Friday, August 27, 2010

Parks Phil is Leaving!... for Manhattan

Beloved Parks spokesman Phil Abramson is shifting over from Brooklyn to cover Manhattan, where the grass is greener, so to speak. I mean, have you seen Bryant Park these days? Nevertheless, he will still come to major events, possibly whenever McCarren Park Pool opens to jump in it with Marty Markowitz. Below from the desk of Phil:

After over four years of serving as the Parks Department’s Brooklyn press liaison, I am shifting over to focus on inquiries pertaining to Manhattan... And I’ll still be around / filling in here and there, so I’m sure we’ll all still speak!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Medical delays

Some nagging medical issues and an upcoming period off has led to intermittent posting. Apologies. Look for some links tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Norman Oder's musical idea is Stolen!

A Fort Greene theater company has announced that it will present Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards this fall. The Brooklyn Eagle has more details but the important thing is that Atlantic Yards Report's Norman Oder is not its author and it is not a part of Fringe Fest. So does this mean this project won't be ironic? Hard to tell Here's the team behind this production:

In the Footprint is written and directed by Steven Cosson (Gone Missing, This Beautiful City), co-written by Jocelyn Clarke, with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, This Beautiful City). Perhaps they can find room for some variation of this song:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunken Meadows aka Seniors Gone Wild

Salsa! Salsa! Salsa!

It was another glorious picnic and a wonderful day in Sunken Meadows State Park on the north shore of Long Island. There were so many judges manning the grill stations that you'd have to wonder whether there was any court today. I'll have my steak medium rare, Mayor Bloomberg!

Most importantly, the seniors got their dance on just after Vito and the rest of the crew took turns thanking the seniors, thanking the Ridgewood Bushwick staff, and thanking each other. Also, it was Angela Battaglia's birthday and there was even a cake that Andy Marte baked! Brilliant!

A few other surprises. We had appearances by Governor David Paterson, AG candidate Kathleen Rice, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, State Senator Carl Kruger, Sen. Marty Dilan and Marty Markowitz, Councilmen Steve Levin, David Greenfield, Brad Lander, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, about half a dozen civil court judges, District Leader candidates Hope Reichbach and Warren Cohn, both Weprins, and the DA himself.

Nobody and I mean nobody wanted to touch Chuck Hynes, who was busy fleeing his bedbug-ridden office.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to eat the steak. Guess we'll have to wait for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's picnic in the park day at Sunken Meadows! II!

Today was Senior Day at Sunken Meadows Park in gloriously sunny North Shore Long Island. It's going to take a bit to upload some photos, so check back tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Jelly Jar Breaks

The delicious yet contentious OSA and Jelly sandwich that we have been feasting on for the past two years may be crumbling before our eyes.

The Brooklyn Vegan prints the unusually harsh press release from OSA Board Member Adam Perlmutter and nails its disappointed parental undertones.
Check out The Brooklyn Paper as well for more context about the financial picture and what happened concerning Jelly's missed payments and defaults.
The Observer weighs in too, but some of the best digging on this I've seen is from NPR's music reporter/ blogger Jacob Ganz, who first reported in a long conversation that Jelly was having cold feet about returning to the East River a couple of weeks ago. It appears that that interview was some early spin from Jelly in anticipation of making an official announcement about its future. Unfortunately, OSA beat them to the punch.
Ganz's update reflects on the history of dissension between OSA and Jelly, noting that OSA was upset it had to subsidize Jelly for its free concerts and that overdue bills were the final straw that led to the cancellation announcement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday's architectural links: It's Impro-Pier!

From piers and parks to proliferating projects, let's take a look at a busy week in building things along the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront:

*Brooklyn 11211 is raising a fuss about the impro-pier in 11222, which would allow its developer Stiles Properties to build unit with more density on its site adjacent to the waterfront. The city announced it would put forward an RFP for the Java Street Pier in July, but Councilman Steve Levin put a press release out about the non-competitive RFP process too, which the Brooklyn Eagle picked up. The Greenpoint Gazette expands on the Pier back story and Ward registers his ambivalence about the pier:
Is this a bad thing? That's not entirely clear. Greenpoint needs access to the waterfront, and an innovative public/private partnership may be what is needed to kickstart a very moribund development environment on the Greenpoint waterfront. Certainly the City isn't in a position to build out the pier and provide the public amenity. So this may be the best way for the City to follow through on its promises from six years ago, and for the Greenpoint community to start to reclaim its waterfront.

*On a similar line of thought, ferry service is set to return to the east river next spring, giving a place for new condo residents around N. Sixth Street to get on the boat and get to Manhattan. More ambivalence on this one, as 11211 notes this is mostly good news but fares must come down and there should be a transfer of some kind to bus and train service.

*Did I mention the landmarked Williamsburgh Savings Bank is for sale? Well it is. Give Massey Knakal a call to find out the price (it's not cheap).

*Also for sale is the former home of the Polish American Legion on Leonard Street. It will now become 18 condos. This is like one of those Flight of the Concords episodes where an old-school dons promises to bring the boys to his social club but they can't find the headquarters because it is now a condo. Or maybe it was Z-boys. Someone help me here.

*Finally, the New York Times reflects on the career of architect Karl Fischer (of Ikon Building fame) and looks ahead at a new boutique hotel off Bedford Avenue from Graves World Hospitality anchoring the other end of McCarren Park. It's a brave new world on the northside.

Doug Biviano also made a video

...and it's a doozy. It's Michael Moore meets Will Ferrell, with a little bit of Luke Wilson thrown in. Columbia Pictures has already inquired about the movie rights. Also, Doug... about the boat. Are you still sailing on it regularly?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hope Reichbach made a video

This is a mash-up from Hope's endorsement rally last week. It just got uploaded. Apparently Hope also has a secret music video out. She won't release it until October but we've got a preview! Hope is the third woman on the right, right next to Stevie Wonder.

Press Release of the Week: Foxy Brown Indicted

Oh yeah. I have no idea who this woman is, but apparently "thrusting your buttocks at a victim" can get you indicted by the Brooklyn District Attorney. Duly noted. Here's the release:

Brooklyn, August 13, 2010 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the indictment of Inga Marchand aka Foxy Brown, 31, for Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Marchand had been issued an order of protection for a 2007 case for assaulting her neighbor Arlene Raymond with a cell phone. The indictment charges that, on July 21, 2010, Marchand violated the order of protection when she approached Raymond, screamed at her and then bent over and thrust her buttocks at the victim while shouting obscenities.

Raymond called police and Marchand was arrested later that day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday's sporadic links

Bang your own can at Dominican Day.

Shootings and burglaries aside (poor Rock Star Bar lost 11 bottles of Campari- the most valuable thing in the place), there's a lot going on as summer stretches out these next few weeks. Let's take a look.

*Biggest story of the week is Andy Campbell's bike lock vigilante story. It even got on CBS2. Anyone know how to remove crazy glue from a bike lock?

*Congressional candidate Kevin Parker's troubles just keep adding up. First he was in some serious debt. Then he hit a photographer. And now he's going to court. Can we get a head start fast forwarding to The Situation's congressional run against Vincent Gentile in Bay Ridge?

*Erin "Dunkin'" Durkin of the Daily News drops some big food news from Coney Island. Is Shake Shack coming to the boardwalk? Sounds like a good possibility.

*Erin Durkin also picked up a rendering of a possible Apple store in downtown Brooklyn. Marty Markowitz is understandably excited.

*Jelly blabs to NPR about the cost of free concerts in a long interview. Is this an early premonition of their plans next year? Here's Sarah Hooper's quote:

"It's no longer the series we envisioned," Hooper says. "Every time we've done an event, we approach it like, 'What can we do to make it better and more fun for the audience?' And when it gets to the level like we're seeing now where we're no longer able to make it fun for the audience in the way we want to, we start rethinking things."

*The Times looks closer at Newtown Creek's Superfund chances, but it seems like this article is treading water.

*The Nets are getting a new name. Hopefully it's not in Russian.

*Juliet Linderman took a Krav Maga self defense class from an ex-Mossad officer and now she knows how to kill you.

*Finally, Vans is opening an indoor skateboard facility on Franklin Street. In its honor, I invented my own move: The Short Wheelie, which is when you fall on the asphalt ass backwards as the skateboard goes flying forward.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shooting in Williamsburg

Rabbi Niederman wants you to come forward and... um... what's Yiddish for "snitch"?

The Hasidic blogs lit up like a Menorah on Chanukkah this morning with news of a terrifying shooting on Driggs and S. Ninth Street. A rabbi's son was shot in the stomach at 12:15 am and police are searching for two Latino suspects driving a white van that was ditched off Jefferson and Franklin Avenues.
Rabbi David Niederman, above, said the UJO will offer a $5,000 reward for anyone with information that will lead to the suspect's arrest.
Here are the links:
Jewish Press Intnl
New York Post
New York Daily News

Happy Birthday Bobby Sol!

Robert "Kennedy" Solano Jr., also known from now on in this setting as "Bobby Sol" is turning 30 today. Congratulations for making it to middle age. Bobby's party tonight has been rezoned from industrial usage to "fun," as per a two-thirds vote by the Community Board's Executive Committee.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Shark Week at The Rockaways

City Room was all over that shark warning this weekend in the Far Rockaways. I was there Sunday and the orange-clad lifeguards were so wound up they blew the whistle every time an eight year old swam past the undertow.
Apparently a shark sighting, or three, contributed to the jumpiness of many orange-clad Queens lifeguards who follow in the steps of Bernie Madoff to save the lives of city surfers. Throughout the afternoon, the lifeguards ran parallel to the ocean, blowing whistles and waving for drifting swimmers to come in from the deep. Finally, by 4:30 pm, everyone was called out of the water, though the surfers returned about half an hour later.
My favorite quote from the City Room story? Check out this surfer dad's take on the whole thing:
Still, regular surfers here, like Mr. Karinsky, scoffed at the possibility of danger. Several hours after the sighting, he nodded toward his child out surfing in the area where the shark, or sharks, had been swimming.
“It’s a regular part of life in the ocean,” he said. “The water’s warm, the bait comes close to shore, and the bigger fish chase the bait.”

Hip Hop video of the day (I'm an idiot)

Juliet Linderman's favorite hip hop group is at it again with a brand new video. Mike Steyeles from BushwickBK has more.

Barry Manilow wants hipster cred

Williamsburg-born preener Barry "Barack" Manilow talks with about his new album, his love of performance, and his childhood growing up in Williamsburg. Unlike Ray Charles, Johnny Cash or even Burt Bacharach, Manilow has never really received his due from the indie-rock crowd, but my mom seems to like him well enough, so he's got that going for him. Anyway, here's an excerpt from the article

A new album means a new release event. Manilow has never had the full hipster rehabilitation that many of his peers have gotten, which is ironic, since he was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — the current incubator of new musical projects. The singer describes the Williamsburg of his childhood as “scary rough,” and a place that taxicabs were loath to visit.

“There was certainly no place to play,” remembers Manilow. “But Williamsburg has turned out to be a pretty popular location. We’re looking for a spot to debut the new album. Wouldn’t it be interesting if that debut took place in Williamsburg?”

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Short List: Sharon Jones Edition

Things got to be better. They just got to.
Summer is easing into its full-on groove, and who better than Sharon Jones to get you grooving with that fickle dance partner known as Summer. No, not that clever, well-respected transportation planner hitting the community group circuit. I'm talking about the season. And Sharon Jones. Both are converging on Prospect Park on Saturday. As are a bunch of transportation planners. Because they're everywhere. You can't escape them. They're bringing their bikes... no... riding their bikes. On Prospect Park's bike lane. Which just got to be better. Things got to be better.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

From Pittsburgh to Williamsburg(h)

New York has stolen a lot from Pittsburgh in recent years, from George Steinbrenner (indefinitely) to Michael Chabon (briefly) to Jason Bay (probably also briefly), and of course, District Leader candidate Katie Zidar (who knows).

But most importantly, we've stolen Pittsburgh's burgeoning foodies and restauranteurs. Instead of bemoan the massive loss of culture and creative energy, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette offers a food tour of Williamsburg complete with directions on how to cheaply leave Pittsburgh and arrive here.

This article came together because of a high number of ex-pat foodies who live in Williamsburg contributed to the reporter's walking taste tour. These experts include the imitable butcher Brent Young from the Meat Shop, who picked up a feature in his own right, John Connoly at Marlowe and Sons, Motorino's Tim Hudock, video editor Edward Einhorn, and food rep Alexandra Sofis.

The reviews of the restaurants and shops are fine, but I have two small quibbles with the introduction:

Pop up out of the subway from Manhattan and be struck by the lowered skyline -- something like a grittier version of Pittsburgh's South Side flats, with mismatched siding, mini-grottos in front gardens, machine shops open to the street, and a board-up here and there.

I don't even know where Pittsburgh's South Side flats is, but that couldn't possibly be true. Nothing is grittier than Pittsburgh. Did the writer check square footage prices on the waterfront? New Domino probably cost more than the entire Pittsburgh Pirates.

And then there's this observation:

Williamsburg's yet-to-be gentrified but walkable grid offers some 50 boite-sized eateries and foodmongers, each with its own wildly individual vision. Together they are yelling for a food crawl.

I think we need to forgive this one. I mean, there used to be hookers and rampant drug use on the Williamsburg waterfront but these days the cocaine and quaaludes seem to have migrated indoors.

Now, we've got nothing against tourism at A Short Story, or Pittsburghers coming to Brooklyn, but this whole notion seems a little sad, doesn't it? I mean wouldn't you rather take a trip to Pittsburgh and visit Andy Warhol's grave, walk around The Hill to see what August Wilson was thinking, catch a Pirates game, or try one of those Roethlis-burgers that Peppi's sells for $7? No?

Photos courtesy of sandwichstate and multineer magazine

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday sporadic post links

The gang's all here.

Transmitter Park opened for a day (before closing again for 18 months), but what a day! Kids with shovels! A toxic fig tree! Vegetarian sandwiches with real cheese from the Parks Department! Marty Maher! It's the biggest news this week.

The downside is you won't get to enjoy the park for 18 months as construction of the pier and a water park inside the property has commenced.

While you look for another place to take your dog and/or kid at the edge of Greenpoint (India Street maybe?) let's take a look around the horn to catch up with some other news.

*The District Leader race rolls on, as District Leader candidate Hope Reichbach picks up endorsements from Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilman Steve Levin, and Peter Olyer, owner of Calexico Restaurant. Not to be outdone, Jo Anne Simon, the current District Leader, says she makes her own tacos by grinding corn through a seed grinder and pressing tortillas with an iron plate. So there, I guess.

*Meanwhile, Brooklyn Based (the holy antithesis of diehipster) takes a break from profiling do-it-yourself foodie enterprises to offer a glowing if slightly myopic profile of Lincoln Restler and Kate Zidar for that elusive hipster-foodie vote. If only Lincoln and Kate launched a vegan baked goods line, they'd totally getBrooklyn Based's endorsement.

*On the other end of the neighborhood, Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation (read: St. Nicks Alliance plus Jan Peterson and the Cianciottas) is trying to make wine with grapes leftover from the loss of the Greenpoint Hospital to a Queens-based group. As always, politics is involved.

*Dude, let's go to a party that goes until 9 am, maybe TheDanger party dude?
Dude, TheDanger is, like, really crowded and Meserole Street sucks. Is there anywhere closer to the waterfront?
Dude, I got you, bro. 66 N. First Street. The developers don't even know about it.

*Alternatively, if you don't like brews, bros, and nitrous oxide, you could go to those Tuesday night dance parties, No Lights No Lycra, in Greenpoint frequented by Greenpoint Food Market's Joann Kim. THIS JUST IN: No Lights, No Lycra has been raided and shut down by the Department of Health.

*There's a new handmade denim store (oooh!) in Greenpoint. I'll have to check this out once the temperature gets under 90 degrees again.

*What's it like to play football in high school where you have to practice on the McCarren Park kickball and concrete softball fields and play your home games at a rival high school's field more than a mile away? It sucks, that's what it's like.

*It's almost time to go back to school, and that means education features! The best of the crop is WNYC's visit to Governor's Island brought to you by Beth Fertig. Nice job Beth. This is how to do a podcast.

*Finally, back to the park, whose namesake is WNYC Transmitter Park because it housed two public radio transmitters since the 1930s and because Leonard Lopate has made his home in this charming gray brick structure since 2005, subsisting entirely on woodland squirrels, roasted pigeons and figs from a nearby fig tree.