Monday, April 30, 2012

Brooklyn Express Drumline In Cadman Plaza Park

Did you hear that drumming in Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn yesterday?

Members of the Brooklyn Express Drumline took advantage of the sunny weather to practice their routine in the park before competing in Sunday's "The Battle of the Drumlines" at St. Francis College.

Folks hanging out in the park applauded the free show of precisely-coordinated drumming.

Drumlines from across the country traveled to Brooklyn to compete in the event, which benefits the Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band.

Photos by MK Metz

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Mourning Tamon Robinson; Hooters Loves the Nets; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- More than 400 mourners packed an East New York funeral home to celebrate the life — and protest the mysterious death — of Tamon Robinson, the beloved Connecticut Muffin counterman who died after being run over by an NYPD squad car. The Local

- A for-profit education firm is soaking taxpayers by subleasing buildings to the Brooklyn public charter schools it runs at astronomical rates. NY Post

- NYPD is in training to beat the crap out of Occupy protesters on May Day. Gothamist

- Brooklyn holds the dubious honor of being the county in the U.S. where completing a foreclosure takes the longest. TRD

- Packs of adolescents are throwing emergency kill switches on MTA buses, bringing commutes to a halt and making riders nervous. Gothamist

- Brooklyn home returned to owners after Occupy squatters removed. NY Magazine

- Hooters "desperate" to move in near Barclays Arena. Gothamist 

- New bill would make kindergarten mandatory. Brooklyn Eagle 

- Brownstoner gives us the dope on the Brooklyn Fire Headquarters building in Downtown Brooklyn.

- A corporation will donate millions to revitalize several cherished Brooklyn landmarks — if enough history buffs vote for them. Brooklyn Paper

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Explosion, Fire at Con-Ed Plant in DUMBO, Brooklyn

About 5:19 p.m. an explosion rocked the Con Edison plant (at the John Street substation) in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO and thick black clouds of smoke filled the sky.

The Hazmat Battalion was called to Front and Bridge Streets along with a number of Fire Companies including Ladder 175, Engine 231, 58 and acting 229. UPDATE: There were as many as 40 units, says a commenter (see below) including some from Manhattan.

UPDATE: The Fire Dept. reported at 6:38 p.m. that the fire has been extinguished and the situation is under control.

In September 2011, a transformer fire erupted at the substation but was quickly extinguished.

Con Ed has plans to tear down the plant.  Brooklyn Bridge Park leadership has discussed expanding into part or all of the site. More about that here.

Top two photos copyright MK Metz, bottom photo courtesy of Google Streetview

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Grand WWII Wall at 370 Jay to Be Relocated; Kruger 'Broken;' and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The grand relief map highlighting WWII theaters of action, located on a wall at 370 Jay Street, the decrepit MTA headquarters that may become a Center for Urban Science and Progress, will be relocated -- but a decision has not been reached yet on where it will go, according to the NY Times.

- Local mini crime wave in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. South Brooklyn Post

- The City Council says DOE is breaking the law by not informing parents about the toxic PCBs in their kids' school. Brooklyn Eagle

- How can you get a (part-time) job at the Barclays Center stadium in Brooklyn?

- Kruger's lawyer says he is "broken and unemployable" and "sadness overwhelms his life." He was sentenced to seven years anyway. Brooklyn Eagle

- Everything you probably need to know about CISPA, the cybersecurity bill the internet is freaking over. Gawker

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Botched Sidewalk Widths Could Mean Crowd-Control Nightmare for Barclays Center

Atlantic Yards Watch has published a report showing that the sidewalks in the vicinity of Atlantic Yards have significantly less capacity for pedestrians than the project's environmental analysis anticipates.

A critical measurement used in the formula to assess sidewalk capacity was regularly used incorrectly in the FEIS, according to AYW. As a result, the capacity of more than 86 percent of the sidewalks in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) are overstated.

For example: The sidewalk on Dean Street that will be used by arena patrons to walk from the arena parking lot to the arena has an effective width of 3.2 feet instead of the 11.5 feet disclosed in the FEIS. This margin of error is typical, not the exception.

If these figures are correct, a crowd-control nightmare could be brewing: Sidewalks created to accommodate local residents and small scale retail businesses "will now have to handle the surging crowds of an 18,000-seat arena."

See ATW for full details, including a chart of sidewalk widths and a map showing the misrepresented sidewalks.

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Union: Halt 370 Jay St. Sale; New Nets Logo; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Transit workers union asks MTA to halt sale of former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street. NY1

- This is probably the new Brooklyn Nets logo. Deadspin

- Asbestos protests continue at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill. Brooklyn Eagle

- Brooklyn bodega clerk claims NYPD framed him -- and video backs him up. WPIX

- A $625 fine for using an antique cash register in a century-old barber shop. A $250 fine for a 14-cent mistake on the price of ChapStick at a pharmacy. Is Bloomberg harassing small business owners? Brooklyn Eagle

- 'Aggressive' TSA pat down of 7-year-old with cerebral palsy forces family to miss flight. Gawker

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Popular Brooklyn Restaurants With Weirdly Low Health Inspection Grades

Some restaurants have that "C" feel to them and some don't.

Listed below are a few Brooklyn restaurants that have managed to rack up a surprisingly large number of violation points on their Dept. of Health inspections.

Violation points are given for filth, food held at the wrong temperature, flies and mice, etc. Restaurants with 0 - 13 violation points receive a grade of A; those with 14 - 27 receive a B; and with 28 or more a C.

All of the restaurants below have received a C or an equivalent "Grade Pending," meaning they will be reinspected until they score below 28 or are closed by the Health Department. (There are many more C restaurants in Brooklyn, but their scores probably don't surprise anybody.)

The Dirty Not-Quite Dozen:

- Grimaldi's (1 Front Street): Grade Pending, 30 violation points.

- Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks Street): Grade Pending, 29 violation points

- Ozu Japanese Restaurant ( 78 Clark Street): C, 44 violation points

- Andy's (128 Montague Street): C, 51 violation points

- Rice (81 Washington Street): C, 28 violation points

- St. Ann's Warehouse (38 Water Street): C, 38 violation points

- Habana Outpost (757 Fulton Street): C, 35 violation points

- Tenda Asian Fusian (1734 Sheepshead Bay Road): Grade Pending, 67 violation points!!

- Patricia's Restaurant (35 Broadway): Grade Pending, 42 violation points

Anybody want to add to this list?

Photo by Gravityx9, Creative Commons license

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

NY1's Pat Kiernan Buys Stately Manse in Williamsburg

NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan just paid paid more than $2 million for 135 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg -- the highest price ever paid for a single family home in Williamsburg, according to Brownstoner.

More details and photo at Brownstoner.

Photo by UserLiftarm at Wikipedia, Creative Commons license

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Eyesore Heights Police Precinct Can Finally Move Forward

The planned residential conversion of the decrepit former police precinct building at 72 Poplar St. in Brooklyn Heights can finally move forward, with last week’s approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the application by the Daten Group is to construct rooftop additions, alter the rear facade, alter window openings at the side facades, and install doors and infill.

More at the Eagle.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

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Business Week: Keith Haring Exhibition 'Bla'; Pesto Competition; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Business Week doesn't really care for the Keith Haring exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Business Week

- Scenes from an empty Brooklyn polling station on GOP primary day. NY Magazine

- Lost and Found: Investigative attorneys specialize in finding the missing. Brooklyn Eagle

- San Francisco's legendary LitQuake is bringing its booze-meets-Byron revelry to Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Carroll Gardens Patch

- Spring Fling Pesto Competition, a benefit for Chefs for the Marcellus, protecting food from fracking. This Sunday in Gowanus. Eventbrite

- Here's a picture of the perv that takes pictures up wpmen's skirts on the subway. Gothamist

- TSA forces terrified four-year old to undergo full body pat down for illegally hugging her grandma. Gawker

- Why you many lose the Internet in July. Seattle Times

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Booze at Brooklyn's Barclays

Brownstoner is reporting that the appropriate Community Board 6 committee approved a liquor license for Barclays Center and then gave a thumbs-down to Kemistry Lounge, a nearby bar.

The "hot-button issue of the night" was Kemistry Lounge’s second appearance before the board requesting approval for a license that would involve constructing a block long nightclub on Flatbush and Prospect Place. More...

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SUNY Delays Vote On Fee Increase for Success Charter Schools

Success Academy Charter School network head Eva Moskowitz blamed "the unions" today when SUNY's Charter School Institute postponed a vote on allowing higher management fees at some of the chain's charter schools.

"We are disappointed that union opposition has once again made it difficult to do the right thing for children," she told the Brooklyn Eagle. More here.

*   *   *

Previous Posts On This Subject:
- Success Academy Builds Own 'Law Firm' as Cobble Hill Brooklyn Parents Sue
- 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'

Photo from contentious Cobble Hill Success Academy meeting by MK Metz

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Hall & Oates Play GoogaMooga; Downtown Brooklyn's 'New Livability;' and More Brooklyn Briefs

- This Brooklyn school saves lives -- so now it must die. NY Times

- Hall & Oates, The Roots, Holy Ghost! Preservation Hall Jazz Band to play at Brooklyn's GoogaMooga Festival. Carroll Gardens Patch

- More than a dozen Brooklyn walks are planned for May 5 and 6, as part of a series commemorating urbanist Jane Jacobs -- including one called "Downtown Brooklyn's New Livability." Brooklyn Eagle

- New Jersey Gov. Christie to the Nets: "My message to them is, goodbye. "You don't want to stay, we don't want you." AP/Google

- Artist paints picture that says, "Steal This Art.' Gets mad when someone steals it. Brooklyn Paper

- You might want to reconsider drinking tea from China. The Diplomat

- Jack Black transforms two Kiwi kids into rock gods for a night. (video) Gawker

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Monday, April 23, 2012

New Engineering, Science Campus Coming to 370 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn

The city has agreed to sponsor a new engineering and applied sciences campus -- the "NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress" (CUSP) -- at the deteriorating MTA building at 370 Jay St. in Downtown Brooklyn.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, this would be a partnership between NYU and several other universities worldwide — City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay – as well as IBM and Cisco.

The school would accommodate approximately 530 graduate and doctoral students, as well as 50 full-time faculty and about 30 post-doctoral researchers. While the renovated building is not expected to be ready for use until 2017, classes are scheduled to begin next year at Metrotech.

BP Marty Markowitz said Downtown Brooklyn is transforming into a "24-7 city" — and a college town to boot.

See Brooklyn Eagle for more.

Photo NYU via The Real Deal

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Father of Autistic Boy Plants Wire, Hears Teachers Bullying His Son

The father of a ten-year-old autistic boy in New Jersey attending a special needs school was told that his normally cheerful son had started having violent outbursts at school, including hitting his teacher.

After a series of emails, conversations and meetings with school staff the father remained mystified -- so he hid a wire on his son.

That night he was shaken to hear his son's teachers and teachers aides verbally abuse and humiliate the boy. From the moment he walked off the school bus they shouted at him in rough voices: "Put your hands down! You gotta walk with your eyes open!"

They mocked him for the little autistic noises he made: “Who are you talking to, nobody?” And when he wanted reassurance that he would see his dad again after a weekend with his non-custodial mom, his teacher cruelly said "No!" When he started to whimper, she followed with, "Shut your mouth!"

The staff also spoke in front of the class about totally inappropriate subjects: how drunk they were last night, how much they hated their husbands, how fat another woman was. They also colluded to cover up their behavior during a meeting the father requested about his son's difficulties.

Here's a webpage the father started about this disgusting behavior, and here's a link to a petition to the NJ legislature demanding that teachers who bully kids be fired.

This video was originally posted on Reddit.

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'Prayer March' Over Brooklyn Bridge: Churches Want Right to Rent Space In Public Schools

Rally In Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn

Hundreds of church-goers from across New York City gathered in Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn in the pouring rain Sunday to rally for the right for religious groups to continue to rent space from public schools during off hours.

The purpose of the gathering was to put pressure on state legislators to vote for State Assembly bill A8800, which would allow churches to hold services in public schools. Other organizations are allowed to rent space in schools, and churches say they should not be discriminated against.

About 68 churches across the city face expulsion from the spaces they rent. Supporters say that the churches are an asset to their communities, especially in boroughs like the Bronx and Brooklyn.The rent they pay to public schools helps the schools with their budget problems as well.

Rev. Dimas Salaberrios of the Infinity New York Church said at the rally, "Churches need to be able to worship and rent space in schools just like any other organization. The Mayor is discriminating against the faith community and it's harmful to the city." Salaberrios said that poor neighborhoods with church activities in facilities rented from schools showed a decrease in crime.

"The Mayor wanted everybody out February 12; now we have till the end of the school year," he said.

Following the march over the bridge, participants marched to City Hall Park for a concert.

UPDATE: More at the Brooklyn Eagle

- More on topic from a similar march in January.

- The church groups have set up a webpage at

- Earlier article about the issue in the New York Times

Photos by MK Metz

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Brooklyn Rabbi 'Outs' Romney; Noise Torture at Brooklyn Bridge; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brooklyn's Rabbi Yehuda Levin: 'Mitt Romney is a dangerous homosexualist.' Joe. My. God.

- Brooklyn's Chinatown has finally beaten out Manhattan's. Brooklyn Eagle

- The "insane night drilling" at the Brooklyn Bridge rehab project is a form of "noise torture" that prevents at least one local from sleeping. Gothamist

- Judge issues stay on Williamsburg charter school closing. NY Times

- DUMBO is really becoming a tech hotbed. Crain's New York

- The Nets are finally leaving the Garden State for Brooklyn. Fan reaction: "Whoop-de-damn-do." NY Times

- A diagram shows how the two-way bike lane on Plaza Street will work. Brooklyn Eagle

- How to buy a Facebook girlfriend for $5. Gizmodo

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flood Watch in Effect in Brooklyn, New York City

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for Brooklyn and the surrounding areas, warning of heavy rain Sunday night into Monday morning. Heavy rainfall bands of up to an inch of rain per hour remains possible tonight. The rain will taper off to showers by Monday afternoon.

CBS reports that the rain is part of a massive nor-Easter chugging its way up the Eastern coast -- a "huge storm that could impact at least one-third of the nation, from Florida to Maine, and potentially as far west as Michigan." The same storm battered Orlando, Fl., with "golf ball-sized hail" and heavy winds which knocked down trees and power.

According to MTA, "The MTA and its operating agencies are closely monitoring today's storm, and have additional staff on duty and on call to respond to any weather related incident that impacts service."

The storm forced the Mets to cancel their match against San Francisco Sunday, according to NY1.

Wind Map by
UPDATE: The above image is a windmap taken at 10 p.m. Sunday night as wind gusts were rattling windows and blowing stuff off balconies. The white lines show wind starting in the north and swirling south, then east.

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Who IS This Guy Who Donated $40 Million To Brooklyn Bridge Park? UPDATED

Josh Rechnitz, from the Hub Blog

As it slowly sinks in that someone has donated $40 million to build a year-round indoor recreation facility near Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park -- the biggest gift ever donated to a park in New York City --  many folks are asking: who is philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz?

Here's what we know so far:

* According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Rechnitz is the founder and chairman of the nonprofit group New York City Fieldhouse Inc.

* According to A Walk In the Park, Rechnitz's family has had a long philanthropic history of giving in the city.

* According to the Cobble Hill Association, Rechnitz is a competitive amateur cyclist, track cycling enthusiast and philanthropist "who is committed to establishing a world-class sports, cycling and recreation center in New York City."

* Rechnitz declined to be interviewed by the New York Times*. His spokeswoman, Maureen Connelly, described Mr. Rechnitz, a 46-year-old resident of the Upper West Side, as a “very private person who keeps a low profile.” Ms. Connelly told the Times that Rechnitz had researched sites for a field house for three years, looking in New York City and New Jersey.

* He is a partner of Hudson Urban Bicycles (HUB), a Manhattan bike store, and a longtime bicycle rider and racer, with a collection of bikes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

* According to a video posted by the HUB Blog, Rechnitz had dreamed of  building a Velodrome for bike racing in Harlem back in 2009. That dream apparently fell through. Watch the video to hear Rechnitz describe his goals.

* Amazon posts his wish list. (Hint: He likes books about cycling.) UPDATE: He seems to have removed his wish list.)

* Here he explains how to ride a fixed-gear bike in a velodrome. 

* IMBd lists his film credits. His work (he is an animator / director) has been in the Brooklyn Film festival.

Thanks for the donation, Joshua!

*UPDATE: The New York Times on Nov. 23, 2012 profiled Rechnitz here after speaking to his friends; Rechnitz himself declined to be interviewed.

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Fireworks Tonight: Liberty Island, Brooklyn, New York City (April 20, 2012)

If you live in Brooklyn, New York or New Jersey, you can expect to hear the booms from a fireworks display tonight (April 20), launched at 10:30 p.m. from a barge near Liberty Island in New York Harbor. ( The display is sponsored by event-planning company AlliedPRA.

In Brooklyn, the rockets red glare will be visible from waterfront areas from DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and south to parts of Red Hook. (The photo to the left shows an earlier Liberty Island fireworks display, taken from a tall building in Brooklyn Heights.)

Photo by MK Metz

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Pope to Punish U.S. Nuns for Focusing On Poverty Instead of Abortion

According to the New York Times, the Pope has appointed an American bishop to "rein in" the largest group of Catholic nuns in the United States.

Members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious -- which represents 80 percent of nuns in the U.S. -- had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood. The sisters also dared to “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

The nuns were blamed for focusing "too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping silent on abortion and same-sex marriage."

The bishop appointed to rein in the nuns, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartrain, stirred controversy in 2010 after his diocese knowingly ordained a priest who later pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a young boy over a five-year period.

Related news

In related news, a man testified yesterday that he was raped at a home owned by the current West Virginia bishop.

Also yesterday, a Boston College trustee resigned after criticism of his supervision of a priest convicted of child sexual abuse. 

In California yesterday, a judge ruled that two victims can seek punitive damages in a clergy sex abuse and cover up case. Also in California, in L.A., a young man said he was coerced into appearing in a series of pornographic videos produced by his teacher at a Catholic high school while church officials tried to cover up.

Meanwhile in Kansas yesterday, a priest at the Sacred Heart Cathedral was arrested for sexual battery. 

Priest assault charges continue to pour in on a daily basis around the world:

A priest in Australia (called a "violent bully") was sentenced to nine years yesterday for a series of sexual assaults on young girls. Also in Australia, the government announced it is going to hold a year-long inquiry into the Catholic Church and its handling of criminal abuse cases against children.

In the Netherlands yesterday, politicians called for an inquiry into Church-ordered castrations in the 50s and 60s and asked for research into allegations of abuse coverups, while in England survivors of widespread childhood abuse by the clergy have called for a full government inquiry.

Church Opposes Child-Protection Law 

Last week, the California Catholic Conference (the lobbyist for the California bishops) opposed AB1628, a bill that contains a short extension of the child-sex-abuse statutes of limitations, and requires more rigorous background checks for employees and volunteers who work closely with children.

Photo: Blessed Mother and St. Elizabeth Visitation statue at Brooklyn Visitation Monastery

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Squadron Applauds Brooklyn Bridge Park Funding Approval

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation board approved $66.5 million in funding from the City, which includes the (fully-restored) funding commitment secured in Senator Daniel Squadron's and Assemblymember Millman's agreement with the City last summer, and a $40 million donation for recreation in the park.

Today, Squadron issued the following statement:

Today, there were two pieces of great news for Brooklyn residents and the entire city regarding Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The BBPC board voted to approve $66.5 million in funding from the City. By including the funding in this year's budget, the City will officially restore its full $55 million commitment to the park -- which was a major win for the community under the agreement Assemblymember Millman and I reached with the City last summer to move the park forward. The funding means real progress on the path to complete Brooklyn Bridge Park and is great news for all of us who have been fighting to make a real world-class park a reality.

The community has also long fought to bring year-round active recreation with real community access to the park. The news that the park has been offered an incredibly generous $40 million donation to achieve this goal is a welcome step forward. We look forward to participating in a robust and open community conversation about how this donation can make such year-round, active, accessible recreation a reality in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brooklyn Ramen Event! Gowanus Cleanup Meeting; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- CB6 meeting tonight (Wednesday) about the EPA's Superfund Site investigation and sewer overflows into the Gowanus Canal. Carroll Gardens Patch

- Brooklyn state Sen. Eric Adams wants transit workers to be armed with Tasers. NY Daily News

- The city will open 54 new schools next September -- but wants to close another 23 this year, bringing the total closed this year to 49. Brooklyn Eagle

- Hot ramen pop-up Yuji and Japanese restaurant Chuko will team up for the Brooklyn Ramen Event. Eater

- The MTA has ordered 328 more buses equipped with three doors. Not as popular as you would think. NY Magazine

- Guys on trial in Brooklyn came disturbingly close to bombing innocent subway riders in Manhattan. Brooklyn Eagle

- History of a Brooklyn character and the church community that he founded here in Brownstone Brooklyn. Brownstoner

- The deadline for registering for this year's Dumbo / Vinegar Hill CSA is April 28. DumboNYC

- The same vandal(s) who defaced the Avenue Z Jewish Center in Brooklyn before may have struck again. Forward

- Every New Yorker has wondered how television characters can afford their spacious homes. And now Barbara Corcoran explains it all. TRD

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iCrave Yogurt shop 'Opening Soon' In Downtown Brooklyn

The little Greek diner Z-7 Cafe at 115 Court Street between Schermerhorn and State (where Yogo Monster used to be) closed a while back, and now an iCrave yogurt shop says it will open soon with "Self Serve" frozen yogurt and dozens of toppings.

Photo by MK Metz

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Unconfirmed: Man Shot On Herkimer Street and Eastern Parkway

Unconfirmed report that a man was shot on Herkimer Street and Eastern Parkway (between Fulton and Atlantic), in Brooklyn.

A Level 1 Mobilization has just been called.

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Body Removed from Hudson River Near Edgewater, NJ UPDATE: Maybe Two

Just heard on the scanner that a body has been removed from the Hudson River off the shore of Edgewater, NJ.

Police reported that there were no other victims UPDATE: there might be another victim in the water.

UPDATE2: 10:18 p.m. Edgewater police say a second victim is on the shore.

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Didn't Finish Your Taxes? Here's How To Get an Extension

Taxes are due today -- Tuesday, April 17.

But if you aren't ready to file, don't freak -- you can get an easy, automatic six-month extension, courtesy of the IRS. You just pay what you guestimate you owe, and avoid all late-filing and late-payment penalties. Then you get till October 15 to find all that missing paperwork and do it right.

Anyone and everyone can get an extension. Even Mitt Romney filed an extension!

One way to get the extra time is through the Free File link on  (Select "browse the list" from Step 2 and look for "free extensions.") This connects you to private company that will allow you to file an extension online. (There is an $57,000 income limit for free service.)

Or you can just print out Form 4868, fill it in (it takes 30 seconds tops to fill in) and mail it in today with at least $1 (check or money order). The form tells you where to mail it. Filing this form gives you until Oct. 15 to file an actual return.

By filing this tiny form, you will avoid the late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month based on the unpaid balance. In addition, any payment made with an extension request will reduce or eliminate interest and late-payment penalties.

Some taxpayers get more time to file without having to ask for it. These include:

* Taxpayers abroad. U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work abroad, as well as members of the military on duty outside the U.S., have until June 15 to file and pay. However, interest is still due on any tax payment made after April 17.

* Members of the military and others serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone localities. Typically, taxpayers can wait until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file returns and pay any taxes due.

* People affected by certain tornadoes, severe storms, floods and other recent natural disasters. Currently, parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia are covered by federal disaster declarations, and affected individuals and businesses in these areas have until May 31 to file and pay.

More at

Photo by John Morgan, Creative Commons license

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Brooklyn Poet's B-Day Surprise; Stealing Food from Babies; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- From the mouths of babes: Couple admit to stealing $2.7 million in funds meant to feed toddlers at Red Apple day care centers. Brooklyn Eagle

- The real reason Ed Towns hung it up: golf. And the wife. The Local

- Brooklyn poet Tracy K. Smith wins Pulitzer on her birthday. NY Daily News
- GZA, one of the founders of the Wu-Tang Clan, will perform in this year’s Northside Festival in Brooklyn, along with more than 350 other bands. NY Times

- Parents left son in institutions to die, then tried to take settlement money. Brooklyn Eagle

- Is artisanal Brooklyn a step forward for food or a sign of the apocalypse? NY Magazine  (Naturally, DieHipster is having an obscenity-laden fit about this.)

- A veteran fire lieutenant died Monday after battling a blaze at a warehouse in Brooklyn. NY Times

- The Atlantic Yards project is already tarting up the neighborhood. NY Times

- Western wages have plummeted so low that a two-income family is now (on average) 15% poorer than a one-income family of 40 years ago. The Street

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Pier 6 Playground Design Criticized; Reaper Drones; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Controversy about Brooklyn Bridge Park's design -- including the "isolated" sections of the Pier 6 playgrounds. WSJ

- Reaper drones hover around Brooklyn Courts; MTA bus driver wants one on his bus. Brooklyn Eagle

- Rep. Ed Towns will not seek 16th term. Politico via The Local

- Vacationing deaf boy mowed down by cab in Cobble Hill is brain dead. NY Daily News

- A 13-year-old Brooklyn boy killed after falling from his bicycle and being hit by a car. NY Times

- Two 'Parades of Ships' coming to Brooklyn. Brooklyn Eagle

- Nets players will probably end up living in Jersey City. NY Daily News

- Beware spicy tuna rolls. Gawker

- How to make ice cubes shaped like tiny baby heads. Gizmodo

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Orthodox Holy Friday Procession, Court Street, Downtown Brooklyn

Believers at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral carried a flower-bedecked bier late Friday night along Court Street and down Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn Heights / Downtown Brooklyn.

The event was the Great and Holy Friday Procession, part of the Greek Orthodox Holy Week services.

While most Christian celebrated Easter last week, Eastern Orthodox churches follow the older, Julian calendar, and celebrated Easter yesterday.

Today is Easter Monday, also known as "Bright Monday," part of Bright Week, which lasts through Saturday. According to Wikipedia, the entire week is considered to be one continuous day.

Photos by MK Metz

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Prospect Park Lurker; Teen Catatonic After Electric Shocks; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Jarring video of Brooklyn teen receiving electric shocks at a Boston clinic stuns courtroom. NY Daily News

- CB2 board recommends approval of City Point II, Fowler Square designs. Brooklyn Eagle

- Brooklyn father and son called deadbeat slumlords, blamed for Philadelphia fire that killed two firefighters. Failed Messiah

- Police in Brooklyn are looking to speak with a man who's been lurking around Prospect Park, taking photos of young children. MSNBC

- This is what fishermen pull out of the water off Owl Head Pier, next to the sewage plant. WYDNKBYANM  

- Brooklyn couple came up with "Hunger Games" logo. NY Daily News

- Williamsburg charter school founder charged with tax fraud. Brooklyn Eagle

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Brooklyn Heights' Powertrusion Disappears, As Mysteriously As the Day It Came

Right there -- where the red cone is stuffed upside-down inside a hole in the sidewalk -- there used to be a Verizon Powertrusion. That's right, a Class 5, 25-foot model, installed right outside Plymouth Church's playground on Cranberry Street.
It showed up one day in 2010 out of the blue, straighter than one of them Saturn V rocket boosters.

The folks at Powertrusion 2000 International Inc. said it was made "from the same synthetic materials that make the military's Apache attack helicopters virtually bulletproof."

They said the dang thing would be there longer than the trees, the cars, and almost everybody alive today.

But now it's up and disappeared.

Brooklyn Heights' bulletproof, Class 5, 25-foot Verizon Powertrusion is just plumb gone, as mysterious as the day it arrived.

- We Got Us a Verizon Powertrusion Right Here in Brooklyn Heights

Photos by MK Metz

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jamaica Bay Pipeline; Nervous Wallabies; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Residents faced off with officials at a Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting, saying the government is quietly pushing through major projects like an ecologically troubling natural gas pipeline. Sheepshead Bites

- Details of the Barclays Arena liquor license meeting, where community members expressed their feelings about the drunken aftermath of games and concerts. Brooklyn Eagle

- Eight properties are set to be sold today at Brooklyn Supreme Court's weekly foreclosure sale. Village Voice

- A car jumped the curb and slammed into the front of Fatoosh Deli in Brooklyn Heights. Driver injured. DNAinfo

- New dingoes at Prospect Park Zoo: their natural prey, the wallabies, are spending more time up on their rock, silently observing . . . WSJ

- The new Hotel BPM Brooklyn features music streaming throughout its public areas, guest rooms and bathrooms.  Guests can make song requests when they make their  reservations. Brooklyn Eagle  

- Why didn't we think of this? Brooklyn woman uses Kickstarter to raise $1,500 for her birthday parade over the Brooklyn Bridge, including a 20-piece marching band, balloons, streamers, bubbles, etc. Brokelyn

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'Lost' Man at Cobble Hill Nursing Home Reawakened Through Music

An old man named Henry, living at the Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn for more than 10 years, habitually sits in his wheelchair with his head hanging, appearing to be barely alive.

In the emotional video above (which has more than two million views on YouTube) we see reception therapist Yvonne Russell fitting him into an iPod loaded with music from his own era. Like flipping a switch, Henry comes back to life.

Famous neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks comments in the video, "His face assumes expression, his eyes open wide, he starts to sing."

The clip is from a new film called Alive Inside, by by Michael Rossato-Bennett. The film follows the reawakening of ‘lost’ patients through music.

Alive Inside is premiering on April 18 at the Rubin Museum in New York.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bus-Jumping College Students; St. Ann's New Digs; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- St. Ann's Warehouse, moving soon, seeks approval to alter the facade and install signs and lighting at their new building on Jay Street. Brooklyn Eagle

- College students leap out of emergency exits onto Brooklyn streets. NY1

- Wiseguy's Brooklyn basement got makeover after 2 gangland hits, mob rat says at trial. NY Daily News

- Introducing Court Street's newest soon-to-open Middle Eastern eatery. PMFA

- The much-maligned Kensington Post Office can't even spell "Brooklyn" right. Brooklyn Paper

- Guy steals food stamps meant for 26 food-stamp recipients. Brooklyn Eagle

- A vaccine that targets 90 percent of cancers has been tested on humans with promising results. Medical Daily

- How to delete your Instagram account but keep your photos. Mashable

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

That Rumbling Sound You Hear Is Cherry Blossoms Opening at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The CherryWatch Blossom Map provided by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden shows that the majority of cherry trees at the garden are in "first bloom!" Seems like this weekend would be a great time to visit.

In any case, the Sakura Matsuri Festival takes place April 28–29.

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Snack Man Breaks Up Fight on Number 6 Train, Becomes National Hero

They call him Snack Man.

A lone chip eater breaks up a kick-fight on the Number 6 train without pausing in his snacking, or even looking at the fighters.

So cool, so uncaring. He's being called the Snack Boss; the Nacho Man; the Brad Pitt of subway snacking.

He is described on Reddit as, "Not the hero they wanted, but the one they deserved."

He is Snack Man, and he has gone viral.

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Puking, Pissing Nets Fans; Brooklyn Law Professor Dies; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Locals fight Barclay's Center liquor license, fearing puking, peeing Nets fans. Gothamist

- Carroll Gardens eatery Prime Meats is hosting a 10-course Titanic dinner on April 17. It will be "the very same menu served on the Titanic in First Class." Eater via Gothamist

- Beloved professor at Brooklyn Law School dies. Brooklyn Eagle

- Brooklyn Industries unveils the seed-bomb bracelet, made in DUMBO. ecouterre

- Thousands of kids are waitlisted for kindergarten again, many in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Eagle

- Why does this 102-year-old Bronx parking valet look like 80? How come his sisters (aged 93 and 98) still go bowling? NY Post

- Brace yourself: A number of people using Twitter never realized the Titanic was real, not just a movie. Gothamist

- The five funniest Google Glasses parodies. Gizmodo

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Blow-Out Crowd at Brooklyn Heights' Pierrepont Egg Hunt

A perfect storm of good weather, publicity and holiday spirits led to an ENORMOUS crowd at Pierrepont Playground's Spring Egg Hunt Saturday morning in Brooklyn Heights.

The line led from the the playground, along Pierrepont Place, past Montague Street, and all the way to Remsen Street.

The candy-filled eggs were quickly snatched up by the first wave of kids and parents, long before the second and third wave even got through the gates.

The grass section was reserved for younger children, where there was less competition.

The three-egg limit was not strictly adhered to -- though some parents did make their kids share.

Luckily, the cavalry -- in the form of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz -- arrived, armed with hundreds of cute stuffed bunnies.

Kids were thrilled and parents thankful.

And there were plenty of other fun activities to enjoy, like face painting and a bake sale put on by members of the Brooklyn Heights Playground Committee.

Families lined up for face painting.

Monkey Monkey Music entertained the crowd with upbeat, kid-oriented rock.

Heights Kids decorated the playground with colorful balloons, and Lassen & Hennigs provided coffee.

Because of the beautiful weather the Pierrepont egg hunt drew a bigger crowd than last week's soggy Spring Fling at Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has a lot more room for these crowds. The egg hunt at BBP in 2008 drew more than 10,000 people!

A similar huge crowd packed Pierrepont in 2010, when there was no egg hunt at all in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Karl Junkersfeld’s created a video of the scene, posted at the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

- Brooklyn Heights Spring Egg Hunt 2011
- Egg Hunt at Plymouth Church, 2011 
- Brooklyn Heights Sprint Egg Hunt 2010
- Egg Hunt at Plymouth Church, 2009 
- Egg Hunt at BBP, 2008 

Photos by MK Metz

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Sheepshead Bay Shootout; NJ Fans Over the Nets; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Wild shootout in Sheepshead Bay leaves four cops injured. CBS

- Die-hard Jersey fans ready to divorce Nets. WSJ

- Gowanus property across from Whole Foods site on market for $5.8 million. Brooklyn Eagle

- New York's disgusting pay phones will be replaced with touch-screen Internet kiosks capable of being cleaned with a jet hose. NY Magazine

- The new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the Mets' new Citifield in Queens, and the emerging Barclays Center arena (for the Brooklyn Nets) are all financed via a clever scheme, fully tax-exempt. Atlantic Yards Report

- Brooklyn woman claims ex-boyfriend posted her photos and address on hardcore porn website. NY Post

- Your olive oil is probably fake. Gothamist

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Brooklyn IKEA Not As Much Fun As It Used to Be

The lines at Brooklyn's IKEA have turned the shopping experience into a nightmare. This past Friday afternoon we really need some storage units. The shopping itself took maybe 20 minutes. The line, however, took 40 minutes, possibly longer. There were only five check out counters running and the lines extended past several aisles of the packaged tables and chairs.

Making it worse, the lines were unsupervised, with desperate people jumping ahead by cutting around displays, out of sight of the people in the line behind them.

Another pain: While the shuttles are supposed to run every half hour on weekdays to Brooklyn Borough Hall, we waited a full half hour and there were many people who had been waiting before us.

On the way back, several passengers sat in the shuttle bus for more than a half hour waiting for a driver. We got the last seats, and after us people had to stand (with all of their bulky purchases). One of the passengers left the bus to tell the driver (chatting on the sidewalk) that the bus was full, let's go. (He said he had to wait 10 more minutes but we took off after 5.)

As we got off at Borough Hall, we both agreed it was no longer fun to shop at IKEA. Much of what we buy there can be purchased online from other vendors without the hassle.

Photo by MK Metz

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Friday, April 6, 2012

3 Days, 7 Film Projects In DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights

Wednesday, Tommy; Thursday, Fiat, DUMBO
It used to be maybe a film or two a week would take over DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights. This week, seven projects in three days have filled the narrow streets with film trucks and production equipment.

On Wednesday, Tommy was filmed on Front and Washington Streets.(Two years ago another Tommy was filmed in DUMBO.)

On Thursday, a company called Supply and Demand filmed a commercial for Fiat in DUMBO.

A commercial for Tiffany's filmed in Brooklyn Heights Wednesday.

Thursday, Now You See Me, DUMBO
A feature film called “Now You See Me” -- a thriller about “FBI agents tracking a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances --  filmed in DUMBO Thursday. (Starring Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman.)

Wednesday, Cablevision project; Friday, Golden Boy, Brooklyn Heights
A Cablevision project filmed in Brooklyn Heights Wednesday.

CBS's Golden Boy cop drama will be filming or parking film trucks and equipment on Cadman Plaza West and many other streets in Brooklyn Heights, including Remsen Street and Montague Terrace today.

Friday, Golden Boy, DUMBO
Golden Boy is also filming in DUMBO today.

Friday, People Kissing, DUMBO
French indie film “People Kissing” will be filming in DUMBO today, and in Brooklyn Heights today as well (along Clinton Street and on Montague Street). They may trip over the crews filming Golden Boy.

We didn't count the promotional piece being filmed by the Jehovah's Witnesses on Jay Street in DUMBO this week because they took over their own parking lot, not a city street.

Photos by MK Metz

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Bizarre Bus Blaze; Stoners Get Free Pass; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- A mattress caught under an MTA bus is being blamed for sparking a bizarre Brooklyn blaze that left the bus and six parked cars torched last night. NY Daily News

- Huge rooftop farm -- possibly the largest in the world -- will open in Sunset Park. NY Times

- Cargo inspections at Red Hook pier will continue, to the relief of local residents. Brooklyn Eagle

- DA offers Brooklyn stoners -- and those guilty of a dozen other crimes -- a Get Out of Jail free Card. Today only! Village Voice

- Judge to determine fate of Domino Sugar factory within a month. TRD

- The 10 creepiest apps for phone, Facebook, etc. Gizmodo

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Fireworks Over Brooklyn, Liberty Island, Friday, April 20

The Brooklyn Heights Association sends word that we can expect a fireworks display, sponsored by event-planning company AlliedPRA, near Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Friday, April 20 at 9:30 PM. ( claims it will take place at 10:30 p.m.)

In Brooklyn, the display will be visible from waterfront areas from DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and south to parts of Red Hook. (The photo to the left shows an earlier Liberty Island fireworks display, taken in Brooklyn Heights.)

Photo by MK Metz

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

$9 Million to Fix P.S. 29, After $5 Million Repair a Decade Ago

After a years-long renovation project that cost about $5 million (completed a decade ago), P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill is again being repaired, this time to the tune of $9 million.

According to the Brooklyn Eagle, the work includes exterior masonry, roof and parapet replacement, flood elimination, and may also require asbestos abatement.

$9 million seems a bit much, considering the extent of the previous job.

Two Trees Management plans to spend about $9 million building a middle school in DUMBO.

Photo by MK Metz

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