Thursday, October 29, 2009

Petition for Columbia St. traffic calming and safety!!!

In light of recent accidents and ongoing traffic issues along Columbia St, many of our readers, contacts, and friends in the community have expressed real concern about safety and noise issues.

As a result, we have decided to put together a petition. When complete, we will forward it to the DOT and other city agencies and officials.

There are several ways that you can sign this petition:

1) Come to the Halloween event at Mother Cabrini Park/the Urban Meadow this Saturday from 10-12am. We will have the petition available at one of our tables.

2) Stop by the Coffee Den anytime next week. They have agreed to have petition forms available.

3) If neither of these options work for you, please email us and we'll work something out.

Finally, if you have time and are passionate about this issue, we also invite you to collect signatures from your friends and neighbors. Please contact us if interested.

Haven't been following this issue recently? See the posts below for some info - although this issue has been ongoing for much longer than these posts

Columbia St. crash photos from 10/14 and 10/18
Accident Report from 76th Precinct
COWNA's recent attempts on this issue
Accident at Columbia and Summit 10/18
Information on the issue from CB6
Initial accident post on 10/18 (w/ numerous comments)

Love is a Four-Letter-Word reading @ Freebird 11/1

Reading at Freebird this Sunday

UPCOMING EVENT: Sunday, November 1 , 7 pm
Michael Taeckens, D.E. Rasso and Amanda Stern read from the new essay collection, Love Is a Four-Letter Word Fron Junot Diaz, Lynda Barry, Gary Shteyngart, and Kate Christensen to popular up-and-comers like Dan Kennedy, Wendy McClure, and Brock Clarke, Love Is a Four-Letter Word is a contemporary collection of true stories of seduction, heartbreak, and regret. Fearlessly revealing their shattered hearts and crushed egos; their indiscretions and indignities; their delusions, desperation, and disappointments, these talented writers capture the dark side of love in prose ranging from comic to poetic, poignant to cringe-inducing. Also featuring three cartoon/graphic essays as a sixteen-page color insert, this anthology is perfect for anyone who's ever loved and lost.

Contributors include Neal Pollack, Junot Díaz, Wendy McClure, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Dan Kennedy, Kate Christensen, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Maud Newton, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Margaret Sartor, Michael Taeckens, Lynda Barry, Emily Flake, Patty Van Norman, Gary Shteyngart, Michelle Green, Brock Clarke, Jami Attenberg, George Singleton, D. E. Rasso, Pasha Malla, Amanda Stern, Dave White, and Wendy Brenner.

76th Precinct Community Council meeting 11/3

Captain Kenneth Corey of the 76th Precinct has been getting a lot of media and internet attention lately for his online presence, but we honestly think its a great thing

He sent out a reminder to the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association list this week to remind people about the 76th Precinct Community Council meeting on 11/3:
The 76th Precinct Community Council meets on the first Tuesday evening of
every month except July and August. Our next meeting is on *Tuesday
November 3rd - Election Day* at 7:30 p.m. at the 76th Precinct Station
House, 191 Union Street between Hicks and Henry Streets. The meeting is open
to everyone.
I haven't had a chance to go to one of these meetings yet, but between online presence and open meetings, our local precinct is making a true effort to communicate with the community and be aware of any issues.

Check out this week's Daily News and Gothamist articles on the Captain

Foxy and Winston Opening Party 11/7

Foxy and Winston, a recently opened store on Van Brunt St., will be hosting a Grand Opening party on 11/7 from 6-9 Pm. Their website states:

The store will host its official opening party on Saturday November 7, 6 - 9 pm. Drinks and treats (including cupcakes from Baked) will be served. The first 100 people through the door get a party favor; the first 50 to spend at least $20 in store get a complimentary organic tote bag. Foxy & Winston, 392 Van Brunt Street

Check out their site for more information

Image above from Foxy and Winston's website.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Phil's Crummy Corner hosts classic block party!

Phil's Crummy Corner hosted a fantastic block party for family, friends, and curious passers-by last night, on what turned out to be a beautiful evening.

We were lucky enough to catch the tail end of the party and our only regret is that we wish we had been there for the whole party! The food we had, including barbecue chicken, pulled pork, grilled chorizo, rice, and grilled onions and peppers was amazing. Even now, my mouth waters remembering the menu.

The music, which could be heard up Columbia St. - prompting many of the curious passers-by, was also great, with a live band playing Bachatta and Salsa music, and everyone in attendance either dancing in the street or bobbing their head while they ate.

These pictures - taken on an iphone when the party was getting ready to wrap up - just don't do the party justice, so take our word for it!

Phil's weekly weekly schedule is as follows (as of September 09, and presumably still the same now):

Karaoke Thursdays 9PM to 12AM
DJ Fridays 10PM to 2AM
Salsa Band Saturday 11PM to 2AM

Even though Phil's is tucked away on Hamilton, be sure to check it out sometime if you haven't already!

Carroll Gardens / Columbia Waterfront Rezoning Success!

After several years in the making, the proposed downzoning/contextual zoning for Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront reached the final stage today at City Council (and was presumably approved), marking a huge success in maintaining the physical appearance of our neighborhoods and preventing out of context development.

Check out some more coverage of this topic from around the web last week here:

Brooklyn Hoods Caught Up in Rezoning Craze
Carroll Gardens Downzone on a Roll (Brooklyn Paper)
Carroll Gardens Rezoning Close, Boerum Hill Wants In (Brownstoner)
Carroll Gardens/ Columbia Waterfront Area Contextual Rezoning Moves to City Council (Pardon Me For Asking) ** Note that this post includes some interesting criticisms of the process and final plan that are worth reading**

Halloween Bash at Liberty Sunset Garden Center

8th Annual Halloween Bash at Mother Cabrini Park - Sat, Oct 31st

Join us in costume for games, face painting,
pumpkin hunting (in the Urban Meadow) and decorating,
as well as deliciously healthy treats (as in baked goods and apples!!!)

Saturday, October 31st
10am to 12pm
at Mother Cabrini Park
(on President street, between Columbia and Van Brunt)

This event is FREE and was made possible by volunteers and local businesses
(the usual suspects: The Coffee Den, Jalopy, Old Brooklyn, etc...)

If you would like to contribute contact us at

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Close Your Eyes and Look as Far as You Can See @ Work - 10/29

presents Close Your Eyes and Look as Far as You Can See, a solo exhibition of works by RYAN V. BRENNAN.

Opening Reception on October 29th, 7-9 Pm (Exhibition up through 11/16)

A common outlook on life - both sincerely whimsical and discerningly naïve - is unveiled through multiple series' of 3-D collage works, stop animation, site-specific installation, and handmade instructional books. Each project is a curious venture into deciphering an enigmatic world as magnetically magical as it is profoundly tragic.

Check out this stop motion animation by the artist for a taste of what to expect:

Work is located on the corner of Union and Van Brunt

Red Hook sketches by Stephen Gardner Pt. 2

Some more Red Hook sketches by Stephen Gardner. Check out his "Sketch of the Day" blog here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reminder: OKTOBERFEST @ Human Compass Garden 10/24

The forecast for Saturday predicts rain, so if that is the case, the rain date is Sunday October 25th! Please pass the word along and invite family and friends!

OKTOBERFEST in the Human Compass Garden
Saturday 24th
11:00 to 4:00
(rain-date October 25th)
A day of pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, bulb planting, art making,
cookie eating, neighbor greeting, and Halloween treating = day of fun!

The Human Compass Garden is located on Sackett and Columbia.

Added Value 2009 Harvest Festival Canceled

A note from Added Value about the cancellation of tomorrow's Harvest Festival:

Dear Friends
Due to the forecast of 100% heavy rain we are canceling the 5th Annual Harvest
Festival. Because of the large numbers of volunteers, institutional partners
and vendors involved we are not planning on rescheduling the festival. We want
to thank all of you who have worked over the past month to make this event
happen and we look forward to Harvest Festival 2010.

Please consider joining us next Saturday October 31st at the Red Hook
Farmers' Market where we'll be having Halloween inspired activities for
children including face painting, pumpkin carving, and costume making from 9:30
– 3:00pm

Regretfully yours
The Added Value Team

Red Hook Romance

Red Hook based photographer Heather Phelps-Lipton has the ability to make gritty neighborhood streetscapes look like the perfect wedding backdrop. Just another example of the countless amount of talent we have around here. Check out more of her work here

Progress @ Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brownstoner posted several photos this week (one of which is above) of progress being made at both Pier 1 and Pier 6 in the future Brooklyn Brige Park.

This particular phase involves the trucking in and installation of "gatehouses," which Brownstoner describes as follows:

Brooklyn Bridge Park received delivery of the gatehouses at both Pier 1 next door and Pier 6 down by Atlantic Avenue. The gatehouses, which, as we understand it, will house mechanicals as well as mark the entrances to the park, were manufactured off-site in New Jersey before being trucked in. They will eventually be clad in wood verticals using old growth long leaf southern yellow pine salvaged from the Cold Storage Building being demolished at Pier 1. How cool is that!

"Learning at Liberty" Open House this Weekend!

10/24&10/25 flyer

Liberty Sunset Garden will be offering classes and Q&A sessions this Saturday and Sunday in an open house format:

Saturday 10/24 2-5pm
Tropical Plant Q&A with Trisha Mulligan
Trisha will answer questions on bringing the outdoors in: how to prepare your plants for their move inside!

Saturday 10/24 and Sunday 10/25 2-5pm
Irrigation Demo with Jacqui Roytman
Create your own irrigation system! Jacqui will demonstrate sub-irrigation and drip irrigation techniques using recycled plastic bottles.
Plus face painting Saturday and Sunday!

Check out their site for more details

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The BQE - a movie inspired by the roadway that in many ways defines/confines our neighborhood - was released on DVD this week. And no, its not a documentary about the history of the expressway, but rather a musical and visual piece inspired by it, featuring epic music created by Sufjan Stevens and a group of hula-hoopers dancing throughout.

Check out a selection of the various associated merchandise available (including the soundtrack, comics, posters, and more) here

...or a WNYC interview with creator Sufjan Stevens here

Or the trailer here:

THE BQE- A Film By Sufjan Stevens from Asthmatic Kitty on Vimeo.

Columbia St. crash photos from 10/14 and 10/18

The following photos were taken by YumKim Yee, a member of the COWNA Public Services Committee. YumKim was also responsible for writing the letter to the DOT back in June that we previously mentioned.

We would like to urge readers to continue to snap photos like these, take note of dates and times, and submit them so that we can continue to document how dangerous this stretch of Columbia St. is.

Accident at President and Columbia on 10/18/09:

YumKim's comments:
Involved 2 cars on a Sunday afternoon of 10/18 where there were several injuries. Note the red car that went over the sidewalk & into the bushes in front of the building. By coincidence, this accident location is the very takes place where we asked DOT, 76th Pct & CB6 to install a traffic light/stop sign but was told that there was not enough incidents to warrant it.

Accident at Union St. and Columbia on 10/14/09 around 8am:

YumKim's comments:
Occurred at "8am" on Wednesday morning of 10/14. It involved a white van traveling s/bound on Columbia St. followed by a yellow taxi (I took the shot from my window above). Fortunately no fatalities from both cars (incl. taxi passengers) but you can imagine that someone could have been pinned between the taxi and pole/parked car...

And if you're just tuning in, don't forget the other crash that occurred on 10/18 within very shortly before the one pictured above

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anselmo's Tasting Day 10/27

Anselmo's Pizzeria will be having a tasting day on 10/27 from 5pm-10pm. Chef and co-owner Jack Stella will be cooking up delicious dishes for all to enjoy. Call or email to RSVP. Information at Anselmo's site here.

Accident report from 76th Precinct

Below is the response we've received from the 76th precinct regarding the accidents on Sunday. We apologize for earlier reports that suggested that pedestrians were hit, but were working with very limited and unofficial reports at the time. In any case, this corner has had a number of accidents in recent memory and is dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.
Here is the information on the accidents you requested, based upon my review of the reports prepared by the responding officers.
At approximately 1:05 PM, there was a 2 car accident on Summit and Columbia Streets, no one was injured. As you are probably aware, that intersection is controlled by a 3-way stop sign. 3 vehicles approached the intersection at about the same time, and all stopped at the signs. The vehicle on Summit Street proceeded straight. The two vehicles on Columbia Street then entered the intersection, the vehicle that had been travelling South bound on Columbia Street attempted to make a left turn onto Summit Street and was struck by the vehicle that was travelling North bound.
At approximately 1:25 PM there was a 2 car accident on President and Columbia Streets in which 6 people were injured. I noticed that on your blog, someone posted that there were pedestrians involved. This is not the case. One of the vehicles was occupied solely by the male driver, and the other vehicle had 5 occupants, all female, ranging in age from 13 - 35 . In this accident, both vehicles were travelling in opposite directions on Columbia Street, one of the vehicles attempted to make a left turn onto President Street, and was struck by the other vehicle, which was going straight. The vehicle that was continuing straight subsequently crashed into some bushes.
I hope I have provided the details you were looking for. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
As you may be aware, the 76th Precinct Community Council meets on the first Tuesday evening of every month except July and August. Our next meeting is on Tuesday November 3rd at 7:30 p.m. at the 76th Precinct Station House, 191 Union Street between Hicks and Henry Streets. The meeting is open to everyone.
Captain Kenneth E. Corey
Commanding Officer, 76th Precinct

Oct 21st: Friends of Firefighters' annual fundraiser

Friends of Firefighters is hosting their second annual fundraiser event October 21st at the restored firehouse at 199 Van Brunt Street. This year we are honoring Jim Fassell and George Martin as well as the officers and members of Engine 202/Ladder 101, Lt. Kevin Dermody of Engine 82, and FF Bob Fraumeni of Ladder 147.

George Martin is the retired team co-captain of the New York Football Giants who founded A Journey for 9/11 and walked 3,003 miles across America to raise several million dollars to benefit the 9/11 responders. Jim Fassel, another former New York Giants Football coach, founded the Fassel Foundation, an organization that assists families in the New York Metro area whose lives have been impacted by sudden, unexpected tragedy or illness.

The event includes live music, food prepared and served by firefighters, and a silent auction.

Friends of Firefighters is a non-profit organization that provides long-term support to FDNY members and their families.

To accommodate growing needs for help, we recently moved our operations into an old horse-and-carriage firehouse, which the firefighters are working to restore and renovate. Their commitment to this restoration project underscores the importance of our place in the community as a completely private resource for the support they need.

For more information about Friends of Firefighters please see

information session at Everyday Athlete: H1N1 Demystified

H1N1 Demystified
Facts and fantasies about seasonal flu
Thursday October 22, 7PM
Confused & Stressed out about H1N1 Vaccination and/or Flu ?
Ask Questions; Get Answers
Jordan Glaser (M.D., Infectious Disease / Internal Medicine)
Special Populations- Children - Pregnancy

If plan on attending please let us know in advance.
you can register online
(click here)

Suggested donation of $10.
Everyday Athlete is located at 136 Union Street.

Monday, October 19, 2009

COWNA's recent attempts regarding President and Columbia

Frederick from COWNA sent us some information regarding their attempts over the past several months to get the DOT to take action at the corner of President and Columbia St (because as we all know, yesterday's accident was the most recent among many). Here is a what he told us:

The Public Services Committee [of COWNA] wrote a letter to the DOT, CB6 and the 76th Precinct in late June in which we proposed a traffic light or at least a stop sign at Columbia and President. The DOT did not reply in any form to this letter, but the 76th Precinct wrote back on July 1, claiming that they forwarded the letter to DOT. Leroy Branch of CB6 also called back and claimed that they would mail our letter to DOT. There has been no further signs of activity from the DOT despite a reminder being sent in September. The 76th Precinct also stated that a DOT study indicated that there was no need for a traffic light at Columbia and President.

COWNA has also demanded a copy of the DOT traffic study of Columbia Street, since we frankly assume that their data is dated and not relevant to the way traffic developed over the course of the last two or so years. We wanted to read the traffic study both from the viewpoint of traffic density and emissions, since we still would like to establish a baseline level of traffic and emission levels before new businesses, most notably Phoenix and any traffic related to new construction in Red Hook, may have an effect on overall traffic. The DOT replied to the request for the study on August 20. They claimed that they sent our request for the Columbia Street Traffic Study to the Department of Design and Construction. As of last week, we had not received a copy of the study.

Obviously the DOT has not been very responsive up to this point, and now someone else is hurt because of it. Will this finally compel them to do an updated study? If not a traffic light or stop sign, can we at least get additional speed limit signs, children crossing signs, removal of parking spaces from near the corners, neckdowns, or anything else to help the situation?

If people are looking to do something more about this issue right away, we can start by making some phone calls to the DOT's complaint line at : 718-225-5368 (CALL DOT) OR Dial 3-1-1 (these are the numbers suggested on Transportation Alternatives)

Accident at Columbia and Summit St on 10/18

One of our readers submitted this photo of an accident that occurred on Summit St. and Columbia st. within moments of the accident that happened at Columbia St. and President St. around 12:30

We're not sure if this is related, or if its some strange coincidence. We'd also like to point out that the above accident doesn't appear nearly as bad as the one at President (Edit: which involved 6 injuries) but that the combination of the two at the same time is quite scary.

Some information on traffic safety from CB6

In the process of sending out a number of emails regarding yesterday's accident, we received the following response from Craig Hammerman of Community Board 6. We'll continue to post more information as we receive it.

The intersection of Columbia and President Streets has been studied in the past by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the installation of a traffic control device. A signal study tests a total of 14 warrants, in accordance with the Federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, to see whether the intersection would qualify for a signal. Such things as pedestrian volumes, vehicular volumes, vehicular movements, accident histories, etc. are all taken into consideration. Regardless of whether one person or one thousand people ask for a traffic signal, DOT will respond the same way by performing a study. And once a study has been performed, DOT will wait 18 months minimum before going out to study the same intersection again.

It is my understanding that my office, the offices of Assemblywoman Joan Millman, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and likely others, have all requested signal studies at this intersection and that DOT has found the installation of a traffic signal at this location to be unwarranted. I do not know the last time it was studied, but if it was within the past 18 months that would mean it is not eligible for study at this time.

Traffic signals, I should point out, are not the only way to control traffic and improve safety at intersections. There are other measures that can be taken, which DOT may want to explore further. Removal of parking spaces at corners, or "daylighting", for example, is another way that visibility at intersections can be improved for approaching traffic. It would seem that the most effective way to go about improving safety would be to get DOT out there to look at the intersection to see, from an engineering perspective, which measures in their tool-box they believe are most appropriate.

Please do feel free to stay in touch with our Assistant District Manager, Leroy Branch, at who can be helpful in communicating and following up with DOT, if that is something the communtiy would like to pursue.

I hope this is helpful.

Best, Craig

P.S. Accident reports are taken and kept on record at the local police precincts, in this case the 76th Precinct. And, for purposes of signal studies, only "preventable" (and reported!) accidents would count toward the total that DOT would be looking at, meaning that if a traffic signal would have helped prevent the accident then that accident would count. If a motorist got into an accident due to some mechanical failure, for example, that would not count toward the accident history used to justify the installation of a traffic signal. And unreported accidents wouldn't count at all.

Craig R. Hammerman
District Manager
Brooklyn Community Board 6

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bad accident - President and Columbia St.

EDIT: Please submit photos or other details about yesterday's accident and other recent accidents along Columbia St. to us. We are in the process of compiling info and reaching out to various officials and groups to take action. Stay tuned for ways to get involved.

EDIT 2: We've heard word from the 76th Precinct that no pedestrians were involved, and that it was two cars. While this is a relief in one sense, it is still troubling that this corner seems quite prone to accidents.


There was a bad accident on the corner of Columbia Street and President Street today
We have already alerted a number of elected officials about it and the ongoing danger that this corner has become, but are looking to do more.

Please let us know of any details you might have about this and other accidents, and we'll use that information to get elected offices in the loop as well as possibly help create an online petition or letter writing campaign.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stumblebum Brass / When Clouds Clear @ Space 414 tomorrow

Lucky Gallery will be hosting an event tomorrow evening (10/16) in the garden of Space 414, featuring a film screening of the documentary "When Clouds Clear" and a musical performance by the Stumblebum Brass Band.

Check at more details at Lucky Gallery's site here and here

A trailer for the movie is here:

And a sample live performance by Stumblebum is here:

ARToberfest 2009: Fall Open Studio Tour

The Fall edition of the Carroll Gardens and Red Hook Open Studio Tour will be taking place on 10/24 from 11am-6pm. Check out the official site for more details, including a map of the studios that will be uploaded after October 15th.

"It Don't Pay..." Film Screening recap

On Sunday evening, a larger than expected crowd gathered in the empty lot next to Freebird Books to watch the movie "It Don't Pay to be an Honest Citizen." The movie was filmed in and around the neighborhood 25 years ago, and serves as a rare moving image account of what the neighborhood looked like in those days. Despite what turned out to be one of the coldest Autumn evenings this year so far, the crowd stuck it out until the end, laughing and clapping throughout.

After the film, Director Jacob Burckhardt spoke about the film, the neighborhood back then, and answered questions posed by audience members. Several local residents who appeared in the film and still live in the area also came out to the event and reunited.

Some audience members were unfortunately left standing, but stuck it out nonetheless. On the screen in the image above, the main character Warren yells down to the street below from his Woodhull st. apartment.

Some audience members brought their own dinners or drinks (including candle lighting and a tablecloth in one case)

After the film, Director Jacob Burckhardt and Freebird propietor Peter Miller discuss where some of the film locations were, and what remains or has replaced the buildings in each.

Burckhardt reunites with local residents who appeared in the film 25 years later.
The NYTimes also wrote a piece on this event, and their camera and writing are admittedly much better than ours. Check out the post here.

Friday, Oct 16: Harvest Day celebration at PS 29

Harvest Day Celebration at PS 29

Friday, October 16, 2009
8:40 AM-3:00 PM

On Friday, October 16, Public School 29, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, will celebrate locally grown food in honor of World Food Day.

Come enjoy a wonderful array of special activities planned for our community including outdoor activity stations (weather permitting):
  • A fabulous fall lunch menu that includes fresh produce from Greenmarket and hand-picked fresh lettuce and basil by the students, from the PS 29 Children’s Garden;
  • A presentation by farmer and land steward Scott Chaskey of the Peconic Land Trust’s Quail Hill organic community farm;
  • Followed by Tom Chapin, Grammy Award-winning musician, entertainer, singer, songwriter and storyteller. In his set is his brand- new, unreleased, song entitled, Locally Grown, Locally Eaten!
Harvest Day Activities will include:
  • Vegetable prints – Art
  • Planting in recycled plastic cups/bottles – Science
  • Drawings and letters to Federal lawmakers who are reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act; children will be given the opportunity to draw or write about the items they would like to see more of on their lunch tray — Political Action and Community Service
  • Beekeeper Q&A/Honey tasting with Brooklyn rooftop beekeeper Megan Paska –Science
  • Apple comparisons and taste tests of NY state varieties
  • Local cheese taste tests generously provided by Stinky Bklyn, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn cheese proprietor
  • (Live) Chicken observation Q&A with local Cobble Hill chicken raiser Martha Lazar – Science
  • Hay bales obstacle course – Physical Education
  • Composting and worms – Science
  • Diversity Committee read-aloud - Literacy
  • Farm Animals activity Science
For further information, please contact Emily Freund, PS 29 Garden/Food and Farming Coordinator, at; Melanie Renari Woods, Principal, at 718.330.9277; or Nina Chan Jalowayski, Parent Coordinator, at or 646.812.0184.

PS 29 is located at 425 Henry Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

More BQE Lead Paint Removal info

Earlier this week we posted about the the Lead Paint Removal process currently taking place on the BQE (with info provided to us by one of our readers).

Other sites around the internet have also posted about this topic this week, and we thought it would be worthwhile to point readers to those articles as this is an issue of community concern:

Brownstoner: Concerns Over BQE Lead Paint Removal
Lost City: Are B.Q.E. Lead Shacks Poisoning Carroll Gardens?
NYTimes City Room:The Mystery of Those Metal Units over the B.Q.E.

Please let us know if you have any more info or encounter other worthwhile articles.

“FIND” Your Way to the Greenway Party on 10/29

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) is partnering with FIND Home Furnishings for a fall benefit to support the development of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Join fellow greenway supporters on Thursday, October 29th, 7:00-10:00PM for food, drink, music and raffle prizes! There will be plenty of room to spread out and raise spirits and funds for the Greenway over drinks & hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants, along with live jazz music in FIND's new Brooklyn home – a 10,000 square foot showroom at 9th Street and the Gowanus Canal. Don't miss your chance to win one of many raffle items from local businesses, including gift certificates to FIND Home Furnishings, all while supporting the implementation of the Greenway.

Tickets ($25 per person, or $40 for two) are available at For more information, call 718.522.0193.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ultimate Burgers and Dogs

Walking down Degraw St. over the weekend, we noticed that a new restaurant called "Ultimate Burgers and Dogs" has opened in the old Chickory space.

Their menu boasts a wide selection of variations on the hot dog and hamburger themes, including a Korean BBQ Burger (for $7.75) with kimchi, egg, and Korean BBQ sauce, or a Tex-Mex Hot Dog(for $4.50) with chipotle peppers, pickled onions, guacamole, and sour cream, among many others. There are also a wide variety of toppings, condiments, sides, and other items to choose from, as well as a breakfast menu.

I've always loved the look and location of this space, so its great to see something back up and running in it.

Considering the low prices and wide variety of interesting choices, this is bound to be a hit for families with kids, burger and hot dog lovers, and more. The only thing that seems to be lacking is vegetarian friendly choices.

We can't wait to try it!

Check out their website here.

Octoberfest Celebration at Human Compass Garden - Oct 24

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

5th Annual Red Hook Harvest Festival

The 5th Annual
Red Hook Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 24th
10:00am - 4:00pm
At the Red Hook Community Farm

Here's how the email blast from Added Value describes the event:

Last year's event was an incredible success, with over 3,300 people in
attendance, delicious foods, and incredible performances. Join us again this
year-- bring friends and family!

Of course we’ll have our Pumpkin path again this Year! Lots of Kids
activities including Face Painting and Live Animals to pet! an expanded Farmers
Market! Music! and Educational Activities! All highlighting our work to build a
stronger, health more vibrant New York.

Great Food will be provided by the Good Fork, iCi, Rice, Kevin’s, the Angel
Family and Cynthia’s Soul Food Kitchen.

Motor Inn Romance (via Lost City)

Lost City made a post yesterday about the Brooklyn Motor Inn after seeing an ad for it at the Cobble Hill Cinema:
I've always thought it a curious location for a motel.....But I always suspected it was there for businessmen who had business in the area, folks who drove in, took their meeting, slept and drove out.

Apparently not. I was taking in a film at Cobble Hill Cinemas when, prior to preview, an ad for the Brooklyn Motor Inn appeared on the screen. It showed a picture of a lovey-dovey couple next to the caption, "Isn't it time for a little romance?"

Ah. So are they renting rooms by the hour, now? Honestly. Romance? The Brooklyn Motor Inn?

I must say I've always found it a curious location as well, and also assumed it was primarily for people doing business in the area, truck drivers, or other non-vacationers. Has anyone ever put up visiting family or friends there - or took it even further and gone there for a little romance? Either way, the Motel does contribute to our neighborhood's character and I would like to see that advertisement!

Also worth noting is that Lost City's image above doesn't show the hotel's view of the Battery Tunnel, the BQE, and the anti-pedestrian nature of the streets around it that result from these roadways.

Image from Lost City

Red Hook sketches by Stephen Gardner

Brooklyn based artist Stephen Gardner promises to post a series of Red Hook based sketches on his blog over the coming weeks. If they are anything like the one above, I can't wait to see the rest! Check out his site here for some other interesting sketches, NYC street scenes and otherwise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blighted Development sites

Brad Lander, the Democratic nominee for City Council in the 39th District (which includes the Columbia Waterfront) has already started working on issues before even taking office (as the Democratic nominee, he is the most likely contender to win in the general election), and we must say that the first issue he chose to tackle is a very commendable one.

He sent out an email last week asking local residents to email his office information about any blighted development sites. The email said the following:

Earlier this week, the Daily News published an Op Ed I wrote on what the City can to do address the problem of stalled or abandoned construction sites. The article focuses on 824 Friel Place in Kensington -- a particularly egregious example -- but as I've been knocking doors around the district, I've seen the problem in every one of our neighborhoods. Addressing the problem is going to require working both on a site-by-site level (bring together neighbors to confront owners and lenders, and to work together for short and long-term solution), as well as new citywide policies.

If you live near a blighted development site, please email us about it at We're putting together a list (we will build on the interesting map initiated on the Brian Lehrer show) so that we can help address individual sites, and bring people together to work toward broader solutions.

This is a very important issue citywide, and our neighborhood is no exception. If you know of a site, we urge you to please send in the information and let Brad's office work on a solution.

An excerpt from the above mentioned Daily News Op Ed sums up the issue best as follows:

New York City has the power to do something about this. We can change the rules so that blighted construction sites have to be quickly cleaned up … or we’ll take them over, and turn them into something useful, like affordable housing for families who need it, or community gardens (if the site is a vacant lot). The main obstacle here is not money. It's our willingness to confront developers whose failure has become a blight to our neighborhoods. We’ve been all-too-willing to use eminent domain to help developers acquire property for mega-projects. Why not use the City’s tax, emergency repair, and foreclosure powers to help our neighborhoods confront real blight?

Lead Paint removal on HIcks St Bridges

One of our readers has been doing some investigating into the work being done on the BQE bridges on Kane St, Union St, Sackett St and Summit St.

Our reader, concerned with the hazardous waste containers, talked to Kieran Aherns, the owner of Aherns Maintenance & Supply Corporation which has been contracted to do the job.

Here is the process: every night from 12:00 AM to 5:00 AM they sand blast the old (lead) paint off the bridges with a special vehicle that is driving on the BQE right under each bridge. Apparently this is a nearly sealed process and the dirt is being sucked off by an industrial grade hepa vacuum that's part of the specialty vehicle. The vacuum part gets connected to the hazardous waste containers, which function as receptacle for the solids. Mr. Aherns stated that there won't be any danger to the public and that they're constantly monitoring the air quality around the work site.
We join our reader's concern with the residual dust in the daytime, contained only by plywood and tarp. However according to the PDF below, a number of Environmental and Health agencies approve this process.

The NYC DOT who hired Aherns does not seem to have more information on their site besides the nightly advisory:

Images and information submitted by reader

Cobble Hill Association Book Swap - Oct 17th

The Cobble Hill Association is sponsoring a free Book Swap
Saturday, October 17, 2009
at the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) Sitting Park
located at Henry and Pacific Streets in Cobble Hill
from 11 AM until 3 PM.

The idea for the Book Swap is simple: bring a book and get a book. LICH staff members will also be on hand to meet the community and will conduct free blood pressure screening and an asthma information table at the park. Books will also be available for sale at $1 or less. All proceeds and remainder books will be donated to the Hospital by the Cobble Hill Association.

In case of rain, the Book Swap will be held at the same time and place the following Saturday, October 24th.

To volunteer, please contact Margaret Ablon or Judi Francis at 718.855.3982

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tonight: Free film screening at Freebird!!

Come to Freebird Books tonight (Sunday) at 7 pm to watch It Don't Pay To Be an Honest Citizen, a special 25th anniversary screening of a film set on the Columbia Street waterfront. Director Jacob Burckhardt and a few cast members will be on hand to answer questions
Freebird Books
123 Columbia Street (between Kane and Degraw streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nighttime is for Dreaming at Lucky Gallery

"Nighttime is for Dreaming"
at Lucky Gallery

opens October 9th and continues through October 31st
Red Hook, Brooklyn

The exhibition includes a series of events - an artist workshop, reception and performance. The exhibition features a collaboration of different mediums, including light, sound, photographic images and text.
Christoperh Coggiano's light installations of wire and handmade paper are brilliant colors of organic shapes. Ralph Maratta's black and white photographs "Big Dreams" are surrealistic dreamlike imagery inspired by the idea that humankind shares a bank of common symbols in our "universal unconscious". Alix Sorrell is collaborating with Maratta, interpreting his text and visually displaying it within context of the installation in the gallery."War of the Lightning Bugs" is providing an evolving experiment in spontaneous sound inspired by the repetition of each passing day, the aggressive tension of congested roadways, the peaceful dreaming of free time and the happiness of coming home on a Friday night. The soundtrack is a reaction to the imagery and themes of the photos and is used as a mechanism for triggering universal ideas and emotions.
Lucky Gallery is located at 176 Richards Street - Brooklyn, NY. 11231
For more info click here.