Wednesday, February 29, 2012

'Best Friends Forever' Filming In DUMBO

NBC's new comedy "Best Friends Forever," was filming on Washington Street in DUMBO this week.

BFF stars Lennon Parham, Luka Jones, Jessica St. Clair, Daija Owens and Stephen Schneider

A release from NBC says:
"Best Friends Forever," from executive producer Scot Armstrong ("Old School," "Hangover 2"), is a new comedy about old friends, new beginnings and awkward situations.

Daija Owens as Queenetta
Jessica St. Clair ("Bridesmaids") and Lennon Parham ("Accidentally on Purpose") star as Jessica and Lennon, best friends who live on opposite sides of the country with the men in their lives. When Jessica is served divorce papers, Lennon convinces her to return home to Brooklyn and back into the apartment they used to share. Soon, the girls fall into old habits: movie marathons and late-night, girl-talk sessions -- none of which is good news for Lennon's live-in boyfriend, Joe (Luka Jones, Upright Citizens Brigade). Stephen Schneider ("Happy Endings") and Daija Owens also star.

Photos by MK Metz

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Long Lines at New Brooklyn GAP; Broken Angel House; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Whole Foods gets green light for Gowanus mega-market. Brooklyn Eagle. . . The final vote took 9 seconds. PMFA

- A new Gap Outlet opened to long lines on Friday at the corner of Gallatin Place on the Fulton Mall. Carroll Gardens Patch

- Anyone got a dock? PortSide needs a new spot for the Mary A. Whalen by the end of April. Otherwise, the oil tanker turned floating museum will likely be scrapped. Brooklyn Eagle

- A group of Williamsburg parents is fighting the latest plans for a charter school they say will damage their existing public schools. dnainfo

- Brooklyn's broken down Broken Angel House hits the auction block. Observer

- Bones found in Sullivan County woods ID'd as Russian immigrant who disappeared from Brooklyn. Relatives: "Something to do with his work." RecordOnline

- A 26-year-old Florida woman has been charged with setting the January fire that burned and destroyed 'The Senator', a beloved 3,500-year-old cypress tree. Huff Post

- By the way, aspirin was found to stop the spread of cancer. NY Daily News

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'Nobody Cooperating' In DUMBO reBar Knifing

Several versions of the Saturday night / Sunday morning stabbing incident at popular gastropub reBar in DUMBO have been going around, including the story that there hadn't been a stabbing at all, but that a patron cut his foot on glass.

A photo of a suspiciously-youthful suspect being taken into custody (see BHB) negates that, as does confirmation by police (see Brooklyn Eagle) that a stabbing did indeed occur.

Now the Brooklyn Eagle has published a clear photo of the victim, obviously in pain, being wheeled out of the Front Street eatery.

An reBar employee told McBrooklyn that "two customers got into a fight."

A police source told the Eagle  that “nobody is cooperating” in the investigation, including the victim.

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72 Poplar; Neo-Nazis in Greenpoint; Cheap Computers; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A tipster tells Brownstoner that DOB has approved conversion plans for 72 Poplar Street, the former precinct in Brooklyn Heights.

- Polish neo-Nazis are prowling the streets of Greenpoint. Gawker

- Nine new townhouses going up on State Street in Boerum Hill. Brooklyn Eagle

- Free pancakes at IHOP today! IHOP

- Brooklyn residents who received sanitation summonses used videotapes to prove their innocence. Could a new law be in the making? NY Times

- Computers and fax machines available for a song in Downtown Brooklyn, courtesy of NY State. Brooklyn Eagle

- Construction underway at former Ozzie's space, not pretty. Here's Park Slope

- Aroma to end D'Amico roasting coffee on Court Street? PMFA via South Brooklyn Post

- Cops catch teens who shoved 81-year-old onto subway tracks. Brooklyn Paper

- Farmers are looking to expand onto rooftops in the outer boroughs. TRD

- Fannie to sell foreclosed homes with stipulation they become rentals. TRD

- Science: Wealthy are more likely to steal, lie and cheat. Bloomberg

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CIA Receives More Funding for Successful Facebook Program

Just because it's brought to us by the Onion doesn't mean it's not true . . .

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO Mourn Respected Lawyer, P.S. 8 Dad

Michael Rothenberg, executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) and local dad, was mourned at a memorial service Sunday at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights.

He died at age 47 after a plunge from the 29th floor of 100 Jay Street in DUMBO, landing on the fourth-floor terrace over a Chase bank.

Rothenberg's death shocked a wide swath of people across DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, who knew him as a kind man, a competitive squash player, and a thoughtful neighbor. According to the extensive obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle, Rothenberg was a dedicated volunteer at P.S. 8, where his children attend school.

Rothenberg oversaw the team of attorneys and activists fighting to remove toxins (including PCBs) from more than 700 public schools across the city. Other issues he worked on included ending Medicaid discrimination and winning aid for the families of union workers killed on 9/11.

An extended tribute written by Beth Rasin describes Rothenberg's razor sharp wit and penchant for puns, his chocolate chip cookies, his vision for NYLPI and how he made himself available to law students and young lawyers.

His family and colleagues at NYLPI issued a joint statement reading in part:

“Michael was the kind of person we all strive to be: a fearless advocate for those less fortunate, a wonderful role model to his young children, and a dedicated friend,” said Jonathan Kopp, a close family friend. “This is a great loss for everyone who was touched by him."

"A man with an enormous heart, a compassionate soul and a burning desire to better the lives of others, Michael Rothenberg is survived by his wife, Zerline Goodman; their children, Brice, Garon and Zaya Rothenberg; his mother, Eleanor; and his brothers, David and Seth. "

Brooklyn Activist Lawyer Dies in Fall From Roof Brooklyn Eagle

Top photo courtesy NYU; bottom photo by MK Metz

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Not Rate All City Workers the Way We Rate Teachers?

New York City plans to release today what were supposed to be internal rankings of about 18,000 public school teachers who were graded using a complex, experimental and statistically bogus mathematical formula with an up to 66 percent margin of error

Many experts have come out against the plan to publish the rankings. (More at NY Times)

Tellingly, charter school teachers are not being rated.

How about this: Let's grade ALL city workers, including politicians, using similar criteria. To make it work, of course, we must use a flawed formula and tragically incorrect data.

Then we must make sure that the workers are sorry they ever set their eyes on this ferocious city by publicly denigrating them. In spite of the meaninglessness of the grading system, we must brand them with a scarlet letter that will follow them for the rest of their lives.

Let's start with Mayor Bloomberg.

Photo: The Scarlet Letter, at Amazon

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Bridges Connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan Screwed Up This Weekend

Thinking about driving to Manhattan this weekend? Maybe you should leave your car at home because the Brooklyn, Manhattan AND Williamsburg bridges will all have partial shutdowns.

- The Brooklyn Bridge will have all lanes closed to Manhattan 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, 12:01 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday.

- One of two eastbound lanes on the south upper roadway of the Manhattan Bridge will be closed Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

- The Brooklyn-bound south inner roadway of the Williamsburg Bridge will be closed 5 a.m. to noon either Saturday or Sunday.

- Travel between Manhattan and Queens will also be impacted as the eastbound south outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge will be closed 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

More weekend traffic updates at the NY Daily News.

Photo of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges courtesy of Google Earth

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Clear Off Your Balcony: High Winds Tonight

The National Weather Service forecasts winds up to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph for the New York City area tonight, Friday, February 24 through Saturday, February 25.

In preparation for the windy weather, the Department is reminding all property owners and contractors to secure their construction sites and buildings.

These winds may reach higher speeds than forecast depending on the area of the City.

Call 911 if there is an emergency on a construction site.

To secure a building, property owners should take these precautionary measures:

• Bring inside loose, lightweight objects such as lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, garden tools and toys.

• Anchor objects that would be unsafe outside, such as gas grills or propane tanks.

• Close up and secure patio umbrellas.

• Secure retractable awnings.

• Remove aerial antennas and satellite television dishes.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report non-compliant conditions or 911 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings.

For more information, please visit

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Free Pieces of the Coney Island Boardwalk; Climbing Williamsburg Bridge; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A woman who carelessly opened her parked car's door, hurling a cyclist onto an oncoming bus and killing her, will be fined $500. NY Daily News

- It's still too early to count Bushwich as Brooklyn's next "hot spot." One realtor says, "We need a good five years." Brooklyn Eagle

- Free pieces of the Coney Island Boardwalk! Call by today (Thursday). Brokelyn

- Fancy Brooklyn Bridge Park overhead walkway exempt from city safety rules? Brooklyn Paper

- Video: Illegally climbing The Williamsburg Bridge. Gothamist

- Some wait on line in the cold 8 hours or longer to get food stamps in Brooklyn. NY Daily News

- 81-year-old pushed onto subways tracks while chasing iPhone thief. Brooklyn Ink

- The cameras aboard NYPD's SkyWatch observation towers make officers who are on the street just as mindful of their conduct as civilians are. BK Bureau
- The Freelancers Union has received $174 million in low- and no-interest federal loans to build a nonprofit, consumer-run health plan in New York. Crain's NY

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Hip Tot Music Festival in Gowanus, Brooklyn this Sunday

This Sunday, February 26, from 2 - 5 p.m. Littlefield in Gowanus opens it’s doors to the next generation with The Hip Tot Music Festival.

The music series features live bands that cater to the young crowd along with an open market, craft activities with Private Picassos, readings and giveaways.

The first event features Rolie Polie Guacamole and classic children’s performer Lou Gallo. This will be the official release of Rolie Polie Guacamole’s third CD "Houses of the Moly." Get ready to dance to songs from all their three albums; plus: live appearance by The Rolie Polie Guacamole puppets, the music video premiere, a stop-motion video, food and adult beverages at the bar!

Also on the roster is award-winning Brooklyn author/ illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg who will be reading and signing her popular children's books, such as Mermaids On Parade, left.

The Hip Tot Music Festival takes place at Littlefireld, 622 DeGraw Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. Admission is $8 for kids and $12 for adults ($35 for a family of 4). Children under 2 are free.

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Question the Tax Man About How Your Property Has Been Valued

Earlier this year the New York City Department of Finance announced the publication of the tentative property assessment roll for fiscal year 2013.

Many homeowners have seen a change in how their properties have been valued and have questions about these changes. So the Department of Finance and the Tax Commission will be conducting an evening joint outreach session in Brooklyn.

Representatives from both agencies will be there to answer questions from the public about how their properties have been valued.

Monday, February 27, 6-8 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall, Courtroom, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn

Full information flyer from Community Board 6 

Graphic courtesy of Daniel Moyle, Creative Commons license

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bad 'CAR'-ma On Cadman Plaza West!!

Rush hour on Cadman Plaza West near Pierrepont Street was a mess yesterday evening when the woman driving this SUV paid absolutely no attention to the concrete median. That thing in the middle of the road. (The one you're not supposed to drive over?)

A large number of police emergency vehicles and fire engines surrounded the SUV, which was totally stuck and leaking gas or some other kind of fluid onto the median. Sand was poured onto the liquid, then everyone talked for a long while about what the heck to do next.

The driver stayed in the car -- probably not wanting all the bloggers and newspaper reporters (drawn like flies to honey) to get a close up.

Photos by MK Metz

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'Brooklyn 11223;" Lil' Kim; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- New Atlantic Avenue eatery HOPELAND is a tribute to owners' respective mothers. PMFA

- Cute little Brooklyn Heights Watchtower property sells for $4.1 million. Brooklyn Eagle

- New York Times calls Brooklyn's Shake Shack "inconsistent."

- Oxygen's newest docu-series "Brooklyn 11223" takes viewers to the wilds of Bay Ridge and beyond. (Video) The Futon Critic

- The owner of the building housing the Brooklyn Heights Cinema will provide space for a new cinema within the new building. Brooklyn Eagle and Brooklyn Paper

- Here's a picture of the an abandoned wine cave built into the anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge. Edible Geography

- The Manhattan state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that unmarried homeless people do not have to prove they have no other housing options before entering a shelter. Gawker

- Lil’ Kim (Brooklyn) vs Lil’ Kim (North Korea): How to Tell the Difference. Brooklynian

- Google is said to be readying Android-based "smart glasses" which would provide an augmented reality view of the world. Apple Insider

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Brooklyn's Downtown Building Boom Could Be a Disaster

Brooklyn Eagle's Dennis Holt has done a little counting and has come up with some scary figures:

Within a 2-square-mile area that includes the Downtown Brooklyn core and part of Fort Greene, 7,362 new residential units will soon be going up. (This does not count City Point or the Atlantic Yards residential units, he notes.)

"It can safely be said that Downtown Brooklyn can expect an invasion of from 15,000 to 20,000 new residents in a rather small area that was never designed for such a number of people," he says. Telephone lines, gas mains, water mains, schools, retail services, bus routes, traffic patterns -- were all designed for a much smaller population.

We could be looking at a planning nightmare, he warns. More here.

Photo courtesy Google Earth

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stark Naked Struggling Love at MetroTech, Downtown Brooklyn

Here's a sentiment we can get behind: Stark naked struggling love! This atop a map at MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn.

These words (which change every second or so) are part of a Flash animation-driven artwork by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries called  "The Struggle Continues." It involves a humorous dialog about class, sex and other things along with jazz music.

The work is part of a Public Art Fund exhibition called "A Promise Is a Cloud"  at Metrotech.

Photo by MK Metz

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Real Reason Sweet Melissa Closed; Mary Whalen Support Meeting (and Afterparty); and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The real reason for Sweet Melissa's closing? PMFA

- Homeland Security rules are killing the Mary A. Whalen cultural venue/oil tanker in Red Hook, and the new home the city promised isn't happening. A meeting is taking place at LICH this Monday (followed by an afterparty). Brooklyn Eagle

- The city dropped $140,000 on the Prospect Park West bike lane -- and that's just for the legal fees. NY Magazine

- Where the fallout shelters are in Brooklyn Heights. (Just in case.) BHB

- Professor says renting is always better than owning. TRD

- Seven years later, top court upholds Brooklyn mans conviction for gay murder. Brooklyn Eagle

- Look who's been delivering weed via private jet. Gothamist

- How that Swedish guy survived for two months in a snow-covered car. Gizmodo

- American and Chinese scientists are flabbergasted after discovering a giant 298-million-year-old forest buried intact under a coal mine in Inner Mongolia, China. Gizmodo

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'Mob Daughter' Causing Consternation on Staten Island

Brooklyn-born Karen Gravano, daughter of Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, will read from her recently released ghost-written memoir "Mob Daughter" next week at the Barnes & Noble store in Staten Island.

Her dad, the former Gambino hitman (underboss to John Gotti) testified against members of his crime family in exchange for a 20-year sentence.

SILive commenters, criticizing Staten Island's "garbage culture," are heaping criticism on Gravano and the whole Staten Island mob fascination thing. "Barns and Noble should be shamed for letting scum like that go there," wrote a commenter that calls her/himself Janmar74.

Many say they hope that no one shows up for the reading. Says Threesaints: "Unfortunately our culture celebrates the family of a psychopathic mass murderer. I hope the Advance covers the reading. They should print the names and show of the faces of the people who come to pay homage. Maybe then we can see who really support these lowlifes."

IceBRINK says: "I thought the dump was closed? What is even more ridiculous is that Staten Islanders will show up, watch this program and emulate this type of lifestyle... and then go to church on Sunday. What a mess we are."

A suggestion from Matsuiocn12: "Wouldn't it be interesting if the families and friends of the 19 admitted murder victims showed up . . ."

Several commenters, on the other hand, criticize Karen's father not for his admitted crimes, but for being a "rat":
"Hey darling, you're dad was a RAT, and you are proud of that?? You should go back in hiding eating your cheese," said Shackisland1.

More at SILive.

Photo courtesy B&N

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Brooklyn Leads in City's 'Worst' Buildings List; St. George 'Gouging' Students; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- We win! Brooklyn has the most entries in the recent list of “200 Worst Residential Buildings in New York City,” released by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Brooklyn Eagle

- A staffer in Republican Rep. Michael Grimm's Brooklyn office is suspended after his arrest outside a Brooklyn school during a fight with his teenage son. SILive

- The pregnant woman shot outside a Brooklyn school by her estranged husband feared that the man would try kill her. NY Daily News

- Manager of St. George dormitory "gouging" students. NY Post (via BHB)

- Ignorance or something darker? Why did NY Times misreport the Success Academy Williamsburg hearing? Read comments.

- Did the city waste half a billion dollars on little-used public-safety wireless data network? NY Daily News via Queens Crap

- Get ready for the Brooklyn Mutt Show. Bay Ridge Journal

- Walmart security cameras catch chunky naked guy stealing socks. Gizmodo

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We Just Love This Headline

Sometimes you don't even have to read the stories! Here's a headline that is rich with layered meaning:

"One-legged Construction Worker-Turned-Real Estate Investor Jailed for Stripper-Rolex Incident"

The Real Deal

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Deborah Feldman's 'Unorthodox' Book Ticks Off Williamsburg's Satmar Jews

It's a book that is being called "riveting;" "harrowing;" "a page-turner;" "a testimony to one woman's courage;" and "frightening."

It's also being called "an insult to all Jews;" "lies;" and "libel."

The book is Deborah Feldman's Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots published Tuesday by Simon and Schuster (available on Amazon). Unorthodox is the story of Feldman's life, travails, and finally escape from Williamsburg's insular Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism -- what she calls "a foreign world right here inside New York City."

In the book, Feldman describes being raised in Williamsburg by her oppressively religious grandparents, Bubby and Zeidy, and a vindictive aunt.

Her mother had been married off to a mentally disturbed man with an IQ of 63. Rejected by her in-laws, her mother fled, leaving young Feldman behind with her husband's parents.

Feldman was told what she could wear, to whom she could speak, and what she could read. She spoke little English. Her schooling was limited to learning the laws of modesty, keeping kosher, sewing, and the rudiments of reading and writing (to roughly the 4th-grade level).

At 17 her marriage was arranged; she spoke to her husband, a stranger, for only 30 minutes before they became engaged. She experienced a year of sexual humiliation. When her son was born she realized she had to make a change. She moved out of Williamsburg, went to college, and wrote this book.

Satmars Up In Arms

Now a noisy controversy has broken out between non-Satmars, who describe Feldman with words like "strong, determined, and gifted;" and "courageous;" and Satmars, who say she is "not right in the head" and "a conniving little bitter girl who lies just about anything."

Critics have fastened onto an incident that Feldman describes second- (or third-) hand: the alleged murder of a young man in the upstate Orthodox town of Kiryas Joel. Contrary to the story Feldman says she was told by relatives, a death certificate obtained by The Jewish Week states that the death was ruled a suicide. 

Comment from the Failed Messiah blog: "She is a conniving little bitter girl who lies just about anything. Besides what she is mocking Judaism in general and those things are true she is also making up almost everything." In Hebrew, another commenter called her a "worthless whore."

Review in Library Journal: "Feldman gives us special insight into a closed and repressive world. . . . her memoir is fresh and tart and utterly absorbing."

Comment in The Jewish Week: "And I thought Simon and Shuster, with a reputation to hold dear, would do some research on a story like this! They both, S&S and Feldman ought to apologize."

Review in Booklist: "Feldman’s evolution as well as her look inside a closed community make for fascinating reading … her storyteller’s sense and a keen eye for details give readers a you-are-there sense of what it is like to be different when everyone else is the same."

From I'm A Mother forum: "Having this woman on Yahoo news made me feel compelled to give a lengthy comment, this is just so sad and pathetic and a terrible kiddush Hashem. I'm embarrassed for my non Jewish neighbors to read this!"

Jewish Journal called Unorthodox "painfully good," and described Feldman's narrative voice as "almost hypnotic."

From Jewcy: "Feldman speaks intelligently, almost in a lamenting tone about the price necessary to pay to sell books, mainly the sensationalist tone adopted in the latter part of the book title . . . or the title of an ABC News piece: Hasidic Hell. For the most part I choose to assume that her publicist desired to create a public persona of Feldman as some kind of forward thinking, independent woman/sex symbol." 

Her family wants her to commit suicide. "They’ve got my grave ready." Email from a family member: “R U ready to CROKE"and  “We are most definitely going to rejoice in your misery.”

The video above features Feldman appearing on The View, where she tells Barbara Walters what an inspiration she has been.

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Fat School Kids; New Supermarket; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A man was shot in Williamsburg yesterday. Gothamist

- Agreement on teacher evaluations reached, and it's pretty much what the teachers have been suggesting for months. Brooklyn Eagle

- America's super-sized kids are needing super-sized school desks. Gawker

- Williamsburg's Edge getting a supermarket. Brooklyn Paper

- If you got a check in the mail with a letter informing you that you have won big bucks in the lottery, state Sen. Marty Golden has some bad news for you. The check is a fake and you didn't really win. Brooklyn Eagle

- Couples composed of one white person plus one Asian person have the highest incomes. NY Magazine

- Scientists have worked out the minimum amount of exercise you can get away with in order to get fit. Gizmodo

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Place for Game Nerds; PCBs in Carroll Gardens Schools; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The head of one of Brooklyn's poorest hospitals -- Wyckoff -- rejects the merger he helped engineer. Brooklyn Eagle . . . Meanwhile, Brookdale University Hospital in Brownsville is so broke workers bring their own toilet paper to work. Gothamist

- Late Brooklyn art star Basquiat signed paintings with invisible ink. L Magazine

- DOE approved a new middle school for Brooklyn Heights' popular P.S. 8, and it's going into the Westinghouse HS building on Tillary Street. Brooklyn Eagle

- A gaming salon has opened in Carroll Gardens for game nerds -- as in board games. Ten bucks buys you four hours of play, no Internet connection required. Brokelyn

- The body of a woman stuffed into a laundry bag was found in a vacant lot in Brownsville. An 83-year-old man who lives across the street said, "It happens so often around here that when you see one, it don’t bother me nothing." NY Daily News

- Carroll Gardens parents charge city is giving them the run-around over PCBs. Brooklyn Eagle

- Crazy killer Maksim Gelman proposed to Kim Kardashian as he was sentenced yesterday. 25 years added to his sentence. NY Daily News

- Apple allows app developers to download and store the private address books of iPhone users -- phone numbers, emails and addresses. Gizmodo

- A pound of sperm whale poop is worth $10,000. Huff Post

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Arrested Again: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Busy Chef Con Man Dan Kaufman

Brooklyn Heights Busy Chef manager / con man Dan Kaufman AKA Dan Kay AKA Dan Katze, arrested in Brooklyn in July of 2009 and at least once after that, is back in the news with a profile in Gawker which catches us up with his latest criminal activities.

Only now he's the Montauk Grifter.

Kaufman's activities are credited with driving the Busy Chef on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights -- along with its sister stores, Blue Pig ice cream shop, and Henry Street's Wine Bar, Oven restaurant and a Court Street Busy Chef -- out of business.

In addition to the $25,000 that Kaufman stole from customers, he also took much more from the business itself, falsifying the books to cover up the losses.

Since the little Brooklyn Heights episode (and apparently while on parole), Kaufman has been, once again, busy: He was arrested on Jan. 26, accused of defrauding Cloud Mob Media, Inc.

Gawker's description of Kaufman: "He is a celebrity chef, an internet entrepreneur, a television producer. He has worked for Apple, Google, AOL, the Rainbow Room. He hangs out with Steve Case, Gordon Ramsey, Tim Armstrong. He's a world-class surfer, a AAA baseball legend, the founder of a seminal punk band . . ."

And ladies: he hangs out on OkCupid.

Read all about it on Gawker.

UPDATE: Even more details about what the busy guy has been up to at the Brooklyn Eagle. 

- Brooklyn's Busy Chef: More Drama, More Crime
- Busy Chef's Alan Young Disbarred
- Brooklyn Heights: Busy Chef Cover Up -- Stop Work Order
- 50 Ex- Busy Chef Restaurant Employees in Brooklyn, Ready to Work
- And Then There Were None: The Wine Bar, Last in Brooklyn's Busy Chef Empire, Closes
- 'Mired in Scandal,' It's All Over for Brooklyn's Busy Chef
- Why the Brooklyn Paper Didn't Write About the Crook at the Busy Chef and What This Means For America
- Arrested Busy Chef Partner Has a History in Boston
- A Busy Brooklyn Chef Now Under Arrest
- Downtown Brooklyn Busy Chef Pretty Busy
- Busy Chef Empire: Frozen Dinners or Homemade Cuisine?
- Busy Chef coming to Court Street

Photo by MK Metz

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Babies Parked Outside Stores; Montague Street Restaurant Coming; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brooklyn politician pleads with Orthodox Jewish mothers not to park their babies in unattended strollers outside stores while they go shopping inside. Failed Messiah

- An up-and-coming rapper from the Gowanus housing projects could face life in prison after being indicted for three counts of murder in Brooklyn federal court. Brooklyn Eagle

- How long will it take to build Atlantic Yards? No one knows. The Local

- Sh*t people from Brooklyn say. Brokelyn

- Montague Street's La Traviata may be replaced by another restaurant. BHB

- Only outlaws have brownies: Homemade baked goods are no longer allowed in Brooklyn Tech High School. Gotham Schools

- A new bill is being pushed by Squadron and Kavanagh that would close the loophole that delays police investigations into serious vehicular crashes. Brooklyn Eagle

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Have You Seen These Boxes In Brooklyn?

Somewhere in the wilds of Brooklyn, maybe on the roof of a warehouse or along the waterfront, sits an array of hundreds of thousands of tiny TV antennas the size of a thumbnail. The antennas are organized onto boxes "the size of a dish washer." Each box can hold thousands of the little antennas.

The boxes and the thousands of tiny antennas belong to Aereo, a new Internet television service.

According to the New York Times, when Aereo becomes available in New York City in mid-March, the service will stream all of the programming of the major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) to phones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs.

According to Gigaom, New York-based Aereo believes that by giving each user their own tiny antenna (and a DVR in the cloud), it can bypass legal challenges that have brought down companies in the past which tried to repackage free, over-the-air network television.

Prospective Aereo customers must be New York City residents and may register at Beginning March 14, members can get a 30-day free trial and the membership fee is $12 per month (if it can survive the legal battles ahead).

Barry Diller, creator of the Fox television network, is on the company's board.

Photo courtesy of Gigacom

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

McCarren Park Pool To get Ice Rinked In the Winter

The city has issued an RFP for a seasonal ice skating rink at McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg. The rink would operate between October 15 and March 30 (‘Ice Rink Season’)and would include skate rental, sharpening and maybe a pro shop and food vendors.

See Brooklyn 11201 via Brownstoner

Photo by Ludovic Bertron, Creative Commons license

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Worms In Canned Sardines Are Kosher

Go ahead and eat that sandwich: It has been decided that the worms that infest canned sardines are kosher.

A parasitologist at the American Museum of Natural History determined through DNA analysis that worms found in canned sardines come from the bodies of the fish, not the intestines.

And that makes all the difference to Jews who keep kosher, according to the Failed Messiah blog.

Kosher or not, we will never look at sardines in quite the same way.

Photo by Dave Bleasdale, Creative Commons license

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Steiner To Build New Residential Tower In Downtown Brooklyn

Dattner Architects
Developer Doug Steiner, chairman of Steiner NYC, revealed on Monday his firm’s plans for an apartment building at Livingston and Schermerhorn streets and Flatbush Avenue.

The Brooklyn Eagle reported in early December that Steiner acquired a four-property package for an estimated $30 million, but plans for it were not yet known.

“The center of Brooklyn is moving south and east of downtown,” Steiner told the Eagle late Monday.

More details here.

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Special Valentine's Tour of Brooklyn Sewage Plant Tuesday Morning

Here's your chance to really impress that special someone:

The Department of Environmental Protection is offering a Valentine’s morning tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater treatment plant, reports the NY Daily News. “It’s a unique date, and one they’ll never forget,” said plant superintendent Jim Pynn.

“Just imagine going home and saying, ‘Where did he take me on Valentine’s Day? I went to see the digester eggs in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.”

Read all about it here.

Photo by NYC DEP

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'Black Hearts' Valentine's Afterparty in DUMBO

Can't quite get it together for Valentine's Day? Don't want to?

Then this Saturday's "Black Hearts" Valentine's afterparty may be for you. The party takes place at the Underwater Lounge at 66 Water Street Restaurant. More details here.

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James Gray's 'Low Life' Shooting In Brooklyn Heights. Expect Serious Parking Problems

James Gray's ("We Own the Night") new film, officially untitled but tentatively called "Low Life," starts shooting on Montague Street Tuesday.

Joaquin Phoenix by Tony Shek
The film stars Marion Cotillard ("Inception," "La Vie En Rose"), Joaquin Phoenix ("We Own the Night," "Walk the Line") and Jeremy Renner ("The Town," "The Hurt Locker").

According to IMDb, the plot follows an innocent immigrant (Polish) woman
Marion Cotillard by Nicogenin
who is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville. A dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.

According to Jewel Box Productions, which has been hanging signs all over Brooklyn Heights, parking will be very tough on several major streets in the Heights after 6 p.m. Monday.

Jeremy Renner by Sgt. M. Connors
This includes:
- The north side of Montague Street between Clinton and Henry
- Cadman Plaza West, west side between Clark and Middagh
- Clark Street north side between Cadman Plaza West and Henry Street
- Clark Street south side between Cadman Plaza West and Monroe Place
- Clinton Street, east side, between Montague and Pierrepont
- Pierrepont Street between Clinton and Cadman Plaza West
- Remsen Street, north side, between Henry and Clinton
- Henry Street between Montague and Remsen

Indywire has an enthusiastic writeup of the film here.

Top photo by MK Metz

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Brooklyn Heights Baluchi's Closed by Health Department

Saturday we called Baluchi's, the new Indian restaurant at 46 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, to order up some aloo mutter gobhi, dal and nan bread.

The first time we called we got an answering machine with an American woman's voice asking us to leave a message. Oops! Must have dialed the wrong number.

The second time we called we got a mechanical-sounding male voice asking us to leave a message. What the heck? So we called the Park Slope Baluchi's and asked what's wrong with the Brooklyn Heights' Baluchi's?

"They opened too soon, they were not ready yet," a man explained."They'll be closed for a week."

The Department of Health explained further:

"Closed By Health Department"
Violations recorded in the following area (s), a Notice of Violation issued and establishment ordered closed by the Department of Health at the reinspection conducted on 02/10/2012.

Violation points: 58

Sanitary Violations
1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
2) Food not cooled by an approved method whereby the internal product temperature is reduced from 140º F to 70º F or less within 2 hours, and from 70º F to 41º F or less within 4 additional hours.
3) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer or thermocouple not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding.
4) Insufficient or no refrigerated or hot holding equipment to keep potentially hazardous foods at required temperatures.
5) Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared.

All the above violations are called "critical" by the Health Department. (Most of them seem to revolve around inadequate refrigeration.)

* * *

Someone named Vipin commenting on the Brooklyn Heights Blog says: "Yes, sadly our refrigerator was not working working properly. The food was being taken for disposal. We have taken all steps to remedy the situation. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience."

By the way, we ordered from Ghandi Palace (which took over from Amin's on Montague Street) and were happy with the food. The aloo mutter gobhi was nicely spiced and they sent extra rice with the order.

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No 2 and 3 Trains In Brooklyn Starting Tonight

If you plan to travel after 10 p.m. this week, notice that signs are plastered all over Seventh Avenue 2 and 3 line subway stops in Brooklyn for a planned disruption.

This is the deal: There will be no number 2 trains running between Penn Station-34th Street and Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, and no number 3 trains anywhere between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday to Friday, February 13 - 17. (Also, there will be no number 1 trains between Penn Station and S. Ferry in Manhattan.)

Number 4 service is extended to New Lots Avenue

Number 5 service operates between the 241 Street (number 2) Station and Flatbush Avenue via Lexington Avenue.

Regular 1, 2 and 3 service will resume after 5 a.m. Friday morning.

More at the MTA website.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

In Another Disgraceful PEP Meeting, Mayor Closes 23 More Schools, Approves P.S. 8 Expansion

The city's Panel for Educational Policy, with a majority of members Mayoral appointees, rubber-stamped the closing of city 23 schools (or sections of schools) in another disgraceful meeting last night.

Gotham Schools live-blogged the event which included protests by three different groups, a heavy police presence and general chaos. (Read from the bottom up to keep to the correct chronological order.)

In general, the four borough presidents’ appointees voted against each school closure, while Mayor Bloomberg’s appointees supported them.

The only proposal to win unanimous approval was the expansion of Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8 (into Westinghouse High School in Downtown Brooklyn).

“Tonight’s vote to approve the new P.S. 8 middle school is great news for Brooklyn!” Squadron said in a statement.

According to NY Public School Parents, a new Quinnipiac poll shows that only 26% of New Yorkers approve of the way Bloomberg is handling our schools; 61% disapprove. 

Video courtesy CBS

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Blue Ribbon Sushi Moving; 20 Henry Re-Launches; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- After a number of corruption cases and shootings, State Senator Kevin S. Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, introduced a bill that would give Albany more oversight over NYC police. NY Times

- The long-awaited re-launch of sales is taking place this week at 20 Henry St. (the Candy Factory) in Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Eagle

- Oprah visits Hasidic Brooklyn. For some reason. Huff Post

- Brooklyn man hopes rare surgery will raise awareness of disfiguring condition. CBS

- Hilarious "Sh*t Park Slope Parents Say" video. So true. Brownstoner

- Blue Ribbon Sushi to close, move next door. Here's Park Slope

- Gowanus Canal's toxic sludge would be the foundation for a new park just blocks from the waterway, under a federal proposal. Brooklyn Paper

- Potential child victims of Taleek Brooks coming forward. Brooklynian

- Borough President Marty Markowitz is floating the idea of a comeback for the 69th Street ferry. Brooklyn Eagle

- Watch out for crooks asking for directions in Brooklyn. CBS

- Get your cute fix on Valentine's Day with an adorable, cuddly, sugary sweet (and inexpensive) tour of Brooklyn. Brokelyn

- Facebook is using you. NY Times

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Success Academy Builds Own 'Law Firm' as Cobble Hill Brooklyn Parents Sue

Parents in Brooklyn's District 15 are suing Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter school network, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

In spite of overwhelming local opposition, Moskowitz received permission in December from the Mayor's Panel for Educational Policy to put a charter schools inside the building at 184 Baltic Street.  The Brooklyn School for Global Studies, School for International Studies and P.S. 368 for special education children are already in the building. See here to learn about many of the issues parents have with this co-location.

Jim Devor, President of CEC-15, told the Eagle, "We do not rule out our members eventually joining the lawsuit or even initiating our own."

UPDATE: The NY Times weighs in on the lawsuit here.

Amassing Legal Firepower

Moskowitz isn't getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by her hedge-fund sponsors to not anticipate lawsuits.

Back in November, when local parents started demonstrating their opposition to "Success Academy Cobble Hill," Moskowitz built quite the legal department. Here are some of the ads she placed across the Internet seeking attorneys, law fellow(s), legal interns, paralegals and other staff:

Seeking Law Fellow(s) and Legal Counsel / Leadership Associate

Legal Internships (part1)

Legal interns work with both the Success Academy General Counsel and the Assistant General Counsel

Lots of paralegal openings

Exceptional hands-on experience.
Moskowitz also built an External Affairs Department focused on "ending the monopoly of public education."

According to the description on Success Academy's website, the External Affairs Department
- Develops grassroots campaigns at the community level;
- Lobbies public policy makers;
- Coordinates with other charter school management organizations on a common agenda;
- Mobilizes and leverages parents from Success charter schools and other charter schools to attend new school public hearings and forums en masse;
- Travels to Albany and DC;
- Develops relationship with local influencers;
- Manages an external team of independent contractors focused on advocacy.

Example: On Tuesday, more than 1,200 charter school parents traveled to Albany as part of Lobby Day.

Success Academy website says that there are nine schools in the network -- "soon to be 40 schools." That's a lot of lawsuits!

Cobble Hill Parents Sue To Block Success Academy Brooklyn Eagle

Past Success Academy posts:
- Success Academy Gets Prime Brooklyn School Buildings; NYC Parents Becoming Increasingly Radicalized
- Explosive Cobble Hill Success Academy Hearing
- Quite a Brew-Ha-Ha at Cobble Hill Success Academy Charter School Meeting
- Too Bad Chumps: Red Hook, Gowanus Parents Won't Be Able to Attend DOE's Ed Panel Vote On Success Academy Charter School
- Rally Against Cobble Hill Charter School Saturday - 'Success Academy Cobble Hill'

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Yes, There Was a Sniper's Nest At the Super Bowl

Who knew? Photos have been making the rounds showing what appears to be an Indianapolis police sniper at his post high in the rafters above the stadium before the Super Bowl.

Turns out the photos are real. Trained marksmen, binoculars in hand, perch in a sniper's nest during the Super Bowl just in case things get crazy.

Deadspin tracked down who the snipers were and why the pictures were taken. Full details here

(Ashton Kutcher spotted a couple of rooftop snipers at the 2009 Super Bowl, and shot a wiggly video to prove it.)

Many comments at Reddit.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This Song Is Called the Most Relaxing Tune Ever Written

Marconi Union's "Weightless" has been called the "most relaxing song of all time" by scientists who worked with the band to create its mental and physical effects.

According to an article in the Telegraph, the eight minute track is so effective at inducing sleep it should not be listened to while driving.

Sound therapists say that carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines help to slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Tests showed it "induced a 65 per cent reduction in overall anxiety" and brought subjects "to a level 35 per cent lower than their usual resting rates."

More about the song here.

What do you think? Relaxing, or hype?

Reddit suggests more relaxing songs.

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P.S. 8 Parents Make Strong Showing at Hearing About New Middle School at Westinghouse

The vast majority of the speakers at Monday night's hearing about the expansion of Brooklyn Heights' P.S. 8 into Westinghouse High School were P.S. 8 parents, passionate about the need for a middle school.

Councilman Levin and BHA's Judy Stanton testified in favor of the new middle school, and Sen. Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman voiced their support through statements.

The planned middle school would take over some of the facilities at Westinghouse. The rather grand Downtown Brooklyn building facing Tillary Street is running at 79 percent capacity, with three schools on site -- Westinghouse, City-Poly and a special ed school.

Westinghouse Parents Not So Thrilled

Far fewer Westinghouse parents testified. Those who did, however, were strongly against the co-location, and their fears were magnified by the DOE's projection that enrollment at the poorly-performing Westinghouse would shrink by 200 students over the next couple of years.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the city says the decrease is a "strategic" reduction with the goal of focusing support on a smaller number of students to improve student achievement.

Westinghouse parents also warned P.S. 8 parents that there might be problems in allowing young middle schoolers to mix with high schoolers -- and that high school students "might be having sex in the hallway."

P.S. 8 Principal Seth Phillips tried to throw balm on troubled water. "We’re not coming to take over the building, we’re coming to be part of the community," he said.

The Panel for Educational Policy vote is Thursday.

Many more details about the hearing at the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photo by MK Metz

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'Le Pain Quotidien' Coming Along On Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights

Le Pain Quotidien ("The Daily Bread"), moving into the space long held by Jennifer Convertible on Montage Street in Brooklyn Heights, will be ready before you know it, workers said yesterday. The kitchen of the all-organic patisserie/restaurant, part of an upscale chain, is all framed out. The communal table made from reclaimed wood will be moved in after the interior is finished.

Le Pain Quotidien's menu is filled with pastries (croissants and pain au chocolat); open-faced sandwiches ("Rustic Tuna, Hummus & White Bean with diced tomatoes and basil pesto"); sharing platters; and salads ("Grilled Chicken Cobb with organic mesclun, avocado, bacon and Fourme d’Ambert").

No word yet on the prices. A variety of opinions about the food on Brooklyn Heights Blog

Photo by MK Metz

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Brooklyn House of D 'Better;' Hotel Panic Buttons; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The Department of Correction promises that things will be better and different at the Brooklyn House of Detention this time around. Brooklyn Eagle

- Is Columbia Street about to become the new Smith Street? Brooklyn Paper

- Every hotel in the city will be getting a panic button for the next time Dominique Strauss-Kahn comes to town. NY Times

- Wall Street execs discover tiny, expensive part of Brooklyn. Atlantic Wire

- A New York City teacher's aide has been arrested and accused of making pornographic images of students in a Crown Heights school. Brooklyn Eagle and Brooklynian

- Is the Brooklyn D.A. hiding documents that might implicate him? Failed Messiah

- A Caribbean group plans to break ground on the major restoration of the deteriorating original Erasmus Academy in June. Brooklyn Eagle

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'Ancient Map,' From Brooklyn Heights to Gowanus

Seems we've been running across some interesting old maps lately. The Brooklyn Historical Society is featuring a very old one (above) created by Brooklyn surveyor Teunis G. Bergen, who copied it from an “ancient map,” probably made before 1750. The map roughly covers modern-day Brooklyn Heights south to the Gowanus and shows buildings and names of landowners.

Visit the BHS website to see the map in more detail and to learn more about the Bergen family.

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Grads Sue Brooklyn Law School; Murder in Crown Heights; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Sharks eat their own: Disgruntled law grads sue Brooklyn Law School. Brooklyn Eagle 

- Sadie's Kitchen — a new 1930s-style restaurant at 243 Degraw Street -- serves up a taste of South Carolina. Carroll Gardens Patch

-Woman found stabbed to death on St. Marks in Crown Heights; her adult son fled the scene. Brooklynian and NY Daily News

- The city filed suit against City Smokes in Brooklyn, arguing that they evade taxes by selling paper tubes and loose tobacco. NY Daily News

- On the Sunset Park waterfront, a big new park is taking shape on the Bush Terminal pier -- and it's going to rival Brooklyn Bridge Park. L Magazine

- Looks like the Republicans are slashing $1.7 billion from New York States mass transit funding. Brooklyn Eagle  

- 9,000 formerly-homeless households in New York City may become homeless again. TRD

- Kennedy's sounding kinda creepy right now. Gothamist

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