Thursday, September 30, 2010

Assistant DA in Brooklyn Loses Real Job for Stint on 'Apprentice' - UPDATED

(See UPDATE below.) Assistant DA Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy, who joined the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office last fall, submitted her resignation on Monday -- after her newfound celebrity on Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" started getting in the way of her job.

Jurors have begun to recognize her after only two episodes, according to, which says that  she asked for and received two months of unpaid leave, during which she filmed the show. But she neglected to inform the DA's office of the reason for her absence -- and a spokesperson said that had DA Hynes known the reason for the leave, it would not have been granted.

In her Q & A for NBC, Saeidi-Azcuy says, "Nothing is more exciting than risking it all for a chance to win BIG and live the American dream." But according to, her fellow contestants consider her kind of scary.

'Apprentice' Contender Quits Brooklyn DA's Office

UPDATE: The Brooklyn Eagle has published an in-depth interview with Saeidi-Azcuy.

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Is Doug Biviano Over Politics? And More Brooklyn Briefs

- Is Doug Biviano finally getting disenchanted with politics? D'twn Brooklyn Star

- Another Ricky's boycott protest on Montague Street.  BHB

- The city is installing new pedestrian  "countdown" clocks along Third and Fourth Avenues.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- A Brooklyn man was arrested in New Paltz after witnesses allegedly saw him "behaving lewdly" inside of his car while parked in the Shop and Stop. Poughkeepsie Journal

- City to stop using rivers as giant toilet.  NY Observer

- Your sunblock probably doesn't really block the sun -- and may even speed up skin cancer. Fast Company 

- Scientists have finally discovered a planet the right size and temperature to support life.  MSNBC

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Planning-Ness in DUMBO Next Two Days

Planning-Ness (catch phrase: "Get Excite and Make Things") asked people from fields such as crowd sourcing, behavioral economics, data visualization and community engagement to teach what they know. They'll be meeting Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 in DUMBO (and also Denver) to hear speakers, join workshops and socialize.

Sessions cover topics like "How to Rethink Media," "How to Create and Use Urban Computing," and "How to tell Stories with Games." More here.

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Residential Parking Permits, a Filipino Legacy, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Councilwoman Letitia James is calling for residential parking permits near the Barclays Center arena.  Brooklyn Paper 

- DUMBO Art Festival 2010 winners announced.  DumboNYC

- In the 1930s a colony of Filipinos lived around Sands and Washington Streets near the Navy Yard. Purple Yam has uncovered a restaurant legacy. PurpleYamNYC

-Brooklyn is not the fastest growing borough. Not second, either. NYC

- Brooklyn brings a touch of geeky mayhem to Maker Faire.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Gold-dispensing ATMs are coming to the states. Gizmodo

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Brooklyn Nets Arena Getting Temporary Plaza Instead of Office Building; Farmers Excited

- Bruce Ratner released plans for a temporary plaza in front of the Brooklyn arena for the Nets that he said will be replaced by a planned office building someday when the economy picks up. Until then, it can be used for farmer's markets.  Brooklyn Eagle

- That 10-year timeline that Ratner and Bloomberg repeatedly cited to assure taxpayers they'd be paid back for this project? Turns out they misspoke. The arena, according to the IBO, is now costing taxpayers $40 million more than the tax revenue it will bring in.  WNYC

-What traffic really looks like at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush.  DDDB

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Panel Discussion: What's Next For Coney Island?

 The Coney Island History Project sends word that a  panel discussion on the topic:
"Heritage, Rides, Redevelopment: What's Next for Coney Island?"
will take place Thursday, September 30 · 6:30 - 8:30 pm at CUNY Graduate Center, Proshansky Auditorium, 365 5th Ave (at 35th Street).

The discussion will center on the latest developments in Coney Island and on how Coney's past can shape its future.The panel will be moderated by Pulitzer-prize winning historian Mike Wallace. Presenters include Valerio Ferrari, president and CEO of Zamperla USA and Central Amusement International (CAI), operator of Coney Island's Luna Park.

"What's Next for Coney Island?" is sponsored by the Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the NYC Graduate Urban Research Network, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Save Coney Island, the Historic Districts Council, Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project.

Admission to Thursday's event is free, but pre-registration is recommended. Please register via the website

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Bunny Box on Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights

 Like those Sweet Million ads.

Photo by MK Metz

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tornado Watch Canceled for Brooklyn, NYC (Tuesday, Sept. 28)

The tornado watch for Brooklyn and all of New York City, issued by the National Weather Service earlier today, was canceled as of 5 p.m., according to NOAA. The watch remains in effect for some areas of New Jersey and upstate New York (more here).

Rip current warnings remain in effect.

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Tornado Watch Issued for Brooklyn, New York City, Upstate

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch till 6 p.m. today (Tuesday, Sept. 28) for Brooklyn and all NYC boroughs. Upstate counties are also on watch.

Warnings also are in effect for heavy rain, flooding and rip tides through Thursday as a low pressure system with tropical moisture moves up the coast.


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Scenes from Maker Faire New York 2010

 Makers from all over the Northeast trekked to the old World's Fair grounds and the New York Hall of Science in Queens to build, learn and experience the do-it-yourself ethos of the Maker Movement this past weekend at the Maker Faire. Surprises were around every corner, like the human-powered Gerbomatic above.

Brooklyn was strongly represented by the Madagascar Institute,whose motto is “Fear is Never Boring.” They created oddly powerful carnival rides, like the Jet Ponies, propelled by jet engines that shot real flames at the rider behind. Signs said "Ride at Your Own Risk." More about them below.

 The cool thing was the makers were there to explain how they made their inventions. The Cubinator above, which won a blue ribbon, not only spoke but solved a Rubix Cube puzzle in 10 - 23 seconds depending on how you mixed up the cube. Also there were tents full of do-it-yourself- technology everybody could play with, with all the chips and soldering irons provided.

 We were totally taken by the various 3-D printers. You just design your solid using a CAD program or buy a program for some object you want to make, then you manufacture it using the printer.( It's not that it makes flat objects that you need to glue together, it actually fabricates the solid 3-D item.) The above printer is a small one that fabricated the chess pieces and small items you see next to it, but larger printers at the Faire made much larger items.

 The "Boxy Lady" is a mobile homeless sleeper / street kiosk / vacation cube made from recycled wood. It won a “Best In Show/Editor’s Choice Award” from Make Magazine’s judges in the Tiny Housing category. Check out the Relaxshax blog.

 And then there was a totally bizarro Chariot Race hosted by Make Magazine and the Madagascar Institute. Golden men and women provided pomp and pageantry before and during the race, which soon disintegrated into madness.

Let the mayhem begin!

 The warriors driving the black bird with bugged out eyes pass in front of the Swimming Cities Oceans of Blood fish projectile chariot.

 Madagascar Institute's Das Kraken accelerates with all of its tentacles flying. Swimming Cities Ocean of Blood engages in sabotage! A battle ensues with lots of collateral damage. Tentacles everywhere.

 Swimming Cities Ocean of Blood throws pieces of itself onto the other racers to knock them out of the race. Pieces of chariots litter the field and smoke fills the air. Someone has a bloody elbow.

Swimming Cities Ocean of Blood won an Editor's Choice Award from Maker and Best in Show for their fish chariot. We think someone named Joseph from Madagascar actually won the race. (You can see a video of the race here.)

Photos copyright MK Metz

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Atlantic Antic 2010: Brooklyn's Mellow Street Party

TThe Atlantic Antic, probably the city's biggest street fair, drew hundreds of thousands again this year (its 36th year) for a day of music and dance, local vendors, beer and food.

For such a big crowd it's actually a very relaxed day. Some people just park themselves outside one of the local bars, drink beer and listen to the bands all day. Others like to walk the whole length of the street and soak it all in. (We do some of both.)

As we walked we could smell BBQ, roasting corn on the cob, sardines and sausages, and exotic specialties.
Baklava from Sahadi's.

Sardines from La Mancha.

Empanadas from Chilies & Chocolate Oaxacan restaurant.

Roasted corn up and down the street.

The lead guitarist from the Windsor Terrors rocked out on oldies like Brown Sugar  in front of the Chip Shop.

Brooklyn Tattoo was selling T-shirts and tats on glasses.

The Atlantic Antic is one of those only-in-Brooklyn events. It's so huge it can take you all day, or you can just hang out for a while, listening to the music, eating bites of everything and running into dozens of people you know doing the same thing.

Photos copyright MK Metz

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DUMBO Arts Festival 2010: Art Breaks Out All Over

Art popped up everywhere in DUMBO this past weekend with installations tucked into the rocks, into nooks in buildings and on loading docks, in studios and galleries, and right out in the streets. Visitors could visit more than 150 studios and 35 galleries this year.

Once again the vitality of the weekend blew us away. Here's just a bit of what was happening:

On the rocks on the Cove in DUMBO is Jennifer Zackin's "AfterShock," meant to be reminiscent of sea life. It was inspired by the oil absorbent "hair booms" used to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

A coffin lined with pink fur and porno and filled with wine corks, a bottle of Jack Daniels, speakers and some kind of urn is part of Ryan Humphrey's "Look for the dream that keeps coming back" installation at the Kunsthalle Galapagos art space.

In the street outside of Bubby's a troupe of artists put blindfolds on participants and then took them on a sensory/imagination journey to different destinations.

 It was easy to imagine you were someplace else with your eyes covered. (We believe this was a project called "The Woods" by Chashama.)

This is a small segment of one of a series of incredible charcoal works by Charlotte Schultz called "The Uneven Intensities of Duration." The exhibit will remain at the Smack Mellon Gallery till November 7. (Make sure to visit because the subtleties of these drawings can only be appreciated in person.)

A crochet-covered performer invited people to shake hands in Olek's "Crocheted Painting to Shake Hands #," inspired by Yoko Ono’s book "Grapefruit."  

New York Photo Festival's "Capture Brooklyn" is on display at powerHouse Arena.

There was so much to see -- videos, musical performances, giant sculptures you had to walk through, dance, spontaneous outbreaks of art. Next year we plan to come earlier and stay until the last possible minute.

- DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival 2009 
- DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival 2008
- DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival 2007

Photos copyright MK Metz

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Atlantic Antic, Yard and Stoop Sales this Weekend in Brooklyn

The 36th annual Atlantic Antic takes place this year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue. About a million folks show up to enjoy local artisans, musicians, belly dancers and food, food, food -- with 600 vendors and ten live performance stages. Kids will also enjoy acts like Joanne Riel’s interactive “Musical Gumbo,” Graciela’s “Musica Para Mi,” and more. Get the full schedule here

Don't miss the grilled sardines from La Mancha Restaurant (above), and the last grilled corn of summer, along with Sahadi's Middle Eastern food tables and pulled pork from Pete’s Waterfront Alehouse.

Brooklyn Heights Stoop Sale

On Sunday, September 26th -- to coincide with the Atlantic Antic -- the Brooklyn Heights Association will turn all Brooklyn Heights into one gigantic stoop sale. People will have their junk treasures spread out on stoops, on tables and on blankets on the sidewalks. See BHA's website to see addresses where special items will be for sale.

Second Place Yard Sale

Second Place Yard Sale takes place this Saturday, September 25 (the day before the Atlantic Antic) starting about 10 a.m. at Second Place between Court and Smith Streets. Some of the resident-vendors will be donating a portion of their proceeds to the lovely Transit Garden.

- Atlantic Antic 2009 
- Atlantic Antic 2008

Photos copyright MK Metz 2010

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bank of Coney as 'The Banker's Ballroom'

 Save Coney Island sent us this rendering which envisions the Bank of Coney Island as a new, "Bowery Ballroom-style" event and music space named "The Banker's Ballroom."

This is one of four historic buildings Thor Equities has secured permits to demolish. Save Coney Island says they produced the rendering to "show the value of an alternative approach -- restoring and reactivating the structure with an exciting new use. This would not only preserve one of Coney's most attractive and historic structures, but also give new life to the amusement area."

To read more about the proposal in the Brooklyn Eagle click here and in Metro newspaper click here.

Also, Save Coney Island is co-sponsoring a panel discussion hosted by CUNY on the role that Coney’s extraordinary past could play in its future redevelopment. The panel will be moderated by Pulitzer-prize winning historian Mike Wallace, and will have several impressive speakers. Thursday, September 30; 6.30 – 8.30PM at CUNY Graduate Center; Proshansky Auditorium; 365 5th Ave (at 35th Street). More here.

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Here Are Some Ideas to Generate Funds for Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation voted to issue a Request for Proposals for a consultant to explore alternate funding sources for the park. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, whatever new uses are arrived at would replace condos that were planned in the park.

The installations all together would have to generate between $8 and $9 million in funds to make up for the loss of the condo developments.

An Idea: This Is Where Religion Come In:

The Jehovah's Witnesses have plans to divest themselves (as the economy improves) of 25 Brooklyn properties that are said to be worth at least $1 billion. They do not pay taxes on these properties. But as they are sold, the buyers would pay taxes. So -- the city will not lose any money if these taxes are earmarked for the upkeep of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The properties range from the deluxe Hotel Bossert on Montague Street to brownstones, high-rises and parking lots. They are all just a stone's throw from the park. (More about these properties at TRD.)

Supplemental Funds

In the meantime, smaller concessions might include any number of fanciful fund-raisers. Examples include:

- A bike rental concession (including those multi-rider bikes with canopies).

- A Zip Line. Whee!

- Brooklyn-themed mini-golf.

- Corporate sponsorships and naming rights subscriptions. Park uniforms with logos.

- An outdoor rock-climbing concession.

- Charge a fee to all those damn tour buses that clog the Fulton Ferry Landing entrance to the park.

- The Brooklyn Duck amphibious boat tour. Charge an operator to dock or park and a yearly fee.

- A walkway where each brick or cobblestone has the name of someone who donated a certain amount of money. It keeps getting longer. And longer.

Even artist-designed donation boxes would bring in thousands of dollars.

Any more ideas?

Photo by MK Metz

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Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6, at Midnight, from Above

 Shot from the OxBlue Construction Camera atop One Brooklyn Bridge Park at midnight, Pier 6 looks like a mysteriously glowing jewel.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Walt Whitman Park Shaping Up in Downtown Brooklyn

 The $4.5 million transformation of the 2.9-acre Walt Whitman Park in Downtown Brooklyn (next to the Office of Emergency Management on Cadman Plaza East) has entered it's fifth month.

The outlines of a planted median at the Cadman Plaza East entrance and an oval in the middle of the park can be seen.  The design also calls for more trees and an ornamental fountain that will double as a sprinkler for children. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, four Walt Whitman poems will be engraved in granite on the sides of the fountain.

More here.

Photo by MK Metz

- Mountains of Soil at Walt Whitman Park 
- More Park Action in Downtown Brooklyn
- Walt Whitman Park Finally Loses Its Asphalt
- New Design Calls For 'Great Lawn,' Fountain

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Race-Colored Map of New York

Based on cartographer Bill Rankin's original racial map of Chicago, Eric Fischer created similar maps for the top 40 cities in the United States, including New York, seen above. According to Fast Company, Fisher used U.S. Census data from 2000 to create a map where one dot equals 25 people. The dots were then color-coded based on race: White is pink; Black is blue; Hispanic is orange, and Asian is green.

Compared to other cities, New York has "vast areas of extreme racial concentration. But the sheer size of those areas means that the boundary areas become intensely rich areas of cross-cultural ferment," says Fast Company.

See other maps here.

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'Brooklyn Tornado 9/16/10' Gets Songified as 'Tornado Song'

The original "Brooklyn Tornado 9/16/10" (video at the bottom of this post for your convenience) was funny enough -- some rank it close to that hit classic, "Double Rainbow." Who can forget the lines, "Look at the Tree! Look at the Tree!"

Now watch the Gregory Brothers' songified version, "Tornado Song!" (Must have audio turned on.)

Here's the original video:

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Brooklyn Bridge Park Funding Meeting, New Commuter Vans, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Come to a meeting Wednesday considering sources of funding for Brooklyn Bridge Park (other than the construction of private housing in the park).  BHB

- A teenage driver who was texting on her cell phone mowed down a Chinese restaurant deliveryman. WPIX 

- Where bus routes were cut, a new kind of commuter van service is being tested in Brooklyn.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- A 23-year-old environmental activist from Brooklyn was killed when he was struck by a tractor-trailer while riding a bike through Canada. NBCNewYork 

- Fake shootout in DUMBO.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Though unemployment in Brooklyn is still high, commercial leasing is soaring, jobs are being added, and a movie studio expands. Crain's NY

- The worst U.S. recession since the Great Depression ended more than a year ago, the National Bureau of Economic Research said. Bloomberg

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Monday, September 20, 2010

A Lot of Tails Wagging at First Brooklyn Heights Dog Show: UPDATED With Winners!

(UPDATED: See below for all winners.)
The first-ever Brooklyn Heights Dog Show was hosted yesterday by the Brooklyn Heights Association on Montague Street, which was closed to cars and filled with fun activities as part of the last Summer Space of the season.

There were roughly 60 local dogs competing in such categories as "Best Tail Wagging," "Most Affectionate," "Best Look Alike (dogs and their owners)," "Most Obedient," and "Least Obedient." The winners of each class competed for "Brooklyn Heights Top Dog."

Here's a man who thinks he looks like his dog. He appeared to be a favorite to win the Look Alike category until this next dog/owner combo (shown immediately below) appeared.

This pair were instant winners.

Brooklyn Heights Association's Judy Stanton (center with hat), handed out ribbons.

The judging table steadfastly refused all bribes.

A great time was had by all, and the dogs received treat bags from Pets Emporium, Perfect Paws and Rocco & Jezebel for Pets. The Top Dog's owner received a gift basket from City Chemist.

Official Winners of the First-Ever Brooklyn Heights Dog Show

Best Tail Wagger: Honey Bear, owned by Susan Dooha
Best Look-Alike: Poppy, owned by Sophie Feng
Most Affectionate: Phoebe, owned by Connie Monahan
Most Obedient: Shaggy, owned by Ed Cutler
Least Obedient: Button, owned by Ben Difilippi
Most Mysterious Heritage: Ben, oend by Linda Beeke
Most terrific Pet Trick: Issy, owned by Tomy Soll
Best Senior: Chance, 10 years old, owned by Susan Sidel
Best Hair-do: Bantay, owned by Gene Scott
Best Vocals: Opa, owned by Heidi Hanrack
Best Pair: Lili and Xandy, owned by Olivia Kraus

TOP DOG: Opa, owned by Heidi Hanrack

Photos by MK Metz

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Great Day for Car-Free Summer Space on Montague Street

 The Montague Street BID has been putting on car-free Summer Space events for a couple of years now and yesterday's was one of the most successful yet. The Brooklyn Heights Dog Show (see here) drew a crowd of hundreds and the weather was perfect.

Folks could buy a snack and hang out at a table, or let the kids play with hula hoops, chalk or balls on the street courtesy of the NY Toy Museum.

 The Grace and Spiritus Chorale put on a free performance and the Martha Cardona Theater performed opera.

The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper provided a chess master who took on all challengers (and a giant wisecracking red, white and blue bird).

Photos by MK Metz

- Montague Street Summer Space Coming 2009
- Rain Delays Summer Space 2009 
- 'Piazza Day' on Montague Street 2008 

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MTA to Renovate 370 Jay Street? Plus Vandal Hipsters and More Brooklyn Briefs

- An MTA spokesperson said that renovating the crumbling ex-MTA headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn at  370 Jay St. “is part of the MTA’s current and approved MTA 2010 — 2014 Capital Program.”  Brooklyn Eagle

- In 2007 the city brought possums to Brooklyn to combat the rats. Now not only do we have rats as big as possums, but the possums have become their own epidemic.  NY Post 

- Livery cab hits four pedestrians in Park Slope, possibly severing the leg of one.  Gothamist

- The census sorta makes up population data for neighborhoods "with high proportions of poor and minority households, such as much of the Bronx, Bedford Stuyvesant, Flatbush and Harlem, as well as heavily immigrant area like Northwest Queens."  Queens Crap

- Brooklyn hipsters are spreading rampant subway vandalism -- or is it art?  Brooklyn Eagle 

- A report of a nonprofit founded by Democratic Brooklyn party boss Vito Lopez alleged serious fraud and questionable management, including lucrative payouts to Lopez's girlfriend. Gothamist 

- Jews in Williamsburg loaded up on caffeine suppositories before the start of the Yom Kippur fast that would deprive them of coffee by mouth. Oy.  Brooklyn Paper

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Confirmed: Not 1, but 2 Tornadoes Hit Brooklyn and Queens Sept. 16!

The National Weather Service confirmed Friday that Thursday's storm spawned not just one, but TWO tornadoes in New York City.

One of the tornadoes struck Brooklyn at 5:33 p.m. Thursday, carving its way northeast from Park Slope. The second one hit Queens at 5:42 p.m., traveling from Flushing to a mile north of Bayside. AP story here

Officials are asking Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island homeowners to take photos and detail all the damage to their property to 311.  the documented damage could convince the state and federal governments to declare parts of the city a disaster area, so it could qualify for FEMA assistance and low-interest loans to small businesses damaged in the storm. NY1 story here.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

What Were Those Fireworks Seen Over Brooklyn Friday, Sept. 17, 2010

Those fireworks seen over the Brooklyn waterfront Friday night were in celebration of "Hope for the Warriors."

They were shot off from Pier 14 on the East River.

Established in 2006, Hope For The Warrior cares for those wounded in the line of duty.

More here.

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Brooklyn Tornado 2010 Round Up (And Don't Tell Us That Wasn't a Tornado)

Brooklyn tornado photos are posted all over the Internet. The National Weather Service hasn't made an official determination yet but with all of the destruction caused in just a few minutes, it's hard to come to any other conclusion.

Here are links to a few photos (there are also more links on yesterday's post).

This video by Adrian Mueller / fabrik studios (© shows the storm first coming in over South Park Slope, Brooklyn.

- Tree branches (and maybe some whole trees) are down all over Carroll Gardens. According to one reader, DeGraw Street was covered in sharp pieces of slate that had flown off the roof of St. Agnes Church.  PMFA blog

- Check out the storm photos on the Photo.Knit.Dog blog. Lina says, "My neighbor downstairs had his fence come clean off and his patio door glass shattered completely! There are at least five downed trees around us not to mention the big semi truck that fell over on the freeway that I can see from my apartment. Totally crazy!"

- Trees are down all over Park Slope. "Aftermath in Park Slope" photos by Luis Guerrero at the Brooklyn Eagle.

- See what happened in Clinton Hill at Angela's photostream on Flickr.

- The New York Times has a story and about a dozen photos of destruction in Brooklyn and Queens. 

- Lots of comments about what happened in various Brooklyn neighborhoods at Brownstoner.

- Here's an unbelievable photo by cmvoelkel of a SUV crushed in Park Slope. Flickr 

- More pictures at The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger

 Tree limbs down in Korean War Plaza Park, across the street from the Post Office in Downtown Brooklyn. (Photo by MK Metz)

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tornado in Brooklyn? 'Weak Rotation' Says National Weather Service UPDATED

UPDATE: As of 6:57 p.m.: B,D,F,M lines suspended due to downed trees. Delayed 7 service. L train suspended. Check for status updates here.

More updates below.

* * * * *

The National Weather Service issued this alert at 5:42 p.m. today. It expires at 6:15 p.m. (A flood advisory is in effect till 7 p.m.)




UPDATE: WYDNKBYANM has some Park Slope photos here.

UPDATE: Daily News says wind reached 100 mph.

UPDATE: zhaus has crazy storm photos here. And here.

UPDATE: Hail the size of quarters in Brooklyn Heights. Pedestrians huddled under awnings, inside restaurants. 

UPDATE: 7 p.m.:  Roughly 450 customers lost power near Kings Plaza Shopping Center on East 38th Street.

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Brooklyn's First Saint, Texting on the Bus Route, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Bus riders in Brooklyn can now use a handy text messaging system to find out when their bus will arrive. Brooklyn Eagle 
- Could Brooklyn be getting its first saint?  Brooklyn Paper

- Bedbugs are the new STDs.  NY Magazine

- A corrections officer allegedly sexually harassed a paramedic at knifepoint while transporting a prisoner outside Brooklyn Criminal Court.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- Chase online banking failed two (or maybe three) times this week.  Gothamist

- Taking shelter in the basement or center of a large building is still the best option in a nuclear attack. Gothamist

- Brooklyn Heights Dog Show to be held Sunday.  Brooklyn Eagle    

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When It Comes to Your E-mail, the Walls Have Ears

Question: If a group of Google engineers can easily spy on user emails and chats -- as discussed in this Gawker article --  what is to stop them from accessing private information about all of us?

Not to single out Google. Other email and chat providers probably have looser security than Google. Google says they are tightening up security. (And we believe them.)

But just think. Google talk, chat, email, docs, Picasso Picassa photos -- complete with addresses, passwords, financial information, phone numbers and things you would never, ever tell anyone, all in one easy-to-access package.

So watch what you email. (And say. And type. And store on that private Picassa account.)

The walls have ears.

Photo by  Ludovic Bertron, Creative Commons license

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Proposed Brooklyn Trolley Route: From Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn

 The city recently announced that it is releasing money for a Brooklyn streetcar feasibility study. Bob Diamond, well-known champion of streetcars in Brooklyn, provided this map of the proposed route.

The route being studied would run from an intersection in Red Hook near Ikea, along Beard Street towards Fairway to Richards Street, and along Columbia Street through Red Hook and Cobble Hill to Atlantic Avenue. From there it would run along Boerum Place to Livingston and Fulton streets, where the trolley would circle around and head back to Red Hook along Van Brunt Street.

For the full story, visit the Brooklyn Eagle.

- Welcome Back Bob: Hundreds Take Sunday's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour
- Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Saved! BP Markowitz Prevails Upon Bob Diamond
- Atlantic Tunnel's Bob Diamond Leaving Brooklyn? Say It Ain't So!
- Quite a Crowd for Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour 
- Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Is Probably Haunted
- What's Behind the Wall? Atlantic Ave. Tunnel Mystery
- Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel: What's Behind the Wall?
- Let Them Laugh: Bob Diamond's Brooklyn Trolley Idea Gains Traction
- Mole People Back in Brooklyn?
- Lineup For Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour
- Brooklyn Spelunking: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Return

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preliminary Brooklyn Primary Results: Millman Way Ahead of Biviano

With 42 percent of precincts in District 52 reporting at 11:23 p.m. Tuesday, Joan Millman leads Doug Biviano 74 percent to 26 percent.

More returns at NY1.

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Why Primary Results Take So Long to Tally in New York City Elections

You might think that with the new electronic voting machines, New York City would be able to tally the votes quickly to provide preliminary results on election night, but this is not the case.

In spite of the new voting machines, it appears that there is a large manual component to the vote tally. We found this election night tally procedure on the Board of Elections website.

Here's the procedure:

- After the polls close, more than 30,000 poll workers transcribe, by hand, the number of votes for each candidate from the face of the voting machines onto Return of Canvass forms.

- These poll workers then hand the Return of Canvass sheets to the NYPD Officer assigned to that polling location. (Poll watchers may observe.)

- The NYPD Officer hand-delivers the Return of Canvass sheets to his or her police precinct to be transcribed by hand into its computer system by civilian employees of the NYPD.

- Once all the data is entered, the computer records are transmitted to the Associated Press. A copy of each Return of Canvass form is delivered by hand to APs office at 55 Washington Street in Brooklyn.

 - The Associated Press then shares the preliminary results with its colleagues in the news media. These preliminary results, however, do not include thousands of absentee, affidavit, and military ballots, which must be counted by hand later.

And that's how the preliminary results are tallied with our new, electronic voting machines!

Top illustration courtesy of Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
Middle illustration courtesy of Waltdatedworld

Bottom illustration by Paulo Henrique Rodrigues, Creative Commons license.

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Today's Primary Is Important for Brooklyn -- Vote!

Besides pounds of campaign flyers,  McBrooklyn received a letter from seven respected Brooklynites -- Otis & Nancy Pearsall, Claire Silberman, Susan Rifkin, Hank Gutman, Ann McGroarty and Isabel Navarro -- urging us to vote in today's primary which "is more important than most people imagine. At issue is the quality and independence of our representation in Albany."

We couldn't agree more. Please take the time to get out and vote -- and try out the fancy new voting machines.

The Pearsalls and others endorce Joan Millman, Jo Anne Simon and Jesse Strauss against "three utterly undistinguished and inexperienced opponents who would represent the status quo in Albany." The letter says in part:

Joan Millman: "This year alone she sponsored the toughest Albany ethics legislation in state history and wrote the legislation to end the unfair influence of corporate spending on elections . . . She helped secure the initial funding for Brooklyn Bridge Park, wrote legislation to get Federal stimulus money for our buses and subways . . ."

Jo Anne Simon: "She served as President of the Boerum Hill Association and Chair of the Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group, where she forged a groundbreaking settlement with NY State DOT. She has worked tirelessly to preserve our neighborhoods ..."

Jesse Strauss: "... has served as a NYC Urban Fellow and is currently a member of Community Board 2. . . "

If you need more information about who's running at the state and federal level, visit the League of Women Voters website and type in your address.  

Photo by MK Metz

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Welcome Back Bob: Hundreds Take Sunday's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour

Tunnel archaeologist Bob Diamond was quite happy during Sunday's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour. Just last Thursday, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez announced the start of a major study to determine the feasibility of a streetcar line linking Red Hook with Downtown Brooklyn and surrounding neighborhoods. (more here)

There's probably no bigger champion of Brooklyn streetcars than Diamond, who has been working tirelessly  for years through his Brooklyn Historic Railway Association to bring trolleys back to our borough.

Diamond is, famously, the discoverer of the long-lost Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. Thousands have ventured down into that mysterious place deep under Atlantic Avenue between Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill to hear his incredible tale of how it came to be built in 1844, then forgotten, and then found again in 1981.

It's a story of greed, politics, and even murder (with some archaeology and quantum physics thrown in.)

More people than usual signed up for the tours Sunday because they heard that Bob was considering leaving Brooklyn. Thankfully, he changed his mind and the tours will continue. (More about that here.)

Many Brooklynites live here their entire lives and never know that something so awesome lies 40 feet below Atlantic Avenue, a stone's throw from Trader Joe's.

To sign up for a tour, visit

- Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Saved! BP Markowitz Prevails Upon Bob Diamond
- Atlantic Tunnel's Bob Diamond Leaving Brooklyn? Say It Ain't So!
- Quite a Crowd for Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour 
- Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Is Probably Haunted
- What's Behind the Wall? Atlantic Ave. Tunnel Mystery
- Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel: What's Behind the Wall?
- Let Them Laugh: Bob Diamond's Brooklyn Trolley Idea Gains Traction
- Mole People Back in Brooklyn?
- Lineup For Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour
- Brooklyn Spelunking: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Return

Photos copyright MK Metz

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