Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ricky's Does Halloween

The new Ricky's on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights was jammed on Halloween day with folks looking for their last-minute costumes.

This helpful guy was lurking in the back, ready to assist undecided customers.

- Wigs, Soap and Yep, Sex Toys Hit Brooklyn Heights
- Wigs, Soap -- and Sex Toys -- in Brooklyn Heights

Photo by MK Metz

Brooklyn in Brief, Wednesday A.M.

- Developers of residential buildings in Dumbo say they’re responsible for creating the super-hot neighborhood in the first place. Now, resigned to the “inevitability” of 65 buildings being landmarked, they called on the city Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday to pair the landmarking with a rezoning that could allow for high-rise residential development on other DUMBO properties. Brooklyn Eagle

- A group is working to create a Ditmas Park community garden. Apparently, there is a "huge" piece of property on Marlborough and Albemarle Road; the woman who owns the property is willing to let the neighborhood transform it into a community garden/park. Meeting on November 11. Ditmas Park Blog

- Sen. Charles Schumer called for a nationwide reporting system for the antibiotic-resistant staph infection blamed for the death of a 12-year-old Brooklyn boy. Binghamton Press

- Are the British coming to BoCoCa? They say yes; we say, er, not exactly. Brooklyn Eagle

- "They dreamt that the money would just keep coming but one day Americans could wake up screaming." The Independent via New York City Housing Bubble

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Subversive Bench at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Jenny Holzer's "Truisms Bench" (click for closeup) stands in Columbus Park near Brooklyn Borough Hall. It's covered with phrases like, "Being alone with yourself is increasingly unpopular," and "Exceptional people deserve special concessions."

According to Art in the Parks, her bench is part of the artist’s most famous series of work, her "truisms," which "reveal themselves, upon closer inspection, to be slyly subversive."

Photo by MK Metz

Another New Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn -- This Time A Holiday Inn

The Brooklyn Eagle breaks the story that a Holiday Inn is coming to Schermerhorn Street, between Bond and Nevins streets.

Story so far (and photo) here.

Boutique Hotel on Duffield Street, and More Brooklyn in Brief Tuesday

- Plans for a boutique hotel on Duffield Street appear to be moving forward independently of the contentious eminent domain proceedings that may hit the Underground Railroad houses just a few doors down, Brownstoner reports. A group of investors recently closed on the purchase of 237 Duffield Street for $9.5 million. Brownstoner

- Brooklyn resident Michelle Williams may be moving to Manhattan, now that her ex, Heath Ledger, the father of her daughter Matilda, has shipped off to SoHo. New York Post

- Bill de Blasio is running for Borough President, here and more at the Gowanus Lounge.

- Now global warming is wiping out pumpkin crops across the U.S. Where will it all end? Huffington Post

- Curbed has an update on the Gowanus Whole Foods. And it's not looking good for 2008. (via Racked) Curbed

Public Hearing on Traffic Congestion Plan Thursday

The New York City Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission is holding a public hearing on a plan to reduce traffic congestion on November 1 at 6 p.m. The hearing will be held at City Tech's Klitgord Auditorium, 285 Jay Street at Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

If you wish to give testimony, Streetsblog has the form and requirements here.

If you want to help the pro-congestion pricing coalition encourage Brooklynites to attend the hearing, you can hand out flyers Wednesday morning at Borough Hall. More information here.

Photo of the Gowanus by Pro-Zak, Creative Commons license.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Second Hearing on Underground Railroad Properties in Downtown Brooklyn

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development heard two hours of testimony Monday opposing the use of eminent domain to seize almost two dozen Downtown Brooklyn properties so a parking garage, open space, an arts space and housing could be built.

Duffield Street homes allegedly once part of the Underground Railroad, along with rent-stabilized apartments, a financial services firm and other organizations would be displaced, reports the Brooklyn Eagle.

The hearing was the second on the issue -- the HPD said the department mistakenly did not enter a blight study into the public record during the first hearing last May, requiring a new public hearing.

More here.

- Second Chance for Duffield Street Underground Railroad Homes
- Buildings Shooting Up in Downtown Brooklyn, Why Offer Incentives?
- Goodbye Duffield Street Underground RR Homes
- Video Explains All: Brooklyn's Duffield St. Houses
- Lawsuit to Save 'Duffield Seven' from Downtown Brooklyn Plan
- Brooklyn Underground Railroad Home for Sale for $4.5 Million
- Underground RR Consultants Tried to Pull (Another) Fast One
- Atlantic Yards Consultant Bill Up to $4.8 Million
- Red Hook Lane Demapped, No Longer Exists
- Is $500,000 Underground Railroad Study Bogus?

Photo by MK Metz

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween in Brooklyn! Roundup

The Brooklyn Eagle has quite the excellent roundup of Halloween happenings: look here.

Sunday's Highlights:

- Brooklyn Heights — The Packer Collegiate Institute’s Pumpkin Patch Festival on Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at The Packer Collegiate School. Rides, games and activities for all ages.

- The third annual Doggie Halloween Costume Parade Contest Extravaganza, in the early afternoon on the Promenade.

- Get spooked at the city’s oldest cemetery in Gravesend, dating back to the mid-1600s. The Urban Park Rangers will creep you out!

For more details about these events and others, see here.

Brooklyn Vegan also has a Halloween listing; and new this year: A Child Grows in Brooklyn, also with a comprehensive listing of events.

Photo of pumpkin (carved by Brooklyn's Hugh McMahon) by MK Metz

Friday, October 26, 2007

'Superbug' Hits Brooklyn School; 12-Year-Old Boy Dies

Graffiti Artist Gets Hard Time in Brooklyn

Mike Bacca was scheduled to go to jail Wednesday (we haven't heard if he actually made it there, but that was the plan) for a three month graffiti conviction in Brooklyn.

While in prison he will have to mount a case against a 43 count indictment, according to ni9e25. He may be sentenced to up to seven years. Why? For writing his tag, 2ESAE (how you get that from "Mike Bacca" we don't know, but it is shorter) on 43 walls.

He has only a court-appointed legal aid lawyer, who according to Mike, is "on vacation" a lot.

Mike is the latest example of New York City's crackdown against graffiti. But he is not just another run of the mill tagger -- an artist and fashion designer, Mike's work has been featured in the New York Times, Bomb it, and Esquire.

McBrooklyn thinks graffiti sucks when it defaces someone's home or business, but seven years in the can does sound pretty harsh for a guy who hasn't actually killed anyone.

- More Sidewalk Chalking Madness: Now Brooklyn's Famous Ellis G. Arrested

- Brooklyn Graffiti Artist Ellis G. Strikes Again

BCAT Looks at Bed-Stuy Blogs and WiFi Hotspots

BCAT's (Brooklyn Community Access Television) presents Neighborhood Beat: The Bed-Stuy Parlor, on Thursday, November 1 at 8:30 p.m.

This month, host Monique Greenwood connects with Bed-Stuy’s hi-tech community: Petra Symister of; Peter Epstein of the Bed-Stuy Renovations Blog; Jonathan Butler of; and TRUE of the Bed-Stuy Yahoo Group BSHINE.

BCAT will also take us to WiFi spots Bread-Stuy, the Laundromat on Fulton Street, Tiny Cup on Nostrand Ave and Twofiftyeight Café on Malcolm X Boulevard.

More good stuff at BCAT's web site here.

Hunchback of Notre Dame TONIGHT in Brooklyn

Saw a notice about this in the Heights Press. It's tonight (one night only) at Plymouth Church on Hicks Street corner of Orange, which is a cool setting for a Halloween event. (Last year they did something similar -- it was excellent):

Friday, October 26 at 7:30 pm
The classic 1923 silent screen version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with live organ accompaniment by composer-organist Bernie Anderson Jr. THRILLS AND CHILLS!

The gypsy girl Esmeralda, the hunchback Quasimodo, and Hollywood’s magnificent take on old Paris: here’s one of the great “beauty and the beast” stories of all time. And when the amazing theatrical organist Bernie Anderson adds a whole new layer of live music and effects, the end
result is a Halloween event of monster proportions...

Plymouth Sanctuary, Orange Street between Hicks & Henry Streets, Brooklyn Heights
Tickets $10, available at the door

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Sidewalk Chalking Madness: Now Brooklyn's Famous Ellis G. Arrested

Now they're picking on the grownups!

Brooklyn's famous sidewalk chalk artist Ellis G. (the "G" stand for Gallagher) was arrested last week when police saw him at work during the filming of a profile set to air in early November as part of Channel 13's "New York Voices" series, says New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer.

He was "carted around to three different precincts" and charged with making graffiti, possessing graffiti instruments, and making mischief before charges were dropped in Red Hook court the next day.

The NYCLU's Chris Dunn says he's in the process of working with the NYPD to confirm whether chalking falls under the definition of graffiti in the first place. This might even help convicted felons like Natalie Shea, the Park Slope girl whose neighbor called the cops on her when she drew on the sidewalk in front of her building last week.

Brooklyn Graffiti Artist Ellis G. Strikes Again

Photo copyright MK Metz

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Astroland Saved! For a While. And Other Brooklyn in Brief

- Astroland Amusement Park has been saved -- at least for another year. The venerable Coney Island institution, which appeared doomed after its Labor Day closing, will instead reopen for one more season next year. Brooklyn Eagle

- The MTA is stealing bikes in Williamsburg. Streetsblog

- Why is it that murderer Robert Chambers has a girlfriend, and the Brooklyn Bachelor doesn't? Brooklyn Bachelor

- Alert: City Councilman Bill de Blasio, at almost the last minute this past Tuesday, decided to change his longstanding opinion on a development issue on Atlantic Avenue, which he discussed recently in an interview with the Brooklyn Eagle.

- You HAVE to see this: Brooklyn's Other Museum of Brooklyn. Mayor Moo Moo. Brit in Brooklyn

The Roeblings Visit Anchorage Plaza, Brooklyn Bridge

The Roeblings -- John, Washington and Emily -- admire the bridge they built (the Brooklyn Bridge) at Anchorage Plaza. The anchorage itself is located inside the base of the Brooklyn Bridge at the intersection of Hicks Street and Old Fulton Street. (An anchorage is a large, very stable stone structure on either side of a bridge.)

According to Brooklyn Bridge Facts, John Roebling, the bridge's engineer, envisioned the anchorage as either a commercial arcade, or vault for the national treasury.

Inside the anchorage on the Brooklyn side is a "cavernous complex" of eight 50-foot tall spaces. These cathedral-like rooms were walled off and used for storage for many years (at one point used for wine storage, then for military storage) until 1983, when an arts organization -- Creative Time -- installed a series of highly popular exhibits there.

The Anchorage was closed to the public after September 11, 2001, for national security reasons.

Photos by MK Metz

Brooklyn's 'Ring of Steel?'

This surveillance camera on old Fulton Street between the north end of Henry Street and the Brooklyn Bridge caught our eye when it actually flashed in broad daylight (see flashbulb housing at top of pole).

Part of Brooklyn's "Ring of Steel?"

Photos by MK Metz

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Digging for Gold at City Tech's Klitgord Auditorium

City Tech's Klitgord Auditorium building at Jay and Tillary Streets in Downtown Brooklyn is scheduled to be replaced with a huge new building (or buildings) containing six hundred units of housing -- developed by Forest City Ratner -- as well as 300,000 square feet for academic-office use.

Though details have been hard to come by, the plan is proceeding apace: over the last week the Jersey Boring and Drilling Co. conducted test borings around the auditorium as part of the subsurface investigation of the site.

The building will be designed by architect Renzo Piano. It could be nearly as big as Miss Brooklyn.

Photos by MK Metz

Update:Car Smashes into Bus Shelter, Brooklyn Borough Hall

The Brooklyn Eagle has the story and photos:

Around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a late-model Nissan slammed into a bus shelter in front of the state Supreme Court building on Court Street near Borough Hall and flipped over several times, injuring several onlookers as well as the driver herself.

“I saw people all hysterical and three people lying on the ground in very great pain," said Bermard Gamz, of the Kosher Court deli at 16 Court St. "I saw a court officer with the driver, trying to calm her."

More here.
(For just one day, a larger photo will be found on the Eagle's main page here.)

Car Through Bus Shelter on Cadman Plaza/ Brooklyn Borough Hall

Ian O'Connell writes that a car ran through a bus shelter on Cadman Plaza.

First reports have 3 - 5 people injured, no deaths. Eye witnesses say the shelter was demolished.

More to come...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Geese, Brooklyn Bridge Park

I've been told these are Canadian Geese, stopping off on their flight south. Anybody confirm this? (Careful where you sit...)

Photo by MK Metz

Arabic School, Taxi Strike, and Other Brooklyn News in Brief

- So now the "Stop the Madrassa" group has come up with another way to harass the new Brooklyn Arabic school. Brooklyn Eagle

- For the second time in two months, a group of taxi drivers went on strike -- but nobody knew it. Crain's New York Business

- The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development has given $11.4 million in federal tax credits to help build or rehabilitate 59 housing projects in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. A total of 949 rental apartments will built or restored. The Real Deal

- Joannne Minieri, who joined Forest City Ratner in 1995, was promoted to president, and will maintain her role as chief operating officer. Feel free to comment. Crain's New York Business

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Court Street Fair, Downtown Brooklyn

Many have questioned the purpose of the Court Street Fair in Downtown Brooklyn/ Brooklyn Heights, which took place Sunday. There aren't many local businesses involved, just the usual NYC street fair vendors. There were almost no customers at 12:45 today; when McBrooklyn came by again at 5 p.m., a smattering of locals -- mostly parents with kids in tow -- seemed to have discovered the fair.

Top: kids spraying each other with "Silly String;" Middle: Court Street Street Fair;
bottom: Brooklyn Cowboys.

Photos by MK Metz

Line Up for Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour

The crowds lined up all day Sunday for Bob Diamond's famous tour of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel.

The tour started up again last summer, after a hiatus of roughly five years.

Diamond discovered the long-lost tunnel -- which runs under Atlantic Avenue between Boerum Place and Hicks Street) in 1981, after hearing about the legend of a Civil War era rail tunnel on a radio show. After an eight-month search (during which he was repeated advised by City officials to give up on his lost cause) he struck gold -- uncovering, intact, the world's first subway tunnel.

- Brooklyn Spelunking: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Return
- He Might Be Crazy -- But Wouldn't You Love to Take the Trolley in Brooklyn?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Brooklyn in Brief -- Weekend Edition

- Debbie Almontaser -- who helped found New York City’s first Arabic-themed school in Brooklyn but later resigned amid controversy -- will not be rehired, a spokesman for Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said Thursday. Brooklyn Eagle

- The canvas Toms shoe has defeated the Floating Barge Pool—the "greatest thing to ever happen in the history of Brooklyn Heights"—for the Cooper-Hewitt People's Design Award. The Brooklyn Bridge came in 197th. Curbed

- Two cyclists died in Brooklyn in terrible accidents Thursday. Streetsblog

- The city is "sifting through several proposals from ferry operators to shuttle commuters between Manhattan and at least three stops in Williamsburg and Greenpoint," says the Brooklyn Paper. And Bay Ridge Ferry service may be restored as well. Brooklyn Eagle

- Some 15 glamorous grandmothers -- and one old man in drag -- nearly all from Brooklyn's close-knit Russian immigrant community of Brighton Beach, sang, danced and vamped across the stage at a local nightspot as they competed in the sixth annual Your Highness Grandmother Beauty contest. Reuters

- Sunday is the last day for the beloved vendors at the Red Hook Ball Fields to serve up food this season -- and maybe forever. Gowanus Lounge

- Scientists: at least one bumblebee species in the U.S., Franklin's Bumblebee, may have gone extinct. And it's not looking good for the rest of them. Bumblebees pollinate more than 15 percent of our nation's food crops. Huffington Post

Friday, October 19, 2007

30 Manholes Undergoing Asbestos Abatement in Brooklyn Heights -- What Rhymes With Meso-the-lio-ma?

The Brooklyn Eagle's Sam Howe reports that two pieces of paper were taped to the lampposts on Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights Friday announcing "Public Notice: Asbestos Abatement." The work areas list more than 30 manholes and the amount is “264 linear feet or 165 square-feet.”

To be removed: cable insulation, duct seal, duct sleeve, transite (sic), and the all-purpose “debris.”

In a neighborhood "teeming with strollers, moms-to-be, elderly folks, and lawyers (!), we are pressed to wonder, if anything, what this means," writes Howe. Until the paper digs up more information, he says he is trying to "come up with words that rhyme with meso-the-lio-ma."

Photo by Jef Poskanzer, Creative Commons license

'Brooklyn Bests' in Villiage Voice's Best of NYC Guide

The Village Voice just came out with their annual Best of NYC 2007 guide.

Along with many things Brooklyn, the neighborhood of Dumbo made the list -- it was named “Best Manhattan Neighborhood In Brooklyn - DUMBO”. (Thanks to Dumbo NYC)

Other Brooklyn Bests, according to the Voice:

- Best Brooklyn Assemblyman Who Never Quits - Jim Brennan
- Best Way To Enjoy The Brooklyn Promenade - Blue Pig
- Best Bridge Anywhere - Brooklyn Bridge
- Best Place To Get Murdered, Raped, Or Robbed In The City
- East New York, Brooklyn.

More here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Greenstreets No Match for Livingston and Flatbush

Greenstreets is a citywide program to convert paved traffic islands and medians into green spaces filled with shade trees, shrubs and groundcover.

But Greenstreets seems to have met its match at the junction of Livingston and Flatbush in Downtown Brooklyn. Here, the little bushes planted by the Parks Department are dwarfed by the relentless urban streetscape.

Photo by MK Metz

'Brooklyn Junction' Breaks Flatbush Junction News

McBrooklyn welcomes new blogger Brooklyn Junction to the blogosphere. BJ writes: "I'm way down here in the belly of Brooklyn, blogging about the area in Flatbush known as the Junction--right near Brooklyn College.

"Please visit me at I think I've got a good first story--a residential dorm in the works at Brooklyn College."

Indeed -- and many subsequent stories as well, which we'll cover in future posts. Anyone interested in the Junction should visit Brooklyn Junction.

Mockingbird, Thursday, Brooklyn Bridge Park

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do but one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

From To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Photo by MK Metz

Will Trader Joe's Be Haunted by the Spirits of Bankers Past?

There are stories -- perhaps tongue-in-cheek -- of a spirit that inhabits the underground vault of what was once the palatial Independence Community Bank building, on Atlantic Avenue at Court Street.

According to an old story in the Brooklyn Eagle, "Some say the phantasm is one of the tortured souls who perished on the site when it held a fort during the Revolutionary war. Others claim it is the demented spirit of the sister of a bank teller who was executed more than a century ago for forgery..."

The dark doorway, seen on the back wall, left, of the photo above, leads down several flights of stairs to chambers far below the ground, where the air is cold and there's no one to hear you.

When Trader Joe's finally arrives, will "frantic banging sounds" still be heard from deep inside the walk-in-vault?

Happy Halloween...

Previous Trader Joe's posts here.
Photo by MK Metz

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And Then It Just Keeled Over and Died

This MCI Worldcom phone booth was found laying dead on the sidewalk in Downtown Brooklyn.

According to Wikipedia, MCI Communications was a company that was instrumental in the breakup of the AT&T monopoly, and ushered in the competitive long distance telephone industry.

It grew to be the second largest long-distance provider in the U.S. In 1998 it became MCI WorldCom, then WorldCom. WorldCom's "financial scandals and bankruptcy" led that company to change its name in 2003 to MCI. The MCI name disappeared in January 2006 after the company was bought by Verizon.

Bottles on Trees in MetroTech -- Okay, We're Stumped

We give up guys -- what is it: Art? Science? Homemade barometers? A recycling project? An example of PolyThinking?

Bottles tied together with white string (click on photo to enlarge), filled with either brightly colored or clear liquid, festooned several trees on MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn.

There's no sign to enlighten us that this is a public art project funded by our tax dollars, yet the uniformity of the bottles makes us think that this was actually planned, not the result of some poor alcoholic flinging his carefully scrounged bottled up in the air.


Photos by MK Metz

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

All That Remains of Schrafft's in Downtown Brooklyn

There was a time when everybody ate at Schrafft's.

Schrafft's was known for wholesome, all-American fare, served by fresh-faced Irish waitresses. Mothers and children ate there; so did movie stars. Schrafft's restaurants were located in high-end shopping districts, like Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

But times changed, Fulton Street changed, and Schrafft's did, too. By 1968 they seemed quaint, almost dowdy. They hired Andy Warhol, of all people, to give them a snazzy new with-it image, and remodeled to emphasize their bars to snag the younger clientèle.

Here's all that remains of the Schrafft's in Downtown Brooklyn, on Smith at Fulton Street.

Photo by MK Metz

Creation of Downtown Brooklyn Underground Subway Connection Has Begun

The $130 million renovation of the Lawrence Street subway station and creation of an underground connector between the Jay Street and Lawrence Street stations has begun. The job is expected to take four years.

NYC Transit has closed traffic along Lawrence Street north of Willoughby Street, and on the north side of Willoughby Street between Lawrence and Jay Streets, pictured.

See for updates.

Photo by MK Metz

Hillary in Brooklyn, and More Brooklyn in Brief

- Hey! Hillary visited Williamsburg Monday. Is Clarance Norman forgotten? City Room, NY Times

- The FMIA and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership have released a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a Downtown Brooklyn retail strategy. Fulton Mall Improvement Association

- What the...? What's that on top of Dumbo's Clocktower building? Brownstoner

- Bad things happened at Sunset Park jail. NY Sun

- Apple store in Williamsburg? Really? Brooklyn Paper

- George Clooney (in Brooklyn Heights last week to film "Burn After Reading") found himself in a Sen. Larry Craig situation Friday night. Someone was in the next stall trying to tap shoes with the Hollywood hunk. Guess who it was? Huffington Post

Apartment Window, Bond Near Atlantic

Photo by MK Metz

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday's Fireworks Explained

The dramatic fireworks easily seen from Brooklyn Heights and heard all over Brooklyn Sunday night were part of the Indian celebration of Diwali, a festival of light. The 20th Annual Deepavali Festival was held at the southernmost tip of Manhattan yesterday, complete with a mela (fair), Indian food, music and dance, and the fireworks display.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Famous Harlem Soul Food Restaurant Coming to Gage & Tollner Space

The Brooklyn Eagle breaks the news that the famed Harlem soul food restaurant, Amy Ruth’s, has signed a lease for the former Gage & Tollner restaurant space at 372-374 Fulton St. on the Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn.

New York Magazine, which awards the restaurant a “critic’s choice,” says it is a tribute to a southern grandmother’s cooking and to a number of noteworthy African Americans, suggesting that readers order “The Rev. Al Sharpton” (fried or smothered chicken and waffles), “The Stan Hoffman & Lu Willard” (BBQ spare ribs), and other soul-food staples.

Something tells us this might be exactly the right choice for this site.

See the story here.

UPDATE: “One thing you can expect to see in 12 to 18 months is downtown Brooklyn establishing a roster of great destination restaurants,” predicted Joseph Chan, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Crain's NY Business

T.G.I. Friday's Cleared Out -- What's Next for Gage & Tollner? McBrooklyn

'Third Bridge,' Dumbo

"The Third Bridge," an artwork in fiber optice by Osman Akan, was installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo Sunday. It glows green at night (see link, below).

A 'Third Bridge' to Connect Dumbo to 'Outer Space'

Photo by MK Metz

Foxy Brown Won't Get on the Bus, and More Brooklyn in Brief

- The media throng gathered at Brooklyn Supreme Court Friday in anticipation of the arrival of hip-hop diva Foxy Brown finally began to disperse by early afternoon — after word filtered out that the jailed Brooklyn star wouldn’t be appearing for her arraignment on felony assault charges. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Foxy refused to get on the Department of Correction bus. Brooklyn Eagle

- Naked Brooklyn Times Square guy denies he's a hipster, says it was stress. Gothamist has blurry video of him running across street, NY Post has photo gallery.

- Atlantic Yards arena to pose "significant terrorist risk"? Newsday

- Brooklyn Heights hairdresser dies, days later his wife gives birth. NY Daily News via Brooklyn Heights Blog

- It's trash can burning season in Boerum Hill. Gowanus Lounge

- Dumbo landmarking on the map. BrooklynPaper

- Brooklyn Vegetarian Restaurant Week half baked? SuperVegan

A 'Third Bridge' to Connect Dumbo to 'Outer Space'

The Third Bridge,” an artwork in fiber optics by Osman Akan, will be installed on the waterfront in the Brooklyn Bridge Park near the Manhattan Bridge from October 14, 2007 to January 14, 2008.

"The Third Bridge" is Dumbo Art Center’s first solo commission and the pilot in a developing series, titled “Outer Space.” For more, visit

Sunday: Gowanus Harvest Festival & Oktoberfest Afterparty

A day of pony-rides, pumpkin carving contests, local vendors, canoe-rides, fresh produce, live music, and Oktober brews flowing late into the night. Open Bar at 8pm, compliments of Schwelmer. Premium German regional brew, served with love. and pickles...

Cooking Demo by Just Foods
Composting Demo by the LES Ecology Center
Wind Energy Info by Community Energy and ConEd Solutions
**Bring your electric bill to sign up for wind energy

Brooklyn Health Beat on BCAT

Close Your Eyes and I’ll Test You: A visit to Brooklyn Hospital’s Sleep Disorder Lab, where patients with trouble sleeping find out if those problems are tied to serious medical conditions.

Street Screening: How to get proper medical care to those who really need it. The ScanVan, a mobile facility run by Project Renewal, screens for breast cancer and tuberculosis in poor and homeless Brooklynites.

TB in Brooklyn: Tuberculosis is still here, especially prevalent among immigrant and minority groups. Host Monica Sweeney talks about TB and contagious disease with Dr. Beth Raucher of Maimonides and Dr. Adam Karpati, head of the Brooklyn division for NYC’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

Living with Lupus: This autoimmune disease, whose victims are overwhelmingly female, is still not very well understood. One single mother in Bay Ridge tells us how she copes, first and foremost with courage.

Tuesday, October 16 at 9pm and Friday, October 19 at 9:30 pm.
See BCAT for details.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Italian Heritage Celebrated at Borough Hall with Food, Frenetic Dancing

Thursday night at Brooklyn Borough Hall, BP Marty Markowitz hosted a gala to celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month. The music and dancing filled the Rotunda, and the food, provided by local Italian restaurants, was mouth-watering. There was one dish where the chef dropped hot oiled noodles onto the middle of a huge round of Parmesan cheese. The cheese melted and coated the noodles -- delicious. (I think Marco Polo was the restaurant behind that one.)

The Borough President honored Robert Catell, Chairman of (what used to be called KeySpan) National Grid US; RoseAnn C. Branda, President of the Brooklyn Bar Association; and Lella De Angelis and the Gargiulo Restaurant Family, among others.

A group of traditionally costumed ladies danced the tarantella -- which, according to Wikipedia, is associated with the large "tarantula" spider, whose bite was allegedly deadly and could be cured only by frenetic dancing. One variation of the legend said the dancer must dance the most joyous dance of her life or she would die.

UPDATE: More photos here.

Photos by MK Metz

Brooklyn Home Prices Up, Except Where They're Not

Crain's NY Business reports that the market for residential real estate in Brooklyn remained strong in the third quarter.

Brooklyn single family home prices rose 20.1% to $723,000 from a year-ago, while four-family home prices climbed 19.1% to $1.2 million. Co-op prices rose 32.3% to $557,000 during the quarter, while condo prices dropped 2.9% from $616,000 to $598,000.

Sales dropped 36 percent, pointing to an "unwillingness on the part of sellers to drop prices, combined with buyers willing to wait for better deals."

Important to note: "Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Brownsville were not among the sixteen neighborhoods included in the study, primarily to keep those neighborhoods’ large number of foreclosures from skewing results."

More here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bank of America at Court and Atlantic

A single sign announces that a Bank of America ATM facility is coming to the boarded-up corner of Court and Atlantic in Cobble Hill, across the street from the future Trader Joe's. Many signs announce that the movie "Nicky Barnes, Mr. Untouchable," will open October 26.

Photo by MK Metz

Five Story Condo Site at 47 Dean Causing Problems With Boerum Hill Neighbors

A partial stop work order is in effect at this site at 47-49 Dean Street near Smith in Boerum Hill. Apparently the excavation was undermining neighboring homes. One comment at the DOB web site says neighbors complained about things shaking: "Thinks (sic) are being knocked off the shelves."

Another complaint said that construction was "contrary" to approved plans. In July a 12-car parking lot was denied. Anyone have any updates?

The man working here Wednesday morning (next to car) said that a five story condo was being built on the very deep lot. "It going to be very big," he said.

Photo by MK Metz

Go to Smith Street, Take Exit9

Just in time for the holidays, trendy Exit9 Gift Emporium has opened at 127 Smith Street (near Dean). Exit9, which also has an outpost on Avenue A in Manhattan, says its mission is "to provide creative and inspirational gifts to a world that is quickly becoming a department store."

Gift items include magic wallets; a spy pen ("send notes without being caught by the teacher"); beanbag chairs; and a key chain that counts the days till Bush leaves office.

The shop replaces Winston's Upholstery.

Photo by MK Metz

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oh, Oh: 'Coordinated Street Furniture' Newsstands Arrive in Brooklyn

As part of the Department of Transportation's twenty-year street furniture franchise with Cemusa, Inc., 330 familiar old green newsstands are being replaced with new snazzy stainless-steel numbers. This one (pictured above) is being installed on Court Street near Livingston in Brooklyn Heights (technically Downtown Brooklyn).

According to, the franchisee will be able to sell advertising space on the newsstand (seems to be room for a nice, big ad). The city is also replacing all 3,300 bus shelters, and will install 20 public toilets. The street furniture was designed by Grimshaw Industrial Design.

More at

Photo by MK Metz

Sacre Bleu! The French Are Coming! (To Brooklyn!)

To honor the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de Lafayette, a group of French-Americans, with the support of the Consulate General of France, raised funds for the restoration of the Lafayette Monument in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

This Thursday, October 11 at 11 a.m., an assemblée (bunch) of dignitaries including NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe; the Consul General of France in New York Francois Delattre; that old French fox B.P. Marty Markowitz; the Prospect Park Alliance and more will celebrate the restauration of the monument at the 9th Street and Prospect Park West entrance to the Park.

It should be a jolly célébration!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Duffield Street Underground RR, Norman Mailer and More Brooklyn in Brief, Tuesday

- The city last week withdrew eminent domain findings concerning three blocks in Downtown Brooklyn, which include homes allegedly once involved in the Underground Railroad, a financial firm with 150 employees, a rent-stabilized apartment building that houses 40 families, a handful of parking lots and an arts venue. The question is -- why? Brooklyn Eagle

- Norman Mailer has written thirteen novels, nineteen works of nonfiction, two poetry collections, and one play... In a new book, On God, he lays out his personal vision of what the universe’s higher truths might look like ... New York Magazine

- Why does "Gossip Girl" film in Brooklyn, pretend it's the upper East Side, then put down Brooklyn as a lower class suburb? Brooklyn Enthusiast

- Still no takers for Gage & Tollner space. (Or should we move to Portland and open a restaurant?) Brownstoner

- BARC’s Dog Parade is next weekend! NewYorkShitty

- Brooklyn Heights was the scene of a terrible tragedy on Saturday night, when the shooting of the new Coen brothers movie with George Clooney and Brad Pitt at Clinton and State streets somehow took out the cable T.V. in local buildings ... Gawker

Brooklyn's Polish -- and Patient Bird --Celebrate Pulaski Day

So a patient and apparently untethered gray bird (see man in skirt, right) seemed content to perch solidly on its "owner's" hat as he pirouetted, marched and strutted his green beard during Sunday's Pulaski Day Parade on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. (click on photo for enlargement)

The Brooklyn presence was strong, with marching bands, schools and churches well represented.

Photos by MK Metz

The Brooklyn Headhunter: Find a Job in Brooklyn

From time to time, McBrooklyn puts on its Headhunting gear and scouts out a handful of Brooklyn employment opportunities.

Here are today's listings:

- Sovereign Bank is holding a job fair October 18 for personal banking reps and tellers. Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights. Career Builder

- Acme Smoked Fish needs a quality assurance assistant manager. $40,000 - $60,000 NY Times & Monster

Gardener needed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. BBG

- HUGE needs a web project manager. NY Times & Monster

- T-shirt designer wanted. Craigslist

- Housekeeping Manager at the Marriott in Brooklyn.

- Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant. $40-$50/hr. Career Builder

Flatbush Development Corporation seeks "a dynamic, visionary Executive Director." Craigslist

Allstate is still looking for paralegals to assist attorneys in the defense of lawsuits. $35,360 - $37,700.

- A Brooklyn lab needs a part time driver/courier. NY Times & Monster

Licensed bouncer wanted for Friday and Saturday nights. Check ID's and weapons. Craigslist

- Dangerous job preparing reports in a Brooklyn Courthouse. Must be under the age of 37 and drug-free. $36,888 - $70,134. NY Times & Monster

Web developer for the Brooklyn Public Library. Career Builder

- Full or part time dog walkers in Park Slope. Craigslist

Assistant store manager at Starbucks. NY Times & Monster

- Friendly real estate office looking for a team player. Craigslist

- Brooklyn College needs dozens of assistant professors and and other support personnel. BC

- Advertising Salesperson needed for Focus Magazine. NY Times & Monster

- Online resume reviewers. $10/hr. Craigslist

- Mammoth Advertising in Dumbo needs a
highly organized Senior Project Manager/Web Producer. $65,000 - $85,000. NY Times & Monster

- Part time HR assistant at the Mercy Home. $11/hr. Craigslist

Previous job postings here.

Photo by MikeColvin82, Creative Commons license.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What's On BCAT This Week?

Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT) will be featuring Bay Ridge this Tuesday, October 9 at 8:30 p.m. BCAT visits Jerry and Judy Polizzi, owners of Polizzi Fine Art on Third Avenue for nearly 30 years; shops for ultra chic couture and vintage items at Lola's Boutique; checks in with T-shirt designer Roberta Thompson and much more.

Other shows this week include a visit to Brooklyn Hospital's Sleep Disorder Lab; Brooklyn Review's exploration of the anti-Semitic graffiti in Brooklyn Heights; a look at restaurants (and their effect on Brooklyn's economy); and so much more.

More information here.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Moon Over State Street

This huge sphere of light was raised by crane over State Street in Brooklyn Heights Friday night to aid in the filming of "Burn After Reading," set for release in 2008, starring John Malkovitch, George Clooney, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt.

- Clooney Clowns Around in Brooklyn Heights
- This Week's Filming Makes Parking a Disaster in Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights

Photo by MK Metz