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October 6th, 2012

A Week of Obama in Brooklyn

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.

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August 13th, 2012

Scottish Travel Reporter Loves “Buzzing Brooklyn”

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;, where they offer a local, organic, sustainable take on Italian food, in a sweet little room overlooking a Park Slope corner.”

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July 17th, 2012

Peter Luger Named Best Steak House In US By USA Today

Peter Luger, the renowned and historic steak house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,  was recently named the best steakhouse in the United States byUSA Today.

Marty Markowitz had this to say about this carnivore’s emporium: “Now Americans across the country know what Brooklynites and New Yorker s have known all along: that Peter Luger is, hands down, the best place to eat a steak in America.”

The steak house has been around since 1887. Here’s a link to the  USA Today story:

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July 13th, 2012

July 21: Brooklyn Castle at Rooftop Films

Brooklyn Castle, a new documentary, is the story of a public school chess team at Williamsburg’s IS 318. With rankings higher than Albert Einstein’s and students from mostly low-income and immigrant homes, this dedicated chess team has captured over 26 national chess titles, more than any other  middle school in the United States.

Facing budget cuts and the threat of losing the chess after-school program, the instructors students and parents band together to help save the program.

This uplifting, must-see film will be presented by Rooftop Films on their very own rooftop in Park Slope/Gowanus on Saturday, July 21. Location: The Old American Can Factory (232 Third St. @ 3rd Ave). Doors open at 7:30PM. At 8PM, there will be a mini-chess tournament. The film begins at 9PM.

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