Monday, February 28, 2011

Downtown Brooklyn's Fast Growth; Brooklyn Student Dies at Cornell; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Downtown Brooklyn has become the borough's fastest-growing residential neighborhood, but not everybody's happy about that. CrainsNY 

- Park Slope sexual assault has residents on edge.  Gothamist 

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus won't be in Coney Island this summer. NY Daily News

- A Brooklyn biology major died Friday morning at Cornell University after being found unresponsive in his fraternity house. NY Post 

- Twitter reunites homeless Brooklyn man with long-lost daughter, grand-kids. NY Daily News

- Legendary Brooklyn record store to close after 67 years. NYT City Room 

- Gowanus Canal: heavily polluted with PAHs, PCBs, heavy metals, and sewage. Brooklyn Eagle 

- 11 injured in bus accident Sunday at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Carroll Gardens Patch 

- Brooklyn "rabbi" denies of molesting girl since she was 12.  CBS


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Government Shutdown Could Halt Gowanus, Newtown Creek Cleanups

 March 4 is the deadline for the administration and congressional leaders to reach some kind of agreement before the U.S. government shuts down.

According to the Washington Post, the first Clinton-era government shutdown in '95 led to the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, and the second in '96 furloughed about 284,000.

While national security and some other functions continued, national parks closed; phones went unanswered; bureaus stopped processing applications including visas and passports;  many federal contracts were frozen; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped disease surveillance; and toxic waste cleanup projects at 609 sites were halted, causing the furlough of 2,400 Superfund workers.

If the same agencies close their doors during the possible March 4 shutdown, cleanup will grind to a halt at Brooklyn's toxic waste sites at the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek.

The Gowanus Canal "is heavily polluted with PAHs, PCBs, heavy metals, and sewage," according to the latest EPA report. On March 8 at 6:30 p.m., the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, is set to hold its next meeting at the Old American Can Factory at 232 Third Ave.
 
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Verge Art Brooklyn Opens in DUMBO March 3

Verge Art Brooklyn opens in DUMBO this Thursday, March 3.

The show includes over seventy gallery exhibitors at nine locations -- nearly forty participants for "Material Issue: Artist's Projects Spaces" and fifty artists for "Tomorrow Stars: The Art Brooklyn Open Call Exhibition."

According to Verge, "Tomorrow Stars" represents "the brightest and best Brooklyn has to offer," as selected by Courtney Wendroff of the Brooklyn Arts Council, artist and former president of the NYC chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers Stephen Mallon, blogger and art critic Steve Kaplan, and Danny Simmons, chairman of the NYC chapter of the National Conference of Artists.

More details here

PUBLIC HOURS
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Noon to 10 pm
Sunday, Noon to 6 pm

OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Thursday, March 3, 10:00 pm to 4 am at Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main Street

Opening Night Party is free with Passport Program Booklets; all others $20. Admission prior to 10 pm is free. Party details here.


Art: "Again and Again," CEPT, Courtesy Arch402 Gallery

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Brooklyn Weather Alert: Wind Gusts Up to 60 mph Today

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning and special weather statement for the New York City area until 11 p.m. tonight. Expect rain and possibly a thunderstorm with high winds this afternoon and early this evening. Gusts as high as 60 mph are expected to blow down trees and power lines.

Bring loose items indoors (construction materials, garbage cans, deck furniture) and avoid driving if you can, especially on bridges and overpasses.

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Not a Lesbian Romp; Save P.S. 114; and More Brooklyn Briefs

Supporters rallied at DOE headquarters yesterday to protest the city’s controversial plan to shut down a century-old Brooklyn school, P.S. 114.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Now in Brooklyn: homegrown tobacco -- local, rebellious and tax-free. NY Times

- Brownstoner highlights Country Living's take on Brooklyn as down-home heartland of America. Commenters have a field day. Brownstoner 

- A Williamsburg nightclub plays its dance music so loud it sent its sleepless neighbors to the hospital. Brooklyn Paper 

- Lawsuit by Brooklyn teachers who allegedly had sex in classroom say whole lesbian romp thing was made up. Brooklyn Eagle

- With all that's happening in Libya, New Zealand and Wisconsin, it's time to get really upset about people who have their nannies work their shift at the Park Slope Food Coop.  Brooklynian NY Times Gothamist

- Adorable old dog rescued by dolphin. NY Magazine

- Sadly, lots of dead baby dolphins are washing ashore in the Gulf.  NY Magazine

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Diedricksen's Teeny Tiny Houses Make the New York Times

Last September McBrooklyn visited the Maker Faire and was wowed by this teeny house called the "Boxy Lady" made from scavenged wood by Derek Diedricksen. Diedricksen told us that Boxy Lady and his other "microhomes" function as mobile homeless sleepers / street kiosks / and vacation cubes.

Today the New York Times published a feature about Diedricksen and his tiny homes, along with a slideshow of his work. It's called "The $200 Microhouse" and it's an inspiring read. It's amazing what Diedricksen can do with a few packing crates and a front-loading washing machine.

Boxy Lady won a “Best In Show/Editor’s Choice Award” from Make Magazine’s judges in the Tiny Housing category. (Yes, there's a whole category for that.) The house is for sale, along with his other tiny homes. (More at Diedricksen's Relaxshax blog.)

Photo copyright MK Metz

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

10 Years to Pull PCBs Out of Schools; Pedophile Priest; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- City officials announced a 10-year plan to remove all PCB-contaminated lighting fixtures in 772 public schools, but some advocates say that 10 years is way too long. Brooklyn Eagle

- An FDNY EMT who, with her boyfriend/fellow EMT allegedly let a pregnant woman die at MetroTech's Au Bon Pain, was arrested Monday for shoplifting. Eerily, the boyfriend was shot and killed in July. WPIX 

- 1980 memos from the Diocese of Brooklyn show an auxiliary bishop, now a cardinal, knowingly transferred a pedophile priest from New York to Missouri. UPI 

- With job growth increasing in every borough but Manhattan, is it too late to change out "Manhattan-centric" transportation? Gothamist 

- Does Williamsburg really dig Ralph Lauren? Is Prada really one of the top favorite Brooklyn brands? And why is Coney Island in the middle of the borough? Something's funny on the fashion map of Brooklyn.  Brokelyn

- Vampire mask found near dismembered body of Brooklyn man.  Gothamist 

- Monte's old restaurant space to be reborn.  Brownstoner  

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TSA Now Groping People Getting Off Trains

Yes, the wizards at the TSA are now wanding and groping women and children getting off trains before allowing them to go home.

Words cannot express the brilliance of this plan. Simply stunning.

Video at Gizmodo.

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You'll Never Be Disappointed by Bacon. Until You Are.

A Brooklyn author is suing her former literary agent for allegedly stealing the idea for an “I Love Bacon” cookbook, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

“Whether you crave its flavorful crunch in the morning, the salty taste it lends to a Mediterranean BLT, or the way it transforms Spaghetti Carbonara, you’ll never be disappointed by bacon,”the book's description reads.

The agent has denied any wrongdoing and told the Daily News the author “doesn’t love bacon.”

Fighting words, indeed.

Photo by Lara604, Creative Commons license 


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Walt Whitman Park, Downtown Brooklyn, Shaping Up

The outlines of the oval surrounding the ornamental fountain (covered in green)  can be seen now in the middle of the 2.9-acre Walt Whitman Park in Downtown Brooklyn (next to the Office of Emergency Management on Cadman Plaza East).

The park is undergoing a $4.5 million transformation, which began in April 2010. The design also calls for more trees and a planted median at the Cadman Plaza East entrance. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, four Walt Whitman poems will be engraved in granite on the sides of the fountain, which will double as a children's sprinkler.

 The city gave the long-neglected park to the feds several years ago for use as a parking lot while the new federal courthouse was being built. In 2007, federal officials promised the city $2.5 million to fix the park up once they were done with it.

Work is expected to be completed spring of 2012 (see the Eagle for the rendering).

Walt Whitman Park is often called "Red Cross Park" because the OEM building was formerly the Red Cross building.

- Walt Whitman Park Shaping Up in Downtown Brooklyn
- 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

Photo by MK Metz

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mastermind of MetroTech; No Relief for Brooklyn; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Firefighters were delayed in putting out the fire in Flatbush on Saturday night because an engine was already attending to a police officer who had accidentally shot himself in the leg. NY Times

- 'Mastermind' of MetroTech dies. Brooklyn Eagle 

- Feds deny relief to Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. Queens Crap 

- Nate Smith has left buzzy Prospect Heights newcomer Dean Street after just a month of helming the kitchen. Grub Street  

- DOT announces expanded pothole blitz.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- Brooklyn sells -- especially in the rest of the country.  Brooklyn Ink 

- Alaska lawmaker chooses icy boat ride over airport pat-down. NY Magazine

- Death toll in New Zealand from quake hits 65, expected to rise. Reuters  

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Deadly Fire, Catherine Deneuve, Sketchbook Project, and More Brooklyn Briefs

As the investigation into what caused Saturday's deadly five-alarm Brooklyn apartment building fire  continues, fire department union leaders blamed recent staff reductions for the amount of time it took to fight the blaze. CBS

- A month of Catherine Deneuve at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). NY Times

- A powerful 50 mph gust of wind sent a two-by-four piece of lumber whizzing through the air piercing a 63-year-old Brooklyn man in the head Saturday. NY Post

- A convicted murderer had his own Facebook page and even joined a Facebook tribute for the prostitute whom he murdered. Brooklyn Eagle

- The Sketchbook Project comes to Brooklyn.  Gothamist 

- In a daring nighttime run, a New York City police helicopter hoisted two shivering West Point cadets early Sunday morning off an 18-inch-wide ledge on Storm King Mountain, where they had been stranded for more than eight hours. NY Times 

- Novelist Jonathan Lethem told the LA Times that Brooklyn has become "repulsive with novelists." You can take the Brooklyn quiz here. Guardian

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dumping Yesterday's Snow Before Tomorrow's

 A work crew shoveled up the last big pile of snow on Henry Street on Brooklyn Heights Friday. The next storm is expected to roll through tonight. According to the National Weather Service, 3 - 5 inches could fall in Brooklyn by 2 p.m. Monday. A winter weather advisory is in effect.

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Republicans Vote to End World

How's the voting going in the U.S. House? Here are a few news updates:

- The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases that scientists say cause global warming. Huffington Post

- The Republican-controlled House defeated a proposal to close Chicago-area shipping locks in order to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and killing native fish populations, putting 800,000 jobs at risk.  9and10news 

- House Republicans voted Thursday to block the net neutrality law. Washington Post

- The Republican-controlled House has voted to defund the health care law.  Huff Post

- The House has approved a Republican proposal to block federal aid for Planned Parenthood. Politico

- The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure that allows Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean. NASDAQ

- The US House of Representatives voted to eliminate all funding for the US Institute of Peace, an independent government-funded institution to analyze and prevent international conflict. Rawstory 

- U.S. administration prepares for a total government shutdown.  Politico


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Street Hockey Competition to Close Red Hook's Dwight Street Saturday

Get out your hockey stick and rumble down to Red Hook: a full blown Street Hockey competition  will be taking over Dwight Street between Van Dyke and Beard Steets tomorrow -- Saturday, February 19,  between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
 
The street will be closed to vehicular traffic.
 
A permit has been issued by the Mayor's Street Activity Permit Office to close the street and hold the event.  Any questions regarding events held on public streets may be directed to the Mayor's Street Activity Permit Office at (212) 788-7567.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creepy DUMBO 'FBI' Guy; Vicious Teens in Downtown Brooklyn; and More

- Be warned: Creepy guy claiming to be FBI agent is following people in DUMBO.  DumboNYC

- Holy crap: New York City could experience a major earthquake any minute. There's even a scary Hallmark's miniseries about it. Gothamist

- Brownstoner commenter explains why 3rd Avenue becoming a viable retail strip is not a death sentence for 7th Avenue. Brownstoner

- Downtown worker literally has his face broken by vicious teen gang.  Brooklyn Paper

- "Blowback" hits Brooklyn Heights Association over Tobacco Warehouse lawsuit.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- Greg Kinnear spotted filming I Don’t Know How She Does It in Brooklyn Heights. BHB 

- 'Moustache' graffiti artist tags Carroll Street F train station. PMFA  

- Two TSA agents arrested at JFK for ripping off passengers. Gothamist

- Bucking opposition from the NYPD, the City Council passed a bill to release data about traffic crashes and summonses.  Gothamist and Streetsblog

- Royal wedding barf bags made by graphic designer. Huff Post

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In Brooklyn: 'Viva Egypt!'

On Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Photo by MK Metz

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lamm Institute Sold; PPW Bike Lane Lawsuit; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The Lamm Institute building, a former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) property at Amity and Henry streets in Cobble Hill, has sold. Brooklyn Eagle 

- A man joins the Food Co-op and survives. WYDNKBYANM

- Here it comes — the inevitable Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit. Brooklyn Paper

- Brooklyn artist Kilroy III celebrated the snowmageddon by building a huge, magnificent Castle Grayskull (of He-Man fame) igloo. Boing Boing


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Saint Ann's Warehouse a Go -- Again -- at DUMBO's Tobacco Warehouse

A done deal: From the Brooklyn Eagle: The National Park Service on Monday issued a decision that confirms that the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO is not "restricted to outdoor recreation" and that "plans to use it as a cultural and community center can continue to move forward."

This means that Saint Ann's Warehouse gets to remake the public Tobacco Warehouse into a private performance space (proposed interior above). Two Trees plans to eventually redevelop its space across Water Street into the 17-story Dock Street condo.

The Brooklyn Heights Association will continue their lawsuit against this "back room" deal, a spokesperson told the Eagle.

In January, the Brooklyn Heights Association argued that the National Park Service (NPS) had illegally removed the Tobacco Warehouse from the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park’s map "so that it could be given to a private organization for free and for its sole and permanent use." (More at Gothamist.)

- Three Brooklyn Heights Association Members Resign in Tobacco Warehouse Flap
- When the Tobacco Warehouse Had a Roof
- Handing Over Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO 'Insulting': Flemming
- RFP Issued for Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO
- Tobacco Warehouse, Acute Corner, DUMBO

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

20 Henry Street's Owners Defend 'Unsafe' Leviathan Construction, But Somebody Better Fix That Fence

Last week Brooklyn Heights Councilman Steve Levin (and Ironworkers Union Local 46) criticized Canyon Johnson Urban Funds for hiring Leviathan Construction Management to work on 20 Henry Street, saying the company was "irresponsible" and had a bad safety record.

Leviathan faces up to $35,000 in fines at the luxury condo development at 20 Henry, according to the NY Daily News, and has 180 violations at their other projects around the city.

Now Canyon Johnson has posted a defense of Leviathan on the sagging fence surrounding the project. Canyon Johnson says that the best measure of a contractor's safety is its "loss experience rating," and says that Leviathan's rating is better than average.(Click image to read the whole statement, or read it here.)

Meanwhile, holds your kid's hand when walking by the site: a section of the fence was down yesterday morning. A deep, slush-filled pit, dug for the foundation of the planned second building, is right on the other side of the caution tape.

 This is safe? We looked around for a worker to ask when the fence would be fixed but no one was around.  We'll check back later today to see if the fence is still down.

UPDATE: The fence was back up on Tuesday, except for the southernmost section where it touches the building.

Photos by MK Metz

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Court Street Lawyer Assigned to Brooklyn Knifer; Grand Prospect Hall Petition; and More Brooklyn Briefs

Comptoller John Liu is investigating the River Cafe after discovering its sister eatery in Manhattan may have stiffed city taxpayers on rent. NY Post 

- Stabbed in knife-killer rampage, Brooklyn cabdriver is then put in jail. NY Times 

- A Facebook page in support of Maksim Gelman, the alleged knife-wielding killer who went on a bloody rampage, is pissing people off. AMNY

- The Court Street lawyer who was assigned to represent Maksim Gelman, alleged knife-wielding killer. Brooklyn Eagle

- Siggy's faces public hearing to maintain its sidewalk seating.  BHB

- Started recently: a "Petition to Deny the Non-Contextual Expansion of Grand Prospect Hall." iPetitions


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Flying Cannonballs Over Brooklyn?

There are just so many questions we could ask after reading this brief report in the Brooklyn Eagle. We will start with this one:

Could the "suspicious package" found at Floyd Bennet Field yesterday -- which turned out to be a cannonball -- be somehow related to yesterday's scattered reports of  "people seeing an object flying over southern Brooklyn, heading in that general direction"??? 

UPDATE: Mystery solved!

Photo by notfrancois, Creative Commons license

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Hearts Valentine's Day! Why not do something romantic? Here are a few suggestions (btw, BAM's dinner and movie has sold out of the dinner part):

- Enjoy drinks, tango lessons and dancing in Brooklyn Winery’s Harvest Room, and aphrodisiac cocktail nibbles created by famed chef Sarah Simmons.

- At Brooklyn Farmacy you can satisfy your sweet tooth AND create a lasting memory by having your portrait taken by professional photographer Kate Burton. PMFA

- Enjoy a V-day Staycation and/or dinner at the Grubstake in the Sheraton Brooklyn. The Staycation is $239 night stay, including dinner for 2 (chef-selected menu) in the restaurant. (Drinks are not included in the rate). Only want dinner? $39.00+ per person.

- Radegast Hall will be open noon-4am. Don't have a date? WHO CARES!!! Stop by with your friends and Salute to Singlehood!

- Here's a no-rip-off guide to Valentine's Day dining.  Eater 

- Make your dinner reservations at Open Table now. 

- The Show and Tell Show and more Valentine's events listed at the Brooklyn Eagle.

- The Valentine's Day Rejection Show and more events listed at Brooklyn.com.

- Map your special Valentine with Google Maps' (see illustration above) Map Your Valentine.

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Carroll Park Piazza; Brooklyn College Snags Property; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- LICH saved!  NY1 

- News of Carroll Park Piaaza  greatly exaggerated. Plus - Calexico awarded a 5-year contract.  PMFA

- Before Gelman's deadly rampage, there were several warning signs.  NY Times

- Brooklyn College is about to land the last piece of undeveloped property connected to the 26-acre main campus. WSJ

- New York City sex heat map.  NY Magazine 

- Colson Whitehead and others will read at tonight's Franklin Park Reading Series: romantic tales, secret love potions, and free candy hearts! Brooklynian

Start-up seeks hard-working intern interested in the "urban chicken" experience. Brooklynian

- Where to park during the movie shoot in Brooklyn Heights this week.  BHB 

- The dark origins of Valentine's Day.  NPR


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Weird Mouse Taxidermy Revived in Brooklyn

Remember  "Dinner for Schmucks?"

A Gowanus gallery taxidermy class in which dead mice are used to create human-like figurines sold out in 4 hours, and several more classes had to be scheduled. The art form is a "bizarre Victorian hobby that featured mice, squirrels and cats in various forms of dress, the NY Post reports.

Knitted mouse by Lara604, Creative Commons license

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Donald and Mildred: We're Sorry About Losing All Your Money, and the Hospital, Too

UPDATE: The merger is back on! LICH is saved (until the next crisis). More here.

Donald and Mildred: We're sorry. We're sorry we couldn't fight their lawyers and their back-room deals. We're sorry that the Dept. of Health ignored the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) doctors who wanted to testify about what was really going on at the hospital. We're sorry we lost all that damn money, money you gave with good intentions.

And if it happens, we're sorry we lost the hospital, too.

The $140 million bequest by Brooklyn Heights residents Donald and Mildred Othmer to Long Island College Hospital has been sucked dry by Continuum Health Partners, and now the magical merger with SUNY Downstate that was supposed to keep LICH open appears to be going bad fast, under the steely gaze of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Assemblywoman Joan Millman told the Brooklyn Eagle that state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, among others, are hoping to set up a meeting with the state to try to salvage the merger.

Stanley Brezenoff, president of Continuum Health Partners, told the New York Times that the hospital was “running on fumes,” and would run out of cash by mid-March. At that point he "would be forced to begin bankruptcy proceedings and move forward with closing the hospital and laying off its 2,500 employees."

What a surprise.

In 2009 Dennis Hamill wrote in the NY Daily News:

"Under Continuum, the once-profitable LICH has been hemorrhaging red ink by some $1 million a month. [Dr. John Romanelli, head of the LICH medical staff] says Continuum cannibalized LICH for the benefit of the network's Manhattan mother ship, Beth Israel. Then Continuum dumped LICH in an orphan's basket on the state's doorstep."

Then Hamill predicted the future:

"I can't imagine that savvy Andrew Cuomo, the likely next governor of New York, is going to let Continuum's back room brokered LICH/Downstate merger happen with a nose-crinkling rubber stamp by DOH."

In its Capabilities Report, Continuum, with an annual operating budget of $2.1 billion, says it has "A Business Model With Significant Advantages."

You betcha!

Beth Israel in Manhattan has recently acquired a new 64-slice CT angiography scanner, has doubled the size of its emergency room, has launched the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute, and has undertaken an extensive renovation of 12 inpatient units, along with countless other improvements.

How nice for them.


Photo by MK Metz

Delay of State Money for Merger May Force a Hospital in Brooklyn to Close  NY Times

Brooklyn Struggles To Save LICH  Brooklyn Eagle

- Gov. Paterson Announced LICH /SUNY Deal in Brooklyn Today
- Insurance Trouble at Brooklyn's LICH 
- Petition to Save LICH 
- Sucking Long Island Collage Hospital Dry? 
- Long Island College Hospital In Big Trouble

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Brooklyn Bridge Closes An Hour Early, Totally Screws Brooklyn Drivers

 Knowing that the Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge were scheduled to close for emergency pothole repairs at midnight, savvy drivers headed out of Brooklyn around 11 p.m. Thursday night -- only to get stuck in a massive traffic jam as workers shut down the bridge an hour before it was supposed to close.

Traffic personnel  made drivers on busy Adams Street turn right (as seen above) onto Sands Street instead of left, onto the bridge.

Since Brooklyn-bound drivers were also exiting onto Sands Street (as they were actually driving the wrong way on the Manhattan-bound side of the bridge), it made for total gridlock.

So be warned: this whole mess will repeat Friday night, when the Manhattan-bound lanes will again be closed, supposedly at midnight, but really much earlier. And the Manhattan-bound side will remain closed till 6 p.m. Saturday.

Photo by MK Metz

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love on Montague Street

Love may not be in the air but it's certainly on the windows on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. Why not take a stroll and get that lovin' feeling?

Armando's Restaurant, above, is going with a free-flowing kinda love this year.

 Crumbs Bakery is handing out hugs and kisses.

Ricky's gets right down to it, as usual.

A little more lovin' from Ricky's.

Eamonn's just hearts everybody!

James Weir sticks with the classics.
Happy Lupercalia!

Photos by MK Metz

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But Will Our iPhones Work in May, 2013?

 Areas of possible power system collapse.

Solar Cycle 24 (they repeat every 11 years) will come to its peak in May, 2013, and NASA says we should prepare for power grid trouble. These solar storms usually cause a bit of havoc with electronics, and today our increasingly interconnected power grids acts like "giant antennas for geomagnetically induced currents."
 
"The great geomagnetic storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013," said Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, according to NASA.

NASA says, "A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause $1 to 2 trillion in damages to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to ten years for complete recovery."

Scientists studied what would happen to today's power grids if we experience a solar storm similar to the great geomagnetic storm of May 1921.

The model predicted "more than 350 transformers at risk of permanent damage and 130 million people without power" for long periods of time.

Regions with a large percentage of "at-risk" capacity could suffer power failures lasting years, according to NASA. On a state-by-state map showing percentages of at-risk capacity, New York Jersey, with 82 percent of its transformers at-risk, carries the highest risk of catastrophic power failure in the U.S.

OK, but what about our iPhones? NASA says, "Radio bursts from solar flares can directly interfere with cell phone reception." Hmnn.

A new NASA project, "Solar Shield," is an experimental forecasting system for the North American power grid. The idea of grid protection has kicked around Congress, but funding remains a dicey proposition.

- NASA: Protecting the North American Power Grid 

Graphic source: J. Kappenman, .Metatech Corp.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Three Brooklyn Heights Association Members Resign in Tobacco Warehouse Flap

Three "prominent residents" who were former officers of the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) have resigned from the BHA, the Brooklyn Eagle reports.

Hank Gutman, David Offensend and Joanne Witty resigned in protest over lawsuits, supported by the BHA, to prevent the Tobacco Warehouse from being converted into a cultural and entertainment center by St. Ann’s Warehouse.

The Eagle says that all three were deeply involved in planning Brooklyn Bridge Park -- and all three are now on the board of directors of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

Read the whole story here.

- When the Tobacco Warehouse Had a Roof
- Handing Over Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO 'Insulting': Flemming
- RFP Issued for Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO
- Tobacco Warehouse, Acute Corner, DUMBO

Photo by Google

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'Montreal-Style' Bagels; Marty's Stunt Backfires; Timber Shed Over? and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Marty's stunt stirs pro-biker backlash. Brooklyn Eagle 

- The former medical offices at Clinton St. and Atlantic Ave. will apparently soon be home to “Montreal-style” bagels. BHB

- Map: 269 people were killed in crashes in New York City last year. Streetsblog

- This is where Brooklyn's food trucks come to roost. PMFA

- Brooklyn dog food creators will eat their own product. Gothamist 

- The rehabilitation of the historic Timber Shed, part of the Navy Yard's Admirals Row, is “no longer a safe and realistic course of action.” Brooklyn Eagle

- A New York man who founded a TV network aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes was found guilty of beheading his wife.  CNN 

- Study: People who use any illegal drug, including marijuana, suffer psychosis two years earlier than non-users. Time/ Healthland


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Tie Everything Down: Wind Gusts Up to 45 mph in New York City

The NYC Department of Buildings is advising property owners, builders and contractors to get ready for high winds today and tomorrow.

The National Weather Service forecasts wind gusts up to 45 mph for the New York City area Tuesday February 8, through Wednesday, February 9.

DOB will be performing random spot-check inspections of construction sites around the city. If construction sites are not safely secured, the Department "will take immediate enforcement action with the issuance of violations and Stop Work Orders if necessary."

More information here.

If that's not bad enough, the temperature is going to plunge tonight to a low around 14 degrees. Add the wind and it will feel like 0 or colder.

Photo by Slideshow Bruce, Creative Commons license

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'Race to Nowhere' at P.S. 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn

 Please join P.S. 321 in a showing of "Race to Nowhere" -- about the "dark side" of America's achievement culture -- at P.S. 321 on Wednesday February 16th. Race to Nowhere is a thought-provoking film about the stress children and teens experience in the high stakes education culture of the United States.

The event will start at 6:30 PM and will run approximately 2 hours. This film looks at a host of issues related to the culture of achievement in the United States, specifically through the lens of how school and extra-curricular pressures affect children. It questions the role of parents, schools, and school systems and explores ways in which each can better address the pressures young people often experience.

The film was made by a mother in Marin County, California, out of concern for the ways in which pressure to "achieve" was affecting many children, including her own. For more info on the film, go to http://www.racetonowhere.com/. Following the film, there will be a panel of experts to answer questions.

Tickets cost $10 in advance, available online at http://www.racetonowhere.com/screenings/ps-321 If there are tickets left, they will be sold for $15 at the door the night of the event.

180 7th Avenue , Brooklyn, NY 11215. Phone: (718) 499-2412

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Monday, February 7, 2011

P.S. 8 Annex Going Up Fast; Now Parents Want a Middle School

 The new P.S. 8 Annex, seen above jutting out from the original school building, blends right in on Poplar Street in Brooklyn Heights. It looks like it may even be completed in time for kids to move in next September.

Now on to the next problem: According to the Brooklyn Eagle, parents at P.S. 8 are desperate for a middle school and recently passed a resolution calling for their school’s expansion to the eighth grade.They're actively looking for a new school building within walking distance of the elementary school.

Many P.S. 8 children have gone on to a Fort Greene middle school, the Urban Assembly School of Arts & Letters, after P.S. 8, but that school will be cutting its enrollment in half soon.

In 2007, Councilman David Yassky pushed to build the P.S. 8 annex large enough to house a middle school at the same site. According to the Brooklyn Eagle:

"Since DOE already committed to build an annex at the site, 'Why not try to build P.S. 8 as big as you can?' said Jake Maguire, spokesperson for Yassky. 

"But School Construction Authority President Sharon Greenberger, at a July press conference revealing plans for the new annex, announced the city’s support for a middle school at Dock Street in DUMBO instead." 

Well that certainly showed foresight! Two Trees has not even filed permit applications for the Dock Street project yet, according to the Eagle. And as middle schools go, the one planned for Dock Street is small (300 seats). P.S. 8 serves 554 kids now and that number may increase when the annex is completed.

When the proposed Dock Street middle school is eventually built, it would be open to students from the entire district, not just the neighborhoods zoned for P.S. 8 which include Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, the Navy Yard Area and part of Downtown.

Photo by MK Metz


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Hit and Run; Bike Lane Lawsuit; Cathie Black and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A woman biking in Williamsburg becomes latest hit and run victim.  Observer 

- Drunk driver runs down woman and her health aide in Bath Beach. The aide survived. CBS

- Now some people are suing to have the Prospect Park Bike Lane removed.  OTBKB

- Established Court Street boutiques fend off competition.  Carroll Gardens Patch

- A Q train "Masstransisope" flip book. The Local 

- Hey! It didn't rain, sleet or snow yesterday!   PMFA

- Are pols sharpening their knives for Cathie Black?  NY Daily News

- Next iPad to be released this month?  Rumors.  ComputerWorld 

- Paying for grad school.  WSJ

- AOL buys Huffington Post. Reuters

 

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Shooting at Adams and Livingston Streets, Downtown Brooklyn

 NYPD officers responded to a shooting around 12 p.m. today at 14 Boerum Place at Livingston (Adams Street turns into Boerum Place), according to the Brooklyn Eagle. It all started when a probation officer came out of the building and saw a man in the officer’s car.

Full story at Brooklyn Eagle

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Exploding Manholes; Cheapo Valentine's Day; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Exploding manhole on Empire Blvd. destroys Iraq vet's SUV. Gothamist

- We won! The Gowanus Canal is one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the nation. Brooklyn Eagle

- Mayor Bloomberg thinks New Yorker cover portraying him as a narcissist is "cute."  NY Magazine 

- Valentine's Day on the cheap.  Brokelyn And the ideal Brooklyn date weekend at The L Magazine. 

- 15 new small businesses have signed leases at the Brooklyn Nay Yard.  Brooklyn Eagle

- Gangs of teens step up their attacks in Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill. Brooklyn Paper

- Locals: Columbia Street Park should include "adult" elements. Carroll Gardens Patch

- To heck with groundhogs: freakishly large Brooklyn rabbit rings in Chinese New Year.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- The Paper Bag Players are free at LIU today (Friday). Hawthorne Street 

- Surprise: Voice calls work better on Verizon iPhone but data rates are "dramatically slower."  Gizmodo 

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Soon, a Tipi at the Brooklyn Museum

 In preparation for the Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains exhibition, the Brooklyn Museum has assembled a large-scale Blackfeet Welcome Tipi. The tipi cover was painted by Lyle Heavy Runner and visitors will be invited to enter when the exhibit opens February 18–May 15.

The tipi cover weighs over 300 pounds and each pole (made of pine wood) weighs about 50 pounds. The tipi is 27 feet tall.

The exhibition includes objects from a large number of tribes from the Northern, Central, and Southern Plains. It explores the role of women, who were the owners and makers of the tipi itself as well the furnishings, clothing, and accessories kept within it; the traditional role of men as warriors, whose military exploits are depicted on tipi covers and liners; and the tipi as the center of childhood and family life.

Photo: Brooklyn Museum

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

BP Markowitz Rides In on Bike Lane to Deliver 2011 State of the Borough Address

We received this roundup of BP Markowitz's State of the Borough address from his office tonight:

Stressing “jobs, jobs, jobs,” announces Central Brooklyn business incubator; pledges capital funding for IBM school at Paul Robeson High School; unveils Strategic Policy Statement

On February 3, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was joined by Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, other elected officials and hundreds of guests and honorees for the 2011 State of the Borough Address at Sunset Park High School. BP Markowitz entered the auditorium riding his “senior cycle” on an auditorium “bike lane,” and during the Address reiterated his opposition to the Prospect Park West bike lane, but overall support of bike lanes, where appropriate.

Among the other major initiatives and updates outlined by BP Markowitz:

Business “incubator” to create jobs in Central Brooklyn. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) is issuing a Request for Proposal (EFP) for qualified individuals, organizations or companies to develop, operate and maintain an incubator space funded by more than $1 million of the borough president’s capital budget—preferably with a food-related use such as food manufacturing, storage or shared commercial kitchen space—in either the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York or Crown Heights, or within a portion of the Moore Street Market in East Williamsburg.

Pledge of capital funds for IBM school at Paul Robeson High School. BP Markowitz pledged capital funds (amount to be determined) to assist with the proposed technology-themed high school to be underwritten by IBM and located at Paul Robeson High School in North Crown Heights. In addition to high school curriculum, students will complete two years of college under a program designed by the New York City College of Technology. BP Markowitz fought the Department of Education’s plan to close Paul Robeson High School last year.

The 2011 Strategic Policy Statement. Borough presidents are mandated by the City Charter to present a Strategic Policy Statement every four years. In his 2011 vision for Brooklyn, BP Markowitz outlines his goals in the areas of arts and culture; constituent services; economic development; education and libraries; health; housing; parks and recreation; public safety and criminal justice; and transportation and transit. To view or download the complete Strategic Policy Statement with executive summary, visit www.brooklyn-usa.org.

Loew’s Kings Theater update. BP Markowitz announced that renovation work is underway at the famed Loew’s Kings in Flatbush.

Relocating Panasonic headquarters to Brooklyn. BP Markowitz called on Panasonic to relocate its headquarters and hundreds of jobs from Secaucus, New Jersey to Brooklyn.

Improving the Gowanus Expressway. With emissions causing high rates of asthma and traffic backups along its entire stretch, the Gowanus Expressway needs improvements, and BP Markowitz urged action sooner than later to redesign the artery.

In this year’s State of the Borough Address, BP Markowitz stressed the theme of job creation. “We need jobs, jobs, jobs—right here, right now. As far as I’m concerned, for elected officials, jobs should be ‘job one.’”

Other highlights of 2010 included construction beginning on Barclays Center; the opening up of the Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon Street to retail; new retailers coming to Fulton Mall and new hotels in the borough; progress on converting the Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg into residential units as well as transforming Fourth Avenue into what BP Markowitz envisions as a grand “Brooklyn Boulevard”; the opening of Piers 1 and 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park; groundbreaking at the BioBAT bioscience facility at the Brooklyn Army Terminal; a new future for Coney Island; and nearly 15 million visitors to Brooklyn attractions last year. BP Markowitz poked some fun at meeting BeyoncĂ© and supermodels Christy Turlington-Burns and Brooklyn Decker in 2010, including the photo spread of him and Ms. Decker that appeared in the New York Post Page Six Magazine.

The State of the Borough Address also celebrated community leaders and Brooklynites with the “Brooklyn attitude,” including hero NYPD Detective Feris “Jonesy” Jones; 96-year-old Cub Scout pack leader Adele Trapp of Crown Heights; Maddalena and Fortunato Corso of Bensonhurst, married 70 years; Matthew Turner and Emily Grant, husband-and-wife Marines from Brooklyn Heights who met and fell in love while serving in Fallujah; the Brooklyn Community Foundation “Do-Gooders” honorees; hero EMTs Delano Williams and Rheinhold Danglade; Alice Sena of Bay Ridge, who rescued 74 wedding gowns from a fire at her store, Sposabella; Robin Rogers of Williamsburg, whose called-off wedding turned into a fundraiser for a neighborhood soup kitchen; and Brooklyn Rhodes Scholars Zachary Frankel and Zujaja Tauqeer.

The borough president also paid tribute to Brooklynites lost in 2010, including Saul Bruckner, founding principal of Edward R. Murrow High School; Bernard Catcher, public servant and Democratic Party leader; Dr. Henry Frank, former consul general of Haiti; Dr. Harvey Garner, former New York City Schools Chancellor and longtime superintendent of District 18; Lena Horne, Bedford-Stuyvesant-born Grammy, Emmy and Tony-winning singer, actress and civil rights activist; Johnny Maestro, lead singer of the Brooklyn Bridge; Reggie Nero, who taught valuable lessons to kids through sports at Wingate Field; Jerry O’Shea, longtime executive director of the Flatbush Tenants Council; Paul Podhaizer, president of the Brightwater Towers Tenants Association; William “Bill” Saunders, former state committee member and district leader of the 57th Assembly District; and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz, who represented Brooklyn for 18 years.

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Clark and Henry Streets, 1948, Brooklyn Heights

We found this wonderful 1948 photo of 70 Clark Street (at the corner of Clark and Henry in Brooklyn Heights), by the Wurts Brothers, in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). 

We had been told by old-timers that there was a drug store with a soda fountain at that corner and this photo confirms that it was called Parker Drugs Luncheonette. This is where Clark's Restaurant is today.

The nice thing about the MCNY photo is that you can zoom in on the details and see what was selling in the drug store (Life Magazine, biologicals), along with the coming-soon Rand gift shop around the corner on Clark (blanket, 47 cents!) and -- guess what? - Towne Liquor Store! across the street from where it now stands.

 The same corner more or less today, taken by Google. Note what a difference the trees make.

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Beautiful Ice Coats Trees Branches, Then Turns Into Ice-Projectiles

 Early yesterday, ice coated the branches of this willow tree growing on Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights, creating a beautiful ice sculpture.

 Each tiny branch was encased in a delicate glass-like sheath.

Around 10 a.m. (as it warmed up), the ice coatings starting plunging to the ground, creating a weird ice-projectile rain. You could hear the hollow arrows of ice clattering as they hit the brittle snow.

What new wonders await us today?

Photos by MK Metz

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

350 Customers Without Power in Brooklyn Wednesday P.M.

 The severe weather -- ice, snow, sleet and rain -- disrupted power to hundreds of thousands across the U.S. today. In Brooklyn, roughly 350 customers were still in the dark as of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, according to Con Edison.

Each cluster of colorful triangles above represent multiple outages. Green triangles represent one building without power. If you want to report an electrical emergency, such as a fallen wire, call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

Across the U.S., the weather caused outages at 18 large-scale plants, according to the Wall Street Journal

The National Weather Service issued the following warning for tonight (Wednesday) into tomorrow::
BLACK ICE WILL DEVELOP TONIGHT AS TEMPERATURES DROP TO BELOW FREEZING...ESPECIALLY ON UNTREATED ROADS AND WALKWAYS WITH REFREEZING OF BOTH STANDING WATER AND MELTED SNOW. MOTORISTS SHOULD EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION AND ALLOW FOR EXTRA DISTANCE WHILE DRIVING SINCE ROADS WILL BE SLIPPERY.


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Labor Dispute at Ozzies; Year-Round Ferries; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Angry parents create scene at school-closing hearing at Brooklyn Tech, while Schools Chancellor Cathie Black silently sips her Coke.  NY Times

- Interesting details about the Brooklyn Heights Association's role in preserving DUMBO's Tobacco Warehouse and persuading the state to designate it as parkland.  Brooklyn Eagle 

- Labor dispute at Park Slope Ozzies intensifies with a punk percussion marching band and noisemakers. Suite101 via OTBKB

- A year-round ferry network will provide all-day service in the East River, starting in June. Stops include Fulton Ferry, India Street in Greenpoint and North Sixth Street in Williamsburg. NY Times

- Real-time bus info arrives along the B63.  Streetsblog 

- Parents at P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights declare their intention to expand to middle school. Brooklyn Eagle

- Annual home maintenance course by the Bedford Central Community Development Corp. starts now. Bed-Stuy Blog

-Wikileaks reveals there may be more 9/11 terrorists out there. NY Magazine 

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scattered Power Outages Across Brooklyn


Brooklyn is experiencing scattered power outages, according to Con Ed's Storm Central web site. (The green triangles represent one building without power; the clustered triangles represent multiple buildings.)

Con Edison says it is closely monitoring today's storm, expected to last into Wednesday. The forecast calls for snow, sleet and freezing rain. The mix could cause branches and trees to fall into power lines and knock out electrical service to customers.

Customers can report outages and check service restoration at www.conEd.com or by calling 1-800-75CONED.

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When the Tobacco Warehouse Had a Roof

 What with all the fuss lately about what should be done with the iconic Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO, we thought it'd be fun to see what the place looked like when it had a roof.

This 1936 photo by Bernice Abbott, above, shows the Tobacco Warehouse to the right -- much taller than it is today. The partially constructed building in the background is the Purchase Building, which was knocked down a couple of years ago. The Brooklyn Bridge soars overhead, just as it does today.

This photo can be seen and zoomed in on at the web site of the Museum of the City of New York.

The same scene in modern times, taken by Google. A green fence (now replaced with chain link) surrounds the area where the Purchase Building stood.

The Brooklyn Heights Association, the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy filed two lawsuits in mid-January to prevent the Tobacco Warehouse's removal from public parkland.

Documents they obtained through the Freedom of Information Law showed that City and State officials had removed the Tobacco Warehouse from the park’s map so that it could be developed by Saint Ann's Warehouse, a private arts organization.

Last Thursday, in a victory (at least temporarily) for the civic groups, the Department of Justice ordered the City of New York to treat the Tobacco Warehouse "as if it were again fully protected federal land." (See Brownstoner for more on this).

- Handing Over Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO 'Insulting': Flemming
- RFP Issued for Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO
- Tobacco Warehouse, Acute Corner, DUMBO


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