Monday, August 31, 2009

The 2nd Annual Waterfront District Fall Festival - Sat, Sep 12th

Carroll Gardens Association Inc.’s
2nd Annual Waterfront District Fall Festival

Saturday September 12th, 2009
12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Rain or Shine

Along Columbia St. from DeGraw St. to Union St.
& Along Union St. from Columbia St. to Hicks St.

The Fall Festival celebrates the consolidation of the ethnically and culturally diverse population of our neighborhood.
There will be music, crafts, antiques, international foods, face painting and rides for the kids.

Our Endorsement for City Council, 39th District

Residents of the Columbia Waterfront, Carroll Gardens, and other neighborhoods within District 39 are facing what can be considered both a blessing and difficult challenge in the upcoming election on September 15th: having to choose between five great candidates for City Council. That being said, we have personally decided to endorse one specific candidate and with this post we will tell you why.

We've decided to endorse Brad Lander for City Council because Brad has proven to us time and time again that he is the right person for the job and for our neighborhood. Below are some of the main factors that led us to this conclusion:

The Personal Touch
We didn't know Brad or any of the other candidates before this campaign started, but Brad has personally reached out to us on several occasions to allow us to get to know him. From sitting down with us one on one over coffee to hear about our issues and concerns for the neighborhood, to coming to neighborhood meetings, inviting us to events, and running into us out and about, he has shown to us that he is personally committed and invested in our community.

Local Results and Vision
Brad recently held an event announcing plans and a petition regarding the future of the Port and its environmental impacts. We consider this to be probably THE biggest issue in the Columbia Waterfront area and his ideas for the Port are right on target.

Brad was also an instrumental force in getting the salt pile covered a couple months back. He came out to the neighborhood emergency meeting regarding that issue, and it was him that made the right calls to get ASI to admit to their mistakes and to get the pile covered.

Track Record and Experience
Aside from the personal experiences we've had with Brad discussed above, we're also very impressed with his resume. He has held leadership positions at the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Pratt Center for Community Development over the past 16 years, and has also been highly involved at Community Board 6 as part of the committee for Economic, Waterfront, Community Development, and Housing. These are all great organizations working around Brooklyn or the city as a whole, and they work with the issues most important to our neighborhoods: affordable housing, economic development and opportunity, environmental justice, and sustainable development. With these organizations, Brad has also shown a commitment to community-based planning and working with local residents to tackle issues from the ground up.

For just one example of the great work that Brad has done, check out the Pratt Center’s “Blueprint for Economic Growth,” which he helped to create.

He Reads Our Blog
Not only did he join our Facebook group (which several of the other candidates have done) but he's also referenced posts we've made in the past 24 hours when we've randomly run into him out and about. It's great to know that he pays attention in a real way.

Read more about Brad Lander and his campaign, including other endorsements he's received here

Chris and Jessie Barker
Creators, The Word on Columbia Street

Images above from

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bamboo Bikes: Made in Red Hook

Yesterday I caught a piece on NY1 that profiled a new company in Red Hook that is offering classes on how to make bikes out of bamboo. Check out the article and video here. Pretty interesting concept - I'm curious to learn more.

Also check out the Bamboo Bikes Studio site here.

Image above from Bamboo Bikes site.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck in the Vendy finals

Last week the Vendy awards announced their list of finalists, which included local Red Hook ballfields favorite the Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck. Check out their profile video here:

We have not been to the ballfields nearly enough this summer!

P.S. The dessert finalists were announced today, and unfortunately non of these finalists hail from our area (but please correct me if i'm wrong - say, for example one of them stores their truck here)

Cooking classes and nutrition counseling by local mom

Are you tired of cooking the same 6 meals, over and over?
Are you short on inspiration and time?
Would you like to learn new dishes, save time and money AND have fun??

Save money, eat healthier- learn to cook smarter, in your own home!

Naidre Miller is a Chef, and a nutrition and cooking counselor and she wants to help you eat better. She can show you how to make easier and healthier choices without preaching, help you plan meals for your family without making you go insane, and point out some easy steps to help you save time and money. Naidre is also the single mother of an awesome two-year son, owned and operated two area restaurants and is currently the manager of a local kid's gym, Everyday Athlete Kids.

Thanks to Naidre's sound advice, I have been able to keep my weight in check during my pregnancy (which should be ending any minute now!!), and I am counting on her easy and effective tips to get back into shape.

Classes include: Learn The Basics, Easy Family Meals, Smart Grocery Shopping, Weight Loss, Nutrition Coaching, or invent your own class

Cooking classes average 2 1/2 ½ hours. Keep all the food prepared during class. Recipes are printed for you to keep. Shopping service available. Prices vary depending on menu and number of students.

Get some friends together and have a COOKING PARTY in your own home instead of going out for another expensive and mediocre meal!!

Discounted series rates and gift certificates available.

Cook Faster. Cook Better. Cook Smarter

For more information check out the website or call Naidre directly at 917-373-5801.

Stimulus for Red Hook Community Courts

NYTimes reported yesterday on tallying of Stimulus money, and included in those tallys is some funding for Red Hook:

Hardly a day has passed in the six months since President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus package without an elected official announcing how a chunk of the $5 billion or so that is coming to New York City will be spent.

The money has been designated for a wide variety of uses, including road and bridge repairs ($215 million), summer jobs for teenagers and young adults ($18.5 million), public-housing improvements ($374.2 million), food stamps ($841 million) and Medicaid ($1.59 billion).......

........Nearly $36 million will enable the Police Department to hire 125 new transit officers, which will allow more experienced officers to be utilized in anti-terrorism teams; an additional $3.5 million will help pay for community courts in Midtown and Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Luau + Pig Roast on the Gowanus tomorrow

The BKLYN Yard never ceases to have interesting events......

Friday, 8/28/09, 6-9pm
400 Carroll St.
Free entry, $10 plates
All ages
Hawaiian themed food including whole pig roast.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mini Green Roofs in Red Hook

From the NYTimes City Room blog:

Green roofs have become all the architectural rage these days, with each new one claiming to be the biggest of such-and-such area, type, whatever. But you hardly hear of the smallest green roofs.

Atom Cianfarani, a Brooklyn artist, introduced what are probably among the tiniest green roofs in New York City Wednesday in her Brooklyn public art exhibit, “Welcomed Guests,” as part of a Department of Transportation urban art program. The two roofs, which sit atop bird nesting boxes, measure 6 inches by 5 inches and 4 inches by 5 inches. Like many larger green roofs, these mini ones also have a root retention layers, a water retention layer, a growing medium, and plants.

Read the whole post here

Denise Fasanello Floral Design featured on Brooklyn Bride

Denise Fasanello Floral Design, which shares space with Adam Frank Inc. on Columbia St. just above Sackett, was featured yesterday on the Brooklyn Bride website. If you've ever wondered about that storefront space or are in the market for some flowers, be sure to check out the entire feature here or head straight to Denise's website here.

Some pictures from the studio tour are here:

Velazsquez likes the Trolley idea!!

Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that Rep. Nydia Velsquez is taking action on the trolley/streetcar idea!

Along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez is calling for funding for a Red Hook trolley, or streetcar, system.

In her request for funding for the Fiscal Year 2010 surface transportation bill, she has included $10 million for “design and construction of a light rail system along the Brooklyn waterfront from Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn, N.Y.”

At a campaign rally earlier this month, Bloomberg unveiled his ideas for overhauling the city’s transit system — streetcar service being one of them. Velázquez’s request was made in May, prior to Bloomberg’s statement.

Bloomberg’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, also said recently that positive experiences with streetcars in Toronto and Portland made her want to explore a trolley system in Brooklyn. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has now begun a $259,000 feasibility analysis of placing streetcar lines in Red Hook, DUMBO and other waterfront areas, according to published reports.

A network of electric trolleys once crisscrossed Brooklyn, but they were phased out in stages during the 1950s. The Red Hook plan is very similar to one put forward by Flatbush rail fan Bob Diamond in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Rest of the article here

Red Hook Lobster Pound Fridays at Rocky Sullivans

Red Hook Lobster Pound is popping up every Friday beginning August 28 through the end of the year at Rocky Sullivan's in Red Hook, corner of Dwight and Van Dyke Street. Lobsters will be served between 6 and 9 pm.

The Lobster Pound crew will be boiling up the freshest lobster in NYC in the courtyard and you can enjoy the feast on the incomparable roof deck or inside, rain or shine. The Red Hook Winery will be breaking out some of its first production white wine for the occasion. Other local edibles will be featured in upcoming weeks.

$23.00 * gets you a 1 ½ lb lobster, farm fresh corn, coleslaw or potato salad and lots of buttery smiles. Jonah Crab claws will also be available. Bisque, soups and other delectables will soon follow.

If lobster is not your fare, Rocky Sullivan's will be serving its wood fired pizzas, along with libations including the extraordinary Six Points ales.

Lobstah Feast Fridays are first-come first served, however, email reservations are required for parties of 6 or more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We've joined the world of Twitter

Now help us figure out how to best use this thing!

New Gov. Island ferry coming to Pier 6

A couple weeks ago, the Governor's Island Alliance, the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corp., and the Port Authority announced a deal to establish a new Governor's Island ferry service at Pier 6 - which is within easy walking distance of our neighborhood at Atlantic Avenue (near where the B63 parks)

A post from the Gov. Island Alliance site says:
A new commercial ferry dock at the foot of Atlantic Avenue will let Brooklynites get to Governors Island faster than Manhattanites - in three minutes, versus seven. Constructed with a $1 million grant from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and $400,000 from city Councilman Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn, the dock will open next summer at the Brooklyn Bridge Park for ferry service to and from Governors Island, and eventually to other harbor landings.

This will be great because it will provide local residents with a quick and easy way to get to a huge green space that offers recreation space, events, bike trails, and more.

However, I'm not sure what this means for the Fulton Ferry landing service thats been running this summer or the previously proposed Atlantic Basin service.

Green Brooklyn....Green City event - 9/24/09

The Council on the Environment of NYC is pleased to announce the 5th Annual Green Brooklyn...Green City Fair and Symposium taking place on Thursday, September 24, 2009 at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Columbus Park.

Green Brooklyn...Green City is an interactive event where attendees can learn first-hand from local experts about the many ways New York City is creating a more sustainable future.

Alongside a Greenmarket farmers' market, attendees can visit exhibitors, make art from recycled products, and more. The event is the largest of its kind in Brooklyn and CENYC invites you to come learn the simple, small steps you can take to help keep New York City a healthy place to live.

This event is free and open to the public. The event runs from 12pm-6pm, with opening remarks at 11:30am.

home/made happenings August 2009

Some upcoming events and related info from home/made:

Vivian Outlaw
Red Hook Artist Vivian Outlaw has created a body of work specifically for home/made. Come see her outstanding work and feel the essence of each subject as she has masterfully captured their energy with acute accuracy.

Artist accepts portrait commissions.

Visit her web site to see her other works

home/made produces Red Hook Initiative Fundraiser
"A Taste of Red Hook"
(event produced by home/made & Roquette Catering)

Tuesday, September 22nd
Kidd Yellin Gallery
131 Imlay St.

You should all buy's why:

RHI benefits kids in need, giving them job training, peer counseling, health education, safe sex education, scholarships, and opens doors to opportunities that were previously dead-bolted to these under served, deserving youngsters. RHI is doing very important work and needs your support to continue providing the best available education assistance and life skill development to kids who might just as easily take the easy way out and fail to succeed in life. RHI offers hope and possibility.

Please join us and other local Red Hook restaurants, artisans, and local talent as we show our support for this amazing organization.

Buy Tickets Online

Or, mail a check to Red Hook Initiative, 201 Richards Street, Suite 108, Brooklyn, NY 11231.
Tickets are $100 in advance.
Tickets are $125 at the door.

Red Hook Farmer's Chicken Dinner
Thanks to everyone who signed up for the chicken dinner on Tuesday, August 25th at 7pm!

We are very excited to have these beautiful birds and look forward to a tasty feast. Due to space limitations, we are at capacity for this particular dinner, however.....look for other special dinners featuring local or special provisions in the near future!!

The Yeung Son Live Poultry Market

Despite walking past Yeung Son poultry market numerous times in the past, I've never quite mustered up the courage to walk in - and also didn't realize that it was open for individuals to buy meat. Eater broke some of the mystery today with a new feature. Here's some of what they had to say:
At the corner of Columbia and Degraw in Red Hook, among bars named after condiments and hip antique and ephemera shops, you’ll find Yeung Sun Live, a slaughterhouse. Out on the street it smells like death, and buckets of blood are strewn everywhere. But you can’t beat the prices if you’re looking for fresh duck, fowl, or rabbit.

Don’t be intimidated by the clan of scruffy cats milling around outside. They are just here to take in the smells and swipe the occasional stray piece of meat that washes out their way. Make sure not to pet them.

Affixed to the side of the slaughterhouse is a wooden menu, though it is rarely updated and is usually wrong. The only way to know for sure what is available on any given day is to walk in and see.

Once you acclimate to the smell, the first thing you’ll notice is how loud a hundred and fifty uncomfortable birds can be. For this reason, it’s probably not a great spot for a first date. It’s more of a third date, seal-the-deal type place.

Read the rest of this great post here.

Image above via Eater

Christie's Coming to Red Hook

[Building photo from Curbed via PropertyShark.]

We actually read about this news a while back, but didn't get a chance to post it at the time . Since Curbed is just posting it now, we might as well too. Here's what they had to say:

On second thought, perhaps last week's report of some stirring at Red Hook gray elephant 160 Imlay Street was, in fact, the old warehouse's look-alike sister building, 162 Imlay. That would make sense, considering today's blockbuster announcement: Christie's, the chichi auction house, has signed a 30-year lease on the former New York Dock Company building and will turn it into a high-end art storage facility for its clients' collections. Opening in January, the six-story building will be outfitted with infrared video cameras, biometric readers, motion-activated monitors and every sort of climate-control device imaginable. Where once the hookers and sailors roamed, Picasso, Monet and van Gogh will make their home. The Times notes that each client's collection will probably be worth more than the entire building itself, so why Red Hook? And is there anything going on at 160 Imlay?

Rest of the story available here

Other links:

· A High-Tech Home for Multimillion-Dollar Works of Art [NYT]

· 160 Imlay coverage [Curbed]

Christie's Makes Winning Bid for Red Hook [Brownstoner]

Neckdowns come to the Columbia Waterfront

These images are of neckdowns (sometimes referred to as bulbouts) that were recently installed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) at Hicks/Sackett and Hicks/Union on the Columbia Waterfront side of the BQE. Pedestrians should be very happy with the shorter crossing distances and the added visibility at these intersections will make it safer for all users. In addition, large trucks will be discouraged from straying off the truck route because they will simply no longer be able to make the turns. This appears to be part of the implementation of the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Report.

{Images and info above from Brian M.}

Additional info can be found at Transportation Alternatives here.

Support Added Value!

Please read the message from Ian Marvy of the Red Hook Community Farm below, and if you can, please help support this great neighborhood organization!

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Last week, I wrote with an exciting opportunity to support Added Value. An
anonymous donor pledged a one-to-one match for every dollar we raised through
August 26th up to $10,000.

In the last five days, we were able to raise $10,000 for the full match! In
fact another donor has now offered us another one-to-one $5,000 match, but we
only have until the 28th to raise it! That's just three days away.

I hope you will take this opportunity to renew your contribution or make a
first time donation to Added Value and support
( our work to create sustainable
economies that nurture our community here in Red Hook and throughout New York.

Can you help us to reach our goal of an additional $5,000 by making a donation
now? Your contribution will help to support all that we do at Added Value to
promote the triple bottom line - the economy, the environment and ourselves, in
unison. Your gift, at any level, will bring us one step closer to meeting our
goal and every dollar you give will be doubled. I hope you will take this
opportunity to support Added Value's youth empowerment and urban agriculture

Please join us in growing a more sustainable city by making a contribution
today. (

Warmest regards,
Ian Marvy,
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken farming in Red Hook

Urban Chicken farming is making a comeback and Red Hook is no exception. Back in July (not sure how we missed this one) CBS ran a special on Declan Walsh, a Red Hook resident who raises chickens in his backyard.

The CBS site doesn't have embedding (what's going on lately?) but you can check out the video and related article here

Image above from CBS

Grindhaus to open in November

at least that's what New York Magazine seems to think:

Housemade sausage is but one attraction at this Red Hook spot, where chef-owner Erin Norris will indulge her own eclectic appetite with digressions like Gruyère fritters, brandade, and just maybe her signature snack, mini corn dogs she calls “little bitches.”
275 Van Brunt St., nr. Pioneer St., Red Hook. Nov.

Videos of Candidate Debates from Brooklyn Independent Television and CNG

The Community Newspaper Group and Brooklyn Independent Television have recently hosted debates between candidates for a variety of public offices in the upcoming election, and the videos are available online (but unfortunately can't be embedded here.

Videos include:
The 39th District Council candidates
The 33rd District Council candidates
City Comptroller
and Public Advocate.

Check them out here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saipua moves and expands

Saipua has moved from its space on Van Brunt to a new larger space at 147 Van Dyke (Between Van Brunt and Conover). Check out the official website here for updates or check out one of the staffer's blogs called "An Apple a Day" here. Apparently the official opening was yesterday.

Image above from "An Apple a Day"

More on the possibility of light rail

From WNYC:

Text of the audio:

Until now, the Bloomberg administration has acted indifferently towards trolleys. Six years ago, city workers pulled up one stretch of tracks in Red Hook, Brooklyn, after a partnership with a private operator went sour. More recently, they removed another line in the same neighborhood so a street could be resurfaced.

Nearly five years ago, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez secured $300,000 for the city to study using trolleys to make places like Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park more accessible. The department of transportation says it'll finally begin that study this fall.

One civic organization, the Regional Plan Association, questions whether the investment required to build light rail is really worth the amount of traffic the system would handle. Bloomberg says if it works out, it will help meet the needs of growing waterfront neighborhoods. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Video of DJs Premier, Scratch, and Evil Dee in Red Hook Park

DJ Premier vs. DJ Scratch in Red Hook (Video) from Digiwaxx TV on Vimeo.

I was unfortunately unable to make it to this seemingly classic event - but thank god for internet video! This video features DJ Premier and DJ Scratch battling over crowd pleasing classics - and near the end features a surprise appearance by Evil Dee. The DJ Scratch and Evil Dee Peter Piper Routine is Crazy! There are also many very funny moments here.

My only question seeing this video is - why did Pete Rock not make it out? Check out the review at Cafe Maroon for more information and additional videos.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Baby Show NYC: New York City’s only Major Baby Show!

Not in the neighborhood, but it might interest quite a few people:

Metropolitan Pavilion Events presents the premier of

The Baby Show NYC on October 3rd & 4th 2009

The Baby Show NYC welcomes tri-state area expectant women & mothers to an exciting two day showcase of 50+ top notch vendors, interactive experiences and shopping for both baby and mommy!

Explore all the best and newest products and services from Babies R Us, The Bump, Beginning by Maclaren, Dan Dan, Milkdot, Mabel’s Labels, Viacord, Key Baby, Metropolitan Moms, Jade’s Toybox and more!

Learn from the best childcare experts, test out the latest in kid safety at our stroller test drive, and nosh at our organic cafe.

October 3rd 2009 11am-7pm

October 4th 2009 10am-6pm

Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th St, NYC

The first 500 people to buy their ticket online receive a gift bag

Advance tickets are now available click here

Tickets start at $20

For more information contact

Or call 212.242.1213

Sat, Aug 22: WORK presents "The Breaking Point"




WORK is pleased to present The Breaking Point, a one-night exhibition of new work by ERIC AYOTTE, MELODY BOONE and RYAN O'CONNOR. Please join the artists for an evening of art, BBQ, spirits, and dance at the red tin shack.

The Breaking Point relates to the moment when the energies of societal conflict shift from being potential to being active. Envisioning the artist as an agent of substantive change, this exhibition investigates how the fragmentation of established order is manifest through the exhibition of painting, video installation and sculpture.

ERIC AYOTTE uses imagery of rioting crowds besieged by tear gas and water cannons as the basis of his heavily charged oil and resin paintings on aluminum. Multiple layers of paint are fragmented by mathematical patterns resembling a camera's lens or an intermittent television signal, referencing the various ways we receive information in our modern mediascape.

employs hand-made kaleidoscopes as the platform and context for her multi-media installations. Using images of her own family, Boone creates wallpapers from her video kaleidoscopes, which are mounted and loop endlessly back and forth, enticing the viewer to enter the fragmented interior space.

RYAN O'CONNOR uses the Tomfa, a Japanese martial arts billy club, to construct his Riot Chair. The resulting sculpture is riot gear furniture built with a Shaker aesthetic.

Reminder: Potluck dinner at the Human Compass followed by House of Wax screening at Amazing

As part of the free art classes in the Human Compass garden, Launa Beuhler is hosting a potluck bbq thos Saturday, August 22, from 5 to 7:30pm.

Then move 2 blocks down to the Amazing garden for a screening of classic horror film "House of Wax", at 8:30pm. Bring a chair or a blanket (and bug repellent!).

Reminder: The Welcome Table at the Red Hook Community Farm

The Welcome Table
Thursday, August 20
at Red Hook Community Farm
Free and open to all

This event is the culmination of Youth Leaders' work at Added Value. Teens have
designed the layout, menu, and activities for the night that include an interactive culinary lesson led by teens as an appetizer and a prepared meal in collaboration with chefs and food professionals.

The night will begin with a Community Meal led by our young culinary wizards. You will experience first hand what your meal looks like from soil to salad and break bread with all hands who have helped prepare our food. In addition, we will share a meal of seasonal vegetables, locally raised meat, and other delicious treats prepared by a local chef and food professional. You will take home a full belly, how to make three winning dishes and good conversation with people in our community.

The night is supported by Partnership for Parks and the Added Value Welcome Table dinner series. The mission of the Welcome Table is to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together by gathering around tables of good food to learn and converse about topics and issues important to the work of Added Value. On August 20th, teens will be presenting how they have grown as individuals in the food movement and creating dialogue with guests about sustainability, growing and cooking your own food, and the mission of Added Value.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Public hearing on Carroll Gardens / Columbia Waterfront rezoning plan

There will be a public hearing before the City Planning Commission this Wednesday regarding the proposed rezoning plan for Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront. The meeting will take place in Manhattan at 22 Reade St. at 10 am.

If interested, read up on related topics with the following links:

- Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association's (COWNA) "Rezoning Goals Statement"
- COWNA's "Proposed Zoning Map"
- Coalition for Respectful Development's (CORD) explanation of issues and problem areas in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

- Previous coverage on our site can be found here or here

Friday, August 14, 2009

Met Operia in Coffey Park tonight

Not sure if there are any tickets left for this, but just in case.......

Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series: Coffey Park

Friday, August 14, 2009

7:00 p.m.

The Met’s annual concerts in New York City parks are one of the most beloved summer traditions in the city. This year, the company will present a six-performance series of recitals in the parks of all five boroughs. All performances in the Summer Recital Series are free and no tickets are required, except for the concert at Central Park. For information on how to obtain free SummerStage tickets, please visit beginning June 1. For additional information, please call (212) 362-6000. There will be no rain dates for these performances.

More info here and here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Corruption on the Waterfront

I'm guessing that headline is not the first time that "corruption" and "waterfront" have appeared in a sentence together, but this time it might be a little different....

The NYTimes reported yesterday about corruption within the Waterfront Commission over the past several decades in an article titled "Corruption Found at Waterfront Watchdog." The article starts by saying:

The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, created in the 1950s to break the mob’s grip on the docks, became its own bastion of lawlessness, employing some of the same corrupt, self-serving methods as the gangsters it was supposed to pursue, investigators said Tuesday in a scathing report.

Top officials at the $11-million-a-year bistate agency divided spoils, helped cronies evade the law and thwarted security provisions meant to safeguard the port against terrorism, according to the report by the New York State inspector general, which capped a nearly two-year investigation in 2007 and 2008 that the commission had sought to block in court.

Read the rest of the article here.

Reading in the Urban Meadow: The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

Reminder: This is tonight!!!
We are very proud to announce the upcoming reading of The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers, and performed the Brave New World Repertory Theatre.

Wednesday, August 12
7 to 9pm at the Urban Meadow (corner of President and Van Brunt)
Rain date: 8/13

So bring a picnic (and bug repellent) and enjoy the setting sun, the meadow, and an amazing performance.

Tours of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Were a little late on this, but there are still some Tuesdays left!

"The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation will be hosting open tours of the construction site on Tuesday evenings throughout the month of August. Brooklyn Bridge Park will stretch approximately 1.3 miles along the East River from Atlantic Avenue to Jay street, north of the Manhattan Bridge. When completed, the park will offer rolling hills, civic plazas, a bicycle path, restored marshland, athletic courts and fields, playgrounds and open lawns for lounging. Please RSVP to reserve your spot by emailing or by calling 212.803.3138. You must wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, no sandals permitted!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lisa Lisa in Red Hook Park tonight!!!

Lisa Lisa, leader of the classic 80s Freestyle group Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, will be performing in Red Hook Park tonight at 7pm for free.

If YouTube would let me embed her videos here I would, but since someone requested that feature to be disabled, you'll just have to leave this blog and watch the video here

Historic building coming down, nearby concrete plant going up

Mike McLaughin of the Brooklyn Paper provided updates on two sites near Ikea in Red Hook this week that leav us feeling like we've been hit with something along the lines of a double whammy:

Concrete Plant on Beard St.
The opening of a concrete plant on Beard St. is moving ahead, and officials from the company have recently met with Red Hook residents about community concerns. The Brooklyn Paper article provides the following quotes:

“We think the dust coming off the site will be less than if it was [still] a vacant lot,” said Michael Gentoso, a regional vice president for US Concrete. The local business will be a subsidiary called Eastern Concrete.....

But some say it’s too close for comfort. US Concrete’s factory would sit across the street from Added Value, a community farm, and Red Hook Park, with its sprawling athletic fields.

It is also next to the Ikea superstore, with its peaceful waterfront park.

“It’s an awkward location that should have required more study,” said John McGettrick, co-president of the Red Hook Civic Association.

McGettrick said the company should perform an environmental review before opening, but officials from the company dodged the request, neither consenting to nor rejecting it.

The complaints extend to the expected noise, exhaust and traffic from the 15 to 20 trucks that the company says it will operate from the site.

“Traffic is going to be too much. In and out. In and out,” said Lillian Marshall, tenants association president for Red Hook Houses West.........

The Revere Sugar Factory site / Sitt's Mega Mall

Brooklyn Paper also observed that demolition of the historic Revere Sugar Factory building began last week, which possibly suggests that developer Joe Sitt has soured on his plans for a mega mall that would have incorporated the building.

The article says:

The old warehouse, along Beard Street near the Ikea superstore, was all that Sitt left standing after he tore down most of the sugar factory in 2006 to the howls of preservationists, who said that the Revere plant, with its iconic dome, was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Since then, the site has been quiet, but Sitt has been talking about repurposing the brick storehouse as a mall with BJ’s as the anchor tenant, according to documents obtained by The Brooklyn Paper.

Given that the Swedish furniture company’s big box store is next to Sitt’s property, many believed that Red Hook’s waterfront might become the shopping outlet center of the city.

The sudden burst of activity in Red Hook is a change for Sitt who has been preoccupied with larger pieces of real estate puzzle.

Its not like we were thrilled with the prospects of a mega mall on the site, but the plan that had been previously released for that at least incorporated this building. Now its being torn down - and who knows what we'll end up with.

Additional coverage of this topic can also be found on Curbed, including the excellent photo below:

Image from Curbed via Flickr/Lazzo51

Aug 22: "House of Wax" at the Amazing Garden

The Amazing Garden (corner of Columbia and Carroll Streets) will host an evening of "Movies in the Garden" on Saturday, August 22 at 8:30 p.m. Bring a chair or blanket (and bug repellent) and join us for the 1953 Vincent Price horror classic, "House of Wax."

Vincent Price always excels as an obsessed madman, and he’s at his best in this suspenseful thriller, stalking lovely Phyllis Kirk, aided by mute brute Charles Bronson. Originally shown in 3-D, this story plays well as a flat print on the strength of its story and characters. Add a star for the haunting set and props in his eerie Victorian wax museum! Yes, he’s stealing corpses from the morgue and dipping them in his waxy fondue pot. Nostalgic fun for young and old, you’ll scream when his fire-scarred face is revealed. With Frank Lovejoy, Carolyn Jones.

From the 76 precinct

At approximately 10 p.m. last night, August 10, there was a partial building collapse at 455 Smith Street. An exterior wall and scaffolding collapsed onto the sidewalk and street. The building was unoccupied, and fortunately no one was injured. Seven (7) parked vehicles were damaged by the falling debris. The Buildings Department is currently assessing the structure and investigating the collapse.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Brad Lander Calls for a Greener Port

Brad Lander, who is running for City Council in the 39th District (our district in the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood), held an event today to discuss proposed steps for reducing truck traffic and achieving an overall greener port. The event served as a call for action to all stakeholders involved (see the link for the related petition below).

“We have both a deep need, and a great opportunity, to reduce truck pollution and work for a greener port,” said Lander. “Using Piers 7 - 11 to bring in goods by ship is smart economic and environmental policy – it is less polluting than long-haul trucks, and creates good jobs in Brooklyn. But more business in the port leads to an increase in local truck traffic and emissions. It is therefore critical that all parties – EDC, the Port Authority, ASI, Phoenix and port users – take significant short-term and long-term steps to reduce emissions, make sure that pedestrians, cyclists, and residents are safe, and make the port into a model of sustainability.”

In addition to Brad's speech, other local residents spoke about the neighborhood and the environmental issues it faces related to trucks and the port. The League of Conservation Voters also took the opportunity to endorse Brad at the event.

Here are some highlights of his speech and his plans for a Greener Port:

In the short term:
• EDC and Phoenix should agree to a faster, specific timetable for converting trucks and buses to compressed natural gas (CNG). Currently, EDC is allowing Phoenix seven years; but no timetable or interim commitments have been made public.

• Trucks moving goods between Piers 7, 10, and 11 should move internally within the port area. Phoenix and EDC indicated this would be true at community meetings, but the lease promises only that "trucks moving overweight containers" will remain internal.

• EDC and Phoenix should establish a “first source” program for new jobs: Phoenix' new business offers a great opportunity to create good, green jobs for local residents. While Phoenix has indicated a willingness to partner with a local non-profit organization (Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation), they should agree to create a formal, official first-source hiring and targeted workforce development program, with clear targets and monitoring.

• The Port Authority and EDC should establish a timetable for connecting cruise ships to “shore power.” Currently, cruise ships in port run on generators, which are highly polluting. PANYNJ recently received announced substantial new federal grants to convert to shore power (through a process known as “cold ironing”, as part of their Comprehensive Clean Air Strategy for the port. They should establish a date and timetable for making this a reality.

In the long term:
All parties should work together to create a long-term, ambitious, comprehensive plan to make Piers 7 – 12 part of the most sustainable port on the eastern seaboard. Such a plan could help increase both the competitiveness and sustainability of the port, and help make it a better place to live and work. The long-term plan should look to achieve the following goals:

• Full-scale conversion of all trucks and buses serving the port to CNG (or other alternative fuel/low-emissions) vehicles.

• Shore power connections for all large ships in the port.

• A new truck traffic/safety plan that explores use of Bowne Street/Hamilton Avenue ramps.

• An updated plan and timetable for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, which considers running the greenway directly along Atlantic Basin (which is made possible by the Phoenix deal, since no loading/unloading will take place there).

• A comprehensive “First Source/Green Jobs” program that connects Brooklyn residents to jobs in the port and related environmentally-friendly manufacturing and freight movement.

Next Steps:
As a follow up to the event, Brad is urging local residents and other interested parties to sign a petition on the topic here.

Also, below is a document that the Lander campaign distributed for some background information:
"Background on Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood and Related Port Issues"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Historic Trolley Footage

In light of recent announcements about potential trolley service in Red Hook, Gothamist linked back to a post they made a couple years back (the last time the potential for trolley service in Red Hook was discussed) that contained this video of historic Trolley footage in Brooklyn. Enjoy!

Crazy Joe film screening at The Backyard Garden

The Backyard Garden will be joining the long list of Joe Gallo themed events this summer with a film screening of Crazy Joe. A trailer of the movie is here and details about the event are below that:

8:00 PM Saturday. August 29
CRAZY JOE (1973)
at Hamilton Ave & Summit St.

See A Vintage Feature Film Plus Cartoon—All are Welcome!:
Based on the short life of Crazy Joe Gallo, with Peter Boyle as the hipster wiseguy and Fred Williamson as his eager associate. It’s almost a civil rights story as Joe tries to integrate the rackets and meets with fierce opposition. Lots of violent action and plenty of excellent character acting with Eli Wallach, Luther Adler, Rip Torn, Paula Prentiss. Can you spot Henry (Fonzie) Winkler as one of the crew? A film with a strong 70s feel, directed by Carlo Lizzani. ----Bring your own popcorn, etc.

What happened to Piccolo?

Many of you may have noticed that the Piccolo Café has closed. After 8 months, Arturo Galeano, the almost 80-years-old owner, told us that he was too tired for such an undertaking. The good news is that the storefront will not sit vacant: a Japanese spot is to open by Labor Day, which will be the 3rd one in the neighborhood (after Kotobuki, and the recently-opened Iro Sushi).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Upcoming events at the Red Hook Community Farm

Tomorrow, Saturday August 8th

Do you want to learn about roof top farming, container gardening, and exciting words like subirrigation? Come learn the basics as Zac Pitkin guides though an interactive training 1:30 at Red Hook Community Farm

Free and open to the public

Come early and lend a hand on the farm,work side by side with our youth leadership team
When your finished you can pick up all the fixings for a great BBQ at the Red Hook Farmers' Market (all diets catered to)


The Welcome Table
Thursday, August 20
at Red Hook Community Farm
Free and open to all

This event is the culmination of Youth Leaders' work at Added Value. Teens have
designed the layout, menu, and activities for the night that include an interactive culinary lesson led by teens as an appetizer and a prepared meal in collaboration with chefs and food professionals.

The night will begin with a Community Meal led by our young culinary wizards. You will experience first hand what your meal looks like from soil to salad and break bread with all hands who have helped prepare our food. In addition, we will share a meal of seasonal vegetables, locally raised meat, and other delicious treats prepared by a local chef and food professional. You will take home a full belly, how to make three winning dishes and good conversation with people in our community.

The night is supported by Partnership for Parks and the Added Value Welcome Table dinner series. The mission of the Welcome Table is to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together by gathering around tables of good food to learn and converse about topics and issues important to the work of Added Value. On August 20th, teens will be presenting how they have grown as individuals in the food movement and creating dialogue with guests about sustainability, growing and cooking your own food, and the mission of Added Value.

Google Map image of Smith and 9th making big news...

Big sources including the Huffington Post and NYTimes are reporting on a heavenly image that appears in the Street View of Google Maps for Smith and 9th St:

image from Huffington Post via Google

Reminder: Free Art Classes in the Human Compass Garden on Saturdays

Local artist, Launa Beuhler has been leading a fun and successful free art program in one of our neighborhood's community gardens, The Human Compass (corner of Columbia and Sackett).

Here are some pictures of the past classes in which the children have been making finger puppets, journals, as well as painting pots and planting flowers. The classes will go on every Saturday through August 22 from 10 to 11am.

Make sure to drop by tomorrow to learn how to make sun prints!

Upcoming schedule:

Sat, Aug 15, 10 to 11: Treasure hunt and treasure map
Sat, Aug 22, 10 to 11: Life-size portraits of you and me

And on August 22, from 5pm to 7pm, join everyone for a potluck dinner and party in the garden!

Have fun !

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sedgwick and Irving Streets

Lost City reported last week about the removal of signs along Columbia St. that referred to non-existent streets such as Sedgwick and Irving. We're not sure when this happened exactly, but the blog points to a NYTimes article from 2004 that details some history of those streets - which I had always wondered about in the past when noticing the signs.

Lost City also comments that the Sedgwick St. sign on the East side of the street still remains (pictured below). Hopefully that one will remain.

Streetcars and Express Trains

Bloomberg's campaign released a transportation plan for NYC this week which includes details that would have a major impact on our area and the way we all get around. Some examples are:
  • Re-introducing Streetcar/light rail service to Red Hook and other waterfront neighborhoods
  • Adding express F train service - including stops at Bergen and Carrol using platforms that aren't currently being used and are below the current platforms
  • Extending V train service into Brooklyn
While these are all great ideas and would be a great improvement to our current transit options, they aren't exactly new ideas. All have been suggested in the past but went nowhere for one reason or another (for example, see some info about Streetcars in Red Hook at Forgotten NY or at the NYTimes).

Others are also questioning Bloomberg's ability to get these things done considering that he has limited control over the MTA (and how could we forget about the major funding struggles of the MTA as well?). His opponent Bill Thompson released a statement saying "[the plan] is full of empty promises and stolen ideas" (see NY1 story here).

Either way, it would be great to see any or all of these proposals come to life, so the trick will be to keep the issue alive long after the election is over - no matter who wins.

Some other coverage of this issue worth reading:

- Brookln Daily Eagle "Could Streetcars be Returning to Brooklyn?"
- Brooklyn Paper "Mayor wants F Train on fast track - but he doesn't control MTA"
- Tri-State Transportation Campaign "Bloomberg's Transportation Rhetoric and Reality"
- NY1 "Bloomberg Outlines Plan to Overhaul City Transportation"
- WNYC "Bloomberg the Candidate Unveils New Transit Plan"

EDIT 8/7/09: I neglected to include this NY1 video/article specifically on trolleys in Red Hook:
"Trolleys Could Make a Comeback in Red Hook"

Late Post: O'Barone Opens on Van Brunt

We were on vacation during the last 2 weeks of July and missed a number of happenings around the neighborhood. One such happening was the opening of Italian restaurant O'Barone at 360 Van Brunt. Time Out NY wrote:

O'Barone Chef-owner Fulvio Leone brings his native Italian sensibilities to the table at this rustic eatery. The slim menu stresses simple dishes, like tagliatelle with mushrooms, and melted tomino cheese with pancetta, while the wines hail from the country’s regional vineyards. 360 Van Brunt St between Sullivan and Wolcott Sts

Glad to see something opening up in the old 360 space - can't wait to check it out

51 Woodhull St. Development nears completion

Brownstoner reports that this 10 unit apartment building at 51 Woodhull (between Columbia and Hicks) is nearing completion.

We've heard at community meetings in the past that some of the neighbors aren't too happy, but since its already built, we can now only hope that it won't sit vacant.

Also worth noting is that this building fits within current zoning, but probably wouldn't be allowed within the future zoning proposed by COWNA since it is not contextual with the other buildings on the block.

image above from Brownstoner

Reminder: Carroll Park Concert Series

The final installment of the Carroll Park concert series is this Saturday. It features the Putumayo Kids Picnic Playground tour, as well as food provided by the Moxie Spot and a raffle.

Be sure to check the website before the event in case of bad weather.

Have fun while supporting this great park!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Free Concerts in Red Hook throughout August

This August, there seems to be almost something for everybody in terms of free music performances in Red Hook:

TOMORROW 8/4/09:

Frankie Negron will be performing in Red Hook Park at 7pm. According to the info from the Parks Dept. website "The Puerto Rican American has had nine Billboard Top 40 Hot Latin Tracks, and adds some contemporary pop sounds into his salsa – a perfect combination for a hot summer’s night."

More info here

Other upcoming concerts include:

8/11: Lisa Lisa in Red Hook Park (she's not bringing Cult Jam???)
8/14: Metropolitan Opera in Coffey Park
8/18: DJ Premier and Pete Rock in Red Hook Park

image above from Frankie Negron's Myspace


The Red Hook Lobster Pound and the Brooklyn Yard have teamed up for a an evening of good crustaceans and good tunes.

When: Friday Aug 7
What: Food from 6pm-9pm, tunes all night (250 Advance Tickets Only)
Cost: $22 for a full meal (Lobster, Corn and Potato Salad) & your own shell cracker.
Where: BKLYN Yard:: 400 Carroll St. Between Bond and Nevins

To Buy Tickets:

ANIME in Red Hook

Saturday, August 8

499 Van Brunt, Red Hook, Brooklyn

at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) Summer Show:

ART in Changing Perspectives

an anime cartoon festival

an invitation for anime enthusiasts to show off their costumes

from 2 o'clock to 5:30

fashion show of cos players

prizes for the best top 3

Space 414 presents: You are Standing into Danger

Space 414's newest exhibition is one of twenty-two artists working or living in Red Hook, a Brooklyn neighborhood with a functioning waterfront and a complicated history of isolation, violence and corruption.

“You are standing into danger” is a communiqué of the international maritime signal code, denoted by flying alone the flag “U” (pronounced uniform), which appears as a four-square of checkered red and white.

The artists who contribute work to You Are Standing into Danger deliver analogous communiqués, each one built from its own visual language. More than two dozen works of painting, sculpture, photography, video, printmaking, illustration and embroidery mediate the instability that persists between the contents of artwork and the honest and oftentimes horrific confrontations with contemporary life. A nausea emerges from this instability, as the viewer is held in a tenuous balance between beauty and terror.

Shanti Grumbine’s The Unsayable, for example, is a life-size plaster of a nude crouching in prayer. In place of the torso and head, the figure’s innards spill forth in a sensual mess on the floor. The horror of this depiction is sanitized by a logic of the unreal, giving Grumbine's object a macabre beauty.

Astrid Craven's At Sea, on the other hand, is an oil seascape in the moody spirit of J. M. Turner. The residue of a violent confrontation lingers on the horizon, as a plume of black smoke rises from the sea, offsetting an enigmatic swath of deep red in the water.

Curated by Walker Waugh, You Are Standing Into Danger is the third exhibition this summer at Space 414, following Vintage Violence and Disaster Kit, to address the persistence of threat, disaster, survival and the role of the artist as a purveyor of hope against harbingers of fear.

Featuring work by Audrey Anastasi, Joseph Anastasi, Rafael Bueno, Marie-Helene Carleton, Matthew Cox, Astrid Cravens, Layla Delridge, Karni Dorell, Emily Driscoll, Patrick Dunaway, Sean Eno, Micah Garen, Mollie Goldstrom, Shanti Grumbine, Cathrin Hockinson, Joetta Maue, Siobhan McBride, Stuart Nicholson, Susu Pianchupattana, Ryan Russo, J.T. Theodoracopulos, and Harriet Zucker.

Please join the artists for an opening reception and garden party on Friday, August 7 at 7pm. Exhibition runs through September 11, 2009.

For more info check out: