Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It's hard to believe that it has been a year already. What better way to celebrate the anniversary of this blog than a multi-borough Greco-Roman naval fight at the Queens Museum?
Wait, someone already did that? Damnit.
What if we just get everybody together next Tuesday and head over to Teddy's at 9 PM. That sound good to you? By the way, you're all invited.
A Short Story! One Year Anniversary of This Blog Doing Stuff!
Teddy's Bar and Grill
North Eighth Street and Berry Street
Featuring Jack Hammer! Juliet Linderman! Beyonce! And Borough President Marty Markowitz's non-unionized Polish equivalent, Mieszko Kalita!
Put that book down and get over there! Or we'll make you part of an uncompensated performance art project.
It's Easter vs. Passover! Faceoff smackdown! The Easter Bunny! The Matzoh Fairy! Takedown! Faceoff!
Sorry... I got a little food conflict overloaded there. Let's roll out and bake some crisp links, but for no longer than eighteen minutes.
*The hostel story continues at The Brooklyn Paper. Today, check out a tour of Zip112, one of two hostels in 112 N. Sixth Street, which had survived the city's partial vacate order. This story is developing, so things can change quickly. How quickly? Now they're closed.
*Eliot Brown at The New York Observer gives an excellent play-by-play of how the Satmar schism has affected the Rose Plaza rezoning project. For more about this, click on my February article which gets more specific on this.
*There's more to come from Monday's Conselyea Street building collapse, as MyFoxNY interviewed Buildings Commissioner LiMandri about it. He didn't say very much that he had already said on Monday. But there are updates to the story on the Brooklyn Paper as well as at Curbed and the AP has a video:
*Sal Gentile at City Hall News feeds the fires of rampant speculation regarding who would replace Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes were he to not seek reelection in 2013 or... gasp!... pass away before then. The leading pre-candidates are Assemblyman Jim Brennan and States Attorney Loretta Lynch, but guess whose name crops up here? You guessed it. David Yassky. That's three points for Andy Campbell's fantasy league.
*Speaking of Andy, above, he finally went to Shag to get his maleness cast in plaster. For a story. I'm serious. You can read the story here.
*And Andy's likely next assignment? Greenpoint's Brooklyn Stunt School.
Finally, Steve Witt has a great story coming out this week where an officer in the 67th Precinct was honored after shooting a would-be machete-wielding assailant in the leg. I believe we have video.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
But City Hall News did sit down with Fantasy Politics 1st Team All-Star Charles Barron, who praised the mayor and spoke about plans to bring a Whole Foods to East New York. Barron's no April Fool.
Photo by Alyson Martin of The Brooklyn Ink
After yesterday's building collapse on Conselyea Street, details are emerging to determine exactly why this happened. Reporters for The Brooklyn Ink interviewed neighbors on the block, who think that heavy flooding was the cause. Meanwhile Gothamist and other outlets looked into the neighboring building's structural problems, which may have undermined the foundation. Yet it was the 100-year old building at 34 Conselyea Street that collapsed, not the new construction at 36 Conselyea Street. And Juliet Linderman at The Greenpoint Gazette has statements from the Buildings Commissioner that "structural members must have been comprised" as well as more photos. Finally, Sarabeth Sanders at The Real Deal makes the Maundrell connection too, that the building is owned by Apts and Lofts' David Maundrell's mom.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Well, it's not quite that bad, but the proliferation of hostels in Williamsburg is serious business. Check out the breaking story regarding Friday afternoon's raid at The Brooklyn Paper, while reading Ward Dennis' analysis on hostels here and here.
Correction: There was not a raid at the Paper. The raid was at 112 N. Sixth Street. Sorry for the confusion.
Friday, March 26, 2010
William Kentridge's production of The Nose ended last night at The Metropolitan Opera, which I was fortunate enough to see. In one critical scene in the second act, the main character enters a newspaper office to request an advertisement for his missing nose. The editor rejects him, saying, if he put the ad in, people would want to put in all sorts of ads for missing body parts into the paper. Then he offers for a writer to write about the unusual story for a small fee.
The point is that papers are selective in what they print, but crazy stories that people can relate to are always a good bet. I think. Also, people with missing noses that become state councilors will eventually confront such nose in an epic Russian mob beat-down, or so the opera tells me.
The point is... there are a number of stories this past week where a reporter has had to follow his or her nose to get at what is really going on. Let's recognize them in a special, nose-themed edition of The Short List.
*How did the press buy the Lazar/ Hikind hype when Greenfield stuck by the party apparatus and walloped the opposition in a relatively easy victory. Maybe because county isn't dead. Or maybe it was because Greenfield was simply a better candidate, as Yeshiva World argues. Or maybe Vito Lopez is the Duke University Blue Devils and pundits should stop betting against him in Brooklyn races.
*Let's back up to Wednesday to mention a local blogger with a good nose for a story. Miss Heather at New York Shitty probably knows more about hostels in Williamsburg and Greenpoint than anyone (and that's including its elected officials who were not aware of the two hostels on North 6th and several others scattered around the neighborhood before Friday's raid). She sniffed out a story on Wednesday about the glove factory and was ahead of the news curve when it broke in another location on Friday. Not to mention the fiasco on Eagle Street from earlier this summer. Disagree with me if you like, but these buildings stories are what Miss Heather is best at.
Updated: Assemblymember Joe Lentol's office has been quietly collecting information about hostels in Northside Williamsburg and Greenpoint for several months. Lentol was the first official to put out a statement about the raid, expressing sympathy for the long-term tenants of the hostel that was evicted on Friday.
*You may need to hold your nose if you walk on parts of the Gowanus Canal, but don't miss the debut of Characters of Gowanus on Vimeo. It's like surfing the Canal from the safety of your computer, but you should still take a shower afterward. Check out their interview with the Gowanus Canal Swamp Thing!
*Finally, music snobs, turn your nose up at the DIY Music festival if you must, but the spirit is refreshing and willing, so check it out because there isn't a ton going on this weekend except for basketball. Actually, there might be, so click on the Weekly Culture Picks to see more.
Damn you Cornell! I briefly switched my support to the scrappy Ivy underdog and look what happened. Big Red craps the bed. Thanks Michael Hanson. I believed. For a few minutes. And look where it got us. At least people have finally heard of Cornell.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Council candidate Joe Lazar poses next to his campaign.
It's been several days since I did some links and a lot has happened this week from storm surges, to political campaigns to Ray Kelly bowling in Williamsburg for some reason. Let's look at six well-written stories that deserve a second look, as well as a few gold stars for some electric posting.
*It's a big week for bike lanes, with the first Brooklyn Greenway Initiative workshop dropping tonight in downtown Brooklyn with Community Board 2. To get you in the right mood, read Andy Campbell's survey of Flushing Avenue's 2-way protected lane (Ben Fried also takes a look in Streetsblog) and Gary Buiso's surprising look at churchgoers parking on bike lanes in Brooklyn Heights.
*More Greenfield-Lazar coverage, which is riveting the political chattering classes. The Times' Kareem Fahim has the play by play and The Courier's Steve Witt gets a gold star for his gut instincts. According to Steve, he showed up at Lazar's afterparty first, which was held in a catering hall in Boro Park only it was vacant and there was no food. Steve immediately assumed without looking at the poll numbers that Greenfield pulled the upset and headed over to his Ocean Avenue headquarters. Sure enough, he was right. Half the Brooklyn delegation showed up including Steve Levin, and there was a decent spread too. And that's A Short Story's news gut call of the week.
David Greenfield won despite looking like Sy Abelman in A Serious Man
*Juliet Linderman has been freaking everywhere, as usual, hitting up an owner's forum that St. Nicks sponsored, a DEC oil spill update, a nude draw-a-thon, and Blue Bottle Coffee for what must have been a refill. You get a gold star!
*Another gold star must go to the Brooklyn Paper's Stephen Brown whose horrific photographs of chicken heads and animal entrails found on the banks of a Prospect Park pond deserve some kind of recognition. Click that link for the photo montage.
*A platinum star makes its way to Miss Heather at New York Shitty has been all over the hostel situation in Williamsburg. It is going to get messier.
*My last gold star goes out to Brian Ries at Free Williamsburg who has been blogging his brains out this week on Williamsburg Walks, the DIY Music Festival, and my favorite, the campaign to get broadband internet to North Brooklyn. Not only did he get the story right, he got the f#cking graphic right. Jim Carrey circa Cable Guy. Brilliant, dude. Let's drop the Carrey skying over Jack Black video in here just for Brian. Be sure to clean up the glass.
Nothing says Passover like igniting a small holy war. That's 55 comments on Vosizneias as of 10 AM. It's all about matzoh, shmura matzoh that is, and the sects are very protective of their bakeries.
Want to see what all the kibbitzing is about? Check out The Brooklyn Paper's look inside Williamsburg's matzoh factories, read about the shmura smackdown and watch the podcast video that shows how it all transpired. If you can't take the heat, get out of the brick oven!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Williamsburg Walks could be shortened this year if the NAG board responds to heightened criticism from local businesses. That means only one game of four square instead of the bracket-busting six-week multiplayer 64-field tournament I was secretly planning this summer. Oh well. We'll have to play Dominos on Knickerbocker Avenue instead.
There has been a bit of a flurry in blog posting about Williamsburg Walks and the fight between food trucks and local businesses (I wrote about it here), with the Bedford Avenue Merchants Association figuring in prominently in both stories. This, plus the Starbucks scare story and the Duane Reade facebook group story that the talented Izzy Grinspan reported for Racked shows us just how skittish business owners on Bedford Avenue are these days. There's a bigger story here somewhere.
This is for all the matzo. Lazar! Greenfield! Some other guy! The election is tonight and everybody's watching! "What?", you're saying. "There's an election tonight?" Of course there is. Here are the links to get you up to speed.
*The Associated Press has the by the book preview.
*Bob Hennely at WNYC has the audio preview, which is a must listen!
*Liz Benjamin looks at a flap between Comptroller John Liu and Joe Lazar over a false endorsement.
*Steven Thrasher at the Village Voice has another update.
*Yeshiva World News has a bad early sign for Lazar regarding teachers unions.
*And New York 1 has an update from this morning.
How much do Boro Park residents know about the election? Find out...
Monday, March 22, 2010
Ahhh, halter top day. No, thank you Williamsburg, for a wonderful spring weekend of lounging in the park until my butt froze over.
Unfortunately, Brooklynites aren't really used to celebrating this New England-based holiday. For one thing, no one actually wore a halter top. Instead, everyone seemed to be wearing black t-shirts and jeans or dark shorts, including the Hasidic teenagers. Also, I have been informed that a halter top is not the same thing as a tank top, so even I have a few things to learn.
However, someone has to recognize this dude, below, for his enthusiastic and dangerous hairstyle which may have been a Jewfro but we were too afraid to approach it to find out for sure. Instead, let's consider the two icons in the picture. The Empire State Building and whatever the hell the thing below it is.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Angry bees make angry honey.
March madness is upon us, and while our bracket pools may be shredded like Parmesan cheese at Bamonte's, there are several news items that will definitely be advancing to the next round. Survive and advance.
*Advance is what I did on at the Fort Greene home of vigilante beekeeper John Howe, who can now raise his colonies in peace without the threat of arrest from the 78th Precinct. Survive, however, I did barely. When John opened his hive, above, a swarm of bees flew towards my hair and one stung me on the back of the neck. I guess they were provoked. Read more about it here.
*The people in Bushwick are angry too. Very angry. Especially if they live on Willoughby and Evergreen Avenue where a building may or may not be an illegal men's shelter. Tracking. Anyway, while they're in Bushwick, they could drink at the Bodega Wine Bar, eat at Vianny Vero & Bere Mexican Store, get a haircut at Stepping Razor Barbershop and take the B13 Bus home.
*You know who's still angry? Tish James. At this story. And this one. Get hitched and see what the fuss is about.
*Want some more madness? How about the crazy opening of Brooklyn Bridge Park on Monday?!? Ok, that one was a stretch, but it's a big story and Andy Campbell is on it.
*Remember that prediction that Georgetown was going to be a final four contender? Mistakes were made.
*Finally, to get you out of your temporary insanity, guess what's on the cover of a local paper's front page this week. Joe Lentol and... puppies? Someone's a good Assembly Codes Chairman. Yes he is... yes he is... Good boy...
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Note: Not actually Moishe's building at 684 Flushing Avenue.
Moishe Indig, UJCARE board member and ubiquitous presence on Williamsburg land use issues, according to the Village Voice, may be among the city's worst landlords. Elizabeth Dwoskin has more but let's go to this excerpt!
Landlord Indig: "By next year, we hope you will be able to put the building back on the best-landlords list, instead of the worst! We hope that all the problems will be resolved."
Tenant Cruz Barreto, fearing that the rats currently crowded in the basement will invade his first-floor apartment: "I'm sleeping with the lights and the TV on—in case I need to get up and run."
Many folks are feeling a bit uprooted this week. Literally. The storms of this past weekend wrecked havoc on Southern Brooklyn, ripping up trees from Sheepshead Bay (above) to Prospect Heights. Steve Witt and Joe Maniscalco have more storm coverage from Chopper Four!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
5. There will be upsets this weekend. Let's go with Houston winning against Maryland, Florida over BYU, Butler making it to the Sweet 16, and Fran Dunphy's mustache becoming a national sensation.
St. Patrick's Day, aka our New Orleans, takes the streets of Manhattan at 11 AM this morning, three hours after Marty O'Markowitz's eighth annual political breakfast. St. Patrick, famous for rounding up and driving snakes (or in some sources, non-Christians) out of Ireland, is also a moniker for something more familiar: bizarre political news.
Last night, Hiram Monserrate lost his bid to reclaim his State Senate seat to Assemblyman Jose Perralta. The Queens Times Ledger's Jeremy Walsh and Anna Gustafson (who reported the court decision to keep the election going) have been all over this one like a pudgy kid at Juniors. Is this the end of Hiram Monserrate? He says no, and may attempt a run for Perralta's Assembly seat under the Independents for Joe Lieberman Party (actually it's his own party). That will keep Jeremy busy.
It gets weirder. The Courier's Steve Witt writes about Councilwoman Letitia James's minor scrape with the law. I meant a parked car. Tish is suing a scrap recycling truck driver, whose hitch sticking out of its bumper caused a bruise on Tish's shin when she walked into it. Now there's a personal injury lawsuit (Tish said it's a public safety hazard). The headline? It's a Tish-grace!
Finally, Miss Heather at New York Shitty gives us a portrait of "mind-####ing cuteness" this morning with a photo gallery of bunnies. Uneaten bunnies. Let's raise a pint to that.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests; we did. But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg! Isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!
BushwickBK's Jeremy Sapienza has more analysis of the case and Ridgewood Bushwick's role while Dan Bush from the Greenpoint Star checks in on how local businesses in the Triangle are doing. Shake 'N Bake.
*Domino received most of the attention during last Tuesday's board meeting, but it overshadowed two important developments which deserve another glance. The board passed a resolution asking the Department of Transportation to move their storage facility on Kent and South 6th Street and make way for a park. That one could take a while, compared with 65 Commercial Street, which is part of the Rezoning
*Earlier, GREC's Jan Peterson made the group's formal ask to the board to support their plan for redeveloping the Greenpoint Hospital site after reiterating their vision to the press in January. Housing and Preservation Development says that they will award the RFP to one of the four groups (St. Nicholas NPC is the GREC-favored ally) in contention. What I want to know is when MikeRoch begins to pull a Steve McCroskey as the RFP date nears. Next week? Before Passover? Should I be worried?
*Steve "Land Use" Levin had a busy week last week, visiting community boards, speaking out against Rose Plaza and Domino, helping his cousin Sandy take over Ways and Means (just kidding). This week for the Councilman is less hectic, but he is still has his hands in a number of areas from esplanades to transit concerns, and he is quietly earning the respect from senior CB1 members in the process.
*Let's' talk shopping for a second. Earlier this month, The New Yorker's Patricia Marx wrote about shopping in Brooklyn with the core argument of her article focusing on the reason why so many newcomers to the city settle in Brooklyn. It's not the artists, it's the lifestyle of easygoing aspirational consumption, which attracts them. Some of her neighborhood reports come across a bit snobby (references to Brooklyn women being less likely to wear heels for one), but mostly it's a joyous jaunt through the borough's commercial strips. Once in Williamsburg, Marx stops not at Jumelle, Amarcord or Love Brigade, but at CC McGurr's store Fille de Joie and spends most of her time in housewares (Moon River Chattal) and interior design (Future Perfect). In Greenpoint, she stops at Alter, one of her favorites, before giving Beacon's Closet a much-deserved needling.
*Finally, back to food. The NYTimes is in love with the Pickleback, not to mention the Pickletini, which are extracted from a jar of McClures Pickles and served at the Bushwick Country Club. Meanwhile, another condo opened in the Lower East Side where my great-grandmother's tenement once stood. Bottoms up guys.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Ok, so it didn't work out so well for Bishop Loughlin's #2 ranked prep school team, which lost a heartbreaker three-overtime game Sunday afternoon in the Bronx to Christ the King despite 34 points from All-American and Villanova-bound JayVaughn Pinkston. The Post is calling it the greatest CHSAA final ever. I agree. Every school in the east coast sent a scout to this thing. I wish I were scouting for Penn (we'll take anybody with a 3.0 and higher!), but I was not. Father Rick Beuther even made the trip up to Rose Hill Gymnasium, leaving Sunday mass in a whoosh but with enough time to change into a polo shirt.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Everyone is getting amped for today's single-elimination development tripleheader featuring the Atlantic Yards (and Freddy's Bar) groundbreaking, the Broadway Triangle lawsuit, and the New Domino Borough President hearing.
Before we begin, let's take you through some important stories of links that you may have missed because you spent the weekend in Puerto Rico watching your friend get married in a monsoon and came back to 200 unanswered emails.
*We'll get to more Domino later today, but taking a step back and framing the project into the bigger picture of the neighborhood's infrastructure are Matt Chaban in The Architect's Newspaper, and Noah Kazis on transportation at Streetsblog. You can also read Lacey Tauber's full comments on quality of life impacts on the NAG blog.
*I wrote about the politics behind Rose Plaza, noting arguments from Isaac Abraham and Steve Levin, so check those out. The project will likely hold until the zoning subcommittee takes up the project in late April. For the only play-by-play of the City Planning decision, read Juliet Linderman's report at the Greenpoint Gazette.
*Architect Robert Scarano sounded off to me in The Courier and The Real Deal to Amy Tennery at the opening of a new Scarano building on 90 North 5th Street. So far, nobody in Williamsburg has complained about that building.
*Free Williamsburg has been all over the bizarre hipster attack on American Apparel's North 6th Street store. Apparently they were a group of Hunter students who were looking to wreck as much property as they could in order to get arrested. They got arrested.
*Senator Dilan is having a busy month with the ongoing MTA negotiations and hearings (including the reduction of the B-13 bus line), hanging out with Governor Paterson, voting no on a bill that could help upstate farmers, and presiding over US Census efforts in the state by holding community workshops seemingly every night for the next couple of weeks. You'll hear more about that later.
*It's all hands on deck at the Brooklyn Paper to cover Brooklyn Bridge Park (yesterday) and Atlantic Yards (today). Meanwhile, there's an editorial on the park yesterday as the question regarding the park's financing and whether the park will be a truly public entity is still unknown.
*Finally, Brooklyn Vegan details that Faith No More has been confirmed for a benefit concert at East River State Park this summer. That came From out of Nowhere.
Nut up or Shut up Development Week continues this morning with the long-anticipated (alternatively, what's an antonym for anticipated?) Atlantic Yards groundbreaking and a Broadway Triangle court hearing this afternoon, followed by a New Domino Public Hearing. Any way we can squeeze some Coney Island news in to get a double date going?
At 10:30 the Mayor, Governor, state legislators, business leaders, and maybe a few celebrities will be on site to begin development at Atlantic Yards. Expect a few balloons. I'll have more links from those who have been covering this from the beginning as the day goes on.