Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fake Dynamite Snafu, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The proposed Dock Street DUMBO school is not up to city's standards -- the city's own architect says. Brooklyn Eagle and DumboNYC

- It took seven hours to give a blood test to an off-duty New York City police officer charged with driving drunk after his SUV killed a woman in Brooklyn. NY Times

- A kosher hot dog eating contest now comes to Brooklyn. NY Post

- Newark Mayor Cory Booker put Conan O'Brien

on Newark Airport's no-fly list. Huffington Post

- A Brooklyn property auction could bring in $7 million. Brooklyn Eagle

- The trial of Robert Lopez, the man arrested on his stoop with a prop-like bundle of fake dynamite that he wanted to turn into a piggy bank, is set for Friday, Oct. 2. The Local

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'The Prince of Mermaid Avenue' at Coney Island Film Festival

The Coney Island History Project sends word that "The Prince of Mermaid Avenue," a film by Charles Denson, will be premiering on Opening Night of The Coney Island Film Festival, October 2, Friday, 7:30 pm at Coney Island USA.

Here's a description of the film:

Jimmy Prince was the last link to what Mermaid Avenue meant to Coney Island in the “good old days.” The Avenue was once a bustling street of family-run mom-and-pop stores. Each block had bakeries, luncheonettes, five-and-dimes, clothing and shoe stores, furniture stores, delis, and butchers. It was a tight-knit community.

The city’s urban renewal plan of the 1960s called for the demolition of the entire West End, including Mermaid Avenue, and few businesses survived the development onslaught. Jimmy Prince transformed his Major Meat Market into the soul of an earlier era, a cordial oasis of
tradition and hope, a throwback to what Coney Island was and what many dreamed it could be again one day. Prince worked at Major’s for sixty years, seven days a week, twelve hours a day, and formed a unique relationship with a community that hungered for respect.

When he finally faced retirement, it became a painful process that dragged on for over a year, just as the city was heralding another master plan. He dreaded making a formal announcement about the store’s closing, but his friends could sense it was coming. His loyal customers expressed their love for him and their fear for a future without him. This film documents Jimmy’s decision to retire and the painful process of leaving the Coney Island community that he loved and supported for so many years.

Screening venue:
Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. 2nd Floor
(please note: this venue is not wheelchair accessible)

Advance tickets & info @

Photo courtesy of the Coney Island History Project

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's de Blasio and Liu In NYC Primary Runoffs

Bill de Blasio won the primary runoff against Mark Green for the position of Public Advocate, and John Liu outpaced David Yassky for City Comptroller, NY1 reports.

Bill de Blasio won by a wide margin -- roughly 62 percent vs. 37 percent for Mark Green. Liu garnered 56 percent of the vote vs. Yassky's 44 percent.

All four candidates were generally considered well qualified. But voter turnout was extremely light.

The New York Times points out that Mr. Liu and Mr. de Blasio both enjoyed the support of the labor-backed Working Families Party.

The general election takes place Nov. 3.

Photo by MK Metz

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Brooklyn's Hotest Firefighter At It Again, And More Brooklyn Briefs

- The five-alarm Brooklyn firefighting stud who sparked an FDNY scandal with an X-rated video is embroiled in another scorcher, says the NY Post -- he's named as the "other man" in the New Jersey divorce of a reality-show contestant who stabbed her husband. Hot hot hot! NY Post

- Investigators know the identities of at least three people believed to be in on a bombing plot they say might have targeted mass transit in the New York area. Huffington Post

- Noise from the night life on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge is making the neighborhood unlivable, residents say, and DEP and the 68th Precinct have been called in. Brooklyn Eagle

- Let me on his plane: Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who guided a US Airways flight into New York's Hudson River will return to flying regular flights along with some new duties. Crain's NY

- A Brooklyn team who sell tacos from a truck in Red Hook has been named New York City's best street vendor. Crain's NY and Village Voice

- A Bensonhurst lawmaker said this week he has devised an elegant solution to the neighborhood’s waste transfer facility problem: move it to Sunset Park. Brooklyn Paper

- You know we're in trouble when health care workers refuse to get the new H1N1 vaccine. Crain's NY

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'County of Kings' Set in Sunset Park: Spike Lee Presents Lemon Andersen

We received word from Mark Schenkel about a new production presented by Spike Lee and the Culture Project, County of Kings. The show is set in Sunset Park, during the birth of hip-hop; taking the audience back to the days of B-boys, tracksuits, Adidas, and Boogie Down Productions.

Here's the story:

County of Kings, written and performed by Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican poet Lemon Andersen, gives a tough, yet moving biographical account of a good kid growing up in an unforgiving environment. Mixing difficult drama and occasional humor with his own brand of urban poetry, Lemon uses his unique perspective and talent to bring his own coming-of-age story to life.

Lemon Andersen is best known from his regular appearances on HBO’s Def Poetry presented by Russell Simmons, and as an original cast member and writer of the TONY award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. He can also be seen opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, and is featured in The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.

The show will begin its run at the Public Theater on October 12th, with previews starting September 29th. ALL tickets for preview performances are $25.

County of Kings plays Tuesday through Sunday at The Public Theater’s Newman Stage, 425 Lafayette Street. For a full schedule, please visit

Graphic courtesy of Culture Project

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Monday, September 28, 2009

D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival 2009

Dumbo was a wonderland of art, mystery, humor, weirdness and spontaneity this past weekend with the 13th annual D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival sponsored by the Dumbo Arts Center (DAC). The crowds were big Saturday and came back on Sunday after the rain slowed. Here are a few photos from one of our favorite NYC events:

Above, The Experience of Green by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen --an impressive installation at DAC (runs through November). The site-specific piece is
a walk-through labyrinth of old growth trees made entirely from red kraft paper.

Stir Crazy, performance by Ryan Roth. Here, Roth has been forced by these economic times into an "endangered, caged and untamed, business werewolf." That wolf face is made from recycled corporate-style shoes.

The Tree of Life: Reina Kubota's plastic bag installation glowed from within.

Preparing for a projection show in Empire/ Fulton Ferry State Park.

A suit made of ?

More stories and photos:
Brooklyn Eagle

Photos copyright MK Metz

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rain Delays Summer Space On Montague Street

Due to this morning's rain, Summer Space on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights rescheduled the planned activities for later in the afternoon. You can see from the above photo that we got there at just the wrong time.

Unfortunately we had plans to be elsewhere during the afternoon (in Dumbo for the Art Under the Bridge Festival) so we missed the Heights Players perform excerpts from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and the parade of decorated bikes, scooters and strollers. Anybody know if events went on as planned?

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Iranian-Americans March Across Brooklyn Bridge to Protest Sham Ahmadinejad Election

Driving across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, we saw hundreds of Iranian Americans -- carrying long green scroll -- marching to denounce Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is speechifying about his so-called democratic reelection at the the United Nations this week.

The color green has the symbol of opponents of Ahmadinejad since the election last June. According to the Wall Street Journal, the scroll is one mile long and holds signatures from across the world saying "Ahmadinejad is not Iran's president."

The march, which began in Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn, was one of a series of events organized by Where Is My Vote-NY, NORCAL4Iran, Where Is My Vote-DC, and Cycling for Human Rights in Iran.

Photos by MK Metz

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Driveway Squash in Sunset Park, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Outnumbered by nearly 200 students from Brooklyn Tech, the Jew-hating Westboro Baptist Church protesters cut their protest a bit short. Fort Greene/NYT

- State Street property owners protest possible Brooklyn Friends School expansion. Brownstoner, Brooklyn Paper Brooklyn Friends School responds to the controversy. Brooklyn Eagle

- Check it out: Driveway Squash in Sunset Park. Best View in Brooklyn

- A Brooklyn man is accused of trying to aid terrorists. NYT

- Hackers take over a Brooklyn man's Facebook account. NY1

- Brooklyn has not been battered by the recession as hard as the rest of the city has. Crain'sNY

- The FDIC’s insurance fund is going broke. Wonder who's going to pay the bill? Bloomberg

- U.S. Government finds $20 trillion buried by absentminded Reagan in 1987. TheOnion

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

'Green Brooklyn, Green City' Today at Borough Hall -- Thursday, September 24

Music, apple cider donuts, and tents full of green information will greet you all day (September 24, 2009) at Brooklyn Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn.

Learn about being a "sustainable Brooklynite," then pick up some fresh produce at the farmer's market on the plaza.

Above: Raizes Do Brazil practice before the event.

Photo by MK Metz

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D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival Sept. 25 - 27, 2009

Don't miss this fascinating, art-filled weekend: The Dumbo Arts Center's (DAC) 13th annual D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival takes place from Sept. 25th to Sept. 27th.

DAC says:

The three-day multi-site neighborhood-wide event is a one-of-a-kind art happening: where serendipity meets the haphazard and where the unpredictable, spontaneous and downright weird thrive.

Art Under the Bridge is an opportunity for young artists to use any medium imaginable to create temporary projects on-the-spot everywhere and anywhere, completely transforming Dumbo.

In addition to the 80+ projects throughout the historical waterfront, visitors can tour local artists' studios or check out the indoor video_dumbo, a non-stop program of cutting-edge video art from New York City and around the world.

From the 2008 festival: The modified crane contraption above was called The Clone Corporation, by Kate Kaman and Joel Erland. Instead of toys, you tried to grab fetus sculptures. It cost two dollars per attempt.

Examples from this year's festival:

Welcome to NYC; Boomtown 2006 by Artcodex creates a commentary about the failing boom markets of art and real estate by recreating New York as a post goldrush town. Performance times: Sat. 12-2PM; Sun. 2-4PM

Ballooning Awareness is an interactive roaming performance by John Bonafede that prompts youngsters to answer the question: "What is climate change and what should we do about it?" Performance times: Sat. 12PM; Sun. 12PM

The Tree of Life: Reina Kubota’s plastic bag installation blooms under the night sky.

Stir Crazy: Come see Ryan Roth, forced by these economic times into the endangered, caged and untamed, business werewolf. Performance times: Fri. 8-9PM; Sat. 12-9PM; Sun. 12-9PM

Eco-disco: Join Scott Rummler at the disco and experience a dialogue between nature, technology, and culture.

Tercet: Throughout the streets, Angela Silver questions meaning in contemporary experience by usurping the ubiquitous traffic sign system and replacing the text with multi-lingual poetics.

The Red Arrow Project. Follow the arrows, find the kites, and see where they take you. Christian Cerrito and Jennifer Fisher. Performance times: Sat. 12-6PM; Sun. 12-6PM

See the full schedule here.

UPDATE: See photos from the festival here.

Photos copyright MK Metz, 2007 - 2009

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Monday, September 21, 2009

McBrooklyn: Visiting a Loved One In the Hospital

McBrooklyn won't be posting any Brooklyn news today. A loved one is in the hospital, and we'll be staying there with them till they get out.

Photos by MK Metz

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Ratner, the Nets, and the Russian Billionaire

Yesterday the Empire State Development Corp. rubber stamped the revised plans for the Net's Atlantic Yards arena (and here).

It also came out yesterday in Reuters that Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's richest man, is putting together a deal to issue $700 million in bonds to help the team (and developer Bruce Ratner) build the arena. NBC New York says the Reuters story is "suspicious."

Field of Schemes asks, "The big question is: What would Prokhorov be getting in exchange for his $700 million? The entire Nets franchise is worth less than $300 million."

No Land Grab says this investment would be "the ultimate Ratner bailout."

- Funny Crowd at Ratner's 'Brooklyn Day' Rally
- Q: What Do Anheuser-Bush, Izod, Foxwoods and Cushman & Wakefield Have to Do With Forest City Ratner?
- Brooklyn Museum Ratner Protest: Dress Formal
- Walkathon Against Atlantic Yards Oct. 14
- Atlantic Yards: Uh, Is It Too Late to Stop the Check?
- Another Erie Atlantic Yards Occurrence: 'Ratner Curse?'
- Ward Bakery Rains Down On Cars Below

Photo by Eric I. E., Creative Commons license

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

PARK(ing) Day Is Friday -- Brooklyn Has 12 So Far

PARK(ing) Day is an annual event where artists and regular folks temporarily transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks, for just one day. The event premiered in Brooklyn in 2005.

This Friday (tomorrow), 55 parking spaces around New York will be turned into wacky, beautiful or theme-oriented pop-up parks -- with 12 (so far) in Brooklyn. These include Cortelyou Road Park, Fixcity on Bedford, LITTLEJOHN Park, 5th Ave. Bike Lane Love, Buckminster Fuller Park, Bedford Village Park, Gnarly Vines on Myrtle and more. The photo above shows one of last year's PARK(ing) spaces on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights.

See the web site for more; also see the new PARK(ing) Day contest here.

More park descriptions can be found at Brooklyn Based.

Photo by MK Metz

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The Mystery Rock at Borough Hall, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The 6th Annual Brooklyn Country Music Festival starts today (Thursday) and runs through Saturday at Southpaw. Brooklyn Country Music

- Innocence lost: Nick Carr discovers what those large plastic rocks at Brooklyn Borough Hall really are . . . Huffington Post

- Dan Brown's (The Da Vinci Code) newest novel, The Lost Symbol, sold more than 1 million copies after just one day on the shelves. Crain's New York

- Free theater, yoga and a flea market on Montague Street this upcoming Sunday. Brooklyn Eagle

- Someone threw hundreds of copies of an obscene, anti-Obama poem from a building in Metrotech Wednesday. Brooklyn Paper

- The Brooklyn Flea was featured in a Japanese TV documentary. Again. Brownstoner

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Gay. DUMBO. Party. Tonight.

GUMBO is DUMBO’s first gay party.

When: Thursday, September 17th, 8pm-1am
Where: Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St (@ Water St)

More at DumboNYC.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marketing Underway at 345 Adams Street, Brooklyn

Wrapped up with yellow ribbon like a Christmas present, 345 Adams Street's marketing program has begun in earnest.

Rumors of a Borders move-in proved to be unfounded; locals have pushed for Downtown Brooklyn's first Apple Store. But according to the Brooklyn Eagle, Greenstone Realty is looking for retailers that will be complementary to Morton’s: “Not a Staples and not a Duane Reade, although I’ve been approached by both, and maybe not a Tiffany’s, but definitely something like a Brooks Brothers.”

- The 'Secret History' of the Big Blank Wall at 345 Adams Street
- 345 Adams Street, Downtown Brooklyn
- 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
- Apple Store in Brooklyn -- A Recommendation
- Brooklyn's 'City Point' Compared to the Time-Warner Center; Can an Apple Store Be Far Behind?

Photo by MK Metz

Photo by MK Metz

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Film at Brooklyn Borough Hall Tonight: 'Iron Man,' Robert Downey, Jr.

Tonight (Wednesday, September 16) Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and the Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn Business Improvement District will present the Oscar-nominated film Iron Man starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the second and final film in the “Midweek Movies in Columbus Park” series.

Musical entertainment begins at 5:30pm with Rad Pony, followed by Scott Beowulf at 6:30. The movie screening begins at 7:30pm (expected to last till about 10 p.m.). Free valet bike parking will be provided by Transportation Alternatives.

Columbus Park: Brooklyn Borough Hall (Court and Joralemon) in Downtown Brooklyn/ Brooklyn Heights.

Cellphone photo sent in by Lae.

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'50 Years as a City Priest' -- Reflections of Father John McNamee, in Downtown Brooklyn

We received this notice from a member of the Brooklyn Oratory Parish Council:

The renowned Philadelphia priest, poet, author and social activist John McNamee -- author of "Diary of a City Priest" and subject of the movie of the same name -- will share his reflections on a half century as an urban priest on September 20th at 1 p.m. at 111 Willoughby St, 2nd floor, Downtown Brooklyn.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NYC Primary Watch Parties/ Bonus: Video Voter Guide

We've received invitations to a few Primary Watch parties. (RSVPs required). Where do politicians hold their parties? Here's what we know so far:

- Tony Avella's campaign sent in word that their Primary Results Watch Party will be held at the Little Italy restaurant Il Cortile, in Manhattan.

David Yassky's Primary Night Party takes place at Arena, on West 41st Street in Manhattan

- Bill de Blasio will be partying the night away at the Water Street Bar and Restaurant in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

- New Yorkers for Thompson announced their primary night celebration will be at DC 37 headquarters on Barclay Street, Manhattan.

- Letitia James didn't send us word of a party. She did, however send something even better: a helpful link to the NYC Video Voter Guide, designed to provide voters with an opportunity to watch and hear the candidates. (Click on Watch Voter Guide.)

This guide has seriously helped us decide who we support. If you haven't yet made up your mind, devote a few minutes to these videos. You may be surprised at who impresses you.

General voting information here.

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Don't Be Alarmed: Coast Guard Exercises Today in NY Harbor

We received this notification from NYC last night:

The U.S. Coast Guard will be conducting exercises in the East River, Hudson River, and New York Harbor between 9 AM and 3 PM on Tuesday 9/15/09. Expect additional Coast Guard vessel activity in these areas.

This notice is likely aimed at avoiding the panic caused on Sept. 11 when the Coast Guard sent gunboats to the Potomac River in Washington D.C. as part of a training exercise.

Photo by Rennett Stowe

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Excellent Brooklyn Book Festival

The gods have smiled (again) on the Brooklyn Book Festival. The weather was outstanding for this event which is becoming more major every year.

This year: more stages, more authors (both superstars and newly discovered) , more signings, more books, and Comic Con.

Authors Raina Telgemeier, Ann Martin, Danica Novgorodoff and George O'Connor speak about love, war and adventures in babysitting.

The Target dog entertained kids outside the red Target tent, where children's authors read their books and kids did arts and crafts.

The Brooklyn Book Festival “Best of Brooklyn” or “BoBi” Award for outstanding contributions to literature was presented to Haitian author Edwidge Danticat, at the Festival Gala on Saturday. St. Francis College presented its $50,000 literary prize for an author’s fourth book of fiction to Aleksandar Hemon (Love and Obstacles).

The Brooklyn Book Festival is put together by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Literary Council and Brooklyn Tourism.

Photos by MK Metz

Previous Book Festival stories here.

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Big Crowd Hears Smokey Robinson at Brooklyn Concert Saturday

In spite of the rain, a big crowd showed up to hear Smokey Robinson play at a free concert Saturday morning at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn Heights.

It was the high point of the Recovery Rally, sponsored by A&E to “raise awareness that addiction is a treatable disease and recovery is possible.”

Hundreds of participants marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza. (There were no midnight or 7 a.m. sound checks this year. Yay!)

After the show, there were big traffic jams on Cadman Plaza West as buses picked up the participants in the middle of the street. Oddly, there were no police directing traffic, as is typical during an event of this size.

Photos by MK Metz

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Hate Big Google Search Box. But Bing's Is Right Size!

We hate the new Google search box.

There's probably no one who searches on Google who hasn't noticed the design change. Big-ass search box, BIG TYPE, squarish buttons.

After struggling to reset the options or change the view, it slowly sank in that some new, clunky, malformed Google has forever replaced our old, spiffy Google. It's so out of balance -- if you adjust the search box text size, the "results" text is too small. (Though some speculate this will help senior seachers, it won't because the results are the same size as always.)

We can't stand looking at the Google search page anymore. It hurts our eyes.

Is this a Bing attack? Wait -- we never use Bing --
but we used it today for the first time, and Bing's search box is the right size!

Compare old and new Google at TechCrunch.

UPDATE: It seems that it is being tested in different countries and on different browsers. On some versions of Firefox it is bigger and uglier than others. Anyone comment on how it appears on their browser?

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A Day of Broken Umbrellas In Brooklyn

Rain and high winds are forecast for all day today, playing havoc with outdoor 9/11 plans. (See here for a list of both indoor and outdoor memorials and other events.)

This photo was shot about 8:30 this morning from above the pathway that runs between the Brooklyn Marriott and Morton's Steakhouse in Downtown Brooklyn. The pathway created quite a wind tunnel, destroying many umbrellas.

Photo by MK Metz

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Free 9/11 Concert at Brooklyn Borough Hall Today at Noon

From Brooklyn Borough Hall:

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Brooklyn Borough Hall will observe the 8th anniversary of September 11 with a free concert featuring the Brooklyn Symphony Quartet. The concert will be presented as part of the September Concert Foundation.

The concert takes place from noon to 1 p.m. Brooklyn Borough Hall is located at 209 Joralemon St. between Court and Adams Streets in Downtown Brooklyn.

There are many other concerts, exhibits and events today in memory of September 11. See the Brooklyn Eagle for the full list.

Twin Light 9/11 memorial photo by Sister 72, Creative Commons license

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Never Forget

On Columbia Heights, Brooklyn Heights.

Photo by MK Metz

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Natures Rules at Empire Stores

Empire Stores, DUMBO, Brooklyn, with plants growing from each doorway.

Photo by MK Metz

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Shooting DUMBO

Lots of people like to shoot photos of this slice of the Manhattan Bridge, seen from Washington Street in DUMBO.

On our recent walk along the street, not only were these three folks shooting the bridge, but four or five others were taking the same photo at the same time.

Photo by MK Metz

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Abusive Bar Mitzvah Tutor, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A solar powered film series starts Thursday. Brooklyn Eagle

- The case of a blogger accused of threatening three Chicago federal judges is moving from Illinois to Brooklyn. Newsday

- A Brooklyn teen shoots himself in the penis. WPIX

- McCarren Pool skate park seems to have opened a little early. Curbed

- The Bar Mitzvah tutor convicted of sexually abusing two boys will be sentenced Wednesday in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Eagle

- The Federal Housing Administration may need a bailout if prices keep going down. TRD

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Campaign Flyers Up the Wazoo in Brooklyn

Is your mailbox like ours? Look at all of these campaign flyers!

Out of the 20 flyers we received in the last two days, seven were from Bill de Blasio, two were from Ken Diamondstone, one was from Isaac Abraham, three from Evan Thies, three from Eric Gioia, three from Mark Green, and one from David Weprin. Obviously Bill de Blasio is the clear winner in flyer distribution.

What does it cost to run a campaign, anyway? Bill de Blasio has raised about $1.5 million to date, according to the Campaign Finance Board. Mark Green has raised $508,000 so far. David Yassky has raised $1.9 million. David Weprin has brought in $1.7 million. John Liu has raised $2.9 million. Norman Siegel has just $298,000. Bob Zuckerman raised $94,000. Sebastian Ulanga has raised $6,500. Ken Diamondstone brought in $60,300.

A (very) random sampling determines that campaigns have raised a (very) rough average of $800,000 apiece from citizens big and small.

- An eco-friendly self-sustaining aquatic artists’ colony Waterpod.

- The annual operating budget for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

- Fine paid by 20 TV stations after airing Janet Jackson's bare breast during the 2004 Superbowl.

- A Civil War era decoy duck.

- A four-bedroom Intracoastal Waterfront beachside pool home with panoramic views and a deep water dock in Daytona Beach, Florida.

- A Japanese Bently Tetsu GTR automobile.

- A new $800,000 comfort station for the baseball field at Eighth Avenue and 65th Street.

- The renovation of 40 affordable homes in the Hudson Valley.

- The entire purchase of fertilizers, improved seeds, tractors and Agro-chemicals to address the Africa food crisis under the Multi-National Rice Dissemination program.

There! Doesn't that make you feel better about politics?

Photo of Waterpod by MK Metz
Photo of luxury home for sale courtesy of RE/MAX All Pro Realty.
Photo of rice courtesy of IRRI:

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The Spiral Pool Takes Shape at Brooklyn Bridge Park

You can make out the beginnings of the Spiral Pool upland of Pier 2 at the future Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The Spiral Pool, seen in the map above and the rendering below, will allow canoers and kayakers access to the water.

Photo by MK Metz
Map and rendering courtesy of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp

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Friday, September 4, 2009

An Altar to Mistletoe and Holly in DUMBO

This altar/Gohonzon thing featuring Mistletoe and Holly hangs on an exterior wall in DUMBO near 65 Jay Street. Besides portraits of dogs we assume to be Mistletoe and Holly are coins, gods and Buddhas, little animal statues and rubber duckies, a license plate, stones, Tabasco Sauce, cards and letters and what-not.

Photo by MK Metz

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Fort Greene Stay-at-Home Dads and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Now it's a trend: dads in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill now have their very own Stay-at-Home Dads Group! Clinton Hill Blog

- A Brooklyn firehouse was told by the city to close for a half hour to bathe a circus elephant as a publicity stunt. NY Mag

- A man was pistol-whipped Thursday night in front of 61 Pierrepont St. in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights Blog

- A man fatally shot himself on Hicks Street near Union Street Tuesday evening. Brooklyn Eagle

- A police officer in Brooklyn shot a man suspected of trying to rob a teenager on Thursday night in Bed-Stuy. NY Times

- P.S. 8 Principal Seth Phillips gives little credence to the F his school received on the school reports cards last year, or the A the school received this year. Brooklyn Eagle

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Last Outdoor Movie of the Summer at Brooklyn Bridge Park Tonight (Thursday)

Movies With a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park will be winding up the season with a viewing of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. This is one of the movies that was rained out earlier this summer, and voted back by popular demand.

Info: Lawn, Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park section of Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. Thursday, Sept. 3, 6 - 11 PM (The main movie doesn't actually start till dark, and will be preceded by a short film. DJs from Brooklyn Radio spin while the sun sets, and RICE sells food on site.)

Photo by MK Metz

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Can't Get Much Weirder at Brooklyn's St. Saviour Elementary School

Our Story So Far:
It was only last May that parents clamored to get their children into Park Slope's desirable St. Saviour elementary school, led for 26 years by beloved Principal James Flanagan.

Cue to the dark cloud swooping over the smiling faces . . . in the form of Pastor Daniel S. Murphy, a relative newcomer. On May 11, Fr. Murphy sent a memo to the teachers at St. Saviour informing them that Principal Flanagan was being let go as of June.

Chaos ensued. Teachers cried in the halls, parents (who had just dropped off their deposits) attempted to have a meeting with Fr. Murphy, but were refused. Letters and calls went unanswered. Parents held protest marches, prayer vigils, sent letters to the press, started St. Saviour Preservation Society and a web site, and sent letters to the Bishop and superintendent.

Fr. Murphy told the Brooklyn Eagle that the firing was in accordance with the Bishop's long-term vision of the future. The Bishop, however, distanced himself, saying that the Pastor was totally and singly in charge of his parish, hiring and firing.

Fr. Murphy quickly appointed a new principal, parish insider Maura Lorenzen. Lorenzen, recently a well-regarded co-director at Congregation Beth Elohim’s Early Childhood Center, has said nothing since starting her new job, as protests continue to swirl around her.

According to the Eagle, accusations that Lorenzen is plotting with Fr. Murphy to hike tuition or even dump the school and rent the property to the City for use as a public charter school have been aired. (Fr. Murphy denies the latter.)

Mr. Flanagan appealed to the Diocese. He won his appeal, but apparently that carries no weight.

Our Story Today:
Now the Brooklyn Eagle reports that Fr. Murphy has turned down a mediator's recommendation that Principal Flanagan return to St. Saviour for one more year, this time as a co-principal.

Father Murphy told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday "that he has indeed declined to have Flanagan return as a co-principal," but "did not elaborate on his reasons."

Meanwhile, some parishioners are leaving St. Saviour to attend Mass at another church. Others are diverting money from the collection basket. More parent protests are planned.

Can it get any weirder? Can Fr. Murphy possibly screw the situation up any more than he has?

And about the Diocese of Brooklyn -- They have the power to close a school, to combine schools into academies, to hire and fire pastors. Can they really claim they have absolutely no influence over Fr. Murphy?

As they fiddle, Rome burns.

Mediator's Solution Rejected Brooklyn Eagle

Parents Still Protest Brooklyn Eagle
Catholic Parents Protest Firing of Beloved Principal Brooklyn Eagle

- St. Saviour Principal Speaks McBrooklyn
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Brooklyn Book Festival: What To Do, Where To Go

The Brooklyn Book Festival, on Sunday, September 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. is bigger than ever this year -- with so many authors (more than 220), panels and events that it pays to plan ahead.

Besides panel discussions and readings, there will be young adult and children’s programming and a literary marketplace in Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza. Readings will be held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, in Borough Hall Plaza and Columbus Park, at St. Francis College and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Go to the Events section of the Book Festival web site and pick out your authors and discussions. It's an easy ten minute or less walk between Borough Hall and St. Francis College or the Historical Society.

Build in extra time to pick up your tickets at the information booth at Borough Hall. (It seems that a booth will be located on Montague Street as well this year -- see below in the Where to Eat section.) Some events require tickets (those in the Borough Hall Courtroom and the St. Francis Auditorium) and some don't. Tickets are free but are only available one hour before each event, so be strategic if you think an event you really want to attend will be very popular.

Where to Eat:
Montague Street (it runs into Court Street right across from the Festival) will be holding a foodie celebration that merchants are calling a 'festival of nosh.' (More here) Visitors can taste their way up and down the street. The Montague Street BID says that tickets to the Book Festival's readings and literary discussions will be available at an info booth located right on the street. Plus the Martha Cardona Theater will be offering up free live opera.

How to Get Here:
Ground Zero for the fair will be at Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza, at the intersection of Joralemon and Court Streets, near Montague Street. Take the 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall; R to Court Street; you can also take the A, C, F to Jay Street/Borough Hall and walk a couple of blocks. (Ask someone where Court Street is.)

Directions by car at at the Book Festival web site in the About Us section.

* * *
A Book Festival Sampler

Readings include:
Paul Auster (Man in the Dark), Russell Banks (The Reserve) Francine Prose (Goldengrove), Tao Lin (Shop Lifting from American Apparel), Yona Zeldis McDonough (Breaking the Bank), Nicholson Baker (The Anthologist), Jonathan Ames (The Double Life is Twice as Good) and more.

A few of the discussion panels:
- Jonathan Lethem and Mary Gaitskill in Conversation;
- Faith & Fiction with Benjamin Anastas, Rene Steinke and Chris Adrian;
- The International Graphic Novel with Guy Delisle (The Burma Chronicles), Peter Kuper (Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico) and Sarah Glidden (How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less), moderated by Matt Madden;
- Satire and Comic Relief in 2009 with Jeffery Rotter (The Unknown Knowns), Gary Shteyngart (Absurdistan) and Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There’d Be Cake), moderated by New Yorker editor Ben Greenman (Superworse);
- And many more . . .

If You're Into Love or Food, or If You Love Food:
The Unstoppable Bestseller, featuring a panel of romance authors; a panel of love-lorn rappers, musicians and poets; and Feeding Love in NYC with Giulia Melucci (I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti), Michelle Maisto (The Gastronomy of Marriage) and Jonathon Deutsch (Gastropolis, Food & New York City); and more. Moderated by “Serious Eats” blogger Ed Levine.

The festival features a Tribute to Norman Mailer with author and journalist
Pete Hamill, Paul Holdengräber and Norris Church Mailer; as well as a reflection on the Legacies of John Updike and David Foster Wallace, with Lev Grossman (The Magicians) and Salon book critic Laura Miller (The Magician’s Book). Moderated by David Ulin, editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

For Kids:
Head to the Target Children’s Area with your 2-year-olds to 9-year-olds for with book readings, a performance of children’s classics by the Troupe Theatre and author signings.
- Judi Barrett (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Pickles to Pittsburgh);
- Mo Willems, creator of the world’s most famous pigeon and the early reader Elephant and Piggie;
- Victoria Kann, co-author of Pinkalicious and current bestseller Goldilicious;
And many, many more.

For Teens:
Youth Stoop is geared toward readers ages 10 – 18, features selections from fantasy and vampires to graphic novels and fiction about love.
- Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux; Because of Wynn Dixie) will read and discuss her new book The Magician’s Elephant together with Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm).
- Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak; Chains); and M.T. Anderson (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, National Book Award winner).
- Coe Booth (Kendra), Gayle Forman (If I Stay) and Matt de la Pena (We Were Here).
And many more

New York Comic Con (NYCC):
- A performance tent, guest presentations, guest autographing sessions and a dedicated marketplace area.

Photo of pile of books by Ian Wilson, Creative Commons license
Photos of Book festival by MK Metz

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