Fashion blog meets mommy blog: What My Daughter Wore presents gorgeous illustrations by a Brooklyn mom of her daughter’s daily sartorial choices.
The drawings are simply gorgeous and the outfits are wonderful, too. To me, it feels like a collaboration between mother and daughter—but who knows. Some of the outfits feel mildly subversive on the part of the daughter, like the one where she’s wearing a colander on her head.
In a way it’s so representative of what’s interesting and questionable about a certain strata of Brooklyn at this time: the look-at-my-fabulous-kid thing; the sense of “we’re so ultra cool”; the need to shout it out.
But isn’t that the pot (me) calling the kettle black. The drawings are truly lovely and the mom and daughter are equally gifted.
As a former mommy columnist myself I wonder if the blogger’s kids are turned off by the entire endeavor. Mine certainly were. That said, this blog is done with such love and beauty. Wouldn’t anyone be thrilled to have such a record of their lives?
What was Park Slope like before it became the affluent Brooklyn neighborhood it is today? In the Park Slope of Brownstone Dreams, a new novel by Kevin R. McPartland, there are no cappuccino cafes, Bugaboo strollers or real estate offices selling million dollar apartments. Author McPartland spins a tragic tale about the mean streets of 1960’s Brooklyn, evoking the sights and sounds of tenements, bars, and schoolyards that comprise the battleground of warring teenage gangs.
The year is 1962. It’s early summer and it’s already a hot one. 19-year-old Bobby Dutton, street tough and gang member, is in a state of turmoil, after stealing the gun of local wiseguy Vincent Casseo. Still high on glue and beer, Bobby has to figure out how to get the gun back to crazy Vincent, without getting himself killed.
“The next morning Bobby sat leaning on one elbow on a cluttered kitchen table. He sat watching his grandfather go about his morning ritual of drinking tea by the fire-escape window while he shaved and complained. ‘Someday you’ll know what this is all about, Bobby-boy. It’s not fuckin easy makin’ a buck in the world. Look at me, other men work on ships that go to sea. I work on a stinking barge in a filthy goddamn canal called Gowanus.”
But Bobby isn’t interested in how hard it is to make a buck in the world He is much more concerned about Vincent Casseo and his missing gun.
Brownstone Dreams is a gripping thriller about fear, anger and revenge. It is also the story of a Brooklyn neighborhood where drugs and alcohol take control of people’s lives; where working-class immigrant families fill tenement buildings; where hardworking men drown their disappointments in seedy pubs, while their sons fight each other with sticks and bats in Prospect Park.
Bobby, forever the dreamer, believes he can get the gun back to Vincent without incident. But that is just the first of many miscalculations that makes Brownstone Dreams such a compelling—and heartbreaking read.
Born and bred in Park Slope, McPartland writes about the world he grew up in with the eloquence and grit of Pete Hamill and Malachy McCourt. “McPartland’s is as authentic a voice from New York City’s streets as you’re ever likely to hear.” write Peter McDermott, Deputy Editor of the Irish Echo.
Bobby’s story comes to a head with the savage beating of one of his best friends by Vincent. That’s when Bobby’s game plan changes and he goes on the offensive, unafraid of Vincent’s reputation or his threats, determined to avenge his friend’s beating.
So begins a downward spiral from which Bobby will never return. Even the love of Cathy, a good neighborhood girl, can’t save Bobby from his inevitable trajectory. “Before Park Slope became the trendy family neighborhood of New York’s wealthy elite, it was the home of Bobby Dutton, an Irish-American teenager growing up in the cockroach infested flats of McPartland’s Brownstone Dreams,” writes Marian Fontana, award-winning author of A Widow’s Walk: A Memoir of 9/11. “The book captures a bygone era with a voice as fresh as it is engrossing,”
Brownstone Dreams will engross fans of Pete Hamill, Joe Flaherty and Frank McCourt, who will discover in McPartland a brave and bold writer with an urban story worth telling.
About the author: Kevin R. McPartland is a native Brooklynite, novelist and short story writer. His work has appeared in AIM Magazine, Grit Mag and in Adventures in Hell, an anthology of short stories by Vietnam Veterans.
After last year’s successful inaugural season the BEAT Festival’s second season focuses on site-specific and immersive theatrical experiences in unusual and non-theatrical settings.
BEAT stands for Brooklyn Emerging Artists Theater but the BEAT roster includes a whole lot more than emerging artists with seasoned and accomplished artists like Ping Chong, Lemon Andersen, Brave New World Repertory and others. But there are lesser known groups as well like LeeSaar and the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure.
This past Sunday night at Congregation Beth Elohim, Brave New World Repertory Theater presented a reading of reflections by those involved with the CBE Feeds initiative, which has been serving food to victims of Hurricane Sandy for the past year and intends to continue.
Also at Beth Elohim, on September 21 they will presenting Ping Chong’s Brooklyn 1963, about events connected with civil rights and the fight for freedom in Brooklyn.
There’s a whole lot more to the festival, including a performance on Saturday, September 21 of the “striking, sexy and assertive choreography” of LeeSaar, a dance company established in Israel in 2000 by Lee Sher and Saar Harari.
Did you know that the BAM Harvey Theater on Fulton Street is now the largest, grandest movie venue in Brooklyn? Indeed, the Harvey is now a movie palace with a gigantic screen. At a time when audiences prefer streaming movies in their living room, BAM has created a compelling reason to turn off the TV and go out to see a movie.
This is big news.
BAM’s state-of-the-art movie palace has a brand new Steinberg Screen. It is now a great place to see newly restored Hollywood flicks like The Godfather 1 and 2, Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. They will also be showing films like Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen’s new movie, starting Friday, July 26th.
Good job BAM. You are really securing your reputation as the best movie theater in Brooklyn and maybe NYC. Yay.
The venue known as the “Harvey” first opened in 1904 as the Majestic Theater presenting dramas, light opera, musicals, and vaudeville. In 1942, the Majestic was turned into an elegant, first run movie house. During the 1960s, the Majestic closed and sat abandoned for nearly two decades.
Back in the 1980′s, BAM’s Executive Producer Harvey Lichtenstein wanted to stage Peter Brook’s production of The Mahabharata and decided to restore the old, derelict theater just two blocks from BAM. Funds were raised and the theater was renovated.
The theater will, I assume, continue as a multi-arts venue, as it embarks on its renewed life as a movie palace.
After making fresh salsas, chili and crushed peppers from the hot peppers of small gardens in Rhode Island, followed by concocting impromptu recipes while working for various restaurants in the New York area, Brooklyn entrepreneur Timothy Kavarnos decided to follow his passion and start his own sauce-making business.
Last night Backyard Restaurant and Bar in Park Slope (5th Avenue near 6th Street), helped Tim’s company celebrate its sauces and spread the word about its Kickstarter campaign with a launch party. The event included cocktails featuring Salamander Sauces and a special menu designed to be paired with the sauces.
“As an avid heat seeker, I’ve learned to appreciate the variety of flavors offered by different peppers, and the many ways they can blend with other ingredients,” Tim explains on his company’s Facebook page.” I’ve found, however, that in the majority of hot sauces the fire overwhelms the flavor.”
At last night’s shindig, employees and supporters took pictures and shot videos to help us spread the word, and there were chances win a free bottle of sauce or a Salamander t-shirt. Even if you missed the party, support the company, and get your sauce on!The result, Salamander Sauce Company, is dedicated to creating all natural sauces of distinction, and the recipes have a wonderful depth and complexity.
Bill de Blasio, Democratic candidate for NYC Mayor, sat down with Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn’s Matthew A. Taub for a few questions.
Bill de Blasio is currently New York City Public Advocate. A graduate of NYU, he also studied at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His first political job was in David Dinkin’s administration. He then moved on to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, working as Regional Director under then-Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo. In 2000, Di Blasio managed Hillary Clinton’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. From 2002-2008, he served as New York City Council member for the 39th district, which includes Park Slope, Sunset Park, Boro Park, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace, Red Hook, and Kensington. That seat is now held by Brad Lander.
MAT: With Christine Quinn in Chelsea, Anthony Weiner having moved to Gramercy Park and Bill Thompson de-camping to Harlem several years ago, you’re one of the few remaining “outer-borough” democratic mayoral contenders in this race. How does your history and commitment to the borough impact and influence you?
DE BLASIO: The idea that every kind of person can make a life for themselves and their family is supposed to define New York. But over the past 12 years of Bloomberg, we have seen New York become a tale of two cities. We’re living in a reality where the focus of the city’s resources and development has turned disproportionally to lower Manhattan. My experiences in Brooklyn as a resident, a City Council Member and Public Advocate have shaped my vision for what kind of mayor this city needs. As mayor, I’ll spend every waking moment fighting to bring opportunity to every New Yorker, whether that be through expanded affordable housing, police reform, or an economic strategy that brings jobs to all five boroughs.
MAT: How does your position on the City Council’s recent modifications to the stop-and-frisk program differ from your fellow candidates, and how, if at all, has your family, influenced this position?
DE BLASIO: The overuse of stop and frisk is putting our officers, our children, and our neighborhoods at risk.
I am the only candidate who believes we need an independent Inspector General and a strong racial-profiling bill. I encourage the City Council to stand strong against Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to subvert the democratic process and intimidate people into changing their vote. Weak-kneed reactions to the Mayor’s mistakes will only guarantee the next four years are like the last 12.
As Mayor, what plans do you have to hold developers to a commitment to affordable housing? To what extent are you hampered by actions like this in the legislature in Albany, and in what ways can you (and the city) still prevail?
DE BLASIO: I have a detailed, comprehensive plan to create or preserve nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. We must end giveaways for big developers and enact mandatory inclusionary zoning, so that when neighborhoods are rezoned, which tremendously increases property values, developers are required to build affordable housing for low- and middle-income families in return. These efforts should create 50,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade.
Another example in my plan is to encourage development on vacant properties by eliminating a tax loophole that incentivizes real estate speculators to leave lots vacant. By applying the same tax rate to big, vacant lots that we do to commercial properties, we would spur a wave of affordable housing construction and create more tax revenue to fund the creation of 4,000 new affordable housing units.
As far as Albany is concerned, we need to take control locally of rent stabilization laws, which help keep rent under control for millions of New Yorkers.
MAT: In contrast to the breaks begot by developers, you claim small businesses are feeling the squeeze. How are small businesses targeted, fined, and harassed in ways that make it difficult for them to conduct operations, and what reforms do you propose?
DE BLASIO: As Public Advocate, I issued two reports documenting, for the first time, the incredible burden on small businesses from the rapid rise in fines. After suing the city to obtain never-before seen data, I discovered that, starting in 2010, City Hall implemented an unannounced revenue-driven enforcement campaign, which has led to a dramatic increase in inspections and nuisance fines on small businesses, particularly in the outer boroughs, to plug gaps in the city’s budget.
I’ve proposed a five-point plan for small business fine enforcement, based on public safety and not the need to pad the city’s budget. First, we need to eliminate outdated and abused regulations using a Regulatory Review Panel that includes small business owners. We also need to increase small business owner’s understanding of these rules, so the first time they learn about them, isn’t when they get fined. We also need to create a tiered classification system for fines, so that business owners aren’t punished unnecessarily harshly, and enable business owners to contest violations online, or by phone or mail, so they don’t have to take time off of work. And, finally, to ensure this abuse doesn’t happen again, we need to require each City agency to report the amount of revenue raised through fines, and we need to create a group of Red Tape Cutters, whose responsibility it is to track trends in the City’s enforcement of business regulations and collect input on ways government can help businesses add jobs.
MAT: Rather than hiding or concealing your motives, your campaign is quite candid in asking the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay a bit more in taxes to support certain programs. What are the additional programs you propose, and what is your message to wealthy New Yorkers as to why they should be willing to accept such an increase?
DE BLASIO: The logic is pretty simple actually: as one city, we rise and fall together. While nearly 400,000 millionaires call New York home, almost half of our neighbors live at or near the poverty line. Our middle class isn’t just shrinking; it’s in danger of vanishing altogether. This income inequality affects everyone through rises in incidents of crimes, a decrease in affordable services, and quality public schools. Addressing the crisis of income inequality isn’t a small task. And if we are to thrive as a city, we’re going to need the help of every citizen. That’s why I’ve asked the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay a little more in taxes so we can fund universal pre-kindergarten and after-school for New York’s children. This is essential for our city’s future.
This is a must-see and I for one can’t wait. I so enjoyed B rave New World’s production of The Crucible at The Old Stone House. Now Brooklyn’s acclaimed Brave New World Repertory Theatre is taking Elmer Rice’s 1929 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Street Scene to the streets–literally…on the stoop of a Park Slope tenement.
The site-specific production will spill out the front windows and onto the front stoop and sidewalk of a tenement in Park Slope, which will serve as the stage with the audience seated in the street, which will be closed to traffic for the day. Brave New World’s multicultural production of this classic masterpiece reflects the full urban melting pot of New York City.
Park Slope, Brooklyn
5th Street between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park
(Directions: F/G to 7th Ave, D/N/R to 9th St, 2/3/4 to Grand Army Plaza, B/Q to 7th Ave.)
Saturday, June 22nd. Two performances: 1pm and 5pm.
(Rain-date: June 23rd)
ABOUT STREET SCENE:
Director Claire Beckman says, “With 20/20 hindsight, Brave New World’s site-specific production seeks to capture the restless summer of 1929… and the sense of unease that comes-especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid like the working class people in the play-when everyone is living beyond their means. These are the people, who a year or two later, will be jobless and penniless. Now living together in cramped sweltering apartments, they spend their summer days out on the stoops… Gossiping and fretting about any impending trouble, as titillated by, as they are terrified of the big domestic drama unfolding in their own building… An infidelity…and worse.”
Elmer Rice won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for his Broadway play about a New York City “village” rife with domestic quarrels, racial and ethnic tensions and economic anxiety. Street Scene was made into a movie in 1931, produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by King Vidor, and into an opera in 1946 with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Langston Hughes.
FREE (no reservation necessary) seating as available; unlimited standing room.
RESERVED FREE seating available in advance for elderly and disabled – limited.
RESERVED seating available: with online donations of $75 or more- limited.
For further info and reservations, visit: http://www.bravenewworldrep.org
Just when I was feeling really fatigued by winter, Susan Steinbrock Design sent me an email about her new garden and floral design website. The photographs on the site of arrangements of colorful wild flowers grown in a Brooklyn lot made my day.
Spring is afoot and I am grateful to Susan for reminding me.
Brooklyn-based gardening business, Susan Steinbrock Design will plant and maintain perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs. SSD will select plants to create a continuously blooming garden, from spring bulbs through fall asters, yielding personally designed bouquets, directly from your garden to table.
“I believe in environmentally sound practices, using compost to enrich soil that is often depleted of nutrients. I choose flowering perennials native to our region as well as other plants that encourage pollinators and benefit the overall health of our Brooklyn neighborhoods,” Susan writes on the website.
Whether you are looking for a complete design and renovation of your current garden space, a new window box or container, or just advice in choosing plants that will thrive in your garden’s light and shade, Susan can work with you to make something beautiful.
And that is beautiful.
Today on Facebook Chris Owens, Democratic State Committeeman, 52nd Assembly District, urged friends and neighbors to volunteer in Red Hook, which is walking distance from Brownstone Brooklyn. He is suggesting that people send Carlos Menchaca a message on Facebook.
My good friend Carlos Menchaca will be the lead organizer for volunteers for the Office of Emergency Management’s relief efforts in Red Hook, Brooklyn. If you have some time in the next few days or weeks, send him a message and he’ll hook you up with a task. A lot of people and businesses in Red Hook were devastated by the hurricane and need our help.
For those of us who live right up the hill in the Park Slope area, which was fortunately spared by the storm, this is a volunteer opportunity that is within walking distance.
Volunteers at Congregation Beth Elohim pitched in yesterday to prepare food for the Park Slope Armory, which is housing evacuated elderly patients from flooded nursing homes in South Brooklyn.
600 sandwiches (peanut butter & jelly and turkey) were prepared in the kitchen of the synagogue.
On his blog Water Over Rocks Rabbi Andy Bachman reflects on the day, which also included an event with esteemed authors Paul Auster and Don DeLillo. Writing at 5AM this morning, volunteers have already prepared breakfast.
Hundreds of pounds of dry goods, batteries, flashlights and candles sent over to Red Hook in several shifts, continuing through the weekend; the gym, social hall, pool and basketball court open for restless kids and families; placing orders for food to prep for hundreds more throughout the weekend; Jonathan Safran Foer introducing Paul Auster and Don DeLillo at the end of the night. But then a call for volunteers with eggs–800 eggs that became 3000 eggs. And then someone from the Department of Homeless Services asked if we could be a drop-off center for clothes for the now homeless residents of Breezy Point (yes, of course.) And then at around 8:30 pm a truck from Masbia showed up with hundreds of pounds of carrots, potatoes, squash, onions, green beans, bread, eggs (more eggs), and sliced kosher turkey…
Today breakfast is already served–dozens showed up at 5:15 am to prepare bagels, cream cheese, butter and yes, eggs.
Today lunch for 600 again. And then Saturday lunch and Saturday night dinner…
The human capacity to love, to work together, to draw meaning from the seemingly inexplicable, is truly an awesome power.
You probably heard them, too.
News helicopters are flying over Park Slope this morning as they circle over the Atlantic Center capturing aerial images of the morning commute on the second day of minimal subway service in New York City.
Yesterday, commuters waited on extremely long lines to catch buses at the Atlantic Center and Fulton Street to ride across the Manhattan Bridge to working subways in Manhattan. So the Brooklyn commute is this morning’s news.
Those news helicopters have been circling since five or six in the morning (or earlier) which seems awfully early. It certainly woke me up earlier than I wanted to be.
A friend writes on Facebook: “Relentless helicopters overhead…reminiscent of another apocalyptic event.” I know what she means.
Helicopters hovering overhead.
You can do it on your cell phone:
Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps people affected by disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes.
The Red Hook Houses are without power and running water. Donations are being accepted at PS 32, on Hoyt Street between Union and President.
Donations of bottled water, paper towels, and toilet paper. are needed.
We’ve learned during the after-Sandy that New York is a shadow of itself without our magnificent subway system. We’ve also learned that cars are not the answer. What with gas shortages and gridlock insanity.
Will Sandy be a wake-up call about bikes and limited access to NYC by cars? I think that would be a good thing.
When Bloomberg said three to a car on bridges and tunnels, I remembered CONGESTION PRICING.
A lot of people I know are taking a good long look at their bikes. Suddenly bikes are the solution to getting around in a city with a limited subway system. Sure, it’s not for everyone, not everyone can ride a bike. But those who can should do so.
Remember the transit strike?
Eric McClure of Park Slope Neighbors wrote in today about the morning commute: “There are lots of people riding bikes today who have happy stories about their commutes.”
And Kerry, an OTBKB reader wrote: “I decided to bike from Williamsburg to Mid-town. I had a ton of company and it was actually kind of nice to commute among fellow bikers and walkers. Everyone was kind to each other and we all got a little sunshine on our faces. Hang in there everyone!”
Ah, what we know now. Going forward, we’ll have D-cells and flashlights, our Go Bags will be poised at the front door, and our bikes will be ready for action (tires full, well-maintained, keys for the locks).
Our bikes can get us where we need to be.
Oh Superstorm Sandy.
First we were curious with a dash of anticipatory anxiety. There was panic, of course, but also excitement as we obssesively prepared for the hurricane (it was a hurricane then) on Saturday, Sunday and much of Monday.
Bottled water. Go bags. Batteries. Flashlights.
We didn’t know what to expect. Denial led some people not to heed evacuation orders. Memories of Irene made some dubious about dire warnings.
Then there was shock as we watched Manhattan go dark, Breezy Point burn, Lower East Side transformers explode and millions go without electricity and water. For the first hour or so we wondered if we were next. So we waited tremulously. But then the worst of it passed as gusty winds and rain continued through the night.
At dawn, we weren’t sure what we would see by the light of day.
Then there was the relief. At least here in Park Slope where we dodged Sandy’s bullet for the most part. We felt grateful and lucky not to be without power and water.
However, the devastation in other parts of the City and State pained us. We stared at the TV all day taking in the scope of it.
As each day passed, we learned of losses related to Sandy and began to mourn. Jacob, a 24-year-old son of Park Slope died during the storm with his friend, Jessie. There were more than forty deaths in NYC alone.
As we wandered around the Slope we saw trees down, long lines at the bank, queues at the grocery stores and gas stations. Seventh Avenue was crowded with children unable to go to school, adults unable to go to work.
By Thursday, as the city tried to get back to normal, subway service was extremely spotty and there was no easy way to commute to Manhattan jobs from Brooklyn. Long lines formed for Bus Bridges, available at Atlantic Center and elsewhere, a way for Brooklynites to get to a working subway in Manhattan. Crossing on bridges and tunnels is limited to those with at least three to a car.
Waking Thursday morning, news helicopters were hovering above, reporting on the morning commute. That was this morning’s story. As the day progressed the need for gas became a new narrative.
Now, the longevity of the aftermath is getting on everyone’s nerves. People nearby in Red Hook, Staten Island and elsewhere are without power and water. The suffering continues.
How long will this go on? Will the gas lines get shorter, will the subway work again, will the tunnels ever dry? When oh when will our city get back to normal.
Despite the absence of the beloved Park Slope Halloween Parade, Halloween in Park Slope post-Sandy was actually quite charming.
Seventh Avenue was packed with trick-or-treaters and parents at 5PM or so. Parents were advised to do the bulk of the outdoor trick or treating before dark and that seems to have been the case. Everyone I saw seemed to be in a good mood, including shopkeepers who distributed candy until they ran out. As always, the Community Bookstore was the place to be. This year, a giant green puppet (alligator, dinosaur) was suspended over the front counter. At least that’s what it looked like to me.
It was great to see the kids enjoying themselves after being cooped up at home for days.
Third Street, which is usually the final stretch of the Halloween Parade, was Halloween central nonetheless. Hundreds of parents and children streamed down our block for hours as candy was distributed by good-natured adults.
I must say, Halloween had a very quaint, small town feeling without the parade. The parade, I might add, started in a very casual way and has become quite a production, which takes months of planning. Yesterday was a reminder that Halloween can be just as fun without the parade. In fact, it felt like Park Slope of olde, a real back-to-basics Halloween.
That said, the parade is a community building spectacle we’re probably not willing to do without.
A benefit of no parade to parents: Halloween wasn’t nearly as exhausting as it has become with hours of trick or treating followed by a parade that goes until 9PM or so.
Here is an update from City Councilmember Brad Lander who also serves Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park and Kensington. He included the photo above by Conor O’Donough.
I hope you and your family made it safely through the storm. Mercifully, the damage in the neighborhoods in this City Council district was not too bad. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures and heard about the heartbreaking fires and widespread flooding elsewhere the city.
I was heartened by all of the emails I got yesterday from people who wanted to help. There are two shelters in the 39th Council District, John Jay High School and the Park Slope Armory, that need volunteers. You need to be willing to work an eight hour shift and cannot bring your children. The Armory is sheltering people with additional medical needs, so volunteers should be comfortable working with the elderly, disabled, or others who may need extra support.
While those are the two shelters in my council district, there may be other shelters closer to you. Enter your address here to find the closest shelter to you and reach out to see if they are also in need of volunteers.
You can sign up to volunteer during future emergencies at the City’s service website.
If you see any downed trees or other debris from the storm, your first call should be to 311 (If there is an immediate danger to life, call 911 right away). Make sure to write down the tracking number from your 311 call.
We should remember that the effects of this storm are being felt across New York City, and agencies will rightly be prioritizing trees on power lines and other especially dangerous situations.
My office is also recording damage in the district and following up directly with City agencies. You can report storm damage on my website (make sure to include the 311 tracking number).
More News Coming Soon
Mayor Bloomberg is expect to give a press conference shortly with updates on the City’s response to the the storm and updates on transportation and agency closures. I will send out another email later today with additional updates.
Many of you contacted me yesterday with concerns about the Gowanus Canal, a highly polluted waterway, which flooded neighboring streets. I have communicated with EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck and NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland. Thanks to both of them for making the time, and communicating quickly (with each other, and with me) about our concerns at the canal.
If you live near the canal, do not touch standing water in the area, or any sediment or debris left by Gowanus flood-waters.
After the storm, the EPA and DEP are committed to work together conduct any sampling needed to address potential issues of toxicity created by the flooding.
We checked in with Prospect Park staff this morning and learned that the park was hit hard. They are still assessing damage, but will be reaching out in the coming days for donations and volunteers to help put the park back together.
I look forward to seeing many of you – and working with you – in the coming days as we clean up from the storm.
PS: If you are looking for something inspiring after this brutal storm, check out this picture of an amazing rainbow above the Gowanus Canal this morning.
It’s a sobering image of a carousel that usually brings much joy in Brooklyn on a devastating night we will never forget. Image below is of Jane’s Carousel before Sandy.
Pardon Me for Asking has pictures of the Gowanus area at 9PM Monday night. A friend of the blogger took the picture above and wrote: “the water down the street was a few feet deep, and very toxic. It smelled like oil and sewage.”
The week began with Baracklyn, a Monday night fundraiser at the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg with New York Senator Chuck Schumer, White House staff member Valerie Jarrett, Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Mass, Governor Deval Patrick and singer/songwriter extraordinaire Steve Earle. More than 500 Obama supporters were in attendance and the event raised $300,000 for the President’s campaign.
On Wednesday at ArtObama, more than 100 artists donated their artwork to benefit the President’s re-election campaign. The event on Atlantic Avenue was packed and fun. A great crowd, good wine, tasty snacks, terrific conversation. The space, a former art gallery called Metaphor and now a studio, looked stunning with its walls covered with really interesting art by the likes of David Konigsberg, Julian Jackson, Margaret Neill, Ann Agee, Tom Chambers, Hugh Crawford, Phong Bui (print of Obama above) and more.
Later that night Obama debated Mitt Romney. I listened to some of the debate in the car service on the way home from ArtObama (the Internet streaming we hoped to see at the auction didn’t work). Once I got the television on, it was obvious that Obama was having an off-night and Romney was, uncharacteristically, very on.
I missed Rommney’s comment about Big Bird but it was all over Twitter during the debate and after.
“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
Those were fighting words. Twitterers went wild defending Big Bird and worrying about the future of PBS. Even PBS got in on the act with a statement:
“Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation.”
The Twitterverse was unanimous in its sense that Obama look tired, unprepared and even depressed. Some blamed it on the fact that it was his anniversary; others said it had to do with his strategy and staff directive to be low-key and presidential.
Letterman on Thursday night showed a hilarious fake Cymbalta ad that inserted images of Obama during the debate.
Friday night there was a cmall package in my mailbox from my 89-year-old Aunt Rhoda in White Plains. She sent me an O necklace. “O for Obama,” she wrote on her business card, which said Aging in Place, an organization she is actively involved with.
Aging in Place “refers to living where you have lived for years, typically not in a health care environment, using products, services, and conveniences which allow you to remain home as circumstances change.”
Thank you Aunt Rhoda for a beautiful gift and a perfect ending to my Obama week.
On Saturday, October 8 from 10AM until 6PM, Stitch Therapy and the Old Stone House (Fifth Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope) present the Kings County Fiber Arts Festival this weekend at The Old Stone House, a festival of natural fibers for spinners, knitters and crocheters, offering handspun and painted yarns and rovings of many varieties. Handcrafted knit, crocheted and woven clothing, hats & scarves for the family.
The following artisinal fiber artists will be on hand at the festival: Artikal Handcrafted Millinery, Bay Haven Short Tails, Bittersweet Ridge, Brooklyn Crochet Collective, Cobblerock Ridge Farm, Compassioknit, Crochet shirret Rag Rugs, Decadent Fibers, Fish Hollow, Full Moon Farms, Hellomello Handspun, Humdinger Alpacas, Juliet Martin Designs, Lilac Hill Farm, Looliemom Fiber Arts, Loop of the Loom, Okos Farm Fiber, Pollywogs, Queen Bee Fibers, Utopia Bath, Winter’s Past Farm
Here’s a schedule of activities to expect:
11 am: Pop-Up Yoga NYC: An Ergonomic Stretch for Crafters
12 pm: Finger Knitting Demonstration for Children
12pm – 6 pm: Fabrications, an exhibit by Gail Rothschild in the OSH Great Room
1 pm: Finger Knitting Demonstration for Children
2 pm: Spinning Wheel and Drop Spindle Demonstration by NYC’s Spin City
3 pm: Music by the Famous Accordion Orchestra
4 pm: Fleece Talk – identification and Characteristics w/ Kris Brynes, Winter’s Past Farm
6 pm: Exhibit Reception: Fabrications by Gail Rothschild
PHOTO FROM PARK SLOPE STOOP!
Councilmember Brad Lander truly wants to know: What would you do with $1 Million?
Tonight in Park Slope, residents are coming together to tell City Councilmember Brad Lander how to spend $1 million of City funds on projects in their neighborhood.
Next spring, their votes will choose the winning projects. The process, called “Participatory Budgeting,” gives New Yorkers a chance to vote on how some of their tax dollars are spent.
WHAT: Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assembly
WHEN: Wednesday, October 3rd, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
WHERE: Greenwood Baptist Church, 461 6th Street (at 7th Avenue), Brooklyn
Last year’s ideas ranged from the kooky to the sublime: a Gowanus Canal Gondola (aka a “Gowandola”), filling potholes, renovating schools, and building parks. I wasn’t there, but I hear that the conversations were sometimes heated (what do you expect?) but creative and inspiring.
Participatory budget meetings are going on all over the city. This meeting is one of five in Councilmember Lander’s district in September and October, and one of more than fifty city-wide.
Heather O’Donnell has a sweet story on her blog Honey & Wax Booksellers about the Hundred Story House, which was in Park Slope’s Washington Park yesterday.
The Hundred Story House is the brainchild of Julie Marchesi and Leon V. Reid IV (illustration at left is a rendering) who organized a Kickstarter campaign to get the project off the ground and managed to raise an impressive $13,502 last March.
The One Hundred Story House is a miniature lending library and installation that was designed for Cobble Hill Park but is evidently going to other parks, too .
In fact, the House opened in Washington Park in Park Slope on September 8th. I guess it’s going to be there for a while (I will check with Kim Maier at the Old Stone House for further information).
Marchesi and Reid wrote on the Kickstarter site: “Brooklyn is very bookish. If you walk the streets on a fair weathered weekend in certain neighborhoods, you will notice a system of informal and anonymous book-sharing. You will see piles of paperbacks and hardcovers lying on sidewalks or stacked on brownstone steps, available to any passersby looking for a good novel, or a cookbook from 1972.”
Ah yes, I did find Secrets of La Bonne Table a 1970′s French cookbook by Jeannette Seaver on the street once. Marchesi believes this tradition speaks to limited space in our too-small apartments ” but also to the distinctly Brooklyn spirit of small-scale community interactivity that can be possible in a huge metropolis. It also speaks to a shared love of the written word — as do our many bookstores, public libraries, and coffee shops filled with famous (or soon-to-be) writers at work.”
Lovely idea. I can’t wait to see it.
It’s a busy week. There are things to do, people to see, High Holy Days to celebrate, as well as Brooklyn Book Festival Book End events to attend all week. For a full schedule go here.
On Thursday, September 20, at 7PM, Brooklyn Reading Works is hosting Young Writers Night, a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event presenting fiction, poetry and song by teenage writers. The event was curated by high school senior Hannah Frishberg who will be introduced by Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang. One Teen Story will also be on hand to distribute free copies of that new magazine.
On Friday, September 21, I will be at BAM for Einstein on the Beach, an opera created by Philip Glass, Robert Wilson and Lucinda Childs. This will be the third production of Einstein at the Beach I’ve seen at BAM, the first without choreographer Lucinda Childs dancing.
On Sunday, September 23, I will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival with Honey & Wax Booksellers. I will also be talking up Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright’s “gorgeous debut novel” As It Is On Earth (Fomite).
Leslie Albrecht, a reporter for DNA Info, wrote a lovely profile (with a great slide show) of Park Slope’s Heather O’Donnell, who runs Honey & Wax Booksellers. Albrecht sure knows a good lede when she sees it.
“Heather O’Donnell isn’t the type of rare book dealer who puts on white cotton gloves before she handles her precious volumes. She’s fine with plopping an 1881 edition of Henry James’ “Washington Square” — which sells for $2,000 — on the kitchen counter next to a plate of marinating chicken.”
Okay, let’s not get carried away. I’m sure O’Donnell doesn’t often leave her rare and valuable books in the kitchen. But she does, for the moment, run her business out of the attractive dining room of her historically detailed Park Slope apartment.
O’Donnell is a true book lover who believes books should be well loved and well used. She is also a client of my new company Brooklyn Social Media. Full disclosure there.
“She launched her rare book business Honey & Wax Booksellers in that spirit earlier this year. To her, rare books shouldn’t be locked away in cabinets like specimens. She likes that books can be used to form relationships when they’re passed between people. Her favorite part of the business is uniting appreciative collectors with long-sought books.” writes Albrecht in her DNA Info piece.
Next week Honey & Wax will be the first rare bookseller at the Brooklyn Book Festival, an open-air celebration of, well, books. In fact, it is the largest literary event in New York City. This year there are more than 280 authors, more than 104 panels confirmed and something like 45,000 visitors expected.
O’Donnell will be there with an astonishing selection of rare books, first editions and special signed copies. She’ll also be giving out tasty honey sticks. She is excited to showcase some of her best stock, and to field questions from festival attendees about the books they have and the books they want.
O’Donnell is uniquely qualified to answer those questions. A lifelong book lover, she moved to NYC in 1989 to study English at Columbia. She received a doctorate from the Yale English department and worked as a curatorial assistant at the Beinecke Library, where she developed an eye for rare books. For seven years, she was a bookseller in the flagship New York gallery of Bauman Rare Books, dealing in a wide range of material, from Shakespeare to Audubon to Churchill. O’Donnell’s desire to make her mark in the borough she calls home inspired her to launch Honey & Wax Booksellers earlier this year, and she’s eager to make her Brooklyn festival debut on September 23.
On October 1, ArtObama will auction works by 120 American artists to support the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Auction proceeds will benefit the Obama Victory Fund 2012 as well as ActBlue, a political action committee that aids progressive House and Senate candidates nationwide. Space is limited, and preregistration for this event is strongly recommended. In 2008, ArtObama raised more than $54,000. Their ambition is to greatly surpass that contribution in 2012
“We’re a full generation apart. And, in some ways we’re a little different. There are the songs on his iPod that I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He’s actually urged me to play some of those songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it’s not a deal breaker, Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin.”
I looked at my playlist this morning. Mine starts with Adele (and then Adrian Hibbs) and ends with The White Stripes and Yo La Tengo.
What’s the A and Z of your playlist? And what does or doesn’t it say about you?
There are 1,814 artists participating in the Go Brooklyn Arts massive open studio weekend on September 8-9, 2012. Eighty of them are in Park Slope.
That’s a bigger number than I expected. There are a lot of artists in and around Park Slope but most of them don’t have their studios in Park Slope, a neighborhood made up mostly of apartment buildings and brownstones. We don’t have much in the way of loft or industrial buildings.
Go Art Brooklyn is a crowd -curated, crowd-sourced open studio extravaganza backed by the Brooklyn Museum. As an art appreciator, you can sign on as a visitor and actually vote for the artists you like best during your studio visits.
Of the eighty Park Slope artists, I know a few including my husband Hugh Crawford, who will open his photography studio right here on Third Street. “The last few years I have been making photographs I describe as “tangles”. They are of rose bushes, ocean waves, the banks of the Gowanus Canal, amusement park rides, trees, and distressed ground. What I am trying to capture is “the act of seeing.” Since mid-2011, my work is multiple exposures reassembled into single compositions with some of the work printed as large as 20 feet long,” he writes in his Go artist statement.
Also, Bernette Rudolph (above), whom I consider the elder goddess of Park Slope artists, will be showing her prints and mixed-media work in her Third Street studio, as she’s been doing since 1985. “I work in my art studio with music or silence depending on what I am creating. I have been a working artist over fifty years exhibiting in museums and art galleries thru the United States. My current inspiration is photographing the people I see on the streets of New York City and the vast variety of people who ride the New York subways. I use photo shop to turn the photos into works of art,” she writes in her Go artist statement.
But on on September 12th, Massimo Vignelli and his design partners Beatriz Cifuentes and Yoshi Waterhouse will speak at the New York Transit Museum with Michael Beirut about their famous and controversial 1972 New York City subway diagram and its new appearance in the MTA’s Weekender.
At this special Transit Museum event, Beirut will lead a discussion with Vignelli, Cifuentes and Waterhouse. This will be followed by a brief Q and A. Signed and numbered subway diagrams (limited edition of 1,000) will be available for purchase for $500 each. You can get tickets here.
This promises to be an interesting and exciting discussion with a design team respected worldwide and hugely influential on the city of New York .
In 2008 and 2012, Vignelli updated his diagram to account for changes in station names and toned down the color scheme, adopting uniform colors for each line Vignelli will discuss this in addition to change she made to the map in response to one of the largest criticisms leveled at the 1972 diagram and that was the deceiving square shape of Central Park.
Vignelli simplified the new version by removing parks entirely. Take that.
Last week I reported that Amy Sohn’s new book was out in bookstores. And now for something completely different. Park Slope’s elder literary statesman has a new book coming out
Did I just call Paul Auster an elder literary statesman?
Well, he is probably one of the best known authors in the neighborhood and certainly one of the most important in the world. Some of his books are considered the most influential books of the late 20th century. It must be said: the man has major cred.
He and Salon executive editor David Dailey met in Park Slope: “We met at a Park Slope cafe not far from his Brooklyn home on a recent rainy afternoon, where the conversation skipped easily from his new book to the New York Mets, and from literary politics to the presidential race,” Dailey writes.
The interview is very interesting and you should definitely read it. Auster talks about his decision to write another memoir. He’s already written three: The Invention of Solitude, the Red Notebook and Hand to Mouth. Now this one. Auster is only 64 and he looks wonderful when I see him on Seventh Avenue. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been seeing him in the neighborhood for twenty-one years, since he was in his forties.
Sure he looks a bit older now, but very dignified. He walks with the weight and intensity of someone who writes every day. He always looks lost in thought. Deeply. Every time I see him I wonder, what has he written today in his writing studio? In the Salon interview he talks about why he felt compelled to write this book:
“I don’t know. As I’ve said, I can never answer why. I wanted to do it, so I did it. Was it the idea of, you know, reaching the age I’ve reached? I don’t know. I’m not sure. I do know that, oddly enough, all these 40th anniversaries that were taking place in the last few years have been throwing me back to the old days a lot. I’ve been speaking about things that haven’t been preoccupying me a lot, and maybe haven’t spoken about. “Invisible” really goes back to Columbia in the late 1960s.
“So, you know, I’m living in the present, thinking about the past, hoping for the future. And then too, there’s another thing I’d like to say: Most of the time, the way I seem to generate books is to bounce off the one I’ve done before, so to negate it, to do the opposite, to reinvent it. The book that came before it ["Sunset Park"] is the first book that consciously I wrote in the now, capital “N,” and it was also immediate, all so much about our present moment, that the impulse was to go back afterwards.”