Thursday, December 31, 2009

Remembering Brooklyn Heights' Celebrity Residents

Following the death of famous Brooklyn Heights resident David LevineKarl Junkersfeld (a Brooklyn Heights Blog contributor) put together this video remembering Levine and a host of other Brooklyn Heights notables.

From Washington Roebling to Walt Whitman, from Carson McCullers to Gypsy Rose Lee, from Arthur Miller to Norman Mailer to David Levine -- it's amazing how many greats lived, worked and played in Brooklyn Heights. Our thanks to Mr. Junkersfeld for this walk down memory lane.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mysterious Lamppost at Brooklyn's MetroTech

What could have possibly blown this lamppost into such a shape?

Strange forces are at work at MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn!

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

Saint Ann's Headmaster Moving On, Bookstores' Twitter Battle, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The headmaster of Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights will morph into the headmaster of Brooklyn Friends School next September. Brooklyn Eagle

- After nearly six years, the new entrance to the Long Island Rail Road’s Atlantic Terminal is finally open to straphangers. The Brooklyn Paper

- A lounge and backyard garden is proposed for 71 Pineapple St., just off Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Eagle

- You've been waiting for this: The "Queerespondence Guide to New Year's Eve." Brooklyn the Borough

- A survey confirms it: service at many Brooklyn post offices really sucks. Your Nabe

- Twitter battle: Local bookstores are flaming each other on Twitter, accusing the others of such crimes as "steeling customers' kidneys," having books "full of bodily fluids," and printing "on baby panda hides." Huffington Post

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

The Christmas garland festooning the fence of the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights is punctuated by bright red ribbons -- and one miscellaneous red object, as shown.

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

Going Gaga Over iPhones, Food Vendors and Exploding Manholes, Plus More Brooklyn Briefs

- We're saved: AT&T resumes online sales of iPhones in New York City. Crain's NY

- The New York City Economic Development Corporation has submitted a formal request for developers' bids to revitalize a 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse in Sunset Park. The Real Deal and Crain's NY

- The Brooklyn Queens Nursing Home will have to pay out nearly $19 million to the family of a 76-year-old patient neglected so badly he ended up with more than 20 bedsores. Fox News

- They've got grills and electric generators, and lights that are left on continuously. Now Bay Ridge residents are complaining about corner food vendors selling franks and falafels. Brooklyn Eagle

- We The Free is turning into Free People on Smith Street. And we do care. Pardon Me For Asking

- It's manhole explosion season again! OTBKB

- Pencil Factory Lofts get served, and work is halted once again. New York Shitty

- Vox Pop, the Flatbush left-liberal coffeehouse, has been closed for back taxes. Brooklyn Eagle

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, December 28, 2009

ABC Super Store in Downtown Brooklyn Closing; 'Something New' Coming In

ABC Super Store, the super cheap emporium at 427 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn, is going out of business after almost 16 years. A manager told McBrooklyn that the store would be out sometime in January, and that "something new was coming in," but he didn't know (or didn't care to share) what.

According to Property Shark, architect Felix Pustylnik was paid $300,000 on Nov. 10 for "proposed second floor commercial inside existing envelope, partitions and plumbing."

Currently, ABC uses only the ground floor. The second floor has no windows facing Fulton Street, as seen in this photo we took around Thanksgiving.

Whatever it's going to be, it will never be as fabulous as the old Horn & Hardart Automat, which used to be at this location. (You can read more about this on the Lost City blog.)

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

The Brooklyn Portfolio's Second Monthly Report

It seems hardly possible, but it's time to issue The Brooklyn Portfolio's second monthly report.

The portfolio (the Brooklyn Fund put together by McBrooklyn and McBrooklyn readers) became a reality Friday, October 23,2009 with the purchase of 10 shares of eight different Brooklyn-related stocks or ADRs.

The fund, as of Dec. 23, is up 8.02 %.

This compares favorably to the S&P 500, which gained 4.34% during the same time period. (Future performance has nothing to do with past performance, however. This fund may tank tomorrow.)

Here are the initial stocks and their cost when we purchased them on Oct. 23:

National Grid plc (ADR) - NGG - 48.22/share * 10 shares = 482.20
Pfizer Inc. - PFE - 17.25/share * 10 shares = 172.50
Bristol Myers Squibb Co. - BMY - 22.24/share * 10 shares = 222.40
Corning Incorporated - GLW - 15.65/share * 10 shares = 156.50
Nathan's Famous - NATH - 14.38/share * 10 shares = 143.80
Dime Community Bancshares - DCOM - 11.59/share * 10 shares = 115.90
Novartis AG (ADR) - NVS - 51.89/share * 10 shares = 518.90
Brooklyn Federal Savings Bank - BFSB - 12.10/share * 10 shares = 121.00

Performance (click on chart to enlarge):

The initial cost of the all the shares was $1933.20. The shares are now worth $2,088.24, a gain of $155.04.

General comments:
The fund really hasn't gained anything in the last month -- in fact it's lost a few bucks, mostly because National Grid gave up some of its incredible gain of the previous month. Corning, however, is flying, making up most of the loss -- it's gone up 23 percent since we bought it two months ago. Brooklyn Federal Savings Bank had been the dud of the fund so far, losing about 12 percent in the last two months.

(At this point we are not including dividend yields nor are we subtracting fees to purchase the stocks. We'll add these at the end of the year.)

To read about the history of The Brooklyn Portfolio and the stocks that make it up, see the following links:

- The Brooklyn Portfolio: One Month Report
- The Brooklyn Portfolio: Fully Funded and Ready for Business
- The Brooklyn Portfolio Takes Shape
- The Brooklyn Portfolio: Investing In Brooklyn

Photo by Don Hankins, Creative Commons license

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brooklyn Snowplops

Love the way these snowplops line up like soldiers on a deck off Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

Little Christmas tree in Brooklyn Heights.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims Joins Underground RR Heritage Trail

Historic Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims on Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights has become an official site on the Underground Railroad Heritage Trail with the installation of this sign in the Orange Street yard.

The sign discusses Henry Ward Beecher's role in the abolitionist movement -- for example, holding mock slave auctions to raise money to buy slaves' freedom.

The trail is part of "In Pursuit of Freedom," a joint project of the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Weeksville Heritage Center and Irondale Ensemble Project. In Pursuit of Freedom will provide resources for understanding Brooklyn’s role in the abolitionist movement through exhibitions, a website, historic markers, walking tours and more, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

BHA's 100th Birthday, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The Brooklyn Heights Association announces 100th anniversary festivities and launches new website. Brooklyn Heights Blog

- Community Board 10 considers a proposal to ask police to not ticket parents who are dropping off their kids at school. Brooklyn Eagle

- Doors finally open at Union Market on Court Street. PMFA

- Check out a few of Brokelyn's gift suggestions for $25 and under. Brokelyn

- There's a new store on Old Fulton Street. DumboNYC

- Now Bushwick has a trailer park -- for artists only. Curbed

- The Coney Island Polar Bear Club jumped into the icy cold Atlantic Ocean Sunday morning. NY1

- Holiday survival tips for cougar women. Huffington Post

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not Quite the Christmas Spirit

Somehow these happy holiday wishes just don't hit the right note.

Seen at 60 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights.

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Super Sledding at Hillside Dog Park, Brooklyn Heights

Kids in Brooklyn Heights have been waiting a looong time for a decent snowstorm, and this weekend's blast was perfect for sledding. Usually used as a dog run, Hillside Dog Park converts to a super sledding hill when the white stuff gets deep enough.

Everyone had a big grin on their face.

Big kids and little kids . . .

This dog was excited and a bit confused by all that cold white stuff.

Hang on!

Whoohoo! Cool Dad attempts to surf down the hill on a piece of cardboard. (It didn't quite pan out.)

Later Sunday, on another hill in DUMBO, some folks tore the fin off a surfboard and literally surfed down the hill. Kowabunga!

Check out the photos of some guys snowboarding in Carroll Gardens at the Pardon Me For Asking blog. Dude!

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Brooklyn Heights 'Christmas Card'

Karl Junkersfeld sent in a "Christmas Card" made of scenes he took while walking around Brooklyn Heights in the snow this weekend. (See the link below for Mr. Junkersfeld's Cadman Plaza history video.)

The Heights is so picturesque in the snow! Thanks, Karl.

- Great Cadman Plaza History Video by Mr. Junkersfeld

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm in Brooklyn

We had a dusting of snow and high wind this afternoon, but now a calm has settled over Brooklyn. Tiny snowflakes blow about as we wait for the much bigger nor'easter, which should hit in about an hour and a half.

Above, Cadman Plaza Park in the dusk. The soccer players have gone home.

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

With Tears, Sash and Flowers, Miss G Train Is Crowned

Last month Williamsburg's City Reliquary Museum decided to crown a lucky gal or guy “Miss G Train” in connection with photographer Fiona Gardner's "Meet Miss Subways" exhibition.

Now that the Doomsday Budget has been passed, this is particularly touching since the MTA will soon be cutting back on G train service.

There were gorgeous gowns, hokey songs, talent and tears. Did you miss the big night? So did we, dammit.

Yesterday, however, BCAT sent us an email saying that BCAT TV's Fred Brown was there! Click here to see his video of the evening's moving events.

- Last Day to Enter Miss G Train Contest

Photo courtesy of BCAT TV

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

'La bohème' at Heights Players Next Weekend (Updated)

The Martha Cardona Theater, in association with the Heights Players, presents La bohème.

Performances will be Sunday, December 27, at 1 and 6 pm, at the Heights Players, 26 Willow Place, Brooklyn Heights. For tickets, please call 347-768-4182. All tickets cost $25.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Atheists Sue Catholic Bishop In Brooklyn

The NYC Atheists and a group of clergy sex abuse survivors filed simultaneous lawsuits in Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday, reports the Brooklyn Eagle.

They claim that Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn endorsed political candidates, which is a illegal for a church.

The atheists and the victims of clergy sexual abuse say that Di Marzio recorded robocalls praising Lopez (and those candidates he backed) -- to reward Lopez for opposing a bill that would have tangled up the church in more sexual abuse lawsuits.

Our favorite comment by Lopez: “It’s a group that doesn’t believe in Christmas ornaments or trees.”

Hey. Tough talk.

More here.

Photo by Atheist Bus Canada, Creative Commons

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Great Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn History Video by Mr. Junkersfeld

When you have eight minutes to spare, wander over to the Brooklyn Heights Blog and watch Mr. Junkersfeld's video about what the Cadman Plaza area in Brooklyn Heights/ Downtown Brooklyn looked like before they built the park and knocked down the Fulton Street El.

The sight of an elevated train running around Borough Hall Plaza is pretty shocking. Take a look at the photo we borrowed from that period from the Library of Congress (above left). We're looking north from Borough Hall.

Behind the elevated train is a building that, at first glance, appears to be the present day Post Office. But note the shape of the tower is slightly rounded. What we're seeing is actually the old Brooklyn Eagle building, which was north of the Post Office.

Present day Columbus Park and Post Office

It was a beautiful building but it was knocked down to build the present day Supreme Court building (left).

Henry Ward Beecher's statue
was moved from Borough Hall Plaza to its present location at the north end of Columbus Park, near the Post Office (photo, right).

It's amazing to see the El running along what is now called Cadman Plaza West (back then it was called Fulton Street). The tall Cadman towers were not yet built.

All in all, it appears that Cadman Plaza and the surrounding neighborhood was a much more congested urban environment than it is now. Kudos to Mr. Junkersfeld for this great effort.

To see an absolutely unbelievable photo of what is presently called Cadman Plaza East with the Post Office, Brooklyn Eagle building, Alcazar Theater, a dance academy and Brooklyn Borough Hall in the distance, see

Print on top left courtesy of Library of Congress
All other photos copyright MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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:

- Hotel Toshi is looking for a strong "workhorse" type individual with great organizational and interpersonal skills to assist with the daily operations of the hotel. ("If you are an aspiring party planning mogul, this is the perfect job to start out in.") Craigslist

Perelandra Natural Foods in Brooklyn Heights needs a cashier. $9/hr. Craigslist

- The Brooklyn Historical Society seeks a map cataloger for rare and old maps. Need a Masters in Library and Information Science. Publicboard

- A small jewelry company seeks a part-time production assistant with an interest in fashion. Craigslist

- City Aquarium, a custom aquarium design and fabrication company, is looking for a full-time aquarium installer. Interviewing Dec. 21. Craigslist

- A busy Gravesend office is looking for a
Jack-of-all-trades. Craigslist

- The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is searching for a temporary website production assistant. 37signals

- Procter & Gamble is looking for a part-time field service technician in Brooklyn. May involve crawling under sink areas to install equipment. P&G

A bakery specializing in Australian/New Zealand meat and vege pies and espresso is looking for a special "Person Friday." Craigslist

A furniture maker in the Brooklyn Navy Yard seeks an entry-level workshop assistant to make furniture deliveries, perform maintenance, sanding and finishing. $9/hr. Craigslist

- The new
Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites at 181 Third Ave. needs a General Manager and a Director of Sales. (Opening in July 2010.)

- The Brooklyn Youth Chorus seeks a development and marketing associate. Just Means

- Chuck E. Cheese's needs a mid-level manager. NYT/Monster

A "very busy restaurant" in North Williamsburg is looking for a waitress and a hostess. Craigslist

- The Alex Figliolia Water and Sewer Company in area code 11215 needs a "gal Friday" to answer phones, assist in accounts payable, etc. NYT/Monster

- Sweet Melissa's on Court Street in Cobble Hill needs a brunch cook. Craigslist

- A Brooklyn-based, cause-related communications firm is seeking a
part-time Communications Manager to write press releases, speeches, etc. Craigslist

- Packer Collegiate Institute needs a Director of Athletics and some coaches. NYT/Monster

- A faith-based Brooklyn television station is looking for a production coordinator. NYT/Monster They also need a Director of Finance.

- Brooklyn Workforce1 Career Center on Bond Street will have various employers, including the Census folks, at the office today. Craigslist

Find all Brooklyn Headhunter posts here.

Photo by MikeColvin82, Creative Commons license

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Less Stalled Development in Downtown Brooklyn

City Point, the major development proposed for Albee Square in Downtown Brooklyn, has received its preliminary allocation of $20 million in triple-tax exempt bonds from the federal stimulus program and will restart construction in early spring, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

According to NYC's EDC, the bonds will be issued on Feb. 17, 2010. (The project was originally slated to be completed in 2010.)

That makes one less stalled development in Brooklyn, Land of the Frozen Construction Project.

The complex will now be built in two phases, according to the Observer.

Rendering courtesy of architects GreenbergFarrow

- 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)

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Brooklyn's Toxic Preschool' Boss Andy Lewis Gets 18 Months

Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto late Friday sentenced Boerum Hill's infamous "Toxic Preschool" boss, Andy Lewis, to serve 18 months, reports the Brooklyn Eagle. Lewis was convicted of misappropriating more than half a million dollars in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds.

With credit for time already served, this comes to about a year. Not bad for a half a million, plus maybe a hundred thousand more in unreturned deposits conned from unsuspecting families.

So where is the money? No one knows, except Lewis, who claims he spent it on staff salaries but seems to have no paperwork to back that up.

The money was supposed to be spent on hot meals for low income kids at his daycare and after-school centers. The kids never got a thing to eat aside from the occasional cracker.

Andy Lewis, Brooklyn's 'Toxic Preschool Director,' Sentenced to 18 Months Brooklyn Eagle

- Brooklyn's 'Toxic Preschool' Head, Andy Lewis, To Be Sentenced Friday
- Brooklyn's Toxic Preschool Owner Opening Up a Summer Camp
- Brooklyn's Toxic Preschool Boss Charged with Fraud McBrooklyn
- Brooklyn 'Toxic Preschool' Parents Out of Luck? McBrooklyn
- Promises of Refund to Parents Underline History of Scandal As Toxic Preschool Moves On Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic' Preschool Families Get Help From Brooklyn Borough Hall Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic Boerum Hill Preschool to Reopen, Director Says McBrooklyn
- 'Toxic' Brooklyn School to Reopen? Brooklyn Eagle

- More Trouble at 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill McBrooklyn
- 'Toxic' Preschool Parents Wonder: Where's the Money? Brooklyn Eagle
- Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool Nightmares A Child Grows in Brooklyn
- Toxic Preschool in Brooklyn? Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill McBrooklyn

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Brooklyn Drummer Troy Young Found Dead and More Brooklyn briefs

- Police are still investigating the shooting of Brooklyn drummer Troy Young, 29, who was found dead in his apartment Friday. Young lived on Fourth Street in Carroll Gardens. nbcnewyork

- Why Brooklyn Industries manufactures stuff in China. Business Week

- The MTA is toying with the idea of eliminating free MetroCards for hundreds of thousands of students. Daily News

- A Brooklyn man is charged to beating a cat to death with an umbrella. Gothamist

- OTBKB presents a Park Slope holiday gift guide. OTBKB

- The 'Bernie Madoff of Bay Ridge' is indicted in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Eagle

- Cosmo gets excited about Anne Hathaway's black Armani dress, blazer, and leggings at the BAM Belle Reve Gala. Cosmopolitan

- Google Easter egg -- a countdown brings us to January 1st -- but why? Tech Crunch

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Infamous Ms. Brito, Bike Clowns and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The Brooklyner, Brooklyn’s newest and tallest apartment tower at 111 Lawrence St. at MetroTech, threw a little party Monday. Brooklyn Eagle

- The infamous Ms. Brito rumor Facebook page.

- Don't you hate it when bike clowns take over Brooklyn bike lanes? Brooklyn Vegan

- Menorah lighting and other Brooklyn Heights Chanukah events. Brooklyn Heights Blog

- The city is offering swine flu shots to all comers. New York Times

- Seems the cover on the salt pile at the piers along Columbia Street is starting to come loose and salt is blowing everywhere. The Word on Columbia Street via Curbed

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Update On Church vs. Bike Lane in Brooklyn Heights

Blogger Ink Lake created quite a stir with his crusade against car-parkers in the bike lane in front of the First Presbyterian Church on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. (There are more than 80 comments about this issue on the Brooklyn Heights Blog.)

Every Sunday cars clog the bike lane, says Ink Lake: "Apparently, they have some 'understanding' with the 84th Precinct, whereby if they put a sign in their window that they are attending church, they don't get ticketed . . ."

Here's an update: Ink Lake went out to the church again recently to see how the parking was shaping up. As he walked down the street, taking movies of all the parked cars, a reporter from News 12 Brooklyn showed up. Here's the result:

Ink Lake had a discussion with Reverend Stephen Phelps about the problem (which seems to pit church history against bike riders). Read about it here at Ink Lake.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brooklyn's 'Toxic Preschool' Head, Andy Lewis, To Be Sentenced Friday*

Remember Boerum Hill's infamous "Toxic Preschool"?

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that Andy Lewis, the director the Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool — which closed in 2007 after shocked parents discovered that it had no heat, exposed wires, unpainted walls and noxious fumes — is scheduled to be sentenced Friday before Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto on charges of stealing more than half a million dollars in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds.

Lewis still owes thousands of dollars to the parents who signed up for his failed preschool in Boerum Hill. This past March he tried to open up a summer camp in Fort Greene; this idea was canned when angry parents planned a protest there to warn new parents not to leave deposits.

According to the Eagle, Lewis repeatedly tested positive for cocaine use after he was arrested in 2008. This past July, he was jailed after testing positive for cocaine the ninth time.

*(UPDATE: Oops -- we meant Friday, not Thursday as we originally published.)

- Sentencing for ‘Toxic Preschool’ Head Set for Friday Brooklyn Eagle

- Brooklyn's Toxic Preschool Owner Opening Up a Summer Camp
- Brooklyn's Toxic Preschool Boss Charged with Fraud McBrooklyn
- Brooklyn 'Toxic Preschool' Parents Out of Luck? McBrooklyn
- Promises of Refund to Parents Underline History of Scandal As Toxic Preschool Moves On Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic' Preschool Families Get Help From Brooklyn Borough Hall Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic Boerum Hill Preschool to Reopen, Director Says McBrooklyn
- 'Toxic' Brooklyn School to Reopen? Brooklyn Eagle

- More Trouble at 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill McBrooklyn
- 'Toxic' Preschool Parents Wonder: Where's the Money? Brooklyn Eagle
- Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool Nightmares A Child Grows in Brooklyn
- Toxic Preschool in Brooklyn? Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill McBrooklyn

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Rachel Trachtenburg’s Sweet 16 Show Dec. 13

Miss Rachel Trachtenburg will be turning 16 and is throwing a birthday party/massive show this Sunday, Dec. 13 at House of Yes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Rachel appeared on the cover of the very first Time Out New York Kids. But now that's she's turning 16, she's emerging from her family's "indie-vaudeville-conceptual-art-rock-slideshow" band, The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, and has formed her own indie-bubblegum band, Supercute, with Julia Cumming and June Lei. All together, they add up to about 40 years old.

She's inviting some friends -- including fellow teenage musical talents Care Bears On Fire -- to the party and onto the stage.

The festivities will include a "Red Carpet/Prom-style" photo shoot and plenty of vegetarian chili corn chip pie.

(Supercute from left: Julia Cumming, Rachel Trachtenburg and June Lei)

Sunday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m., $10 at House of Yes, 342 Maujer St.

Here's Supercute's "The Hula Hoop Song" video:

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clairvoyant Pop-Up Shop in Williamsburg This Weekend, Dec. 10, 11, 12

Are you lost about what gift to get for that special person who seems to have everything?

Then this is for you: a “clairvoyant” pop-up shop is opening this weekend in Williamsburg. Here's the message we received (by totally normal means) yesterday:

"Let the spirit of giving flow through you and she will guide you to the perfect gift ... We are catering to the customer who just doesn’t know what gift to get for a special friend or relative. Clairvoyant Judith Auora Ryan will be available to read our patrons and select the perfect gift."

Why the clairvoyant? Because, as 303Grand explains, the pop-up shop will offer a range of items from independent retailers, designers and artists – all wrapped in identical white packaging.

You will totally need the clairvoyant to pick out the right gift.

Lest you think that some shopkeeper is planning to pile on the bangles and murmur some mumbo jumbo, think again. Ms. Ryan's clairvoyant credentials are sterling.

More fun: it's a Subports Retail Experiment. From Core77:
"Subports is a new design retail experiment, where customers use text messages to purchase items. This twist frees the shop from a format that requires four walls and a roof, allowing Subports to disperse their wares throughout the city, in fake street bazaars or hidden within book safes."

December 10, 11, 12, 2009
Noon – 10 pm, Daily at 303 Grand St. Brooklyn, NY 11211

Involved in the experience are:

Alleged, Alter, Aaron Linn, Amron Experimental, Article 22, byAMT Inc., Cabinet, City Reliquary, Craighton Berman, Design Glut, GOODyoga, grow house grow, In God We Trust, KIOSK, Plex Design, Studio Vandenberg, Sakurako Shimizu, Mock Supply Company, Other, Music, R&E Praspaliauskas, tinyhearts, Vena Cava

All items will be sold via text message. To pre-register for the event visit

To learn more about Subports Retail Experiments check out

Photo: Fortune Teller by myjedilightsaber

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wash Ave Wonderland Thursdays Coming Up

The Washington Avenue-Prospect Heights Association (WAPHA), a community partnership along the Washington Avenue commercial corridor in central Brooklyn, sent us word that Jamila’s (top photo) and Awedacityt (bottom photo) invite all residents and visitors to Wash Ave Wonderland Thursdays from 6 – 9 p.m. on December 10 and 17.

The event includes complimentary beauty consultations and samples from Divine Connections Hair Spa and ibeauty bar, and delicious hor d’oeuvres from Abigail’s Café and Wine Bar and Udom Thai Restaurant.

Thursday, December 10:
-Awedacity (located at 806 Washington Avenue) will host ibeauty bar & Udom Thai Restaurant.
-Jamila’s (located at 461 Sterling Place) will host Divine Connection Hair Spa & Abigail Café & Wine Bar

Thursday, December 17:
-Awedacity (located at 806 Washington Avenue) will host Divine Connection Hair Spa & Abigail Café & Wine Bar.
-Jamila’s (located at 461 Sterling Place) will host ibeauty bar & Udom Thai Restaurant.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hitting Brooklyn Craft Fairs for Holiday Shopping

Craft fairs are a good way to shop Brooklyn and they are more holiday-ish than department stores.

So this past weekend we dragged our sorry selves through the cold rain and hit the always-dependable Brooklyn Friends Winter Festival/Holiday Craft Fair.

We were glad we made the effort. Besides snagging some cool handcrafted wooden bracelets and a T-shirt showing a cat inside a whale, there was delicious food and lots of kids in a holiday mood.

After that we ran over to the First Unitarian Church for the annual Unifair (don't you always think that says Unfair?) to find treasures in the piles of used clothing, jewelry, baked items, etc.

We always go for the books but people were scooping up jeans and assorted knick knacks. The carols around the piano and warm lunch made for good holiday vibes.

There are plenty of holiday craft fairs coming up in Brooklyn this weekend and the next as well.

This weekend, you can pick between the annual craft festival at the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Third Ward Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair, the St. Ephram's fair, and Royale Bar's fabulous flea. Details can be found at the Brooklyn Eagle.

The following weekend -- the final shopping weekend before Christmas -- the Brooklyn Lyceum Holiday Craft Market will bring together more than 60 local artisans for excellent last-minute shopping.

More about the Brooklyn Lyceum's fair here.

UPDATE: Just got word that the Brooklyn Artists Gym is holding a Holiday Art and Gift Sale Sunday, Dec. 13 from 1 - 5 p.m. (continuing to Dec. 23). Opening reception from 1-5 on Sunday the 13th: hot toddies to keep away the cold. Give art and artifacts as holiday gifts.

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

Where To Drop Off Your Gently Used Coats In Brooklyn

We keep saying we've got to drop off those coats that we don't use anymore . . . but where where is it again where we're supposed to drop them off?

Answer: At any of the locations (mostly police precincts) shown on the map above. The live Google map with exact addresses can be found here.

Through the New York Cares Coat Drive, New York Cares collects nearly 70,000 gently used winter coats each December and distributes them to thousands of men, women, and children who would otherwise be cold. You don't need it, someone else does. Simple!

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meyhem in Bed-Stuy, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Mayhem broke out in Bed-Stuy last night (Sunday about 9:30 p.m.) when a woman heard a commotion and went outside at Clifton Place and Franklin Avenue. She was shot in the head and killed, a 14-year-old was shot in the leg, and a man was assaulted. abclocal UPDATE: nbcnewyork has more details.

- For sale in Greenpoint: Oxygen. newyorkshitty

- A Neo-Nazi blogger's fate is now in the hands of a Brooklyn jury. Brooklyn Eagle

- The Daily News paired up with IKEA Brooklyn to find the messiest kid's room in town. The prize was a total room makeover, courtesy of IKEA. Here's a video of the disasterous winning room and what it looked like when IKEA was done with it.

- The long-delayed Park Slope Armory’s rebirth as a neighborhood recreation center is now imminent, The Brooklyn Paper says.

- In one of the largest mass demonstrations in recent history, over one million women claiming to have had sexual liaisons with Tiger Woods marched on Washington yesterday. Huffington Post

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Christmas Creche Returns to Brooklyn Borough Hall

The wise men, a shepherd, Joseph, Mary and animals admire the Child in his manger in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court in Columbus Park, Brooklyn Heights.

The creche is installed every year by The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

- Christmas Creche at Brooklyn Borough Hall 2007

Photo by MK Metz

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'White Collar' Filming at Brooklyn Borough Hall, But Show May Be 'Rethought'

Those bright lights you may have seen Friday afternoon and evening outside Brooklyn Borough Hall were meant to simulate sunshine inside the venerable building, where an episode of "White Collar" was being filmed. (You can just make out one lonely technician huddled atop the lighting platform.)

White Collar is a USA Network crime comedy-drama television series created by Jeff Eastin, starring Matt Bomer as con-man Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay as Special Agent Peter Burke, according to Wikipedia.

This past Friday's episode was the last for a while; the show will be returning on Tuesday evenings, beginning January 19, 2010.

Now there's controversy over Friday's cliffhanger where everything you thought about certain characters was wrong: The show is being "rethought," reports a commenter on IMDB. "Due to the number of complaints, they're considering rethinking the rest of season one," creator Jeff Eastin tweeted Saturday night. "Trying to prevent that." Twenty minutes later, the Tweet was removed.

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, December 4, 2009

The Case Against Hannah Senesh's Carroll Gardens Expansion

According to Carroll Gardens CORD, departing Councilman Bill de Blasio will be introducing a bill to amend "old Brooklyn Law" on December 9th. He will be requesting a change that will allow the Hannah Senesh School (in the Google image above) to build a two story structure on a courtyard on a "Place" block, in this case First Place at Smith Street.

These courtyards are specifically protected under old Brooklyn Law from having any structures built upon them.

The Pardon Me For Asking Blog makes a clear case against the Hannah Senesh School's expansion into the courtyard, which the school is presently using for a parking lot.

The "parking lot," PMFA points out, is actually "city owned and protected by a 150-year-old law which states that the unique wide gardens of the neighborhood's Place blocks can not be built on or used for parking.

"The change would amend the old law by excluding the corner of Smith Street and First Place. Hannah Senesh will then negotiate with the city to buy the publicly owned land for a token sum ( $1 has been suggested) and build a two story extension." (See PMFA earlier post with photos.)

The Carroll Gardens Courtyard History Blog posts a copy of the Old Brooklyn law here.

We have nothing against Hannah Senesh, which we hear offers a great education to its students. But there are bigger issues here, as PMFA points out. Carroll Gardeners are pissed, and rightfully so.

BTW, a NYC Lobbyist search shows that Kenneth Fisher was paid $7,500 by the school to lobby these groups in 2008 for the "acquisition of a lot currently owned by the City of New York": Brooklyn Office of City Planning, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, New York City Council, Office of the Mayor of New York, New York City Department of Transportation. The current building was completed in April 2007.

UPDATE: PMFA blog supplies a letter you can send off to de Blasio and other officials here.

UPDATE: A de Blasio spokesperson and Ken Fisher tell the Brooklyn Eagle why they think the school expansion is a good idea.

- CORD To Brooklyn Councilman de Blasio: "Wish You Were Here"

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thompson to 'Vigorously' Fight Bloomberg Brooklyn House of Detention Lawsuit

On Monday, Mayor Bloomberg filed a lawsuit against Comptroller William Thompson to force him to sign off on a $34 million contract for an enlarged Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue.

Further details were released Wednesday -- such as the court date, which is set for Dec. 22, just 10 days before Thompson's term ends.

“We will vigorously defend the lawsuit,” Thompson told the Brooklyn Eagle Wednesday. He also said that he acted within his authority “by not registering a contract that was the product of a process that was improper and tainted by favoritism.”

Read the full story here.

- Comptroller Thompson Turns Down Brooklyn HOD Contract - Again
- Judge: Brooklyn House of Detention Can Reopen
- Brooklyn House of Detention Contract Rejected by Comptroller Thompson
- Anti-Jail Rally on Brooklyn Courthouse Steps Almost Didn't Happen
- 'Stop the Brooklyn House of Detention' Rally
- Don't Get Your Pants In a Twist Over Brooklyn House of Detention, Says Eagle
- Brooklyn House of Detention, Now With Retail
- Goodbye Supersized, Butt Ugly Brooklyn House of Detention Condos, Hello Bigger Jail
- Brooklyn House of Detention Forum Thursday -- Commissioner Horn Will Answer All Your Questions
- House of Detention Site May Be 'Most Valuable Square Block in Downtown Brooklyn'
- Brooklyn House of Detention Could Get 'Super-sized'

Photo by MK Metz

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After Work Shoe Shine and Hendrick's Gin in Boerum Hill Tonight (Thursday, Dec. 3)

We got an email from My Open Bar (a great guide to free booze) telling us that you can get a shoe shine from 6 - 8 p.m. tonight at Deity Supperclub, 368 Atlantic Ave. between Bond and Hoyt in Boerum Hill. They'll be serving Hendrick's Gin, no cover.

My Open Bar says, "Hendrick's Gin, for the uninitiated, is by far the best stuff on the over-saturated market. Tonight, taste why, and get your shoes shined, too. Bourgeois guilt not included."

My Open Bar, conceived and developed, respectively, by Rob Hitt and Seva Granik of Williamsburg, lists free drinking opportunities for every day of the week.

Photo courtesy of My Open Bar

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You're Invited to Council Member Letitia James' Holiday Party/ Toy Drive

Everyone's invited to Brooklyn Council Member Letitia James' Holiday Party/Toy Drive. Spread the joy -- bring an item for a child in need, like new unwrapped books, toys, coats, gloves, hats, or scarfs. The party takes place at:

Rustick Tavern, 471 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn (between Kent Avenue & Franklin Avenue) Thursday, December 17, 6 - 10 p.m.

For more information, please contact Council Member James' office at 718-260-9191. Music, hors d'oeuvres, cash bar.

Photo by Un Punto in Movimento, Creative Commons license

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Five Brooklyn Filmmakers Receive JT3 Artist Awards

We recently received word that five Brooklyn residents received the first-ever JT3 Artist Awards for emerging filmmakers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on October 22:

* Bridget Palardy, JT3 Artist Award of Distinction, $2,500
* Nikyatu Jusu, JT3 Artist Award, $1,500
* Wendy James, JT3 Artist Award, $1,000
* Chioke Nassor, JT3 Artist Award, $500
* Andrew Brotzman, JT3 Artist Award, $500

The celebration featured director Adam Brooks ("Definitely, Maybe") and was hosted by Tony-award nominated actor Brandon Victor Dixon.

Jesse and Judith Thompkins launched The Jesse Thompkins III Foundation for Young People in the Arts in memory of their son, a young filmmaker who was killed while jogging at the corner of Vanderbilt and Atlantic in Brooklyn on August 3, 2008.

JT3 Art chose Brooklyn as the focus of their 2009 grant program because of Jesse’s passion for the neighborhood.

See here for more photos and details of the event.

Photo: From left to right: Wendy James, Chioke Nassor, JT3 Art Chair Judith Thompkins, Nikyatu Jusu, Bridget Palardy (not pictured Andrew Brotzman)
Photo courtesy of JT3 Art

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Sticks and Stones Opening Tonight (Dec. 3, 2009) in DUMBO

The Giacobetti Paul Gallery (MADARTS) presents "Sticks and Stones" at 111 Front Street, DUMBO.

The opening reception is tonight, Thursday, Dec. 3rd from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sticks and Stones features the work of Kasia Polkowska, Robert Melzmuf, Donna Powers, Christine Staehelin and Amallia Orman.

From the gallery:
"Melzmuf's stoic stone and wood sculptures ground the space while the bold colors of Polkowska's cut glass landscapes command attention. Staehelin's abstracted landscapes paintings wash in gorgeous subtle palettes contrasted with her bold, minimal brushmanship. Powers' painting compliments Staehelin's, with tight imagery and a subtle hand in bold colors. Come and see the new work from the residents of MADARTS, have a glass of wine and meet the artists."

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Is Everybody Spying On Us?

We already know that every ad network in the world traces every web site we visit. But it's amazing to hear about how many requests for phone line and Internet surveillance the major communications companies receive from law enforcement and government agencies.

Verizon alone says that the company receives “tens of thousands” of requests annually for customer records and information from law enforcement agencies, according to an article in Wired.

In October, Sprint apparently served more than 8 million law enforcement requests for GPS data from mobile phones used by subscribers. That’s one request for every 6 people on the network. (WM Power)

The National Security Agency routinely examines "large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants." New York Times

Verizon, Cox Communications, Comcast, Yahoo and the others make a mint providing spying services to the government. Cox Communications, for example, charges $3,500 for the first 30 days of a wiretap, according to Wired. Yahoo refused to release how much it charges because it might "lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security." (heh)

Your friends, employees or business partners may be spying on you through your cell phone as well. According to the National Terror Alert blog, a security consultancy in Gloucester, Massachusetts puts the number of tapped phones in the U.S. at 3 percent -- that does not include government tapping. Your iPhone app may be spying on you, too.

Put that together with the psychological information that credit card companies compile about you from your buying habits (New York Times and Huffington Post), plus what your digital video recorder reveals about your TV habits, what your Internet use reveals about your state of mind and the information your rented car sends back to base, you're probably being tracked night and day.

Even your printer may be tracking you. Or your shoes!

By the way, we really like that shirt you're wearing. Is it new?

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The One Building In Brooklyn That Lost $80,000 in Value Over Six Years, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The state won't tell Daniel Goldstein or The Brooklyn Paper how it determined that the Atlantic Yards holdout's apartment is worth $80,000 less than he paid for it six years ago. (The Mafia probably has a word for it, though.)

- Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC DDC announced Tuesday that they are suing Comptroller William C. Thompson to try to force him to approve a contract in connection with the proposed renovation and expansion of the Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue. Brooklyn Eagle

- Brokelyn has put together a roundup of the first annual NYC Bloggers Do the Holidays Roundup, including a month's worth of free or cheap holiday-ish things to do.

- Grab your checkbook: Bond-rating agency Moody's has given a barely investment-grade rating to the bonds for the Atlantic Yards arena. The Empire State Development Corp. could make its initial bond offering as soon as today. No Land Grab (summary from other sites)

- A deer swam from New Jersey to Governors Island. Really. New York Magazine

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