Saturday, May 30, 2009

Artsy Mini-Golf in Industry City...Today!

UPDATE: Here's what NY1 had to say.

Does this count as a hipster event? If so, I think I might have hipster leanings despite pushing 40.

Today from NOON to midnight there is an indoor mini-golf event in Industry City. It's free (love it), there might be local food (the lovely woman who emailed me didn't sound 100%, but they were trying), and it's for the entire family. So all the hipsters who want to go aren't allowed to complain about the kids. Of course, there will also be beer, so I guess only the kids can complain about the poor playing others are doing.

It's at 55 33rd Street on the 2nd Floor.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Culver Garden Meeting Tomorrow

You can fill your day with community meetings on Saturday, if you wish.

From the organizers of the Culver Community Garden project:

If you would like some chitchat and a chance to look over the proposal and materials one last time,
swing by the Long Sing Bakery at 10:30 this Saturday (on 9th Ave between 39th and 40th).

If you want to join the Yahoo group go to :
and follow the instructions!

Black and Blue in Sunset Park

Once again, we thank Vanessa from veesvision for uploading this to the BViB photo pool. I like the contrasts of color, as well as the subjects. Chainlink as a background to flowers and butterflies always work.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors next meeting

Did the re-zoning debate fire you up about the neighborhood? Do you want to get involved, but you aren't sure what to do or how to do it? Consider checking in with SPAN. Probably because of lots of interest in the recent re-zoning furor, they will be holding an orientation meeting at their next get-together. See below.

The next meeting is Saturday, May 30th at 3 PM. The meeting is at Trinity Lutheran Church on 4th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.

There will be a special introduction to SPAN for new people who want to work with us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jamming with the Drums: Indian and Egyptian Drumming, too

For the final workshop in the May series, get ready for some amazing drumming. In addition to the cultures represented in the previous evenings, Egyptian and Indian drumming will add their beats. Even if you've missed the other workshops, make sure to check out this one. Be at the Sunset Park Recreation Center from 6:15 to 7:30 PM for a great time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Open Studios at New York Art Residency and Studios

Have a hankering for art? Want to check out studios and meet artists? Does this weekend have some free time?

Check out the NARS self-guided Open Studio Tour on
Saturday, May 30 or Sunday, May 31 from 11 AM - 6 PM. (I'd get there no earlier than Noon to ensure sleepier artists have arrived.) The studios are located at 253 36th Street and 88 35th Street, and there will be an opening reception on Saturday from 6 PM to 9 PM.

For more info
or contact
Kenya Robinson, Programs Director -

See below for details:

BROOKLYN, NY─ On May 30-31, more than 40 artists in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, will open their studios to the public for the 2nd Annual NARS Foundation Open Studio event, offering visitors a unique opportunity to meet and view work by Brooklyn-based visual artists in a new and rapidly evolving artistic community. “An open studio is a very different experience than seeing work in a gallery,” says NARS Founding Director Junho Lee. “You can talk to the artists and learn about their work in the context of their working process. Every room has its own personality.”

The studios are located at 253 36th Street and 88 35th Street in a cluster of 19th century industrial buildings near the East River waterfront. Studios will be open for self-guided tours from 11 AM to 6 PM on both Saturday and Sunday. A reception will be held on Saturday night from 6-9 PM featuring jazz and electronica spun by DJs Michael Paul Britto and Jay Reid.

Maps for the artists’ studios will be available at building entrances during the weekend of the event. Maps, directions, and additional information are also available online at NARS Foundation studio buildings are conveniently located one block from an express subway stop.

To create synergy, the NARS Foundation Open Studio weekend was scheduled to take place simultaneously with an open studio event organized by the nearby Industry City Art Project.
Founded in 2006, NARS Foundation Inc. is dedicated to providing residencies and studio space to artists as a means of inspiring cultural exchange, professional development, and community engagement.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

photo courtesy of

Whether you have a Ba Xuyen picnic in the park, visit Green-Wood Cemetery for the concert, stay at home and watch some television marathon of some sort, or hang out and enjoy a parade, take some time to appreciate the sacrifices others have made for you. I know I have a lot to thank people for.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Patience

Vanessa from veesvision uploaded this to the BViB photo pool. Solid looking buddy. Apparently, this dog was waiting for its human friend to come out of a store. I wonder if he wants a dog run in the park.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Green-Wood Cemetery's Annual Memorial Day Concert

from lostingreenwoodheights on Brooklynian:

The Green-Wood Historic Fund presents:

Memorial Day
Monday, May 25, 2009

11th Annual Free Outdoor Concert
2:30PM @ Green-Wood
Featuring the ISO Symphonic Band

Our 11th annual Memorial Day concert will showcase the music of the ISO Symphonic Band, directed by Brian Worsdale, conductor, featuring select compositions by Green-Wood Cemetery’s permanent residents Leonard Bernstein, Fred Ebb, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and other famous composers.

Bring a folding chair, a blanket and a picnic lunch. Cookout food, snacks and drinks, as well as books and souvenirs relating to the history of the Cemetery, will be for sale--and you can join the Green-Wood Historic Fund.

Admission is free and concert will be held rain or shine.

For the past 14 1/2 years InterSchool Orchestra’s ensemble has provided, FREE OF TUITION, an opportunity for musicians to explore concert band repertoire through rehearsals and performances throughout New York City.

Free parking is available, first come, first served.

A National Historic Landmark–Est. 1838–Our main entrance is located at 500 25th Street (on 5th Avenue) in Brooklyn. Via subway, take the R to the 25th Street station. For more info, call 718.768.7300 or visit us on-line at

Friday, May 22, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Culture

happy easter rocking horse, originally uploaded by htcoogan.

It's almost too much to take. Between the totem, the horse, the bunnies, and the fashion, my brain reels. Thanks to htcoogan for uploading this to the Best View in Brooklyn photo pool on

Look Both Ways on a One-Way Street

The irony, of course, is that I do look both ways on one-way streets. It's just habit, and good sense, really. And don't worry, I feel an immense amount of guilt about what happened yesterday. No one needs to lecture me about being more careful. Go ahead, if you must, I'm a traumatized mother right now.

Here's the short version:

Yesterday afternoon, I and my two cherubic imps were crossing 44th Street at 6th Avenue to enter Sunset Park at its main entrance. As we must because of the steep incline, I poked my head around the parked cars to look for on-coming traffic. Thanks to a double parked car loading items and another car backing up into a parking space down the street, it looked even more safe than usual. Phew. Then I looked up the street and saw an Elegante car service car backing up at 6th Avenue.

They often idle by the fire hydrant or the entrance of the park, so I figured this guy was backing up to the hydrant. I waited. He stopped, took it out of reverse, and sat there. Okay, so he's staying at the entrance. I looked back down 44th - all clear - and I started across the street.

When we were almost across the street, the Elegante car started backing up again. Into my stroller-bound kid. The handle of the stroller was pushed into my other kid (who was strapped to me), and the bumper of the car and the wheel were pushing my stroller and my son's legs along.

Now, I promised my husband a while ago that I would watch my language in front of my children. Sorry, honey. As I was tried to pull the stroller out from under the bumper, I started screaming about the car hitting my kid. (That was probably the most terrifying second and a half of my life. You can imagine what flashed through my head.) Then the palabrotas began.

With a crying baby strapped to me and a stunned toddler sitting in the stroller, I yelled in a colorful manner various versions of: car service cars are always backing up down the street, what does he think he's doing backing up on a one-way street, I was crossing at the crosswalk, my kids had better not be hurt, car service guys don't care about the residents they serve, blah blah blah.

I don't think the car service man was malicious. I don't even think he was particularly negligent. He explained he has children as well. He was so sorry. Are they alright. (In his nervousness he was smiling and trying to stop the baby's crying. Don't do that.) He was doing what the car culture of this block does. Yeah, I'm pissed off at him. Yeah, I think he was being careless. However, as angry as I am (maybe was) at this guy, I realized that mini-versions of this happen all the time. It's not a unique situation, and it's not something we cannot change.

That brought me back to the traffic calming issues we've been dealing with forever. A stop sign would not have changed this particular situation, but perhaps a painted crosswalk would have been a visual reminder to the driver that people cross into the park here. Look again.

So this morning, while my baby girl napped, I wrote to my friend Marty Markowitz to remind him about the traffic calming we have desired for so long. Perhaps a brush with injury will be enough to get something for our street here. Let's hope that it's not something more serious that draws attention to the need for traffic calming around the park.

So anyway, is anyone up for painting a few crosswalks ourselves?

Enjoy the weather, enjoy the park. Cross with extreme caution.

And, for good measure, here's the link for the traffic calming petition.

What You See in Sunset Park: Birthday Gift

Happy Birthday!, originally uploaded by veesvision.

Talk about not taking up space in your apartment. Maybe veesvision can get a "full frontal" of the graffiti some time. (See her description of the photo for where it is.)

Brokelyn Does Sunset Park

Before you go and check out all the other cool parts of this blog, read up on the Sunset Park road map on Brokelyn. I found out about this courtesy of Brooklynometry (is there already a Brooklyn dictionary with all the words we've made from our borough's name?).

What other suggestions for affordable or cheap services and good can we offer up?

Here's one addition that just came up in The Village Voice: Thanh Da

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Last Night's Re-Zoning CB 7 Meeting

Phew! Here's the end result of all the public hearings and demonstrations regarding the CB 7 vote on the proposed re-zoning of Sunset Park. If you were there and have a different take on the proceedings, please chime in. It seems that the two changes/requests (see below) would have been a part of the vote anyway, at least based on how CB 7 has voted in the past. What do you think?

Thanks to a reader for sending in this information:

The board approved the re-zoning plan proposed by the NYC Dept. of City Planning with the addition of the following recommendations:

1- Re-zone the length of Fourth Avenue under study to R6A, not R7A as proposed, to protect the panoramic view from the park.

2- Include anti-displacement clause requiring an owner who is filing to alter or demolish an occupied building to obtain a Certificate of No-Harassment in order to get Department of Buildings approval.

It was quite a lively evening. Some people demonstrated outside with signs calling for CB7 to vote against the plan, as proposed. About 15 minutes into the regular monthly meeting, the demonstrators came in, filling the space to standing-room only capacity. They were not shy about expressing their views throughout the reading of the resolution and the subsequent voting.

Related stories: Brownstoner

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Quiet AM Walkers

More Sunset Park, originally uploaded by vige.

David Galarza Responds to Re-Zoning Comments

See the comments section for David Galarza's response to other Sunset Park residents' comments about Re-Zoning and Galarza's participation. Sorry about the extra step, but I don't have the time or patience to re-type it into the body of this post. Blame my feverish babe.

Tonight is the CB 7 meeting about re-zoning and other neighborhood issues (but somehow I think the RZ will be prevalent). Be at 43rd and 4th at 6:30 PM (perhaps earlier) to speak, hopefully listen, and perhaps come to a clear decision.

Remember, the first two comments are from DAVID GALARZA, not me. (He recently ended his campaign for City Council.) I've kept my own opinion about re-zoning out of it. However, I can say that almost all the impassioned commenters on both sides (I think I may be on the third side) have, in addition to salient points, used pseudo-reasoning speckled with ugliness. Several comments were just deleted due to excessively nasty diction.

Afro-Dominican and Haitian Dance at the Rec Center

Tomorrow night is the third installment of a month-long series of dance workshops from around the world at the Sunset Park Recreation Center. These are free and open to the public. Each workshop begins at 6:15 PM. This installment is Afro-Dominican and Haitian Dance.Click on the posters or the Friends of Sunset Park website for more information.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Despite a Confused Identity, Three and a Half Ginger Gets Kudos

Cuban, Dominican, Ecuadorian, Peruvian? Who cares as long as the food is delicious, right? Well, some might care - based on what they hope is on the menu. However, the food Three and a Half Ginger is serving (whatever the country that inspired it) is really yummy according to at least one customer.

Check out what some Chowhounds had to say after their meal.

Three and a Half Ginger
5th Avenue between 41st and 42nd
718 853 0400

Green-Wood Awakening Photos

Green-Wood Awakening, originally uploaded by gaelenh.

Thanks to gaelenh for uploading this photo from the weekend's Green-Wood Cemetery Awakening to the Best View in Brooklyn photo pool. Gaelenh's photostream has several more photos of the event, so check it out.

A few trees closer to a million

Sunset Park has had several new transplants arrive. 5th Avenue is looking a little greener, and the streets surrounding the park have also gotten some new neighbors. I was glad to see that the coop on 44th and 6th decided to request some street trees. They got four. Hopefully they will thrive and help beautify and help clean the air in the area.

Arab American Service Day in Sunset Park

This year, the Sunset Park Recreation Center hosted Arab American Service Day. I had no idea it was going on, but on my way to a park-side coop's stoop sale (that never materialized, what a tease!), a neighbor informed me that there were lots of activities up in the park.

There was a free market with tons of clothes and items; I saw many people leaving with trash bags full of clothing.

There were dancing demonstrations.

And, most importantly for my kid, there was a very pleasant woman creating animals out of balloons. Sadly, she seemed to think that a flower balloon he wanted was inappropriate for my son, so he settled for a dog balloon. Maybe she had run out of the other ones. Oh! There was also a prize wheel that had mini first aid kits and bags as prizes, among other things.

You never know what you'll find when you venture into Sunset Park.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Mother and Children

Mother and Children, originally uploaded by veesvision.

Just because I'm feeling sentimental today. Thanks veesvision for capturing this.

CB 7 Meeting on Wednesday

The next CB 7 meeting will be on Wednesday, May 20th at 6:30 PM.

This should be an exciting one due to the vote regarding re-zoning in Sunset Park. Demonstrators (mainly against the re-zoning) have promised to be outside. I've heard mixed responses from various people who attended the public meetings about the re-zoning. SPAN and other organizations are saying that most Sunset Park residents are AGAINST the re-zoning, while individuals who attended have said that it was most evenly split, although those against were more vocal and organized. What do you think about the proposed re-zoning?

This week's meeting will be held at 4201 4th Avenue, but you enter the building on 43rd Street. If you've never been, it can be very informative regarding what's going on around Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace. If you're coming from work, or if you just can't make it until after 7 PM, no worries. You can sneak in a little late and no one will blink an eye.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It Is My Park Day - Today

Thanks to Friends of Sunset Park for this reminder:

Come dig & play in mud!

"IT'S MY PARK" in Sunset Park

Meet at the Native Plants Children's Garden

6th Avenue + 44th Street entrance

☀ between the large swings & the comfort station ☀

Children of all ages are guaranteed a good time,

provided they come ready to get dirty, pretty dirty.

We'll rake, sweep, weed, dig, plant,

make new friends, catch-up with old ones.

Stay a bit, stay a while, stay all day-

10 AM - 3 PM

A Couple of Links about Sunset Park for (possibly) Rainy Weekend Reading

The Brooklyn Eagle went to Wednesday's Re-Zoning Public Hearing.

Here's a little something about Sunset Park's Chinese immigrants helping Brooklyn keep its Borough of Churches name.

And here's the most obvious complaint I've heard in a while. It has to do with illegal postering on 8th Avenue. How is this not just a constant blip on the radar?

And here's one local man's ire about the illegal postering.

Make sure to also read the third comment to this article about street vendors staying on (or off of) 5th Avenue.

Friday, May 15, 2009

4th Annual 23rd Street Mega Stoop Sale is Tomorrow

Go check out other people's stuff to see if it could become yours. You can always stop by some Greenwood Heights locales like Ellis, Eurotrip, Suki Sushi, Laurentino's Bakery, and others to help fortify your shopping experience.


It’s that time of year again.
Spring has sprung. Recession has hit. You need stuff...the folks on 23rd St. have what you need and want (trust me)! (and even stuff from folks from 21St, 22nd and 20th Sts too!)

Saturday, May 16 (rain date Sun. May 17)
11:00 a.m.-to-5:00 p.m. / btwn 6th & 7th Aves

Houses will have lots of stuff for sale, at, of course, very reasonable prices! (or you can just haggle with everyone)

and a wee bit of “junk” too!

What You See in Sunset Park: Skull and Stripes

Skull and Stripes, originally uploaded by bestviewinbrooklyn.

Taken off 5th Avenue in the 40's. It's relatively new, but I'm not sure if it's random or commissioned. Maybe this guy would know.

New York Times Chimes in on Re-Zoning

It's a lukewarm but balanced article about some of the concerns and plans regarding the re-zoning proposal. The second public hearing is tomorrow, 1 PM at OLPH's auditorium (6th Avenue between 59th and 60th streets).

Reminder: Scandinavian Festivals this Weekend

The Viking Festival will be in Owl's Head Park on Saturday, May 16 from Noon to 5 PM. The weekend festivities continue on Sunday along 5th Avenue with The Norwegian Day Parade; its 2009 theme is “Norse Mythology," and it begins at 90th Street at 1 PM. If you want to be there to see the end, be at Leif Ericson Park in the 60's (just past the elevated highway).

The Brooklyn Eagle has an article about the new Scandinavian Museum in Bay Ridge.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Even Sidewalks are NOT Safe - Longing for More Sunday Drivers

I mean, come on. How many of these insane stories do we need to hear before people take responsibility for driving a two ton machine around town? (And yes, I drive a two ton vehicle around town on occasion.) Even if you have the "right of way," even if you MUST make the turn with the yellow light, even if you bumped the car behind you while parking and you want to get away real fast - you are wielding an instrument that can cause serious and deadly damage.

Yesterday, a Brooklyn eight-year-old lost his leg while sitting on a stoop with his mom; a person attempting to parallel park forgot which pedal was the brake and which was the gas. This morning, another accident occurred when an apparent heart attack rendered the driver incapable of controlling his vehicle. It also hopped the curb and slammed into a building.

Add these very recent Brooklyn stories to tales of police chases ending in pile-ups, but not before killing a pedestrian, children on a library outing being killed, inebriated men driving into women who ignored their advances. Then consider older tales of drunk and exhausted off-duty cops killing families and trucks making turns with no disregard for the WALK sign, and we're living in the midst of a cycle of violence that is routinely down-played (it was an accident, he was drunk, the brakes failed) and excused. Cars don't kill people - unless they are wielded by people who don't respect the power of thousands of pounds of metal and rubber.

That's not to say that there aren't accidents. We can't help when heart attacks happen. Pedestrians are also insane at times. Brakes fail (although I seriously doubt the brakes fail as much as people claim.). Nevertheless, sitting on a stoop or waiting on a sidewalk ought to be safer than crossing against traffic. Take responsibility for driving a car before something happens, so you don't have to regret what might happen later.

Stay safe out there.

Last Night's Zoning Speak-Out

Did anyone attend? Was it a madhouse, or did anything fruitful occur? Do tell.

It's My Park Day is Saturday

from the Friends of Sunset Park site:

This Saturday, from 10am-3pm, all are welcome
to dig in for a day of fun sprucing up and planting.
Meet the neighbors + enjoy a performance.

Join us at the Native Plants Children's Garden located
across from the Chess Tables by the 6th Avenue + 44th Street entrance.

I think that's the garden just outside of the women's bathroom entrance, but I'm not sure. Anyone know for certain? If you have gardening equipment, bring it along. If not, I'm sure someone will share.

What You See in Sunset Park: Skateboarder Goosing a Bus

If you live on a hilly block, chances are you've heard our local skateboarders risking life and limb for the thrill of the wind in their hair. When there are several of them flitting by, it sounds like a freight train passing.

Here's what this skateboarder does to save his energy on the level streets. Better watch it, the MTA might start charging half-fare for this.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Help Stop Three Robbers in Our Area

Friends of Sunset Park reps were at the 72nd Precinct meeting last night and sent along a request for help from Captain Pintos (Gothamist has a blurb and links to three news agencies (including video!).):

At tonight's monthly 72nd Precinct Community Council meeting, Captain Pintos asked for community help in identifying three robbers who have hit six bodegas/delis in the past few weeks. Two people (not the robbers) have been injured; one was shot in the shoulder. One of the robberies was on 3rd Avenue and 61st Street. Another was on Greenwood Avenue.

The individuals are described as male, African-American, very thin. The perpetrators wear bandannas over their noses/mouths and enter the store while the third stays in the Ford Expedition ready to help them escape. The getaway vehicle is a Black Ford Expedition with a dull paint job.

The Captain requested that if you see three men in a car matching this description, jot down the license plate and call 1-800-577-tips. Of course, if you think you see a crime in progress, call 911.

Korean Mask Dancing at the Rec Center

Tomorrow night continues the month-long series of dance workshops from around the world at the Sunset Park Recreation Center. These are free and open to the public. Each workshop begins at 6:15 PM. The second installment is Korean Mask Dancing and Drumming. See the poster below or the Friends of Sunset Park website for more information.

I love you

Miss Heather at New York Shitty always finds the greatest signs and whatnot around her neighborhood. This is heartfelt, at least. Perhaps a 5th Avenue Mother's Day leftover? Perhaps an attempt at brightening up our days? Perhaps a scavenger hunt stop on the way to a proposal? Perhaps a drunken declaration? Honk if you find this sign.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lost Dog Found

Reminder: Free Play Reading on Thursday and Friday

Fulana: A play reading by Felipe Ossa

No need to RSVP, just come early for guaranteed seats.
When: 8 PM, Thursday May 14 and Friday May 15

Where: 220 36th Street, #506

How: D, M, N, R to 36th St.

Not suitable for children (playwright's words, not mine!).

Dee and Dee is Moving on Out

For how much can I blame allergy symptoms? A neighbor mentioned that Dee and Dee was closing up shot at the 5th Avenue and 50th location due to a (possibly) lost lease. I thought that I hadn't noticed this the last time I was on 5th, but when I strolled by today, I realized that I had noticed it, but it hadn't registered in my pollen soaked head. Oh well.

At least some of the more official looking signs are new since I last walked by. Selling to the Bare Walls certainly sounds ominous. Lucky for bargain hunters, you can just continue on the B63 going north or south and you'll find a Dee and Dee.

My neighbor also wondered what the heck is going to go into this huge space. A whole lot of nothing for a while if the corner of 5th and 45th has anything to say about it. That was empty for a long, long time. Am I the only one who did not know you could get Junior Mints at Dee and Dee? Pop a box into the freezer and you're set for summer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Suggestion: Tacos El Bronco

Tacos El Bronco, originally uploaded by iandavid.

Thanks to iandavid for uploading this reminder of curbside tacos.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Feathers and Masks

Happy to Pose, originally uploaded by veesvision.

Check out the Best View in Brooklyn photo pool for more excellent photos of this (and last) weekend's fun.

Enjoy the First Fully Sunny Day in a Long Time

I've always been a fan of purchasing from the piraguas or ice cream vendors with the carts on 5th and in the park. The idling and rude behavior of our local ice cream truck gentlemen irks me enough to refuse to get a soft-serve (which isn't very good for you anyway). If you don't want something from a cart, get over to Fabio's on 4th Avenue.

Viking Fest in Bay Ridge

May 16th and 17th will bring out the Scandinavians (and those who love them) to celebrate . Check out all the details here. The basics are that Saturday will host a festival in Owl's Head Park from Noon to 5 PM. Viking ships, Scandinavian food, and Turkish drummers. Hmmmm.

And Sunday will be parade day; the theme is "Salute to Norse Mythology" - very cool. Anyone have a spare Valkyrie costume?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Praying for Garbage Pick-up

Praying for Garbage Pick-up, originally uploaded by veesvision.

Veesvision poster several excellent photographs of different alters around Sunset Park. Click on the photo to see her photostream.

If you have photos from around Sunset Park to add to the Best View in Brooklyn photo pool, join us!

Food Pantries Still Have Lots of Clients

Since it seems that it's truly spring (or early summer) now, perhaps some of you are cleaning out the corners of your homes and cupboards. Around the winter holidays, food pantries get a lot of attention, but the needs remain very similar all year round. If you do happen to find an extra jar of peanut butter, some cans of beans, cereal, pasta, and so on...consider dropping it off at one of the food pantries near you. I know, it may feel silly to walk in with two cans of black beans and a box of rice, but if a bunch of people do that - not so silly. Get a box from the people who just moved in up the block and fill it up with your friends' stuff. ;)

The line for a Thursday afternoon food pantry on 4th Avenue between 46th and 47th Street is always around the corner even before the 4:30 PM start time. See previous posts about food pantries in our area here, and check out below for suggestions of where to drop off food stuffs. (CFL will take household items, but I don't believe they still take clothes.)

Food Bank NYC has a search engine you can use to find food services near you.

The Center for Family Life accepts food for its food pantry located at 5505 4th Avenue. (The pantry is open from 10 AM to 3 PM, so before or after that is best.

The Salvation Army, at 520 50th Street also provides food to those in need.

Another local food pantry is at Trinity Lutheran Church. The office is at 411 46th Street (corner of 4th Avenue). Trinity accepts donations of non-perishable foods Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Iglesia Luz del Mundo at 4616 4th Avenue accepts food, but I'm not sure of hours. I haven't been able to contact anyone. Perhaps you'll have better luck: Hilda Lopez at 347-583-4292.

David Galarza's Camp Invites You to Listen, Drink, and Fundraise

One of the hosts for an upcoming "Hear the Issues and Drink a Beer" fundraiser for David Galarza would like you to show up to Quarter Bar at 5th Avenue and 20th Street on May 19th. The event starts at 6:30 PM and is scheduled to last until 9 PM. She sent along a Facebook link, and you can reply there. But for those without a Facebook account, you can go to David Galarza's website to check out details about his views. It hasn't been updated to provide event details past May 8th, but perhaps it will have more information soon.

Here's the text from the announcement:

Please join us for a casual gathering in support of
David Galarza, City Council Candidate District 38

Meet and hear David's views on the critical issues affecting the people of Brooklyn's 38th.

Suggested donation levels are: $20 $25 $50, $100 and $150, but every contribution, regardless of amount, is a welcome vote of support for David's candidacy.

Light Snacks Provided
2 for 1 Drafts
a little politics and we'll even throw
in some laughs!

Friday, May 8, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Clouds Making Way for Sunshine

Brooklyn Roof, originally uploaded by Vicariously_Me.

This excellent image is courtesy of Vicariously_Me; check out other extremely cool photographs in the photostream. It's from V_M's rooftop, but we're not quite sure where that is. Somewhere in Sunset Park.

Facilities Hearing About Brooklyn Prospect Charter School's Two Year Stay in Sunset Park High School

What's the issue with allowing the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School to hang out in the new Sunset Park High School building for a few years? Doesn't it make sense for a mostly empty building to be used in a closer version of its normal capacity instead of standing lonely? In as succinct an explanation as I'm able, here's what I think about the concerns I've heard floated around.

First, why would the building be mostly empty? The usual process of beginning a totally new school is to start with one (sometimes two) grades and build it up from there. It's the reverse process for phasing out a school. So the first year, the SPHS will have 9th Graders, the second year it will have 9th and 10th, and so on. That means that the new building on 4th Avenue will be at least half empty for the first two years. Seems wasteful in a time of overcrowding and energy consciousness.

Second, sounds like giving another school the space for a couple of years makes sense. What's the issue? In a perfect world of unbroken agreements and well-planned facilities and programs, there wouldn't be an issue. This is not a perfect world. It's probably not even the best of all possible worlds. And, in a community that had to fight for 30 years to get its own high school, suspicions are high when a brand new charter school gets plopped into the building that represents the hopes and hard work of the neighborhood. Sure, you (meaning the Department of Education and the City) say it's only for two years...but times are uncertain right now. What happens if 18 months go by and it doesn't look like there's another viable space? How would that affect the high school and its growth? Once the charter school is in the space, it will be a lot harder to remove it when the time comes. Other communities have these concerns as well.

Any other issues? Off the top of my head (and unsubstantiated by official information), there is also the issue of a facility being used by two entirely separate entities. The ages of the students differ, the philosophies governing the schools differ, and the enthusiasm for the location of the new Sunset Park High School is probably much different from the feelings the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School has for where it will spend (at least) two years.

Anyway, the hearing during which many of these concerns will be aired is coming up. Parents and concerned community members in District 15 will have a chance to speak up with their questions, worries, and support.

Notice of Facilities Hearing

Date: Tuesday May 12, 2009
Time: Speaker Registration: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Presentation & Comments: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey 4004 4th Avenue

Event : Public Hearing - Proposed facilities hearing regarding Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Details: The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) has proposed that beginning in September 2009 Brooklyn Prospect Charter School , a new charter school, be temporarily incubated in the Sunset Park High School building for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will start with grade 6 in September 2009 and add a grade each year to eventually seeks to serve grades 6-12 by 2015, only grades 6 & 7 are proposed to be located in the Sunset Park High School, grade 6 in September 2009 & grades 6 & 7 in September 2010. At the end of the 2010-11 school year Brooklyn Prospect would move out of the Sunset Park High School building.

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is authorized by the State University of New York (SUNY). SUNY & the NYCDOE will facilitate the hearing and solicit public comment.

About Brooklyn Prospect Charter School :
The mission of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is to provide a rigorous academic environment in which all students achieve excellence. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will ensure that its students gain the critical skills and knowledge to enter and excel in college and the competitive world beyond Speaker comment is welcomed, speakers must register. Written comments will also be collected on the day of the hearing and can be submitted via email to:

Pursuant to Education Law 2857(1), the authorizer of a charter school shall hold a public hearing to solicit comment from the community in connection with any proposal for the siting of a charter school in a public school building.

Office of Charter Schools +1 212 374 5419

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Best Hazy View in Brooklyn

Sunset Park, originally uploaded by Stephen Joseph E..

I like the effect in this photograph because it's what I see through allergy-affected eyeballs. We're getting a touch of sunshine today; go check out the view!

Re-Zoning Straight from the Source

Re-Zoning is change. And inasmuch as we clamor for some and revolt against other, it's almost always colored by emotion. For those who have questions about what is proposed, check out this NYC Department of Planning set of pages. And don't forget about the public comment period! Whether you're Pro-Con-Pondering Still, have a say.

Thanks to both SPAN and the Friends of Sunset Park for sending the links my way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lebanese and Palestinian Dance Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night begins a month-long series of dance workshops from around the world at the Sunset Park Recreation Center. These are free and open to the public. Each workshop begins at 6:15 PM. The first installment is Lebanese and Palestinian Debke. See the poster above or the Friends of Sunset Park website for more information.

What You See in Sunset Park: School Fair

Carnival, originally uploaded by kustomkitten.

This was a little over a week ago at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The neon and ironwork contrast nicely. Sponge Bob needs to be kept behind a gate, I say. Is anyone else as unnerved by him as I am?

Sunset Park is NOT a Place to Visit in 2009

Is it wrong of me to be happy that Sunset Park did not end up on another list? I get teased, occasionally - okay, often - for being a big, dorky, and a touch too earnest cheerleader for Sunset Park. However, it was actually a relief that Sunset didn't show up on the "Visit 9 in 2009" list.

Here is the list of where you should be going to "experience a wealth of international tastes, sights and sounds." Get going before the fares are raised!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Open House at El Pequeno Artista

If you haven't taken a look at El Pequeno Artista for classes, here's a chance to get a crash course. They are running a summer program, and a new Montessori Preschool in Spanish will be starting up in the fall. The open house for both programs is at 5:30 PM on May 14th. See below for RSVP information.

from the email:


El Pequeno Artista will have an open house for parents interested in our Summer Program, and/or the Montessori Preschool in Spanish starting this fall. Come and hear an overview of the programs, meet the director and head teachers, and ask questions, etc. You will also have a chance to register then, if you haven't yet.

Please RSVP to by May 8th.

Thursday, May 14 ~ 5:30 to 7pm

El Pequeno Artista
249 20th St. @ 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

A Few Shares Still Available in the Sunset CSA

I just found out today that you can juice greens. I've had a juicer sitting around for years, unused, while I struggle to use up huge quantities of kale and spinach and other fun leafy things. Now I know that I don't have to worry about wasting greens with a CSA share. I can juice 'em! You know the Mimomex squash blossoms and zucchini wouldn't go to waste, and their famous peppers are inspiring. But I've heard stories from other people who have been members of long-time CSAs, and those stories are scary. Opening the refrigerator and being stared down by bunches of kale and swiss chard is intimidating, but stuffing them into a juicer is satisfying. Bring 'em on, I say.

Thankfully, there are a few shares (full and half) still open in the Sunset Park CSA. Payment in full is due at the end of May (okay, June 1st), but of course it's encouraged before since the deposit date passed at the end of April. Check out the Sunset Park CSA website for downloadable FAQs and membership information. You can also see previous posts about it here.

Quick info:
The Mimomex produce is naturally grown, and it's pesticide free.
The pick-up is on Wednesday evenings at St. Michael's.
Fruit and egg shares are available for an extra cost.
Low-income shares are available.
Each share volunteers a couple of hours; you get to meet your neighbors!
Come on, you'll like it. Everybody else is doing it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Speak Out for Sunset Park

Help with the outreach prior to the public hearings regarding the rezoning in Sunset Park. See below for the organizer's contact information.

from the SPAN email:


Important dates have been announced by Community Board 7 concerning Dept. of City Planning's proposed rezoning plan of Sunset Park. This is the first step in the process to approve a rezoning plan that will displace current residents and small businesses in Sunset Park.

We will be there to speak out on our concerns about this plan. Please join us on these dates and on Saturday, May 9th to do outreach in the neighborhood. (If you want to distribute literature on May 9th with us please email directly to for the time and location)

What we want: Dept of City Planning recently undertook a rezoning in Bay Ridge that better protects the community and even downzones certain areas. Our priority is a comprehensive plan that encompasses the entire community so we can find solutions to preserve and create housing affordable to the long-time working residents of Sunset Park. We want equal protection for our neighborhood.

Sat, May 9th, (afternoon)
Join us to do outreach in the neighborhood
(Contact for details)


Wed May 13th, 6:30 PM
PS 169 Auditorium
7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

Saturday, May 16th 1:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (Auditorium)
6th Ave bet 59th an 60th Streets

Proposed Community Board Vote on Rezoning
Wed, May 20th, 6:30 PM
Old Court House, entrance on 43rd St. and 4th Avenue

What You See in Sunset Park: Coquis, Cards, and Stones

Botanica Window, originally uploaded by wagongrrl.

More Reasons to Stay Away from Raccoons (and feces)

Following last Thursday's sighting of a raccoon near P.S. 24, this Daily News article seems timely. It's also a little alarmist, so I checked out what the CDC had to say here. Even though contracting the parasite is devastating, it doesn't seem to be very common (although the CDC site says that many infections are likely misdiagnosed). Since, according to the article, fewer than 30 cases are reported in the entire United States of America, it hardly seems like a widespread concern; however, two cases turned up in Brooklyn (only one was apparently contracted in Brooklyn). According to the CDC site linked above, here's what they look like: "Feces usually are dark and tubular, have a pungent odor (usually worse than dog or cat feces), and often contain undigested seeds or other food items." Mmmmm. Pungent.

Advice to avoid contraction of Raccoon Roundworm includes avoiding ingestion of raccoon feces. Now, some of you may say, "Well done. Simple enough." But think of all the times you touch your shoes, put down a bag on the sidewalk or in the park, close a stroller and touch the wheels, and so on. Believe me, fecal matter other than your own is a part of your life! So, just as the best deterrent to (insert appropriate name here) flu is to wash your hands, the same goes here. And wash your hands before rubbing your eye, wiping your kid's nose, or eating a red bean bun from Blue Sky bakery.* Real soap is the best as well. Is singing Happy Birthday all the way through the amount of time you're supposed to wash hands? Or is that for brushing teeth?

*I know it's unrealistic to avoid doing most of what we do after washing hands, and many of us pretend that those wipes from CostCo will kill germs. But washing hands is good practice anyway, so we may as well do it as often as possible.

Basically, it's likely not something to worry about; it's something to be aware of. Watch yourself, watch your kids, and watch out for pungent feces of all kinds.

Hara Kazuo to Appear at Light Industry

Light Industry will host Hara Kazuo for a screening of Extreme Private Eros, followed by an author appearance and book-signing.

May 9th, 2009
7:30 PM
Light Industry
220 36th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue), 5th Floor
$7 at the door

Born in 1945, Hara Kazuo was influenced as a young man by the protest movements that took place throughout Japan and the world in the late 1960s and 70s. He founded Shisso Productions in 1971 with his wife, producer, and primary collaborator Sachiko Kobayashi. He has published five documentary films thus far, including the award-winning The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, widely recognized as most important and influential documentary ever made in Japan, Goodbye CP, A Dedicated Life, Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974, and Watashi no Mishima.

from the press release:

Hara Kazuo's innovations have transformed documentary filmmaking. Now, Kaya Press is pleased to announce its release of Camera Obtrusa: The Action Documentaries of Hara Kazuo. In support of the release, Mr. Hara will be touring the US in April and May, appearing in New York, Princeton, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Throughout the four decades of his career, Hara Kazuo has stalked the bizarre and disturbing margins of Japanese society, certain that central truths are to be found in fringe phenomena. His "action documentary" method pursues the shocking effect of the action film, following the gesture and staying in the moment. Hara's explosive technique has contributed directly to the current ascendance of the documentary film; his best-known disciple is Michael Moore, who lists Hara as one of his favorite directors.

In CAMERA OBTRUSA: HARA KAZUO'S ACTION DOCUMENTARIES Kaya Press offers the first English-language book on Hara's life and method by the master himself. Digging into the practical elements of his craft, the author describes each of his groundbreaking films in detail; he puts his work into context with a funny and heartbreaking visit to his own strange upbringing.

Kaya Press will launch CAMERA OBTRUSA in May with a five city author tour featuring screenings of the films The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On and Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974. Director Hara Kazuo and his life and filmmaking partner, producer Kobayashi Sachiko, will appear at all events with a translator, and will sign books afterwards.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: St. Michael's

Flag Pole Circle, originally uploaded by veesvision.

The St. Michael's dome (?) is the most recognizable part of Sunset Park. And it looks familiar even in black and white.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Raccoon Sighting by P.S. 24

A local parent spotted a "slow and lethargic" raccoon near P.S. 24 on Thursday afternoon. She wasn't sure who to call, and the short answer is to call 311 if you see any animal behaving strangely.

A much more comprehensive answer was presented by another local parent who used to work at a wildlife center:

311 (Animal Control) is probably the best resource in the City for issues like this, but they're unlikely to be able to do anything if the raccoon isn't contained (in a box or a cage trap) or injured. Even slow moving raccoons will probably leave the area before they arrive.

Believe it or not, raccoons are actually more populous in cities and suburbs than in the "wilds," because they thrive on our leftovers and trash. The Humane Society of the United States has lots of good information on its website about raccoons: Link. Another good resource is the MSPCA: link.

Your experience is a good reminder that we should all teach our kids to stay away from wildlife and take care to secure our trash. (And maybe rethink leaving cat food outside overnight.)

The Fifth Food Group: Sponch

Sponch is an..., originally uploaded by staceyjoy.

If you click on the photo uploaded by staceyjoy, you'll see the economy size in the comments. How are these? Anyone out there addicted? Are they squishy or solid? Is it coconut on top or just sugar? And the real question, is there a chocolate variety?

Free Drum and Dance Workshops at Rec Center

There's not a lot that's more energizing than good drumming and dancing. The Rec Center wants you to get drumming and dancing for free. Thursdays at 6 PM during May you can do just that thanks to the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Sunset Park Recreation Center.

May 7th will be Palestinian/Levantine Debka
May 14th is Korean Drumming and Dancing
May 21st is Afro-Dominican and Afro Puerto Rican night (will we see Bombayo again?)
May 28th is a Drum Jam.

Call 718 965 6533 for more information about these events.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Fair Warning

As deterrents, cameras work when misbehaving folks care about getting caught. Of course, the camera needs to be functioning and pointed in the correct direction.

I like that the sign is straightforward and clear.

Cinderblocks and the Promise of Orange Bricks

This building (at 713-715 43rd Street) is going to grow up to be a five floor, ten unit building. A year ago, the two one-family houses that stood here were torn down. The thing is, there isn't anything posted about building something. There's only something posted about a sidewalk barrier. The application is in, but it seems nothing has come of that yet. (As always, I could be reading these things incorrectly.) The lack of necessary paperwork hasn't stopped the preparations for quintupling the amount of residents, however! The above photo was take at the beginning of April, 2009. The photo below was taken on the last day of April, 2009.
True, it's not a whole lot of work that's getting done, but the brickwork has begun! If anyone has the time, could you chime in about whether or not this building is being built with proper go-ahead? The 713/715 addresses have two different sets of "job filings." The primary structural system also is claimed as wood. Is there any wood going on here?

A New Sunset Blog from Friends of Sunset Park

Started just recently, the FoSP blog is full of great neighborhood information. Considering that Maria Roca and FoSP have been one of the driving forces behind loads of great activities for adults and children in the area, the blog will be THE place to stay updated with dates and details about what's going on.

Check it out here!

Green-Wood Awakening - Puppets Included

This sounds like a fantastic and entertaining event for people of all ages. Check out the information posted by lostingreenwoodheights on Brooklynian.

A Springtime Celebration!

Saturday, May 16 & Sunday May 17, 2009

Imagine the whimsy of 20-foot-tall puppets guiding you through Green-Wood. Even if you’ve visited before, you’ve never seen Green-Wood like this! “Green-Wood Awakening” is a spring celebration that is part historic tour and part interactive theater. Featuring live music and the eye-popping artistry of The Puppeteer’s Cooperative, this special event will draw you into the magic, beauty and fascinating stories and legends of Green-Wood. This event is great for grown-ups and also a terrific family day outing!

Tickets are $10. To purchase advance tickets, visit or call the 24/7 Hotline at 1.800.838.3006

$25 family package that admits two adults and up to five children under 16.

Meet inside the main entrance at 25th Street at 5th Avenue.

Please call 718.768.7300 or e-mail for more information.

A National Historic Landmark–Est. 1838–Our main entrance is located at 500 25th Street (on 5th Avenue) in Brooklyn. Via subway, take the R to the 25th Street station. For more info, call 718.768.7300 or visit us on-line at


Not a Historic Fund member? Your support helps us to preserve the past to serve the future. Enroll today and enjoy membership benefits and discounts on all walking/trolley tours, books and more. Enroll by calling 718.768.7300, visit or e-mail