz

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Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park Closed for Renovations, Including Problematic Placement of Jane's Carousel

Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park looks so beautiful in the snow, but it has been closed since early January and will remain closed until Spring 2011.

According to Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, improvements include:
• Jane’s Carousel, a gift of Jane and David Walentas. (Plans call for it to be placed in a glass pavilion in front of the Tobacco Warehouse, but several civic groups feel it belongs in another part of the park. See NY Post.)
• Stormwater retention tanks to irrigate the park’s natural features
• Park furnishings including railings, benches, picnic tables and bike racks
• Lighting so that the park will be open after dark for the first time since its opening in 1979
• Regrading the park to improve drainage
The adjacent city park will remain open during the renovation. Eventually this will all be part of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cindy Jasmin Talks, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Cindy Jasmin, a “person of interest” in the investigation of the hit-and-run that left Brooklyn resident Erinn Phelan gravely injured, has met with New York City detectives. Brooklyn Eagle 

- Pratt Station Post Office is closing temporarily. Councilmember Tish James has more details here

- Whole Foods has begun cleaning its toxic site along the Gowanus Canal. But that doesn't mean they'll build there. Brooklyn Paper

- This Saturday, February 27th you can join the second annual (Nearly) "Naked” Polar Bear Cruise to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society. Circle Line

- Lefferts Garden Charter School having a bumpy ride. Hawthorne Street 

- Energy company KeySpan Corp. (once known as Brooklyn Union Gas, now National Grid) has agreed to pay $12 million to settle allegations that it broke antitrust laws that likely led to higher electricity prices in NYC.  Crain's NY

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Leaving Brooklyn Heights

After 100 years, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is moving its headquarters out of Brooklyn Heights and up to Warwick, N.Y.

“We have submitted a proposal to the Town of Warwick to build a complex there that we’re calling the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Richard Devine told the Brooklyn Eagle Tuesday. “We have started the land use process there.”

The current world headquarters and administrative offices at 25 and 30 Columbia Heights, "which are massive buildings — they are 13 and 10 stories, respectively, and 304,650 and 402,300 square feet — are still occupied and the business of the organization goes on," the Eagle reports.

All the details can be found here

Photo by MK Metz
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Dead Naked Bodies, Million-Dollar Fraud, Miss Brooklyn 2010, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- It started with two naked bodies in a blood-soaked bed in Marine Park. It continued with a million-dollar fraud ring, bizarre wills, crooked law firms and a "curse" put on a partner's gun . . .  Brooklyn Eagle

- All NYC parades to be cut 25 percent and limited to five hours to save $$$ -- including the eight-hour East Indian Day parade. NY Daily News 

- Like fresh vegetables? The Urban Meadow team is setting up a CSA (community supported agriculture program) in the Columbia Street District.  The Word On Columbia Street 

- DUMBO/ Vinegar Hill is holding a meeting about their CSA, too.  Dumbo, NYC  

- Girls, there are only two days left to apply to become 2010’s Miss Brooklyn! The winner will be crowned on March 28 at Brooklyn College. Brokelyn

Someone got shot at Classon Bet Dekalb and Lafayette. Clinton Hill Blog

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Homeless On Jay Street

No matter the weather, a homeless lady sleeps on the same spot every night and into the morning on the busy sidewalk in front of the old MTA building on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

A call to 3-1-1 revealed that homeless services has visited her many times -- in fact knew her by name. She just doesn't want to be anywhere other than where she is.

Photo by MK Metz

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MTA to Lay Off 1,000+ Employees

New York City's MTA has decided to lay off  450 station agents and more than 600 administrative workers to save about $50 million, according to the NY Times and  the Daily News

Further cuts are expected this summer to the city's bus lines, and student MetroCards are being eliminated.

Access-A-Ride service for the frail and handicapped is also being cut. Instead of picking up the disabled at their doors, the service plans to cart some of them them to the nearest bus stop or subway entrance and drop them off. A prepaid taxi card system is also being proposed. The MTA also plans to "Apply more rigorous determination procedures for ADA eligibility."

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Brooklyn Soccer Players Come Equipped with Snow Shovels

The dedicated soccer players that use the synthetic field at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn Heights got sick of running around (in shorts) in the snow, so they got out the shovels and cleared away a nice rectangular plot.

Later other teams latched onto the idea and started clearing away an area on the south end of the field -- not as completely, but we guess a little snow is nothing to a serious soccer man.

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Young Woman With Dreams Dead on Flatbush Ave., and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brown University graduate Erinn Phelan, 22, a coordinator for Mayor Bloomberg's NYC Civic Corps initiative, was left brain dead in a hit-and-run accident in Prospect Heights. Village Voice

- Vice President Joe Biden and his wife pop into the River Cafe for dinner.  BHB

- The Kosciuszko Bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Queens, is getting redesigned.  Gothamist

- 108-year-old men's club in Bay Ridge finally admits women.. Brooklyn Eagle

- 738 educators collect city pensions of more than $100,000 -- and three make more than $200,000, according to the NY Post.

- Hunting for the rare Western Grebe in the waters off Coney Island. The City Birder 

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Something Odd Floating Over Brooklyn

 This video posted on YouTube by a person named "tderamus" is described as "UFO Brooklyn Jan 26th" and "Something odd floating in the skies over Bushwick."

According to Paranormal Daily News, "Some people in Brooklyn are convinced aliens are flying above the Big Apple. We have two videos that were posted on YouTube Monday showing two unknown objects floating in the sky. The person who posted the video writes, “Spotted from my backyard in Williamsburg. I watched for about 40 min. so I could tell they were moving but very slowly. They sort of looked like stars but were hanging too low and the blue one was a bit too sparkly.”

In related news, the folks over at The Disclosure Project have several demands:

  • That President Obama investigate the matter, gain proper control over these operations, end for once and forever the secrecy surrounding the UFO subject, and work with other nations to quickly coordinate an official Disclosure;
  • That President Obama stand-down any covert offensive targeting of ET spacecraft;
  • That President Obama, working with other leaders around the world, initiate open, peaceful Contact with these Extraterrestrial Civilizations;
  • That President Obama move swiftly to release the Earth-saving new energy technologies contained within these illegal covert Majestic programs so that we may be freed from the death grip that oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy have on the planet;
  • That the Congress hold open, secrecy-free hearings on these matters immediately.
This sounds like something that Republicans, Democrats and Tea-Party members call get behind.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Are Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges Farther Apart in Manhattan?

Recently a young person asked us: "Why are the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges so close together in Brooklyn but so far apart in Manhattan?"

Looking at the overhead view of the two bridges using Google Maps, we were struck by the 'V' shape they form, with the wide part of the V in Manhattan. We're sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation. Anyone?

Photo by MK Metz

Brooklyn Inventgenuity, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The dean of a Hebrew day school in Brooklyn was arrested Thursday in an alleged scheme to extort $4 million. WSJ

- A thank you note to an "awesome" Good Samaritan. Clinton Hill Blog

- A 40-year-old Park Slope woman has gone missing. Brooklyn Paper 

- Choice Market cafe and takeout at the J Condo officially opened for business Thursday. Brooklyn Eagle

- Car windows keep getting smashed near Fulton Park. Bed Stuy Blog 

- Toll Brothers to build in DUMBO?  Brooklyn Heights Blog
- The Invisible Dog will be the site of the first Brooklyn Inventgenuity Festival for kids. NY Times

- Parents, be careful what face paint you use on your child.  ACGIB

- The Vancouver Olympics is stocked with 100,000 condoms.  Huff Post  

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brooklyn Mutt Show: Real Dogs Are Not Poofy

Those poofy, shaky little full breeds get all the attention in Manhattan, but in Brooklyn we're nuts about mutts.

Now mutts will have their weekend in the spotlight at the Brooklyn Lyceum Mutt Show, Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14, 11am - 7pm

Say it loud, say it proud: "My dog is of dubious bloodlines!" Join the hairy masses as they celebrate and compete for prizes and treats, kisses and scratches. Enter your dog in as many classes as you like.

Guest judges will be overseeing categories of all kinds, like 'sloppiest kisser', 'looks most like your owner', 'best beard', 'best lap dog over 70lbs', 'best costume' and more. Browse through doggie retail goods for sale, get your face painted, grab lunch at the Lyceum Cafe, and support participating non-profit animal organizations. A percentage of all proceeds will go directly to benefit BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition), a no-kill shelter located in Williamsburg. Many other activities to be confirmed.

It's only $10 per class entered, and a very low ticket price to come and cheer them on. Register yer mutt in advance. (Activities/retail space admission is free.)

A few highlights: Comic book artist and famed toy designer Ami Bogin will be judging the t-shirt contest and signing her limited edition posters. BARC will be showing a video introducing people to their shelter and its important mission.

(Just joking about poofy dogs, btw. Here's a link to the Westminster Dog Show event that just took place at MS Garden.) 

Top photo of Pepe from BARC

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Gowanus Whole Foods Brownfield Cleanup Meeting (Should Clear Things Up . . .)

CB6 sends us this:

On Feb 22, Community Board 6's  Pub Safety/Environmental Protection/Permits/Licenses Committee is hosting a presentation and discussion with representatives of Whole Foods on the resumption of environmental remediation activities at the proposed Whole Foods site.

[Or rather, the site that was once the proposed Whole Foods site, as apparently Whole Foods is planning to clean the site but not build upon the site at the present time. Wait -- they are planning to develop the site. No -- they're not planning to develop the site. Hey -- they don't have a clue.]

That site is 210-230 3rd Street and 370-384 3rd Avenue (southeast corner 3rd Street/3rd Avenue) in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

The event will include a presentation and consideration of a letter of support for an application for a Gowanus Watershed Initiative grant that proposes various Combined Sewer Overflow reduction measures for the Gowanus Canal.

This should clear things up!

Details: PS 32 Auditorium, 317 Hoyt Street (between Union & President Sts), Brooklyn NY 11231, 6:30 p.m.

Pardon Me for Asking  and also here
Brownfield Cleanup Program  NYS
NY Daily News

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brooklyn Heights Barber Shop Featured In Play, Doesn't Like It

The video clip above is a reading from "The Cutting Den," a "modern day flood story" set in a well-known Brooklyn Heights barbershop/bookie parlor during the first week of the Major League baseball season. 

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, "The Cutting Den" written by playwright Ron Scott Stevens is a fictionalized version of the 85-year-old Cutting Den in the St. George arcade -- and the boss at the actual Cutting Den is disappointed by the play. (Probably something about the mob rub out rubbed him the wrong way.)

But he suggests that there is plenty of material for a future play, if anyone cares to tackle it: “A play about Truman Capote coming here, Norman Mailer, and Alan Alda… Arthur Miller,” he says.

Runs through Feb. 21.

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'Save Coney Island' Likes Coney Plan Announced by City

Yesterday Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and officials unveiled plans for a new amusement park in Coney Island scheduled to open by Memorial Day.

Central Amusement International will lease three City-owned parcels (6.2 acres) for ten years and invest nearly $30 million to build and operate the parks, with rides from Italy-based ride designer and manufacturer, Zamperla.

McBrooklyn received a statement Tuesday from activist group Save Coney Island that praised Zamperla USA for its "exciting vision."

“We congratulate the City for bringing this world-class amusement operator to Coney Island,” said Save Coney Island spokesman Juan Rivero. “We hope the City will build on this success by purchasing additional land to create space for more amusement operators to participate in Coney Island's rebirth.”

This summer, CAI will open “Luna Park at Coney Island,” which will feature 19 rides, and by summer 2011, the “Scream Zone at Coney Island” will provide additional attractions, including two custom roller coasters, a human slingshot ride, and go-karts.

“This is a fantastic first step” Rivero said. “We hope that this exciting vision will challenge the City and everyone to dream bigger dreams of a larger and even more spectacular Coney Island amusement district.”

Photo 1, rendering of Luna Park entrance supplied by NYCEDC.
Photo 2: BP Markowitz, surrounded by (left to right): Mayor Michael Bloomberg, State Senator Diane Savino, Council Member Domenic Recchia and Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Photo by Mark Zustovich

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowflowers, Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn

We went to Cadman Plaza Park last night to admire the giant snow boulders. But then we discovered something else -- someone had stuck artificial flowers in the snow here and there throughout the park.
They were lovely.


 Photos by MK Metz

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Creepy Mortuary Workers and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Spending just $15 a week on food frees you up for a lot of drinking in bars at night.  Brokelyn

- Creepy Brooklyn and Staten Island mortuary workers play with body parts, pose with severed head. NY Post 

- Brooklyn couple sues Maclaren stroller company over toddler's finger amputation. Gothamist

- 'A Million Trees' in the city -- how's the planting going?  Brooklyn Eagle

- A teenager’s leg was severed by a train while he was in a Brooklyn subway tunnel on Saturday night, planning to paint graffiti.  NY Times

- A Brooklyn dog is held for ransom.  My Fox NY  

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Monday, February 15, 2010

'Stray Dog' Endures, at Brooklyn's MetroTech

Over the years, Tony Matelli's "Stray Dog," a life-size resin sculpture of a lost seeing-eye dog at MetroTech, has endured rain, heat, and snow.

Good dog.

For more photos of "Stray Dog" in all seasons, see:
- Man's Best Friend
- It's Not Always What It Seems
- Kid's Best Friend, at MetroTech

Photo copyright MK Metz

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Holy Mutha Church! Theology on Tap On Smith Street, Brooklyn

For ye of little faith . . .
We just received word of a series of events call "Theology on Tap" from the Brooklyn Oratory of St. Phillip Neri: Beer on tap, free appetizers and conversation -- For spiritual seekers, those of little faith and big questions, and Catholics 21+

- Feb. 22: Holy Mutha Church! What everyone needs to know. Father Joel Warden, C.O., The Oratory Church of Saint Boniface

- March 8: Shaken not Stirred, Religion and Politics. Mollie Wilson O’Reilly, Associate Editor, Commonweal Magazine

- March 22: Catholics and Healthcare, WTF?! (What’s the Focus?) Charles C. Camosy, Assistant Theology Professor, Fordham University

All events start at 7pm at Ceol’s, 191 Smith Street, Brooklyn (two blocks from Bergen Street stop on the F train)

Theology on Tap is a great opportunity to meet and explore the questions of God, faith and ethical living. Every Theology on Tap offers a chance to get your fill of an engaging topic and fellowship and a fun local establishment. Sponsored by the Brooklyn Oratory of St. Phillip Neri. For information contact Father Anthony at

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Remembering the Snow-Lined Trees of Yesterday

 Every branch had a white lining, just the other day.

Photo by MK Metz
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'My he'ART Project' Valentine's Day Art Show

Nicole Keating's "My he'ART Project" Valentine's Day Art Show is taking place at Roots Cafe in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Photographs of unaltered hearts taken from everyday objects found around the globe -- like Keating's "Beached," shown above -- will be showcasing for the month of February.

The project's web site ( launched yesterday. New hearts are updated daily and you can share your own. Hearts voted up with the 'most love' will automatically be placed at the top of the site.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Snowmen of Brooklyn Heights

Brooklynites of all ages, shapes and sizes couldn't resist making snowmen during the Big One. Snowfolks were popping up on sidewalks and benches, in parks and on the Promenade. Here are just a few out of the many we encountered during a walk around Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. (The one above is standing near Montague Terrace.)

Tourists were thrilled with this giant snowman named Steve on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Everybody wanted to have their picture taken with him.

These are more like snowbumps than snowmen, but they have a certain something. Plus there's two of them.

 These snowthings are sort of free form, but quite popular with dogs.

This life-sized snowman sitting on a bench on the Promenade was quite impressive. Many people sat next to it having their picture taken. It reminded us of a George Segal sculpture.

These lumpy snowmen were on the dock next to Bargemusic. One is wearing a traffic cone on its head.

This is a parent and child duo. The parent seems tired.

Here's a work-in-progress on the Promenade. It has all the makings of a winner.

Photos by MK Metz
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

NYC Schools Open Thursday

Snow or no snow, the city has announced that all New York City public schools will be open tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 11. After school programs also will operate on a normal schedule.

Most private and parochial schools follow the city's lead on this. Sorry, kids. Back to school!

Photo by Lepiaf.Geo, Creative Commons license

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Snow Blankets Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights

Very little traffic on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights right now as the snowstorm is slamming the city.

 While residents huddle inside, messengers deliver take out food. Don't forget to tip!

Photos by MK Metz
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Snow Will Crank Up This Afternoon -- Brooklyn

If the snow doesn't seem all that impressive this morning, just you wait. It's the afternoon rush hour that's going to be the big mess, forecasters say. Gusts to 45 mph and 10 inches or more of snow and ice are predicted. The snow will really pile up between noon and 5 p.m., according to the latest predictions.

All New York City public schools and most private schools are closed, as are all Brooklyn Catholic elementary and academic schools. (Catholic high schools make their own decisions.) Alternate-side parking rules have been suspended. 

Above photo taken on Adams St. during a storm in Feb. 2008 by MK Metz

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Toren On Edge, Brooklyn

The Toren tower from the narrow end at Flatbush Ave. Extension between Myrtle and Prince St. (In this photo, Flatbush is off to the left and Prince goes to the right.)

Photo by MK Metz
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kiss Goodbye to New York City's Clean Water Supply?

A new energy plan drafted by Gov. David Paterson would allow drilling for natural gas near the city’s water supply -- one of the nation's cleanest --  and Community Board 10 member Alan Bortnick, among others, is raising the alarm.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, oil companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corporation are signing leases with landowners to extract the gas using disastrous techniques. Apparently the state will be making money off this plan -- and it could be one of the most shortsighted moves the state has ever come up with.

More here.

Photo by Woodleywonderworks, Creative Commons license
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New Theaters in BAM, a Stolen Fiberglass Cow, and More Brooklyn Briefs

Choice Market is about to open "an ambitious eatery in the bottom of the J Condo in Dumbo." Are those bubbles coming out of the ceiling?  Brownstoner

- It seems that robbers have been staking out the Macy’s shoe department.  BHB 

- Several new theaters will join BAM in Fort Greene, and construction will start this year.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- You can still find sleds in Park Slope.  Brokelyn

- A Brooklyn boutique is looking for plus-size models for its 2010 ad campaign. Women must be at least a size 18. NBCNewYork

- Someone, possibly a terrorist, has stolen a Brooklyn school's fiberglass cow. NY Post  via NY Mag

- After a decade of negotiation, the city of New York has backed off an offer it made to purchase a venerable Dutch farmhouse in Brooklyn. NY Post  via Curbed

- Airport security's Big Lie: A celeb caught airport employees at Heathrow Airport passing around printouts of his naked body, as revealed by full-body security scans. NY Magazine 

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'Best Wings In Brooklyn' Competition Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010

Did you ever yearn for really great wings? The this is for you:

Brooklyn Based and 3V PR and Management present the first annual “The Best Wings in Brooklyn” competition hosted by Red Star Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

17 of the best bars and culinary establishments from all over the borough are set to cook-off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 13.

Brooklyn journalists and culinary editors Nick D'Arienzo of the Brooklyn Star-Queens Ledger Newspaper Group, Gersh Kuntzman, Editor, The Brooklyn Paper and Annaliese Griffin, Senior Editor, Brooklyn Based will put their expert taste buds to the test and select the Best Wing in Brooklyn. The community has a say, too.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will hand out awards for the Best Wing in Brooklyn, 2 Best Wing Runners-up, and a People’s Choice Award.

And what’s a Brooklyn wing competition without the best beer in Brooklyn? Brooklyn Brewery will be featuring 6 of their finest beers on tap, including Brooklyn Lager, Winter Ale, East India Pale Ale, and their Brewmaster Reserves, Blast, Back Breaker and Cookie Jar Porter, a new addition to the Brewmaster roster.

Free wings; no cover.

Best Wings in Brooklyn Competition Participants:

Atomic Wings, Carroll Gardens
Bean Post Pub, Bay Ridge
Buffalo Cantina, Williamsburg
Canteena, Bay Ridge
Jake's Bar-B-Que, Carroll Gardens
Kettle Black Bar and Restaurant, Bay Ridge
Magnolia Restaurant and Bar, Park Slope
Red Star, Greenpoint
Rocky Sullivan's, Red Hook
SarahJames, Bedford Stuyvesant
Spike Hill, Williamsburg
Sugarcane, Park Slope
Super Wings NY, Crown Heights
Teddy's Bar and Grill, Williamsburg
Wheeler's, Sheepshead Bay
Wing Wagon, Flatbush
Yellow Hook Grille, Bay Ridge

Photo by Rick, Creative Commons license
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Meeting About the Columbia Street Salt Pile, Thurs., Feb. 11

A Community Meeting with American Stevedoring Inc. (ASI) and Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (CoWNA) to discuss community concerns regarding the Salt Pile on the Columbia Street Pier (Brooklyn) will take place Thursday, February 11th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, Community Room
177 Columbia Street (at Degraw Street), 5th Floor

Sponsored by:
*Councilmember Brad Lander
*State Senator Daniel Squadron
*Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
*Councilmember Stephen Levin

For more information, please contact Michael Curtin in Councilmember Lander’s office, (718) 499-1090 or (Posted: February 08, 2010)

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Fun With Google Street View in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Here's a fun thing to do on Google Maps' Street View when you are exploring Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn.

 Start at the intersection of John and Gold Street in Vinegar Hill. Turn so your back is against the fence. You should see something that looks like the above scene.

 Head up Gold Street towards the white car.

 Notice the obstruction. Maybe you can drive around it. But what about that fence in the back, blocking off the street? How will you get through that? Keep driving . . . fast!

BAM! You drove right through it! And look, you made it through the fence, too!

To complete your fun trip, turn around and go back through the fence and around the obstruction.
Notice something funny?

Photos courtesy of Google
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Valentine's Day 2010 In Brooklyn -- Updated

In Brooklyn, and in love! Here are some romantic spots to enjoy with your sweetheart this Valentine's Day. Better make reservations as some of these fill up fast.

- BAM's Valentine's Day dinner and movie: Enjoy a three-course dinner and a romantic movie, "It Happened One Night" with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert at BAM Rose Cinema. $64 each. (718) 636-4100, buy tickets online.

- Zenkichi: In Williamsburg, Tokyo-style small plates served in semi-private little booths with buttons to call your waiter. The 8-course special Valentine's menu is $75 per diner, but other choices are less. (Note the directions online, as the restaurant is hard to find.) 718-388-8985

- The River Cafe: For big spenders, a floating first-class restaurant on a barge under the Brooklyn Bridge with beautiful views. Cost: about $100 a person, plus drinks. Call 718-522-5200 for reservations.

- White Castle: For small spenders -- According to the NY Post, the fast food chain is offering candlelit Valentine's Day dinners for two that include special menus, tableside service and themed decorations at many stores across the country. See the Post story for Brooklyn locations.

- Henry's End: Always fabulous, this Brooklyn Heights star is holding its Wild Game Festival this month, so you could treat your sweet to some surprising dishes like BBQ rattlesnake salad, ragout of wild boar or kangaroo (regular menu also available). Henry St. 718-834-1776

- Convivium Osteria: Romantic, rustic Italian restaurant in Park Slope on 5th Ave. A special Valentine's menu, three courses with extensive choices. Call Michelle for details. 718 450 2428

- Giando On The Water: Romantic Italian restaurant on the waterfront near the Williamsburg Bridge with a great view of the Manhattan skyline. You can order from the Prix Fixe menu for $39.95.  718-387-7000

Palo Santo: Eclectic Latin cuisine, South American wines. Union Street in Park Slope. 718-636-6311

- Stone Home Wine Bar and Restaurant: On Lafayette in Fort Greene, this romantic retreat was voted the "top wine bar in NYC" (Zagat's). Special Valentine's menu: four courses, $65 per person. 718.624.9443

- The Red Hook Lobster Pound presents: Alt.Brooklyn.Valentine. They've teamed up with The Meat Hook, Liddabit Sweets, Crop to Cup Coffee, Rick's Picks and Dry Dock Wine and Spirits to offer the Best of Brooklyn Valentine for you do-it-yourselfers, including the lobsters, the lobster pot, the wine, etc. 

- Heart of Brooklyn: Special Valentine's events will be taking place at the leading cultural institutions located near Grand Army Plaza in central Brooklyn through Sunday, February 14. Nearby, top restaurants, shops and bars will help to set a romantic mood and some are also offering a "Brooklyn Bonus" as part of February's ShopBrooklyn event. More details at PMFA blog.
- Brooklyn Indie Market + The {NewNew} are joining forces to present “A Valentine Fling: A day of fun, flirting, and handmade shopping on Smith Street. The NewNew

- Oasis Singles Valentine's Dinner: Join hundreds of singles of all ages in Bay Ridge for a hot Italian buffet dinner and dessert with the Claypoet band. (Sat, Feb. 13) $15 at the door.

- How about an Anti-Valentine's Day Dinner Class at the Brooklyn Kitchen? No romance, lots of great food and you'll learn some mighty fine cooking tricks. Brooklyn Kitchen  

- More ideas, including a special Valentine's Day concert at Bargemusic and "The Rejection Show" at the Bell House at

We are UPDATING this list as they come in. Here are some more:

- Town Square’s Valentine’s Day family dance party is Sunday, February 14th (3-5 pm) at the Williamsburg Movement & Arts Center (347 Grand Street, between Havemeyer & Marcy). Dance with your little loved ones, friends and neighbors, make one-of-a-kind corsages and valentine cards, and enjoy yummy things to eat. You can buy tickets at WMAAC, the Greenpoint Toy Center, the Gym Park and at the door.

- Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar: A special Valentine's dinner featuring some of the Wine Bar's special dishes, such as Firecracker Shrimp and Maple Glazed Duck Breast. Three courses plus wine or cocktail for $55 per person. Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, Feb. 14; RSVP 718.855.5595

Photo by Howieluvzus, Creative Commons license

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guy Drives Wrong Way Down Cadman Plaza West, Fights Cops -- Brooklyn Heights

Two hours ago officers from the 84th Precinct probably saved somebody's life.

About 10:15 p.m. Saturday night the dark car barely discernible in the middle of the photo above was pulled over by police on Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights, heading down the wrong side of the street --  right into traffic heading north.

You can see his headlights are pointing south, but he's in the northbound lane.

This took place just a half a block south of the Brooklyn Bridge exit onto Cadman Plaza West. He was pulled over slightly north of 200 Cadman Plaza West, a little north of the War Memorial building in Cadman Park.

Other police cars soon showed up, which was a good thing because the guy, who was eventually handcuffed, put up a fight as the police tried to guide him into the back of one of the squad cars. It took a couple of cops to push him in, aided by other cops who went into the back seat from the other side of the car. Couldn't see how old the guy was; he appeared to be bald from our vantage point.

How many times have you read about some idiot who kills a whole family by driving down the wrong side of the road? Kudos to the fast-thinking 84th Precinct officers who averted a tragedy in Brooklyn Heights Saturday night.

Photo by MK Metz
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Radar: Snow Storm About to Hit Brooklyn, 12:51 a.m. Saturday Morning

Here's an impressive Weather Underground radar map showing Saturday's snow storm minutes away from hitting Brooklyn. The image was captured at 12:51 a.m. Saturday morning.

According to NY1, three to six inches are expected in Brooklyn.

The National Weather Service issued this alert for Brooklyn:

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Friday, February 5, 2010

African American Celebration Tonight (Feb. 5) Downtown Brooklyn

All are invited to Brooklyn Friends School (BFS) at 375 Pearl St. in Downtown Brooklyn (around the corner from the Marriott) tonight, Friday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. to share in the 15th annual African American Celebration. This year’s theme is “Legacy: Celebrating the Strength of Our Families.”

A hearty family dinner will be followed by a program of music and dance featuring the Upper School Dance Team and talented BFS parent musicians Andrew Lamb and Masauko Chipembere.

All proceeds from the African American Celebration on Feb. 5 will be added to the BFS schoolwide donation to Doctors without Borders and Haitian relief. Full information here.

Art by Ojo

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Downtown Brooklyn Post Office / Courthouse STILL Being Renovated

Construction of the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn started in 1885 and seemingly has continued to this day.

The latest major renovation of the post office was completed in 2003 and renovation of the adjoining Conrad B. Duberstein U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse was finished in the summer of 2005, at a total cost of $200 million. It's a beautiful renovation, btw. You can read about it here. (Interesting factoid: Two construction officials pleaded guilty in 2003 to taking bribes from a contractor working on the renovation job.)

The scaffolding never disappeared from the front of the courthouse / post office, however, because apparently pieces of the façade keep falling off. Lately, the entire building has been covered in scaffolding sheathed with a white shroud.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the present work is a $100-million façade and roof repair job, expected to be completed in 2013. Design work on “greening” the building ($58 million) is also underway and expected to be completed in 2012.

Are we done yet? Almost -- although about a month ago the GSA awarded a tiny little $99,000 contract to Bolyard Peck McDonough to replce older components with more energy-efficient components.

Photo by MK Metz
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Case You Missed BP Marty Markowitz' State of the Borough Speech

Here's the two-minute summary of yesterday's State of the Borough, as sent to us by the office of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz:

On February 3, BP Markowitz was joined by Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City Comptroller John Liu, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and more than a thousand guests and honorees for the 2010 State of the Borough Address at the Park Slope Armory. Mayor Bloomberg administered the oath of office for BP Markowitz’s third term.

Among the major initiatives and updates outlined by BP Markowitz:

Loew’s Kings Theater. The announcement of an agreement between the City and Arts Center Enterprises—the company behind the Boston Opera House, the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., and the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore—who will work to restore and manage this historic jewel in Flatbush.

Bedford-Atlantic and Sumner armories. The borough president will allocate $1 million in capital funds for each armory, to begin the redevelopment of the historic structures into vibrant community centers mirroring the successful transformation of the Park Slope Armory.

Brooklyn Book Festival grows! This year, the Brooklyn Book Festival Weekend (September 11 and 12) will be launched, with special Saturday readings, parties and events followed by the main programming on Sunday.

Brooklyn’s new poet laureate. After an extensive search by an advisory committee formed by BP Markowitz, Tina Chang of Park Slope has been appointed as Brooklyn’s next poet laureate, succeeding the late Ken Siegelman. Chang is the author of Half-Lit Houses and co-editor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond.

4th Avenue streetscape. The borough president envisions a long overdue transformation of 4th Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean into a magnificent “Brooklyn Boulevard.” The borough president’s office is teaming up with New York University urban planning graduate students to develop a community-based plan for an initial scope on the reconstruction.

Borough President’s Office. BP Markowitz called for charter changes that would beef up the jobs of borough presidents, public advocate and community boards. He cited his major role in the land use process that resulted in more affordable housing and achievements such as the neighborhood downzoning in Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, North Flatbush, Greenpoint-Williamsburg and Canarsie this past year.

Other highlights of 2009 included the successful battle to provide affordable housing in the Coney Island Plan; the creation of jobs by supporting projects such as the redevelopment of Coney Island; facilitating the merger of SUNY Downstate and Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to save LICH maternity and pediatric services; providing capital money for the playground on pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park; successfully advocating for a gifted and talented school in Bensonhurst; and expanding cultural and tourism initiatives such as the Brooklyn Book Festival, Shop Brooklyn, Dine in Brooklyn and the smART Gallery Hop.

The theme of this year’s State of the Borough Address was “Brooklyn Counts”—the upcoming 2010 Federal Census and the Complete Count Committee convened by the borough president’s office to promote the Census in traditionally undercounted communities.

The State of the Borough Address also celebrated community leaders and Brooklyn “characters,” and paid tribute to Brooklynites lost in 2009, including Rev. Timothy Wright, Brooklyn’s “Godfather of Gospel”; Anna Gonzalez, longtime chair of Community Board 4; Frank Mickens, beloved principal of Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant; Rosemarie O’Keefe of Bay Ridge, former commissioner of the mayor’s community assistance unit; Jackie Randazzo Page, longtime owner of Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay; Louis Valentino, Sr., community activist; Louvinia Pointer of Great Day Chorale; Suzanne Fiol of Issue Project Room; Pulitzer Prize-winning teacher and author Frank McCourt; New York Daily News columnist Joyce Shelby; Rena “Rusty” Kanokogi, “The Mother of Women’s Judo”; and Army Specialist Kevin Hill of Bushwick.

Photo by Kathryn Kirk

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New City Point Design Gets Preliminary Approval -- Downtown Brooklyn

The new design for the first phase of City Point in Downtown Brooklyn (at the site of the now-torn-down Albee Square Mall) got preliminary approval Monday from the city’s Public Design Commission, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

There are still a few kinks to be ironed out, so current renderings are not yet available. City Point was once projected to be the tallest building in Brooklyn by far.

As a "stalled project," City Point was chosen to receive $20 million in federal stimulus financing.

New Design for City Point Phase IA Gets Preliminary Approval From Design Commission Brooklyn Eagle

- One Less Stalled Development in Brooklyn
- More Changes Coming to Downtown Brooklyn (2009)
- Brooklyn's Municipal Building Facade Rehab Underway (2009)
- Brooklyn 2012 Video, In Celebration of City Point (2008)
- Brooklyn Office Building Slows, But Albee Square Mall Is Coming Down (2007)
- Brooklyn's City Point Compared to Time-Warner Center (2007)
- RIP Albee Square Mall (2007)
- Fulton Street Mall to get Quite the Overhaul (2007)

Rendering courtesy of architects GreenbergFarrow

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A Little Bit of Vermont in Downtown Brooklyn

If you squint, this snow-dappled traffic median on Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn can transport you to the pristine forests of Vermont.

Just don't stand in the street while you squint. They don't call Adams Street the Highway of Death for nothing.

Photo by MK Metz

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