Friday, April 30, 2010

McBrooklyn Not Publishing Today

Our loved one, who has been sick since last September, died yesterday.

We won't be posting for a few days. Thanks for your patience and your good wishes.


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

AriZona = Brooklyn?

After a Twitterer urged a boycott of AriZona beverages because of Arizona state's new law requiring suspected illegal immigrants to show their papers, AriZona -- the beverage company, not the state -- defended itself.

As reported in the NY Times, Don Vultaggio, the founder and chairman of Arizona Beverages, posted a note on the company’s Web site headlined, “Arizona’s From New York.”

As a matter of fact, AriZona was started by, specifically, "two hard working guys from Brooklyn with a dream."

Not that state where immigrants, legal or illegal, and anyone who looks like an immigrant could be hounded.

Read the company's whole explanation here.

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Annual Brooklyn Heights Pagan Ritual: Saint Ann's Puppet Parade

Yesterday, the the Saint Ann's Puppet Parade -- the Brooklyn Heights' equivalent of Mardi Gras with a twist of pagan bacchanal -- made its joyful way down Montague Street and along the Promenade in a splendidly colorful celebration.

Jugglers, clowns and enormous puppets with even larger heads danced as the drums brought spectators out from restaurants and shops.

Very funny to see delivery drivers do double takes as the ten-feet-tall kings and queens bobbed down the street in the midst of hundreds of school children.

Photos by MK Metz

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ShopRite Coming to Brooklyn Navy Yard's Admiral's Row

A ShopRite supermarket will be constructed as part of a new development at the Admiral's Row site in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, according to Crain's NY.  The plan involves knocking down all but two of the 11 historic but crumbling structures. More at Crain's.

Rendering courtesy of GreenbergFarrow. 

- Curtains for Brooklyn Navy Yard's Admiral's Row? 
- Images From Admiral's Row Forum, Brooklyn Borough Hall 

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The Brooklyn Man Who Turned His Backyard Into a Farm, Now a Book

We first heard about Manny Howard, the Brooklyn man turned urban farmer with a vengeance, from New York Magazine back in 2007.

The magazine described Howard's backyard farm as: "An experiment in Brooklyn-style subsistence farming, starring smelly chickens, an angry rabbit, a freak tornado, a vegetable garden to die for, two psyched kids, and a marriage in the weeds."

Now there's a review of Howard's new full-length book "My Empire of Dirt: How One man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm" in the Brooklyn Eagle.

As described by reviewer Michael Astor, "Howard throws himself at this Quixotic endeavor with such gusto that it hardly bothers him when he slices off a finger, nearly wrecks his marriage and suffers from some very funky food poisoning. The ensuing trail of dead bunnies, ducks and chickens is merely collateral damage."

Brooklyn. Farmer.
That's why God made Trader Joe's.

Photo by MK Metz (on our own little urban farm here in Brooklyn).

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Orphaned Puppies, Brooklyn Heights Crime, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Orphaned puppies help hipsters find a date in Williamsburg. Gothamist

- Now there's a a garage for motorcycles and scooters in DUMBO (and they’re even planning BBQ’s). DumboNYC

- Murdered Brooklyn woman's bones found.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- Check out the ancient cars parked on Clinton Avenue.  Brownstoner 

- More crime on Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights? BHB

- The best restaurant in the world.  Huff Post 

- Study links chocolate and depression.  LA Times

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Monday, April 26, 2010

An Edgy Mother's Day, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A Mercado is coming to Red Hook  The Word on Columbia Street 

- A Brooklyn teacher's 1996 Honda was stolen three years ago, but was returned to her the other day -- with a new V-8 engine, leather seats, manual transmission, tinted windows and oversize tires. Christwire

- Yousef Al-Khattab, the man behind a radical Islamic web site, started out as a Jew in Brooklyn.  Brooklyn Ink

- How do wild weeds get all the way to an urban rooftop eight stories high? NY Times

- Stephen Hawking: If aliens visit Earth, we're in deep trouble. NY Magazine

- NY State is inviting programmers, hackers and other computer geeks to enter the Security Treasure Hunt Challenge. Brokelyn

- An edgy Mother's Day in Park Slope.  OTBKB

Brooklyn Property Auction Coming Up May 4

This unusual building at 280 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights (near Joralemon Street) is one of the properties that will be auctioned off on May 4 at the Brooklyn Supreme Court Building.  Details at Brooklyn Eagle

Photo by Google Maps.

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End of Days on Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights

These signs claiming that time is running out, existence-wise, appeared on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights this past weekend.

Photo by MK Metz

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows Film Law & Order in Brooklyn Heights

Turns out that the crowd gathered on the corner of Montague Street and Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights Friday was actually a bunch of actors filming an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Pedestrians stopped to watch the filming of a scene which involved many people waving American flags, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.
Actor Jeff Goldblum, who plays Det. Zach Nichols is seen here with (partially obscured) Saffron Burrows, who plays his partner Det. Serena Stevens.

Goldblum's hair is much better than it was when he started the series, as seen on the USA web site.

Photos by MK Metz

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Bike Path to Nowhere in Downtown Brooklyn

The Dept. of Transportation painted a bike path on Cadman Plaza East starting at Tillary and heading north towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Which would be fine, except that the path runs right through the blockade erected around the courts on the street, and then through the cars parked there. Cadman Plaza East is used as a parking lot for the courts and for the Office of Emergency Management.

More permanent security blockades, including "ballistic bunkers" are planned for both ends of the street as well, making it unlikely that bikes will ever have easy access to the bike path.

Photo by MK Metz

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Upscale Supermarket Coming to Toren, Downtown Brooklyn

The Toren condo on Flatbush Ave. has signed an "upscale, eco-friendly" supermarket for 11,000 square feet on its ground floor.

According to Crain's NY, the new supermarket is expected to provide "fresh foods and produce as well as prepared foods, catering services, a sushi bar and cooking classes. It will also provide outdoor, café-style seating for customers."  More at Crain's.

Photo by MK Metz

- Everything About Brooklyn's Toren Says 'Snazzy' 
- Brooklyn's Toren, Half Clad, Half Sold? 

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Goldstein Bought Out, Brooklyn Bridge Park Food, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Daniel Goldstein, leader of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, has reached an agreement with FC Ratner to leave his apartment in the Atlantic Yards footprint by May 7 in exchange for $3 million. More at the Brooklyn Eagle

- The finalists to operate food carts on the just-opened Pier 1 portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park include Blue Marble Ice Cream and the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Brooklyn Paper

- Toll Brothers' proposed 67-unit condo building at 205 Water Street in Dumbo was approved Tuesday.  Curbed

- The Queen Mary 2, which docks in Red Hook, is the last liner to make regular trans-Atlantic crossings between New York and Europe. Cunard says it has been bombarded with pleas from stranded airline passengers wondering whether they could book a cabin. NY Times

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Julius Spiegel, Brooklyn's Commissioner of Parks, to Retire

He's been Brooklyn's Commissioner of Parks since 1981! But all good things must come to an end and now Julius Spiegel is stepping down.
The New York Times lists some interesting factoids about Mr. Spiegel:

- He's the son of two Holocaust survivors, and he describes his politics as "left of left."

- He was on the Giuliani Hit List.

-He "buddies" with Charles Barron.

- Fixing the McCarren Park pool was the number one thing on his "to do" list for many years.

- He only knows the names of about two types of trees.

Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz issued this statement:

“From the restoration of the Coney Island boardwalk to the overhaul of McCarren Park in Greenpoint, Julius Spiegel understands better than anyone that our borough’s parks and open spaces define the character of Brooklyn. Who else would have the foresight to open the city’s first dedicated cricket field, at Gateway Mall, knowing how important the sport is to many of Brooklyn’s communities? Who else would have seen so much potential in a vacant lot in East New York that has become Robert Venable Park? He may hail from Montreal and favor smoked meat, while I’m a Brooklyn boy who prefers pastrami, but I can you tell that everyone in Brooklyn agrees that because of Julius Spiegel, our parks make the rest of America ‘green’ with envy.”

Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel, left, playing the part of General George Washington, and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey, playing the part of General Nathaneal Greene, in Washington Park, Brooklyn
on December 3, 2008

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney for NYC Dept. of Parks

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doomsday Scenario for Brooklyn Public Library, Bigger Dumbo Arts Festival, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- In the worst-case scenario, 30 percent of the current Brooklyn Public Library workforce would be cut. Library Journal via Brooklyn Ink

- What do you do if you have 14 bags of pot and a load of untaxed cigarettes in your car? Drive super fast and blow through a stop sign, of course. SI Live

- Two Trees Management is expanding the Dumbo Arts Festival, taking place in September. NY Times

- State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. spent $20,000 he allegedly siphoned from a nonprofit on probably inferior sushi. NY Times 

- The removal of the Brooklyn-bound toll booths on the Verrazano Bridge will probably encourage traffic from Staten Island and New Jersey to blast through Brooklyn on its way to Manhattan. Brooklyn Eagle

- Actor Timothy Hutton searched all over the city for the perfect bathroom and finally had to build one in Brooklyn.  NY Times

- The cherry blossom festival is still a week off, but the cherry blossoms are starting to fade.  Brooklyn Paper

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More Park Action in Downtown Brooklyn: Walt Whitman Park's $4.5 Million Renovation

The ugly bollards have been removed and the walkways have been dug up as Walt Whitman Park's $4.5 million renovation has finally begun.

It's not technically a brand new park but it might as well be. Walt Whitman, sometimes called "Red Cross Park" because it sits next to the old Red Cross building on Cadman Plaza East in Downtown Brooklyn (now the OEM building) was turned into a parking lot and pretty much abandoned when the new Federal courthouse just south of it was being built.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the Department of Parks’ design will include a “great lawn,” and an ornamental fountain that will double as a sprinkler for children. Four Walt Whitman poems will be engraved in granite on the sides of the fountain."

$4.5 Million Renovation of Walt Whitman Park Begins   Brooklyn Eagle

- Walt Whitman Park Finally Loses Its Asphalt 
- New Design Calls For 'Great Lawn,' Fountain  

Photo by MK Metz

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New York City Doorman Strike Called Off

The New York Times reports that the owners of thousands of apartment buildings in New York City reached an agreement on a new labor contract with the union that represents tens of thousands of doormen, porters, janitors and building superintendents. A strike was due to begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The Times reports that the owners agreed to a new four-year contract that includes a pay increase of nearly 10 percent.

Full story here. 

Photo by Tony the Misfit, Creative Commons license

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sad Story of Brooklynite's Fall From Cliff Walk Raises Issues of Personal Responsibility

The news that a young Brooklyn man who became a quadriplegic after falling from Cliff Walk (one of New England’s best-known tourist attractions) can sue the city of Newport is causing all manner of debate in Rhode Island.

According to the Brooklyn EagleSimcha Berman was on his honeymoon in August 2000 when he fell after mistakenly taking a path that led from the Cliff Walk. Newport said it had no duty to warn visitors, but the state Supreme Court disagreed.

In Newport, the lawsuit is raising questions of where to draw the line between personal responsibility and public liability.The Bermans say they are not the type to take risks. But some locals say that the path is clearly marked, and are against putting up a disfiguring chain link fence because of a few folks who wander off it, according to the Providence Journal

Sadly, Simcha's wife divorced him, with his blessing, after taking care of him for two years. A major tenet of their Orthodox Jewish faith is that married couples have many children, which is now impossible.

Photo by Thalling55, Creative Commons license ( / CC BY 2.0)

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Brooklyn Bartenders Save Puppy, Concrete Coney Boardwalk, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Heartrending: Brooklyn bartenders band together to save puppy. Gothamist

- Not only is the city installing controversial concrete slabs on Coney Island’s boardwalk, it’s taking too long to do it. Your Nabe

- Freddy's Bar will move out of the path of the bulldozers.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Cops working in the riskier Brooklyn neighborhoods were yelled at by their superiors over recent violence. Gothamist

- A landlord posed as a City Marshall for an eviction. Nice try. Brooklyn Eagle

- Your chance to speak out against water rate hikes. CWNA

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Government's Time Travel Goof Mistaken for Next Generation iPhone

A logical error on the part of a well-known technology blog obscured a major mistake made by the government's top secret Time Travel Squad. Recently, the Squad mistakenly popped a cellular device from the future into a present-day bar in Redwood City.

The Squad, aiming to send the device to the pocket of an operative in the same bar -- but in the year 2012 -- goofed and popped it instead onto an empty bar stool there last week. It landed next to an inebriated person, who picked up the device and gave it to the man next to him.

When the incredulous folks at the Gizmodo technology blog took apart the futuristic "4G" device they declared it to be a never-before seen "next-generation iPhone . . . drastically new and drastically different from what came before."

The government stayed mum as Apple did not deny -- or confirm -- that the device was one of theirs. The word is, however, that Steve Jobs ordered his men in black to recover the instrument "at all costs."

More on this story at Gizmodo.

Illustration "The Mobile Phone 1974" courtesy of Catmachine, Creative Commons License

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Brooklyn Volcano Expert Impresses Natives

More in our continuing series on Brooklyn Volcano Experts:

In 1907, Frank Alvord Perret of Brooklyn, Assistant Director of the Royal Observatory of Mount Vesuvius, impressed the natives greatly by ascending the volcano when everybody else was running away from the volcano.

According to the New York Times, the Brooklyn volcano expert was thought to be absolutely bonkers by those who lived there.

Not only did he survive, but he pronounced that the volcanic activity would die down soon, giving comfort to the fishermen and peasants.

Way to go, Brooklyn volcano expert!

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'Your Art Here' in Downtown Brooklyn

We were walking by 177 Livingston Street near Gallitan Place in Downtown Brooklyn (across the street from Dallas BBQ) when we saw this map detailing all sorts of local art venues hanging in the window.

The art happening at 177 Livingston is part of the "Your Art Here" program. Your Art Here was created by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to make space available to artists in temporarily vacant properties in the Downtown area.

177 Livingston Street  is the home of three arts organizations: Triple Canopy, Light Industry, and The Public School New York. The groups present screenings, lectures, classes, artist talks, readings, and performances, all open to the public.

For example on Tuesday, April 20, Light Industry will present work by seminal guerrilla television outfit Videofreex, featuring a number of newly restored tapes. Titles to be screened include, among others: Fred Hampton – Black Panthers, Chicago, 1969 Fred Hampton - Chant and Demonstration, 1970 Women’s Lib Demonstration NYC, 1970 Davidson’s Jail Tape, 1971 Interview in the Street II, 1971 Trashing and Gassing in Miami, Republican Convention, 1972 Lanesville Overview I, 1972 Woodstock ’69, Tape #24, and more.

The calendar at 177 Livingston Street is packed with events. Other Your Art Here venues are scattered around Downtown Brooklyn (a past venue included six vacant storefronts on Flatbush).

Photo by MK Metz

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Gowanus Brownfield Cleanup Hit with Stop Work Order, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brownfield cleanup at Whole Foods site in Gowanus hit with Stop Work Order.  PMFA

- JFK Runway Run can't take place on the runway because of the volcano in Iceland. WYDNKBYANM

- The Unemployed Brooklyn blogger tries to get adjusted to having a job. UB

- Perhaps you should let other folks be the guinea pigs on the untested rides going in at Coney Island.  Brooklyn Paper 

- The woman who runs Park Slope's Community Bookstore is selling it and moving to Albania. OTBKB

- The developer of a residential property in Park Slope is seeking an artist to do a large wall painting for the building’s lobby. Brooklyn Eagle

- A disturbing incident on Hawthorne Street last week.  Hawthorne Street    

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Love Your President

 Seen on a truck on First Avenue in Manhattan:

"X Obama
love your president."

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Parole Officer Shot, Peter Steele Dies, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A convicted murderer shot his parole officer at the Schermerhorm Street parole office in Downtown Brooklyn  Thursday.  NY Daily News

- Peter Steele, Brooklyn-born frontman for the heavy metal band Type O Negative, has died at the age of 48. NY Daily News

- Giant Andy Warhol piñata comes to the Brooklyn Museum.  Huff Post

- Census interviewers prepare to hit Brooklyn households.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Park Slope Coop picks fight over semantics with the Barney’s Coop scheduled to open at 194 Atlantic Avenue. Brooklyn Paper 

- Brooklyn experienced no major earthquakes, tsunamis, shooting fireballs or volcanic eruptions yesterday.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Idiot Sets Off Fire Evacuation On Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights

185 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights was evacuated yesterday afternoon because a fire alarm went off on the 11th floor. The evacuees included people from doctors' offices and office workers.

Montague Street was blocked off by fire fighting equipment.

Eventually, the fire fighters gave the all clear, letting everyone back in.

It turns out that the alarm went off because someone was (illegally) smoking on the 11th floor. The firefighters gathered their equipment and marched back to their trucks.

Wonder what all that cost us?

Photos by MK Metz

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Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket Open Three Days a Week Now

It's spring! That means the Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket is open three days a week now: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Photos by MK Metz

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NYU Plans to Transform Polytechnic Institute, Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn

If all goes as planned, Jay Street would be transformed and two new towers could be developed on the MetroTech campus by Polytechnic Institute of New York as part of NYU's overall expansion plans.

A rendering on the Brooklyn Eagle website show roughly 300,000 square feet worth of air rights which the university would try to transfer to different locations on campus. Another rendering shows one possible configuration, with two towers rising over the Dibner and Jacobs buildings, as seen from Jay Street.

The plan includes other changes as well, and is expected to take place over the next two decades.

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Close to a Deal on Brooklyn Helicopter Noise

Business leaders, residents and lawmakers are nearing a compromise to limit the number of noisy helicopters that give such a headache to people on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.

According to WPIX, the EDC expects to announce its plan to restrict helicopter flights in a matter of weeks.

But don't get all happy yet: a new company has plans to launch a new helicopter airline in 2010.

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Vacate Order in DUMBO, Williamsburg Organs and Bone restaurant, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Occupants have been ordered to vacate the townhouses at 11, 13 and 15 Old Fulton Street due to “significant structural defects."  DumboNYC

- A 2-year-old Brooklyn boy was left crying on a school bus for two hours on Tuesday after the driver and the bus matron forgot to drop him off, then went home.  NY Times

- "Countdown clocks" spread on Brooklyn's subway stations.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- State officials are trying keep a Brooklyn man who deliberately spread the AIDS virus locked up past his prison term. NY Daily News

- Introducing a Williamsburg restaurant that will specialize in organs and bones. Yumm.  NY Times

- Teen who posed on MySpace page holding huge machete says he stabbed two men to death in self-defense. Brooklyn Eagle  

- Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz slammed Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, saying her zeal to install bike lanes is out of control. CBSTV and Gothamist

- Homeless shelter residents with jobs will have to start paying rent later this year. Gothamist

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New Owners of Downtown Brooklyn's 204 Livingston Plan Some Renovations

This 1920-era 5-story walk-up in Downtown Brooklyn (home to the famous Bridge Cleaners) snuggled under the elbow of Be@Schmerhorn sold for $2.7 million in December 2009. The building has13 rent-stabilized studio apartments.

The owners are trying to do some work in the building but the plans were disapproved on April 6.

Photo by MK Metz

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Alert: Poisonous Chemical in Veggie Burgers

Didn't you just know something like this would happen?

A new study shows that a large number of popular soy products contain trace amounts of hexane, known to cause nervous system failure and skin disorders in humans.

Brands include regular Boca Burgers, Garden Burgers, Morningstar Farms,Trader Joe's and many more. (BTW: "Nearly every major ingredient in conventional soy-based infant formula is hexane extracted.")

Gothamist has the whole report.

Photo by Kerry Vaughan, Creative Commons license

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brooklyn Heights Is a Warren of Secret, Underground Tunnels

Who knew?

Under Brooklyn Heights lies a network of secret tunnels connected to the subway system. And, according to the Brooklyn Eagle, they are the center of an underground counter-terrorism effort.

Add these to the network of underground tunnels connecting Jehovah Witness buildings in the neighborhood, along with the secret Underground Railroad tunnels running from churches and residences to the river, and you got yourself a veritable warren of secret, underground tunnels under Brooklyn Heights.

It's a wonder that the various denizens of the deep aren't continuously running into each other down there. Or maybe they are.

Photo by Tanya.K.  Creative Commons license

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Gorilla Coffee Defections, Key Food Deficiencies, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- New York City has reached a deal to take control of Governors Island from the state. Plans call for a public park, a high school, some commercial development and potentially a satellite campus for NYU.  NY Times 

- Key Food on Atlantic and Clinton has “critical deficiencies” that must be corrected “immediately." BHB

- Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope is still closed after almost all of the staff resigned because of a "demeaning work environment," according to the NY Times.  NY Times

In all of New York City, the neighborhood with the lowest census return rate is a place that NPR calls "the hipster enclave of Williamsburg."  NY Magazine

- Cops are looking for a driver who fled the scene of a fatal car crash—which left another driver "burned beyond recognition"—early Sunday morning.  NY Daily News  via Gothamist

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Huge Chinatown Fire Visible From Brooklyn Heights

Taken from a window in Brooklyn Heights, you can actually see the flames from a six seven-alarm fire burning right now at 285 Grand Street (in Chinatown) in Manhattan.Those evenly-spaced lights are on the Manhattan Bridge. 285 Grand is a commercial 6-story multiple-dwelling building. Fire was reported raging through all floors of the building.

(Multiple fire engines and trucks from Brooklyn raced over the bridge to the scene.)

UPDATE: Here's some video from the ground.

UPDATE: There are more than 30 engines and 15 20 trucks on the scene, and 24 chiefs.

UPDATE:  More video here. And here.

UPDATE: More photos on flickr.

UPDATE: 1:15 a.m.  firefighters starting to get a handle on the fire, though it is not yet officially under control.

1:32 a.m.: Multiple links here

Photo by MK Metz

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Brooklyn Borough Hall's Fancy Old Water Fountain Returns

We were starting to worry that it was gone forever, but the other day we saw these workers reinstalling the classic marble water fountain (the kind you drink from) in Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza.

Photo by MK Metz

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Check Out 'Brooklyn Is My Neighborhood' Video -- Story of Brooklyn Heights

The excellent video “Brooklyn Is My Neighborhood/ The Story of New York’s First Historic District,” produced by Martin L Schneider and Karl Junkersfeld, tells the story of how Brooklyn Heights became the city's first protected historic district. It can be seen at the Brooklyn Heights Blog

The video serves as a prelude to Schneider’s article “Battling for Brooklyn Heights/ 1958-1965." The article was originally published in serial form in the Brooklyn Heights Press in 1993. Schneider has since updated it, and it will be available soon as an illustrated book.

Photo by MK Metz

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Brooklyn BP Markowitz Statement On Death of President of Poland

After the shocking crash of an airplane caused the death of 97 of the elite of Poland -- including President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of top political and military leaders -- prayers and tributes poured in from across the world.

In Brooklyn, Borough President Marty Markowitz said:

"The thoughts and prayers of all Brooklyn are with our Polish residents as we mourn the death of President Lech Kaczynski, First Lady Maria Kaczynski and all who perished with them, many of that nation's leaders among them. Brooklyn is the Polish capital of America, and I was honored to meet the President and his wife in Greenpoint, the heart of our Polish Community, in September 2007, and present him with a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge. His leadership will be missed, and all of us feel the sadness of this loss, which resonates not only in our Polish community but throughout the world."

The 97 dead included the army chief of staff, the head of the National Security Office,the deputy foreign minister, the deputy parliament speaker, the national bank president, the civil rights commissioner, members of parliament, war veterans and family members of Poles killed by the Soviets.

From CNN: "The entire top military brass, including the chief of defense and all the services, were on the plane," said Tomas Valasek, of the Center for European Reform. "If that is true, then you're looking at a situation, in effect, of the decapitation of the military services."

Photo of BP Markowitz and late Polish President Lech Kaczynski by Kathryn Kirk

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Brush Fire in Spring Creek Park -- Queens/ Brooklyn -- Saturday, April 10

Multiple fire engine companies were dispatched at 3:47 p.m. Saturday to fight a large brush fire in Spring Creek Park (Queens / Brooklyn) near 83rd Street between 161st and 162nd Ave. (right next to Gateway National Park). This photo was taken from Downtown Brooklyn at 3:55 p.m. Saturday. By 4:15 the fire seemed in control but five minutes later it flared up again.

National Weather Service radar picks up smoke here. Click map to enlarge.

UPDATE 4:36: The Fire Dept. reports that six different areas of brush are on fire. There are eight lines stretched in operation, two tower ladders set up and operating, and one deck gun operating.

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.: The pockets of fire have been knocked down, no smoke can be seen from Brooklyn.

UPDATE: 5:02 p.m. The FD reports that the fire is out.

According to the Parks Dept., Spring Creek Park Preserve is the largest undeveloped salt marsh in northern Jamaica Bay, and runs between Queens and Brooklyn.

From their web site:

"The Park’s large salt marsh supports a variety of wildlife, including great blue herons (Ardea herodias), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), and mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), as well as animals such raccoons (Procyon lotor) and muskrats (Ondatra zibethica)."

Top photo by MK Metz
Bottom photo courtesy of NYD Dept. of Parks and Rec.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

New City Point Design Approved in Downtown Brooklyn

City Point’s Phase IA design received final approval from the NYC Public Design Commission on Wednesday, according to the Brooklyn Eagle, which has a rendering of the 50,000-square-foot retail building to be built on the site of the former Albee Square Mall.

The designer said at a Community Board 2 meeting that the design took its cues from the adjacent Dime Savings Bank and the old Albee Theatre that was originally on the City Point site.

Photo by MK Metz

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Silkscreening Class in Brooklyn this Weekend


Didn't you always want to silkscreen a T-shirt?

This weekend the Brooklyn Artists Gym (BAG) is holding a 6-hour silkscreening class.

Here's what they say:

". . . As anyone who's printed before knows, it should be a fun and relaxing afternoon. You'll leave with a small finished screen, a personally-designed and printed T-shirt, and the tools and know-how to make your own silkscreens in the future, even on your kitchen table."

Sign up now for a last-minute enrollment. They'll accept new students up until Friday afternoon.BAG is in Park Slope/ Gowanus.

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Might Actually Be Some Historical Treasures in the Stinking Gowanus Canal

 All that contamination in the Gowanus Canal may be hiding a treasure trove of archeological finds, according to an article in the Brooklyn Eagle.

Due to a requirement of the upcoming Superfund cleanup, the canal will soon receive a mandatory archaeological assessment, and who knows what might or might not be dredged up?

A list of opinions about what might be found at the bottom of the canal -- from mummies to guns -- appears at the end of the article (here).

- So How's the Gowanus Supercleanup Going?
- Gowanus Canal Superfund Designation: Who's Happy, Who's Sad . . .
- Gowanus Whole Foods Brownfield Cleanup Meeting 
- Kentile As a Symbol of Gowanus
- Has Whole Foods Given Up on Gowanus? 
- Toll Brothers Gowanus Development Meeting 
- Gowanus Canal Solution: Aquablock!

Photo courtesy of Dept. of City Planning

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Want to Work in the Garden on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade?

Don't have your own garden? Now's your chance to work on the lovely Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Join the Promenade Partnership every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. (meet at the Montague St. entrance) to help dig, plant, rake and other garden tasks.

Contact or just show up.

Photos by MK Metz

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Saucer Magnolia at Saint Ann's Church, Brooklyn Heights

In full bloom; catch it soon on Montague Street near Clinton.

Photo by MK Metz

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Strong Geomagnetic Storm in Progress

A geomagnetic storm that began Monday, April 5, reached Strong (G3) levels on the Geomagnetic Storms Space Weather Scale, according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. The source of the storming is an Earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejection

The geomagnetic field is expected to be unsettled with isolated active periods for day one (08 April) due to coronal hole effects. Quiet to unsettled conditions are expected for day two (09 April).

Systems that can be affected include electric power systems, spacecraft operations, high-frequency communications, GPS, and other navigation systems.

Image courtesy of NOAA 
More at Discovery News

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Returns to Coney Island for 2010 Season

 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey wrote in to announce that it will return to Coney Island this summer with "The Coney Island Illuscination!" starting Thursday, June 17.

Ringling Bros. will again reside in an air-conditioned tent on Surf Avenue and West 21st Street. For more details, see here.

Photo courtesy of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

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More BQE Enhancement Study Details

Thanks to Craig Hammerman, District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 6, for forwarding this letter from Jessica Pavone, AICP Assistant Vice President about the BQE Enhancement Study (i.e. "Fix the Ditch"). (Here's an earlier idea for Fixing the Ditch)

We are excited to announce that the BQE Enhancement Study, led by led by Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, PLLC has officially begun.

Over the course of the next year, EDC, in close coordination with CDOT, will work with the consultant team to complete a visioning study for improvements to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) "trench" in Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill/Columbia Street Districts. The project seeks to find creative solutions to mitigate the noise and pollution created by the BQE from Atlantic to Hamilton Avenues, and to help reconnect communities on both sides. Solutions may include beautification projects such as green planted buffers, overhanging walkways or pedestrian crossing bridges. The overall goal is to create a plan that is innovative and sustainable, but most importantly, practical to implement. The final report will serve as the marketing tool to obtain construction funding.

Funding for this phase of the project is provided by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, through the Federal Highway Administration, and NYCDOT.

We cordially invite you to participate in the first of 3 public meetings that will be held over next year.

When: Tuesday, May 4th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Long Island College Hospital (LICH), Avram Conference Center
339 Hick Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Conference Rooms C & D

RSVP: Please RSVP to

Engaging key community stakeholders will be an important part of this visioning process. The scope will include a scheduled series of community meetings/workshops. Your organization's participation will be instrumental in making this a successful plan for the community.

We look forward to collaborating with you!
Jessica Pavone, AICP Assistant Vice President

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Helicopter Assault, 'Get Out of Jail Free' Card and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Stop the helicopter assault on Brooklyn!  DumboNYC 

- Idiot forges "Get Out of Jail Free" card. Gets sent back to jail. Does not collect $200.  Brooklyn Eagle 

 - Fire at 360 Myrtle ruled accidental.  The Local

- The BQE Enhancement Study has officially begun. Solutions may include green planted buffers, overhanging walkways or pedestrian crossing bridges. The Word on Columbia Street

- DBP's Joe Chan is still trying to get the MTA to wash its hands of the decrepit 370 Jay Street. amNY

- A Court Street lawyer and a Park Slope attorney were among a group of 10 arraigned Tuesday on charges of an alleged $10 million mortgage fraud scam. Brooklyn Eagle

- Getting the "regular" flu shot appears to increase the risk of your catching H1N1 flu. USNews

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bus Shelter Graffiti? Not So Fast

You know how it is when you walk down the street and see graffiti spray painted all over a new bus shelter? You get bummed out.

That's how we felt when we passed this defaced shelter -- one of the nice new ones -- on Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights the other day.

But then we looked closer and saw that the graffiti was actually painted on a tarp and hung on the shelter.

We weren't bummed any more!

Was it an art project? April Fools trick?

Got us.

Photo by MK Metz

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Brooklyn's Own 'Judas Iscariot' and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Five small commercial leases signed in DUMBO.  Crain's NY

- Only one Democrat -- from Brooklyn -- out of the city's all-Democratic congressional delegation voted against President Obama's health care bill. Now he's offended when he's called "Judas Iscariot."  Brooklyn Eagle

- Unicyclists to cross every bridge in the city.  Gothamist 

- New Toll Brothers' 205 Water Street renderings.  DumboNYC  and Curbed

- After years of decline, crime is up in many Brooklyn precincts. Brooklyn Eagle   

- State Senator Daniel Squadron will host his second annual Community Convention this coming Sunday. BHB

- In spite of the chicken heads and animal entrails, the Parks Dept. says that Prospect Park Lake is clean.  Brooklyn Paper 

- Census counts gay marriages even in states that don't allow them.  Huff Post

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Helicopter, Police Boat Search Harbor Off Brooklyn Heights

Sunday evening at roughly 7 p.m. what appeared to be a police helicopter (barely visible, above right) and a police boat (center) repeatedly flew and cruised back and forth over the harbor between the Manhattan Bridge to south of the Brooklyn Bridge.

At one point the helicopter hovered very low over Fulton Ferry Landing, prompting us to wonder if it might actually land there. But then it took off again and flew long, low loops around the harbor on both the Manhattan side and the Brooklyn side.

Anybody know what's going on?

We also hear from the Pardon Me For Asking Blog that there has been quite a bit of helicopter activity along the Columbia Waterfront area for the last few days.

Photo by MK Metz

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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:

- News 12 Brooklyn is seeking someone to shoot and/or edit video and/or operate the truck. Hotjobs 

- Part time supervisor for a Lucky brand store needed.  Jobs-Liz  

Potter with five years experience wanted for porcelain production studio in Prospect Heights. Craigslist

- A Brooklyn multicultural ad agency is looking to add a strategic planner to their staff. Pays $75,000 - 85,000.  Hotjobs 

- Brooklyn Artists Gym is seeking a gallery director.  NYFA

A new real estate office in Brooklyn is looking for an assistant. Will train; pays $650/week.  Hotjobs

- Macy's in Downtown Brooklyn is looking for a salesperson to sell fragrances. Hotjobs  They also need a beauty adviser. Hotjobs  And an assistant store manager. Hotjobs  More. Hotjobs

- Extras needed for "X-Men: First Class."  Craigslist

-Looking for an Internet-savvy receptionist/ social media poster. Answer phones and write blurbs for blogs, Twitter, etc. $10 - 12/hr., part time. Craigslist

- A commercial kitchen repair company is currently seeking a service department assistant. Craigslist

Lots of restaurant positions this week:

- The Alma Restaurant in the Columbia Waterfront area needs servers and a host/ hostess.  Craigslist

- A new Applebee's is opening at the Atlantic Terminal Mall. Hiring all positions.  Craigslist

- The Pearl Room in Bay Ridge needs servers, bussers and bartenders.  Craigslist 

- Morton's The Steakhouse in Downtown Brooklyn needs servers.  Hotjobs 

- Baristas, cashiers and food runners needed in DUMBO.  Craigslist 

Find all Brooklyn Headhunter posts here.
Photo by MikeColvin82, Creative Commons license

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Egg Hunters Invade Brooklyn Heights' Pierrepont Playground

The line started early for the Easter egg hunt at Pierrepont Playground in Brooklyn Heights, and it stretched all the way to Remsen Street and beyond.

Hundreds upon hundreds showed up for an event that usually attracts a smaller, more local crowd. Maybe it was because there was no egg hunt in Brooklyn Bridge Park this year, or maybe it was because of the large amount of publicity the egg hunt received.

It took about 15 minutes just to get everyone into the playground. Families in front had the definite advantage.
The homemade baked goods went like greased lightening. (The money raised goes to Brooklyn Heights Playgrounds Committee events, such as summer art classes.)

It was much calmer in the grassy area reserved for toddlers. 

Most of the little ones managed to find some eggs, and some even snagged balloons, courtesy of Heights Kids.

Borough President Marty Markowitz saved the day for many of the kids who didn't manage to find any eggs by handing out several boxes of Easter give-aways.

The Brooklyn Heights Playground Committee says, "We hid over 1,500 eggs throughout our small park and limited the eggs to three per child. Sadly, due to the incredible increase in blog posting and media coverage, some kids left empty-handed."

Maybe next year parents should volunteer to bring more eggs. Visit to see how you can help out.

Photos by MK Metz
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