Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BQE Enhancement - Community Design Workshop - July 20th

BQE Enhancement - Community Design Workshop
Tuesday, July 20th, 6:30-8:30
Location: Long Island College Hospital

For more information about this project click here. For a presentation from the previous workshop in May of 2010 on this subject, click here

Sunday, June 27, 2010

RHED Presents a Red Hook Networking Event - Tue 6/29

UPDATE: This event is open to anyone in the Columbia Waterfront who is interested as well

Red Hook is home to an incredible array of entrepreneurial talent. To help local businesses grow Red Hook Economic Development (
RHED) will be hosting its kick-off networking event on Tuesday June 29th at 6:30 pm at Red Hook Mercado (410 Van Brunt St), with Kentler Gallery (353 Van Brunt St) as a rain location. Come enjoy free food (from the Red Hook Food Vendors), a "first round" on RHED, and meet your neighbors.

The networking event will provide local businesses with introductions to other entrepreneurs to develop more local collaboration, as well as foster greater awareness of their products and services. We also encourage entrepreneurs seeking to open a business to come meet existing Red Hook businesses, some of whom may be help with their business start-up (ex. web design, marketing, architecture, construction and finance).

Please RSVP by responding to email below with your name, business name (if you have one), address and phone #; and don't forget to bring your business cards! Hope to see you there.

Andrew Flamm
Red Hook Economic Development

BlueBQ Funraiser for PortSide BlueSpace programs - Sat. July 3rd

TICKETS NOW DISCOUNTED TO Adults $35, kids $10

BBQ from 6-8:30. Guests are invited to linger later to watch the sun set over the harbor.

Food from The Good Fork, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Tom Cat Bakery, Trader Joes, Betty Brooklyn and more


  • Peter Waldman, the Balloon Meister
  • Jack Putnam of South Street Seaport channelling Herman Melville
  • Live auction featuring rides on various maritime vessels, dinners, and locally desiged clothing
  • kids wading pool, games, chalk, bubbles n balls
  • music by Smitty & more TBA

Produced by: Brooklyn Based and Brooklyn Based Kids


All proceeds from this event go toward supporting the wide array of programs that PortSide has planned for its new home at Pier 11/Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. Examples of programming include "TankerTours," "TankerTalks" (a speaker series), harbor tours, youth programs, "TankerTunes" and "TankerFlicks" (music and movies aboard the Tanker Mary Whalen's deck), volunteer days, local walking tours with waterfront themes, participation in City of Water day, and much much more.

Find out more details about the variety of programs PortSide has in store here

This is a great opportunity for our community to have access to the waterfront and enjoy such an exciting selection of programming and events. Start the season off on the right foot by attending this BBQ!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Maize Field: Integrating the 17th Century into the Present Landscape

If you've walked by the corner of Bergen and Smith St. within the past month or so, you may have noticed the garden growing there as part of a public art installation. The installation was actually created by Columbia Waterfront resident Christina Kelly, and it isn't your average garden.

The project is called Maize Field and includes the garden in Boerum Hill as well as another garden in Canarsie, both of which have been documented as Indian planting grounds in the 17th Century. These gardens follow the tradition that was used back then called "three sisters" gardening, using crop varieties of corn, beans, and squash (the three sisters) that are part of the heritage of the Lenape and Haudenoseaunee from this region.

Christina describes the idea behind the project by saying "The project participates in the continual change that defines the city by highlighting a historical past then integrating that history back into the present landscape."

She will be at the garden on Sunday 6/27 from 1:30 to 4 handing out seed packets and talking to anyone that is interested in hearing more about the project. Sounds like a good stop along the way while at Smith St. fun day.

Folks should also check out the project's website for more pictures and background information, as well as Christina's blog about the project, where she tracks progress at both gardens and talks about the overall experience of doing the project.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Help Added Value make another ten years possible!

Added Value opened its 10th annual farmer's market this past Saturday, marking the anniversary of a pioneer in the local food and sustainability movements. Over the course of ten years they have expanded in their home base of Red Hook and the Red Hook Community Farm, but also by expanding beyond the borders of Red Hook through such projects as the farm that they opened on Governor's island last year.

They are now asking for support that will help them continue growing in years to come. Read the email below, which contains some important links, to find out ways you can be of help:

Dear Friends,

10 Years and Still Growing!!!!

This Saturday, Added Value opened our 10th Annual Farmers’ Market What a

Aseel and Selina were working with customers, while Guillermo and Malcom helped
our 75 CSA members pick up shares. Cyrus, Eugene, Tariq and Jerry made sure the
tables stayed full by leading volunteers in harvest tasks through the day.

Since launching our work in 2001, more than 175 teenagers and 5,000 students
have participated in our programs. Now with the Added Value Farm on Governors
Island, we are poised to serve the thousands of visitors who come to the island
each week.

Today we are asking you to help launch us into our second decade of
award-winning programming. There are three different ways that everybody can
lend a hand to Added Value in the next month

(1) Before July 12, 2010: VOTE ON FACEBOOK!

Vote for Added Value on Facebook and let the folks at Chase Community Giving
know how important our work is to you. More than 200 nonprofits, such as Added
Value, are eligible for donations ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.

What you can do: Vote and SHARE this opportunity with your friends on Facebook,
Twitter and other social media. Let them know you are supporting us and ask
them to do the same. [Psst …Chase customers and employees can vote, too, so
pass it on.]


In Our Back Yard (I.O.B.Y.) provides an easy, quick way to donate any amount to
Added Value programs. Specifically, we are working to raise $3,219 for "Growing
on Governor's Island,” h

This initiative will support the cultivation of three new acres of farmland.



Give $1,000 by June 30 and get a 25% tax credit.

Recently, Added Value was awarded Empire Zone Tax Credits. However, New York
State is canceling the program effective June 30, 2010 -- so we need to act
fast to take advantage. Make a donation to Added Value of $1,000 or more before
June 30, 2010, and you can reduce your tax bill by 25% of the value of

The tax credit applies to individuals AND corporations filing taxes in New York
State. and provides benefits in addition to any deductions for charitable
donations on both New York and federal income tax returns.

Why is this important for Added Value? Donations of this substantial size help
Added Value cultivate more land, and improve crop storage and transportation.
These improvements help us raise more revenue and ensure the long-term
sustainability of our programs. And the bigger we grow, the more Added Value
can do to reach its important social goals, including:

-- Expansion of Opportunity for Local Youth: More cultivated space means more
jobs and more lives changed for a better future.

-- Improved Heath in our Community: More investment in increasing our CSA
(Community Sponsored Agriculture) membership and the successful Farmer’s
Market means more healthy families.

-- Increased Educational Programming: Help us build our farms into dynamic
centers for sustainability educational and agricultural resources for kids and

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Save the B71" rally recap

Here are some pictures from today's rally to save the B71 bus. The event started by a group of Columbia Waterfront and Carroll Gardens residents boarding the bus at the Columbia and Henry Street stops and riding it over to the rally on Smith. The riders were greeted by a small crowd that had already started to gather just before 5.

After 5 o clock hit, the crowd grew even larger, eventually growing to include elected officials and many of their staff members who showed up to help support the cause. Brad Lander, Letitia James, staff from Joan Millman's office, staff from Daniel Squadron's office, representatives from Marty Markowitz's office, members of COWNA, members of the Cobble Hill Association, and members of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, were all present, among others.

Some of the most exciting moments of the rally included when B71 buses drove by with everyone cheering and when Brad Lander invited children to step in front of the crowd and talk about what they use the B71 for. School and the dentist seemed to be some popular destinations, as opposed to the more expected destinations such as Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, or the the Botanic Garden.

Also worth noting from what was said by many is how this bus connects neighborhoods that aren't otherwise connected and serves as the easiest way for disabled and elderly citizens to travel.

While the MTA says this bus and many others are a done deal, we gathered to say NO and will continue to look to our elected officials for more support and action.

Check out some more pictures and comments at the Urban Meadow blog

Also check out this "Save the B71" video that a local student made:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Phoenix Beverages is still at it!

The relief that was felt last week upon hearing that elected officials and Phoenix Beverages had come up with an interim solution has turned back into frustration and disappointment. Starting yesterday, June 21st, Phoenix Beverages trucks (aka Long Feng beer trucks) were supposed to stop using Columbia St. and instead use the BQE when traveling between Pier 11, where they unload empty bottles to be recycled, and Pier 7, where they load up on beer to be delivered the next day.

As of today, June 22nd, they have not lived up to their promise. Numerous trucks were reported as traveling up and down Columbia St. all day today. I saw a few myself, got emailed about some, and talked to others who also saw some. Yesterday I also saw a Twitter posting that asked why the trucks were still being spotted.

I would like to urge local residents and businesses to make more noise about this. COWNA has been in frequent contact with elected officials about this, and elected officials have been keeping the pressure on Phoenix and EDC, but apparently its not enough.

I would also like to thank Council Member Lander's office, State Senator Squadron's office, and all of our other elected officials for the close attention they have been paying to this matter. I'm confident that we can come up with a solution and get these trucks off of our local streets as originally promised.

For some recent background information on this topic, check out these articles and posts:

WOCS: Council Member Lander's Columbia Waterfront Update
Brooklyn Paper: City and beer company raise a glass on Columbia compromise
A View From the Hook: Phoenix Beverages and the NYCEDC are LIARS
Daily News: Beer distributor Phoenix Beverages infuriates Red Hook residents with noisy delivery route
Brooklyn Paper: Its a booze cruise on Columbia St. thanks to beer trucks
WOCS: Phoenix Beverages has arrived

Photo above taken today, June 22nd, at approximately 1:45pm. Submitted by anonymous source.

Rhum tasting event at Dry Dock - 6/27

dry dock wine + spirits in conjunction with Rhum J.M, Rhum Clement and Fort Defiance are proud to present:

Rhum Agricole-Palooza Tasting Event 6/27

Together with Benjamin Jones, dry dock wine + spirits in Red Hook Brooklyn, will host a Martinique Rhum tasting featuring Rhum Clément & Rhum J.M. Sample Rhums. Savor them neat, or enjoy in the classic rum cocktail, the El Presidente. Ben will be here to explain the unique quality and character of Rhum Agricole. He will also show you the joys of making cocktails at home with Rhum Agricole, and will teach the rituals behind the classic Martinique ‘Ti Punch.

Afterwards, head over to Fort Defiance, located at 365 Van Brunt St (corner of Dikeman) for traditional Martinique cuisine and cocktails inspired by St. John Frizell’s (Fort Defiance owner and food/spirits writer) trip to Martinique.

dry dock wine & spirits, located at 424 Van Brunt Street in Brooklyn, has quickly become Red Hook's favorite neighborhood wine & spirits store. Our wines are produced by smaller vintners, and offered to us by importers from around the world. We carry over 400 hand-picked wines, with 50 priced $12 and under, as well as an amazing selection of spirits, including over 75 whisk(e)y choices. We host wine & spirits tasting weekly.

Open Mon-Wed 12-9, Thurs-Sat 12-11, Sun 12-8

The Brooklyn Collective Summer Event - Fri 25th - 7pm

Please join us to celebrate over 15 new collections from local artists and designers!

Friday, June 25th
7pm- Midnight

196 Columbia Street
Between Sackett and Degraw

Featured Artists
Chris Munstre
Sam Phillips
Black & Red Eye
J. Cravata
Nancy Waller Handbags
Alexandra Batsford
Jess Yam
Design and Labor
Lewis Henry Nicholas
elle s'appelle
Rachel Goldberg
Tattoo Girl Lingerie
Happy Clay

Complimentary Cocktails will be served throughout the evening. Plus, a surprise musical performance!

For further info please visit

Author Festival at the Waterfront Museum - Sat 26 from noon to 4pm

The festival is curated by author Gabriel Cohen featuring live readings and talks by authors who have written books with a waterfront or maritime theme. The authors' books will be presented for sale by cosponsor BookCourt bookstore. Pinataland, Brooklyn's longstanding "dark old history" Americana band will be on deck, performing a special selection of sea and waterway-related songs.




Noon-12:15 Welcome audience

12:15-12:30 Ben Gibberd, NY Waters
12:35-12:50 Jessica DuLong, My River Chronicles
12:55-1:10 John Waldman - Heartbeats in the Muck

1:10-1:30 Pinataland-20-minute music set

1:35-1:50 William Kornblum, At Sea in the City

1:55-2:10 Trevor Corson, The Story of Sushi,The Secret Life of Lobsters

2:15-2:30 George Matteson, Tugboats of New York

2:30-2:50 Pinataland-20-minute music set
2:50-3:00 Raffle, politician speeches

3:00-3:15 Gabriel Cohen, The Ninth Step and The Graving Dock
3:20-3:35 Terry Walton, Harbor Voices

3:40-3:55 Nathan Ward, Dark Harbor:
the War for the New York Waterfront

Free Boat Tours Thursdays 4 - 8 pm & Saturdays 1 -5 pm
aboard Red Hook's antique wooden barge.
Donations Appreciated.

Refreshments compliments of Fairway Market & Arizona Iced Tea.

Yoga at the Urban Meadow

Yoga at the Meadow
June & July 2010

All classes begin at 7 pm
(pay-as-you-will donation to the instructor)

The sun setting on the New York harbor, the majestic cranes, and the soft grass...

June 17, June 24, June 28, July 5, July 26

Don't forget your bug spray!

Reminder: Community Rally to Save the B71 Bus tomorrow

The rally to take a stand on the elimination of the B71 bus is tomorrow, Wednesday, June 23 at 5 PM at the Union and Smith Street B71 Bus Stop.

The B71 is so important to us and its route isn't duplicated by any other train or bus line. It connects Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and the Columbia Waterfront with Park Slope and beyond. For the elderly and disabled its an absolutely vital bus for doctors, families, shopping - and it takes us to Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanic Gardens - children need it to come to schools in our neighborhoods and people need the bus to get to work.

Columbia Waterfront neighbors- For anyone who lives near Columbia Street a group is meeting up at the B71 bus stop at Union and Columbia to take the 4:51 PM bus to the rally (if the bus doesn't come, and let's face it, its a possibility, we can easily walk to Smith Street). BRING SIGNS SHOWING ALL THE PLACES YOU GO TAKING THE B71!

Let's keep Brooklyn connected!

Monday, June 21, 2010

From Peter Panto to Peter Falk--A chat with Nathan Ward

The album cover to the soundtrack for Murder Inc., starring Peter Falk and featuring the screen debut of Sarah Vaughn

"The bombshell that exploded it all! The hoods! The sleazy babes! The wanton gunmen!"

So announced the trailer for Murder Inc. (you can watch it here), the 1960 movie based on the travails of the notorious mob syndicate. It is the last in Freebird's Dark Harbor film series (co-sponsored by PortSide), chosen by the author Nathan Ward in conjunction with the release of his new history of waterfront crime in the port of New York.

In advance of the screening (Thursday, June 24, 8 pm), the Word on Columbia Street asked us to chat with Nathan about the role our neighborhood played in all of this.
--Peter Miller

In your new book, Dark Harbor, you quote Arthur Miller: "America, I thought, stopped at Columbia Street." Was he referring to our stretch of it? And what did he mean by that comment?

Miller doesn't say precisely which block of Columbia, but it was where in the late 1940s he was shown his first "shape-ups," the cattlecall-like hiring method still prevalent then. I imagine he saw them at several points along the street, since it was the center of so much dock activity then. These visits later served him in writing an unproduced screenplay as well as A View from the Bridge. Of the shape-ups he saw, Miller later wrote of his shock, "their...acceptance of this humiliating procedure struck me as an outrage, even more sinister than the procedure itself." Carlo Levi, the Italian writer banished by Mussolini to Eboli, had titled his memoir of exile, Christ Stopped at Eboli,"which resonated in my head on those cold mornings on Columbia Street. America, I thought, stopped at Columbia Street."

Who was Peter Panto? And what does his disappearance have to do with the film Murder Inc. you are showing at Freebird on Thursday?

Peter Panto was a heroic figure of the Brooklyn waterfront in the late 1930s. He started as a longshoreman, lived at first on State Street, and worked at the Moore-McCormack pier at the foot of Joralemon. Disgusted by the rackets and graft that were a regular part of getting hired, he led a small, growing movement of longshoremen against the union leadership of the Camardas (in Brooklyn) and President Joe Ryan (on the West Side). His speeches against the gangsters' set-up eventually caused him to be called to the President Street office of Emil Camarda, who advised him that "the boys" (i.e., people like Albert Anastasia) did not like what he was up to. Panto defied the warning and was taken for a fatal ride on July 14, 1939. His body was dug up in Jersey more than a year later, after months and months of a graffiti campaign by Red Hook and other longshoremen, who scribbled "Dov'e Panto?" on freight cars and warehouse walls.

Peter Falk as Abe "Kid Twist" Reles

The reason I'm showing Murder Inc at Freebird is only because of the brief, heroic appearance of Peter Panto in the story, and because I love Peter Falk, who stars as Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, the most important Mob informant ever, since it was his testimony that not only sent top leaders of the gang to the chair, he also told unsuspecting law enforcement about the existence of Organized Crime in the first place. Brooklyn D.A, Bill O'Dwyer admitted he'd never suspected there was a national crime organization until Abe Reles walked into his offices at the Municipal Building (next to Borough Hall) and started talking. O'Dwyer kept Reles in a suite at the Hotel Bossert on Montague (see picture on right) while he kept on talking, eventually explaining how up to a thousand seemingly random murders across the country had all been planned and executed by what the press came to call Murder Inc. Reles later fell or was pushed from his window under guard in a Coney Island hotel, but he'd done his damage as a witness.

If we were living in this neighborhood in 1948 (when Malcolm Johnson’s newspaper expose about waterfront crime first ran in the New York Sun) what would it have looked like? Who would have lived here?

Well, you have to imagine it before the decline, and picture most of the shops serving the docks in various ways (stores that sold boots and coats, pubs where longies could pass time between shape-ups, law offices, local office, diners like the recently closed Waterfront Diner).

What was the reaction to the expose in waterfront communities like Red Hook? Were only the mob bosses outraged or did it stir up resentment from other working longshoremen?

That's a complicated question. As much as many guys on the docks hated some of the stuff they saw around them on the job, and as much as they resented the various kickbacks, I think at first there was some resentment that the newspapers were exploiting their situation to sell copies, and that there would be no follow-up. Also, don't forget the series appeared in a Republican newspaper that was then anti-labor. The fact that the writer was liberal and a union man himself was not immediately clear. However, Mike Johnson had done a lot of homework for this series, and many of the longshoremen and checkers who wrote him fan letters I think were won over by the extent of his research. The crime series came out the same week in December 1948 that the men went on strike against their own corrupt President, Joe Ryan. He attempted to blame the strike on the newspaper series, but it just didn't work.

You have lived nearby (Brooklyn Heights) for several years now. Did that close proximity to the waterfront play a part in your decision to write this book?

I became intrigued in a sort of atmospheric way by what remained of the old working waterfront in the mid-eighties, when I lived on President Street. But yes, I didn't learn much concretely about it until I moved to Arthur Miller's neighborhood in the nineties.

The films you chose to show this month were all produced in the wake of investigative journalism and crime commissions of the 1940s and 50s. Did this bad press for the neighborhood and other waterfront communities play a role in its clean-up?

You can trace a line from Johnson's crime series in 1948-49 through to the various investigations it inspired:several by the city itself, then the Kefauver hearings, the New york Crime Commission hearings of 1952, through to the establishment of the Waterfront Commission in 1953. I wouldn't say that bad press cleaned things up--as recently as four years ago, Peter Gotti went to prison for, among other things, racketeering on the Brooklyn waterfront. But things became more regularized, the workforce less casual (and thus, a little less exploitable).

Is the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (located at 100 Columbia Street) the same commission that grew out of the labor racketeering scandals you write about in your book?

Yes, that is the same one, although it's only one of several offices. I was pleased that the new Waterfront Commissioner gave the book a good review. He's the incoming one, brought in after a scandal last year, so he's free to agree with some of the book's darker findings.

What role do they play today in the era of containerization?

The Waterfront Commission is charged with its same job, of trying to keep thugs off the docks, but as my friend Artie Piecoro says with experience, "It's not as though the mob guys wear a sign." Some new tasks the Commission has involve Homeland Security and the threat of a serious bomb smuggled inside a container.


Nathan Ward will introduce Murder Inc. and be on hand to sign copies of his new book, Dark Harbor, this Thursday at 8 pm at Freebird Books

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rally for Double D Pool

The city has announced plans to close double d pool in Gowanus. Join this rally to help keep it open!

Double D pool rally (Douglass Street between Nevins Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus), June 20, 10 am.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rally to Save the B71 - Wednesday 6/23

I propose that as many people as possible from the Columbia Waterfront and Red Hook actually ride the B71 Bus to this rally. If the bus is crowded enough, it would serve as a good opportunity to take photos and/or perform some sort of political theater that can represent the importance of this line to our community.

One suggestion has been that everyone carry signs displaying their favorite B71 destinations.

Update: A group will be meeting at the Union St. stop (between Columbia and Hicks) in time to catch the 4:51 bus over to the rally. Please bring signs listing your favorite B71 destinations.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Video: How to Get Your NYC Bike Racks

Check out this great instructional video by Streetfilms about factors needed for an ideal bike rack location

....and now that you know that, come out and help COWNA find bike rack locations throughout the Columbia Waterfront this Saturday!

Bring your Dad to a Jazz show this Sunday!!!!

Celebrate Father's Day this Sunday by bringing your Dad to a jazz show at the Urban Meadow!!!

Dad's can be entered into a raffle to win a free Urban Meadow t-shirt, making the day even more memorable!

The lineup for this weekend includes the following. Click the links to read more and hear some samples

James Carney with Tony Malaby, Chris Lightcap, Dan Weiss

Chris Lightcap with Tony Malaby, Chris Cheek, Craig Taborn & Gerald Cleaver

Todd Sickafoose's Tiny Resistors with Jonathan Goldberger, Mike Gamble, John Ellis, Alan Ferber & Ches Smith

Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day with Nate Wooley, Matt Bauder, Chris Dingman & Eivind Opsvik

The Urban Meadow is located on the corner of President St. and Van Brunt.

There is a $5 suggested donations for adults, kids get in free

Edge of the City screening at Freebird tonight

Next up in the Dark Harbor film series at Freebird (co-sponsored by PortSide) is Edge of the City, from 1957, in which the young Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes play hipster-longshoremen--the only film in our series to address race on the New York waterfront. Yet, as in all the films we are viewing this month, the heroic leading men are often upstaged by their nemeses. Like Matthau in Slaughter, Yul Brynner in Port of New York, Ernest Borgnine in The Mob, and Peter Falk in Murder, Inc., Jack Warden gets some of the best lines in Edge of the City.

Come out this Thursday, June 17 at 8 pm (introduced by author Nathan Ward) to witness this rarely seen Poitier classic, directed by Elia Kazan-protege, Martin Ritt.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative - New Views 2010 - Wed. 6/23

Press Release:

Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Benefit on the Waterfront at Northside Piers!

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) is thrilled to hold its New Views 2010 annual benefit for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway on the waterfront at Northside Piers in Williamsburg on Wednesday, June 23rd from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

“Each year, we hold our benefit at a waterfront location along the route of the Greenway that affords new views or new perspectives of the waterfront that have been largely or completely inaccessible to the public,” said Brian McCormick, Development Director and one of the three co-founders of BGI. “It is therefore fitting that the recently completed and soon to open public esplanade at Northside Piers will be the setting for this year’s benefit.”

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit coordinating the planning, implementation and long term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 14-mile waterfront bicycle and pedestrian route stretching from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. This year, using funding secured by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, BGI is working with the New York City Department of Transportation on a Master Plan for the entire 14-mile route of the Greenway.

According to Milton Puryear, Director of Project Development and co-founder of BGI, the Northside Piers public waterfront, coupled with the Kent Avenue segment of the Greenway, represents a major new piece of the Greenway puzzle now emerging. In total, 4 miles of protected bicycle lanes are available for use by the public and more is on the way.

In addition to hosting BGI’s benefit, Northside Piers will sponsor a membership in Brooklyn Greenway Initiative for all new residents of Two Northside Piers, which is now open for sale and nearing completion.

“We are pleased to offer the future residents of Northside Piers membership in Brooklyn Greenway Initiative so that they can learn about and support the exciting new waterfront connections”, said David Von Spreckelsen, Senior Vice President of Toll Brothers City Living, Northside Piers’ developer.

This year’s honorees for New Views 2010 are Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, New York State Secretary of State and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG). The New York State Department of State (NYS DOS) Division of Coastal Resources under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund has provided three successive rounds of funding for planning the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, each sponsored by Borough President Marty Markowitz.

NAG, a Williamsburg non-profit, will receive BGI’s Community Partner of the Year award. NAG is a pioneering volunteer based community planning and environmental justice organization that has been performing grassroots organizing, advocacy and outreach/education to the North Brooklyn waterfront community of Williamsburg/Greenpoint since 1994.

“It is these partnerships that have propelled the Greenway forward and we are glad to take this opportunity to say ‘Thanks!’” said BGI Director of Programs and co-founder Meg Fellerath.

Guests of New Views 2010 will get a preview of this spectacular waterfront setting while they enjoy a summer buffet and the “hot and sweet” jazz music of Michael Arenella. BGI will be also be raffling off three bicycles, compliments of Trek Bikes and Bespoke Bicycles, tickets for a party of 10 at New York Water Taxi Beach at South Street Seaport, tickets for 4 on the Zephyr and Shark and a personal fitness training session compliments of Annette Lang Education. Con Edison will be providing a continuous shuttle bus loop from the L and G subway stations in Williamsburg to Northside Piers.

For tickets, please visit BGI’s website at Tickets start at $75.00 pp or 2/ $125.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Council Member Lander's Columbia Waterfront update

Council Member Brad Lander has been keeping busy with Columbia Street related issues - greener ports, safer pedestrian routes, and finding solutions for traffic issues including Phoenix Beverage beer trucks. Below is the Columbia Waterfront email that his office sent out this week. Be sure to pay close attention to the Greener Ports City Council hearing that he is organizing for this Thursday.

Dear Columbia Waterfront Neighbors:

I wanted to share with you some quick updates on a few neighborhood issues that affect the area along the Columbia Street Waterfront:

Greener Ports - City Council hearing this Thursday:

I hope you can join us for a hearing of the City Council's Waterfronts Committee on efforts to promote greener ports in the NY/NJ harbor. I've been pushing for this hearing, so that we can learn what the Port Authority & the Economic Development Committee (EDC) are doing to move the Port to cleaner trucks, cleaner ships, and cleaner equipment that are better for the region as a whole, and for port neighborhoods in particular.

The hearing is on all of the New York City-side parts of the Port, not just the Columbia Waterfront/Red Hook piers, but of course it is a highly relevant locally, and, we'll also hear from advocates about what other cities around the country (and the world) are doing to move toward 21st century ports. I hope you'll join us if you can.

When: June 17th at 1 PM
Where: 250 Broadway, 14th Floor

Safer pedestrian access to Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6
I hope that by now many of you have had the chance to take advantage of the newly opened Pier 6 section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. I have been contacted by a number of you about designing safer pedestrian routes from Cobble Hill to Pier 6, to enable pedestrians (many with kids, to get to the great new playground) to navigate the trip down either Columbia or Atlantic, across the BQE entrance ramps, across their Pier 7 truck gate.

In response to your concerns, we reached out to the NYC Department of Transportation. They are aware of the problem and working to design solutions. They indicated they would have some designs to show us in the next two weeks. We will keep you posted on this.

Phoenix Beverage trucks: a temporary solution

I have heard from many of you about the nuisance caused by the Phoenix beverage delivery trucks that that have been rumbling down Columbia Street in great numbers over the past few weeks.

On Friday, local elected officials (Senator Squadron, Congressman Nadler's office, Congresswoman Velazquez' office, Assemblywoman Millman's office and I) held a meeting with EDC, the Port Authority, Phoenix Beverage, and other stakeholders to discuss the delivery trucks.

We learned, to our displeasure, that while EDC has committed that Phoenix trucks would be staying internal to the Port (and would not run on local streets), the EDC and Phoenix feel that their commitment only applied to overweight/container trucks and that they always knew that delivery trucks would run on local streets (with Van Brunt - Columbia as the truck route). The other local electeds and I were extremely unhappy with this explanation, and are pushing EDC and Phoenix to make alternative plans that get this high volume of trucks off Columbia Street, where we believe they pose a very real danger to pedestrians and local traffic.

A temporary solution: We are pleased to report that at Friday's meeting a temporary solution was announced: Starting next Monday, June 21st, and until the reconstruction of Van Brunt Street (the dedicated truck route, which is currently under construction) is complete, Phoenix and the Teamsters have agreed to drive the empty delivery trucks on the BQE (entering at Hamilton Avenue, exiting at Atlantic Avenue). This will obviously add substantial time to their trips, but it will get them off the local streets.

Longer-term solution still needed: Phoenix and EDC only committed to the BQE route until the reconstruction of Van Brunt Street is complete -- which will reportedly take about another 6 months. At the meeting, we pushed for a permanent solution, and discussed a number of potential alternatives. EDC is going to take a look at options, and we will have another meeting this summer, to work toward a long-term answer to the problem.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, please feel free to contact my office at 718 499 1090. And I hope to see many of you at the Green Ports hearing on Thursday.


Ice Cream Parlor to open at Lido location (plus a new American Bistro on Union!)

Ice Cream on Columbia!
We heard whispers a while back that the old Lido spot was to become an old fashioned ice cream parlor. Having never fully confirmed it or hearing nothing about it since, we never got around to posting it. Brownstoner decided to run with it however, posting about it yesterday with very little information. I guess we can assume at this point that it's true? Either way, we agree with Brownstoner's comment that they should hurry up and open before summer REALLY kicks in.

American Bistro on Union
While we're at it, those who read our twitter feed will also know about the American Bistro that will be opening up on Union in the old Korhogo space. Work has been happening in recent weeks, and we'll hopefully have some more updates about that soon.

Its always so exciting to have new businesses opening up!

Image above from Brownstoner.

Help get more bike racks for our neighborhood this Saturday!

Saturday, 6/19/10
Corner of Union and Columbia
11 AM

This Saturday, join members of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (COWNA) and Transportation Alternatives as we survey the neighborhood for new bike rack locations. More bike racks will not only make bike parking easier for Columbia Waterfront residents, but will make it easier for visitors from outside of our neighborhood to bike over, park, and walk around enjoying local businesses, events, parks, and more.

The event will begin with a training by Daniel Latorre, the creator of a website called FixCity that helps to identify bike rack locations and submit requests directly to the DOT in batches. If you have a smartphone, please bring it along as we will be able to use them to upload requests to the FixCity site instantly. If you don't have a smartphone, don't worry, because we will have instructions and forms in paper format that can be taken home to upload via computer or passed off to smart phone carriers.

Once the training portion is over, we will break up into groups and scout potential bike rack locations throughout the neighborhood!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Animal Adoption Event at Love Thy Pet - Sunday 20

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

2010 Kids Concert Series in the Carroll Park

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Reminder: Red Hook Jazz Festival this Sunday!!!

The Urban Meadow is located on the corner of President and Van Brunt.

Kids are free, suggested $5 donation for adults

See the previous detailed post here

There will be snacks, drinks, and t-shirts on sale at the event, with all proceeds supporting the Urban Meadow!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First day of the Urban Meadow CSA

Today was the first day of the new CSA program at the Urban Meadow! The farmers drove for about 2 and a half hours from Ant Hill Farm in Honesdale, PA to deliver 36 shares of extremely fresh produce, eggs, and cheese. The first delivery consisted of broccoli rabe, spinach and beet greens, turnips, asparagus, radishes, green garlic, salad mix, mixed cooking greens, and some eggs and cheese.

While the CSA is fully booked for now, feel free to get in contact with urbanmeadowcsa [ at ] to get on a waitlist for next year or to find out other relevant information.

We are also happy to say that we may be offering leftover items for sale at the end of the delivery time in future weeks, with all proceeds going to sponsor member scholarships for low income families next season.

Check out more great photos at the new Urban Meadow site here

Thanks to the leadership of the Urban Meadow, the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association, Just Food, and most importantly the coordinators and members of the CSA and the farmers for making this happen!!!!! The season is off to a great start!

Book launch event for Dark Harbor at Freebird 6/6

Sunday, June 6, 2 to 6 pm

Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront by Nathan Ward
Refreshments and bonus film to follow
Message from Freebird Books about the event:
This Sunday we celebrate the release of Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront by Nathan Ward with a book launch party in our backyard. Please join us for some BBQ and beer as Nathan shares some stories of our neighborhood's more sordid side. We will also one extra film in our related series this month.

Labor racketeering on the docks was an open secret in the city in the first half of the 20th century. But it wasn’t until the intrepid reporting of Malcolm Johnson in the late 1940s that federal and state authorities took serious notice of the murders, extortion, and intimidation that was rampant in waterfront communities like Red Hook.

Dark Harbor details the incidents that led to Johnson’s investigations for the New York Sun and his Pulitzer prize-winning articles on the subject. The articles would unleash new scrutiny of mob control of the longshoremen’s unions and inspire countless novels, plays, and films about the subject.

Though the Elia Kazan-Budd Schulberg production of On the Waterfront--originally based upon Johnson's articles--is the most famous on-screen example, the Dark Harbor series focuses on lesser known classics shot around the city in the aftermath of the New York Sun expose. Nathan Ward will introduce each film and place them in the context of the present day working waterfront outside Freebird’s door—before containerization and the BQE altered the landscape permanently.

This event is part of a series being co-sponsored by Freebird Books and PortSide NY in conjuction with the release of Dark Harbor. See details for other events in the series at our previous post here

Benefit for Truck Farm film at home/made 6/6

home/made and Wicked Delicate Films

A spontaneous benefit for those who run
by the seat of their overalls!
WHEN: Sunday, June 6 6pm until we sprout roots

WHERE: home/made
293 Van Brunt St. (between Pioneer & King St.)
Red Hook, Brooklyn 11231

WHAT: Truck-Farm Screenings after dark in the garden
100% of special truck farm wines go toward the film completion!!

WHO: Everyone

WHY: Because this truck farm inspires and educates kids and adults alike.

TRUCK FARM - Episode 1 from Wicked Delicate Films on Vimeo.

More info about the truck farm project available at Wicked Delicate's site

A blog post with more pictures and video snippets is also available at Eat Me Daily

image above from Eat Me Daily

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't forget: Red Hook Fest - June 4 & 5

EDIT: Please note the post title was corrected from 6/6 to 6/5

5 Burro is Open!

A twitter message announcing their grand opening:
@5burro: GRand Opening!! June 1st. 5 Burro Brooklyn. 127 Columbia street. 5pm

....and a message on Twitter from what appears to be one of their first guests:

@robert_guerrero: wht an amazing time 2nite at @5Burro Cafe in Brooklyn. cngrts 2 them....Outdoor spot on the Columbia Waterfront is key.

Click the image above to check out their site

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's coming! Red Hook Jazz Festival - June 13th and 20th

Save the date - The Red Hook Jazz Festival is coming up in the Urban Meadow June 13th and June 20th from 1 PM- 5 PM both days. Suggested admission at the door is $5 for adults, kids are free. (All proceeds go to support the Urban Meadow garden and activities)

It will be two days of great music on the Columbia Street Waterfront, right under the cranes in a beautiful outdoor spot. Many of the musicians who'll be playing the RHJF live in Brooklyn - from Carroll Gardens to Park Slope to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn is represented (and there will even be a few guests from Manhattan!)

This is the line-up for the RHJF - see the Urban Meadow website for more information about the shows and the Urban Meadow including directions

Sunday, June 13th 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Dave Sewelson's BQE with Bobby Radcliff, David Hofstra & Richard Dworkin

Welf Dorr with Tom Zlabinger, Dalius Naujo & On Davis

Nick Gianni's Evolution with Rick Botari, On Davis & Dalius Naugo

SPOKE with Andy Hunter, Justin Wood, Danny Fischer & Dan Loomis

Sunday, June 20th 1:00pm – 5:00pm

James Carney with Tony Malaby, Chris Lightcap, Dan Weiss

Chris Lightcap with Tony Malaby, Chris Cheek, Craig Taborn & Gerald Cleaver

Todd Sickafoose's Tiny Resistors with Jonathan Goldberger, Mike Gamble, John Ellis, Alan Ferber & Ches Smith

Harris Eisenstadt’s Canada Day with Nate Wooley, Matt Bauder, Chris Dingman & Eivind Opsvik