Thursday, May 21, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Ten Toes

Impossibly tiny feet peeking out of a stroller on Henry Street.

This Monday, Please Come To The Memorial Day Ceremony In Carroll Park




Everyone here in the neighborhood knows the beautiful war memorial that stands in the center of Carroll Park, but few take the time to read the long list of names on the two bronze plaques attached to the side of the monument, commemorating those Carroll Gardeners who died in the service of this country.
This Memorial Day, let's take a moment to remember Franky Manning, Joseph Milori, Pasquale Muscillo and all their comrades whose name is engraved on that memorial . Read on:

Memorial Day Ceremony In Carroll Park
Monday, May 25 at 11 am
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance.

The Court Street and the Smith Street Merchants Associations will be jointly hosting this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony in Carroll Park.

As in the past, there will be the presence and participation of veterans, along with members of New York's Bravest, New York's Finest, as well as the Knights of Columbus.

In addition, local clergy, elected officials, and other community representatives will be on hand to share a few words.

Please join us for this brief but very solemn ceremony.

A Neighborhood Treasure: Stepping Inside Saint Agnes Church On Sackett Street

IMG_4044 1

IMG_4046 1
IMG_4048 1
I have always admired the architecture of Saint Agnes Church located on Sackett Street and Hoyt Street here in Carroll Gardens, though I have to admit that I never actually stepped inside in the thirty years that I have lived in the neighborhood.
When I learned that St. Agnes would be participating in New York Landmark Conservancy's "Sacred Sites Open House" this past week-end, I made sure my camera was ready and joined one of the tours of the church that was given on Sunday.
I did not regret it. Above are some of the photos I took of the interior, which is stunning.
The 8 stained glass windows depicting the life of St. Agnes, which were made in Munich by the renowned firm of Franz Zettler, are worth the visit alone. If you have a chance to walk inside, you should seize it.

Here is a brief history of the church and its congregation
The formation of the parish of Saint Agnes began in 1878. Its congregation included about six hundred, mostly Irish parishioners.  Under the direction of its first pastor, Rev James S. Duffy, a temporary. modest wooden church was constructed at the corner of DeGraw and Hoyt Street. It was inaugurated on the last Sunday of May, 1878.
Barely three years later, the cornerstone for a much more impressive structure was laid at the corner of Sackett and Hoyt Street.  The neo-gothic brick church was designed by Brooklyn architect Thomas Francis Houghton.  It was officially dedicated in 1888 and consecrated in 1893, the date corresponding to the congregation having paid off  the debt associated with the church's construction.

Unfortunately, on June 2, 1901, the brick structure was struck by lightening, and burned to the ground.
Undeterred, Father  Duffy and his congregation  enlisted the help of Houghton once more to produce plans for a replacement. 
St. Agnes, as we see it today, is constructed of granite and Indiana limestone. The church was began in 1904 and were completed in 1913.  Its alter was designed by the architect, and made by famed McBride Studios out of Carrara marble. The walls surrounding the alter feather painted panels by the Rambusch Decorating Company.
Directly above the alter, a stained glass window by the German firm F.X. Zettler depicts the Sacret Heart of Jesus.

Father Duffy saw the completion of this 'new' Saint Agnes Church. The parish had grown to 7,500 parishioners by then. Duffy suffered a stoke in 1918.   His funeral Mass was held at St. Agnes.

The architect, Thomas Francis Houghton, however, passed away on March 5, 1913,  just month after St. Agnes was completed.  Incidentally, he lived at 311 President Street right here in the neighborhood.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Three Lost Dogs Found In Carroll Park. Do You Know Them?

(photo courtesy of  Sean Casey Animal Rescue)
Reader Danielle made me aware of the fact that these three little dogs were found running around Carroll Park at the corner of Carroll Street and Smith Street yesterday. There was no owner in sight.

Luckily, because of the great people at Sean Casey Animal Rescue, they are now safe.
You can see the "lost' posting on SCAR's Facebook page.

If you are the owner or have any information on these little pups, please call 718 436 5163. Please share with others.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Picture Of The Day: The Season Of Roses

Perhaps one of my favorite times of year is when roses start blooming all around the neighborhood.
I spotted this prolific bloomer growing though a fence on Hoyt Street.

Christophe Pourny All Natural Wood And Leather Care Products Made With Pride In Brooklyn


Christophe Pourny and Jason Jobson of Christophe Pourny

Part of the reward of writing Pardon Me For Asking for me has always been the great pleasure of connecting to others who live, work and create here in the borough of Brooklyn.

A little while back, I received an email from Jason Jobson and his partner Christophe Pourny
letting me know about a line of wood and leather care products they make in small batches in their large studio on 34th Street in Industry City in Sunset Park. Their products are made of all-natural, nontoxic ingredients that are biodegradable.
When Jason invited me to visit them in their work space, I accepted immediately, of course.

Making natural wood and leather care products according to their own formulas is an extension of Christophe's antique restoration and fine period furniture refinishing business. He learned the trade at an early age from his parents, who were antique dealers in the Val region of France. For the past twenty years, Christophe has been working here in New York with some of the most renowned interior decorators in the business.  He has been commissioned to conserve some very unique pieces of furniture during his career. Recently, he restored a long-neglected writing desk, which George Washington used in the first Presidential mansion in New York during New York City's two-year term as the national capital. The desk is now proudly displayed in the Governor's Room of City Hall.
Currently, Christophe is refinishing paneling at the Holy See Mission to the Vatican here in New York.

Christophe is often asked how to best care for wood furniture. The question prompted him to write The Furniture Bible, Everything You Need To Know To Identify, Restore And Care For Furniture.  The book was published in 2014. "Natural waxes and oils are always preferable,' he told me while we watched one of his employees carefully and meticulously apply a wonderful shine to an old tabletop using the french polish technique.
Christophe and Jason, who joined the business five years ago, also had the idea to make available the chemical-free wood and leather tonics they use in the studio.  The products can now be bought at Gracious Homes, ABC Carpet, and more locally at Dry Goods on Atlantic Avenue. They can also be ordered online at

Recently, Jason and Christophe added a cutting board tonic to protect all wooden kitchen items. It is made of walnut oil, scented with just a hint of lemon essence. It smells heavenly.
"We were frustrated that most commercial products are just Mineral Oil, which doesn't clean or moisturize, but just coats the board with petroleum," Jason explained to me. "Our formula has white vinegar, rosemary oil, walnut oil, and other natural remedies - so it has sanitizing and moisturizing properties."
The Whole Foods Market in Gowanus at Third Avenue and Third Street has just started selling the cutting board tonic in a special 3oz. bottle.  It costs $9.99.  Jason will be at the Gowanus store this Tuesday, May 19th from 11 am to 3 pm to introduce the product, so stop by and say hello to  him tomorrow.

I would like to thank Jason and Christophe for taking the time to show me some of the furniture renovation work they are currently doing in their atelier and for introducing me to their product line.
It was a pleasure meeting you both.

67 34th Street - 4th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11232
718 855 8865