Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sexed Up Stoner Brooklyn H.S. Teacher Turns Herself In

James Madison High School in Marine Park, Brooklyn
A 37-year-old teacher turned herself in to Brooklyn’s Special Victims Unit today as the city decided to charge her for having sex with one of her teen-age charges.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Erin Sayar, a married mom, allegedly had sex “numerous times” with a 16-year-old student she was supposed to be tutoring. She also plied the lad with pot during their many "trysts," which allegedly took place in her office and SUV.

Sayar is an English teacher at James Madison High School -- the same school where three other teachers were thrown out for sex violations. (New York Magazine notes that it is the same high school that hosted an infamous lesbian sex romp between two teachers in 2009.)

The Eagle reports that mom and dad (shown in a very unhappy-looking photo) are getting ready for a big fat lawsuit, quaintly claiming that the city DOE is somehow supposed to be in charge of their teachers.

The NY Times reports that on Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg endorsed a bill that would give school superintendents the last word on whether teachers facing sexual-misconduct accusations are fired.

Photo courtesy Google Streetview

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Car Fire On Brooklyn Bridge -- Massive Jam -- Thursday Night, May 31, 2012

Massive traffic jam alert for the Brooklyn Bridge:

(See bottom of post for recent updates.)

FDNY and NYPD have closed the Manhattan-bound side of the Brooklyn Bridge and are considering closing the Brooklyn-bound side as fire vehicles struggle to get to a car fire on the bridge.

One engine is close to the fire -- mid-span on the bridge -- and other units are stuck in the traffic jam.

UPDATE: As of 9:45 p.m.: Several engines made it to the fire by approaching from the FDR access road. The fire has been extinguished and FDNY is laying down a foam blanket as gasoline has spilled over the bridge. Traffic is still a disaster -- avoid the Brooklyn Bridge.

UPDATE: As of 9:57, Brooklyn-bound traffic is moving on the Brooklyn Bridge but traffic going towards Manhattan is still at an absolute standstill. Emergency vehicles are still stuck in the Manhattan-bound lanes.

UPDATE: 10:10 p.m.: Police are not letting vehicles onto the Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge. Do not attempt to drive to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge, you will be redirected by NYPD. (Traffic to Brooklyn is moving.)

UPDATE: 10:33 p.m.: FDNY reports that the fire did not damage the structure of the Brooklyn Bridge itself, but it did engage the wooden structures and tarps associated with the ongoing bridge repair project. Manhattan-bound lanes are still closed. Brooklyn-bound lanes are in service.

UPDATE: 11:10 p.m.: Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge are still closed. Brooklyn-bound lanes are in service.A tow truck is trying to work its way in to the damaged vehicle, but it may take some time to get through the jam.

FINAL UPDATE: Midnight: The damaged vehicle has apparently been removed from the roadway, but that doesn't mean the Manhattan-bound lane of the Brooklyn Bridge is traveling towards Manhattan. For now is the hour that construction takes place in the Brooklyn-bound lane, which is now closed to traffic. The lanes which are supposed to be Manhattan-bound have been transformed, as usual, to Brooklyn-bound. If you want to get to Manhattan from Brooklyn, take another bridge.

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Girls: Most Romantic Guy in Brooklyn Wants To Date YOU

This is the real thing, ladies:
Mr. Right has gone to a lot of effort to bring some love into your life. Meaning: He's hung this sign on a news box in Brooklyn Heights.

It reads:

Meaning: Cheeseburger deluxe date. 
Meaning: McDonald's, Wendy's, Popeyes, Subway date.
One night stands only.
Meaning soda date. Coffee date. Dutch dating. The library. Book store. Window shopping. 
Meaning a walk date. The aquarium. The zoo. A cigarette meet date.
Meaning maybe romance.
Females only.

Can he be any clearer?
We don't think so.

Photo by MK Metz

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For Second Consecutive Year, Brooklyn Housing Court Lifetime Award Recipient Dies Before Event

You may want to avoid being named the Lifetime Award recipient at Brooklyn's annual Housing Court Bar event.

The Kings County Housing Court Bar Association held its 11th Annual Awards Luncheon last Thursday at Brooklyn Law School. The food was great, and several hardworking judges, clerks and attorneys were presented with Judiciary Awards of Merit, the Brooklyn Eagle reports.

But here's where it gets a little weird.

For second consecutive year, the Lifetime Award recipient died right before the event. This coincidence was noted as the award was presented to the daughter of this year's "winner."

Of course, these are older people (that's why it's called "lifetime" award). But still.

The Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for next year's winner.


More here.

Photo by Andy Bullock, Creative Commons license

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Brooklyn Beekeeper Arrested; Push for Hockey at Barclays; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- President of Brooklyn Beekeeper Club arrested after thousands of bees escape his sweltering parked car and menace neighborhood. NY Times

- Neighbors want protection from Barclays hordes. Brooklyn Eagle

- Foodie shocker! Bon Appetit slashes $550 Brooklyn grub crawl to $250. Brokelyn

- Walentas: Dock Street groundbreaking in DUMBO 'coming soon.' Brownstoner

- Investigators are probing charges that teachers at a Sunset Park public school gave kids answers on state exams. NY Daily News

- City may hike fines for sidewalk biking. Carroll Gardens Patch

- The "most badass high school in Brooklyn" has its very own trading floor. Business Insider

- Mehtaphor and Graffiti chef Jehangir Mehta consulted on a "tapas-style" menu for a café called Misdemeanor, located in the NU Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn. Grubstreet

- Barclays Center is pushing hard to bring hockey to Brooklyn, even if it means recruiting pro teams from billionaire Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's native country. Brooklyn Eagle

- The Satmar Rebbe of upstate Orthodox town Kiryas Yoel, has laid down an ultimatum for his flock: dump their smartphones within a month or look for a new rebbe. Failed Messiah

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

'Sensation' Extravaganza Coming to Barclays Center In October

Sensation Amsterdam
That over-the-top Euro-spectacle -- Sensation -- will open in America at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in late October, according to Dancing Astronaut.

Barclays will be the first venue for the previously Euro-only event, to be dubbed 'Sensation America.' Past Sensation events have been described a "spectacle beyond belief."

Sensation Amsterdam
Dancing Astronaut describes the Barcelona Sensation: "Sensation White is a musical experience unlike any festival, club, or rave that I’ve ever been to. 13,000 people adhered to the strict dress code — 'Be part of the night, dress in white' . . . What resulted was a night jam packed with emotion, music, and a whole lot of sweaty Europeans moving in unison decked out in white jumpsuits."

According to Whomping Stereo, DJ/ producer Fedde Le Grand will “be among the star-studded lineup” for least one of the Brooklyn shows.

Sensation Amsterday
At Sensation extravaganzas, you pay for things with “SENS,” a fake currency only accepted at Sensation events. One SENS is the equivalent two Euros. (They are sold in sticks of five tabs that rip apart.)

The full Sensation USA announcement is set for Thursday, May 31st.

Photos courtesy of Sensation

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Pratt Buys $13 Million Site; Tina Fey Filming in Brooklyn; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Pratt Institute has purchased a Clinton Hill development site for $13 million, possibly for student or staff housing. TRD

- Some folks think that the Con Ed plant in DUMBO -- which had two explosions in the last nine months -- should be turned into park land. Brownstoner

- Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has joined the chorus decrying Bloomberg's "puke green" Boro Taxis. Gothamist

- Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, is filming around Dupont St. and McGuinness Bvd. in Brooklyn today. On Location Vacations;  The plot here.

- The number of drinking-related ER visits has "skyrocketed," draining city hospitals. Gothamist

- Did you lose a wedding ring in Fort Greene Park? The Local

- Mitt Romney's dad was born in Mexico, and faced his own "birther" controversy. Huff Post

- Think about it: Facebook rumored to be buying Israeli face recognition firm Fast Co.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scattered Power Outages Across Brooklyn and Queens Late Tuesday

The Con Edison Storm Center reports a number of scattered power outages in Brooklyn and Queens as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night. (May 29, 2012)

UPDATED for Thursday, May 31 below.

In Brooklyn, 27 sites have outages, affecting 163 customers (a customer can be a whole building). In South Williamsburg alone, 76 customers are experiencing a partial outage. (Repairs there are expected by 3 p.m. Wednesday.)

In Queens, 15 sites have power outages, affecting 159 customers.

In addition, about 130 customers in Manhattan are suffering from "burning wires."

UPDATE: By 1 a.m. Wednesday, most of the Queens' power problems are under control. The power outages remain in Brooklyn, however.

UPDATE: By Thursday, May 31 at 10 p.m., 60 Brooklynites were without power. Con-Ed expects all to have power restored by 4 a.m. Friday morning.

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Aaron Hillis to Reinvent Cobble Hill's Video Free Brooklyn

Film critic Aaron Hillis, editor of GreenCine Daily and programmer at the independent cinema reRun at reBar in DUMBO, will turn his hand to a new venture -- running a video store in Cobble Hill with his wife Jennifer.

But not just any video store, according to Filmmaker Magazine: Video Free Brooklyn, at 244 Smith St., where he intends to go all artisanal and maybe even co-op. "I want to reinvent the video store experience and make it fun again," he says. He'll be behind the counter June 1.

More here.

UPDATE: The Hillises are crowdsourcing the funds to renovate the shop. More here.

Photo courtesy Google Streetview

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Brooklyn Trader Joe's Upgrades Its Crime Sign

After more purse and cell-phone pilferings, Trader Joe's has freshened up its sign warning customers to keep an eye on their belongings. Above is the 2012 model -- maybe just a bit sleeker than the older model shown below, put on display after a well-publicized crime wave in 2010.

DNAinfo reports that there have been five reported thefts this year from unattended shopping carts at Trader Joe's, including two within several minutes last month — cash from a bag set up in a police sting and a cell phone from a woman's purse.

The commander of the 76th Precinct said that he had sent officers to the store several times to implore Trader Joe's to install cameras -- but the cops were rebuffed, according to DNAinfo.

Photos by MK Metz

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Terminal Brooklyn Teen Going to S. Korea; Calexico Coming to 5th; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The Real America: A lovely Memorial Day celebration in Carroll Park. PMFA

- Roughly 100 additional parking spaces will soon be available along Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, following DOT's surrender to 20 years of community opposition to a parking ban. Brooklyn Eagle

- Calexico coming to former Blue Ribbon Sushi site on 5th Ave. in Park Slope. Here's Park Slope

- In case you missed the Zombie Crawl in Williamsburg: photos here and here.

- A drunk Brooklyn woman crashed her Mercedes into a Long Island home Monday, smashing through the house and landing in the backyard. NY Daily News

- After 40 years, a mint company buys new uniforms for city’s H.S. marching band. Brooklyn Eagle

- The effort to rename a park after Beastie Boys' Brooklyn native Adam Yauch has moved to the basketball court section of Palmetto Playground in Willowtown, instead of Squibb Park in the north Heights. Brownstoner  

- Two brothers from Brooklyn have been injured, one critically, after a group of men beat them in the parking lot at MetLife Stadium in NJ. NY Post

- Terminally ill Brooklyn teen to visit South Korea, meet her favorite K-pop stars. Korean Herald

- A $1 million state-funded program that will place 150 security cameras in Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn neighborhoods will be run by community volunteers and not by the police. Forward

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Monday, May 28, 2012

New Pier 1 Dock, Bigger Ferries at Brooklyn Bridge Park

No more missing the boat: The new floating dock for New York Waterway's larger East River ferries has opened at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The East River ferry run to Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Manhattan has been so successful that bigger ferries are necessary to carry the load.

The original ferry slip at Fulton Ferry Landing (sometimes called the "DUMBO" landing) was too shallow to accommodate the larger ferries, hence the move to Pier 1.

According to New York Waterway, BillyBey Ferry Company, which began operating the service last June, will be switching to 399-passenger models on the East River on weekends. Those boats are more than twice as big as the 149-passenger vessels previously running this route.

Dredging for the new East River Ferry slip. Photo: MK Metz
Over the last month, the area surrounding the new dock has been dredged out to make it deep enough for the larger ferries.

East River Ferry slip, May 13. Photo: MK Metz
According to the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, expanded ferry service is a critical component of WAVES, the City's Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy, which focuses on increasing people's connectivity to the water.

The ferry service is financed on a pilot basis with $9 million of city money.

According to the NY Times, the service will add a second boat to its rotation next Tuesday, during the period between the morning and evening rush hours. The Times notes that the boats, which had sold coffee from Brooklyn Roasters, have added other drinks and some snacks with a local flavor, including egg creams made with U-bet chocolate syrup.

Fare is $4 one way, and up to four children may ride free with a paying adult. The East River Ferry Service connects Wall Street (Pier 11) to East 34th Street, with stops at Brooklyn Bridge Park, South Williamsburg, North Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City.

Photos copyright MK Metz

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Memorial Day in Brooklyn: Last Chance To See Fleet Week Ships

Today -- Memorial Day -- is the last day to join the crowds at the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park to take in the coalition warships and Coast Guard cutters docked at Piers 7 and 8 for Fleet Week. Above is the scene on Pier 6 on Sunday. The restaurants and food carts are in operation, the fountains are turned on and hundreds lined up for the ferry to Governors Island.

Fleet Week: Coalition ships are officially open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but come early -- yesterday people were turned away starting about 3:45 p.m. because of overcrowding.

Above: Canada's HMCS Iroquois, the Flagship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 Fleet, is docked at Pier 7. HMCS Iroquois is a Destroyer.

Her weapons include surface-to-air missiles; a Vulcan Phalanx Gatling gun, which fires up to 3500 rounds per-minute; anti-submarine torpedoes; and two Sea King aircraft. The ship can also be sealed against nuclear, biological or chemical attack.

Above: USCGC Willow (202), a Sea-going Buoy Tender. Willow is one of the most advanced cutters in the Coast Guard fleet, and operates in some of the most dangerous waterways in New England. Willow also conducts Maritime Homeland Security and Living Marine Resources patrols, responds to search and rescue cases and has the ability to perform marine environmental protection in the event of a major oil spill.

Other coalition warships at Piers 7 and 8 include the Coast Guard's Seneca, (UK's) RFA Argus and (Japan's) JS Shiran, and FNS Pohjanmaa, Finland; plus tall ships: Juan Sebastian de Elcano, Spain; Cuauhtemoc, Mexico;Etoile, France and Belle Poule, France.
BTW: Events on Governors Island this weekend include a Sculptors Guild Exhibition, fashion, painting and graphic design exhibitions, kids activities and more. See the full schedule here. Ferries from Pier 6 run from 11 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. (The last ferry returns to Brooklyn at 7 p.m.)

Photos by MK Metz

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Last Call at Eamonn's in Brooklyn Heights

Raise your glass for one last toast at Eamonn's on Montague Street.

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that the long-running Irish bar and restaurant will close on June 17.

The new owner of the building housing the convivial establishment -- previously Eamonn Doran and before that Peter Hilary's -- plans to develop condominiums on the site.

More at the Eagle.

Photo courtesy Google Streetview (check it out, you can actually waltz through the restaurant).

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Pimping 'Expert' Deflated; Head of Sex Trafficking Unit Resigns; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Pimping "expert" loses swagger when Brooklyn judge sentences him for robbery. NY Daily News

- The interim dean of Brooklyn Law School will present the case for Bible-backed debt reorganization at an “All Nite Torah-Thon.” Brooklyn Eagle

- The Brooklyn Heights Montessori School in Cobble Hill has completed a renovation and expansion  into the adjacent fire patrol station on Dean Street. Brownstoner

- Treatment at the hands of a Brooklyn proctologist on trial for Medicare fraud was a pain in the butt, witnesses testified Thursday. NY Daily News

- The head of the sex trafficking unit at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office resigned on Thursday as the agency conducted a review of a controversial rape and prostitution case in Crown Heights. NY Times

- Medical group takes 75K square feet at Forest City’s One Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights. TRD

- DA Hynes, trying to extricate himself from a political scandal, has decided to turn up the heat on the problem of child molestation among the Orthodox. Gothamist

- A Brooklyn developer's goal: renovate an apartment building so it generates as much energy as it uses. NY Times

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Sunglasses, Court Street

Summer specs at Sol Moscot's on Court Street in Cobble Hill.

Turns out that Moscot  ranks the Top 10 sunglasses in movies (why we don't know). Here are the results:

10. Men in Black
9. Midnight Run
8. Blade
7. Cool Hand Luke
6. Top Gun
5. Reservoir Dogs
4. The Matrix
3. Risky Business
2. The Terminator
1. Blues Brothers

Photo by MK Metz

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brooklyn Photos From the 50s and 60s

Gothamist has put together a album of photos from 1922, New York City's so-called "Gilded Age."

That inspired us to see what we could find from from Brooklyn's 50s and 60s -- an era we haven't covered much here at McBrooklyn. Here are a few photos from the Library of Congress and the Municipal Archives. We've linked to the original sources, and there are more links at the bottom of this post.

P.S. 58 - Carroll and Smith Streets, Brooklyn hold a "take cover" drill practice. Library of Congress; Photo by Walter Albertin.
It was amazing that everyone believed that this would help when the big one hit. This "take cover" practice was probably associated with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Mothers protesting (schools) on Borough Hall steps. NYC Municipal Archives
These moms were protesting a school-related issue, sort of a 50s version of Occupy Borough Hall. Except nobody's spraying them with pepper spray.

Teenage gang members arrested in fatal shooting of Brooklyn youth. Library of Congress. 1959
Tough guys. They're probably around 70 years old today, if they're still alive.

African American woman being carried to police patrol wagon during demonstration in Brooklyn. 1960s. Library of Congress.
Probably a civil rights protest. (Brooklyn CORE is said to be one of the first chapters to implement the tactic of peaceful arrest by going limp, or lying down and refusing to move.)

Brownsville market, Belmont Avenue, Brooklyn Library of Congress.
Notice the bags for 97 cents.

Website that cover Brooklyn in the 50s include Brooklyn Memories; Retronaut; and ActiveRain.  Also check out the Municipal Archives and the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vinegar Hill Meeting: Con Ed Fire, Possible PCB Contamination

The Dumbo NYC blog reports that Con Ed will brief neighbors on the recent fire and findings from its  investigation. The meeting will be held tonight, Wednesday, May 23, at 7 p.m. at Phoenix House.

A hot topic is likely to be ConEd’s Environmental Health and Safety ChemLab environmental study, which showed elevated PCB contamination in the surrounding area.

More at Dumbo NYC.

Photo by MK Metz

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Are You a 'Rugged Maniac?' Brooklyn 5K May Be For You

Are you a burly, rugged maniac? The kind that considers no work out complete unless it includes a crawl through mud under barbed wire?

Have we got a rugged event for you: the Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race at Aviator Sports Complex on June 30.

Rugged Maniac features twenty rugged obstacles. The sponsors say: "These aren’t the pop-up kiddie obstacles you’ll see at other races. You’ll climb over walls up to 12’ high, crawl through mud under barbed wire, slide down a 50’ water slide, jump over fire and face many other challenges all while running through a combination of forests, fields, motocross tracks and ski slopes."

Like any good rugged adventure, the event ends in a blaze of rugged glory with "a rocking after party with great bands, good food and plenty of beer."

Aviator is at 3159 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn. More here.

Photo by Eli Christman, Creative Commons license

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Barclays Center Traffic; Catholic Birth Control; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Complete coverage of last night's Barclays Center Traffic Mitigation Plan meeting, as live-blogged by Carroll Gardens Patch. Highlights: a reduction of on-site parking; shuttle buses to off-site parking; cross-marketing with area businesses; more cops; some bike parking; a vague bomb security plan; a 30-day comment period.

- Man stole a school bus Monday. The Local

- Sigh: Catholic birth-control case to be heard in Brooklyn court. Brooklyn Eagle

- Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn writes an open letter to Barbara Streisand and Leonard Cohen about the abuse of public trust at Barclays Center. DDDB

- D.A. Hynes accused of stacking the task force to deal with Orthodox Jewish intimidation with cronies. Failed Messiah

- Boy and man hit in gunfight between security guard and disgruntled customer in Brooklyn shoe store. (Security guard has 13 priors . . .) NY Post

- Brooklyn Public Library, Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, New York Botanical Gardens and Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx took home almost a million dollars after winning the popular vote in the Partners in Preservation Program. Market Watch

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores Swapped for Land Under Manhattan Bridge

Tobacco Warehouse (left), Empire Stores (right). By MK Metz
UPDATE with letter from the Brooklyn Heights Association at end of post.

The NY Daily News is reporting that a deal has been cut to turn over the Civil-War era Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores in DUMBO in exchange for a plot of city-owned land under the Manhattan Bridge:

"The city agreed to turn a 38,000 square foot site it owns under the Manhattan Bridge into a new chunk of the waterfront park -- to replace the [Tobacco] Warehouse and nearby Empire Stores when they lose federal protection as parkland."

This happened in a "deal struck Monday settling [the] lawsuit brought to stop the handover of the historic Tobacco Warehouse to a prominent theater company." (St. Ann's Warehouse)

"The expansion of the park is a great victory for everyone," said Joan Zimmerman, president of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, according to Crain's. "We are glad that the settlement agreement today solidifies public process and ensures that, if any re-use of the Tobacco Warehouse or Empire Stores is approved, replacement parkland is a 'must'."

So what will happen to the Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores, two of the most distinguished architectural structures on the Brooklyn waterfront?

Before any development can begin on the two sites, "state legislation has to be passed and the National Park Service needs to approve such development," says Crain's. "Under the new agreement, the Tobacco Warehouse will be preserved and re-used as a cultural and community facility."

Does this mean that the Tobacco Warehouse is safe from St. Ann's Warehouse's disastrous redesign?


According to Crain's, St. Ann's (the Brooklyn theater group) has been conditionally designated as the tenant of the Tobacco Warehouse. The Empire Stores will be used as a "mixed-use retail and commercial development."

While the additional parkland is great, lovers of what J. Peter Flemming called that "historic and visually stunning 'ruin'" may well be worried DUMBO could lose one of its most famous symbols.

Present day Tobacco Warehouse 'ruin' draws thousands.      Photo by MK Metz
Probably replaced by this.
In spite of the double-decker tourist buses and hotdog vendors (and some may argue out-of-context carousel house), the Empire Park section of Brooklyn Bridge Park has retained a bit of a "wild" feel that draws visitors from around the world.

If the Tobacco Warehouse is sanitized and domesticated, the allure of this section of the DUMBO waterfront could be lost.

UPDATE: The Brooklyn Heights Association says that BBPC will keep the Tobacco Warehouse open to the public until any development takes place. Also: "Any construction plan will protect the historic character of the Tobacco Warehouse. The community will have a role in managing the use of the public space in the Tobacco Warehouse after any construction project is completed."

The entire letter from the BHA:

An Announcement From BHA President Jane McGroarty Dear BHA Members and Friends,

I have very good news: As you know, we embarked on a very complex litigation over the past 18 months concerning a plan to remove the Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores, two important historical structures, from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Although we tried to resolve the underlying issues without litigation, it was clear that federal, state, and city officials planned to develop those structures without public input, without providing substitute parkland (which the law requires), and without any meaningful public input into programming decisions. Through two successful lawsuits (one in federal court and one in state court), we put the brakes on these plans.

Having won the lawsuits, we were convinced of the importance of coming together with those on the other side of the litigation to forge a plan to resume work on the park on principled terms.

Today, we concluded a negotiation process – which was led by our attorneys, Jim Walden and Jim Hallowell of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher – to resolve all the open issues.

State and City officials graciously came to the table to partner with us. In the end, we all agreed on a process that ensures public input, gives the community a role in programing at public spaces, and, most importantly, provides substitute parkland if, indeed, regulatory approval is obtained to develop Empire Stores and Tobacco Warehouse for purposes other than parkland recreation.

We are very grateful to the State and City Officials, and particularly to Regina Myer and Hank Gutman, for their very constructive roles during the negotiation process. State Senator Daniel Squadron and Senate Assembly Member Joan Millman were also extremely helpful to us in forging the right result.

We understand that some in our community were concerned that our position was intended to somehow thwart St. Ann’s Warehouse, which was slated to develop the Tobacco Warehouse as a cultural and community theater, from succeeding. It was not. Our lawsuit was intended to vindicate the public’s right to a full and open process for development decisions, protection of parkland and historically important structures, and the community’s role in programming public spaces. In fact, today’s resolution gives St. Ann’s Warehouse a lawful process that it may use to try to get the necessary approvals for re-use of the Tobacco Warehouse. We wish St. Ann’s well in that application. If it succeeds, today’s resolution guarantees that substitute parkland must be added to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

We are quite proud that our work over the past weeks ends the litigation, brings us back together with park officials, and allows the work of building the park to proceed. We would like to thank our fellow plaintiffs – the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Preservation League of New York State – for working with us to achieve this great result. We also thank the National Historic Trust, which supported our litigation.

We want to say a special thank you to our lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for their outstanding pro bono counsel. The other attorneys were Kimberly Yuhas, Matthew Menendez, Adam Cohen, Adam Jantzi, Lloyd Kim, Yara Mansour, Richard Falek, and Sharon Grysman, and they all worked very hard, along with Jim Walden and Jim Hallowell. Together, the GDC team devoted more than a thousand hours of their time to our matter, including long nights and many weekends.

Here are the specifics of the agreement, which the City announced today [yesterday]:

* There will be 38,000 square feet of new parkland in DUMBO for Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is significant since the initial attempt to develop the Tobacco Warehouse did not include any replacement parkland. If we do not believe that the substitute parkland is properly valued, we will have the right to submit an independent valuation to NPS during the conversion process.

* The agreement states that the National Park Service should decide the conversion issues on the merits, without political considerations.

* The BBPC must hold regular briefings for the community every two weeks during the conversion process, and place any correspondence about the conversion on its website. This is another major victory for us, as it ensures that any conversion process will be transparent.

* BBPC will keep the Tobacco Warehouse open to the public until any development takes place. Any construction plan will protect the historic character of the Tobacco Warehouse. The community will have a role in managing the use of the public space in the Tobacco Warehouse after any construction project is completed.

- Judge: Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores Belong to Park, Not Private Developers

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Someone Is Shooting Darts at People with a Blow Gun in Brooklyn

Bay 32nd Street and 86th Street, scene of attack.
The bruises are painful, and multiple victims of a blow gun assailant are taking prescription medication to prevent possible infections from a needle-tipped dart attack in Bath Beach, Brooklyn.

A NY1 crew found several wicked, thin needles in the area that matched the victims' description of the darts.

Police are asking that anyone who knows a nasty person with a blow gun report to the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit

UPDATE: It was these jerks!

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Relaxing Saturday at the Willowtown Fair, Brooklyn Heights

A giant Batman jumpy-castle, a self-guided architecture tour, kids games and face-painting, music and tables full of goodies were just some of the activities at Saturday's Willowtown Fair.

Iris Café and Yogo Yogurt provided lunch and snacks, and a plant sale was held by the local garden.

Willowtown is a shady little sub-neighborhood in Brooklyn Heights, running between the west ends of Joralemon Street and Atlantic Avenue, from Hicks to Furman Street.

The annual fair raises money for the Willowtown Association. Tree planting is one of the projects supported by the fair.

New trees have been planted on Columbia Place and along the Palmetto Playground on State Street.

Two of the trees were dedicated in memory of Willowtown residents Caroline Palestino and Mary Merz, who died last year.

The Brooklyn Heights Blog has posted a video of a kids sack race at the fair. 

Photos by MK Metz

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Not Everyone Happy About Willoughby Plaza, Downtown Brooklyn

Looking south along Adams Street service road. MK Metz
Just last week McBrooklyn wrote about how nicely Willoughby Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn was shaping up. The landscaped plaza will wrap around the southwest corner of 345 Adams Street.

Now we hear that a staffer at Brooklyn Friends, a private school around the corner from the plaza, is expressing concerns about the plaza.

The staffer told the Brooklyn Eagle that with the surrounding streets closed or redirected, "the only way to make deliveries to the new restaurants and businesses at 345 Adams St. will be along the narrow, short and dead-end Pearl Street, where Brooklyn Friends has its front door and the restaurants have their rear entrances."

"All I see are delivery trucks day and night," the staffer said. "God forbid there's a fire. How would we get all of these kids out of the building?"

The headmaster of Friends, however, says the school is engaging in measures to ameliorate the problem, such as changing the fire drill procedure. More at the Brooklyn Eagle

Photo by MK Metz 

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GoogaMooga Gets Mixed Reviews; Bike Share Docks Riles Heights; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Mixed reviews for GoogaMooga. Carroll Gardens Patch and and here.

- Those bike-sharing docks may be bigger than DOT describes, and some Brooklyn Heights residents are getting riled up. Brooklyn Eagle

- City plans to close dozens of after-school programs across Brooklyn. NY Daily News

- More than a third of 2011 NYC murders took place in Brooklyn. Gothamist

- Japanese artist hangs 'I Love NY' bag in tree in Williamsburg as part of art project, gets arrested for terrorism. NY Magazine

- Runners take to Brooklyn's streets for half marathon. NY1

- This Brooklyn assemblyman is being called "The Next Barack Obama." Business Insider

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Linsanity in Brooklyn; More On Packer SAT Snafu; Heights Cinema Going Down; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- There are reports that the Nets would love to steal Lin from the Knicks and transplant Linsanity to Brooklyn. Gothamist

- Latest development in Packer's SAT test debacle: Packer lawyers up. Brooklyn Eagle

- After some controversy, it looks like the Brooklyn Heights Cinema building at 70 Henry Street will be replaced by a new five-story rental building. Brownstoner

- High court: Judge Gustin Reichbach of Brooklyn admits he smokes marijuana to ease suffering from cancer. NY Daily News

- An ultra-Orthodox convention against the Internet will censor reporters. The organizers have also limited the number of tickets available for sale in non-Hasidic areas of Brooklyn and will bar women. Failed Messiah

- Brooklyn Community Board 7 passed a motion last night in favor of re-engineering dangerous Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park for greater safety. Streetsblog

- Eating $550 worth of Brooklyn food in one weekend. Brokelyn

- Mysterious beach rocks in California spontaneously explode in woman's pocket, sending her to hospital and filling house with smoke. Gawker

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Celebrating All Things Turkish at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Enormous spectacle at Brooklyn Borough Hall yesterday as BP Marty Markowitz and Turkish Consul General M. Levent Biligen presided over the annual Turkish Cultural Celebration.

The sound of drums and exotic music drew passersby from all over Brooklyn Heights to watch the stirring display put on by the Ottoman Military Band.

Turkish women on the steps of Borough Hall made that cool Middle Eastern trilling sound (ululation) in approval.

Ottoman military bands are probably the oldest variety of military marching band in the world, according to Wikipedia

Colorful folk dancing by the Ankara Greater Municipality Folk Dance Group and the New York Gypsy All-Stars.

It turns out that Brooklyn is the Turkish capital of America!

UPDATE: More photos and story at the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photos by MK Metz

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

New York Photo Festival Opens Today (May 17) in DUMBO

Jen DeNike
Yamini Nayar
The New York Photo Festival 2012 will be held May 16 through May 20 in DUMBO, Brooklyn. A site locator of the area’s exhibition sites and amenities can be found here.

The festival opens to the public Thursday, May 17, 11:00 am; tickets are not required to view exhibitions, but will be required for presentations and receptions. (Special events schedule here.)

Featured exhibitions include: "What Do You Believe In" at 56 Water Street and 37 Main Street; "The Curse and the Gift" at Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main Street; "On the Razor's Edge: Between Documentary and Fine Art Photography," also at Powerhouse; and "Sinfonia Antarctica (The Book of Ice)" by DK Spooky -- a special outdoor exhibition which will be presented as iceberg floes throughout the streets of DUMBO in special BackPack Galleries.

Satellite exhibitions are also taking place at Powerhouse and 111 Front Street. Details here.

- 2011 Photo Festival
- 2010 Photo Festival

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SAT Scores at Packer Invalidated; P.S. 58 On Bed Bug Alert; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Cops stopped and questioned nearly one-third of Brownsville’s residents last year. NY Daily News

- Nearly 200 students who took the SAT at Packer in Brooklyn Heights had their scores invalidated, apparently because some students were seated too closely together. New York Times

- Two Hasidim were arrested outside a fundraiser for accused pedophile Rabbi Nechemya Weberman in Williamsburg. Failed Messiah

- Porno was to blame for the stabbing at the normally sedate Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Brooklyn Eagle

- Carroll Garden's P.S. 58 is on bed bug alert. Carroll Gardens Patch

- A SUNY Downstate official is the latest exec to defy a state panel that recommended mergers and closings at cash-strapped Brooklyn hospitals. NY Daily News

- The Defense Department is considering removing an elite anti-terrorism unit from the Fort Hamilton Army Base. Brooklyn Eagle

- Williamsburg residents fear liver-destroying nightclub. NY Magazine

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Post: 'Slumlord' Buys Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights

The NY Post calls developer David Bistricer a "slumlord" and reports that he’s bought the landmark Hotel Bossert on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights from Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses). Bistricer says that he plans to have it running as a hotel again by 2014, pending city approvals.

As owner of the 59-building Flatbush Gardens complex, Bistricer had more than 8,100 open violations in 2010 and ranked among the city’s biggest slumlords that year, the Post reports. Read more.

UPDATE:  According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Bistricer plans a 302-room hotel "with a decent size restaurant on the first floor where one of the meeting rooms could be used to handle the restaurant’s overflow."

His spokesperson also defended his ownership at Flatbush Gardens, saying that when Bistricer bought the property it was "distressed."

- Watchtower Denies Brooklyn Heights' Bossert Sold, But Levine Pays a Little Visit
- Brooklyn's Bossert Hotel Reported Sold (2008)
- Watchtower's Hotel Bossert -- Brooklyn's 'Waldorf Astoria' -- Up For Sale
- Watchtower Continues to Sell Its Heights Property

Photo by MK Metz

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Stabbing in Brooklyn Heights Library; GoogaMooga Festival Jumped the Shark? And More Brooklyn Briefs

- A man was stabbed in the neck -- at the Brooklyn Heights Library, of all places. Brooklyn Heights Blog

- Traffic agents are lying in wait, slapping tickets on cars before seniors can hustle back from putting money into muni-meters. Brooklyn Eagle

- Brooklyn rabbi cranks up the pressure on a molested child's parents, who plan lawsuit against school. Jewish Week via Failed Messiah

- Goldman Sachs' Daniel Shefter’s Brooklyn townhouse has finally found a buyer -- for $5 million. TRD

- Brooklyn Bridge Park at odds with Brooklyn Heights over bike stations. Brooklyn Eagle.

- The Great GoogaMooga Festival in Brooklyn this weekend "has all of the earmarks of a great shark-jumping moment, when twee Brooklyn identity politics-based foodieism finally went too far." Gawker

- All that delicious high fructose corn syrup you eat might be making you dumb. Gawker

- 71 percent of survey respondents had a favorable opinion of Google, compared to 51 percent for Facebook. Only 13 percent said they trust Facebook “completely” or “a lot” when it comes to keeping their personal information private. Washington Post

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30 Henry Street HQ of Brooklyn Eagle Sold for $3.5 Million

Brownstoner reports that the two-story light brick building at 30 Henry Street (and Middagh Street) in Brooklyn Heights -- most recently the headquarters of the Brooklyn Eagle -- sold for $3.5 million.

The approved five-story, five-unit proposal can be seen here.

The Brooklyn Eagle has moved to offices in DUMBO and at 16 Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

- A Century of Changes at 30 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights
- LPC Approves New 30 Henry Street Design in Brooklyn Heights
- Brooklyn Eagle's HQ in Brooklyn Heights Sold to Developers

- Find the Changes In New Improved 30 Henry Street Proposal
- Brooklyn Eagle Looking to Move to Gowanus? Building On the Market
- Serious Accident Sends Car Flying into Building on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights

Photo courtesy Massey Knakal

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Willoughby Pedestrian Plaza Getting Pretty Impressive

Looking south along Adams Street service road. MK Metz
This is going to be a great place to eat snacks from Panera's and Shake Shack, or just hang out:

Work on the new 14,667-foot Willoughby Pedestrian Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn is in full swing, replacing the "test" plaza wrapping around the southwest corner of 345 Adams Street.

The pedestrian plaza, a project of DOT and the MetroTech BID, occupies a block of Willoughby Street and the Adams Street service road in front of 345 Adams (near Panera's).

Looking north along Adams Street service road. MK Metz
According to MetroTech BID, the success of the test plaza led to an allocation of two million dollars to make it permanent.

The improved plaza will have a new surface, landscaping, bike racks, outdoor seating and new drainage. (A water fountain was originally proposed but that idea seems to have disappeared.) Willoughby Street between Adams and Pearl will probably get new trees as well.

More restaurants will soon line the plaza: Sugar and Plumm and American BBQ and Beer have signed leases at 345 Adams Street.

UPDATE: While nearby businesses are looking forward to the completion of theplaza, a private school around the corner -- Brooklyn Friends -- is expressing concerns. Brooklyn Eagle 

- Work Soon to Begin On New Willoughby Pedestrian Plaza

Photos by MK Metz
Map courtesy of Streetsblog

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Adams Running for BP; LICH Restructuring; 15-Year-Old Stabbed; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- State Senator Eric Adams has officially announced that he is running for Brooklyn Borough President. Politicker

- Skanska, the construction firm in charge of the $508 million Brooklyn Bridge renovation (and the $220 million Brooklyn Bridge Park job), is one of ten firms named as receiving city contracts in spite of having a record of criminal violations. NBC4

- Now we know why the city shrouded the locations of its bike-share stations in such secrecy: parking is about to become hell. Brooklyn Eagle

- A Brooklyn native was one of a group of Boston University students killed in a tragic crash in New Zealand. NY Daily News and NY Post

- Brooklynites gathered Saturday at a massive conference to talk about -- what else? -- food. The Indypendent

- Now we're worried: LICH is undergoing a "financial restructuring" but hospital officials say not to worry. Brooklyn Eagle

- Large gang of teens attack and stab 15-year-old in playground in Bushwick. Gothamist

- Laurence Gluck has sold 111 Kent Avenue, a 62-unit luxury rental building in Williamsburg, for almost $56 million -- a record. TRD

- Williamsburg's most expensive house comes with a loading dock. Curbed

- Kodak had a secret nuclear reactor loaded with weapons-grade uranium hidden in a basement. Gizmodo

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Mother's Day Brooklyn Bridge Walk and Party

What did you do on Mother's Day? Supporters of Milagros Day Worldwide celebrated women who have overcome domestic violence with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and a concert at Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn.  

Milagros Day provides support to survivors of domestic violence and those who grew up in abusive households. Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, chair of the Assembly's Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Committee spoke about the importance of bringing attention to the issue.

The entertainment was first-rate -- Above: Pablito Drum. TV personality Farah Zulaikha was master of ceremonies.

The soulful singing of Pauline Jean

Natascha Bessez (left), Haley Brawner, and DJ Ophar

Energetic dancing

And an appreciative audience (more in the shade)

Milagros Day's programs include transformation courses and the promotion of entrepreneurship among victims of abuse.

UPDATE: More photos at the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photos by MK Metz

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