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.
Martinez and fellow photographer/videographer Antonio Rosario have opened a new business called Switch to Manual to help beginner and intermediate photographers take control of the camera’s basic settings, which they believe is the doorway to real creativity.
According to Martinez and Rosario, most people new to photography have a vague sense that it’s possible to control the camera’s settings, but are intimidated by the myth that to do so requires years of technical study. “And when you’re in love with photography all you really want to do is take pictures,” says Martinez.
That’s where the Switch to Manual photo workshops come in. In a workshop setting, Martinez and Rosario will give you a practical overview of the two manual settings you’ll want to master (shutter speed and aperture) and then take you out to shoot pictures.
Instead of a bunch of technical jargon, they will explain these settings in everyday language. By the end of the workshop you’ll understand how these camera controls relate to each other. “You’ll be in control of your camera and not the other way around. You’ll be adjusting both to get the image you want, no matter the situation,” says Rosario.
In addition to their workshops, Martinez and Rosario offer photo walks in some of the most photogenic locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Imagine spending a morning at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens or in the trendy industrial Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook or walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. How about an afternoon in Coney Island, Green-Wood Cemetery or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. During these photo walks, Martinez and Rosario will offer hands-on advice about how to get the most from your camera equipment. They will advise about composition, lighting, and lenses.
Most walks last between 2-3 hours and are a great way to get to know these great locations in the city, with camera in hand.
Their workshops and photo walks run year-round. Check out the schedule and sign up. Soon you’ll Switching to Manual in just one day!
The lovely photo of Antonio Rosario (left) and Tom Martinez is from Ditmas Park Corner.
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.”
I can’t believe it’s been a year since Roulette, an experimental music collective formerly located in Manhattan, set up shop in Brooklyn.
Clearly they’ve expanded the size and scope of their organization with a new 450 seat theater. But their mission, to provide opportunities for innovative composers, musicians, sound artists and interdisciplinary collaborators, stays the same.
First a little history. In 1978 three composers, Jim Staley, David Weinstein and Dan Senn, launched a new music composers’ collective they named Roulette. Weinstein had recently composed Café Roulette, an homage to Dada and to chance operations in music.
That 75-seat space in Lower Manhattan made a big name for itself in the world of experimental music and new jazz. The move to Brooklyn a year ago signaled an expansion in size, scope and ambition. They write in a birthday note on their website:
This last year was a breath-taking, nerve-wracking, exhilarating realization of the implications of our name. We moved from a 74 seat loft to a 450 seat theater, doubled our budget, presented over 150 music, dance and Intermedia performances, hosted fifty arts and community organizations, and our audience grew from 4,000 to 21,000.
Our new theater is an architectural gem with splendid acoustics and superbly equipped — thanks to the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Steve Levin, our New York City Council Member, and the New York State Council on the Arts. This season we will install an eight-camera robotic system which will make Roulette one of the few facilities in the city capable of complex videography, instant editing, and live broadcast.
In an astonishingly short time Roulette has become a cultural and social nexus for our neighborhood — the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership identifies Roulette as a keystone organization in its Strategic Plan — and has taken a prominent position in the cultural life of New York City.
The tote bags pictured above, designed by Christian Marclay, are for sale at Roulette.or
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.
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.
If you haven’t explored Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer you really should.
Put it on your summer ”TO DO” List.
The Park is definitely Brooklyn’s newest tourist and native attraction—something to show the out-of-towners and something to enjoy on your own.
There’s lots to see. Take a walk from DUMBO and check out the fabulous carousel and then walk or bike towards Atlantic Avenue along the river. Or you can do what I just described in reverse starting on Atlantic Avenue and going towards DUMBO.
During the week, check the events schedule because there’s Jazzmobile, free fitness activities like Pilates and more.
As for the movies al fresco, there are only two screenings left this summer at Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s a remarkable spot to watch a movie.
On Thursday, August 23, they’re showing Unforgiven [R] directed by Clint Eastwood with Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman with a short, The Hunter by Marieka Walsh. DJ Emch Subatomic (of Subatomic Sound System) will be on h and supplying the grooves.
On Thursday, August 30, the final movie of the summer is selected by public vote! DJ Geko Jones (of Que Bajo) will be on hand playing music.
Now, that’s a tough call. There are many thousands of them. Too many. And so many pretty ones. There’s definitely an art to it. Some people have the touch (or the green thumb plus the color/design sense).
So how do you win such a contest. First, you’ve got to enter the contest to be considered. It helps to belong to a Block Association but I don’t think it’s essential. Still, it’s not like some judge-person is going to check out every window box in the borough.
These window boxes created by the Arky’s at 487 10th Street in Park Slope are very pretty indeed. Sadly, they’re trapped behind the window bars. And they tied for First Place. Check out the other winning window boxes and other categories at the Greenest Block in Brooklyn website.
I mean, who can resist: Sullivan’s Travels, His Girl Friday, or Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby or George Cukor’s classic, late-Depression-era romantic comedy, Holiday. Or Pat and Mike with Spencer Tracy and Hepburn or The Palm Beach Story with Claudette Colbert.
In Sunday’s Scotsman, a Scottish news website, Lee Randall, a travel journalist travels to Brooklyn and lives like a native. His father was born in Brooklyn and the reporter found plenty of things to love about the borough, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Park Slope’s Al Di La.
“Forget hotels and live like a native in buzzing Brooklyn, suggests Lee Randall
“Wandering around Williamsburg, the hipster capital of Brooklyn, brings to mind my late father, who was born in this borough, which was an independent town before its engulfment by New York City in the late 19th century. Dad wouldn’t recognise the place. In fact, even I don’t recognise it. The last time I ventured to this part of my native city was in the 1980s, when we’d joke that you needed to pack heat to get in and out alive. Now – all joking aside – I’d advise you to pack a Mac computer, a trilby, and a refined palate for artisan beer and coffee, else die of shame.”
“Also notable was lunch at Al Di La Trattoria (248 Fifth Avenue; www.aldilatrattoria.com), where they offer a local, organic, sustainable take on Italian food, in a sweet little room overlooking a Park Slope corner.”
Doll Parts calls itself Brooklyn’s premiere Dolly Parton cover band. I think that probably desribes them to a “T”. I don’t think there are any other Dolly Parton cover band in Brooklyn but I could be wrong.
I’m psyched because I happen to love Dolly Parton’s songwriting (Coat of Many Colors, Jolene). A lot of people probably think of Dolly as an icon of country kitsch but I think there’s a lot more going on.
The five member band will play Union Hall on Wednesday at 7:30 PM. Gentleman Callers is also on the bill.
Amy Sohn’s Motherland will be out next week but already the buzz begins. Today in the New York Times, Ginia Bellafante’s article For a Spicier City, Turn the Page?, bundles Sohn’s sequel to her bestselling Prospect Park West with a first novel by Karl Taro Greenfield called Triburbia.
According to Bellafante, “each of the two books revolves around the broader community of a highly ranked public elementary school: P.S. 321 in Park Slope and what is obviously P.S. 234 in TriBeCa, places so readily linked to an image of concerned liberal affluence that to a certain kind of New Yorker they hardly require annotation. Here the image of family wholesomeness gives way to a picture of acute marital anomie and rampant infidelity. Stereotypes endemic to the city populate: the entrepreneurial chef, the yearning screenwriter, the drifting vintage clothier, the gay father desperate for a second child, all of them sharing an aversion or mounting indifference to the partners with whom they’ve purchased their co-ops, renovated their kitchens and shared the enervating burdens of modern child rearing.”
A book that will surely inspire conversation, debate and even secret late night reading Motherland comes out on August 14th. Mark your calendar.
Yesterday, I met blogger Daniel Levin at the Tea Lounge, which was full of people staring at their laptops, sipping coffee and, ostensibly, working or trying to get work. We were introduced by my friend Paula Bernstein, author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.
Truth be told, Levin is nothing special. In fact, he writes a blog called Nothing Special(Tales from a Generation Unfulfilled) dedicated to people who suffer from “specialness,” something he deems akin to a long-term medical disorder. “We are bitter, jealous people with few practical skills and lots of gold stars. There is no known cure. But this blog is the first medically proven* site to help sufferers,” he writes.
Levin, a graduate of Yale University, a playwright and lyricist, ponders what happens to all these special people? Do they go on to fabulous jobs or are they sitting in the Tea Lounge trying to get ahead in the world?
Nothing Special is a blog for people who believe what they’ve been told all their lives by parents, teachers and college acceptance letters. When they finally go out into the world, they realize that the world is actually filled with a lot of special people (and not all of them went to Yale).
“Our parents thought we were special and saved all of our artwork,” he writes on Nothing Special. “Our teachers told us we were highly verbal. Our movies told us we could win a karate tournament from six months of training with a handyman, and make our family hot by going back in time. From Mr. Rogers to Stuart Smalley, we were assured that always, no matter what…we were…(stage whisper) special.”