Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is Manhattan Mike Moving into Brooklyn Dominic's Grinding Territory?

When it comes to itinerant knife grinders, there's only two: Mike Pallotta and his green truck, who plies his trade on the Upper West Side of Manhattan; and Dominic Del Re and his red truck, who has been sharpening knives in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope for more than a generation.

So McBrooklyn was shocked to find this unfamiliar face peering out an unfamiliar (but very Manhattanish) green grinding truck, bell ringing, parked on Henry Street near Love Lane in Brooklyn Heights the other day. We swear the guy inside looked positively nervous. He looked even more nervous when we took his picture.

Hey Dominic! You letting Mike weasel in on your territory, or what?

Photos by MK Metz

The Bride in the Thrift Shop Window

This bride and her maid wait for a suitor from the window of Brooklyn's Housing Works thrift shop on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Photo by MK Metz

Monday, February 25, 2008

Gersh Reads His Hate Mail

Brooklyn Paper's Gersh Kuntzman -- still on crutches -- received his Weekly Paper of the Year award recently down in Florida and his acceptance speech consisted of some of the funnier bits of his hate mail.

One line: "Gersh Kuntzman? What kind of a name is that? It sounds like a cross between a Muppet and a Jewish porn star."

(More hate mail talk at Gawker.)

Comfort Inn 'Brooklyn Bridge' Just Got Cheaper

Wow, that's cheap! A night at the "Comfort Inn Brooklyn Bridge" on Butler Street (near 3rd Avenue) is going for just $129 U.S. (That's before various discounts.) When we last checked, the official price ranged from $159-$319.

The hotel's location is generously listed on Booking.com as "City Centre." This description also appears on various web sites: "The Comfort Inn Brooklyn Bridge is ideally located between the trendy Cobble Hill and Park Slope neighborhoods of Brooklyn."

Note that it's also located between trendy Vancouver, Canada and super hip Sydney, Australia.

If you decide to visit, don't miss the comments on Booking.com. One correspondent put it rather blandly: "The location is not exactly as described."

On the other hand, rates for the same nights range from $319 - $519 at the Brooklyn Marriott (that's the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.) So if you're a hardy individual (it's only seven blocks to the Atlantic Avenue subway stop) with a sense of adventure and an appreciation for the industrial side of life, you could save yourself a few bucks!

New York Magazine also provides a review.

UPDATE: Gabby at Brownstoner asks: "I wonder how much has to do with winter slowdown or if this is a larger trend among the hotel cluster in Gowanus. Are rates also slashed at Holiday Inn Express and Le Bleu?"

Good question. In mid-January, Brownstoner posted a telling history of Le Bleu's rates, which by that point were as low as $136! A quick rate check today shows that Le Bleu has drifted back up. There are a few days where you can book for as low as $216, but the typical web sale promo rate is $270.

The Holiday Inn Express on Union Street, as of today, is offering discount rates ranging from $270 - 349.

We checked in with TripAdvisor to see how everyday travelers ranked Brooklyn hotels. Here's what came up:

Brooklyn's Top-Rated Hotels

(Top photo courtesy Comfort Inn's web site. Bottom photo from Google Maps.)

Leap Year Auction at Dumbo Arts Center

Dumbo Arts Center sent us word of its Leap Year Auction, which " promises a night of lively bidding and a chance to take home a wonderful work of art. Art purchases at non-profit auctions are the cornerstone of many of today's leading contemporary art collections," says DAC.

The Silent Auction will be on view and open for bidding in the gallery and online from February 22 through February 29, 2008, until the Live Auction concludes.

Auctioneer: Christopher Gaillard, courtesty of Sotheby's
Friday, February 29, 2008
Starting at 6:00PM
Live Auction begins at 8:00PM

Brooklyn Paper, Daily News, Brooklyn Eagle, Courier Life at Reporter Roundtable

BCAT (Brooklyn Community Access Television) brings us what promises to be a rousing Reporter Roundtable today at 1 p.m. (also Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and more showings Thursday and Friday).

In this episode, editor Gersh Kuntman of the Brooklyn Papers is joined by Jotham Sederstrom of the NY Daily News, Sarah Ryley of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Tom Tracy of Courier Life. The panel discusses Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s recent State of the Borough address, Atlantic Yards, Super Tuesday in Brooklyn, the Gowanus canal development and residential parking permits.

More here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Smallest Snowman in Brooklyn

This teeny little feller was seen on Degraw Street in Cobble Hill.

Photo by MK Metz

Snow Mountain in Cadman Park

Where did all the snow go in Cadman Plaza Park?

Kids worked all day Sunday to gather it into this cool Snow Mountain.

This is probably the most snow in one place in Downtown Brooklyn / Brooklyn Heights since the Blizzard of '06.

Photo by MK Metz

Icicles, Brooklyn Supreme Court

As the air warmed Sunday, icicles dripped off branches on Cadman Plaza West, across the street from the courthouse.

Photo by MK Metz

Friday, February 22, 2008

Boerum Hill's 'Toxic School' Head: Saint or Flim-Flam Man?

Something smells at Boerum Hill's infamous "toxic preschool" (the Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool at 25 Dean Street). The headmaster is either a nice guy who is definitely gonna pay back all those parents real soon -- or a shady flim-flam man.

In Brooklyn Eagle's latest installment of this weird story, the head of the school, Andy Lewis, claims: "We’re processing checks as we speak. The CPA is working on it.”

Meanwhile paperwork obtained by the Eagle shows that Lewis's BBCC (Better Broolyn Community Center, the umbrella non-profit) has affiliated itself "with a seemingly unrelated Long Island-based limited liability company called Blank Lane Farms in Water Mill, N.Y." So while parents were sending unanswered emails and and begging the Borough President for help, Lewis was reorganizing? Transferring assets? What?

A few more quotes:

Leticia James: “I don’t know if the parents will be reimbursed fully."

Parents and teachers, owed thousands of dollars: "“I guess this guy is going to walk clean and free. Must be nice, right? To get away with that much money that you can just walk away with.”

Internal Revenus Service: Get In Touch.

More here.

- Brooklyn's Toxic Preschool: Parents Out of Luck?
- 'Toxic' Preschool Families Get Help From Brooklyn Borough Hall Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Toxic Boerum Hill Preschool to Reopen, Director Says McBrooklyn

- 'Toxic' Brooklyn School to Reopen? Brooklyn Eagle
- More Trouble at 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill McBrooklyn

- 'Toxic' Preschool Parents Wonder: Where's the Money? Brooklyn Eagle
- Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool Nightmares A Child Grows in Brooklyn
- Toxic Preschool in Brooklyn? Brooklyn Eagle
- 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill? McBrooklyn

Snow in Downtown Brooklyn

Top: A hard-working snow-plow man clears up the sidewalks around the courthouses on Adams Street Friday morning.

Middle: Fulton Street.

Bottom: Cadman Plaza Park.

Photos by MK Metz

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brooklyn Heights Swastika Man Has First Day in Court

Ivaylo Ivanov, the 37-year-old Bulgarian immigrant who went on a swastika spree in Brooklyn Heights AND shot himself in the hand, looked "meek and even gentle" at his court appearance Tuesday, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

"Dressed in a white-collared shirt, khaki pants and black overcoat, his thin face was clean-shaven, and his graying hair seemed fashionably messed up. He said nothing and only sighed once..."

More here.

- The Tragedy That Was Averted in Brooklyn
- AIDS Researcher Roomie of Brooklyn Heights Bomber Stays Mum

Navy Missile Hits Falling Satellite With One Shot

Bergen Flats Repairs

68 Bergen Street, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

We have a vague memory of seeing this place in operation more than a decade ago. Do they still fix tires? Do they still put sharp objects in the road halfway up the block?

Photo by MK Metz

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse From Brooklyn Heights

It will be the last total lunar eclipse until 2010.
Photo by MK Metz and friends

Brooklynites Pray For Help With Subprime Mortgages; God Listens

Mortgage foreclosures are up in several areas of Brooklyn. Church leaders step in to help.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Planning Workshop for the Disaffected

A public planning workshop has been announced by a group of organizations that have been critical of the current plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park. The session will take place Thursday, February 28, from 7 to 9 p.m., in conference rooms B and C of Long Island College Hospital, Hicks Street at Atlantic Avenue.

Multiple groups are sponsoring the event, including the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, the Cobble Hill Association, the local Sierra Club chapter and more, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The groups contend: “There was never a public planning process for Pier 6 as part of Brooklyn Bridge Park even though a public planning process was promised by the city and the state."

More here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Commandant's Mansion, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Taking a walk in Vinegar Hill, we ran across the Admiral's Mansion at Little and Evans Street. Overlooking the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the mansion was built about 1810.

This graceful building was the home of various Naval Yard commanders, including Commodore Matthew Perry.

UPDATE: The mansion is more properly called the Commandant's Mansion. You can find more information in this article in the NY Times.

Photo of mansion by MK Metz
Photo of Commodore Perry Library of Congress; Wikipedia

Public Scoping Meeting Re Toll Brothers Gowanus Canal Project

The Department of City Planning sent CB6 a statement declaring that Toll Brothers must prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Here are some quotations from the statement sent from CB6:

"Enclosed is the Positive Declaration for CEQR No. 08DCP033K, 363-365 Bond Street.

"A public scoping meeting has been scheduled for March 13, 2008 and will be held at the New York City Department of City Planning's Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street, New York, New York 10007. The meeting will begin at 2:00 PM. Written comments will be accepted by the lead agency until March 24, 2008.

"... Toll Brothers, Inc. is proposing discretionary actions in connection with the redevelopment of one block and a portion of a second block fronting the western shore of the Gowanus Canal... The proposed development would include residential, commercial and community facility uses. The project site comprises Block 458, Lot 1, which is bounded by 1st Street to the north, the Gowanus Canal to the east, 2nd Street to the south, and Bond Street to the west...

"The proposed actions consist of the following discretionary approvals under ULURP:
*A zoning map amendment
*A zoning text amendment
*Special permits
*A possible demapping of portions of 1st and 2nd Streets"

According to the statement, the proposed project may require approvals from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the US Army Corps of Engineers, a State Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (SPDES) permit from NYS DEC, a Tidal Wetlands permit, a Protection of Waters permit, a Long Island Well permit. Approvals may also be necessary from the city and state agencies for the allocation of funds for affordable housing.

Toll Brothers wants to develop approximately 605,380 gross square feet, including 447 residential units, 130 of which would be affordable; 1,500 gsf of commercial space; and 1,500 gsf of community facility space. 260 accessory parking spaces would be provided below grade. The proposed development would include the construction of a publicly accessible waterfront along the entire project site fronting the canal.

"The project site is adjacent to the Carroll Street Bridge ... Construction of the proposed project is anticipated to be completed by 2010."

The original documents from the Department of City Planning are available at the District Office for review during normal business hours.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dramatic Brooklyn Fire Rescue -- Kids Hanging Onto Window Ledge

Sorry, this newsfeed has gone out of business.

Purchase Building Still Stands. Police Blockade of New Dock Street Ends.

Surrounded by a faux green grass fence, the Purchase Building, at 11 Water Street under the Brooklyn Bridge, still stands -- though not for long. The building is going down any time now, to improve the view of the planned Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The building served as the temporary headquarters of the OEM (Office of Emergency Management, now at 165 Cadman Plaza), after Rudi's ill-fated bunker went down with the World Trade Center. After that, the OEM and the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office used the building to sift through material holding human remains from the World Trade Center.

The highly stylized sign on the front reads "Purchase Department; City of New York."

Now that the Purchase building is empty, the police car blocking access to New Dock Street is gone. For the first time in years we could walk all the way to -- but not into --the esplanade under the Brooklyn Bridge (photo left), scene in pre-9/11 days of some great BBQs. Unfortunately, the esplanade is still fenced shut. A request is in to the city to reopen it.

Pre-9/11 you could walk from the River Cafe onto the esplanade, then continue north on to Empire State Park.

Of course, the park wasn't quite so fussy back then. Local artists planted herbs around the rocks and left miniature art offerings to the gods. A raccoon lived in one of the trees.

- Purchase Building Out; Spitzer Photo Op In
- Emotional Visit to the Purchase Building

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New, Improved Renderings of Planned 360 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens

Someone sent CORD several renderings of the planned 360 Smith Street "Oliver House" over the last couple of days. In the bottom rendering, one can see the views from the Second Place side of the building.

Says CORD's Triada Samaras, "It is very easy to see how the scale dwarfs Second Place and Smith Street ... Unfortunately the scale of this building is IMMENSE and certainly far out of context on our litttle, narrow streets in CG!"

More renderings can be found at the Carroll Gardens Petition blog here. More than a thousand signatures so far.

- A List of Questions
- Carroll Gardens Landmarking Meeting
- DeBlasio to Meet with 360 Smith Street Petition Signers
- Size DOES Matter on Second Place
- Brooklyn Wednesday in Brief
- Smith Street: Zombies? Performance Art?
- 'Stop Scarano' Rally at DOB Today
- Brooklyn's Smith Street Today
- 'Protect Our Homes in Carroll Gardens' Petition

Stroller Mafia Alert in Downtown Brooklyn, and More Brooklyn in Brief, Presidents' Day Weekend

- Has the Belltel lofts' private Google forum been "hi-jacked by a bunch of stay at home moms with Entitlement Complex?" Should couples who contemplate having children even live in Downtown Brooklyn in the first place? Do we hate the Stroller Mafia? Is "imposing the will of your ovaries and whoever's sperm you're drunk on on the rest of the building in which you live beyond selfish and irresponsible?" Curbed

- Comment alert: A new, inexpensive, Indian buffet has opened in Dumbo. DumboNYC

- The nine luxurious Clocktower Residences at One Hanson Place are ready to roll. Prices range from $2.750 million to $5.875 million. Talk about views! Curbed

- Some idiots (for want of a better word) have destroyed seven trees at the Seba Avenue park, and they're not likely to be replaced. Gerritsen Beach

- The block is zoned residential only, so how is it that plans for an oyster bar at 303 Hoyt Street, next to the Black Mountain Wine Bar, are proceeding? Pardon Me For Asking

- So what is the reason for Schnack's "descent from glorious burger haven to rundown, just-about-to-be-closed burger shack?" A Brooklyn Life

- An assault takes place at the Pavilion movie theater. Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn

Friday, February 15, 2008

Brooklyn Gals Go On Four-State Shoplifting Spree

We always said that Brooklyn's lack of decent shopping malls would lead to extreme behavior.

Chunky Salsa Gets Closer: Landmarks Approves Brooklyn Trader Joe's

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Cobble Hill Trader Joe's stalkers, with all of the Trader Joe's not coming/yes coming rumors flying around.

Thank goodness yesterday Brownstoner got to the bottom of the delay: The grocer’s plans had to pass muster with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The store submitted additional documentation a few days ago, says Brownstoner, and the LPC "green-lighted the application."

Does this mean we can all, like, get a life?

LPC Gives Trader Joe's the Go-Ahead Brownstoner

- Trader Joe's: It's On the Map
- Trader Joe's to Open 'Late Spring?'
- The Future Trader Joe's
- Will Trader Joe's Be Haunted by the Spirits of Bankers Past?
- Everybody Gonna Hula to Brooklyn Trader Joe's
Sovereign Bank Moving to Make Room for Trader Joe's
- All Trader Joe's comments on McBrooklyn

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Satellite of Love, Coming Real Soon

Since the Pentagon sprung this on us on Valentine's Day (see previous post about the toxic satellite due to crash somewhere on Earth in a week or two), we've decided to dub the spiraling secret spy craft the "Satellite of Love."

As in the Lou Reed song named, coincidentally enough, "Satellite of Love."

Satellite's gone
Up to the skies

Things like that drive me

Out of my mind

I watched it for a little while
I like to watch things on TV

Satellite of love
Satellite of love

Satellite of love

Satellite of ...

Photo top by Toomuchkatherine, Creative Commons license
Video posted by Thiemon

Navy to Try to Destroy Satellite Before It Hits Earth

President Bush has ordered the Pentagon to to attempt to destroy a disabled 5,000 lb. U.S. spy satellite -- filled with toxic fuel -- that is falling back to Earth. The job must be done just before it re-enters the atmosphere, according to an AP story on US News & World Report. The satellite is expected to hit Earth during the first week of March; the attempt to take out the satellite could come as early as three or four days from now.

This is the first time the U.S. has attempted an interception of this sort.

- Pentagon plans to shoot down disabled satellite Reuters
U.S. Officials Say Broken Satellite Will Be Shot Down New York Times
U.S. Plans to Shoot Down Broken Spy Satellite Washington Post

Photo by Platinumblondlife, Creative Commons license

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Brooklyn House of Detention, Now With Retail

New York Magazine describes the revived plans to reinvent the jail system — and, they say, "gloss up Atlantic Avenue in the bargain." Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney showed early drawings by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of a “more vibrant shopping arcade” lining Atlantic and Smith — on the ground floor of the Brooklyn House of Detention -- doubled in size.

That Trader Joe's shown on the ground floor is for illustration purposes only -- Two Trees has confirmed that the deal is still on for TJ's to move into the old Independence Bank building at Atlantic and Court Streets.

Photo courtesy NYC Dept. of Design & Construction -- see it full size at New York Magazine.

Past posts on the Brooklyn House of Detention here.

Snow at Brooklyn Borough Hall Turns in Icy River of Slush

What a difference a day makes. The enchanting dusting of yesterday has turned into the icy slush of today.

Tip: Avoid the plaza around Borough Hall during a heavy rain. Poor drainage results in rivers of flowing water several inches deep. Pity the poor rats!

Photos by MK Metz

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Busy Chef Empire: Frozen Dinners or Homemade Cuisine?

Conflicting views of "the expanding Busy Chef empire" have been percolating through Brooklyn's blogosphere. The takeout establishment, with one store in Brooklyn Heights at the corner of Henry and Cranberry Streets, is getting ready to open at 111 Court Street (sometime in February, was the last word). And according to the Brooklyn Eagle, there are more stores planned for Chelsea and Fort Greene.

When Busy Chef opened on Henry Street, we ate the sandwiches and the Caesar salad several times, and found them to be delicious. But then came the change to prepackaged food and a decline in overall quality (though we must say that the baked items are still prime).

Commenters on sites like Brownstoner and Chowhound have expressed their opinions in the harshest possible terms. There's even a rumor flying around that the store won't survive to open on Court.

Then comes along this article in the Brooklyn Eagle about the extent of the work Busy Chef has nearly completed at 111 Court. Besides the parlor floor being totally revamped, a bakery and hot and cold kitchens are being installed below ground, and an outdoor patio is being built out back. (During the renovation, BC found "evidence of former Speakeasy trapdoors, ornate carvings and mirror placements in the basement.")

So what is the true identity of Busy Chef? TV dinners or fine cuisine? Popular Heights takeout or dead in the water?

More about 111 Court here.

- Busy Chef coming to Court Street

Photo by MK Metz

Monday, February 11, 2008

City's Gyms Crawling With Filth, and More Brooklyn in Brief

- John Catsimatidis told Brownstoner that he was "taking a hard look" at his 162 Myrtle Street project "in light of the current environment." Brownstoner

- Gwyneth Paltrow says she is considering adopting a child -- not from an impoverished African nation, but from Brooklyn. ShowbizSpy

- David Kramer (Hudson Companies) has been named chairman of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy board. Brooklyn Eagle

- The city's gyms are a crawling mess of dangerous filth. NYDailyNews via Racked

- Remember when you could buy a whole brownstone in Park Slope for $20,000? Neither do we. Gowanus Lounge

- London Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled a £500 million ($940 million) program to build extensive new bike networks and launch a bike-for-hire system. Streetsblog

- The Brooklyn Paper says we need them. Gothamist

Dumbo: Before the Storm

As the storm clouds rolled in yesterday.

Photo by MK Metz

Sex-Abuse Rabbi May Be Headed Back to Brooklyn

After two decades of asylum in Israel, the infamous Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz could be headed home to Brooklyn, where he will be prosecuted for sex abuse and sodomy of children, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. Mondrowitz and his family fled to Israel 23 years ago. More here.

In 1984, this “Wanted” poster was posted throughout Borough Park.
Photo courtesy TheAwarenessCenter.org

Sunday, February 10, 2008

High Winds Cause Scaffolding Problems in Brooklyn

A high wind advisory was in effect Sunday, and the Buildings Department issued a reminder to all builders, contractors, developers and property owners to secure their construction sites and buildings.

At the hight of the wind, firefighters checked out the scaffolding built around 20 Henry Street -- the Peaks Mason Mints building (also called the Candy Factory). Urban Realty Partners paid $19.6 million for the site last year. (Click on photo to see tiny firefighters walk the scaffolding.)

No word on what the firefighters found.

A scaffold did collapse at a site near East 12th Street and Avenue O in Midwood, leaving a big mess and crushing cars but causing no injuries, firefighters said. See wnbc for more.

Photo by MK Metz

'The Standish' Now Renting in Brooklyn Heights

This phone booth billboard on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights proclaims that "The Standish" is now renting 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.

Once owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses, 169 Columbia Heights (previously known as the Standish Arms) has been renovated by an affiliate of Taurus Investment Holdings, which purchased the 120-unit, 12-story building back in December, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

Taurus generally acquires assets, improves them, and then tries to sell them, according to the Eagle.

Awaye Realty, which is handling the rentals, did some research on the building's history. Apparently Superman lived in apartment 5G, and the building was the setting for Willy’s pivotal affair in "Death of a Salesman."

Not mentioned in the sales brochure was the spectacular Standish Arms Hotel Fire of 1966. A shocking photo (by Firefighter Francis Murphy) of a burning woman plunging through the hands of heroic Firefighter Rizzo can be seen at SteveSpak.com. More about the fire here.

According to some lively comments on Brownstoner, there are at least nine rent controlled tenants still at the Standish. (We remember when the invincible Alice, a waitress at the old Cadman Plaza Restaurant on Henry Street, used to live there.)

And yes, the coat-of-arms of the Standish includes -- what else -- a dish on a stand. In fact, three dishes on three stands.

Photo by MK Metz

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Atlantic Yards Photoshoot: Right to Bear Cameras

That story about the MTA officer that harassed someone shooting video of the Atlantic Yards footprint gave a lot of photographers the willies. Now, a "Photographer's Rights Free Expression Mobilization" is planned for Sunday, February 10 at 3PM.

Meet at the Brooklyn Bears Community Garden, Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue, entrance on Pacific. If there's heavy rain or snow, meet at Freddy's Bar, 485 Dean, corner of Sixth Avenue.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Photo by MK Metz

Gay Democrats Prefer Hillary and More Brooklyn in Brief, Weekend

- Why did twice as many gay Democratic voters prefer Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama on Super-Duper Tuesday? New York Magazine

- Trouble brewing at The Brooklyn Paper? A tipster tells Gawker that freelancers at the local weekly haven't been paid since last summer and the paper is "undergoing some turmoil." Gawker

- Millionaire Simon Taub and his wife are facing foreclosure on their Borough Park home. Two years ago, Taub convinced a judge to let him divide the million dollar Borough Park brownstone in two so he wouldn't have to relinquish it to his wife, Chana. New York Daily News via Curbed.

- The Bush administration wants to transfer billions of dollars from mass transit to highways. Streetsblog

- More New York’s local retailers are accepting the Euro as payment from their customers. Crain's New York Business

- A man left his keys in his Mercedes for just a minute and it was stolen. Bad. The next day, he spots a guy driving the stolen car into a gas station. Good. Brooklyn Paper

- BCAT community access television visits Dumbo Monday, at 12:30 and 8:30 p.m. This month they visit Recycle-A-Bicycle; Tivoli Home and Prague Kolektiv; and Spring. BCAT

Friday, February 8, 2008

African-American Celebration Friday Night, Downtown Brooklyn

African-American Celebration, 6:00 pm tonight, Friday, February 8 at Brooklyn Friends School in Downtown Brooklyn, features a soul food buffet, dance and music performances, and good times.

The theme is “The Harlem Renaissance,” and the featured presentation is Mickey Davidson and Company in “Swingin’ in Time.”

This family celebration takes place at the school’s 375 Pearl Street building. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and $55 for a family of four. All are invited to attend, with tickets available in the lobby of 375 Pearl Street the days before and at the door on the day of the celebration.

The Harlem Renaissance celebration begins with a soul food buffet dinner in the Cafeteria at 6:00 pm followed by a rousing program.

The Harlem Renaissance was an outstanding cultural movement out of which emerged a proliferation of black intellectuals, writers, musicians, actors, and visual artists. Although scholars have differing views on when it began and ended, most agree that the movement was at its height between the dawning of the Jazz Age in 1919 and the stock market crash in 1929. Among the luminaries associated with the Harlem Renaissance are W.E.B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, Bessie Smith, Marian Anderson, Zora Neale Hurston, Josephine Baker, Countee Cullen, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Brooklyn Heights House of Many Shingles

We've never seen shingle styles mixed like this before, at State and Henry Streets in Brooklyn Heights. (Click for closeup.)

Photo by MK Metz

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Brooklyn Craigslist Car Salesman Hires Hit Man to Wipe Out the Competition

He listed the cars on Craigslist, and figured he could double his business if he got rid of his biggest rival.

Brooklyn 'Toxic Preschool' Parents Out of Luck?

Councilwoman Letitia James has contacted the elusive head of Boerum Hill's "toxic preschool" (Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool), Andy Lewis, with a little question about all the refunds he owes the parents.

Now it seems like the parents -- along with a long line of teachers, landlords, and other people who have had dealing with Lewis -- may be out of luck.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, James said that Lewis has hired a lawyer, and he's got no money. If a parent wins in court, “It’s a paper victory,” James told the Eagle.

- Promises of Refund to Parents Underline History of Scandal As Toxic Preschool Moves On Brooklyn Eagle

UPDATE: Catch up with later news about Andy Lewis here.

- 'Toxic' Preschool Families Get Help From Brooklyn Borough Hall Brooklyn Eagle
- 'Toxic Boerum Hill Preschool to Reopen, Director Says McBrooklyn

- 'Toxic' Brooklyn School to Reopen? Brooklyn Eagle
- More Trouble at 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill McBrooklyn

- 'Toxic' Preschool Parents Wonder: Where's the Money? Brooklyn Eagle
- Brooklyn Children's Academy Preschool Nightmares A Child Grows in Brooklyn
- Toxic Preschool in Brooklyn? Brooklyn Eagle
- 'Toxic' Preschool in Boerum Hill? McBrooklyn

Roll Out the Barrel at Morton's in Downtown Brooklyn

Good times will roll when Morton's The Steakhouse opens in the new addition of the Brooklyn Marriott* in Downtown Brooklyn. According to Morton's, Wine Spectator gave its 2007 "Award of Excellence" to all of the 74 Morton’s steakhouses.

The restaurant will seat approximately 125 guests in the main dining room, 100 in Morton's exclusive private boardrooms and 70 in Bar 12-21, "Morton's new bar dining concept, the place for specialty cocktails and Morton's appetizing Bar Bites menu." (Belltel Lofts) .

Says Morton's, "In BAR 12-21, the night is open for business... from a crisp cocktail before dinner in the main room, to a full course meal without ever having to leave the comfort of your bar stool."

Tonight Community Board 2 will listen to comments about Morton's liquor license application. Based on the idea that we never, ever want to leave our barstool, McBrooklyn votes YES.

*"New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge"

- Red Blooded Downtown Brooklynites to Dine on Barely-Cooked Steak at 'Morton's The Steakhouse' -- and Apple (Or Maybe Barneys) Might Move In Next Door

Top two photos courtesy of Morton's The Steakhouse
Bottom photo by MK Metz

Nathan's, a 'Towering Wiener Wonderland,' and More Brooklyn in Brief Wednesday

- Billionaire and likely mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, whose Red Apple Group is developing a two-block complex on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, is putting the brakes on the project until the lending situation shakes itself out. Brownstoner and New York Magazine

- A little-known section of Coney Island's redevelopment plans could turn legendary hot dog haven Nathan's Famous into a towering wiener wonderland with clubs, stores and hotel rooms. NY Daily News

- MTA cop tries to confiscate videographer's camera at public Atlantic Yards site. It's shivers up your spine time. Atlantic Yards Report

- The rebuilt McCarren Pool will feature a huge swimming pool in summer and ice skating in winter. The details of the $50 million renovation were presented to a community meeting in Williamsburg. Gowanus Lounge

- The DOB approved plans for foundation work on the site of the planned Whole Foods at Third Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus. Brownstoner

- A study casts doubt on the safety of building along the Gowanus Canal, one month before the city is expected to announce a developer for 1,000 apartments and a park there. Brooklyn Eagle

Monday, February 4, 2008

Trader Joe's: It's On the Map

Prompted by much discussion about whether or not Trader Joe's is serious about opening a store at the corner of Atlantic and Court in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, we were led by poster Erin Freeley to actually look at the Trader Joe's Web site for confirmation. And there it was.

UPDATE: Brownstoner actually spoke to a representative for Two Trees, who said "the chatter is a lot of hooey," and that the store will eventually open. "The rumor is, well, just a rumor," says the rep. Brownstoner

In another update, the Cobble Hill blog says that Trader Joe's revealed their projected opening date: "We are aiming for sometime during the second quarter of next year." That's more than a year from now -- more than enough time to start some new rumors! CHB

- Trader Joe's to Open 'Late Spring?'
- The Future Trader Joe's
- Will Trader Joe's Be Haunted by the Spirits of Bankers Past?
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State and Court $$$ Rentals Still Available in Downtown Brooklyn

The three-bedroom, three-bath apartments perched atop 117-119 Court (at Smith) are still available.

The apartments are described as "loft like," with gas fireplaces, wood floors and high-end appliances.

The rents presently range from $8,100 to $8,500 -- according to a little piece of paper glued over the original asking prices.

Photos by MK Metz