Friday, October 31, 2008

Free Hallowe'en Events

For those who don't want to venture too far, Health Plus is sponsoring two Hallowe'en "parties" with Lutheran Family Health Centers and Health Max.

From 2 PM - 6 PM stop by the Sunset Park Family Health Center at 150 55th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) for Hallowe'en Candy and Giveaways. And if you would rather stick by 5th Avenue for the trick-or-treating at the stores, from 3 PM - 6 PM Health Max Pharmacy on 5th and 53rd will also have giveaways. Naturally, both are "while supplies last," and the Health Plus events are always mobbed.

Owl's Head Park (67th and Colonial) is having its annual Hallowe'en Event with free activities like the fairytale forest for the 12 and unders. There are rides and food for a fee, and there is lots of people-watching with thousands expected to show up.

There are VIP tickets available for $5 that get you to the head of the line. Some stores on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge are selling them.

The Fairytale Forest begins at 3:30 through 7 PM.
The Haunted Walk begins at 4:30 PM through 8 PM.
There is a magic show at 4:30 PM, and the costume contest is at 6 PM.

Industry City's "No Residential Zone" Gets A Voice

This week's Village Voice has an article about the artistic appeal of Sunset Park's Industry City; the main draw is that it is not (and probably won't be) zoned for residential use. The most public art space right now is Light Industry, which shows short films and documentaries every Tuesday evening. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NYT Highlights Sunset in Places to Eat on Marathon Day

Thanks to an observant NYT reader and neighbor! Check out the link to a few places to try out if you're planning on watching the marathon along 4th Avenue. Three eateries in Sunset Park were mentioned. None of them ON 4th Avenue (Sorry Eclipse!), and two of them are a good distance from 4th Avenue. Still, if it encourages people to stray farther into Sunset, why not.

Numbers 4, 5, and 6 on the list are in Sunset: Thanh Da I on 60th and 7th Avenue is good for soups and apple milkshakes, Yun Nan Flavour Snack on 49th and 8th Avenue also has soups for a blustery day. El Tesoro on 40th and 5th Avenue has its seafood fried rice mentioned as well as its cinnamon hot milk. (It's good!)

If you want something more sit-down, 5th Avenue and 4th Avenue are chock-full of choices. The new Lechonera on the corner of 5th and 46th (?) has loads of options, Tacos Matamoros, Tacos Nuevo Mexico, Tacos Xochimilco, and Maria's will satisfy Mexican cravings. What's the name of the place off of 4th Avenue and up a few steps on 45th? Great quesadillas! Johnny's up in the 50's will take care of comfort food needs, and there are loads of other options to check out. I'm sure the carts will be plentiful as well. If you want sweets, check out Generoso's or La Gran Via. Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunset Park Library hosts Mexican and Chinese Traditions

At noon on Saturday, November 1st, stop by the Sunset Park Library (51st and 4th Avenue) to enjoy Mariachi, Aztec Dance, crafts including altar-making, and more events to honor the Mexican Day of the Dead and Chinese Ancestral Traditions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Focus on Sunset Park from Other Neighborhoods

Continuing NewYorkShitty's Sunset Focus, here's the latest installation in the joys of Sunset Park Architecture with a Greenpoint Point-of-View.

And Bay Ridge also has interest in Sunset Park. The Bay Ridge Journal headed slightly north on a walk through our neighborhood. There are some sweet photos of streets, the park, and even a live poultry market. Of course, the new-ish building on 6th Avenue has been highlighted as well. Check the post out here.

"It's My Park Day" Postponed Until November 1st

Continuing to show that Friends of Sunset Park is truly committed to getting the community involved, the family-friendly organization has announced that the activities for "It's My Park Day" have been moved to Saturday, November 1 due to the forecast of inclement weather conditions on the 25th of October.

Some members were active in the park this past Saturday, but the activity and attention to the park will continue this coming Saturday. Show your appreciation for Sunset Park and the Friends of Sunset Park (remember, they brought us lots of amazing activities this summer!) and show up ready to help out on the first day of November!

Where: Sunset Park - 41st and 7th Entrance (or look for people weeding, pruning, cleaning...)
When: Officially, 10 AM - 2 PM

Green-Wood Cemetery has All Souls Day Tour

Celebrate All Souls' Day at Green-Wood Cemetery by checking out a Haitian rara procession with Dja'rara, a trumpet band. A tour with Steve Estroff is the main event. The program begins at 4 PM by the main gate on 5th Avenue and 25th Street.

The Brooklyn Arts Council is sponsoring this event.

Check out Dja'rara at the Brooklyn Museum here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Light Industry goes Far from Sunset Park to Vietnam

This Tuesday, October 28th, Light Industry will screen Far From Vietnam, a 1967 documentary about US involvement in Vietnam and the opposition to it. As always, the screening will begin at 8 PM, and admission is $6 at the door. The door is at 55 33rd Street on the 3rd floor. The film is two hours long; a brief description follows.

from the website:

Organized under the aegis of SLON (Société pour le Lancement des Oeuvres Nouvelles) and overseen by Chris Marker as a protest of the US involvement in Vietnam, this legendary portmanteau, which features contributions by
seven iconic artists, stands as watershed moment for political cinema as well as collective filmmaking. A melange of fictional and documentary elements shot across the US, France, Cuba, and Vietnam, it was a source of some controversy in its time, and remains a provocative and resonant essay on global conflict and life during wartime.

Check out the Light Industry website for more detail.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Demystifying Zoning Session this Tuesday

Sponsored by the same people who brought Demystifying Affordable Housing, this Tuesday the Marien Heim Houses will host a bi-lingual (English/Spanish) session on Demystifying Zoning (much more confusing, I think) on October 28th from 6 PM - 9 PM.

from the email:

In collaboration with the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Center for Urban Pedagogy will be leading a number of bilingual workshops (English and Spanish) on affordable housing and zoning. We'll be gathering feedback on the latest versions of our Envisioning Development teaching tools. The workshops are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP to or at (718) 237-2017, ext 148.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mary and the Ghouls

You see a lot of religious imagery mixed in with Hallowe'en fare. This display makes it look like Mary is the patron saint of frogs, skulls, and mummies. Somehow, they seem very happy together.

Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors

Want to get more involved in Sunset Park? Did the "Demystifying Affordable Housing" session yesterday get you fired up? Well, here's a way you can have a direct impact on action in Sunset: Come to the next Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors meeting.

The next general meeting will be on October 25th at 11 AM. Meetings are held at Trinity Lutheran Church on 4th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets. The group meets on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What You See in Sunset Park: Tri-Lingual Hallowe'en

Here's a detail from a much larger display (the entire front area is featured here.) on 59th Street. I like that it's in Chinese, Spanish, and English. A little something for most of Sunset's residents. That, and the variety of severed heads makes it a house worth visiting a few times. Lots to see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beware of Energy Scams by Phone and Door-to-Door

On Friday, Lost in Greenwood Heights posted a warning on about IDT doing aggressive recruitment in Greenwood Heights and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The seventh post in the thread about IDT gives some specific information about a call from a woman who claimed to be from National Grid but couldn't give any particular information.

Today, GowanusLounge adds (thanks to a neighborhood listserve) that a company called Accent Energy has been making calls about wind energy and promised "rebates." Check out the link for the full story. They also have links to the details from last week.

Basically, if you receive a call or visit from someone about energy savings (obviously a big deal right now!), be wary and suspicious and careful with your personal and account information.

8th Avenue Spider Skull

Again, thanks to nyshitty for providing this interesting specimen of Hallowe'en joy. It took the second viewing of this photo for me to realize the skeleton was unusual. Am I just seeing things? It has three sets of appendages, no? I like it.

Light Industry Probes the Trouble with Genres

Tuesday at Light Industry will feature a Su Friedrich curated group of films that span many different genres. As Su Friedrich, a fellow fervent lover of parentheses, explains:

I will screen a number of films that represent what I see as various genres within the avant-garde. (Yes, Hollywood thinks they can and should have everything that’s identifiable and nameable while we’re just constantly “experimenting," but I say we avant-garders and avant-gardettes have also laid claim to genres—albeit sometimes unwittingly, but that’s where our love of experimenting comes in!) The program isn’t totally set, but it will cover the following genres (and more): the single-shot film, the film that combines strict formalism with direct political content (n.b.: someone will win a prize at the screening for coining a name for that one), the documentary, the purely visual, the primarily text-based, the animated, the sexy, the found footage, the led-by-narration, and maybe even the silly. I recognize that “silly” might not (yet) be a genre.

Sounds like an eclectic evening of exposure to a variety of genres, and their could be a prize for creative naming. What is the prize? Considering that people will wait in line at fairs to get a free pen or beach ball (I did.), I'm sure it's worthy of some genre-naming effort.

Stop on by at 8 PM on Tuesday to enjoy; bring six bucks to the door to get in.

Light Industry
55 33rd Street, 3rd Floor

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Be Glad You Weren't on the Sidewalk When This Happened

The car that looked like it was responsible for this gate massacre was parked just up from the stoop. There were still pieces of the front turn signal and bumper next to the gate. I'd love to know how this happened. How does one take out the entire fence AND the stoop's fence with the front corner of your Virginia licensed car? Was there another car involved? I just don't know.

Hallowe'en Photo: Obama, Biden, and the Spider

Gotta love when people show their creativity and political preferences. There were several spiders on this block, but this one had the biggest web. It would be a lot more scary if the support were for another ticket, but I'll have to settle for the spider's scaring ability.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What You See in Sunset Park: Bear on a Fence

This was just one of the goodies at a stoop sale today on 59th between 6th and 7th Avenues. There was also an original Victrola (playing "Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby"), some collectible glasses from McDonald's, Christmas Ornaments, and several 78's of various genres. The man trying to sell the Victrola said that playing the songs made him think of Kennedy. The bear, he said, is also an original. His dog got to it, but it still looks fierce.

Hallowe'en Comes Slowly to Sunset Park

Thanks to Miss Heather of for these photos of autumn and Hallowe'en spirit in Sunset Park. There aren't a lot of decorations, but they are starting to appear. Hopefully this weekend will prove an active decorating time for Sunset residents.

Activity at Long Quiet Construction Site

At long last, there is digging happening on 43rd Street and 7th Avenue. I was shocked! There is definite digging going on, and people looked busy, busy busy. It's been a while. To me, it seems odd that they'd start with activity in the middle of October. But what do I know? It's just good that something's beginning. Closer to 8th Avenue, one of the homes is getting some construction attention as well. 43rd is a busy street these days.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sunset Park is Honored with "Fedders Friday" status

Miss Heather of newyorkshitty is at it again. She had a field day over here in Sunset. First, our Sunset Mickey received enhancement, then a laundromat ready for the holidays was highlighted, and now...our newest brick and balconied buildings are given the grand prize: Fedders Friday recognition.

It's no secret that there is a more than fair share amount of new construction in Sunset, and the ravaging of brownstones has been a topic of concern (and derision) over the last year or so. However, if you want a crash course in the "uglification"* of the area, check out this entry's photos and commentary. I particularly appreciate her keen eye when spotting drying panties in windows. (See photo to the upper-left.) She says there is more to come, and since most of the buildings seem to be in the upper streets, I don't doubt it. There's plenty more northward.

*adding the suffix -ication to adjectives is a blogger favorite. You can see this habit pop up all over web sites. I guess it's the bloggers' version of Californication.

Reminder: Stop By the Sunset Park Green Market

There are lovely autumnal items there now. Stop by to check out the goods. The Green Market is open every Saturday until Thanksgiving from 8 AM to 3 PM at 4th Avenue and 59th Street. They take cash, EBT, WIC, and farmer's market coupons. If you want to use your credit card, find the yellow-tee-shirted young woman at the table between the stands. She will swipe your card and give you tokens that can be used at any of the four farm stands.

Bi-Lingual (English/Spanish) Session on Affordable Housing this Tuesday

The Marien Heim Houses on 45th Street and 4th Avenue will be the location for a session on Demystifying Affordable Housing. It is scheduled for October 21 from 6 PM - 9 PM.

from the email:

In collaboration with the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Center for Urban Pedagogy will be leading a number of bilingual workshops (English and Spanish) on affordable housing and zoning. We'll be gathering feedback on the latest versions of our Envisioning Development teaching tools. The workshops are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP to or at 718-237-2017 extension 148.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bay Ridge Fears Sunset's Prostitutes Will Visit

The Bay Ridge Rover highlights a pair of articles in this past week's Home Reporter and Sunset News (page 3) about the crackdown on prostitution on 3rd Avenue in the 50's. While he is much more amused by the uncomfortable juxtaposition of the main headline and the large color photo of a woman and a dog (no connection to the prostitution article), I was riveted by how the 72nd was attempting to ride the area of johns and hookers. From the article by Paula Katinas, here's a description of one high tech method:

Pintos [the relatively new 72nd Precinct Captain] arranged for the Police Department to place a camera onto a truck and park the truck on the street. The camera, called a “Sky Watch,” is attached to a pole that can extend from the truck some 25 feet into the air. From that perch, the camera can capture images on the ground for several blocks around, according to police. “Sky Watch” will be parked on the street for several days, Pintos says.

Will the photos of the johns be publicized? Will we be scandalized to find out who frequents 3rd Avenue's prostitutes?

A more disturbing issue - even more disturbing than the used condoms left about for residents to find and enjoy - was a mother's assertion that young girls and other female residents are solicited by johns in the morning while they are on their way to school or work. Those types of incidents have occurred on 3rd Avenue, mainly in the 50's. Especially considering the bus stops along 3rd Avenue and the playgrounds and schools nearby, that's just disgusting. Always have your camera ready, I say. These guys think they can say and do what they want from the safety of their cars, but cars have license plates. Well, they should, anyway.

According to Captain Pintos' response to a question at the last Community Council meeting, he will act on information provided about the johns - including license plate information.

The article directly underneath the "Prostitution Crackdown" article is also interesting. Apparently, CB 10 is concerned that if hookers leave Sunset, they'll travel right down 3rd Avenue to Bay Ridge. A legitimate concern, and perhaps it's something that the precincts and community boards can deal with together. Perhaps is just the tenor of the article, or maybe it's my knee-jerk defensiveness, but it almost sounded like the CB 10 Chair was disappointed that the issue was receiving attention in Sunset Park.

You can probably still pick up a copy of this issue around the neighborhood. I can't figure out how to post the PDF, but the link is on the above link to The Bay Ridge Rover's post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Visitor from Greenpoint Appreciates Sunset Siding

Miss Heather's weekend trek out to Sunset yielded a cache of treasures. Today's offering includes vintage Fedders A/C, aluminum siding, and other goodies. My favorite photo in her post is of the vintage Fedders; the photo is featured above. Great stuff.

Rainbow Cafe is Missing Its For Sale Signs

It's still actively listed on LoopNet, but the For Sale signs are gone from the windows of the Rainbow Cafe on 39th and 5th Avenue. Also, the listing on LoopNet has dropped $250k to a mere $3 million. The building is described as vacant, so I thought that the four 2 bedroom apartments were ready to be filled with newly-raised rents - a draw for any buyer. However, upon closer inspection, there are definitely people living in the apartments. It looks like all four are occupied. I guess the vacant part means the restaurant/bar and basement.

It would be great to see this place open up again with just a touch-up and not a complete destruction of its facade. If you look closely at the enlarged version of the photo, you can make out the original, tiny stained-glass windows that decorate each of the residential windows. I like the lighthouse motif, myself.

The listing says it's "ideal for a large retail chain, bank, fitness center, fast food" type of establishments. Nooooooo! Can't someone save the Rainbow from becoming a Connecticut Muffin or Pretty Girl or New York Sports Club?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunset Park Green Market will be a Tree Adoption Site!

Two of my favorite things come together on October 18th: Trees and Free Stuff. From 9 AM to 2 PM (I'd get there earlier), homeowners and community groups can come to the Sunset Park Green Market on October 18th to Adopt a Tree. We will be the only Brooklyn location. For the other borough locations, check out the CENYC link below. The Sunset Park Green Market is on 4th Avenue and 59th/60th Streets. While checking out the trees, be sure to pick up some squash, apples, celery, and so on from the stands.

From the Council on the Environment of NYC website:

MillionTreesNYC, through the generous sponsorship of American Express, has 1,250 FREE trees available for adoption by homeowners and community groups. Trees will be distributed by New York Restoration Project (NYRP). Note individuals and families are limited to adopting one tree per household; and all tree recipients are required to register their new tree at Interested community groups that can plant and care for 5-10 trees should contact before October 18th.

(a shout-out to those of us who rent:) For residents who do not have their own yard to plant a tree, information on volunteering, educational programming and contributing to MillionTreesNYC will also be available.

A variety of trees of different sizes, including flowering and medium and large canopy (shade) trees will be available. MillionTreesNYC horticultural staff will be present to provide advice on which species tree is best for your home.

Sounds good to me. In fact, I'll be happy to assist with the care and maintenance of a tree if it means I can let my kid run around your yard a couple of times a week. Seriously, let me know!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunset Park Has Been Boobified

Miss Heather of likes to add a little something to everyday objects around NYC.  Yesterday she visited Sunset Park and "boobified" a Sunset Style Mickey Mouse.  I think the fake breasts nicely reflect the ears on the Mickey, don't you?

Check it out here.

Condos On the Park

Sigh. When I noticed the One Sunset Park banner go up a few weeks ago, a piece of my heart sank. Ironically, it was because the whole business (the scaffolding that went up and down pretty quickly, the construction crews and the bin o' demo trash handling that actually looked professional) seems to be a solid, responsible, up-and-up project. That is, in comparison to the many condo projects going down (up?) on 7th and 8th Avenues. I just get sad when the amount of rentals available goes down...especially since sales don't seem to be jumping around here. Maybe in a few months, these units will be available to rent?!

I avoided posting about it because I didn't want to give the place any advertising; I didn't (and truthfully, still don't) know how the new owners were treating their current renters - I believe this is a rent stabilized building. There are some horror shows going on in Sunset regarding the pushing and shoving out of long-time residents, after all. From what I've heard, and that's unofficial since it's from the realtors and a resident in the building, things are pretty calm. The resident I spoke to said that there hasn't been any harassment, but there have been inconveniences. No elevator for six months* (that may be an annoyed resident's wide estimation), construction noise, and "deals" made with residents if they buy into the condos were a couple of things she mentioned. Pretty standard, and certainly not like some of the tactics taken by more notorious members of our landlord community.

*The agent wrote to say that it was actually six weeks while the elevator was fully upgraded.

However, last week Brownstoner highlighted the place, so the secret was out. I suppose the huge banner accomplished that as well, but just for those of us who are already in the neighborhood. That said, you KNOW my curious (okay, nosy) self had to check out the work being done. So, I went to the open house to see what there was to see.

I thought I'd get to see several units; after all, the website advertises five units available. Not being an experienced conversion to condos type, I didn't realize that available doesn't mean completed. The only unit available for "touring" is the sales office, Unit 2C. It's a two bedroom and one bathroom unit for $435k at 830 square feet. It's very modern-looking, and it's very chic. The cherry floors, the full and separate washer/dryer, and the window shelf in the bathroom were particularly appealing to me. That, and the promised additional laundry in the basement. Sometimes you don't want to wash bathrooms rugs in the same machine you wash your underwear. You know?

It's not a ton of space; the master bedroom is large and has three closets. One is a walk-in. The second bedroom is more office-sized and has zero closets. Huh? Can that still count as a bedroom in a condo? Okay, so it's good for a single or a couple. It's still double the cost of a lot of the same-sized coops around here.

The kitchen has lots of storage and a large refrigerator (both doors open to allow large platters for entertaining!). It even has counter space. However, it's basically in a hallway, and you have to walk through it to get to the bedrooms and the bathroom. Not a problem if you live alone.

There is a very cute "Zen" garden off the lobby. It looks really good with a quick glance. With closer inspection, however, it shows some issues. The fountain is slightly off-kilter. Really slightly, but the water only pours out of one side. There is not a lot of room for more than one set of people to hang out and be Zen. Any more than that, and it's less Zen and more awkward standing room only at a cocktail party. Still, it's pretty and it is outdoor space.

I don't know. With houses in Bay Ridge offering backyards and parking and basements going for 200k more than a two bedroom/one bath condo with a $450 monthly charge (including common charge and taxes), is it worth it to have a fitness room and Zen garden and someone to handle the trash and elevator maintenance? Again, I don't know. My guess is the singles and couples the majority of these units will attract may think so. However, with an eventual 54 units available, I think it's going to be a long, long time before the majority turn-over and then sell. That could be a tough living situation.

At least the workmanship is professional (in the sales unit, anyway!). Many of the quickie condos going up are embarrassingly misguided in how to avoid gaps between walls and molding, tiles and corners, stairs and supports. And in many areas farther out (Bensonhurst, for example) they are selling for a lot more than these units.

So neighbors, I suggest stopping by for a look-see. I think open houses are every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 AM - 7 PM. Check the website below. It won't take long, and it's kind of fun. You'll even be offered some Poland Spring water. Check out that window shelf in the bathroom, and tell me it's not pretty.

Website for One Sunset Park.
(It's actually ON Sunset Park in the web address. I like that better. It's more accurate, anyway.)

Halstead's Listings.

Bruce Conner Tribute at Light Industry

This Tuesday, Light Industry will host "Crossroads" - 25 artists' tributes to the multi-faceted, and recently passed on, Bruce Conner. The image with this post is of his 1974 "Sound of Two Hand Angel."

Part of the $6-at-the-door admission will go to benefit Anthology Film Archives' preservation of Bruce Conner's films.

Light Industry's Tuesday presentations begin at 8 PM at 55 33rd Street on the 3rd Floor.

From Light Industry's website:

The passing of Bruce Conner in July of this year allowed for reflection on his influence, which proves substantial and pervasive as we continue through the first years of the 21st century. In the expansion of American experimental filmmaking in the 1950s and 60s, Conner pushed the emerging practice of re-editing found footage to new heights of wit and profundity with films like A Movie (1958), Cosmic Ray (1962) and Report (1967), continuing his mastery of the idiom in subsequent years with works such as Crossroads (1976), which will undoubtedly stand as one of the definitive artistic statements of the nuclear age. Alongside Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol, Conner also served as one of the major innovators in conjoining art and pop music, making Breakaway (1966) with then-girl-group singer Toni Basil, and collaborating with Devo, David Byrne and Brian Eno. Today, Conner’s accomplishments reverberate throughout contemporary creative culture, from the popular practice of internet mash-ups to the predominance of found-footage re-use in today’s 16mm filmmaking, assemblage and collage in gallery spaces, and media remixing in the electronic arts.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Then and Now: 5th Avenue and 36th Street

I love this photo. It was taken on September 4th, 1916 and looks at the southeast corner of 36th Street and 5th Avenue.

According to Tony, my guru of historical photos of Sunset Park, the building used to be a railroad storage yard, trolley barn, and repair shop. You can see the elevated railroad along 5th Avenue (who knew?!) on the right side of the photograph. The railroad split less than a block farther down 5th Avenue. The left turn-off went towards Coney Island on the Culver line, and the right turn-off went along 3rd Avenue to 65th Street, the last stop.

Today it's the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot; it's the same idea with a different application. The Green-Wood Cemetery's wrought iron fence now cages in the opposite corner. Obviously, the elevated railroad is gone. The building is less than aesthetically pleasing, and I'm partial to the brick and windows of 1916. Now you have to go down to the East River to see anything reasonably similar. Enjoy.

Community Meetings This Week: Community Council and CB7

Tuesday, October 14th: Come to the 72nd Precinct Community Council meeting. This is the perfect time to alert members of the 72nd Precinct about Quality of Life issues on your block, concerns about nefarious activities in the parks and around the neighborhood, or to listen in and be thankful that your block isn't as bad as "that guy's." It's always informative. Meetings begin at 7:30 PM at the Mariem Heim Center, 4520 Fourth Avenue, at 45th Street in Sunset Park. Call (718) 965-6311 for information about the meeting.

Wednesday, October 15th: The next night is the Community Board 7 meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 PM, and it is held at the CB 7 Board office at 4201 Fourth Ave. The entrance is on 43rd Street. Again, this is a great time to find out what is going on in the neighborhood. To find out more information, call (718) 854-0003.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sunset Hallowe'en: A Grumpy Vampire

This pair is part of a larger display just south of 5th Avenue. Other ornaments include a severed hand and a severed leg hanging from the door's awning. What I want to know is: Why is this vampire so grumpy? He looks less scary than just annoyed.

Sunset Park Green Market Still in Full Swing

The weather is going to be gorgeous tomorrow, so make sure to stop by at the Sunset Park Green Market between 8 AM and 3 PM for fall produce, flowers, honey, and other delicious goodies. Maybe there will even be some Great Pumpkins!

The Green Market has a new liaison, Ana Chiu, who started in October. Make sure to say hello when you see her. (And thanks to Stacey for all the great updates!)

The market is on 4th Avenue at 59th Street. It will continue to serve our neighborhood until the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bay Ridge Gets Its Own Green Market

And it's huge...compared to Sunset's stands. Where can we find an open parking lot for our stands? It would be great not to have to step over people sitting on the sidewalk! Bay Ridge Rover has some great photos posted, and there is also information about who is involved. Enjoy.

Public Service Announcement: Watch Your Step

With the very pleasant weather threatening to stick around for a while, I'm sure there will be lots of people taking advantage of the outdoors for one last grasp at warm weather fun.

That said, watch where you step. Nasty business is afoot in Sunset Park. No worries - No photos.

Yesterday, around noontime, one of our local drunks spread his DNA via his mouth all over a tree well (and perhaps onto the side of a silver car parked next to it) on 44th Street. Those of us familiar with the threesome (sometimes foursome) who often hang out on the 44th and 6th entrance of Sunset Park know that none of the gentlemen looks well. With the number of viruses going around right now, avoid tree wells - and don't let your kids walk into them or pick things up from them. Vomit (especially when it's all liquid nourishment) disguises itself well in soil. And yeah, I know, dogs use tree wells for peeing, (Not particularly good for the trees either, by the way.) and the concept of getting dogs and humans to leave their bodily fluids in the street and not on the sidewalk is slow to be accepted. However, somehow, urine from a dog isn't quite as nasty as alcohol-laden vomit from a fellow human being.

Anyway, there's the info. Do with it what you like.

Another local parent found that someone was practicing safer sex near the play area of the 55th Street and 2nd Avenue park. While listening to the teenagers noisily smooch and tell each other what else they'd like to do in salty language, she found a condom (perchance not yet used?) on the playground equipment. Mmmmmm. Well, at least SHE found it, not her newly toddling daughter. I'd like to commend her for scooping it up with a paper plate and throwing it away. Above and beyond, but excellent neighborly behavior! One less renegade condom for the parks! Thanks for that.

Because it's probably not the only piece of latex (or perhaps lambskin?) hanging around and looking for trouble in our parks, watch out for those as well.

New Jacob Ouillette Installation at Open Source Gallery

Not technically in Sunset Park, but it's an easy bus ride (or R train ride) to Open Source Gallery.

Opening this Friday, Jacob Ouillette's "Painted Space" will begin its month-long stay at Open Source Gallery at 255 17th Street (and 5th Avenue). The opening will also feature a short play by Anne Phelan called "Brooklyn Lighthouse." The play will be presented twice during the 7 PM to 10 PM opening.

Both admission to the gallery and the play are free.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2nd Sunday Concert at St. Jacobi

Drop by 54th and 4th on October 12th for a concert featuring harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky.

St. Jacobi hosts free, public concerts every second Sunday at 4 PM.

Oops! Our Sara Gonzalez Gets a Warning for Misused Letterhead

According to NY1 News, Sara Gonzalez received a sanitation violation at her personal residence and sent a letter, on official letterhead, asking the Environmental Control Board to rescind the violation. Read the brief article and watch the clip here.

The real question, however, is: What was the sanitation violation for which she received a ticket? I'd think it had to be pretty major to warrant an "official" letter rather than just a check for messy garbage.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Coverage of the New Sunset Park High School

The Brooklyn Eagle has a comprehensive article about the community education forum held a few weeks ago. It's funny how now it seems that it's being called "long overdue" and "much needed" - if that's been true all along, why did it take 30 years of struggle to get a high school for this area? Between Telecommunication, Fort Hamilton, and John Jay - there's an awful lot of space to fill. That's nothing new. Anyway, the article is pretty informative. Here's the lead from The Brooklyn Eagle:

The excitement is fast growing for the up-and-coming Sunset Park High School with its opening date of September 2009 drawing closer. Graphic evidence of that enthusiasm was the crowd of hundreds of people who packed a town hall educational resource meeting called by Community Board Seven last week at M.S. 136, a few blocks north of Sunset Park’s first public high school under construction.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Light Industry Goes Soft

Tomorrow night's presentation is entitled Come Softly - "Be Continuous Often," and it's from Walking Picture Palace.

As always, the show starts at 8 PM and it's $6 at the door. The door is at 55 33rd Street, on the third floor.

The presentation includes films by Stom Sogo, Luther Price, Miranda Raimondi, Julie Murray, Scott Stark, Phil Solomon, Lewis Klahr, and others with several world premieres and surprises. Who can resist surprises?

Check out Light Industry's website for more details and lots of poetic quotations. Oh, and a very graphic end to a link for Speechless. Definitely not the sort of thing you want to open at work! Surprise!

Sunset Park Community Meetings this Week

These snuck up on me, and I haven't had the chance to call and double-check on the accuracy of these dates, but The Brooklyn Paper says it's so.

The 72nd Precinct Community Council meetings are usually the second Tuesday of each month, but this time it's the first Tuesday. As always, it is in the cafeteria of the Marien Heim Center on 45th Street and 4th Avenue. I suggest calling 718-965-6311 to check on the date. If I'm mobile, I'll be calling before heading out there.

Also, the Community Board 7 meeting* is listed as being this Wednesday. It's usually the third Wednesday of the month, but there you go. The 2010 budget and liquor license applications are on the agenda. The meeting is at 6:30 PM, and it's held at 4201 4th Avenue (entrance on 43rd Street). Again, I suggest calling 718-854-0003 prior to getting over there.

* I checked, and it's not the CB7 monthly meeting; it's a public hearing for two liquor licenses and the budget.

Volunteer to Read to Children

Want to build up your positive Karma? Here's a once a week opportunity. The Sunset Park Family Health Center provides care to a wide variety of families, but it also provides a lengthy wait for services. The Reach Out and Read program asks volunteers to read stories aloud to children while their families wait for appointments. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful, but not required.

Informational sessions are every Thursday at 3 PM in the main office at 6025 6th Avenue. You can also call Desiree at 718-630-7000 ext 4089. Read more here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just in Time! Budgeting Classes at the Sunset Park Rec Center

On October 4th (Saturday) from 11 AM - 1 PM, the Cornell University Cooperative Extension is offering a free two hour workshop called "Making Ends Meet." It's geared towards heads of families, and topics addressed will include resources in the community, money management techniques, and creating a household spending plan. Sounds useful, and you leave with a free tool kit to help you stick to the advice provided.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nutrition Workshops at the Sunset Park Rec Center

Starting today and continuing on Thursday evenings, the Cornell University Cooperative Extension is offering workshops in Nutrition. The entire series is eight sessions, and each session is one and a half hours long. You are not required to attend ALL sessions, but you can earn a certificate if you attend at least six. That's for all you resume builders and office wall decorators out there. The sessions address topics like portion size, budgeting and shopping, food preparation, food safety, and food safety. Sounds good, especially considering the long list of recalled foods lately. It looks like the classes will be bi-lingual (English/Spanish) since the signs are in both languages. The session is free to the public.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's a Step - Playground Gets Official Sign

Yep. It's a playground.

After a long, long time, the Sunset Park Playground is officially labeled with playground rules. I love rule number one which prohibits adults without children from entering. Yeah, right. Today I counted six men both on the equipment and on the benches - no children attached to them. (Don't worry, there are often women without children there as well. I just didn't see them today.) To assist with interpretation, there are handy pictures at the bottom to clarify rules regarding alcohol, bicycles, having children with you, trash, dogs, and smoking. We'll see if the signs help those of us who actually confront bicycle riding smokers who litter in the playground without children.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think one of the signs says that the playground closes at DUSK, and the other sign - at the opposite entrance - says that the playground closes at 9 PM. Dusk is so much better, considering the earth's axis. Do you think we can get the playground locked overnight occasionally now?

District 15 Pre-K Petition - and Potential Accompanying Controversy

Some Park Slope parents are concerned about the availability of UPK in the near future, and they have organized a petition to encourage the formation of an Early Childhood Center for Northern District 15 (of which Sunset Park is the southernmost neighborhood). Check out the text here, and see if you want to sign. The petition calls for the ECC to be "along the F line," which clearly makes it not something readily accessible to Sunset Park. MySidewalkChalk has a post about the availability of spaces in various elementary schools in District 15, and she also has a link to the petition. A comment (the first, and so far only, one) to the post brings up possible reasons for the location request:

I admit that I'm not well-schooled (pun intended) on the specific data, but I do know that the poorer end of Sunset Park - the southern end has always been ripped off by the park slope end. This seems to be racial in nature. The northern end tended to be white (third & fourth generation Italian, Polish & Irish), while the southern end saw more ethnic change. Before I would consider signing this petition, I would want to give serious consideration as to where the pre-k population is growing. The southern end is experiencing the highest birthrate in the city - in part due to Asians "beating" the one child per family China rule by being here in the U.S. Walk any side street - 40's, 50's and see the number of pre-K and about to be pre-K kids. The new residential construction in the south end and the number of undocumented residents in basement apartments and 7 families to a 3 family building is huge. South S.P. will be busing pre-k and k kids out of the neighborhood in big numbers.

I'm a fan of more schools, early childhood centers, and UPK no matter where they are. However, the commenter has a point about where population surges seem to be. Despite the explosion of 4th Avenue Condos in Park Slope, it would seem that Sunset Park has a huge fertility advantage where population growth is concerned. Of course, what things look like to the human eye are often mitigated by raw data. I'll see what I can find - although most data is years old by the time it's available.

Sunset Park has a 120 seat Early Childhood school with a solid reputation already. It also has a very long waiting list, which demonstrates need for additional programs. Check out what has to say about The Magnet School For Early Childhood. In addition, a new Pre-K school is set to open in 2010 on 4th Avenue and 64th. It is supposed to be able to handle an additional 18 or so Pre-K through 2nd grade classes. That will probably mean another 80 or so seats for Pre-K. It's not entirely clear which district it will serve, although its location on the northern side of the elevated highway seems to indicate District 15. Enough to supply Pre-K for Sunset Park? Probably not, but it's a start.

Thanks again to Joyce at MySidewalkChalk for her ability to disseminate information!

Happy Start to Hallowe'en Month

I love Hallowe'en. I especially love checking out the ways people decorate for it. This house on 58th Street was decked out by the middle of September - people after my own heart. If you have any excellent Hallowe'en decoration sightings, let me know! I want to show off as many houses as possible.