Wednesday, December 23, 2009

D.U.B. Pies closing its Columbia St. storefront

We received a sad email today telling us that D.U.B. Pies aka "Let Them Eat Pie" will be closing its Columbia St. storefront soon. Not only was D.U.B. an important part of the diverse restaurant selection in our area, but also one of the first and only Down Under style bakeries in NYC.

The two pieces of good news in the closing are that they are having a sale today and tomorrow, and that they will also be opening a bakery (without a storefront) in Red Hook proper, which will be offering delivery eventually. Below are the details from an email they sent out to their list. Try to stop by tonight or tomorrow and bid them farewell!

LET THEM EAT PIE will only be open this week on Wednesday (all day) and Thursday (until 3pm) – we invite you to come and say goodbye with/to us at this store and as a last hurrah we re offering hot pies at $4 each and frozen pies to take home for the holidays at $3.50 each!! (Our lowest price point ever!)

This offer is only good if you come to the store – it doesn t extend to delivery, sorry.

One piece of good news is that we plan to continue offering free delivery to the area as our production space is in Red Hook proper (sorry, we don t have a a storefront there – you ll need to come to The Pie Shop in Windsor Terrace for your Flat Whites and Aussie/Kiwi groceries/snacks.) There may be a short teething period as we set this up – please bare with us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Years Eve at Sugar Lounge

All You Can Eat buffet for $35,
champagne Toast,
Times Square live on tv,
and dancing 'til dawn with live DJ'S...

What a great way to celebrate New Years without having to travel outside of the neighborhood!

Sugar Lounge is located at 147 Columbia St.

PS - "Come Celebrate Sylvester" refers to St. Sylvester, who is celebrated on December 31st in France and other European countries

Friday, December 18, 2009

Breakfast with Santa - Sat 12/19

Solar car & charging station come to Columbia Waterfront!

With all the salt in the air and danger on the streets lately, its refreshing to know that our neighborhood is also home to some forward thinking in terms of what we drive - and what we emit while doing so.

A couple months back I noticed an interesting development emerge on Degraw St: The walls of the space were painted white with strokes of green and pictures of plants, and the sign on the lot read "Beautiful Earth Group." Shortly after, I saw a car parked on my street from Beautiful Earth that boasted to be solar powered.

It turns out that Beautiful Earth is a solar powered car company, and their space on Degraw includes a solar charging station! The car is 100% electric and can be charged to full capacity in this charging station, which is constructed from a recycled shipping container (how fitting for our area!).

I was able to read details about it on a recent post from Head over there to read all about it and see more pictures.

Images above from

Car crashes through storefront on Van Brunt

A car crashed through a storefront on Van Brunt near Dikeman today. I'm not sure of the details yet, but either way, this serves as a harsh reminder that traffic isn't just a Columbia st. issue, but a concern throughout the neighborhood. Much of the traffic on Van Brunt passes through Columbia St. to get there, and vice versa, and therefore the issue needs to be addressed on a neighborhood wide scale!

{Photo by Lisa C.}

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RED Hook Holiday Specials 12/18-12/20

The RED group is back at it again with a wide range of specials being offered throughout the weekend of 12/18-12/20 (RED = Red Hook Economic Development). Restaurants, shops, and galleries all have something to offer.

The flyer below offers a full list of participating businesses and the specials that they're offering (click the image for a larger version):

Another accident today/ Columbia St. traffic update

There was another accident on Columbia St. and President St. this morning involving a car and a motorcycle. It happened during the 8 am hour, and it seems that the motorcyclist was taken away in an ambulance. Two reports so far say that he is presumed to have had a broken leg.

Given this incident, its probably a good time to give the community an update on the petition that we previously circulated and other related efforts.

Steps taken to date:
  • A petition with 170 signatures was mailed to DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan last week requesting the implementation of traffic calming and safety measures along Columbia St. (thanks to everyone who signed!). Copies have also been forwarded to the offices of Brad Lander, Joan Millman, Marty Markowitz, Daniel Squadron, Bill de Blasio, and Community Board 6. This petition follows two previous letters mailed in by the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association to the DOT.
  • We have confirmation from the offices of Lander (Councilman elect), Millman (State Assemblywoman), and Markowitz (Borough President) that they will support the community's request. Some of this support has happened already: Markowitz's office has had multiple conversations with staff from the Brooklyn DOT office to find out more information and look into options, Joan Millman sent a follow up letter to Commissioner Sadik-Khan in support of the petition, and Brad Lander will be bringing it up in upcoming meetings with DOT officials.

Next Steps:
  • If you happen to see or have a relationship with any of the above confirmed supporters, express your thanks to them and remind them of the urgency of the matter
  • If you happen to see or have a relationship with any of the elected officials that have not yet responded, please write in or mention the issue to them and ask that they provide some level of support
  • Finally, please feel free to let us know about any other offices that we should forward it to. You can also send in your own letters, emails, and calls to urge elected officials and city agencies to support this.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Novel-Ts: A great gift for literature lovers

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way for literature lovers to show off their favorite characters and writers in a way that sports fans show off their favorite athletes? With the launch of Novel-T earlier this year, that dream can now be a reality!

Novel-Ts are jersey style t-shirts with a literature theme, featuring graphics and names that refer to writers and characters from classic books. There are currently 9 different designs available, with more to be released in the future.

Novel-T is a Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood operation - the creator behind the line lives here - and the shirts themselves are printed at Quist, a screenprinter located in Red Hook.

On top of all that, you can buy the shirts right on Columbia St. at our favorite local bookstore, Freebird Books. (People in other parts of the city can find them at BookCourt, Powerhouse, and the New Museum as well.)

To help ensure that there will always be new names to add to the Novel-T line-up, Novel-T donates $1 of the purchase price of each shirt to 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills.

Check out more details at their site here, or read reviews and interviews from the NYtimes, Brooklyn Paper, Time Out New York, the New Yorker, and more here. Also check out this new Novel-T video here:

Columbia Waterfront history presentation by Pratt students - this Thursday 12/17

On Thursday, 12/17, graduate students from Pratt will be making a presentation about the history of the Columbia Waterfront neighorhood, based on research they have been doing as part of their Historic Preservation Program

Thursday, December 17th, 2009 10am
@ Pratt's Higgins Hall North
The presentation will be made in Room 406 of Higgins Hall North, located at the corner of St. James Place and Lafayette Avenue in Clinton Hill (near, but not on, the main Pratt campus). The building houses the School of Architecture, which includes the planning & preservation programs.

The closest train to to this location is the G train to the Clinton-Washington stop

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Salt Pile Update

As of early yesterday the salt pile was returned to a (mostly) covered state. As we mentioned before, this does not appear to be a longterm solution, and we have thankfully heard word that efforts beyond this will be made in coming weeks. Please stay tuned for details about that as they are soldified, and be patient while the process is underway. Of course, if anyone is aware of the salt pile cover coming loose again before this happens, please let us and your elected officials know.

Thanks to anyone who made calls or sent emails to elected officials, as it seems they were instrumental in getting this problem resolved. Further details on that to also come at a later date.

Anyone who has leads in terms of getting lab analysis on salt samples done would also be greatly appreciated!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Time to start making some calls (Salt Pile)

Please start calling the following phone numbers about the salt pile. Enough is enough, as the salt in the air may potentially have health risks, and is also causing damage to our trees, plants, and vehicles.

*Call American Stevedoring (port operator, responsible for managing the pile)



*Call 311 (outdoor air quality complaint-DEP)

*Call Community Board 6


*Call your local elected officials

Council Member David Yassky (port)


Council Member Bill de Blasio (Columbia Street)


Friday, December 11, 2009

Columbia Waterfront Forecast: 100% chance of salt

Could American Stevedoring Inc. have chosen a windier set of days to uncover the infamous Columbia St. salt pile? Check out these photos that were submitted to us by someone who lives on Kane St nearby (pardon the cellphone camera quality). Every backyard North of the pile is experiencing a similar salt glaze.

Keep sending us pictures and stories.

Holiday Crafts at the Coffee Den this Sunday 12/13

How about enjoying a nice warm drink while your children are engaged making holiday crafts?

If that sounds like a plan, go hang out at The Coffee Den this Sunday, 12/13, from 10am to 12pm. The project will be a Holiday picture frame, children from 3 to 7 years old are welcome to participate!

Reminder: Tree Lighting Ceremony in Columbia Street Tonight - 12/11

We hope to see many of you at this community event:
It starts at 5:30pm at the Human Compass Garden, we'll have treats and hot cocoa by the fire and enjoy the holiday lights in good company.

The Human Compass garden is located on Columbia street at Sackett.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New plantings along the greenway / cleanup day on 12/12

Thanks to all of the volunteers who recently helped plant some new grass seed along the Columbia St. stretch of the Greenway. We can't wait to see how it looks when it starts growing!

Here is a description of the event where this took place, as well as information about an upcoming cleanup day, from the Greenway website:

"On the weekend of November 21-22, 2009, a half-dozen energetic and hearty greenway volunteers worked to prep the site and plant it with a native grass seed mix. The existing weed root systems were extensive and deep, but perseverance prevailed! Most of the work involved completely digging out the root systems in a compacted gravel and clay mix, complete with bricks, concrete and tar pieces...."

"The team finished the area from Degraw Street to Sedgwick Street, and will continue further north along Columbia Street as part of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s next cleanup, to be held Saturday, December 12th. Keep an eye out for the results in the spring!"

Image above from Brooklyn Greenway Initiative site

Red Hook Green Map created by Hook Productions

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative sent out a link this week to a Green Map that was created by 24 teens from Hook Productions after a project this summer where the teens took a bike tour along the proposed greenway route and took down details to be included on the map. Check out the map here and a video from the project below:

This project was done in collaboration between BGI, the Partnerships for Parks, Red Hook Catalyst, and Recycle-a-Bicycle

Return of the salt menace!

There were reports at the CoWNA meeting on Monday that the cover on the salt pile at the piers along Columbia Street was starting to come loose. It seems that today it has really come loose, as we've begun to receive reports of salt blowing in the wind and leaving a salty film on cars, windows, and everything else in its path.

Please send us your pictures and stories of the current situation! The more attention we can generate the better. We need to actually get the pile removed this time so that we don't have to continually worry about the next salt storm! (reminder: you can email, comment, or tweet us @wordoncolumbia)

As a reminder, the salt pile first emerged last winter and grew to enormous proportions last Spring. It was initially uncovered last Spring, sending salt flurries through the air and leaving a film everywhere, but it was eventually covered due to pressure from CoWNA and elected officials. It was determined at the time that the pile could remain at this location, as long as it remained covered. It seems that whoever was responsible for keeping it covered has not done their job, and the neighborhood is once again subject to this annoying and potentially dangerous situation.

Also, check out some past posts about the issue here:
The Cover Up Begins... (4/29/09)
Salt Pile Update (4/28/09)
Salt Piles: Not a new issue (4/27/09)
"Salt Mountain" Coverage from other sites (4/27/09)
Emergency neighborhood meeting about the salt pile (4/27/09)
A Salt Storm hits Columbia St. (4/24/09)

Image above from "Emergency Neighborhood meeting.." post above, 4/27/09

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PS 58 Holiday Book Sale - 12/9-11

Lobstah Feast at Rocky Sullivans'

This Saturday (12/12) from 5 to 8pm,
the PS 58 PTA and The Red Hook Lobster Pound brings you a kid-friendly lobstah feast
at Rocky Sullivans', located at 34 Van Dyke at Dwight street.
$35 buys you a Maine lobster with all the fixins.
[kid food and pizza available]

TIX online, click here.

Coffey Park tree lighting - Tomorrow 12/11/09

There will be tree lighting festivities in Coffey Park tomorrow, 12/10/09, from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm.

The event will feature: hot chocolate, caroling, and holiday activities for kids, including Santa Claus vist, in Coffey Park

Check out the Parks Department website here for more details

DDC Columbia St reconstruction project update

Earlier this week at the COWNA meeting, it was announced that the Department of Design and Construction has received funding to complete the remaining parts of the Columbia St reconstruction project, which are actually on Van Brunt and Summit St (this project is also known as HWK7000a).

Craig Hammerman, District Manager of Community Board 6, also sent out the email below this week, which provides some additional details:

Recently, I had requested written confirmation from the Department of Design and Construction regarding the resumption of the Reconstruction of Columbia Street as we were told that they had intended to resume work on the Van Brunt Street leg of the project "sometime around Thanksgiving." Sadly, the department is still unable to provide a start date for the resumption of construction activities. What we did learn was the following:

"As for the project, the funding to resume work has been approved in late October. When the funding was approved the NYC-DDC instructed the contractor to prepare and submit the necessary paperwork to resume work on Van Brunt Street. The contractor has to obtain Environmental Permits from both the city and the state. The contractor also has to prepare and submit sheeting plans for the new scope of work, any new subcontractors, etc. The contractor also must take new soil samples on Van Brunt Street because the previous samples are too old. The contractor, the field office and NYC- DDC are reviewing what environmental sampling is necessary to proceed with the scope of work.
An actual start date is difficult to determine at this time because it is dependent on the results of the environmental samples. Some (but not all) of the factors that impact the start date are the following:

1. the level of contamination and the type of contamination (metals, VOC's,SVOC's, etc)
2. finding and approving an appropriate disposal facility based on lab results; and
3. the location of contamination. For instance, if the contamination is at a location where we are about to start with or a location that the contractor will not get to for at least two or three months?

When a start date is chosen by the DDC, we will notify you such that you will be able to schedule a task for meeting before work resumes.
Please remember to call Ms. Nurse* at 718-875-3981, if you have any questions."

Monday, December 7, 2009

COWNA meeting tonight - 7pm at Jalopy

The Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (COWNA) is having a general meeting tonight, 12/7:

1. Election of officers
2. BQE Enhancement Study
3. Meet Brad Lander, the newly elected City Council member for our district

Place: Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street (between Woodhull and Hamilton)
Time: 7 PM

Brooklyn Bridge Park public meeting tonight - LICH, 7 PM

State Senator Daniel Squadron is hosting a public meeting to give the community an opportunity to hear a presentation from the City of New York about Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Details for this event are below:

Hosted by State Senator Daniel Squadron
WHEN: Monday, December 7, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Long Island College Hospital, Conference Rooms C & D
(Corner of Hicks and Atlantic Avenue, enter on Hicks Street)

For questions contact Ellen Whelan-Wuest at (718) 802-3818 or by e-mail at ellen {at}

Tree Lighting on Columbia street

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Art Show @ Sweet Lorraine Gallery - today 12/5!

Showing the work of over 30 artists and featuring a live dj, hors d'oeuvres, and wine!

More details at their site here

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flip the Switch Party (Red Hook Sign lighting) tomorrow at 6:30 pm!

The Red Hook sign on the corner of Hamilton and Van Brunt will come back to life during a neighborhood lighting ceremony tomorrow night. People who wish to participate are urged to join local residents at Bait and Tackle at 6:30 and march up Van Brunt to the sign for a casual party/ceremony.

Feel free to bring cider, cocoa, and snacks!

image above from Save the Red Hook Lights via Flickr

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Community input needed for BQE enhancement study!

The Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (COWNA) has announced that the EDC will soon release details about their choice for a consultant to conduct the BQE Enhancement Study (aka Fix the Ditch).

In preparation for the likely public participation meetings, COWNA would like community members to provide input on the topic through a simple online survey.

Here is the email that COWNA sent out:

The NYC Economic Development Corporation will soon announce the selection of a consultant to perform the Brooklyn Queens Expressway enhancement study. In order to prepare for participation in the public meetings that will be conducted during the study, we would like to gather opinion from Columbia Waterfront residents. Having a sense of the neighborhood's feelings about potential alterations to the BQE will enable us to effectively represent the community for the study. You can access the study here:

There are 9 questions, the study is anonymous and it should take only a few minutes to complete. We plan on incorporating the results of this survey into the discussion at our upcoming General Meeting on December 7th.

This process can have major implications for the future of the neighborhood so please participate!

Save the Red Hook Lights on Van Brunt & Hamilton!

Anyone who's walked around near Van Brunt and Hamilton Ave. anytime in the past year or so will have noticed that the big red Red Hook lights on the side of the Golten Marine building have been out. Well now's your chance to help bring them back - just in time for the holiday season!

Head over to a site called "Save the Red Hook Lights" to give a donation via paypal and have your name added to the growing list of donors. We've also read that Bait & Tackle is collecting donations, if you prefer to keep your money off the internet.

Walking past today, we noticed that the H and the O are already lit!

Image via Save the Red Hook Lights via Flickr

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

F Train Town Hall meeting with Sen Squadron on 12/10/09

The following email was sent out from Sen Squadron's office yesterday regarding an upcoming town hall discussion of the F train:

This past summer, State Senator Squadron called on the MTA to conduct a full line review of the F Train in response to the many constituent complaints he received regarding ongoing service problems. In October, the MTA released the findings from this review in a comprehensive report (which you can find on Senator Squadron's website at:

To make this report even more accessible to the public, Senator Daniel Squadron and Community Boards 2 & 6 invite you to attend a Town Hall Meeting about the F train. MTA representatives will discuss the recent report about F train performance, and discuss proposals for improving service.

F Train Town Hall
Hosted by State Senator Daniel Squadron

WHEN: Thursday, December 10
6:30 pm

WHERE: PS 58 Auditorium

330 Smith Street, Brooklyn NY
(Corner of Smith and Carroll streets, at Carroll Street stop
on the F line)

A History of Cycling at Brooklyn Historical Society through Jan. 3rd

A local artist named Eric Corriel who lives on Columbia St. has an exhibit showing at the Brooklyn Historical Society from now through January 3rd about the history of cycling in Brooklyn

The official website of the installation describes it as:

A History of Cycling in Brooklyn is an interactive video installation that explores the history of bicycle culture in Brooklyn from 1880 to today. The piece uses the Brooklyn Historical Society's east-facing windows as windows into different time periods of this historical narrative. It is part of the group show Brooklyn Utopias?, which takes place at the Brooklyn Historical Society from October 1st, 2009 - January 3rd, 2010. It can be seen from Clinton Street, in Brooklyn Heights, sundown to sunrise, according to this calendar. The artwork is interactive in the sense that it invites anyone with Brooklyn-based cycling media to submit it for possible inclusion in the piece itself.

Go check it out and participate!

O'Barone: A Great Destination for Italian Cuisine on Van Brunt

O'Barone opened in the early part of this past summer and, after reading several great reviews, we'd been meaning to try it ever since. Luckily for us, we recently got the opportunity to go out (without the kids!) and we headed straight there.

We loved every aspect of this place. The food was delicious and reasonably priced, the wine was one of the best we've had in sometime, the decor was comfortable and welcoming, and the chef/owner was a fantastic host, explaining the origins and ideas behind each item, from the olive oil to the meat.

We started our meal with a shared plate of beef carpaccio, arugula, and shaved parmesan, which proved to be simple yet delicious, as it was made with top quality, hand selected ingredients.

After the appetizer, we went with entrees of "Casaresce with sausage Bolognese" and "Tagliatelle with mushroom and a touch of cream." We traded both plates back and forth, and neither of us could decide which one we liked better. Both were cooked to perfection and were full of flavor.

We hadn't planned on having three courses and wine, but everything tasted so great that we plunged ahead with dessert. We ordered one plate of strudel (Fulvio, the chef/owner, has some Austrian heritage mixed in with his Italian) and a dessert that was made to look like Italian sausage (really a crushed and molded chocolate cookie) that came with ice cream. Once again, we were not disappointed.

All in all, we highly recommend O'Barone and will plan to go back there ourselves the first chance we get. Readers should also take note that there are flyers floating around the neighborhood that offer a coupon for 10% off (and include a coupon of the same value for Red's Tapas Bar - another local favorite!).

O'Barone is located at 360 Van Brunt in the old 360 space.