Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Organization Formed To Oppose Gowanus Parole Facility In Gowanus

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One of my readers forwarded me an email she received from Councilmember Brad Lander yesterday in regards to the NYS Department of Corrections centralized parole facility that is currently being built on 2nd Avenue in Gowanus.
The new three-story 55,000-square-foot facilty is slated to open in 2015.  It will allow about 5,000 parolees to check in with their supervisors. Roughy 300 to 400 weekly visits by parolees are anticipated.

In his email to those who signed a petition against the facility, Councilman Brad Lander  points to a new organization called Gowanus United, which is made up of neighbors, business owners, and civic groups, that have vowed to fight the facility.  The organization cites lack of security, increase of traffic and proximity to churches, parks and churches as a reason for its opposition.
It is interesting to note that on the organization's web site, none of these civic group nor businesses identify themselves.

The Councilman's email also refers to a meeting Gowanus United will hold on Thursday, October 23rd at 6:30 PM at AL-Madina School, 383 3rd Avenue ay 5th Street.

As I mentioned previously, it is important to note that this is not a prison, but a place for people who have served their time to check in with their parole officer. It is also important to note that zoning on the site allows such use.
Perhaps, Councilman Brad Lander and the business community's time would be  better spent introducing local job training programs that could provide parolees with real skills and jobs in Gowanus. 

And for all those citing additional traffic in Gowanus as a reason to oppose this facility, where was the outcry when Whole Foods opened its destination store just a block away at Third Street and Third Avenue?  I would bet that the gourmet market attracts a whole lot more cars to the area than this facility ever will.  Just saying.

A Moment In Time: The Field Trip

They had taken a field trip to the Brooklyn Heights Greenmarket to buy small pumpkins and apples.
Afterwards, they posed together for a group photo on the steps of Borough Hall. 

EarthSong: A Climate Realty Concert" At St. Paul's Church On Carroll Street This Week-End

This week-end, St. Paul's Church, in collaboration with the "Climate Reality Project" will be hosting two free concerts in Carroll Gardens. On Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26, Chameleonic, a chorus of 40+ voices will perform "EarthSong: A Climate Reality Concert".

Here are more details:
"Chameleonic under the direction of Vince Peterson, Artistic Director will present EarthSong: A Climate Reality Concert, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Saturday October 25 at 8 pm. and again on Sunday, October 26 at 5pm. The concert features the music of Frank Tichelli, Imogen Heap, Michael Jackson, and Harry Belafonte.

Chameleonic is an off shoot of Vince’s premier group Choral Chameleon.
It is a choral music training ground for avocational musicians. Every year in October, this chorus of 40+ voices presents a free outreach concert series to raise awareness about important issues that affect us all. This year they hope to raise consciousness on mans need to be good stewards of our planet and what the consequences will be if he doesn’t."

199 Carroll St. (between Clinton and
Saturday, October 25th at 8pm
Sunday, October 26th at 5pm

Altan Cleaners On Court Street Bids Farewell After Losing Lease

Another day, another business closing its doors in the neighborhood.  This time it is Atlan Cleaners at 191 Court Street near Bergen Street in Cobble Hill.  A sign in the window indicates that the small store will be gone at the end of October due to losing its lease.
An even bigger 'store for rent' sign has been affixed above the business' neon sign.

Did you use Altan? Can you recommend alternative dry cleaners/ shirt laundering places in the neighborhood?

Is 'Amazon Fresh' Staking Out Turf In Carroll Gardens?

Photo credit: Maryann Y.

Earlier this month, it was announced that  'Amazon Fresh' is coming to Brooklyn.  Obviously, the grocery delivery service has begun to stake out turf in Carroll Gardens. Yesterday, four Amazon Fresh trucks were parked in close proximity to each other on Court Street.  Two of the trucks were stationed directly in front of Union Market, the neighborhood's gourmet supermarket. That probably was not unintentional.
The bright green vehicles did not seem to be out for delivery. Rather, it appeared that they were just parked there to advertise the service.

Amazon Fresh offers free same-day and early morning deliveries for orders of $65.  For a limited time, all Amazon Prime members in eligible zip codes in the New York metro area can use AmazonFresh for free. (I just tried and the 11231 zip code is eligible.)

In addition to pantry staples, fresh produce and prepared food, Amazon Fresh also offers products from local shops and restaurants like Red Hook Lobster and Calexico.

Obviously, Amazon Fresh will give Fresh Direct some competition. But what effect will it have on our neighborhood grocery stores?
Will you try the service or will you continue to frequent Carroll Gardens' brick-and-mortar businesses?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Picture Of The Day: Across The River

On a recent evening at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Nydia Velázquez To Host Public Meeting With EPA, DEP And NYCHA At Wyckoff Gardens, Gowanus, This Wednesday

Congresswoman Nydia Velézquez will be hosting  a community informational meeting at Wyckoff Gardens Community Center this Wednesday October 22 at 6:30PM with representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  New York City Department of Environmental Protection and of New York City Housing Department (NYCHA).
State Senato Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Jaon Millman and Councilmembers Brad Lander and Ste Levin will als be attending.

The agenda includes a presentation on the Superfund clean-up of the Gowanus Canal as well as the siting of two retention tanks to control the raw sewage that flows into the canal during rain events.

Most importantly, this is an opportunity for residents of Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens, who were particularly hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, to address issues of flooding and aging infrastructure. Representatives of both apartment complexes have repeatedly complained of raw sewage in their basement and and gurgling out of their kitchen and bathroom sinks and tubs.
These issues probably relate more directly to the City and to NYCHA's inability to invest in better and newer plumbing than to the Superfund clean-up, but this meeting will give residents the opportunity to direct their complaints to the appropriate agencies with the elected representatives present.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kapri Jewelry: Another Long Time Neighborhood Business Forced To Close Because Of High Rents

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Kapri Jewelry at 198 Court Street in Cobble Hill just recently closed its doors and the storefront is now for rent..  A sign on the door indicates that the closure was a result of "'excessive rent."
Granted,  Kapri certainly did not carry fine pieces of jewelry, but if you needed a gold chain repaired or a new battery for your watch, this was the place to go.
Luckily, the owner promises to continue offering repair services to the community as soon as he finds a new location.  In the meantime, he can be contacted at the number on the flyer above.

Meanwhile, North Star Real Estate Group  has listed the storefront for $5,000 a month.

TD Bank Branch Will Open In New Union Sackett Building At 340 Court Street This Saturday

The windows of the ground floor commercial space at 340 Court Street in the new Union/ Sackett building have been plastered with TD Bank posters announcing a new branch opening for quite a few months now.
Apparently, the branch will officially open its doors this coming Saturday, October 25th.  TDBank is sending out invitations to local residents for the grand celebration with a promise of gifts for the first 100 customers.
Forget the gifts.  Most of us are probably more interested in finding out if this branch has a free coin counting machine.

By the way, what is your experience with our neighborhood banks? Does one stand out for customer service?
And here is another question for you: Why don't most banks with branches in Carroll Gardens offer mortgages or home equity loans for three family homes in a neighborhood full of such buildings?

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Brooklyn Spirits": A Very Special Book Launch

Last night at Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn
Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz
Signing copies of 'Brooklyn Spirits'
Chris Wertz, Max Kelly and Peter Thomas Fornatale 
Photographer Max Kelly with his super proud mama.

This being Friday, perhaps you may allow me to slip from neighborhood blogger into the role of very proud mother just this once.

Last night, I attended a very special book launch for "Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World's Hippest Borough" at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo. Special, because all the photographs in this book were taken by my son Max Kelly.

Co-authored by Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz and published by Powerhouse Books, 'Brooklyn Spirits' highlights many of the borough's new craft distilleries like Breukelen Distilling, Greenhook Ginsmiths and Noble Experiment and the producers behind these Brooklyn start-ups.
Photographs  for 'Brooklyn Spirits' were taken on location at the distilleries and in some of the most popular watering holes in Brooklyn.  Most of the 95 cocktail recipes contributed by the authors, distillers and borough bartenders have been beautifully photographed.

The New York Times writes about "Brooklyn Spirits"
"Lavishly photographed, the book chronicles the experiences of a dozen start-up whiskey and liqueur makers in the borough, including Breukelen Distilling, Van Brunt Stillhouse, Cacao Prieto, Greenhook Ginsmiths and Uncouth Vermouth. Threaded throughout are stories about the bars that use the spirits and the cocktails they create, like the Crown Heights Negroni and the Gravesend Smash. It includes several recipes and an excellent index of the cocktails."

I wonder what Grandpa Kelly would think of all this. Back in the days, he owned the White Shutter Inn at 98 Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick. Though he probably didn't serve fancy spirits and drinks like those photographed by his grandson Max, I know that he would have been as proud of him as I am.

The book is available at Powerhouse Arena here and from Amazon here.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Moment In Time: Cyclists

Arriving at their destination.
Henry Street in front of Farmacy.

NBC's "The Slap" Filming On Smith Street Tomorrow

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Seems like NBC is filming in the neighbor hood twice. Today, "The Blacklist" is shooting a scene
on 4th Place between Court and Clinton Streets.
Tomorrow, "The Slap", a new show with Peter Sarsgaard and Mary-Louise Parker will be shooting on Smith Street near Atlantic Avenue.
Don't forget to one your car by tonight.

3rd Annual Harvest Festival and Pie Contest At South Brooklyn Children's Garden Coming Up

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photo credit courtesy South Brooklyn Children's Garden

Here is another fun fall event in the community.  This one will be hosted by South Brooklyn Children's Garden on Columbia Street.  Mark your calendars and plan to bring your family.

3rd Annual Harvest Festival and Pie Contest 
South Brooklyn Children's Garden
Saturday, October 25 | 10 am – 1 pm 
(rain date Sunday, October 26)
204 Columbia Street (Corner of Sackett and Columbia Streets)

The South Brooklyn Children’s Garden is celebrating the autumn harvest and the role a farm plays in our food cultivation.
As our crops mature during October, autumn crops are ripe and read to eat straight from the garden. There's no better time than now to demonstrate the importance of farm to table eating and for children to learn about our food sources. The neighborhood, schools and children's programs have proven to be fantastic partners and we are excited to celebrate with them.
Harvest Festival activities will include:
Arts and Crafts
Harvest Pie Contest with prizes (judging at 12:30)
Live Music by the Dad Beats
Apple Cider Press
Pedi-cab Hay Rides
Pumpkin Patch
Raffle with great prizes!!

This event is open to the public and free.