Friday, January 29, 2010

If You Stayed Nine Nights In Each Hotel in the Brooklyn Pipeline . . .

. . . You'd be living the hotel life for a whole year, according to an article in the Brooklyn Eagle, which says 40 new hotels are on their way to the borough.

Eventually, there will be 2,500 hotel rooms in Downtown Brooklyn alone, including 650 rooms at the Marriott. There will be at least seven hotels in Gowanus. (Go figure.)

We were totally shocked, by the way, to see a new Super 8 Motel on Third Ave. (near President Street) the other day. Kind of a quiet neighborhood for a motel, isn't it? (Everyone in the car said, "What's a motel doing out here?" at the same time.) It's not open yet but the sign is up.

When we checked the Super 8 web site, it said the motel is surrounded by a "resort-style" neighborhood. Couldn't wait to see the resort so we checked with Google Maps and found this image of the street in front of the motel (you can see a bit of the motel to the far right).

Guess it depends on your definition of "resort." Our definition usually includes a water feature and drinks served in coconuts carved into funny monkey faces.

Super 8 is missing the boat here. They should market the unique Brooklyn urban experience to be found on Third Ave.: "One block from the South Brooklyn Casket Company!"  "Plenty of auto repair shops nearby!"

Photo by Google
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Brooklyn's Little Snowstorm

 It was just like a real snowstorm yesterday morning -- the driving flakes stuck to sidewalks, covered the grass and blew down the back of your neck.

On Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church looked the way it looked during snowstorms in the 1840's, when horse-pulled wagons clip-clopped by.

Cranberry Street was very quiet. 

But it was just a little snowstorm. By noon, the white-trimmed tree limbs and soft blanketed gardens were just a memory.

Photos by MK Metz
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why the iPad Will Be a Hit (and Why You Can't Buy It Yet)

No product can ever live up to the hype that the Apple iPad received be in the weeks and months before its release. Even so, not quite a day after its unveiling, it's occurring to us that the iPad concept is pretty hot.

How many times have you left your laptop at home when traveling or just going to work because it's just a pound too heavy and an inch too thick?

Just throw an iPad into your bag and there you go: you've got your movies, music, email, newspapers and ebooks on one slim device.You can surf the web or actually do some work (presentations, spreadsheets or even blog posting*).

The lack of a lid would actually be a plus on a crowded plane or train. A thin slate is as easy to read as an actual newspaper or magazine.

One big drawback: You can't multitask. Also, it's not a phone, a camera or a blender for that matter.  And if you need to do a lot of typing, you'll probably want to supplement the virtual keyboard with the keyboard dock or a Bluetooth keyboard.

Another plus: Apple's ebook reader allows for color and videos. No more lugging a lot of heavy text books around, and the iPad will help students take advantage of multimedia study guides.

Unfortunately, you can't buy this little baby yet and one big reason is hidden in tiny type at the bottom of Apple's iPad page:

"This device has not yet been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained."

Most likely Apple held off on applying for authorization from the FCC to avoid exposing the iPad to the world before the big announcement. Now, we wait.

UPDATE: And here are some reasons you may want to hold off on buying one.

* The lack of multitasking will put a serious dent in blog-posting, since you can only have one program open at a time.

Photo courtesy of Apple Computer
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brooklyn Trader Joe's, 8 a.m.

Apparently not that many people know that Trader Joe's now opens at 8 a.m., at least in Brooklyn. The TJ's experience without huge, jostling crowds is somewhat unnerving.

But we got used to it.

Photo by MK Metz

A Quick Look at Brooklyn's Tallest Building

We were walking down Lawrence Street the other day when we ran across the tallest building in Brooklyn.

It's The Brooklyner apartment building at 111 Lawrence in Downtown Brooklyn. It's either 515 or 516 feet tall (51 stories). That's one or two feet taller than the Williamsburg Savings Bank building. Here are a few quick facts to bring you up to date:

Brownstoner said that The Brooklyner was 20 percent rented as of Dec. 28, and that move-ins were underway.

Curbed noted the rather odd banner hanging off the side of the building.

The Brooklyn Eagle reported that the “pet-friendly” building has a dog shower on the fourth floor “so you don’t have to bathe your pet in your own apartment.”

The architect Randy Gerner, a partner in the firm of Gerner Kronick and Valcarel, told the Brooklyn Paper that the building is not ugly: “If you look closely, you’ll notice that the building gets lighter in color as it rises from the street. It gives the sense that the sun is shining, like looking at a mountain from far away.”

Do you see that? (We don't.)

Here's the view from the top of the Brooklyner from a helicopter.

A taller building may be built soon on Willoughby Street. 

Top photo by MK Metz
Bottom photo courtesy of Brooklyner

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Funny Business in Carroll Gardens and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A Brooklyn judge gave residents of two historic Bed-Stuy brownstones two more days to figure out how to save their homes from the wrecking ball.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Some funny business seems to be going on in Carroll Gardens with the Hannah Senesh School's Certificate of Occupancy. PMFA

- SHOP @ Green Desk, which will allow small businesses to have a combination office / retail space, will open in DUMBO in February.  Dumbo NYC

- Brokelyn is giving away a one-night freebie-ganza to Atlantic City! Brokelyn

- Probably a seventh hotel is going up in Gowanus. Brownstoner 

- Two suspected drug dealers fleeing their crashed car sideswiped parked cars on Remsen Street Friday. They were chased all the way from Cobble Hill.  Brooklyn Eagle

- How to live on $0 a day: job opportunities in the trickle-down economy.  Huffington Post

- Adoptive couples consistently prefer girls to boys, and they are seven times less likely to pursue an African-American baby than they are a baby of another race. NY Magazine

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Going Country for Coney: Jamboree, Music, BBQ on Saturday, Jan. 30

Citigrass, Pi├▒ataland, 2009 Fiddle Champion Rob Hecht, Central Valley Wildfire and Animal Pharm will headline the bill at a special event that benefits the advocacy group “Save Coney Island."  The “Gone Country for Coney” Jamboree will be held on Saturday, January 30th at Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main Street (at Water Street) in Dumbo, Brooklyn.  The event begins at 3:00 p.m. and runs until 9:30 p.m.

The event also features dance performances by the Prospect Cowgirls, country BBQ, raffle prizes and after-concert Burlesque.  Admission is $15 before 5 p.m. and $20 from 5 p.m. onward; a raffle ticket is given free with each admission.

Save Coney Island is a non-profit organization "committed to restoring Coney Island as a world-class amusement destination" for all.

For more, visit

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It Was Windy and Rainy in Brooklyn, Too

Pace University students who live in the dorms on Henry Street were hanging out in Brooklyn Heights Monday since the city shut down the school -- along with a good chunk of lower Manhattan -- because the strong winds were blowing all kinds of debris off buildings.

Several contractors will have to answer to this, according to the NY Times.

Meanwhile, we in Brooklyn suffered the indignity of broken umbrellas and very wet shoes. It was so windy on certain blocks and corners that people had a hard time walking and had to actually go inside somewhere till it blew over.

Photo by MK Metz
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall Tuesday for Health Care

After last Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts, many Democrats are considering watering down health care reform or abandoning it altogether.

So MoveOn members are organizing an emergency rally in Brooklyn on Tuesday to urge Democrats to show some backbone—starting with passage of a real health care reform bill.

The rally will take place at Brooklyn Borough Hall at noon tomorrow (Jan. 26). As of Sunday night, 82 people had signed up to participate at this rally at the MoveOn website -- other rallies are being held around the country. (You can search for a local rally here.)

Photo by Leoncillo Sabino, Creative Commons license / CC BY 2.0

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There Goes More Brooklyn History; Old Trolley Tracks Dug Up, Thrown Out

The trolley tracks leading towards Fulton Ferry Landing shown in this historic photo (courtesy of the Fulton Ferry Landing Assoc.) are being dug up and discarded by workers at the end of Old Fulton Street, according to a story in the Brooklyn Paper.

Preservationists and trolley fans are fuming, but the city doesn't think it's a big deal. While the city claims they just found one disassociated section of track, workers talking to the Brooklyn Paper said, “The tracks are all over the place. We have been removing big sections all day.”

Historically, Fulton Ferry Landing was a major terminus for trolleys in Brooklyn:

The above is from the Brooklyn Eagle, Jan 27, 1889.

So many thousands of riders took the trolley to the ferry landing that the tracks wore out and had to be replaced in 1902.

The above was published in the Brooklyn Eagle on April 2, 1902.

Bob Diamond is quoted as saying, “The tracks must still have at least 25 years of use in them . . . The asphalt is a pretty good preservative. The ones on Old Fulton Street being removed could be used to restore trolley service in Downtown Brooklyn.” Diamond's Brooklyn Historic Railway Association is rebuilding a trolley from Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Heck of a Taxi Fire in Brooklyn Heights

Firefighters rushed up the block to put out a doozy of a taxi fire on Cadman Plaza West near Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights yesterday afternoon about 2:30 p.m.

 According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the driver pulled over when he noticed smoke coming from the engine.

When he opened the hood, the fire erupted.

More details at the Eagle plus check out their photo of the car engulfed in flames (photo2).

Photos by MK Metz
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Woman Stuck at Borough Hall Station, Star Wars Night in DUMBO and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A woman got stuck between the platform and the train at Borough Hall Station in Brooklyn late yesterday afternoon. Gothamist 

- It's scaffolding -- and it's beautiful!  Brooklyn Eagle

- Rally in Carroll Gardens this morning to protest local bus cuts.  PMFA

- Did you know that last night was Star Wars Night in DUMBO? We didn't either.  Gelflog

- Animals continue to take over the city. NY Times City Room via NY Magazine

- How much to repair my crappy computer?  Brokelyn  

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KOMBIT: Party 4 Haiti in Brooklyn This Weekend, Jan 23

Lab 24/7 is throwing a great big fundraiser for Haiti this weekend. The event is called “Kombit” which means “to come together for the good of the community” in Haitian creole. Authentic Haitian food will be available, so come hungry!

Featuring (so far):
- Taylor McFerrin
- Mr. Reo
- Ayana Witter-Johnson
- Akua Taylor
- Freedom Band
- ArinMaya
- John Jai
- Jude Duvergar
$15 Suggested Donation; $4/$6 Drinks
All event proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ursa Major On Joralemon Street, Brooklyn Heights

This wire-frame bear on a window ledge on Joralemon Street reminded us of Ursa Major, the constellation which means Great Bear.

From Wikipedia: Ursa Major is dominated by the widely recognized Big Dipper, or Plough, which is a useful pointer toward north, and which has mythological significance in numerous world cultures.

We'd like to point out this bear's nose is pointing due north.

Photo by MK Metz

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Tapas in DUMBO, Poop in Carroll Park, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A new tapas restaurant -- ├▒/BK -- will open today at 81 Washington Street in DUMBO.  DumboNYC

- That's sweet: Greenpoint bride-to-be unearths her Brooklyn roots.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Here's a good wrap up of the Mayor's State of the City speech.  Crain's NY 

- Internationally acclaimed folk singer Kate McGarrigle, best known for performing with her sister Anna,  has died of cancer. Brooklyn Vegan

- Hey neighbor! You know Carroll Park is not a dog run, right?  PMFA

- Of course: Bank of China emerges as a major player in the U.S. real estate scene. The Real Deal
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Save Haiti Benefit Tonight (Jan. 21) at Night Owl

A Save Haiti Benefit / Silent Auction will be held tonight (Thursday, January 21st) from 7 - 12 p.m. at Night Owl, 170 North 4th Street in Brooklyn

- Optional Open Bar All Night with $30 donation

Hosted by Monica Sharp andthe Girls of Finderskeepers

Visit the Brooklyn Royalty blog for the full list of DJs, musicians and other contributors.All proceeds will be distributed equally to UNICEF, American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
For more details, to volunteer or give donations via email: 

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There's a Waffle Iron on Montague Street

The girls seem intrigued by the waffle iron left on the sidewalk on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. 

Photo by MK Metz
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Arby's Hires 100+ and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brooklyn organizations and representatives argued in state court Tuesday the Empire State Development Corporation improperly rushed through major changes to the Atlantic Yards project without legally required study. Mobilizing the Region

- But anyway, Barclay's Center construction is underway, and they closed down the homeless shelter. On Martin Luther King day. Brownstoner 

- Brokelyn puts her seal of approval on a $10 blow out from "a hair drying master." Brokelyn

- Arby’s first Brooklyn restaurant — scheduled to open Thursday in the historic Gage & Tollner space at 372 Fulton St. — has hired 110 employees, about 90 percent of the them from Brooklyn.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Are you uncomfortable with Big Brother collecting data about every web site you've visited, every question you've searched and every email you've sent? Here's how to hide from you-know-who.  Forbes

- Who says nonbelievers aren't generous? Now it's Atheists for Haiti. Huff Post

- Real estate crimes rise in New York and the U.S.  The Real Deal 
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Full Monty in Brooklyn Heights

Scene in front of Monty Q's on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Photo by MK Metz
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A Pastrami Sandwich That Brings Tears of Joy, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Where to find a five dollar brisket or pastrami sandwich that would make a 70-year-old Garment Center worker "cry tears of joy.” Brokelyn 

- It all started with two . . . A Brooklyn woman was found to have 35 cats crowded into her one-bedroom apartment.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Why is the Working Families Party ringing our doorbells at 9 p.m.?  PMFA

- NBC will pay Conan O'Brien $40 million to get out and shut up. WSJ

- Some people -- from 4 to 10 percent of viewers -- can't see 3-D movies and TV. CNN 

-  Scientists are trying to bring back from extinction a breed of giant, fearsome cattle that weighed more than a ton and had nasty tempers. Telegraph via Huff Post

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Brooklyn Heights Manhole Cover Explosions: Crews Work Into the Night

Well into the evening, emergency repair crews worked at the scene of Monday's spectacular manhole explosions on Joralemon Street at Willow Place in Brooklyn Heights. The general picture we've gathered from the sources listed below and from word on the street is that National Grid subcontractors, installing gas service at 25 Willow Place, struck an electrical line causing several manholes to explode near the transit substation on Joralemon Street.

Those plugged into the Notify NYC system received alerts all afternoon about the explosions and disruptions to the 2,3,4 and 5 trains at Borough Hall Station. (The alerts, issued by the Office of Emergency Management, worked pretty well we thought.)

- Notification 1 was issued at 1:21 p.m.:. "Emergency personnel are on the scene of multiple manhole fires near Joralemon Street and State Street in Downtown Brooklyn."

- Notification 2 was issued at 2:04 p.m.: "Previous manhole fires at Joralemon Street and Columbia Place have delayed or rerouted the 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains."

- The next notification was issued at 3:45 p.m.: "Due to previous manhole fires in Brooklyn the following area is closed to vehicles: Joralemon Street to State Street from Garden Place to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway."

- At 6 p.m. we received the final alert: "The MTA advises that the 2, 3, 4, and 5 subway lines have resumed normal service."

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, about 10 Joralemon Street and Willow Place homes were evacuated. We heard one woman on her cellphone, telling her shocked husband that they might have to spend the night at the nearby church (we're assuming St. Charles Borromeo?). Dangerous levels of gas were still being detected in some homes into the evening.

Gothamist has a good coverage of the day's events. Also visit: the Brooklyn Heights Blog for contributor photos, the Brooklyn Eagle and Yeshiva World News.

Finally, check out poster Bklyn20's comments on the Brooklyn Heights Blog. Bklyn20's points include: "National Grid et al must stop using upstate contractors on Brooklyn Hts jobs, unless they brief them first about the morass of water/electric/gas lines right under the pavement;" and

"Will this incident finally prove to the ESDC/BBPDC/DOT — to whomever is necessary — that Joralemon Street CANNOT be a vehicular entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park?"

UPDATE: The aftermath.

Photos by MK Metz

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Delay at Atlantic Yards' Barclays Center, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A switch in judges appears to be the reason for a six week delay in condemnation proceedings, meaning no major construction will take place at the Barclays Center site until spring. NetsDaily 

- The guy who shut down Kennedy airport yesterday was a Brooklyn man returning from Haiti.  NY1 

- The German government warns its citizens to stop using Internet Explorer. AHN

- Now, not enough nursing jobs. Crain's NY

- NY Times is ready to charge online readers.  NY Magazine
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Party for Haiti in Brooklyn Today (Jan. 17)

 Today at CastleBraid (114 Troutman St. in Bushwick) from noon to 9 p.m., Brooklyn musicians, artists and others are presenting "Haiti Matters to Brooklyn", an emergency fundraiser/ blow out party for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Live music, film screenings, dancing, an open bar courtesy of Brooklyn brewery -- get all the details here.

Party for Haiti in Brooklyn Sunday, Jan. 17

'Haiti Matters to Brooklyn' Emergency Fundraiser Sunday

Sunday at CastleBraid (114 Troutman st. in Bushwick) from noon to 9 p.m., Brooklyn musicians, artists and others are presenting "Haiti Matters to Brooklyn", an emergency fundraiser for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

There will be a raffle of prizes donated by corporate sponsors and local businesses as well as works donated by local artists, live music all day/night, screenings, dancing, and an open bar courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery. All proceeds go to the American Red Cross' Haitian relief fund.

There's a $10 min. suggested donation at the door. You can rsvp on facebook at    or, if you don't have facebook, rsvp here -
Performances by:
Jaleel Bunton of TV on the Radio
Yellowbirds (myspace/yellowbirds)
Aman Ellis (
VulpesVulpes (
Green Street Records (
Photon Dynamo & the Shiny Pieces Ellis Ashbrook (
My Cousin the Emperor (
And more.

Short Film Premieres:
Jason and Helena Madera, “The Little Birth that Could”
Andrew Raab and Co., “The George Series”

Even if you can't make it, you can help: Text HAITI to 90999 to make a donation to the Red Cross.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Never Would Be Too Soon . . . Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn

  " . . .never would be too soon never would be too soon never would be too soon . . ."
art by Julia Chiang

On Atlantic Ave. at Boerum Place in Brooklyn.

Photo by MK Metz
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Clam Shuck at the Brazen Head this Saturday (Brooklyn)

The Brazen Head bar's Winter Clam Shuck takes place this Saturday, January 16 from 5 - 10 p.m. Here's the deal:
- Little Neck Clams - $4.00 1/2 dozen
- Blue Point Oysters - $1.00 each
- Clam Chowders - $2.00 a bowl
Plus great Long Island Beers from Blue Point & Southampton Breweries: $5 a pint, all day - all night
What more could you want in a bar?

The Brazen Head is located at 228 Atlantic Ave. between Court and Boerum Place, in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

Photos by MK Metz
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earthquake: Brooklyn Will Shake More Than Manhattan

According to Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, when an earthquake hits the city, Brooklyn's going to shake more than Manhattan.

As reported in the Brooklyn Eagle, Manhattan is resting on rock, while Brooklyn is sitting on sediment. So a tremor you would hardly feel in Manhattan will cause rocking and rolling in Brooklyn. Dr. Kim suggests securing bookcases to the wall and lists other preventative measures.

While smaller quakes are common, the last big quake in Brooklyn (about a 5.2) took place in 1884.

In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan  Brooklyn Eagle

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Beautify Coffey Park in Red Hook for Martin Luther King Day

A Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service event called "Bridging Barriers Through Arts and Culture" will take place January 18 from 10am to 2pm at Coffey Park House in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

There will be activities for the entire family. Events will include Park Beautification, Community Unity Quilt, Peace Bracelets, History of Martin Luther King and Lunch.

For more information: please contact Leslie Carrasquillo at 718-923-8242

Photo by Dick DeMarsico, World Telegram staff photographer
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brooklyn's B25 Bus Restored, The Rest Should Be Too -- Markowitz

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz sent out this statement regarding the B25 bus, saved from the chopping block because it's the only bus going to Brooklyn Bridge Park:

“I am thrilled to see the MTA coming to its senses and taking the proposed cuts to the B25 bus route off the table. This is one of the most important lines in Brooklyn, and one that unites Fulton Street’s busy commercial corridors. However, this is only a start. The MTA still plans on massive cuts to other services and routes—such as the B37, B16, B4, X27, X28 to Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Southwest Brooklyn, or the B75 through Downtown Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope—all on the chopping block. Additionally, the MTA still threatens to eliminate student MetroCards, placing the burden on 500,000 school children. These reductions, along with the others, will cut off thousands of commuters from accessing the City and their livelihoods. I implore the MTA to seriously consider alternatives to these cuts—including the use of capital money (as Speaker Quinn has proposed) to temporarily plug the budget gap.”

- MTA's Bus Cuts Will Hit Bay Ridge Seniors Especially Hard 
- Bus Cuts: Manhattan Riders Yelling Louder
- Crucial Brooklyn Bus Routes Face the Ax

Photo by MK Metz
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Bedbug Detection System, Barclays Center On the Map, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Cheap do-it-yourself bedbug detection system.  Wired via  Brokelyn

- Parents fight to keep special needs preschool open.  Cobble Hill Blog  

- Recently killed Brooklyn strongman Joseph Rollino, 104, rescued his men during WWII four at a time -- two under each arm. He brought them back behind the lines and then went out for more.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Alex Paterson, the 15-year-old son of Gov. David A. Paterson, was questioned on Tuesday in New York after police officers found him and his friends playing dice on the Upper West Side. NYT Cityroom

- The proposed Barclays Center Arena at Atlantic Yards is already on Google Maps. Curbed

- Opening reception for "Hall of the Gowanus" at Proteus.  PMFA

- Google threatens to shut its Chinese web site after a “highly sophisticated” attack aimed at human-rights activists. Bloomberg

- Solution to world problem number 1: Let's have TWO Tonight Shows!  Huffington Post 

Green Thing With Eyeball in DUMBO

Not sure what it is but it's green and it lives on a pole on Washington Street in DUMBO.

There are apparently 30 of them.

Photos by MK Metz
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How to Help Haiti

There have been at least two significant aftershocks since a quake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale hit Haiti yesterday near Port-au-Prince.  Landlines and cell phones are down and widespread death and destruction are feared.

Garry Pierre-Pierre, the editor and publisher of The Haitian Times, based in Brooklyn, told the NY Times that he had finally reached a friend in Port-au-Prince after hours of working the phones. She told him, "A lot of people are sitting or sleeping in front of the rubble that used to be their homes.”

How to Help:

American Red Cross Donation Line (you can specify Haiti)

UNICEF Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund (for the children)

Text “Yele” to 501501 to donate $5 to Wyclef Jean’s earthquake relief fund.
Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross.

UPDATE: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio send this message:
"I encourage anyone who is trying to get information about U.S. citizens in Haiti to contact the American Citizens Services at 888-407-4747.  In the coming days, I will be working with community organizations and my colleagues in government to assist with relief efforts."

UPDATE 2: Brooklyn mobilizes to help Haiti. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Odd Red Bird on Cadman Plaza West, Brooklyn

 So this red bird was walking down Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights the other day, and due to its inability to speak, we didn't know what to make of it. Friendly little feller, though. It flapped around for a while and then flew off.

Later, we found out the bird was part of Craig Carton's entourage, on his trek across the Brooklyn Bridge. Other members of the entourage included a marching band, women in bikinis and various Jets fans.

Still not sure what the red bird has to do with it all.

Photo by MK Metz 
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MTA's Bus Cuts Will Hit Bay Ridge Seniors Especially Hard

Did you know that there are so many seniors in Bay Ridge it is a "Naturally Occurring Retirement Community" (NORC)? About 43 percent of households there are headed by people over 60, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The sad part of this is that Bay Ridge is one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the MTA's "Doomsday" budget cuts. One of the many bus lines the city plans to cut is the heavily-used Third Avenue B37 bus. The MTA also proposes eliminating all weekend service on the B4 between Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay, the B16 between Bay Ridge and Kensington, and the X27 and X28 Manhattan express buses. (See here for the full story.)

Seniors in Bay Ridge are upset and worried. The MTA is acting like bus lines in place since the 1940s (like the B37) are suddenly a luxury, not a necessity.

Can it be that New York City can no longer afford the basic services -- transportation, education, sanitation -- that has made it work as a city all these years? What's next -- rolling brownouts?

- Bus Cuts: Manhattan Riders Yelling Louder
- Crucial Brooklyn Bus Routes Face the Ax

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Monday, January 11, 2010

'Roadify' to Expand with B67 Bus Info in Park Slope

The people who brought you parking spot locating via text-messaging in Park Slope, Brooklyn -- Roadify -- are expanding their services to include real-time bus transit information.

Their first service, ParkingAroundMe (PAM), launched this past November. The way it works is when a commuter is leaving a parking spot they text the location to an online database. People circling the block looking for a spot receive a list of these available spots. (You can see the spots folks gave to others since November on the map above.)

The new service, BusesAroundMe (BAM) will launch in a couple of week, Dan Robinson, a member of the Roadify team, said in an email to McBrooklyn. They're starting with the B67 route, which seldom sticks to its published schedule. People using the service will text something like "getting on the bus at 7 st." Roadify has the official bus schedules in their system and members farther down the line will receive something like, "2 mins ago bus at 7 st. 10 mins behind schd."

Both the parking and the bus service are completely free and will always be free, says Robinson. Visit the Roadify web site to join.

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Falling Fences, Vampire Weekend, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Karl Junkersfeld has created another enjoyable pictorial walk down memory lane, this time exploring the history of Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights Blog

- Did you see this happen? Man injured by falling construction fence at 360 Smith Street.  PMFA 

- Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride went off without a hitch yesterday, with roughly 3,000 participants.

- A new measure gets tough on curb cuts and front yard parking.  Brooklyn Eagle

-   An explosion occurred aboard the tanker “Sichem Defiance” about a mile off of Ceasers Bay, Brooklyn Sunday morning. The tanker was carrying 41,000 barrels of ethanol. Yeshiva World

- Vampire Weekend's new album Contra comes out Tuesday; the band plays in Williamsburg Jan. 17. NY Post

- A small New York subculture seek good health by returning to the habits of their Paleolithic ancestors.Or, as they describe themselves, they are cavemen. NY Times

- New study: Walmart brings zero jobs to Chicago.  Huffington Post 

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Arthur Miller's 'View From the Bridge,' Set in Red Hook, Opens Jan. 24

Liev Schreiber and and Scarlett Johansson will star on Broadway in Arthur Miller's "View From the Bridge," a hard-boiled drama set in 1950's Red Hook.

Called "Miller's most passionate and provocative play," View From the Bridge is set to open Jan. 24. Gawker's Richard Lawson was impressed by the previews --  ". . . one of the better productions I've seen on Broadway so far this theatre-year" -- and proclaimed, "Scarlett Johansson doesn't screw up once!"

Arthur Miller, considered to be one of the greatest dramatists of the twentieth century, lived for many years in Brooklyn Heights.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blast of Cold to Follow Today's Snow (Brooklyn)

Average temperatures for cities in the northern hemisphere this winter are on track to be the lowest in more than 30 years, said Joe Bastardi, the chief meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc.  in an article today in BusinessWeek.

Jim Rouiller, the senior meteorologist with Planalytics Inc. said that a blast of cold following today’s snow will bring the coldest temperatures of the season to the Northeast and Mid- Atlantic. That may mean “dangerously cold” wind chills over large parts of the Northeast. More here.

Photo by MK Metz

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Boymelgreen Gets the Boot, Freddy's Bar Issues 'Epic' Email, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Freddy's Bar issues the most epic email in the history of the Atlantic Yards resistance.Curbed

- The pregnant woman who collapsed in MetroTech's Au Bon Pain -- only to die without being helped by two paramedics on the premises -- may have died from asthma. Brooklyn Eagle 

- Students may not have to pay for their MetroCards after all. New York Magazine

- Developer Shaya Boymelgreen was hit with an eviction notice at his headquarters at 752 Pacific Avenue in Brooklyn. The Real Deal 

- Brooklyn real estate sales are still going down. Curbed

-Brooklyn school crossing guard becomes an expert on reincarnation. Brooklyn Eagle  

- Jay Leno may be moved back to 11:30 where he belongs. Crain's NY

- The most hilarious Wii accidents of all-time, on video.  Huffington Post

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Snow in Brooklyn to Reach One to Two Inches

According to the National Weather Service, a light snow will develop before Friday morning's rush hour and will continue into the day. Roadways may become snow covered; allow extra time to reach your destination. A total accumulation of one to two inches is expected.

Photo by MK Metz

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brooklyn Trader Joe's Having Trouble Restocking Shelves After Holiday Rampage

We tried shopping in Trader Joe's right before Christmas. Whoa! Words can't describe the mob. We never actually got into the store.

Went back yesterday and discovered that the store is still out of quite a few items -- whole wheat pita and frozen Naan bread, for example. 

This post on the Pardon me for Asking Blog provides photos of the even emptier shelves earlier this week.

Anyway, we recommend the new early 8 a.m. shopping hour. The store was blissfully uncrowded and the lines almost nonexistent. We loaded up on the items they did have, including some pretty convincing imitation meat stuff, crab cakes and vegetable gyozas.

Photo by MK Metz
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Concrete Coffins, IKEA Entertaining, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The new Atlantic Terminal rail station that opened officially on Tuesday is one of the most heavily armored facilities in the borough — ringed by no less than 14 mammoth concrete "coffins." Brooklyn Paper

- Wendy’s has leased 3,400 square feet on Livingston St.; Wi-Pie opens on Remsen St.  Brooklyn Eagle

Making a satisfactory dinner for five entirely from foodstuffs bought at IKEA. The Atlantic via Brokelyn

- How to avoid census scammers. OTBKB

- Simcha Felder accepted City Comptroller John Liu's job offer on Monday night, sparking a scramble for his council seat. Crain's NY  

- In inflation-adjusted terms, the Dow has returned only 0.99 percent a year over the last 80 years.CJR via Huffington Post

- A British teen and his dad were visiting Brooklyn when the lad developed an abscess the size of a golf ball and was taken to LICH for emergency surgery. Happy ending, for a change.  Brooklyn Heights Blog 

- Microbiologists found that 48 percent of sodas tested from the fast food fountains contain coliform bacteria, which is typically fecal in origin. Most bacteria found were antibiotic resistant. Huffington Post

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Tree Endgame in Brooklyn Heights

Discarded on the sidewalk,
Tinsel-covered trees
Shimmer in the cold hard light.

Photo by MK Metz 
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Beautifying the BQE Ditch, and More Brooklyn Briefs

 - George F. Will writes a spirited condemnation of the use of government-subsidized seizure of other people’s property for the enrichment of a private developer in Brooklyn. National Post

- The city has hired a team of architects to beautify the BQE ditch cutting through Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. Curbed

A 25-year-old aspiring Brooklyn filmmaker, Rory James O’Sullivan, died of a brain tumor. His friends had mounted a special “Rock4Rorz” benefit concert featuring notable area bands and a rare reunion of the Fugs, a legendary underground rock band from the 1960s. Brooklyn Eagle

The Clarette site at 340 Court Street in Carroll Gardens cleared a hurdle at a Community Board 6 Land Use Committee Meeting.  Pardon Me For Asking

- Former Comptroller Bill Thompson plans to "take another crack" at becoming New York's mayor in 2013. New York Magazine

- Hope is fading fast for Brooklyn's own Whole Foods.  NY Daily News 

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Insurance Trouble at Brooklyn's Long Island College Hospital (LICH)

This sounds remarkably like the Time Warner Cable / Fox kerfuffle we experienced recently, where Fox threatened to pull their shows unless Time Warner coughed up more money.

This time it's United Health Care vs Long Island College Hospital.

Because of a disagreement over fees, tens of thousands of United Healthcare customers — mainly those using Oxford — may not be able to be reimbursed for medical services at LICH, Beth Israel Hospital and other Continuum hospitals, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

United Healthcare has notified hundreds of Continuum’s affiliated physicians that they will be “terminated” on March 1. (United sent out this Jan. 1 termination letter to its customers in December.)

What to do if your doctor is affiliated with LICH or another Continuum hospital? Continuum provided some answers to the Eagle.

- Petition to Save LICH 
- Sucking Long Island Collage Hospital Dry? 
- Long Island College Hospital In Big Trouble

Photo of Amity Street in front of LICH by Uberzombie, Creative Commons license / CC BY 2.0

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Google Nexus One Website Opens for Orders

Google unveils its new Nexus One smartphone here.

More details about the Nexus One here.

Google's Nexus One Smartphone Announcement Set for Today

Joshua Topolsky has written an excellent, in-depth review on Engadget of Google's new Android-based smartphone, the Nexus One. The "Google Phone" has been eagerly awaited by those who look forward to its official announcement today at an "Android Press Gathering" in California.  

Key points, a la Topolsky: 
- A 'lustworthy" design
- Solid layout.
- 5 megapixel camera with flash takes sharp, detailed photos. 
- Runs atop the Snapdragon CPU
- Speedy, but not much speedier than the Droid
- Excellent touch sensitivity
- Problems with the screen's color balance, especially reds and oranges
- Hard to read the screen or take photos in bright sunlight
- Loud, clear sound quality through the earpiece; the loudspeaker, however, sounds tinny
- Reviewer's phone, connected through T-Mobile, couldn't always get a signal as well as a Droid connected through Verizon
- Download time 559Kbps
- Operating system very similar to the Droid with a few helpful improvements
- Underwhelming music player
- No multitouch. One finger only.
- No physical keyboard like the Droid has. Bummer.
- Battery performs admirably
- Pricing: $529.99 unchained, or $179.99 with a two-year agreement with T-Mobile (this is based on leaked documents and may change). 

Read the full review -- slathered with photos -- here.

According to TMO News, the Nexus One can be ordered through Google only as of Jan. 5 at 9 a.m. UPDATE: The Nexus One website is HERE.

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Would You Pay Fox a Dollar a Month? Take the Poll!

Would you pay a dollar a month extra to watch shows (House -- American Dad -- Family Guy -- Glee) on Time Warner Cable that Fox supplies for free over the air and online?

Fox and Time Warner recently settled their little argument about what Time Warner will pay Fox for its programming. Now we're waiting to see what the bill will be.

Would you pay a dollar on top of that $65 a month you're already paying Time Warner? Is it time for a la carte programming? (This allows you to pay for only the channels/shows you want to watch.)

Let us know what you think -- Take the poll on the sidebar to the right, under the long ad. We'll tally the results next week.

(Pictured is Alpha, our favorite character from Joss Whedon's Dollhouse.)

Would You Pay Fox a Dollar a Month?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Come All Ye Faithful: cHURCH OF MONIKA Opens In Brooklyn

Beginning Sunday, January 17 at 11a.m., the faithful are invited to the OPEN SOURCE gallery for the cHURCH OF MONIKA. 
The cHURCH OF MONIKA's mission is to use art as a surrogate for religion. They say they take "a non-denominational and tolerant attitude in our journey through life and our hope is to build an alliance with people of all faiths and world views. We suffer no delusions of grandeur, but seek only to inspire and be inspired by the art of life and community." 
The “Church” will be a moderated town hall type of meeting rather than a sermon with topics varying each week. Snacks and coffee will be served
On Jan. 17, Lily White will take the pulpit. On Jan 24th, The Union Street String Band will lead the inspiration. Open Call: artists, writers, etc. 
Open Source Gallery, 255 17th street between 5th and 6th Ave (street level) in South Slope, Brooklyn 

Photo: God's Grafitti, by Rodigo Paoletti, Creative Commons license

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Predictions For 2010, Brooklyn and Beyond

Will the stock market go up this year? What will Tiger Woods do next? Will stiletto heels come back into fashion?

Some folks have amazing foresight and have predicted what will happen in 2010. Using arcane methods (no, not Bing), we have uncovered these predictions, and are generously sharing them with you:

Predictions for 2010

- The American stock markets will rise by 10-15%, defying many observers. Seeking Alpha

 - Tiger Woods does not set foot on a golf course in 2010, but he will sit down with Oprah on a prime time TV special that will be the highest rated show of the year.  SeattlePI

- Russian academic Igor Panarin predicts the U.S. will fall apart. Around  early July, the U.S. will break into six pieces, with Alaska reverting to Russian control. Wall Street Journal 

- Facebook will go public and the IPO will be a huge financial success.  Sean Ammirati, COO readwritewe

- Tweeter Regular Ron predicts, "Joe Biden will step down as VP."

- Bin Laden dies; a secret experiment attempts to clone a famous person; Florida sees three major hurricanes. Psychics and Mediums Network

- There will be an above-average probability of major hurricanes hitting the U.S. this year.  Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University

- 2010 will mark the beginning of the end of U.S. dominance of the web. John Battelle's Search Blog

- The start of WWIII. The war will begin in November of 2010 and will end in October of 2014.  CompleteAll 

- Mobile devices will become our primary devices. Government 2.0 

- Stiletto heels and tie clips will make a major comeback. Digital City 

Brooklyn in 2010

It turns out that famous Brooklynites have also made predictions for the year 2010. In an article in the Brooklyn Eagle a number of Brooklyn residents -- from Borough President Marty Markowitz to Judy Stanton to Karen Auster -- share their revelations about the new year.

BP Markowitz predicts, among other things, that "the shovels will hit the ground on the Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project" and "Asbestos removal at Loew’s Kings Theater will get underway, bringing the famed theater one step closer to a new life."

Harold Egeln at the Eagle predicts that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will make a bid to buy the “gingerbread house” in Bay Ridge, up for sale at $12 million.

Read more Brooklyn 2010 predictions here.

Photo by Benleto, Creative Commons license

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Would You Pay Fox a Dollar a Month?

You may have noticed that Fox programming is still being shown on Time Warner Cable. According to Marketwatch, Reuters and WPIX a deal has been been reached, but no one is saying how much Time Warner has agreed to pay Fox for the "privilege" of broadcasting their shows.

We're told that Fox (owned by News Corp.) wants a dollar a viewer, per month. Naturally, whatever Time Warner pays Fox, it will eventually end up on your bill.

Would you pay a dollar a month extra to watch shows (House -- American Dad -- Family Guy -- Glee) that Fox supplies for free over the air and online? Would you pay a dollar on top of that $65 a month you're already paying Time Warner for channels you probably don't watch? Is it time for a la carte programming? (This allows you to pay for only the channels/shows you want to watch.)

Let us know what you think -- Take the poll on the sidebar to the right, under the long ad. We'll tally the results next week.

(Regardless, we're rewatching the first season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse on DVD tonight. We are just waiting for more Alpha.)

Fox / Time Warner Friday Night Deadline Looms