Friday, December 30, 2011

The Stupidist Brooklyn Stories of 2011

Giant corn mutants by Matthew Silver
Many important things happened this year, but we're not going to talk about any of them.

Instead, McBrooklyn looks back fondly on the stupidest stories of the year. How could we forget these powerful moments:

- Bushwick filmmaker attacked by giant corn mutants. McBrooklyn
- American Apparel sues after nail polish explodes. Gothamist

- Taxidermy craze sweeps Brooklyn: dead mice are used to create cute human-like figurines. McBrooklyn
- The wizards at the TSA start groping women and children getting off trains before allowing them to go home. McBrooklyn
- Freakishly large Brooklyn rabbit rings in Chinese New Year. Brooklyn Eagle

- Disturbing trend: happy hour clowns. McBrooklyn
- Support groups form for close encounter and paranormal “experiencers.” Brooklyn Eagle

- Scientists say that people growing marijuana indoors use 1 percent of the U.S. electricity supply, adding to global warming. McBrooklyn
- Cathie Black. South Bronx SchoolBrooklyn Eagle, Time
- Brooklyn Pol wants stupid neighborhood naming to stop. Funky Apple

- New hipster trend: living in houseboats in toxic Gowanus Canal. Hypervocal
- On Rapture Day, all the good folks disappear off the face of the Earth. McBrooklyn

- Weiner's weiner. McBrooklyn
- Brooklyn woman travels to your house to read you bedtime stories. At night. Gothamist

- Manhattan atheists sue the city for installing a street sign in Red Hook named “Seven in Heaven Way,” to honor seven firefighters who died in 9-11. Brooklyn Paper
- BP Markowitz proclaims Monday to be Meatball Day. McBrooklyn

- "I never gave up hope. I prayed, meditated, and now he's with us again," 47-year-old Bonni Marcus said upon being reunited beloved monkey doll Bongo, who went missing in Park Slope. Gawker
- Urban fishermen use raw chicken and used condoms to catch crabs in Newtown Creek - a Superfund site. Gothamist
- Giant red crayfish wander around IKEA, freaking out small children. McBrooklyn

- Schweddy Balls. Gawker
- New York photographer unsure what diamond-shaped object is. Examiner

- Guy biking home across the Manhattan Bridge stumbles upon a man jumping rope nude there. Gawker
- People freeze-dry their pets. NY Times

- NYPD's unconvincing terror suspect tried to circumcise himself. Gawker
- Park ranger who captured a gun-slinging pervert in Prospect Park is reprimanded by the city for the deed. Brooklyn Paper

- 85-Year-Old grandma stripped-searched in her wheelchair at JFK, misses flight. McBrooklyn
- Norway runs out of butter because the entire country ate it for their fad diet. Gizmodo

What wonders will the new year bring? Can't wait!

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

While Debating SOPA, Congress Illegally Downloads Stolen Files

U.S. Department of Hypocrisy
The U.S. House is currently debating the Stop Online Piracy Act, known as SOPA. Computer experts say SOPA has the potential to devastate internet businesses, as it allows websites -- from Google to eBay to blogs to commerce sites -- to be shut down if anyone posts links to infringing content.

Even as Congress debates bringing down the entire internet, techies have discovered that computers belonging to this same Congress have been downloading content illegally.

According to Daily Tech, members of Congress and their staff have illegally helped themselves to books, Microsoft software and porno. Other illegal downloaders include the folks at the Department of Homeland Security and staff at Hollywood studios -- the same people pushing SOPA.

More at Daily Tech.

Photo and more info by DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons license

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

HSBC Knows Nothing; Man Jumps Off Roof; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A Brooklyn judge ridiculed HSBC's "know nothing" defense for filing a false document in a foreclosure case and slapped the bank with the max. NY Daily News

- A troubled man jumped to his death from a Brooklyn rooftop Wednesday in front of horrified bystanders. NY Daily News

- Subway riders sue: MTA admits it "forgot about" a subway trapped in a blizzard for eight hours in last year's snowpocalypse. Brooklyn Eagle

- Gersh Kuntzman: King of Brooklyn. Capitol NY

- Brooklyn's five biggest real estate sales of 2011. TRD

- Fatal elevator accident company faces eight previous injury lawsuits. Gothamist

- Occupy geeks are building a Facebook for the 99%. Wired via Gawker

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

New Year's Eve Fireworks In Brooklyn

There will be two fireworks displays visible in Brooklyn on New Year's Eve -- Marty Markowitz's big Prospect Park celebration with entertainment and hot chocolate for all, and the Statue of Liberty display viewable from the Brooklyn waterfront, including the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

For more details visit the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Perv Molests Teen; Official Menorah; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Pervert impersonating a cop molests teen boy he met in subway station in Sunset Park. NY1

- Dog stolen from animal shelter tracked down after alert employees noted license plate of suspicious-looking woman. Brooklyn Eagle

- NYC's crackdown on Brooklyn's DIY spaces. Village Voice

- What Brooklyn hipsters got for Christmas. Die Hipster

- Now there's a fight about which is the official menorah of Brooklyn. F**ked In Park Slope

- Cyclist crackdown promised by city in 2012. Gothamist

- What to do with your Christmas tree after the holiday. Carroll Gardens Patch

- We're not blogging any of these words. Gawker

- Giant alien prawns invade Gulf, threaten native shrimp. Chron

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Shake Shack, Downtown Brooklyn, 7 p.m.

About a dozen employees were working at the new Shake Shack in Downtown Brooklyn the other night.

The place was busy but the beeper system kept everyone happy.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hundreds of DUMBO Tech Jobs? Rolex vs. Rolex Deli; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Flow CEO and founder Eric Alterman says that his DUMBO tech company plans to hire hundreds of skilled workers over the next few years. “Nine workers to 900 is not a pipe dream; it’s a five-year plan,” he told the NY Daily News.

- Rolex wants Brooklyn's Rolex Deli to change its name. CBS Local

- Crown Heights building has most violations in New York City. Brownstoner

- BUGS: Get ready for another charter school getting crammed inside a District 15 (from Red Hook to Park Slope) public school. Brooklyn Daily

- Here's a list of 100 car services in Brooklyn. About

- Beautiful pictures of the disappearing mom and pop storefronts of New York City. Business Insider

- A walking tour into the world of Brooklyn's Hasidic Jews. National Post

- Got a gift card you're not going to use? You can invest its value in mutual funds. Market Watch

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

A Holiday Proposal in Brooklyn Heights

"Rene, Will You Marry Me" was on the marquee Friday night at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema -- but it was not a movie. Staff at the cinema said a young man surprised cinema customer Rene with his marriage proposal on the sidewalk under the marquee.

Happy ending: Rene said yes. Awww.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Petition Against Girl-Themed Legos; a Story About Windows; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A 15-year-old was shot to death in the lobby of his Brooklyn apartment building on Christmas Eve. All Media NY

- The long, strange journey of the new arched windows at 345 Adams Street. Brooklyn Eagle

- A Brooklyn woman started a petition against girl-themed Lego Friends. NY Daily News

- Don't forget to visit the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights. Brooklyn Based

- Pete Hamill at St. Francis College: "Who would want to reach the end of their lives and realize they never read Moby Dick?" Brooklyn Heights Press

- Some people outsourced Christmas. WYDNKBYANM

- New York State is "thrilled" it can start offering online gambling. Gothamist

- You may want to rethink donating your car to Kars-4-Kids. Failed Messiah

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Was Rabbi Lebovits Stepping Out For Matzo Balls?

The Failed Messiah blog displays pictures that allegedly show Rabbi Baruch Lebovits – who is supposed to be on house arrest -– out clubbing on Christmas Eve at Club Dream's Matzo Ball party.

The question is -- is that Rabbi Lebovits? Compare the blurry photos to the Rabbi's photo at left, published previously on Failed Messiah.

Lebovits was sentenced to a lengthy prison term last year for sexually abusing a then-16-year-old boy from his neighborhood, according to WPIX.

According to the court decision, Lebovits "shall remain confined to house arrest and shall wear an electronic monitoring bracelet."

Photo courtesy of Failed Messiah

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Shopping In Downtown Brooklyn (2011)

Oh, oh, it's Christmas Eve! Still have some holiday shopping to do? We hit the stores on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn yesterday and had pretty good luck -- both inside the stores and out. The guy shown in the photo above was selling sweaters for $2! Needless to say they were selling like hotcakes (though hot sweaters is probably more like it).

The music was fabulous at Macy's. We finally figured out that a live DJ was cranking it up in the Men's department. Good times.

According to Brokelyn, Dekalb Market is one of just three local craft markets that are open Christmas Eve, and you can also get your photo taken with Santa (in a shipping container). Brokelyn recommends the Pratt Pop-Up shop featuring products from Pratt faculty, students and alumni, including Design Hype’s Metro Cuff’s, and Leather Jewelry by Melissa Zook. We will be there later today. (138 Willoughby near Flatbush Ave. Extension.)

Take advantage of these discount coupons at Aeropostale and Children's Place, both on Fulton St.

$25 Off $100 Purchase 


After hitting the stores Downtown, it's just a couple of blocks to Atlantic Avenue. At the west end of Atlantic, start with Sahadi's (187 Atlantic) and load up on 10-pound bags of pistachios, plus cheeses, gift baskets and Turkish delight.

A Cook's Companion (197 Atlantic Ave. near Court St.) is open till 6 p.m. tonight. If you have a cook on your list this is your store. You can pick up sweet little Oxo stocking stuffers and the finest cookware, coffee and pepper grinders.

Another winner: City Foundry -- a store "packed with vintage goods in Boerum Hill," as the NY Times recently put it. Exclusive dealer in Bennett Robotworks robots. 365 Atlantic Avenue (between Bond & Hoyt)

Know a knitter? If you buy them $50 of yarn at Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn (398 Atlantic Ave.) this coupon will get you a 10% discount:

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Brooklyn Bridge Havoc; Missing Cafe Owner Murdered in PA; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brooklyn Bridge sandblasting debris wreaks havoc, at least two hospitalized. BHB

- Joshua Rubin, who ran the Whisk Bakery Cafe in Ditmas Park, missing for weeks, was discovered murdered and burned in Pennsylvania. NY Times and Ditmas Park Blog

- Artists plan to create an interactive public sculpture and light installation under the BQE in Red Hook. L Magazine

- The hipster Christmas tree stand of Brooklyn. Gawker

- Bay Ridge parents had a deal to move kids to a school across the street, but then DOE forgot about it. Brooklyn Eagle

- Jonathan Ames ("Bored to Death") showed up at the Brooklyn Inn like he promised and bought everyone drinks. Carroll Gardens Patch

- There are 129 storefronts in DUMBO, and the vacancy rate is 10.2 percent. Brooklyn Heights Press

- Illegal wolf-dog found roaming the streets of Brooklyn will be sent to a sanctuary. NY Daily News

- Developer hopes to sell Carroll Gardens condo for $15.5 million. TRD

- Did Levi Aron kill and dismember the 8-year-old because of inbreeding? His lawyer thinks so. Gothamist

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Busing New Jersey Nets Fans through Brooklyn?

Ron Shiffman, a professor at the Pratt Institute’s Center for Planning and the Environment and treasurer for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, is looking for ways to cope with the massive influx of traffic Barclay's Center is expected to generate.

According to The Brooklyn Ink, Shiffman suggests that "there should be ferries to take fans from New Jersey to the Brooklyn waterfront, then a shuttle or trolley to take them to the arena. This service is needed since the Nets are a New Jersey team, with a fan base in that state."

The maps above show two possible routes the shuttles could take through Brooklyn -- one from the ferry landing at Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, another from Red Hook. 

How many Nets fans will drive to Brooklyn from New Jersey, and how many would travel to Brooklyn if they could take a ferry?

John Brennan of the North Jersey blog interviewed Dan Lefton, vice president of suites sales and premium seating for the Barclays Center. According to Lefton:

"Some Nets officials sensibly have theorized that the Nets could draw a respectable Jersey crowd for Saturday and Sunday afternoon games, when the least amount of traffic would be expected. But automobile-riding suburbanites may find it difficult to find parking, so the best hope for a Jersey audience is from those willing to take a subway or two. Of course, those lines run less frequently on weekends. That means the Nets may find it challenging to come up with a way to attract Garden Staters."

Adding ferries and shuttles would certainly attract more Garden Staters. How many shuttles would be needed and what would the impact be on Atlantic Avenue and local Brooklyn streets before and after games?

According to Nets Daily, ferries may already in the works for the players:

"So in that first season in Brooklyn, how do the Nets get from New Jersey, where most of the players and coaches live, to Barclays Center? One possibility we hear: chartered ferries which would pick up players at a slip in New Jersey, possibly Jersey City, and then down the Hudson (past the ice floes?) and around the Battery to a slip in Brooklyn, where buses would whisk them to the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush."

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Changes Coming to Boerum Hill; Stabbed in Head with Scissors; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brooklyn student stabbed in head with scissors. NY Times

- Someone shot cellphone video of the firefighter -- engulfed in flames -- who was pulled to safety out of the third floor of a Brooklyn brownstone.  LiveLeak

- Imagine that: Now the city has to tell you if your kid's school is contaminated with toxic PCBs. Brooklyn Eagle

- Legislation legalizing the hailing of livery cabs in the outer boroughs probably will become law. Brooklyn Politics Blog

- Jonathan Ames, creator of the cancelled Bored to Death, invites all fans to come "to the Brooklyn Inn tomorrow night, Wednesday, and I'll buy you a drink." Gothamist

- Do you recognize this thief? Brooklynian

- Big changes coming to Boerum Hill. Brooklyn Eagle

- Seasons restaurant on Henry Street in Broolyn Heights is gone, and an Indian restaurant may be coming in. BHB

- The 1st Annual Brownstone Dreidel Spin-Off:  Friends, latkas, sushi, craft beer, doughnuts, music and your dreidel wager...what more can you ask for? Brooklynian

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8 May Get Its Middle School

Parents at P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights (shown above) are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping a site proposed for their new middle school in Downtown Brooklyn comes through.

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that the city hopes to locate the P.S. 8 extension in a building housing George Westinghouse High School and City Polytechnic High School at 105 Tech Place, fronting Tillary Street.

Let's hope it all works out. Families in the Heights haven't had a public middle school option for decades.
Many P.S. 8 children have gone on to a Fort Greene middle school, the Urban Assembly School of Arts &  Letters, but that school will be cutting its enrollment in half soon.

More here.

- P.S. 8 Annex Going Up Fast; Now Parents Want a Middle School
- Put Middle School in Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8, Says Yassky

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

A Century of Changes at 30 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights

Big changes are coming to 30 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, the present home of the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper. According to Brownstoner, a five-story, six-unit condo will rise in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, and an LPC hearing on the design is scheduled for today.

The photo above shows what 30 Henry Street (which includes 78 - 82 Middagh Street) looked like at the beginning of the 20th century. The automobile on the right looks to be 1920s or 30s.  The four-story building all the way to the left is still there today, and can be seen on the contemporary photo below.

In 1884, Mr. Charles G. Kahl ran an ad in the Brooklyn Eagle trying to rent out a small store for candy and stationary, with apartments for adults. Those interested were to see him at 82 Middagh, corner of Henry.

Those residing at 30 Henry / 82 Middagh over the years included Susan Dunn, a widow of carey Dunn (1840); John O'Neal, a glasscutter (1867);and Alexander Mills (early 1920s). Sadly, in 1922, Mills tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a razor. While the surgeons and nurse at Long island College Hospital were bending over him preparing to sew up his wound, he leaped from the operating table and out the window before he could be stopped. "Death greated him silently in the busy street." (Fulton History)

A 1938 Certificate of Occupancy shows at least part of the building being used for storage for the confection of bagels. The first floor was used for parking trucks. In 1951 the first floor was used for storing paint and tools; the second floor was used as an office staffed by 5 men and 2 women.

Here's the corner as it looks today, as the headquarters of the Brooklyn Eagle. (The property also includes the apartment at 78 Middagh Street.) It was probably built in the late 50s or early 60s. Notice the building's "stepped" roofline. The Midcentury Mundane blog describes the building in this way:

"This building in Brooklyn Heights at the corner of Henry and Middagh Streets is the most mundane of the mundane, but somehow pleasing with its stepped roofline, attractive brick color and original metal and glass display windows."

Ace Wire Brush Company

By 1964 the building was the home of Mr. Levy's Ace Wire Brush Company, where you could get five different sizes of radiator brushes, round or square chimney brushes, all types of brooms, or special brushes that cleaned the chimneys of over-sized model trains. A friendly woman named Martha helped behind the counter and sometimes gave away miniature brooms to neighborhood children. Several of the company's industrial lifts are still inside the Eagle offices. sells this historic Ace Wire Brush Co. blotter.
From the historical 1940s-era blotter shown above, it appears that the Ace Wire brush Company had its first factory on Cadman Plaza East where the Cadman Towers are now (it was called Fulton Street back then.)

Mr. and Mrs. Levy are gone, Martha has moved on, the children have sold the building, the Eagle will be moving, and a five-story, six-unit condo will be built.

Notice the new condo will fit in five stories where the building next to it, though the same height, has only four. Brownstoner has more details and renderings of the new condo.

The Brooklyn Heights Association thinks the new building's design is pretty blah. Executive Director Judy Stanton told the Brooklyn Eagle the building site "cries out for a distinctive and much more contemporary design than that which was shown to the BHA last week.

“Fortis has hired excellent architects in BKSK, and the BHA has respectfully asked them to return to the drafting board to create a building that celebrates our time."

- Top historical photograph of old Brooklyn heights, photographer unknown. Roughly 1929.
- Photo of present-day Brooklyn Eagle courtesy of Property Shark
- Rendering of proposed condo courtesy of BKSK via Brownstoner

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Everybody Was Christmas Shopping At the Brooklyn Flea This Weekend

Were you at the Brooklyn Flea this weekend? We dropped by to do some not-quite-last-minute-Christmas shopping and it seemed like half of Brooklyn was there.

The Flea is located at Skylight One Hanson at the former Williamsburg Savings Bank. Besides the usual Saturday and Sunday hours, the Flea will be open additional dates for Christmas shopping: Wednesday, December 21; and Thursday, December 22, from 2 to 9 p.m.

You can pretty much find anything at the Flea, from old typewriters to handmade glass objects to clothing to jewelry made out of old LP records. Here are a few things that caught our eye:

Porcelain milk-bottle vases and coasters by Alyssa Ettinger. The vases come in several sizes, feature delicate colors on the interior, and range from $30 - $50. The coasters are wafer-thin and have different textures.

Antique Hudson River brick planters filled with easy-care alpine succulents (you can leave them out all winter). Roughly $40, at Little Gardens.

Antique seltzer water bottles. They don't make these anymore. (Not sure who the vendor is, but they're on the ground floor on the left side.) About $35.

Tiny little moss terrariums built inside light bulbs, glass jars and blown glass orbs made by Twig Terrariums.

Beside plant life (easy to maintain, they say) each terrarium contains a little scene with teeny-tiny people.

There are hundreds of other vendors at the Brooklyn Flea. Here's a list. With three floors of antiques, clothing, jewelry, crafts and oddball collectibles, you'll likely find something there that you'll want to buy for someone.

Don't forget to get some lunch in the food court downstairs. (Vendors include Asia Dog, Milk Truck, Red Hook Lobster Pound and others.) Head back upstairs to finish off with some maple bacon cupcakes from Kumquat cupcakery.

- Christmas shopping at the Flea in 2010

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

New Grimaldi's; Bob Diamond's $100 Million Lawsuit; Restaurants; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- They lined up around the block to try out the new Grimaldi's this weekend. NY1

- City blocks Whole Foods until the grocer proves it won’t mess up the Gowanus. Brooklyn Paper

- Bob Diamond of Atlantic Avenue Tunnel fame has a new lawyer and a new strategy in his $100 million lawsuit against the City of New York, the city Department of Transportation (DOT), the Fire Department and others. Brooklyn Eagle

- $6.8 million Brooklyn Heights townhouse is in teardown condition. Curbed

- Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes’ refusal to name Orthodox Jewish child molesters prosecuted by his office has the community outraged. Failed Messiah

- In two weeks 2,000 office cleaners and building service workers across the city could go on strike. Brooklyn Eagle

- A new restaurant opened on Atlantic Avenue on Friday night, complete with 50 Cent on the sound system, a comic book for every customer, and house-made kale chips while you wait. Carroll Gardens Patch

- Marty Golden endorses Mitt Romney. Brooklyn Politics Blog

- A Stuyvesant High School senior died after a he was struck by a boozed-up driver while standing on a Brooklyn street divider. NY Daily News

- Brooklyn junior high school racks up most suspensions in city for sexting. NY Post

- The 10 most insane delusions of Kim Jong-il. Gawker

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Success Academy Gets Prime Brooklyn School Buildings; NYC Parents Becoming Increasingly Radicalized

Wednesday night's meeting of the Mayor's Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) was a riot in slow motion.

Hundreds of Brooklyn parents and supporters made the long journey (more than an hour for most) to Newtown High School in Corona, Queens. They came to protest Eva Moskowitz's plans to co-locate one of her Success Academy charter schools in the complex at 184 Baltic Street (near Court) that already holds three schools: Brooklyn School for Global Studies, School for International Studies and P.S. 368 for special ed children.

DOE had changed the location of the meeting to this inaccessible school in Queens to discourage attendance but it didn't work.

Parents took to the mic to explain how, with three schools already in the building, the children eat lunch at 10:30 in the morning, and have trouble meeting graduation requirements because there's not enough time in the gym. They also said the DOE didn't take the special ed kids' needs into account in the space survey. Elected representatives spoke about how the charter schools were draining the resources out of public schools.

Other parents warned that the PEP was setting a terrible change in motion and that they would someday reap what they had sown.

A couple of charter school supporters said that a charter school would give children more choice.

No one was listening. The PEP voted to give Moskowitz a couple of nice public school buildings -- one in Cobble Hill and one in Bed Stuy, and approved another charter school co-location in Bed-Stuy.

Vote of 'No Confidence'

Parents have become much more radicalized in the past year or two. Before the official meeting began, the attendees joined Occupy DOE and held their own noisy vote. By an overwhelming majority, the crowd voted "No Confidence" in Mayor Bloomberg's Panel for Educational Policy.

Here's a speech many of them read together before the PEP meeting.

People yelled and spoke over the panel members throughout the meeting. Some wore sock puppets on their hands and yelled at PEP members that they were "Puppets for Educational Policy."

A feeling of lawlessness was in the air. Parents said they had no voice and no representation in the school system. There were many more police and security guards at this meeting than at school board or PEP meetings we've attended in years past.

Sadly, Borough president Marty Markowitz sold out Brooklyn by telling his appointee to the panel,Gbubemi Okotieuro, to vote in favor of the Eva Moskowitz's charter school co-location. Shame!

The Queens and  Bronx appointees abstained.Only Patrick Sullivan of Manhattan showed integrity by voting no. (Here's a great speech he made about his experiences on the PEP.)

There were three sections in the auditorium. Two were packed. This empty one was for the supporters of the Success Academy charter schools.

This may not be the last hearing for the Cobble Hill Success Academy.

District 15's CEC President Jim Devore told the Brooklyn Eagle that "another question needing to be resolved was Success Academy’s stated plan to change its focus from English Language Learners and children attending failing schools out of District 15" to relatively well-off District 15 kids. "A hearing would likely be required to make this change."

For the full story:
Cries of ‘Shame’ Accompany Vote For Cobble Hill Charter School Brooklyn Eagle

Last Night's PEP Meeting NYC Public School Parents

Brooklyn Success Academy Cobble Hill charter school approved, and foes bolt raucous meeting NY Daily News

Charter School Approved for Affluent Brooklyn Enclave NY Times
(Several factual errors in the Times story: 1.Success Academy Cobble Hill wants to expand to 8th grade but only has approval for K-5, and can only squeeze K-4 grade into 184 Baltic Street. 2."The teachers’ union brought opponents by the busload" is not exactly accurate. The teachers' union agreed to supply buses after DOE refused a request by six elected officials to move the meeting back to an accessible location. Many people, including this blogger, took the subway.)

Past posts on this subject:
- Too Bad Chumps: Red Hook, Gowanus Parents Won't Be Able to Attend DOE's Ed Panel Vote On Success Academy Charter School

- Explosive Cobble Hill Success Academy Hearing

- Quite a Brew-Ha-Ha at Cobble Hill Success Academy Charter School Meeting

- Rally Against Cobble Hill Charter School Saturday - 'Success Academy Cobble Hill'

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'Reuse' Craft Show in Gowanus (and Satan Clause, Just because)

Build It Green! and Sustainable NYC present a Holiday Reuse Craft Fair this weekend, which features local artisans selling fair trade, handmade or "reuse" items.

Reclaimed Home shows examples of what's for sale here, like "gifty tile creations made out of cabinet doors and sewing machine drawers," and "recycled t-shirt pillows" made by TuraLura, who also hand-makes "Satan Clause," an anatomically-correct Santa that is actually Satan under that beard. You read that right. (She won't have any more of these before Christmas, however, but you can order one for later.)

"Frankly Santa and Satan have a lot in common," she writes on "Fond of the color red. Inciting envy and stirring up temptations and lusts and whatnot. And Santa does all of this on Jesus’ birthday! Stealing the spotlight from the baby Jesus- how much more satanic can an entity be?"

The fair takes place on Saturday-Sunday, December 17-18th from 10am-5pm at Build It Green! NYC – Gowanus, 69 9th Street, Brooklyn NY 11215

More here.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Festive Holiday Program by Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra in Brooklyn Heights

The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the holiday season in a concert to be held on Sunday, December 18, 3 p.m., at the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights.

The program, conducted by Artistic Director Nicholas Armstrong, will feature two works by Tchaikowsky, the Overture “1812” and the Duke Ellington arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite.

The orchestra will also perform Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Dance Rhapsody #1 by Delius and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, A Symphonic Picture.

A holiday reception to meet the musicians will follow the concert with free refreshments. Shoppers can also find some last minute gift items, many featuring the orchestra’s favorite landmark, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Admission is suggested donation of $15. Children are free.

The Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity is located at the corner of Clinton and Montague Streets in Brooklyn Heights, next to the Court Street subway station.

The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, comprised of talented amateur, semi-professional and professional musicians, is one of New York area's finest community orchestras. Founded 36 years ago as the "Brooklyn Heights Orchestra," the group joins under the baton of Artistic Director Nicholas Armstrong to present five symphonic concerts per season of classical, romantic and 20th-century music.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brooklyn's Own Batman; Walcott Flops; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Just another night for Brooklyn's own Batman. Brooklyn Eagle

- A look at this year's Dyker Heights Christmas lights. Gothamist

- Due to construction, there will be no ice skating in Prospect Park this year. About

- Brokelyn's 25 gifts under $25 is up to number 12, and it's perfect for that single Jewish gal on your gift list. Brokelyn

- The former owner of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, Norman Adie, pleaded guilty Monday to bilking investors out of $530,000. NY Daily News

- Parents disappointed in Chancellor Walcott and the DOE at big education meeting in Brooklyn. The Local  

- PMFA tells us where to buy one of those trendy Carroll Gardens necklaces. PMFA

- Private schools push for Pier 5 recreation bubble. Brooklyn Paper

- Is SantaCon over? Gothamist

- A database reveals that one of the five most popular words for New York lawmakers is "Brooklyn." NY Daily News

- The best free phone on every carrier. Gizmodo

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Brooklyn Prepper Part 5: What To Do In a Pandemic

From our most favorite disaster prepper ever, the Brooklyn Prepper tells us what to do when the pandemic happens. Especially if it gets really crazy out there.

In this video (warning: 51 minutes) we learn: How do you set up a quarantine room? What do you do if a distant branch of the family shows up at the door? What do you put in your Pandemic Box?

Unlike your typical Walmart-style disaster preppers, Brooklyn Prepper has a uniquely urban perspective. His many videos outline the best way to navigate traffic when the power's out, how to map out your survival plan before the S* Hits The Fan, what emergency items to pack in your kids backpacks, water sources, getting food together, how to construct a blow gun out of PVC pipe.

Favorite quotes from this video:

"Once a weapons-grade flu goes airborne, all bets are off."

"When it comes down to survival, the more the merrier. You think you're going to go to your buggout situation and survive by yourself? What if you break your legs? Who's going to go out hunting, go fishing?"

"I can teach someone to defend themselves with a rifle in two days. It's not rocket science."

- Brooklyn Prepper Gives Survival Tips For When SHTF

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Downtown Brooklyn 'Genius School' Campaign; God Kills Hasidic Man? And More Brooklyn Briefs

- New ad campaign backs NYU bid to build city’s "genius school" in Downtown Brooklyn. NY Daily News

- The Brooklyn DA's office has arrested 85 sexual predators and identified 117 victims after an investigation into sexual abuse in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community. NY Magazine

- What Abe Lincoln and the G spot have to do with Brooklyn. Atlantic Wire

- Bikers and pedestrians are increasingly victims of fatal accidents and drivers have been getting off nearly scot-free. Brooklyn Eagle

- Authorities shut down two subway lines under Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Saturday night after an iPhone thief dashed into the tunnel. Gothamist

- A rabbi says that a Hasidic (Jewish) man hit by a car in Williamsburg Friday night was killed by God because he used the eruv, a "fence" made up of wires that encloses an area so Orthodox Jews can carry objects outside on Shabbat. Failed Messiah

- After a park ranger was dressed down for arresting a pervert in Prospect Park, all park rangers are getting stepped-up police training. Brooklyn Paper

- Now the government is occupying Zuccotti Park. WYDNKBYANM

- EPA's report on hydrofracking in Wyoming may influence debate in New York. Gothamist

- Norway is entirely out of butter because a fad diet has them stuffing their faces with it. Really.  Gizmodo  

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Live From the Statue of Liberty

We shot this view of New York Harbor (lower Manhattan on the left, the Brooklyn shoreline on the right) and we didn't have to leave McBrooklyn headquarters to do it. We grabbed the photo using one of the live webcams at the top of the Statue of Liberty.

EarthCam provides several different cams providing live, streaming video from different parts of the statue as well as from across the harbor. In panorama mode you can magnify and scroll around the image.

It's fun to look around the harbor and see what's going on. Visit EarthCam to try it yourself.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thousands of Drunken Santas Invade New York City, Overwhelm New Apple Store, at SantaCon 2011

They were everywhere.

Thousands of boozed-up Santas, reindeer, elves and other Christmas icons invaded New York City Saturday for SantaCon 2011 -- the annual Running of the Santas through the bars and BBQ joints of NYC.

Half of the Santas started out in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn at 10 a.m., (see video by Karl Junkersfeld at the Brooklyn Heights Blog) and drank and sang their way through six bars open at that ungodly hour: the Water Street Restaurant, Galapagos Art Space, Pub One, Rebar, 68 Jay Street and Superfine.

Then they made their sloppy way over the Brooklyn Bridge to join the Manhattan Santas at South Street Seaport, where tourists thought they had stepped into an alternate North Pole universe.

The crowds of zany Santas intensified in waves as the day wore on. Pubs and BBQ joints had long Santa lines. Rick's Cabaret and Striptease was overwhelmed. Thousands were  heard singing dirty Christmas carols outside the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Tens of thousands invaded Grand Central Station, where they tried to take in the huge new Apple Store, which just opened Friday.

While the majority of the revelers wore Santa costumes, other personified the spirits of domesticated elves, dreidles, sugarplum fairies, biblical figures and Christmas trees.

And other things.

After a day of non-stop debauchery, one tired Santa heads home.

The Brooklyn Cacophony Society was the original sponsor of Santacon in 1998. The secretive Society said in 2005 that SantaCon is: “a not-for-profit, nonpolitical, non-religious demented Santa Clause convention. We do it for no reason. SantaCon happens in major cities all over the world.” (Here's a photo from that first SantaCon.)

SantaCon participants donate cans of food to charity and patronize bars that give a percentage of their proceeds to Toys for Tots.

UPDATE: Now that hipsters have discovered SantaCon, is it sooo over? Gothamist 

More photos of Santacon 2011:
SantaCon Revelers Say 'Ho, Ho, Ho!' DNAinfo
Photos at Gothamist
Drunk Santas Take Over NYC for Christmas: Daily Mail
Photos at NBC

Past Articles:
- You Better Watch Out: SantaCon Is Coming to Town
- SantaCon 2010

Photos by MK Metz
Video by TechServeUSA

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Friday, December 9, 2011

City Council Agrees with OWS: Banks Should Turn Over Foreclosed Properties

Following the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in East New York Wednesday, the City Council called for big banks to turn over vacant foreclosed properties to nonprofit groups involved in affordable housing.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, council members, and representatives from VOCANY and NY Communities for Change were "responding to the growing demand by the 99 percent to hold the banks responsible for the damage that foreclosures cause to neighborhoods in the city."

Occupy Wall Street and elected officials chose East New York because that community has a foreclosure rate five times the citywide rate.

More here.

Photo by MK Metz

- Occupy Wall Street's Day of Mass Action
- Occupy Wall Street's 99% March Over Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn Heights
- Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested Inside Brooklyn Supreme Court
- OWS Protesters Occupy Cadman Plaza Park and Get Arrested On Brooklyn Bridge
- Livestream OWS March Oct. 5
- More here
- More here.

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P.S. 8 Holiday Craft Fair Saturday

Tomorrow (Saturday, December 10, 2011) from noon – 4 p.m., P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights will host a Holiday Craft Fair featuring homemade crafts, jewelry, toys and more. Come hungry – the event includes yummy food, pies and other treats.

The event includes live music, fun activities for kids, family photographs and a reading by children’s book author and illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg.

P.S. 8 is located at 37 Hicks Street between Middagh and Poplar in Brooklyn Heights.

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Where to See Santa in Brooklyn

They're only kids once. Bring them to see Santa while they still believe.

Fairway Market in Red Hook Brooklyn (450-500 Van Brunt St.) on Saturday, Dec. 10, and Sunday, Dec. 11, from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. A photographer will be on hand to capture the kids with Santa. Pictures are $5.

Kings Plaza Shopping Center, available for photos through Dec. 24, Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Kings Plaza is at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U.

Melt at 440 Bergen Street at Fifth Avenue (Park Slope) on December 18, 2-5pm

Santa Parade and Pancake Breakfast in Greenpoint on Saturday, December 10th. Gather at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Greenpoint Y at 99 Meserole Ave (between Manhattan Ave and Lorimer St). March down Manhattan Avenue and back again to the Y for a yummy pancake brunch by Boy Scouts Troop 26, photos with Santa, arts/crafts for kids, a holiday concert by P.S. 34’s Chorus, a Greencycle Swap, and more. (718)789-3700

the DeKalb Market through Dec. 24. The Sant-A-Box photo booth will be open every day through Saturday, Dec. 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On weekends, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Santa will be holding court in this specially decorated shipping container while wearing a suit designed by Sylvia Heisel and Scott Taylor of Post Modern Production. On weekdays, when Santa is not in residence, visitors are welcome to take their own photos at the Sant-A-Box photo booth, complete with costumes.

- My Brooklyn Baby and Habana Outpost (757 Fulton Street) are teaming up to bring you Santa's Village on December 10th and 11th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Photos, arts & crafts, goody bag. $15

and at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Children can have their photo taken with Santa in his sled for $7 on Thursday, Dec. 15, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 17, from noon to 3 p.m. The museum is at 145 Brooklyn Ave.

For more seasonal activities see the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photo by Tumbleweed, Creative Commons license

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Garbage Truck Kills Woman in Williamsburg; More Media Companies in DUMBO; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A garbage truck struck and killed a 25-year-old woman crossing a street last night in Williamsburg. Fox

- Brokelyn guide to Brooklyn holiday markets. Brokelyn
- Three more media production companies just signed leases in DUMBO. Brooklyn Eagle

- Outer borough street hail bill is dead. No it's not. Yes it ... Brooklyn Politics

- L Magazine goes inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard's new museum. L Magazine

- Sickening faux pot sold in Bay Ridge delis and tobacco shops. Brooklyn Paper

- Photos from the second annual Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. Publishers Weekly  

- Ten of history's most insanely awesome gingerbread houses. Curbed

- NASA: About 1,000 asteroids big enough to cause catastrophic damage if they hit Earth are orbiting relatively nearby. Reuters

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You Better Watch Out: SantaCon Is Coming to Town

(UPDATE: Photos of SantaCon 2011 here.)

Some cities have the running of the bulls. New York City has its own death-defying event: the New York City Santacon, which takes place this Saturday.

That means hundreds (if not thousands) of Santas in cheap suits, along with gingerbread men, giant presents, Hannukah Harries, snowflakes, sugarplum fairies, frisky reindeer, toy soldiers, and Santa mash-ups will be rampaging along the streets of New York, lurching from bar to bar, dancing, drinking and engaging in general lunacy with gay abandon.

The Brooklyn Cacophony Society was the original sponsor of Santacon (since at least 1998). The secretive Society said in 2005 that Santacon is: “a not-for-profit, nonpolitical, non-religious demented Santa Clause convention. We do it for no reason. SantaCon happens in major cities all over the world.”

- SantaCon 2010

- The March of Zany Santas: From Downtown over Brooklyn Bridge Brooklyn Eagle

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New 'Restaurant Row;' Brooklyn Heights Noise Complaints; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- New high-end "restaurant row" coming to Adams and Willoughby Streets in Downtown Brooklyn.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Poor old Brooklyn: Almost 21 percent of the elderly in Brooklyn live below the poverty line, compared to about 11 percent in NY State and 9 percent nationwide. The Brooklyn Ink

- Late-night construction at 25 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights has neighbors burning mad. BHB

- A Brooklyn bus passenger was robbed of his iPhone — but police found it using an app and busted the deli worker who bought it off the thieves. NY Daily News

- The Gap -- coming to 400 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn -- is moving full speed ahead. Brownstoner

- The renovation of Ozzie's Coffee, on Fifth Avenue and Carroll Street, has been well worth the wait. Here's Park Slope

- The L train has been shut down on so many weekends this year it's killed Williamsburg businesses. Crain's NY

- Here's the full cop Facebook page with negative comments about the West Indian day Parade, courtesy of Gothamist

- Con Edison has decided not to pull the plug on a holiday art show featuring “pagan”-themed pieces by a Park Slope artist. Brooklyn Paper  

- Bank of America says it has opened customer assistance centers in Brooklyn and elsewhere so that borrowers can discuss options for alternatives to foreclosure. Marketwatch . . . But Occupy Wall Street has developed a quicker, more efficient solution to the foreclosure crisis in Brooklyn. Gothamist

- Now there's an app to make complaining about the taxi that wouldn't take you to Brooklyn even easier. Village Voice

- Brian Lehrer to host school choice discussion at Pratt on Thursday. Brooklyn Eagle

- Amazon launches appalling attack on local shops. Gawker

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40-Foot Christmas Tree Lights Up Brooklyn Borough Hall

Brooklyn Borough Hall is looking spectacular.

On Monday Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz threw the switch and illuminated the 40-foot-tall Christmas tree in Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza. The balsam fir will sparkle with holiday colors each night through the holiday season.

Joining BP Markowitz at the tree lighting ceremony were elected officials and 4-year-old Akeelah Freeman of Bed-Stuy.

Free holiday cookies were handed out and, of course, there was a special guest appearance from Santa himself.

Photos by Kathryn Kirk

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Too Bad Chumps: Red Hook, Gowanus Parents Won't Be Able to Attend DOE's Ed Panel Vote On Success Academy Charter School

After Brooklyn parents loudly protested (here and here)  about the "co-location" of a charter school owned by ex-Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz into a Cobble Hill building already housing three public schools, DOE changed the location of the December 14 PEP vote to Newtown Creek High School in Queens.

Newtown Creek High School was chosen because you can't get there from here. (DOE says the Manhattan site where the meeting was originally scheduled suddenly became unavailable.)

With the closing of the G station at Smith and 9th (until sometime in 2012) Success Academy Charter School's target audience in Red Hook and Gowanus won't be able to attend the meeting at all unless they take the bus routes shown above, which take over an hour from Cobble Hill (if they're running on time) and won't be able to carry the hundreds of interested parents and advocates.

Add 35 minutes and another bus if traveling from Red Hook.

Subway time from other sections of District 15 add up to more than an hour.

Moskowitz has been spending literally millions of dollars pushing her Success Academy Cobble Hill charter schools plans. Buses for her Manhattan supporters will magically appear -- maybe even city buses. (Mayor Bloomberg's "private bus company.")

According to the NY Daily News, the Success Charter Network spent $1.6 million in the 2009-2010 school year just for publicity and recruitment of new students, the group's financial reports show. The money comes from private hedge fund executives and conservative foundations.

BP Markowitz Weighs In

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Walcott yesterday saying that he has received hundreds of emails requesting that the December 14 PEP meeting be switched to Brooklyn Tech.

His letter reads in part: "I believe that if the lower Manhattan space suddenly became unavailable, it should have been moved to Brooklyn in the first place. Considering that so many of the proposals on the agenda for this meeting directly affect school communities and proposed co-locations in Brooklyn – I would like to strongly urge you to change the location to Brooklyn Technical High School."

"The placement of Success Academy has many in the community concerned about why their needs are not being heard. Perhaps a meeting at Brooklyn Tech could be an opportunity to ask the community for their suggestions going forward."

DOE's kowtowing to wealthy hedge fund managers is becoming more and more obvious in this fiasco.

184 Baltic Street (near Court), where Moskowitz wants to put her Success Academy Cobble Hill, currently houses three schools: Brooklyn School for Global Studies, School for International Studies and P.S. 368 for special ed children.

Map courtesy of Google Maps

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