Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Scary One Brooklyn Bridge Park Children

When hurrying past this pay phone ad on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, we unconsciously worry about these rambunctious little children. If they were ours, we'd probably start yelling at them to "Get off the side of the tub -- How many times have we told you!" etc etc. Especially the little girl in the back, who could crack her skull if she slipped on the wet rim she's standing on.

But after passing by a dozen times we finally realized there's something more fundamentally wrong with this picture. When you look closer, the children appear to be too gleeful . . . so gleeful, they're almost scary. The kind of scary that bends forks and makes unpleasant people go away.

Look at their faces. They laugh and cackle, and no one has the nerve to tell them to get off of that tub. Because they can't ever really hurt themselves, can they?

Photo by MK Metz

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Fruit Street Sitting Area, Brooklyn Heights

A sign declares that this part of the sidewalk overlooking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is the "Fruit Street Sitting Area."

So the other day someone wrapped themselves up and sat.

Photos by MK Metz

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Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tree Grows in Dumbo

And so the hand was buried in the ground. That night, the palm turned into gray bark and the fingers merged and grew . . .

Photo by MK Metz

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Tour Williamsburg Art Galleries

Got this from the Williamsburg Gallery Association:

In association with Williamsburg Walks, the Williamsburg Gallery Association is hosting tours of the neighborhood's art galleries, led by
art critic and art tour guide Merrily Kerr. A writer and trendspotter for magazines including Time Out New York and Flash Art, Merrily will take you to see the artwork and exhibitions that make Williamsbug a must-see for art lovers and the art-curious alike. Tours leave from the WGA table on Bedford Avenue between North 5th & North 6th Streets. Tickets are just $10 and can be purchased prior to the tour at the WGA table on Bedford Ave., or online through paypal. Visit the WGA online to purchase advance tickets.

Saturday, June 27
2-3:30 pm
Southside Galleries
The tour will take in a range of work, from meditative sand paintings to kinetic sculpture, at and array of galleries, from plucky newcomer spaces to long-established anchors of the Williamsburg scene.

Saturday, July 11
2-3:30 pm
Northside Galleries
This tour will demonstrate the diversity of Williamsburg's art offerings, from Weimar paintings to avant-garde contemporary. In a quirky apartment gallery or the post-industrial expanse of one of the area's newest and largest art spaces, come explore the unique visions of the city's most creative people.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ignazio's Pizza, Dumbo

A bit of a kerfuffle seems to have broken out on Chowhound about Ignazio's Pizza, which opened in Dumbo at 4 Water Street in April.

The reactions to the pizza itself encompass the usual range, from: "So delicious!" to "Just OK," to "Disappointingly bland," to "Even Grimaldi's is better."

But this is Brooklyn, so the discussion quickly swerves from pizza to personal insults, like: "It was not a matter of a waitress with so many tattoos that it looked like garbage was thrown at her, or the white dreadlocked zombie serving drinks . . . "

And responses like: "What a surprise, another nasty rant from you . . ."

Counter-responses: "You seem to have some pent up hostility towards those who dare to look different and it is clearly manifesting itself here and that is unfortunate, especially to those who have not visited Ignazio's and are buying into this intolerant and distorted point of view. It comes off as very angry, and, frankly, old and cranky."

Clarifications: "I shot the 'dumb hick' line in to mock those (at Ignazios) who apparently seem to feel this way."

It's pizza, kids!

To play nice, we'll finish with a recent comment:
"We went to Ignazio's last night for the first time after a friend had recommended it. The location is spectacular, the pizza is fantastic but the real treat is the live jazz that made us feel we were in some classic NY movie! We will definitely be back."

Photo by MK Metz

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Inexpensive Housing For Low Income Women in Brooklyn

A correspondent forwarded this email to us:

"As you know, the YWCA of Brooklyn is currently leasing Sister Strength Housing LP, an affordable housing rental apartment development that is contained within our facility at 30 Third Avenue in Boerum Hill Brooklyn. We currently have a limited number of studio apartments available and are currently accepting new applications. They do not have to live in Community Board 2.

The size, rent and targeted income requirements for the apartments are as follows:

Monthly Rent: $623
Annual Gross Income Range: $24,920 -$26,900
Maximum Household Size: 1

These airy, light filled spacious studio apartments have been completely renovated and contain private bathrooms and full kitchens. Several of the units are handicapped accessible. Those interested in receiving an application, may come in person to our offices at 30 Third Avenue (between Atlantic Avenue and State Street) Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 AM and 5PM.

Applications will be processed "first come first served" so those interested in applying should submit their applications as soon as possible.

YWCA of Brooklyn, 30 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

t (718) 875-1190 ext. 591

f (718) 858-5731

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In Case You Missed the Gowanus Jell-O Mold Competition

Like things that jiggle? Thu Tran, the somewhat unusual star of IFC's cooking show Food Party was a guest judge last Saturday night at the Jell-O mold competition in Gowanus. Sarah Lohman’s Feedbag video, above, shows Thu exploring the world of Jell-O jewelry, a Jell-O chicken, Jell-O chicken and more.

Those movements Thu makes incessantly with her fingers will have you feeling kinda squishy yourself.

If you can't get enough of this competition, there's a whole in-depth Jell-O mold interview at Serious Eats New York.

In other Jell-O news, here's the sad story of a descendant of the wealthy Jell-O clan who last year was denied any share in the family fortune by virtue of being born out of wedlock and given up for adoption.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Kentile As a Symbol of Gowanus

The iconic Kentile floor sign can be seen towering over 2nd Ave. and 9th St. Many have adopted it as a symbol of Gowanus. Perhaps that's fitting, as the tiles were extremely toxic.

Forgotten NY says that Kentile was founded by Arthur Kennedy in 1898 and once billed itself as "America's largest manufacturers of super-resilient floor tile."

Kentile filed for Chapter 11 in 1992 following a series of strikes and asbestos lawsuits -- it turns out that the tiles could be made up of as much as 25 percent asbestos.

Photo by MK Metz

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's True About Moss Growing On the North Side of Trees, Even in Brooklyn

This tree at Fulton and Adams Streets in Downtown Brooklyn illustrates the idea that more moss grows on the north side of trees than on the south side.

The reason is that the south side gets more sun, and moss thrives in shade.

Photos by MK Metz
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Hearing On Demolishing Park Slope School Today, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Tuesday and Wednesday: "secretive" Gowanus Canal plan meetings. Found in Brooklyn

- The Lady Liberty statue stolen from the Vox Pop Coffee Shop on Monday morning is still missing. Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn

- Miss them? Mermaid Parade photos here! Gothamist

- The NYS Department of Transportation began on Monday very long process of rehabilitating the Downtown section of BQE, which includes the cantilever highway that supports the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Brooklyn Eagle

- Myrtle Ave. building collapse -- was it heavy rain? The Real Deal

- Yet another Ratner bait-and-switch: Now he's only going to pay the MTA $20 million up front, instead of $100 million. Brooklyn Paper

- The City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks etc. will hold a hearing today (Tuesday) on the SCA's much-disputed plan to demolish historic P.S. 133 in Park Slope. Brooklyn Eagle

- Two children suffered serious burns and six others were injured after someone threw a bottle containing chemicals at them while they played in Williamsburg. CBS

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Busy Weekend in Dumbo -- Art Openings, Hip Hop

Lots of activities in Dumbo this past weekend. Beside the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, which brought crowds to Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, two exhibitions opened Saturday -- one at DAC, Structured Simplicity, and one at Smack Mellon, Beauty Underfoot.

Structured Simplicity presents a group of artists -- Mai Braun, Hilary Harnischfeger, Elana Herzog, Fabienne Lasserre, and Amy Yoes --who work in sculpture and site-specific installation. Above, in the left side of the photo, can be seen Mai Braun’s stacked cardboard boxes.

Beauty Underfoot at Smack Mellon is based on the John Cage remark, “Beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look.” Artists include Adriana Farmiga, Petrova Giberson, Isola and Norzi, Fawad Khan, Gareth Long, Alison Owen, Mike Quinn, Yumi Janairo Roth, Jen Schwarting, Secret School and the K.I.D.S., Charwei Tsai. Above, Fawad Khan’s Hood (background) focuses on everyday objects that come to life around a car in a junkyard.

Yumi Janairo Roth works mother-of-pearl inlay into shipping pallets.

Decent crowds showed up at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, video below, in spite of the rain. Review here.

Photos by MK Metz
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Myrtle Ave. Building That Collapsed Had History of Complaints About Crack

A four-story building at 493 Myrtle Ave. in Fort Greene (not far from Pratt Institute) collapsed around 2 p.m. this afternoon and five residents barely escaped with their lives. One person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The NY Daily News reports that the collapse "triggered a massive emergency response, as firefighters dug through the rubble to make sure that no one was trapped underneath."

The NY Times Fort Greene Blog reported that the collapse also badly damaged the apartment building next door at 491 Myrtle: "Councilwoman Letitia James, who was at the scene, said that it would have to be demolished. All told, at least 14 people were left homeless."

Notify NYC didn't send out a notice until 7:59 p.m. (thanks for the timely alert, NYC) that Myrtle Ave. was closed between Ryerson and Hall Streets.

This Google maps pre-collapse photo shows the building with a big crack running down the side (that's the Vesper bar on the ground floor). The New York City Dept. of Buildings shows several complaints over the years regarding the crack, including one on May 1.

Back in 1997, a complaint was filed by someone who said the building had cracks and was "shaking and vibrating." The inspector didn't observe any cracks, shaking or vibrating at the time of inspection.

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The Brooklyn Headhunter: Find a Job in Brooklyn

From time to time, McBrooklyn puts on its Headhunting gear and scouts out a handful of Brooklyn employment opportunities.

Here's the latest batch:

- MONDAY MORNING: - An international home furnishing company in Brooklyn is hiring 20 Home Delivery Co-Workers, Furniture Hand Out Co-Workers, Human Resources Generalist, Returns Co-Workers, and Phones Co-Workers. Pre-screening event Monday, June 22nd, check in: 8:45am to 9:30am. More information at Craigslist

Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo is hiring a Senior Bar/Front-of-House Manager to run the beverage, service and front-of-house operations. Craigslist

Macy's in Brooklyn is hiring a general manager (a senior level position.) NY Times

Mary Meyer Clothing in Greenpoint is looking for an entry-level, part time fashion design assistant. Craigslist

The Brooklyn Economic Development Corp. needs someone to develop a web site for the Moore Street Retail Market in Williamsburg. idealist

Ubiqus Reporting, Inc. is looking for people to become hearing recorders. You record administrative hearings and take notes during the proceedings. Four to eight hours a day, depending. Craigslist

Old Navy at Atlantic Center needs a logistics manager. GAP Inc.

The Prospect Park Zoo needs a ticket agent. Weekends required. NY Times

Kaplan is hiring "SpellRead" teachers (for afternoons, nights and weekends) for intensive, tightly scripted reading instruction. Kaplan

Sounds like Armando's is hiring: Executive chef needed for soon to open (currently undergoing renovation), high volume Italian restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. Craigslist

A small business marketing agency located in Greenpoint needs creative college students or recent graduates with graphic design, computer skills. Craigslist

Educational Housing Services in Brooklyn Heights seeks an accountant. NY Times

Petitioners needed for City Council races in Brooklyn and Queens. Must be Democrat; weird hours, $10 -15/hr. Craigslist

A paralegal is needed; office is near the Brooklyn Bridge. Will train a college grad with computer skills. Craigslist

A Brooklyn-based event production and design company seeks an on site production coordinator. Craigslist

The New York Aquarium in Coney Island seeks a Director of Park Services. NY Times

Get paid $10 - $15/hr. to promote items in Brooklyn stores. ipsojobs

- Arby's is looking for assistant managers for their soon-to-open restaurant in the old Gage & Tolner building on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Email resumes to: jobs@arbysnyc.com

We think there's something a bit off about this one -- Joe Alesci Co. offers this employment opportunity: "Watch Blazing Saddles 3 days straight and then give away money." Public Interest Law Jobs

Top photo by MikeColvin82, Creative Commons license.

Photo of Arby's/Gage & Tolner by MK Metz

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

St. Savior Principal James Flanagan Speaks

A few weeks ago parents at St. Saviour Elementary School in Park Slope were shocked to learn that their beloved principal, Mr. James Flanagan, was being fired. Principal Flanigan has successfully led St. Saviour for 26 years. (See story here.)

Today Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn published a thoughtful response from Principal Flanagan. Among other things, we learn that the pastor who fired Flanagan -- Father Daniel S. Murphy -- told him last April "that we had had the best year yet working together."

It appears that in spite of all of the positive things Principal Flanagan has done for St. Saviour recently (instituted a new French program; guided the library renovation; hosted successful Art Fairs and several seasonal concerts; restarted Science Fairs & oversaw the installation & implementation of Smart Board technology & LCD/Laptop instruction), the major bone of contention may have been his resistance to raising tuition at St. Saviour.

Read here for more.

- The Trouble at St. Saviour

Photo of Principal Flanagan courtesy of St. Saviour Preservation Society

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Brooklyn's Busy Chef: More Drama, More Crime

Just yesterday we asked: "What more could go wrong with anyone in any way connected with the failed Busy Chef Brooklyn restaurant chain?" (Yesterday we learned that partner/owner/attorney Alan Young has been disbarred.)

A lot more, it seems. The Brooklyn Heights Blog reports today that chef Dan Kaufman was arrested on Jan. 20 for an incident on the Upper East Side in which he allegedly stole a credit card from a friend, whose apartment he was visiting. He then made a purchase at a McDonald’s on the west side, "where security cameras there captured his every move."

The restaurants folded last year, mired in scandal after the arrest of Kaufman for identity theft and credit card forgery.

The Busy Chef saga never ends.

- Busy Chef's Alan Young Disbarred
- Brooklyn Heights: Busy Chef Cover Up -- Stop Work Order
- 50 Ex- Busy Chef Restaurant Employees in Brooklyn, Ready to Work
- And Then There Were None: The Wine Bar, Last in Brooklyn's Busy Chef Empire, Closes
- 'Mired in Scandal,' It's All Over for Brooklyn's Busy Chef
- Why the Brooklyn Paper Didn't Write About the Crook at the Busy Chef and What This Means For America
- Arrested Busy Chef Partner Has a History in Boston
- A Busy Brooklyn Chef Now Under Arrest
- Downtown Brooklyn Busy Chef Pretty Busy
- Busy Chef Empire: Frozen Dinners or Homemade Cuisine?
- Busy Chef coming to Court Street

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Volunteer Coney Mermaids Needed, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A popular ice cream vendor was taken into custody Tuesday shortly after 3 p.m. while selling the cold stuff in front of P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights. New York Post

- A Coney Island EMT was arrested after he allegedly took $100 from a patient. The patient was actually an undercover DOI investigator. Brooklyn Eagle

- Calexico will finally open its doors in Carroll Gardens next Tuesday. New York Grub Street

- Three days away from the largest Coney Island Mermaid Parade to date, the organizers are calling out for volunteers. Sheepsheadbites

- Despite "a rather loud disruption" from protesters at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, Chair Amanda Burden led an unanimous vote for the Coney Island Redevelopment Plan. Brooklyn Eagle

- An employee at the Target in East New York is accused of conspiring with her boyfriend to set fire to the store as a diversion while they stole $8,000 worth of flat-screen televisions. Gothamist

- Still some DTV reception problems -- Have your tried "double scanning?" Crain's New York

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Eat My What?!

This snack truck parked on Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn caught our eye -- not because of the unusual pink color, but because the snappy phrases on the back (Eat My Nuts!) and the front (My Nuts Are My Life!).

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Busy Chef's Alan Young Disbarred

What more could go wrong with anyone in any way connected with the failed Busy Chef Brooklyn restaurant chain?

Now it seems that Busy Chef's landlord Alan Young (and local attorney) has been disbarred for “his inability to successfully defend himself on the merits against any disciplinary charges which may be brought against him," according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

Young was what -- owner? Partner? with Dan Kaufman, credited with driving the Busy Chef and other restaurants out of business by allegedly stealing thousands from customers and the business itself.

- Brooklyn Heights: Busy Chef Cover Up -- Stop Work Order
- 50 Ex- Busy Chef Restaurant Employees in Brooklyn, Ready to Work
- And Then There Were None: The Wine Bar, Last in Brooklyn's Busy Chef Empire, Closes
- 'Mired in Scandal,' It's All Over for Brooklyn's Busy Chef
- Why the Brooklyn Paper Didn't Write About the Crook at the Busy Chef and What This Means For America
- Arrested Busy Chef Partner Has a History in Boston
- A Busy Brooklyn Chef Now Under Arrest
- Downtown Brooklyn Busy Chef Pretty Busy
- Busy Chef Empire: Frozen Dinners or Homemade Cuisine?
- Busy Chef coming to Court Street

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Outdoor Fashion Show (Including Recycled Unbrellas) Attracts Crowd in Downtown Brooklyn

A crowd formed in the walkway between Morton's The Steakhouse and the Brooklyn Marriott in Downtown Brooklyn late yesterday for an outdoor runway fashion show, part of a Brooklyn wedding showcase held at Morton's. The fashions were created by local designers, music and hors d’oeuvres were provided, and everyone seemed to be having a swell time. (Tourists going by on tour buses on Adams Street craned their necks to see what the party was.)

The top two dresses shown above are created by designer Catherine Edouard Charlot from HIMANE, and are made from recycled materials.

The wedding duds shown above are also created by Catherine Edouard Charlot; note that the man's tuxedo is made from recycled umbrellas.

These next dresses shown are made by Yvonne Chu of Kimera Designs.

Local wedding vendors were showing their wares inside Morton's at an affair catered by Morton's and Love Brooklyn Tours & Events. The point of the event was to show that you don't have to leave Brooklyn to plan your wedding. More here.

Photos copyright MK Metz

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Street Sign, Brooklyn

Walk? Don't walk? Too old for rock 'n roll?

Photo by MK Metz
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Falling Debris Stops Work at 111 Lawrence, Downtown Brooklyn

Watch where you walk on Lawrence Street --

A piece of plywood fell from an upper story at 111 Lawrence Street near MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn yesterday, and work has been halted, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The DOB reports that two cars parked on the street were hit by the debris. 111 Lawrence will be Brooklyn's tallest building when completed.

Photo copyright MK Metz
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Williamsburg Walks, June 20

The first 2009 "Williamsburg Walks" takes place Saturday, June 20 on Bedford Avenue between North 5th & North 6th Steets, noon to dusk.

The Walks features artists working and interacting with the community, musicians playing on the Avenue, educational programs from local studios, and complimentary virgin cocktails. More Walks every Saturday through July 11.

This Week:
* Serbian painter Petar Timotic, portraits
* North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition will have a table

* Superpowers - Williamsburg Walks’ resident Afrobeat band
* Victor Sheely: acoustic gypsy punk, 80's songs, Mexican ballads, and originals

* Wheel-throwing pottery demonstrations and instruction, Choplet
* STREB dance workshop for kids

* Non-alcoholic summer cocktails from Oulu

Chalk will be available all day for street art

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Should We Be in Afghanistan? Brooklyn Forum

An informational forum sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace:
Afghanistan: Should US troops be there? What will happen if we leave?
takes place Wednesday, June 24, 7 pm.

With Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story.

From the email:
Gould and Fitzgerald will explain how American actions today are connected to past miscalculations, and how U.S. policy puts both Afghans and Americans in danger. They will lead a discussion and answer your questions about the complicated tangle of political, cultural, and historical factors that combine to create the current situation.

The authors have been reporting from Afghanistan since 1981 for CBS, PBS, ABC. and other news organizations.

Brooklyn Friends Meeting House
110 Schermerhorn Street (corner of Boerum Place)
A/C/G to Hoyt Schermerhorn, 2/3/4/5/M/R to Court St/Boro Hall, Bus:
B24/26/27/28/37/41/75 to Downtown Brooklyn

Co-Sponsors: Fort Greene Peace; Peace and Social Action Committee of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Brooklyn Traffic Barrier a Thing of Beauty

The Jersey barrier separating the bike lane from Tillary Street is suddenly a thing of beauty, covered with flowers and bumblebees.

It turns out that the Downtown Brooklyn mural was created by high school-age artists as part of a collaboration between the Groundswell Community Mural Project and the city Department of Transportation.

Click here to learn more.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Downtown Brooklyn Transit Study Wants Your Input

We received an email informing us that an Open House will be held for the NYCDOT - Downtown Brooklyn Surface Transit Circulation Study on Thursday, 6/25/09 - 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Here's the information:

NYCDOT is working with MTA-New York City Transit and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to improve surface transit within Downtown Brooklyn. This study will focus on making bus routes more effective and on improving local transportation for Downtown Brooklyn residents, employees and visitors. In this first Open House we will present the initial results of our investigation into existing conditions and ask attendees to provide input about their travel patterns, needs, and issues in Downtown Brooklyn. Presentations at 6:15 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Polytechnic University, 5 Metrotech Center - Dibner Library - Room LC400 (entrance at Metro Tech Center between Jay and Flatbush Avenue Extension); Brooklyn, New York

McBrooklyn's suggestions:

1: Run one bus all the way from Dumbo (along Cadman Plaza West) to Red Hook. That way, people in Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights can access the great shopping and restaurants in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook and Boerum Hill, and people south of Atlantic can visit Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights without having to transfer.

2. How about a trolley to Red Hook?

Any more?

Photo by MK Metz
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Having Problems Connecting Your Digital TV Converter Box?

Message from the FCC:

If you are unable to connect your converter box to your antenna and analog TV, an FCC contractor may be able to come to your home to connect them for you. An FCC contractor will do the following free of charge:

  • Connect up to two of your converter boxes to two TVs and antennas in your home;
  • Perform a channel scan or rescan on your converter box in order to pick up the digital TV stations in your area;
  • Make minor adjustments to your antenna; and
  • Show you how to operate your converter box and features such as closed captioning.

The contractor provides these basic home installation services free. These services are paid for by the FCC, and an FCC contractor will not request any payment from you for their services.

Here's the government web site with more about this: http://www.dtv.gov/dtv_contractors.html Or call the FCC at 1-888-225-5322

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bus Shelter For Humans Only, City Warns Bed Bugs

New York City is finally talking tough to bed bugs. As part of its nine-step program to eradicate the pests, they have installed signs in bus shelters warning bed bugs that they are not allowed in the shelters or on buses.

Reading "Bus Stop For Humans Only," the signs show an illustration of a bed bug inside one of those "No" symbols with a diagonal red slash.

Glad to see the city is finally taking the bed bug plague seriously. Now let's hope that the bugs read the signs.

In other parts of the country where the bed bug problem is not yet severe, people might think this sign reading "Bus Stop For Humans Only" is an ad for an upcoming movie, maybe.

- New York City Starts Taking Bed Bugs Seriously

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Fireworks New York, Brooklyn Saturday, June 13, 2009

Those booming fireworks heard over Brooklyn and lower Manhattan Saturday night were for Children's Day at the South Street Seaport, hosted by Gordon from Sesame Street, sponsored by Target. The Brooklyn Philharmonic also performed.

UPDATE: Where to see the 2009 July 4 fireworks in Brooklyn.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Riverside Apartments, Brooklyn Heights, Gets New Tenant?

After years of going empty, it looks like the old Riverside Deli on the ground floor of the Brooklyn Heights' historic Riverside Apartments at Columbia Place and Joralemon Street is getting ready for a new tenant.

Workers have been giving the site a redo for the last week or more. One worker told McBrooklyn that he thought a new deli would be going in.

In April, McBrooklyn reported that many of the retail sites on the ground floor of the complex had been put up for rent. It's long been a mystery as to why the controversial owner of the apartments (the Pinnacle Group) cleared out the retail tenants on the ground floor and left the spaces empty for years.

Last month, a tree in the Riverside Apartments' courtyard "with a trunk so large it couldn’t be embraced by tree-huggers” was dedicated to the memory of Brooklyn humanitarian Alfred Tredway White (1846-1921) at the Willowtown Association’s annual fair.

The tree and several other towering elms and sycamores are to be uprooted if a proposed parking garage is constructed in the courtyard, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

UPDATE here.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar Opens, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The new Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar opens, and locals pop in for a quick one. Brooklyn Eagle

- Now that the Two Trees’ Dock Street DUMBO project will move forward, what's going to happen to St. Ann's Warehouse? Brooklyn Heights Blog and DumboNYC

- An array of reactions to Joaquin Baca's new venture The Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg. Eater

- Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, is scheduled to undergo heart bypass surgery next week. NY Times City Room

- Start practicing your Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The advocacy group Fuel for Truth is hosting an Ahmadinejad look-alike contest tonight in lower Manhattan. NY Press via Huffington Post

- The Spence School, one of Manhattan’s most prestigious private girls schools, was downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service. Crain's New York

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Walentas, With An An Asterisk

Whether or not one approves of the controversial Dumbo Dock Street project, which will appreciably degrade historic views of and from the Brooklyn Bridge, the tactics employed by the Walentas family and their real estate company Two Trees has certainly changed the way they will go down in the history books.

Today the City Council approved the hulking project. But approval came only after Two Trees poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the coffers of influential council members and colluded with the School Construction Authority (SCA) to mislead the public into thinking that the SCA actually investigated the best options for local school children.

After reading one of the fetid SCA emails, Councilman Gioia said, “I have to say, this is the most disturbing document or email that I have seen in my eight years in Council …This is not how government is supposed to work.”

Now the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance is asking the Attorney General for an investigation, and rightly so.

Opponants to Dock Street include more than 25,000 local residents who signed petitions and postcards, 8 neighborhood organizations, the National Trust, the Municipal Art Society, the Historic Districts Council, Architecture Society of New York City, the Roebling Society – Chapter for Industrial Archeology, the American History Museum of the Smithsonian, Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, cinematographer Ken Burns, the Roebling Family and more.

Supporters include some parents who think that their children might get into the small middle school (300 seats, as opposed to the more typical 500) that Walentas promised, and those who will make money from it -- or who already have.

David Walentas was once admired for jump-starting the transformation of Dumbo. Now, whether or not Dock Street is actually built, the Walentas name will forever have an asterisk next to it.

- Dock Street Sides Get Ready for Thursday's Hearing
- School 'Not Allowed' in Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Dumbo Dock Street Public Hearing Tonight (past)
- Put Middle School in Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8, Says Yassky

Image courtesy of Two Trees Management

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Flowers, Brooklyn Borough Hall

That's the dome of Brooklyn Borough Hall in the background.

Photo by MK Metz

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Big Hole In the 'Candy Factory' Roof -- Brooklyn

Sales were halted, the sales office was dismantled, lawsuits are flying-- Now there's a hole you could drive a Prius through in the roof of 20 Henry Street -- the "Candy Factory" building -- visible under the torn blue tarp in a photo published in today's Brooklyn Eagle.

Since the trouble began at 20 Henry, we've had rain, rain, rain.

Maybe that curse the exiled artists put on the place worked after all . . .

- 20 Henry Street Sales Office Dismantled
- Open House Party for 20 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights
- 20 Henry Street Courtyard Plowed Under
- Work Begins at 114 Henry Street; DOB Disapproves Plans
- 20 Henry Street Was NOT On Fire
- High Winds Cause Scaffolding Problems in Brooklyn

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Setting Sail Up the Hudson to Mark New York's 400th Anniversary

As part of a statewide yearlong celebration to mark the 400th anniversary -- the Quadricentennial -- of the discovery of the Hudson River by Captain Henry Hudson, a flotilla of historic ships set sail up the river Saturday morning. Their destination (as was Captain Hudson's, though he didn't know it at the time) is Albany, which they should reach by the 13th.

The flotilla was led by a scale reproduction of Hudson's ship the Half Moon (above), which sailed to New York from Amsterdam, manned by 18 volunteers.

As the ships travel north, they pause by waterfront communities celebrating with festivals, music and parties. Today (Tuesday), they'll arrive at Beacon/Newburgh, where they'll stay for educational programs til late afternoon. See the whole schedule here.

Part of the celebration includes NYS Quadricentennial Legacy Projects like the creation of a park at Governors Island, the site of one of New York's first Dutch settlements. The Dutch royal family will be coming to town to visit, and a Governors Island Dutch Festival takes place on Sept. 13.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, there are more than 1000 events planned to celebrate this year. For example, a musician in Poughkeepsie has turned an entire bridge spanning the Hudson into a musical instrument. In September, a variety of workers in New York and Amsterdam will swap jobs for a week. There are concerts, exhibitions and events up and down the Hudson all month, and more this summer.

The Henry Hudson 400 Foundation will celebrate with commemorations in both Amsterdam and New York City, including a three-day event in September 2009 around Battery Park with special exhibitions planned throughout the city.

- Up the River With Henry Hudson Brooklyn Eagle

- Celebrate New York's 400th

- NY400.org

- Exhibitions in NYC celebrating the event NY Times

- HenryHudson400.com

Photos copyright MK Metz, 2009
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk09

Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk09 planners couldn't have asked for a finer weekend, perfectly suited for strolling up and down the avenue. We missed the live music and film screenings, but did visit many galleries and studios on Sunday. There was a good crowd, even late in the day, and the cafes did a lot of business. Here are a few things we enjoyed --

Cannonball Press at Axelle Gallery made a big splash at this year's ArtWalk with their giant cash register, "The Zero Sum Game." The register's buttons say things like "Foreclosed," "Ponzi scheme," "Downsized," and "Trashed Savings."

It's fascinating to see how Cannonball/Axelle produces their and 4' x 8' prints prints; if you missed the upstairs production facilities, make sure to get up to the 3rd floor next year.

Here's one of a series from the Clover Cafe and Gallery. This is the first time we've been inside Clover, and we recommend a visit anytime you're in the neighborhood. Foolishly, we didn't find out the name of the artist -- can someone fill us in?

An everyday scene on Atlantic, ArtWalk or no ArtWalk.

We loved these little guys sitting on a shelf at the Atlantic Antique Center. Can't put our finger on where we've seen them before. Are they some kind of commercial figure?

Photos by MK Metz

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

How They Cook in Williamsburg: 'Food Party' Coming to IFC

Wonderfully weird FOOD PARTY, created and hosted by Williamsburg fringe artist Thu Tran and her cast of bizarre puppets, is coming to IFC (Independent Film Channel) June 9 at 11:15 p.m. This six-part IFC Original Comedy’s series appear in 10-minute episodes.

Food Party has been described as a "psychedelic melding of Pee Wee’s Playhouse and The Rachael Ray Show with a dash of J-Horror vibe." It's shot in Williamsburg in a technicolor handmade, cardboard kitchen. Characters include Italian Chef, Ice Cream Cone, the amorous Monsieur Baguette, Thu Tran clones, Especially Psychic Spud (E.P.S.), Perv Corn and The Devil.

The webseries won the ‘Outside of the Box” prize at the 2008 NY Television Festival. The NY Times ran this article about Trans Friday.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lev Yilmaz 'Tales of Mere Existance' at Rooftop Films

Lev Yilmaz makes funny, hand-drawn animated films about "anxiety, awkwardness and existential emotions." He'll be reading from his new book Sunny Side Down at the show.

His YouTube videos have accumulated 11.5 million views as of May 2009. Here's one called Conversation. You can find more films here.

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Disaster Training Fires Up Downtown Brooklyn

Cadman Plaza East in Downtown Brooklyn/ Brooklyn Heights was aflame last night when the Office of Emergency Management held a CERT training operation.

Bodies, both real and synthetic, littered the street next to Cadman Plaza Park.

Ball players in the park rushed to the street to see what what going on. CERT trainees, wearing green vests, ministered to the "victims."

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Trouble at St. Saviour

A couple of weeks ago parents at St. Saviour Elementary School in Park Slope were shocked to learn that their principal, Mr. James Flanagan, was being fired. Principal Flanigan has successfully led St. Saviour for 26 years, and the pastor who fired him -- Father Daniel S. Murphy -- is a relative newcomer, arriving in 2004.

The scene: Crying teachers, confused kids, devastated parents, and questions, questions, questions, which, up til now, Father Murphy has not answered.

Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn has been following this story, and now the Brooklyn Eagle has published remarks by the Diocese and Father Murphy which seem to have them pointing fingers at each other. Father Murphy told the Brooklyn Eagle Wednesday that he was "carrying out Bishop DiMarzio’s long-term vision for the Diocese, called Preserving the Vision."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Diocese told the Eagle that the person who makes the decisions is Father Murphy. "He hires, he fires. He signs all the contracts for the parish. We don’t even set salaries.”

With all the chaos in the Catholic Church, you would think that Bishop DiMarzio would want to keep such a successful principal. Here's how one mom described him to the Eagle:

“He keeps order and he’s pretty strict. It’s a strong position and maybe some people don’t like it, but that’s a part of the reason we’re here. He runs a tight ship; everybody’s safe and they do the right thing . . . In a weird way, we feel like he’s our dad. He keeps everything classy and right. There’s no messing around, no mystery; he’s just solid."

Isn't that what you want in a Catholic school?

Catholic Parents Protest Firing of Beloved Principal

UPDATE here.

Top photo courtesy of St. Saviour Church
Bottom photo of Principal Flanagan courtesy of St. Saviour Preservation Society

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Adams Street Brooklyn -- Always Accident Prone?

There have been scores (if not hundreds) of pedestrians and bikers injured or killed in recent times on treacherous Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn. (See here for more on this.)

This isn't a new phenomenon, however. Even before there were autos, the intersection of Adams, Willoughby and Fulton Street could be a dangerous place. Here's part of a story published in the New York Times in 1903:

The falling derrick caused pandemonium. Scores of live wires threatened instant death to terrified pedestrians. When the derrick came into contact with the live trolley wires, it formed a circuit that caused flames to explode across the tops of Downtown Brooklyn buildings, including the Citizen Building.

Amazingly, not one person was killed. See the Times for the full story.

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First Strawberries, Brooklyn

We got to the strawberries before the critters did!
They're coming in fast and furious now.

Photo by MK Metz

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Short Films, Live Bands, Dumbo

Myopenbar.com sent us this listing:

Thursday, June 4th: Kelso Beer, baked stuff for sale, $5 suggested donation /6pm

The Cinema 16 series is one of the finer examples of curation, DIY spirit, and collaboration in Brooklyn-based entertainment. The premise is simple enough: obscure, visually engaging short films paired with live scores, written and performed for these films by local bands.

For this installment, Nick Yulman and the Bone Conductor Mechanical Orchestra score three films: Georges Méliès' magical short L'Homme Orchestre (One Man Band), Charles Bowers’ long-lost comical romp A Wild Roomer, and Maya Deren’s surrealist masterpiece Meshes of the Afternoon.

It takes place at Smack Mellon, 56 Water St., Dumbo, 718-834-8761

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Dumbo Shopping Event This Weekend, June 6 and 7

Going to the Dumbo Flea this Sunday? Add on more Dumbo retail fun: A group of local independent clothing and jewelry designers working out of Dumbo have organized a weekend shopping event for this Saturday and Sunday (and perhaps ongoing every weekend), June 6th and 7th.

The indoor Corner Mrkt is on the corner of Jay and Front streets.

Designers include:
Aimee g, Arza Design, Cinderloop, Lauren Wimmer Jewelry, naturevsfuture, Radka Design, Rebecka Froberg, SAMOY LENKO, and more

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Blowout for 'Brooklyn Day' at Teddy's Bar & Grill, Williamsburg

From Teddy's:

On Thursday, June 4, for the occasion of “Brooklyn Day,” Teddy’s Bar & Grill, at the corner of N. 8th & Berry Streets in Williamsburg, will celebrate one of Brooklyn’s greatest and most famous assets: community.

There will be a night of fun, music and appreciation for the struggle of neighbors to build and improve their neighborhood. Teddy’s is Brooklyn’s oldest continuously operating tavern. Borough President Marty Markowitz is the invited guest of honor. Council Member David Yassky is also expected to attend. Local Brooklyn heroes will be honored for fighting for affordable housing.

Festivities begin at 7pm, with “DJ D” spinning the sounds of Brooklyn-born recording artists.

A music I.Q. test will be administered as “DJ D” hosts Brooklyn Bingo. Brooklyn Brewery will distribute promotional items and Yankees vs. Mets tickets. Brooklyn recording artist Strafe (“Set It Off”) will make a guest D.J. turn.

There will be a drawing for the monthly rent party. Half of the cash pot goes to the winner and the rest to build the new Northside Town Hall, once known as the “People’s Firehouse.

Teddy’s Bar & Grill has been a popular fixture in the community since it was built in 1887. Mae West once resided in an upstairs apartment. Teddy’s was an important political center, a meeting spot of Brooklyn’s own Tammany Hall.

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