Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Valentine's Day at Everyday Athlete Kids

Enjoy an evening out or some time alone at home!

Everyday Athlete Kids is offering a drop off session that includes arts and crafts, tumbling, dancing, games, and more, that you child will enjoy. Drinks, snacks and a pizza dinner is included, too!


Friday Feb 13 and Saturday Feb 14 from 6 pm to 9pm: 3 hours to do whatever!
Price: $35 per child
Sibling: $15
Suggested age: 4+

To register call 347-529-6377 or email info@everydayathletestudio.com

What are your plans for Valentine's Day? If you have a special spot you would like to share, feel free to email us and tell us all about it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Update on the closing of LeNell's

Despite reports by some sites that LeNell's (the famed liquor store on Van Brunt) is closed as of this past weekend, it turns out that the end date is more likely to be late February or early March and that she is still looking for a new space, rather than moving to London, as was also rumored.

Read more details over at Eater.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Freebird Books digs up Columbia St. history


Local store Freebird books recently posted a great history of Columbia St. on their blog, which they got by digging through old Brooklyn Eagle clippings from the Brooklyn Public Library. Here's a snippet of their post:
One hundred and twenty two years ago (almost to the day), an intrepid Eagle reporter going by the byline "E.R.G." traveled the length of Columbia on a comparably chilly day. What he recorded was a bit of a flourish, a mix of poesy and taxonomy, but it does serve as a counterpoint to what the street became, and what was lost after Robert Moses dropped the BQE in our midst, containerization made stevedoring obselete, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel split Red Hook into two.

To compare the present Columbia St. with the historic one in this article, they also shot video while driving along the Northern and Southern ends of Columbia St (the Northern side now Columbia Place)






I highly recommend reading Freebird's whole post here and seeing these videos in the context of the street's history that they discuss.

The local Lost Tunnel and a possible buried train


I first learned about the "Lost Tunnel" by coming across a piece of paper on a wall in Red Hook that said something along the lines of "Want to explore a lost tunnel underneath Atlantic Avenue? Call this number?" ***

Then, one day some weeks later, I was walking along Court St. towards Atlantic Avenue and saw people (who were not in uniform) crawling into a manhole, which presumably led down into the tunnel, peaking my interest even further.

While I haven't had a chance to call the number or go on a tour yet, I did come across a recent article on Yournabe.com which not only says there may be a DVD coming out about the tunnel soon, but also that the tunnel tour guide, Bob Diamond, thinks that there is a buried steam engine somewhere in the tunnel near Columbia Street. Whoa!

It also turns out that there is another tour of the tunnel, which runs under Atlantic between Court and Hicks, this Sunday, 1/25/08. If you're interested in checking out a lost tunnel under Atlantic Avenue, call 718 941 3160!

In the meantime, check out the article mentioned above as well as the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association's website.


***This isn't the real wording of the sing, but is just based on my memory of it many months later

Picture above from the BHRA website

CB6 Public Safety and Environmental Protection Meeting on 1/26

Jan 26 Pub Safety/Env Prot/Licenses/Permits


Presentation by representatives for the Economic Development Corporation and the Port Authority on the Clean Air initiative being undertaken at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at Pier 12 in Red Hook.


Presentation and review of an application submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs for a cabaret license on behalf of Clay Farm LLC dba The Bell House at 149 7th Street.


Review and discussion of City Council Intro 599, a local law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to the use of bioheat in New York City.


P.S. 15 - The Patrick Daly School
71 Sullivan Street
(Van Brunt/Richards Streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

6:30 PM

Go to the CB 6 website for more info

Better jobs and greener ports go hand in hand


Living in a neighborhood that contains one of the last working ports in NYC raises a lot of issues, including truck traffic, pollution, and public access to the waterfront. However, people often overlook the positives of ports when talking about this, such as the fact that the ports employ many more people than any other business in the neighborhood and bring in so many of the goods that we consume. This is good for us and the rest of the city!

That being said, one of the best things we can do for both the community and port workers (pretty much a best of both worlds) is to urge our elected officials to pass regulation in the port industry that requires that port workers be treated as full time employees, rather than independent contractors, so that they can receive better pay and have higher incentives to drive cleaner, more environmentally friendly trucks.

An article in yesterday's Daily News by Jerrold Nadler and Andrea Batista Schlesinger explains this much better than I ever could, and I strongly urge everyone to read it. I also suggest that people look into work that the Drum Major Institute, which Andrea Batista Schlesinger is the Director of, has done on this topic.

While some comments at the end of the recent CB6 meeting regarding the fate of Atlantic Basin made one think that community residents and the port are at odds with each other, policy suggestions like this make me truly believe that things can be done in a way that works for all stakeholders involved

The Red Hook launches.....off Wards Island?


I don't know whether local residents should take this as a compliment or an insult, but the DEP has named its newest sludge (aka sewage or human waste) carrying vessel The Red Hook. And to top it off, they didn't hold the ceremony for the newly commissioned boat here - they did it at Ward's Island.

On a more positive note, NY's waterways seem to be cleaner than they've been in at least 100 years, in part thanks to vessels like these and the water treatment plants they service.

If you have an interest in learning what happens to your waste after you flush it or a history of sludge in NYC waterways, then I highly recommend checking out this NYTimes article about the new boat. Here's a snippet:

The Red Hook is the third active vessel in the department’s marine fleet, which transports more than two million gallons of sludge per day. The vessel is more than 350 feet long, about 53 feet wide and slightly more than 21 feet deep. Its eight storage tanks can accommodate 150,000 cubic feet, or about 1.2 million gallons, of sludge. The vessel weighs more than 2,098 tons and is designed to travel at 12.75 knots, or about 15 miles per hour.

Has this been profiled on the tv show Dirty Jobs yet? Major respect and thanks goes to the crews of these boats and the workers of the water treatment plants for keeping our waterways clean!

Picture above from the DEP, via the NYTimes City Room Blog

This weekend @ Brooklyn Botanica


Brooklyn Botanica
220 Conover (@ Coffey St)

Friday Jan. 23rd
Vinyl source 24bit/96khz recordings from every continent and some outlying islands. To get an idea of what this means, read the list of examples belowbelow.

Saturday Jan. 24th
Live Jazz by
Martin Kelly Trio
http://www.brooklynbotanica.com/audio/Kellz-Mel.mp3

---------------

Examples for 1/23:
Amazonia Cult Music of Northern Brasil, Anthology of African life Congo Vol. 1, Aretha Franklin, Bengal Minstrel Music, Bonobo, Bunzu Sounds, Cal Tjader, Cantos Castenos, Django Reinhardt, Donovan, Fela Kuti, Flavio Kurt, Franco and his all powerful OK Jazz, Fruko y sus Tesos, Gang Gang Dance, Grant Green, Gun Court Dub, Harlem River Drive, Herbie Hancock, Koop, Leadbelly, Lipa Kodi Ya City Council, Muddy Waters, Nina Simone, Ofo, Orchestre Regional de Keyes, Pliers, Revolutionaires, Romanthony, Roots Dub, Roy Ayers, Sebata Sebata, Smif n Wessun, Songstress, Syl Johnson, Tamrat Ferendji, Tito Puente, Tom Tom Club, Underground Resistance, Wallias Band.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

While the most local option is the event at Coffee Den (starting now), there are some other events nearby this morning and throughout the day.

Brooklyn Paper has a good list here.

Enjoy everyone! I'll be watching from my computer at work.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snowy Weekend






Just in case you don't get out of the house today, here's what the streets look like (shots taken from Union, Columbia, and President)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red Hook sausage parlor scheduled to open in March!


Construction of Grindhaus, a restaurant that will serve primarily sausages, seems to be in full gear for its scheduled opening this March, according to Gothamist. The opening of this restaurant was announced/anticipated sometime back, but at one point it seemed to be put on hold indefiniely. It is located at 275 Van Brunt (near Kevin's).

Here is a blog by the owner that will track some of the progress. Expect content here to pick up more as March approaches.

Also be sure to read the Brooklyn Paper article on the restaurant here, which says "The offerings will consist of five or six sausage varieties made on the premises, plus classics from around the world and newfangled concoctions that Norris will rotate into the daily offerings."

EDIT: We walked past yesterday and snapped the above picture to confirm that construction is underway.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Red Hook rooster needs new home


Not sure if there is any relation between this story and past stories about Red Hook chickens, but there is currently a Red Hook rooster that is looking for a new home in preferably a "sunny farm" or "mascot position." Its name is Alicia Jr. (yes, a boy chicken with a girl name) and its 7 months old. The owner wants to get rid of it before neighbors complain too much about the noise (which is probably why people in NYC are allowed to have hens but not roosters?)

Check out the post at Gowanus Lounge or Craigslist for more info

Also, the picture above (from Sail Brooklyn's flick page) may or may not be the rooster in question, but it was photographed in Red Hook

Local Call to Service



Before you head to the Coffee Den (or wherever else you may be going) on Tuesday for inauguration, think about answering Obama's National Call to Service locally on Monday, in honor of MLK day. Below are some of the places close by on the Obama site's list. If anyone knows of any other volunteer opportunities in the area, please let us know and we will post them up. You can also select from options throughout other areas of Brooklyn and NYC by going to this link. You can sign up to host an event there as well.

Non-perishable food drive and distribution (Day of Service - January 19)

Tuesday, January 20 at 12:00 PM
Arab-American Family Support Center (Brooklyn, NY)
The Arab-American Family Support Center located @ 150 Court Street, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201, plans on collecting non-perishable food items throughout the month...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Local Red Hook artist Amy Helfand in NY Times

Local Red Hook artist, Amy Helfand, was featured in the NYTimes yesterday:

The colorful, abstract patterns of Amy Helfand’s rugs are usually derived from nature. But for her latest collection, Ms. Helfand, an artist and designer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, took her inspiration from the “prayer flags at Buddhist temples and hanging from trees” that she photographed during a recent trip to Nepal...

Check out the rest of the NYTimes article here and her website here

Quick Progress at 37 Carroll St.

Walking past Carroll St. the other day, I noticed that 37 Carroll St., which very recently seemed to consist only of the front facade and scaffolding, had begun to look MUCH more like a finished building, and it seemed to come out of nowhere.

Brooks over at Lost City beat us to the punch on posting about it, so we'll direct you over to his post. Below are his before and after pictures:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Brooklyn Life praises a local building


A Brooklyn Life randomly gave a very positive review to that new-ish building on Degraw by the intersection of Tiffany that "juts out" yesterday.

Here's what she says:
Call me crazy, perhaps the people on this block of Degraw, between the BQE and Columbia Street will, but I've always dug the modern jutting out of this browstone re-do. Kinda like a big old block of concrete dropped onto the house and fit just-so. Also, those windows would thrust a lot of light into a north-facing buildling. I like how the original character is apparent, but someone obviously set out to make a modern statement. Perhaps I'm just feeling inspired by my copy of Dwell this month. Thoughts?

I'm not sure how i feel about it one way or the other, but its always good to get some locavl coverage on other blogs. Does anyone live in that building yet? Last time I cared to pay attention it seemed empty.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"On the Waterfront" on the waterfront

On May 16th and 17th, a live theater version of the classic film "On the Waterfront," written by Budd Schulberg (pictured above), will be performed as part of the Sixth Annual Play Reading Salon Series from the Brave New World Repertory Theatre.

The location of this performance will be, well, on the waterfront (at the Waterfront Museum) in Red Hook. Read below for information about the series and this particular performance. Not only is this a great setting for this play (duh) but Budd Schulberg will also be on hand afterwards for a discussion with the audience!

Select text from Broadwayworld.com below:

Plays written by notable Brooklyn playwrights-four of whom are still alive, well and living in Brooklyn-make up the roster of five works to be presented as part of the Sixth Annual Play Reading Salon Series from Brave New World Repertory Theatre. Based in Brooklyn, Brave New World is known for its bold, critically acclaimed productions of Fahrenheit 451, The Great White Hope and Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, based on Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (all for Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park bandshell); and To Kill a Mockingbird, staged on the front porches of a tree-lined Ditmas Park street.

Now in its sixth season, the Brave New World Salon Series features Brooklyn-based Equity actors performing rehearsed, intimate and evocative readings of classic plays-all of them penned by notable Brooklynites Arthur Miller, Lynn Nottage, David Lindsay-Abaire, Charles Mee and Budd Schulberg.

Highlights of the season include Pulitzer Prize-winner Lindsay-Abaire (with Shrek The Musical currently on Broadway) directing his own play, Fuddy Meers. Claire Beckman, Producing Artistic Director says: "We are thrilled to be celebrating some of the great playwrights this borough has produced, and delighted that Ms. Nottage, Mr. Mee, Mr. Lindsay-Abaire and Mr. Schulberg, (now in his 90's) have agreed to participate in talkbacks with the audience. Our book-end staged readings of The Crucible and On The Waterfront will be somewhat site-specific, in the spirit of our 2005 production of To Kill a Mockingbird."

The readings-set in notable Brooklyn locations (the Old Stone House, the Akwaaba Mansion, the Waterfront Barge Museum, etc.) include dinner catered by Red Hook's Fairway with wine courtesy of T.B. Ackerman Wine Merchants in Ditmas Park. Individual event tickets are $18 and seating is limited. Further information/tickets are available at theatre@bravenewworldrep.org.....

ON THE WATERFRONT
By Budd Schulberg
Directed by
Timothy Smith & Claire Beckman
Waterfront Museum Barge in Red Hook

http://www.waterfrontmuseum.org/

Saturday May 16; Dinner 7:30pm, Reading 8:00
Sunday May 17; Brunch 1:30pm, Reading 2:00

About Brave New World Repertory Theatre
Brave New World Repertory Theatre draws from Brooklyn's rich artistic community to create dynamic and engaging theatre on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Founded by a group of local theatre professionals, the company produces classic and neglected works, as well as new works by its members. Brave New World Repertory Theatre provides its actors, directors, designers, playwrights and stage managers the opportunity to work in and for their own community.

-----------

Click here for more details, including the other performances in the series.
Photo of Budd Schulberg above from his wikipedia article

Inauguration party at Coffee Den!


On January 20th, at 10am, be sure to head to the Coffee Den (on Union and Hicks) for a viewing of Obama's inauguration live on tv.

This is a great opportunity to grab some coffee and breakfast and talk politics and change with your friends and neighbors.

Who knows, maybe one of us will even stop by and do some live blogging with Coffee Den's free wireless access..........

As the sign in front of Coffee Den says, "Out with the old, in with the new"

The Greenway needs your help!

While our neighborhood is fortunate enough to have the first finished piece of the Brooklyn Greenway, completion of the Greenway in some other areas of Brooklyn is meeting challenges from people who want to claim the street space for parking, driving, etc. This has particularly been an issue on Kent Avenue, South of Broadway, in Williamsburg.

If you are a biker, runner, walker, or any other supporter of safe pathways for these types of activities, please show your support for the Greenway in one of the following ways:

1) Showing up to the CB1 meeting tonight in support of the Greenway
2) Signing Transportation Alternative's e-fax campaign
3) Contacting elected officials (Nydia Valsquez, or Yassky and Reyna)

After all, our section of the Greenway will be best when it connects to a much larger Brooklyn-wide network of bike lanes and paths.
Read more info on this topic at Streetsblog

Also, check out this video of bikers riding in the area in question:

Monday, January 12, 2009

This Week @ Jalopy (week of 1/12/09) + Classes



Jalopy website

TONIGHT
January 12th @ 9pm $5
Tony Scherr
One of NYC’s most in-demand guitar and bass players, starts a weekly gig at Jalopy! For all of January, Tony will play a solo gig, and plans to invite some of his favorite musicians to join him on stage in February. A great start to your week!

----------------------

Every Wednesday!!!
January 14th @ 9pm $FREE$

ROOTS AND RUCKUS

A night of old time blues and folk. Hosted by Feral Foster

-------------------------------

Thursday, January 15th @ 9pm $8
The Jen Milich Band
The Haywood Brothers

----------------------------

Friday, January 16th @ 9pm $10
Luke Winslow-King Trio
Baby Soda Jazz Band

----------------------

Saturday, January 17th @ 9pm $10
Ether Frolic:
Peter Stampfel and Friends
Ken Waldman
Eli Smith
-------

Also, don't forget that Jalopy offers music classes and workshops. Here is their info from a recent email blast:

Music Classes begin January 26th

They are offering for the first time, Kids Guitar I classes on Mondays.

Please call, email or stop by to sign up for any of the classes and workshops listed below.

At Jalopy, we hope to make learning an instrument both approachable and fun. With a light-hearted, song-based learning style, students begin learning songs immediately. Our classes are taught in a group setting. This gives the students a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn, while making classes much more affordable. Our classes run for 8 weeks, $225 for the series. Don’t have an instrument? Rent one from us, just $25/month. (Otherwise, $250 on 1st day of class.)

Classes offered:

Monday Jan. 26 – March 16
*NEW* Kids Guitar I: 5pm Taught by Hubby Jenkins
Mandolin I: 7pm Taught by Jordan Shapiro

Tuesday Jan. 27 – March 17
Fiddle I: 7pm Taught by Laura Feddersen
Fiddle II: 8pm Taught by Laura Feddersen

Wednesday Jan. 28 – March. 18
Banjo I: 7pm Taught by Eli Smith
Banjo II: 8pm Taught by Eli Smith

Thursday Jan. 29 – March. 19
Ukulele I: 7pm Taught by Doug Skinner
Ukulele II: 8pm Taught by Doug Skinner

Saturday Jan. 31 – March. 21
Guitar I: 1pm Taught by Geoffrey R. Wiley
Guitar II: 2pm Taught by Geoffrey R. Wiley
Fingerstyle Blues Guitar I: 4pm Taught by Ernie Vega

The Teachers:

Geoff Wiley is the co-owner of Jalopy and also one of its teachers. He grew up in the Seattle are, first in the music of his mother and the Baptist church, only to come to his county-blues forum of today. He has played in several bands, from punk to bluegrass – if you squint you may see him in the fiddle classes, learning a new instrument.

Jordan Shapiro, a Brooklyn based multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and educator, has been performing with his own original newgrass band Astrograss since 2003. His songs are based in progressive bluegrass and modern acoustic music. He has also been seen all over the country performing the music of Frank Zappa on his mandolin, as a member of Project/Object, a Zappa tribute band. In Brooklyn, he performs regularly with Astrograss, AudraRox, the Darrin James Band and the South Slope String Band,

Doug Skinner has played the ukulele for decades, everywhere from Lincoln Center to “The Joe Franklin Show,” from Joe’s Pub to an MTV jingle. He’s written numerous scores for dance and theater, most notably for “The Regard of Flight” and other productions by actor/clown Bill Irwin.

Laura Feddersen grew up in a musical family in Bloomington, Indiana, where she was immersed in traditional fiddling from a young age. As a youngster she was trained in the classical style, but as a teenager she left the concert hall for the pubs to play Irish traditional music. Since then she's gotten back to her roots playing American old time, as well as exploring the music of Scandanavia and Canada. She currently plays with her friends in the Red State String Band and at sessions around the city.

Eli Smith is an old-time banjo player originally from Greenwhich Village. He says, "I play old-time banjo because its the first music that I heard as a kid that really spoke to me." Eli plays several old-time styles, including clawhammer/frailing, up-picking, thumb-lead and feels free to mix those styles. "Old-time musicians did whatever they wanted! But they did it within the framework of their 'tradition.'" Eli teaches banjo and guitar lessons full-time, plays gigs and hosts the internet radio show Down Home Radio.

Bob Hoffnar started playing steel guitar in the past which is where many things have already happened. After learning a particular note in his studies with Lamonte Young he proceeded to learn many of the other notes eventually organizing them into different patterns suitable to cowboy music. Bob plans on playing his steel guitar in the future which is where he will be spending the rest of his life when he gets around to it. Visit Bob's website www.bobhoffnar.net

Ernie Vega is a New York City singer/songwriter/guitarist who specializes in Rock and American roots music. He is a former student of Dave Van Ronk and when he isn’t gigging in Manhattan or Brooklyn, he can be found at the Jalopy Theatre fixing up guitars.

Upcoming WORKSHOPS

Sunday, January 18th@ 2-5pm $30

Vocal Harmony Workshop

Emily Eagen and Don Friedman are versatile teachers, singers and instrumentalists, and focus on traditional American close harmony styles. This three hour workshop will emphasize the mechanics of creating harmonies and arrangements as well as singing in small groups. The repertoire will be taken from the old-time and bluegrass vocal traditions, especially the styles of harmony greats such as the Carters, the Louvins and the Stanleys. They will work closely with students to develop their listening abilities, performance styles and singing techniques. No need to read notation! You will be up and singing right away - the class will be a fun, hands on, demystifying experience in learning to sing close harmony. Please email Steve Schwartzman at sschwartzman@eldercareny.com with any questions about the mechanics of the workshop. PLEASE CALL 718.395.3214 OR EMAIL jalopy@speakeasy.net TO REGISTER, AS THIS WORKSHOP ALWAYS FILLS UP.


Sunday, January 25th@ 2pm $30

Groove Harmonica Workshop

Taught by Randy Weinstein



Sunday, February 8th @ 2pm $30

Klezmer Fiddle Workshop

Taught by Craig Judelman



Sunday, February 15th @ 2pm $20

Introduction to Music Theory

Taught by Doug Skinner



Sunday, February 22nd @ 2pm $30

Vocal Harmony Workshop

Taught by Emily Eagen & Don Friedman



Sunday, March 1st @ 1pm $15

World Music and The Phonograph:

A Look Down Into the Time Tunnell

Presented by Pat Conte



Sunday, March 8th @ 2pm $30

Irish Fiddling Workshop

Taught by Laura Feddersen



Sunday, March 15th @ 2pm $30

The Gypsies and their 1000 year

Cultural Journey from India to France

First of Three Workshops

Taught by Stephane Wrembel

Friday, January 9, 2009

No diner coming, but at least we'll have some coffee and motorcycles

It seems that Chelsea's Cheyenne Diner, which was purchased by Michael O'Connell a while back, will no longer be moving to Red Hook as planned due to it not fitting over the Manhattan Bridge. As a result, it is now back on sale, according to Curbed.

While this is too bad, there is some positive news to balance it out in the form of coffee and motorcycles.

Custom motorcycle lovers will be happy to know that Keino Cycles has now moved to the Columbia St. Waterfront on Union St. and has put a motorcycle frame on the market called "The Red Hook," in honor of the area. Here is a picture from the custom motorcycle blog Cyril Huze:

As for coffee, it seems that Stumptown Coffee Roasters will be moving to Red Hook, according to the Brooklyn Paper. This coffee company was made famous in Portland and is now expanding to the East Coast. While I haven't tried this coffee personally, it seems to be a big hit among many coffee lovers. It is already available at Frankie's 457 on Court St., and the Brooklyn Paper article says that the new roasting plant will have a new Frankie's on site as well as tasting events.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Red Hook tv night



We started our evening with the documentary A Hole in A Fence (trailer above), which is a great documentary about Red Hook, particularly because it was shot pre-Ikea and places focus on elements of Red Hook that no longer exist. The Red Hook Community Farm, graffiti writers, Red Hook houses residents, the Waterfront museum curators, and more, all get some screen time.

After that, we watched the premier of Real World Brooklyn, which (big surprise) did not show much Red Hook scenery other than their waterfront hideaway. I actually perked up a little when the characters mentioned going to Alma, only to realize that they actually said Elmo. How disappointing.

Over all, I highly recommend A Hole in a Fence, while I partially recommend Real World for mindless entertainment and the constant suspense of how much or how little local footage they show................

Community discussion on health care reform

Another public meeting about important issues. I got this from the NY Industrial Retention Network listserve, and its particularly relevant for small businesses in the area (which we have many of).........

Date: Monday, January 12th, 2009

Time: 3:00pm-5:00pm

Place: City Hall

On January 12th, the City Council, Office of Speaker Christine Quinn, and the Obama-Biden transition team will be holding a community discussion on Health Care Reform. If you experience difficulty with health care costs, coverage, or any other related issue, they would like to hear from you. The results of this meeting will be relayed directly back to President Obama and cabinet members.

This is an excellent opportunity to convey the challenges small businesses face in providing health care for their employees.

To confirm your participation, please contact Danielle Castaldi-Micca at (212) 788-7276 or at DCastaldi@council.nyc.gov.

Smith Street's Patois threatens to close!


While looking up our neighborhood on Zagat today I came across this:

The Times reported yesterday that Smith Street trailblazer Patois is planning to close shop on Sunday after 31 years in business. But that isn't the whole story. The popular bistro's owners tell us they are hoping to move the restaurant across the street later this month from its current digs at 255 Smith St. to 254 Smith St. with a planed reopening in mid-February. Fingers crossed!

Here is the Times article.

Just like LeNell's
in Red Hook, the reason for closing seems to be the inflation in rents.

Signaling a little discrepancy: Zagat says Patois has been open for 31 years, the Times says it opened in 1997.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MTA Public Hearing - Voice your opinion about local impacts!

The following is a public hearing notice regarding potential MTA fare hikes and service cuts. People should try to show up and make their voices heard. Some of the items on the table here directly impact this area, which is already lacking in transportation options.

Some of the proposed bus cuts for Brooklyn are:
Eliminate all service on the B23, 25, 37, 39, 51 and 75. Eliminate weekend service on B2, 4, 7, 16, 24, 48, 57, 65, 69, 71

The 71 and 75 are two of the 4 closest buses! The 65 is also quite close.

We rely on the MTA buses and subway to not only get to work and access other parts of the city, but also to bring people to our area and visit our great selection of local businesses, restaurants, nightlife, events, and activities. This is all hard enough even without the cuts and increased fares!

Have fun trying to get to the Brooklyn Museum and and Brooklyn Childrens Museums, etc. this summer with no B71 on weekends!

-----------------------------
MTA Proposed Fare Increases

Public hearings on proposed changes in fares and crossing charges for the MTA will be held during the month of January and into early February. A variety of increases in fares and charges are proposed, projected as high as 23%. Subway and local bus fares may go as high as $3 for a single-ride and $105 for a monthly Metrocard. Service changes are also being put forth, including decreases in subway and bus service, as well as elimination of certain lines altogether.

The first hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at the Hilton NY, 1335 Avenue of the Americas.

The Brooklyn hearing will be on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at the NY Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
393 Adams Street

The hearing begins at 6p and speaker registration closes at 9p.

Below is a link to the public hearing notice released by the MTA, complete with details on increases and service changes, as well as the full hearing schedule.
http://www.mta.info/mta/09/2009_fare_service_notice.pdf

The moment we all (may or may not) have been waiting for.......


....is here.

Real World Brooklyn, shot in Red Hook, premieres tomorrow, 1/7/09, at 10pm.

I've made an effort not to post about this much in the past, but I have to admit, I'm going to give the first couple episodes a shot to see how much neighborhood scenery is included.

Image above from the Wikipedia article is of Pier 41, where they stayed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The future of the Atlantic Basin and Pier 11 (CB6 Meeting)


Whew, I just got back from the Community Board 6 meeting that took place tonight regarding the plans for Atlantic Basin/Pier 11. There is WAY too much information to write about in tonight's post, but I will try to add more details over the next few days and will also refer people to check PortSide's website, as they taped the entire meeting and will transcribe it for the site (speaking of which, they need volunteers to transcribe!).

The image above (from Brooklyn Paper) is an aerial shot of the site, taken from the North side (looking South). The basin is the enclosed body of water, while Pier 11 is the pier that runs along it. There is a large amount of warehouse space on the pier, as well as some open space to the south of the large warehouse and parking behind the warehouse (on the left of the picture.)

Here are some of the main highlights of tonight's meeting (in my own words, based on my notes):

1) Venetia Lannon of the EDC presented their plan for the site, which contrary to hints in the media and the rumor mill is not a done deal. The plan includes the following:
  • Phoenix Beverages will have lease for Pier 11 and building 185. This plan is "shovel ready" and will move the Phoenix operation, which consists primarily of beverage importing and distribution to the Red Hook site
  • Plan includes a connection to the Brooklyn Greenway, either through the site or on a nearby street
  • Portions of the site will be accesible to the public, including a small park on the Southern side
  • There will be space for a cultural use, for which an RFP will be issued. Ms. Lannon mentioned PortSide as being a strong contender for this use. This includes cultural vessel tie-up (i.e. the Mary Whalen) and cultural space in building 185.
  • There will also be landing for the Governor's Island ferry, connecting Brooklyn to the very large destination/green space that is Governor's Island
  • There will also be the availability of "Vessel Tie-up" for workboats, ferries, or other boat types. There will be an RFP issued for this aspect as well
Some reasons for EDC choosing this plan and general benefits behind it:
  • It will capture some of the cruise ship passengers (and local residents) through public access and tours that offer history, culture, education, etc. while maintaining the working waterfront through Phoenix.
  • Phoenix expects to bring 500+ jobs to Red Hook (many existing employees from their other sites, while the remainder will be hired locally). Jobs are high paying, unionized jobs.
  • Phoenix, if allowed to install a filling station, wuld commit to converting 100% of their trucks to CNG (natural gas), making it one of the greenest operations on the waterfront. Their location here would also eliminate 20,000 truck trips per year regionally. Also worth noting, all goods will be coming in by water, but going out by truck. Its not trucks going in and out, as many people have described. Also, they will travel down Bowne Street for easy access to the BQE, rather than travelling through residential streets.
2) Next, Tom Fox of NY Water Taxi made a presentation about his plan, which was rejected by EDC in favor of the above plan. Here are some of the details:
  • Went over personal history of park planning on the west side of Manhattan and advocating for parks, green space, and waterfront access for communities in NYC
  • Started Water Taxi to connect and NYC's waterfronts. Now has 15 locations, 6 different routes/services and provides uses for recreation, education, entertainment, commutation, tourism, and more.
  • Currently has 10 boats on Greg O'Connell's property [by Fairway], but is continually expanding and needs more space. Also has an additional 2 leased boats and a fuel barge.
  • Many local residents, including residents from the Red Hook Houses, are employed, and have often gone on to Captain and management positions. Has also provided a channel for students and graduates from the NY Harbor School to get interships and jobs.
  • Atlantic Basin, due to design, is perfect location for his type of boats (small aluminum boats) due to its protective nature/design
His plan incorporates the following:
  • Tie up service for tugs, dinner boats, NYPD, Cast Guard, etc.
  • A dry stack marina for storage of boats (including Water Taxis and other)
  • Will bring over 800 construction jobs and around 219 full time operational jobs with this plan
  • Will work with the Durst Organization, which is known for environmentalism, Westrec Marine, who have done many similar developments internationally, and FxFowle Architects.
  • Will insall a beach like the Long Island City Water Taxi Beach
  • Will open up views to the waterfront through Verona St.
  • Under this plan, ASI, PortSide, Water Taxi, and the Greenway, could all co-exist.
3) Next, Carolina Salguero of PortSide NY presented on her organization and the plans that they submitted for the EDC RFP. Her plans included the following:
  • Space for the prime feature of PortSide, the tanker Mary Whalen. This vessel would be used as a year-round cultural destination, including tours, history, education programs, and more
  • A cafe/event space that would sell food and beer/wine as a way of generating employment and proceeds for the organization. Will be a cultural space that serves food/beverage more so than a cafe that has occasional events.
  • A business center, including copying, supplies, fax machines, and more that could be used by the maritime industry as well as local residents and businesses, of which profits would go into the organization and community programs
  • A career center that will channel local residents and youth into maritime industries
  • A landing for excursion and charter vessels, of which profits could also go into PortSide and community programs
  • Shore side services for maritime industries
  • Usage and linkage of local business (with proven track record of doing so in the past)
  • Possibly a community sailing program, to teach local residents how to sail and allow people to utilize the water
  • Possibly a maritime trail that would serve as a cultural/educational destination
  • Possibly the availability of harbor tours as a way to generate profit and bring visitors/tourists around the NY harbor
Various elements of above will be in the basin itself, in the outdoor space, or in buildings, including bulding 185. These indoor spaces will have cultural/educational programming (for year-round usage), as well as potential extra space for a carpenter shop and the Flotsam project.

Details about many of the programs above can be read at the PortSide website here.

-------------------

These 3 presentations provide a glimpse into the many options that the site could be utilized for. Afterward, there was a Q&A session in which many questions and points of contention were raised. It is too long to go into all of this, but a couple of issues that stand out in my mind are the following:

  • A suggestion of moving Phoenix to Pier 7, which both Phoenix and the EDC state as being impossible without the agreement of Port Authority
  • A suggestion of pushing back the tentative final agreement date of March 2009 to allow the community time to approach Port Authority and request/demand that Phoenix be located on Pier 7 so as to allow Pier 11 to be used for Water Taxi and/or PortSide or other uses.
  • The displacement of BDI, a local business of over 10 years, from building 185, due to these plans.
------------
Hopefully over the next week, and after reading otehr media/posts, I can go into some more details of other issues raised.

Overall, one positive note is that it seems highly likely that there will be a space for at least some aspects of PortSide's plans in any of the above plans. I think this is a very important aspect in the outcome of this site.

In regards to the other two, I cannot personally say which I favor. I think the ultimate solution would be getting Port Authority to allow for Phoenix at Pier 7 and to put Water Taxi AND PortSide, along with the Greenway, at Pier 11.

If this can't be done its a hard call, because losing Phoenix would be a major loss in the shipping industry and the working waterfront. This area, along with the Sunset Park container port, are the last working waterfronts in all of NYC. Phoenix would be forced to move to Jersey, bringing with them all of their jobs.

To be continued..........

An interview with Dave Vendley of Calexico


We know how excited many of you are about the future opening of Calexico (aka the winners of the 2008 NYC Vendy awards, as this image from their website shows). Dave Vendley of the Vendley brothers, owners of the joint, has told WoCS that they will be opening their location at 122 Union St. during the second week of February. In the meantime, let us learn a little bit more about this very attractive new addition to the neighborhood. Dave was kind enough to agree to an interview, and here it is:

WoCS: What is the history of Calexico?
Calexico is a company started by my two brothers (Jesse and Brian) and I. Our goal was to make food that was inspired by Calexico, California; the town our family is originally from. About 2 years ago Jesse convinced Brian and I to move from California to try our hand at cooking food for the hungry streets of New York City. It seemed like a crazy idea at the time but we all thought it would be a really fun adventure.
WoCS: What prompted your decision to move from the street vendor world to the restaurant world?
Well we had always wanted a restaurant and it seemed like a natural evolution.
WoCS: What are some of the challenges you've faced in doing so?
None of us had any experience in working or owning a street cart and we definetly have no experience owning a restaurant so there have been a few bumps. We’ve been doing our best and learning as we go. All in all it’s progressing well, but we haven’t opened our doors yet so who knows what to expect.
WoCS: What made you choose this location?
We had been tentatively looking at restaurants for a few months and when we saw this space we immediately fell in love with it. The neighborhood seemed like a perfect fit for us. I don’t know, I guess its hard to put it in words, but it just felt right as cliché as that is.
WoCS: What do you feel you bring to the neighborhood, and what does the neighborhood bring for you?
Hopefully we can bring good, moderately priced food to our future neighbors. This is food we were raised on so we love sharing it with people. The neighborhood gives us a strong sense of community. It was important for us to find a place that we felt comfortable. We have never opened a restaurant and we were a little intimidated at the prospect. Since we have occupied the space we’ve had numerous people stop us on the street and email us telling us how happy they are to see us in the neighborhood etc. It has been an overwhelmingly warm welcome and we greatly appreciate it.
WoCS: Do any of you live in the area?
Our head chef lives in Park Slope and Brian and I are currently looking for apartments in the area.


WoCS: What are some of your favorite neighborhood hangouts (other than your restaurant)?
Alma is great, their skydeck is amazing. Dub Pies is a cool spot too. The neighborhood has a really cool atmosphere and I keep discovering great stores, bars, and restaurants the more I’m down there.
WoCS: Are you familiar with the history of pushcarts on Columbia St.? Any chance you'd ever push your Calexico Cart through the neighborhood (or at least bring it to future events)?
We definetly plan on wheeling out the carts sometimes. Hopefully for future block parties etc.
WoCS: Tell us about the food!

Well we consider our food equal parts traditional Mexican taqueria and American barbeque. It’s a little different than what most people consider Mexican food, but we don’t strive too far away from the basic philosophies of Mexican cooking.
WoCS: Do you have plans to open other Calexico restaurants in the future?
We’ll see what happens, you never know. Right now we’re just really excited to open our restaurant on 122 Union St.
WoCS: Anything else that you'd like to share?
Once again, we’d all like to thank everyone for making us feel at home. We’re really excited to open and look forward to being a part of the community. Thanks!

The History (and Future) of Brooklyn Bridge Park


On 12/31/08, The NYTimes released an article and slideshow about some of the history and future of the Brooklyn Bridge Park site.

While we will find out what happens to Pier 11, which is extremely close to our neighborhood, tonight, its good to know that the plans for the piers above Atlantic seem to be moving along nicely. Depending on what happens at Pier 11 (i.e. if it will be closed off to the public or not), the Brooklyn Bridge Park could be one of the closest publicly accessible points to the waterfront for us (to the North, while Valentino Pier is the closest to the South).

Here's a snippet of the article:
THE ground just inside a fence near the Fulton Ferry Landing on the Brooklyn waterfront was bare last week, only pavement and packed dirt, but that state of affairs, like the rest of the site’s history, was only temporary. Within a year, planners say, a grassy field will slope up to a hill overlooking New York Harbor to form the centerpiece of the long-planned Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“Basically, it’s going to be our Long Meadow,” Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, said in a reference to the borough’s beloved Prospect Park. That, provided the economic crisis does not render her statement overly optimistic, will be just one step in a history of change for the property.

Two weeks earlier, the spot had been a series of holes dug by archaeologists investigating the waterfront’s history. A hundred years before that, the site was occupied by a flour mill. And a hundred years before that, before the shoreline was extended outward by landfill, it was a featureless point at the bottom of the East River, yards from one of Brooklyn’s early town centers.
Rest of the article here. Image above from the NYTimes slideshow.

Also, for those who haven't seen it before, below is a proposed plan for the park. Pier 6 is right by Atlantic Avenue, and therefore VERY close to the Northern part of our neighborhood.

Piccolo Café is now open!

Some of you might have noticed this morning that Piccolo Café has opened its doors!

My son, Lucas, commenting on the eggs, and none other than Jay Crider, local artist, behind the counter!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hudson's House Preschool?

Open house has finally been announced for February 10th. It is located at 413 Smith street, between 3rd and 4th streets.
Check out the website: www.rorysroom.com

Locations:
Parker's Place, 428 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 tel: 718.499.2080 info@parkersplacebrooklyn.com
Rory's Room, 3003 Ft. Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11218 tel: 718.435.4950 info@rorysroom.com
Hudson's House, 413 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 tel: 718.522.2301 info@hudsonshousebrooklyn.com

Pleasant surprise.


We were worried about the building being built on Columbia street, between Summit and Woodhull. It was unveiled recently, and it's not too bad.
Still too high, but at least it's brick, respecting the look of the rest of the street.

Update: According to the first comment below, this building is by Gino Vitale "of Red Hook fame." A quick google search of Mr. Vitale brings us to this interesting article. Thanks for the info, anonymous commenter!

New street discovered in Carroll Gardens


Walking around Carroll Gardens, we came upon a street we had never seen before. It is discreetly tucked away between Nelson and Luquer streets, and Court and Smith streets.

Dennet Place has a very distinctive European vibe, almost Italian.

Notice the tiny street level doors.

No comment.


Locked Up

Ever notice that there are a LOT of locks on the fence of the BQE bridge/overpass between Carroll and Summit St.? I snapped this picture while walking over it tonight. There are even more than what appears in this picture.

I love random stuff like this.

Where to take your children when it's cold out.

The area offers a nice variety of indoor play spaces, and parents know how important it is for everyone's sanity to leave the house at least once a day!

Here are some:

AUNT BEE’S BACKYARD
Formerly known as Bija Backyard, this indoor playroom is perfect for infants and young toddlers. In this cushy and clean environment, your baby can crawl, cruise, wobble, and hop. The Backyard offers climbing equipment with slides, a playhouse, a ball pen, a reading corner, dolls, cars, puzzle and more. They also offer baby sign language, music classes, yoga for toddlers, and a preschool enrichment program.
Location: 20 Tiffany Place, between Degraw and Kane streets - Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 624 2212
Price: $10 for 3 hours of play
Hours:
MON 10:30am - 6:00pm
TUE to FRI 9:00am –6:00pm
SAT 1:30pm – 5pm
SUN 2:00pm – 5pm

EVERYDAY ATHLETE KIDS
The wonderful team from Everyday Athlete Studio offers Open Play during which children can play with toys, but also practice tumbling moves under the supervision of coach Mason and Michelle. This is a perfect location for active toddlers and older kids. They also offer a wide array of activities for children from tumbling to ballet, and Music for Aardvarks, check out their website for more info: www.everydayathletestudio.com/youth
Location: 273 Columbia street, between Carroll and Summit.
Phone: 347-529-6377
Email: info@everydayathletestudio.com
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 2-6pm.
Price: $10 per child for the day, $7 per sibling.Buy 10 visits, get the 11th free!

THE MOXIE SPOT
This is a restaurant/playroom. The food is forgettable, but the space, the toys, the books, the computers, the art supplies make up for it. They also offer classes and special events, such as family movie nights on Fridays, family disco parties every second Saturday, or family bingo nights on Sundays.
Location: 81 Atlantic Ave (at Hicks street)
Website: www.themoxiespot.com
Hours:
Sun to Thu: 9:00am to 8:30 pm
Fri and Sat: 9:00am to 9:30pm
Price: On weekdays (9am to 5:30pm) there is a $2.50 entry fee per child


THE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAYSPACE at CHRIST CHURCH
The Neighborhood Playspace is a beautiful playroom. Ideal for toddlers up to 5 years-old. It is clean and somewhat old school.
Location: in the Parish Hall of Christ Church on Clinton and Kane Streets in Cobble Hill. Regular Hours: 9:30-12 Mon-Fri, ask about afternoons.
Website: www.christchurchcobblehill.org

NEW YORK CITY EXPLORERS
It is not as cosy as Aunt Bee's or Everyday Athlete Kids, but it is a nice change. This indoor playspace features safe wooden toys and games and plenty of space to run, jump, and dance. It used to have cleanliness issues, but they now close for an hour at midday to keep up. They also offer many other activities, such as a preschool enrichment program.
Location: 388 Atlantic Ave, between Hoyt and Bond
Phone: (718) 625-NYCE (6923)
Website: www.nycityexplorers.com
Price: $10 for the day, or get the play packs 10 passes for $90.
Hours: Mon to Fri: 9:30am to 1pm, and 2pm to 6pm
Sat and Sun: 9:30am to 6pm


BIG MOVIES FOR LITTLE KIDS at THE COBBLE HILL THEATRE
One of my faovite places to go. This past Fall we have seen An American Tail, Barbapapa, Stuart Little and Grinch Stole Xmas, among others.
Films are shown every other Monday at 4:00pm
Admission is $6.50 per person
Phone: (718) 596-9113
Location: 265 Court Street
Website: www.cobblehilltheatre.com

If you would like to add any that we might have forgotten, or share your experience of these place, don't hesitate to send me an email at jessievencat@gmail.com

Party at Botanica in Red Hook on 1/10/09


Sorry for the self-plug, but......

On 1/10/09, I'll be DJing alongside Prof. Rockwell at the recently opened basement space (pictured above) of Brooklyn Botanica, which is located at 220 Conover St. (@ Coffey) in Red Hook.

If you haven't been to Botanica before, its a very beautiful venue with a wide selection of cocktails that are handmade with fresh fruit or fresh squeezed juices. There are also some pretty unique beer selections available.

The entry is free all night and we'll be playing a mix of funk, soul, disco, hip hop, house, and whatever else we're in the mood for.

EDIT: I had posted a Shecky's review here before, but found a better and more in depth article at NewYorkology. On 9/8/08, NewYorkology wrote:

Red Hook’s new high-end cocktail emporium Botanica will start serving food as soon as this weekend, pairing small meat and cheese plates with its all-top-shelf liquors and organic infusions - including some grown on the roof.
Some other things you may need to know about the place: many of the drinks’ herbs are grown in the roof garden, the shower in the restroom is only temporary, the “Real World” cast is prohibited from filming there, they’re building a dance floor downstairs, and oh, and the chandelier was made-to-order in Murano.
Botanica is indeed infused with Red Hook - what it was and what it is becoming. The 1846 building at the corner of Conover and Coffey, map, was first used as an armaments factory, then a grocer and finally a longshoremen’s bar before it was abandoned in the 1970s and its floors collapsed into itself, according to Daniel Preston, the engineer who bought the building 11 years ago.

He fixed the building and opened up his parachute factory there. But when it outgrew the space, he expanded next door from scratch (but with old bricks so it’s hard to tell only the corner building is old.)

More of the article here

Saturday, January 3, 2009

31 (out of 90) to watch in 09! (according to the Brooklyn Paper)

Yesterday, the Brooklyn Paper released a list of 90 people, places, and things in Brooklyn that are sure to make noise in the new year. I went through the list and pulled out all of the items within close range of our neighborhood. Depending on how loosely you want to define the "within walking distance of Columbia St.," we got around 31 out of 90 (I included Columbia Street Waterfront District, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Gowanus). 31 out of 90 is not bad at all.

Here they are:

83. Saul Bolton: This exile from Le Bernardin and Bouley found a home on Smith Street with his eponymous eatery, where he’s cranking out the single best prix-fixe menu (four delectable courses for $40) in the borough. Sure, his and wife Lisa’s Boerum Hill Food Company didn’t make it, closing in December, but mark our words: the couple will be back with something big this year.

82. Milton Puryear: The mastermind behind the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — a long-planned connected biking and walking path that will stretch from Greenpoint to Sunset Park — will be pedaling uphill as he moves closer to realizing his dream amidst logistical challenges, a dead economy, and growing opposition, especially in Williamsburg.

78. Jonathan Ames: The versatile Boerum Hill author is following up his 2008 graphic novel “The Alcoholic” with “The Double Life is Twice as Good,” a collection of essays and stories due in July. This hard-drinking, hard-punching novelist certainly has a good gig.

69. Trees: Come spring, trees along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and at the River Café beneath the Brooklyn Bridge will — or won’t — come to life. This past summer, the poor saps were drowned in salt water spray from Oliafur Elisson’s “New York City Waterfalls” exhibition. The artist and his four salt-spewing scaffoldings are gone, but all of Brooklyn Heights will be holding its breath for the first new buds.

61: Tom Fox: The owner of NY Water Taxi could make commutes for waterfront denizens from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge a pleasant seaborne adventure if only the city would give him some long-term support.

58. Lauren Elvers Collins: As the new deputy director for the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Collins will oversee development at the possible sponge park — but it’s her work as the founder of the Windsor Terrace Alliance that could get her ’hood recognized as one of the borough’s coolest and quietest.

57. Jim Mamary: One of the borough’s most prolific restaurateurs and nightlife moguls was battered through a rough 2008. He proposed an oyster bar for Hoyt Street, but was thwarted by community opposition and his popular Trout restaurant on Smith Street, was forced to close. Can he bounce back or will he pull back from Brooklyn’s gastronomic scene? Our stomachs wait at the edge of their seats.

56. Peter Miller: The wacky events organized by the crew at Freebird Books this Columbia Street bookstall are so good that when the literati hear their name they won’t automatically think of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Miller got on the local radar screen last year by hosting a party for obvious no-show Thomas Pynchon and sponsoring a marathon of Shakespeare plays.

54-49. 33rd Council District: The race to succeed (or battle!) David Yassky to represent Brooklyn Heights is complicated by virtually everyone’s belief that Yassky will abandon his quest for comptroller and run for his seat again (after all, why did he vote to extend term limits if he didn’t want to have a safe option?). For now, the race is led by Jo Anne Simon (49), the only woman in the (currently) six-person contest. She’s been a Democratic district leader for years. If Simon falters — and Yassky doesn’t run — activist Evan Thies (50) has a good shot. He was Yassky’s right hand man during the councilman’s glory days, and has made a name for himself on Community Board 1. Like Thies, Steve Levin (51) is young and has been in the employ of a local pol (in Levin’s case, he’s been chief of staff to Brooklyn Democratic Party boss, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, whose Rolodex will certainly come in handy). Close to the front is Ken Diamondstone (52). This frequent candidate is blessed with a dose of moxie and gave former state Sen. Marty Connor a scare in 2006. Far back is Williamsburg activist Isaac Abraham (53), who is trying to become the first Hasidic councilman. Abraham is the garrulous public link to that often inaccessible community in South Williamsburg. But there’s no evidence that he can secure the group’s vote, let alone others in the district. Former Sierra Club branch leader Ken Baer (54) has lost prior campaigns, but he was the first candidate to say he’d stay in the race even if Yassky ran. Baer is omnipresent at local green events, good-goverment group meetings and even at the Park Slope Food Co-op, but it takes money to win these kinds of races — and he ain’t got it.

46. Charlie Statelman: The chef-owner of Cafe on Clinton in Cobble Hill is not going to let the Wall Street crash destroy all he’s worked for. Instead, he’s offering an $18, three-course meal, plus a very nice $19 a bottle wine list. And because we’re all working so hard now, he’s even offering a second happy hour from 9–11 pm. That’s a real Brooklynite.

42-38. 39th Council District: The race to succeed towering Councilman Bill DeBlasio to represent Park Slope is currently a five-man race. Bob Zuckerman (38) is currently the executive director of Gowanus Canal Conservancy. He’ll make headlines again this year if he continues to reverse the image of the fabled waterway from a polluted wasteland into a residential Garden of Eden. Brad Lander (39), who runs the Pratt Center for Community Development, enters the New Year with a teeming campaign war chest and a resume boasting public planning experience. Josh Skaller (40) is the bulldog who bit the hand that feeds him — or at least most elected officials in the city — by pledging not to take campaign donations from real estate developers. By shunning that powerful industry, can he muster a successful campaign? Craig Hammerman (41) is a living legend. The Community Board 6 district manager is a member of the first class inducted into the New York City Hall of Fame. Almost everything he does adds to his lofty stature. Longshot Gary Reilly (42), a lawyer by training, will at least be in the limelight for his support for mass transit. If people are talking about the F train this year, it’ll be because of Reilly’s hard work.

37. Michael O’Connell: It’s do or die for the son of Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell. He bought the classic railcar-style Cheyenne Diner, but is struggling with the engineering feat necessary to move it from the West Side of Manhattan to Red Hook. Maybe he can call in those guys who moved Alexander Hamilton’s “Grange” house in Harlem.

35. Geoffrey Raymond: Part of the swelling population of Gowanus artists, Raymond — recently featured on “20/20” — paints giant portraits of financial and political figures, then takes them to Wall Street and lets laid-off financiers scribble on them. “The Annotated Fuld,” covered with biting comments like, “Enjoy your old age, prick,” recently sold for $10,000.

30. Daniel Squadron: The 29-year-old Democratic state Senator-elect beat 30-year incumbent Marty Connor, just as Democrats are poised to take over the Senate. If that wasn’t enough nachas for this nice Jewish boy, he’s also engaged to marry his longtime girlfriend in 2009, too.

29. Red Hook Vendors: The beloved food vendors in Red Hook Park are trapped between a rock and a hard place, and they’re jockeying to break free. They’ll have to abide by newly enforced city regulations, but the strict enforcement strangled the character of the freewheeling market. Look for the vendors to recapture a little bit of that old flair without sidestepping the sanitation rules. And they never did get that apology that our columnist Gersh Kuntzman demanded from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. Well, maybe this year.

26. Brooklyn Bridge Park: By year’s end, the park planners promised to open true — and permanent — parkland on the long-delayed project. The city and state have broken their word many times in the past regarding the park’s timeline, but we’re cautiously optimistic that Regina Myer, the president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation can green up at least a small portion of the waterfront by the end of ’09.

25. Mariana Koval: The president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and her staff have made the waterfront a destination, with a summer café, floating pool and outdoor movies, before permanent portions of the park have even been finished. She and the green team may get to increase that success if park builders stick to their ambitious construction timeline.

20. Councilman Bill DeBlasio: The Park Slope councilman stood tall (and we mean TALL) against Lilliputian Mayor Bloomberg in the term-limits battle — and now Dollar Bill is fighting for his political future in a crowded Democratic primary race for Public Advocate rather than running for re-election.

13. Simon Rich: The 24-year-old son of Times columnist Frank Rich isn’t satisfied with commuting from Brooklyn Heights to Rockefeller Center, where he writes for “Saturday Night Live” — his first novel is coming out this year. That’s not bad, but his brother and borough-mate, Nathaniel, put out his first novel, “The Mayor’s Tongue,” last year.

5. Dominick Stanzione: The day of reckoning for financially strapped Long Island College Hospital is drawing near — and Stanzione is the man in charge of the so-called “restructuring” of the Cobble Hill medical center. The state has already barred him from closing the maternity, pediatrics and dentistry wings, giving him a $4-million loan to tide him over. What will happen next depends on Stanzione’s ability to get more cash or find someone to take over the money-losing part of the facilty or, perhaps, the whole enchilada.

3. David Yassky: The two-term Brooklyn Heights councilman bounced like a pinata between credibility and dishonor in the term-limit fight. He says he’s running for Comptroller, but the minute Bill Thompson realizes he has no shot against third-term-wannabe Mike Bloomberg, there goes Yassky from that race. When that happens, look for the Terminator to see his own third term.

2. Dan Kaufman: The co-owner of the Busy Chef restaurants, who was arrested last year on charges of swindling customers out of thousands by stealing their credit card numbers. But the fun is only beginning: This year, Kaufman’s trial will start — and his lawyer is saying that Kaufman is just a “patsy” for shadowy Brooklyn Heights restaurant partner Alan Young, whose eateries fold like origami. This is going to be the trial of the century!