Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Friends of Sunset Park's Open Re-Zoning Plea to the City Council

This morning I received this email from the Friends of Sunset Park; it was sent to every City Council Member. It is an impassioned plea to consider - once again - how the proposed re-zoning may well affect the westward-facing view from Sunset Park. It included several attachments, one of which was a prepared statement by a member of the Friends of Sunset Park. I can't reprint the entire statement here due to format issues, but the requested modifications are below. If you would like to read the moving testimony, please see the Friends of Sunset Park website, or use the BViB email address before tomorrow morning (Thursday); I will forward the City Council email to you.

If this issue concerns you, please contact Sara Gonzalez - or the entire City Council - to voice your opinion. Whether you are for the rezoning or against it, it is an important to know all sides of this issue for property owners, renters who love this neighborhood, residents and visitors who enjoy the park, and those who want to see responsible development.

from the prepared FoSP statement:

We ask that you modify the proposed plan to:

• Restrict building height on 5th Avenue (36th Street-50th Street) to a maximum height of 40 feet, including bulkheads;

• Restrict building height elsewhere on 5th Avenue (25th-36th Streets and 50th-65th Streets) along the area under consideration to a maximum of 50 feet, including

• Restrict building height all along 4th Avenue to a maximum of 60 feet, including bulkheads;

• Restrict building height from 39th to 41st Street, between 4th and 6th Avenues to a maximum of 40 feet, including bulkheads;

• Institute a permanent moratorium on demolition of structurally-sound buildings.

Preserving the view from Sunset Park and for all New Yorkers is in your hands, ladies and gentlemen of the City Council. Every child, and hard-working woman and man in Sunset Park is counting on each and every one of you to do the right thing.

Thank you.

Bensonhurst Wants to Dump on Sunset Park

Obviously, the United States has a waste problem. We need to learn to deal with the remnants of our lifestyles (and our lifestyles) in a manner that will make future generations look back with something less than disgust at our habits. However, that doesn't mean that Sunset Park needs to do the bulk of the management of waste for Brooklyn, or the City, even.

CB 7 sent out an email with the link to an article (see yournabe link below) about a proposed waste transfer station. Randy Peers, the chair for CB 7, added this comment to accompany the link:

"Dear friends and fellow board members, please read the very disappointing article about assemblyman Colton's suggestion that another waste transfer station be put in Sunset Park instead of Bensonhurst. Rest assured we will not allow our community to be dumped on again. We are in the process of drafting a letter in response. I will keep you posted on any further developments."

According to a article from last Wednesday, Bensonhurst's Colton is trying to get a proposed waste transfer station moved from Bensonhurst to Sunset Park. While his reasons sound pretty solid (parts of Gravesend Bay would have to be dredged), Sunset Park is doing more than its share, as Randy Peers of CB 7 points out:

“Tell Mr. Colton that we already have the Hamilton Avenue waste transfer station; a private waste management facility; two sanitation garages; and a private recycling facility. Mr. Colton needs to learn the definition of ‘fair share,’” said Peers.

Also, the proposed site, 1st Avenue and 58th Street, is just blocks from Lutheran Medical Center and PS 314, as well as the in-construction PS 971 on 4th Avenue - an early childhood center. Seem like good reasons to write in to Felix Ortiz, Sara Gonzalez, and CB 7. Also, don't forget that we have a CB 7 meeting coming up in early October!

Hopefully Bay Ridge will also have something to say about this; its northern residents already have some residual issues due to waste management.

New Sunset Park Blog Begins with Murder Update

This is excellent news. A new weblog for Sunset Park has started up, and I can only hope it will remain and serve our under-served by news agencies area.

The author is a CUNY journalism student who welcomes and encourages any Sunset Park residents (and/or visitors) to write in to with ideas, tips, and concerns that you'd like highlighted. The first post is an update to the 40th Street murders; she checked in with Deputy Inspector Pintos.

Check it out, bookmark it, visit it regularly.

Sunset Park Chronicled

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Check Out the ReZoning Issue in Person

from a SPAN email:

Sunset Park Community Members Speak Out Against Rezoning Plan and Unveil Community Plan

On Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, City Council will vote whether to rezone Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Join Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors as we read our statement against the rezoning in its current form and unveil our plan for our community.

The press conference will include local residents, activists, organizations, clergy and other concerned members working everyday to PROTECT and IMPROVE our neighborhood.

SPAN will provide FREE subway rides at the 36th st. & 4th ave Subway station from 11:15-11:45am. The City Council Hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm.

What: Sunset Park City Council Rezoning Vote

When: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 12:30pm

Where: City Hall Garden Fountain

Who: Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors &
the Coalition to Protect Sunset Park

What You See in Sunset Park: Flower Cart

Usually on Sundays, but also on any special occasion. I like this photo because the flowers look so bright and happy, especially set off by the dark, neutral clothing on the passersby.

Thanks to Eddie_Vega for up loading this to the BViB photo pool.

UPROSE to Host Open House for Environmental Justice

UPROSE recently welcomed a hybrid electric bus into its fold, and now it wants to train you to conduct environmental tours in the bus. While the website could use a little updating (No recreational space in Sunset Park? And now we have a high school!), it explains what the organization is about and what its goals are. Check it out, and if you're looking for an "in" with UPROSE, attend this Thursday's open house event. See below for details:

OPEN HOUSE - this is a free event

Thursday - October 1, 2009
5-7 PM
at the UPROSE offices: 166A 22nd Street, Brooklyn, New York
(between 3rd and 4th Avenues)

Who can apply and/or be nominated:

Must be 18 years or older
Must live or work in Sunset Park
Certification is given upon completion of the Program
People of Color and Spanish Speakers are Encouraged to Apply

Program starts October 8, 6-8 PM and happen every other Thursday.

About Sembrando Futuros: Community Empowerment for the Green Economy is a program to introduce, educate and train community members in local sustainable job development opportunities and environmental and economic equality. Upon completion, participants of our program will receive:

a) certification to conduct Environmental Justice tours of Sunset Park, and be community educators on Climate Justice;
b) training and certification to become tree stewards for the urban environment; and
c) access to information and opportunities for their children through our Youth Justice program.

Sembrando Futuros leaders will help improve our community’s environment and health. This initiative will enhance participants’ roles in their current employment or create opportunities for growth. Leaders will also have the opportunity to be contracted on an ongoing basis as consultants to various UPROSE programs. UPROSE will also connect them to other employment resources when possible.

Learn about these programs in more detail at the Open House! You can also read more about them at
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cece Carpio at, or call 718-492-9307.

UPROSE- “Siempre En Lucha Y Siempre Por Nuestra Gente ”

UPROSE is dedicated to the development of Southwest Brooklyn and the empowerment of its residents primarily through broad and converging environmental, sustainable development, and youth justice campaigns. Founded in 1966, UPROSE is Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization. We aim to ensure and heighten community awareness and involvement, develop participatory community planning practices, and promote sustainable development with justice and governmental accountability.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Three on 5th Avenue

Tony's, originally uploaded by mysteryship.

This photo is excellent in every way. (Thanks to mysteryship for uploading it to the BViB photo pool!) Not only does it feature Tony's Barber Shop (super-friendly place), but it shows the reflections of International Restaurant and Tacos Nuevo Mexico in its windows.

That's a lot of what you need to know about the changes on 5th Avenue: Tony's has been there for over 40 years, then you've got International, which is Dominican (I highly recommend the queso frito con yucca), and Tacos Nuevo Mexico (with a decent mole) rounds out the trio.

Not a bad collection if you want to know a little about Sunset Park's metamorphoses over the years.

You can read about Tony's Barber Shop here:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Angels & Accordians in Two Weeks

IMG_4445, originally uploaded by lostinbrooklyn.

Thanks to lostinbrooklyn for the photo and the information about this event in Green-Wood Cemetery. You can see a few photos from last year by doing a flickr search.

As part of CCGH's art, music and cultural outreach to our community:

The Green-Wood Historic Fund and Dance Theatre Etcetera Present:
Angels & Accordions

A site-specific, live music and dance performance, held in conjunction with openhousenewyork, that guides audience members through historic Green-Wood Cemetery’s rolling hills, highlighting its unparalleled collection of sculpture and monuments. This unique event, choreographed by Martha Bowers of Dance Theatre Etcetera, features a cast of 30 dancers, original music by Guy Klucevsek and Bob Goldberg (played live by a band of accordionists), singing, and a visual installation inside the Catacombs designed by photographer Alexander Heilner. Several tombs will be open to the public.

A not-to-be-missed encounter with one of Brooklyn’s great historic treasures!

Saturday, October 10, 2009
A featured free event of the seventh annual openhousenewyork weekend.
Two Performances: 12 noon & 3:30 PM
Don’t miss this unique performance!

No reservations required. For more information,

Rain Date: Sunday, October 11, 2009.

Angels & Accordions is made possible with funds from The Green-Wood Historic Fund and in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

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

What You See in Sunset Park: 中國扇子舞 Chinese Fan Dance

Thanks again to See-ming Lee for uploading this to the BViB photo pool. It's always fun to see the fan dancers rehearsing in the park.

Squirrel Napping in Sunset Park! Cartoon Network May Be Involved

Well, okay, the Cartoon Network is probably off the hook, but someone wearing their t-shirt was grabbing squirrels and exiting the park with them. Check out the Friends of Sunset Park website for all the details.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Panorama

Thought this was a nice juxtaposition to all the technical rezoning commentary. This is what the simpletons like me worry about when thinking about the future of the park (with or without the rezoning, frankly).

Thank you to See-ming Lee on flickr for uploading this to the BViB photo pool. Click on the photo for more information.

City's Images Projecting Sunset Park's Views

According to the Tweets from the public comment regarding the rezoning of Sunset Park, it seems like a done deal. What will the views in Sunset Park be like after the rezoning becomes (re)building?

This was sent to me by a reader; it's available as part of the rezoning proposal. It's very cool, and it certainly makes the rezoning seem friendlier. However, local activists aren't feeling too friendly when it comes to the rezoning. See the response from the Friends of Sunset Park below. Click on the images to enlarge them.

from the Friends of Sunset Park:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let's Clean Sunset Park! has its Second Successful Clean-Up

The organizers were all smiles even as Noon drew near.

If you're interested in helping out with picking up litter around Sunset Park, check out the website for Let's Clean Sunset Park! The last two Sundays have had people meet at 9:30 AM in front of the Rec Center. Tools, gloves, and inspiration are provided.

What You See in Sunset Park: Driveway Squash

My son spotted these and took the photo. Not bad for under three. If you don't have room in the back, grow it over the driveway. I like that almost all of it is a uniform shade of green. This was between 7th and 8th, somewhere in the high 40's.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Re-Zoning Challenge: From the Comments

from an anonymous commenter to yesterday's post:

"What urban planner in their right mind recommends (aka facilitates) a potential 8-story bldg. on a narrow side street like 40th or 41st St. that would also block the view from the park? Only possible explanation: A behind-the-scenes property owner(s) with plans to build such a monstrosity & the connections to manipulate the planning process. If there's another explanation, we want to hear it & you can post it here."


Update: One answer, from lostingreenwoodheights:

"8 story buildings are not allowed on the side streets. Do your research before spreading false info. Higher density R6A and R7A is only for 4ht Ave and 7th Ave. Lower density "contextual zoning" (a matter of opinion) is R6B on the side streets."

Thank You to the Community - Sunset Park High School

Sorry about the late notice. I posted it in 2008 by accident. Thanks to an email this morning, I was jolted back to 2009. The Ribbon Cutting was this morning at 9 AM.

A lot of people worked for a very long time to make a high school IN Sunset Park a reality. Tonight, from 5 - 8 PM, there is a Thank You celebration. Check it out for a chance to meet some of the people who have made this a reality, and you get to check out the new building as well!

Sunset Park High School - 35th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

Duane Reade is Ready and Willing on 5th Avenue

5th between 50th and 51st has a lot of plate glass now. The new Duane Reade is huge, shiny, clean, organized, stocked, and there are lots of staff members. The aisles are wide, strollers are allowed, and they sell beer - lots of it. There's a Chase ATM inside. Oh! And there are automatic sliding doors. Unfortunately, when we stopped in, there was also one of those freaky, shaking, blow-up doll people in front. They make me shudder almost as much as Spongebob Squarepants. Ugh.

The prices are not cheap. Duane Reade is not cheap. Something is rotten somewhere because several management types were arguing loudly in the middle of the store ("Not in MY Duane Reade!"). It feels a bit sterile and cold. According to one of the staff members, most of the people who work there are from far away from Sunset Park.

That said, I bought a new flashing toothbrush for the toddler and a hair clip. I'll still buy my discounted greeting cards at Party Party, and I'll still head to Mini Max for the basics (also not cheap, but warmer, somehow). However, the wide aisles, well-organized stock, and variety (kitchen supplies, toys, beer, magazines, make-up, birthday cards, floss, and so on) will probably bring in the curious and keep a solid portion.

Have you been? What do you think?

What You See in Sunset Park: Fury

I'm guessing it's 1960, based on its four doors and fins. Anyone know for sure?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Twittering the Re-Zoning Hearings

Jessica Wisloski, a journalist in the area, attended the public comment for the rezoning of Sunset Park today. Check out what she had to saw on her Twitter page.

What You See in Sunset Park: Bearskin Rug Birthday Cake

This comes courtesy of Gran Via on 5th and 46th. I figured we could all use something a little silly after the weekend's events.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Two Men Shot Dead on 40th Street

Update: Comments have been turned off for this post due to too much back and forth that has become personal towards me and other commenters. If anyone has constructive suggestions about how to improve the site, feel free to use the email address on the upper-right hand side, or start your own weblog for the neighborhood. If you just want attention, move along.

I heard about this yesterday morning, but didn't want to post anything until I knew something for sure. Two men were shot and killed at about 4 AM on Sunday morning. Apparently, they had just left a bar on 39th Street and 5th (Hmmmm, I wonder which one?), and an argument with other bar-goers turned fatal. One of the men killed was only 18; the other was 21. According to one police officer in the park, there is speculation that this was also gang related. Not a huge leap there.

That cool, comfortable sleeping weather means open windows, so many Sunset residents heard helicopters around the area from 5 AM to almost 6 AM on Sunday. Usually it's due to traffic or accidents on the BQE, but early Sunday is a strange time for that.

In both this shooting and the other shooting (just three weeks ago?), the men died from bullet wounds to the head and neck. Shoot to kill - not warn seems to be the trend here.

As of this morning, the shooters are yet to be apprehended. Hopefully the detectives and officers can make quick work of the shooters as they did with the park murders.

Rezoning Hearings and Public Comment start Tomorrow!

Both Friends of Sunset Park and SPAN have alerts about the upcoming hearings and vote for the rezoning of Sunset Park. There was some confusion about the hearing dates. The public comment period is scheduled for tomorrow at 9:30 AM.

from the FoSP website:

What we want: No building taller than 4 stories on 5th Avenue; nothing taller than 6 stories on 4th Avenue; a moratorium on demolition of structurally-sound buildings & maintaining the existing height and architectural integrity of our beautiful neighborhood.

from the SPAN alert:

It is announced on the City Council website that the following hearings will be held on the rezoning plan for Sunset Park.
If you would like to join us in the public comments or other activities concerning these hearings, please contact

The location for the first two is in the Committee Room and the final vote is in the Council Chambers.

Tuesday, 9/22 starting at 9:30 AM
Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchise
hearing with public comment

Wed. 9/24, 10 AM
Committee on Land Use
(no public comment)

Wed 9/30 1:30 PM

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunset Park Clean-Up on Sunday

On Sunday, with a focus on litter - not leaves - a group of volunteers who believe in a rubbish-free park will descend on Sunset Park to pick-up, rake, and help make the park that much cleaner for Sunday afternoon park-goers.

If you want to help out, even for part of the time, visit the Let's Clean Sunset Park! website to reply and to see more details. They will provide tools for those who commit to being there. If you are commitment-phobic, feel free to show up in front of the Rec Center at 9:30 AM on Sunday. I'm sure there will be something to do for everyone who is willing.

What You See in Sunset Park: Wistful Mannequin

I love the color and the subject matter in this photo. Check out more from Venus_In_Furs and the BViB photo pool here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Giant Rat at the new Sunset Park High School

This is old news, but the topic is still fresh. Thanks to Emily for providing the following text from the flyer handed out last week:

The members of Operating Engineers Union, Local 94 have served and protected the students and faculty of every large New York City school building for more than 60 years.

Qualified and licensed Local 94 engineers operate and maintain the mechanical systems in every large school in the NYC Dept of Ed system except this school, Sunset Park H.S.

The Sunset Park HS Maintenance Contractor, Temco Service Industries and the NYC Dept of Ed have decided to jeopardize the health and safety of the students, facutly and support staff by hiring unqualified workers to maintain the school's mechanical systems— all in order to circumvent paying prevailing wage rates to qualified Local 94 engineers as mandated by the NYC Comptroller's Office.

Mayor Bloomberg talks about school safety and sustainability, but refuses to mandate that Temco and the Dept of Ed hire qualified and licenses Local 94 engineers to operate and maintain SP HS's mechanical systems safely and efficiently.

The first employee hired by Temco and the Dept of Ed was demoted and reassigned after less than a week on the job. You can only imagine what is to come. Please contact your City Council member in this district and the Mayor's office to express your concerns.

Mayor Bloomberg: 311 or fax (212) 312-0700 or

Sara Gonzalez: (718) 439-9012 or 311

Temco CEO Henrik Thomassian: or (212) 889-6353

Flatbush to Celebrate Park(ing) Day this Friday

This was forwarded from Flatbush Gardener, so I couldn't resist posting it even though it's slightly more than a hop, skip, and jump away. Besides, there is free coffee if you bring your own mug. Perhaps it will inspire some Park(ing) in Sunset Park. Visit on Friday and call it research for a Sunset park-in.

Sustainable Flatbush creates a park on Cortelyou Rd. to celebrate Park(ing) Day

Brooklyn, New York - September 15, 2009 -

On Friday, September 18th, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, a park will be born: Sustainable Flatbush will transform a single 8’x15’ parking spot into a green space, complete with grass, plants, and seating. “Cortelyou Road Park,” in front of the Cortelyou Branch of the Brooklyn Public
Library, at the corner of Cortelyou and Argyle Roads, in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, is one of 50+ sites around New York City participating in Park(ing) Day, an international event.

The park will include art activities and exhibitions for both children and adults. Two sustainable craft business based in the NYC-area, Garbage of Eden Design and RePlayGround will teach free creative workshops on fashioning fun stuff out of garbage. We invite you to bring your favorite cereal box or designed scrap paper to personalize your crafts. Jewelry made from plastic bags and yogurt containers as well as kits to make projects from scrap will be on display.

Come marvel at worms turning food scraps into compost, and charge your cell phone with solar power all while listening to music and relaxing with good neighbors and new friends on a patch of grass!

Be sure to fill up at our BYO Mug Coffee Station, courtesy of Vox Pop Café. Enjoy a snack from the Flatbush Food Coop, or sample a dessert from Visions Restaurant & Bar. Enter the raffle for a chance to win a Coop Food Gift Basket or Visions Gift Certificate.

Plus, beginning at 11:00 AM, Ronny Wasserstrom will be entertaining the kids with his special trick puppets, including the juggling egg puppet!

“Using 120 square feet of concrete for temporary storage of an automobile benefits only its owner. If we can take that area and transform it into something magical that is enjoyed by hundreds of people, maybe that’s a better use of the space,” says says Anne Pope, Founder/Director of Sustainable Flatbush. “I hope it gets people thinking about how public space can be allocated for the maximum benefit.”

So stop by and bring your own coffee mug and you will never look at a parking spot the same way again!

Sustainable Flatbush

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Community Board Meeting Location CHANGE

Tonight's CB 7 meeting will be held at the new Sunset Park High School, in the cafeteria. So, if you want to re-live some high school memories (albeit in a new building), just want to check out the new school, have some kudos or complaints to share with the community board, or just want to fill your Wednesday evening with local entertainment, be there!

Sunset Park High School - 153 35th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues
6:30 PM on Wednesday, September 16th.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Street Fairs with Mariachis

Thanks to digenger for uploading this (and lots more!) to the BViB photo pool. Click on the photo to see loads of fantastic photos of this weekend's 5th Avenue street fair.

Brooklyn Book Festival: Not in Sunset Park, but definitely worth the trip

Sunday was a gorgeous day for the 5th Avenue BID Fair, but I missed it due to my literary leanings. We stopped by the Bibliobus to pick up a dinosaur book, bought a bookish gift for my niece, and checked out the various talks, stalls, and offerings. There were loads of excellent bookstores (many featured here), literary items, and authors, but I'll just elaborate on two reasons to visit other areas of Brooklyn.

Novel-T "Wear Your Read" at the Freebird Books stall (table?) caught my eye. I first, of course, checked out Freebird Books. Who can resist a place that sells Moxie* and hosts student poetry jams (at least they did a couple of years ago)? I haven't been there for a while, but it is always a great stop. The stand was kind of crowded, and having a child-filled sling hampers my pushing and shoving abilities.
That's when I moved to the left and noticed the display in the photo above. These Novel-T people have some pretty cool shirts to sell you. They're not cheap, but they'd make a great gift for someone who loves literature.

Do you know a slightly condescending scrivener? There's a Bartleby t-shirt. Know someone who loves to have fun, but always gets into scrapes? There's a Sawyer t-shirt. And there's a Finn t-shirt for the cooler, less conventionial, adventurous friend. You can also give a (Moby) Dick t-shirt to someone as a mixed message. The only woman (so far) is represented by the Prynne t-shirt. Maybe a Pontellier will come soon, or perhaps Chopin (Kate, not Frederik) is a little less obscure to most.

I'm too dense to know what the numbers on the t-shirts stand for, so feel free to chime in with your ideas. Update: I'm also too dense to remember to plug the launch party for the t-shirts at Freebird Books. This Sunday (9/20/09) from 2 - 5 in the afternoon.

* It's the only place I know that sells Moxie, and my father-in-law drinks Moxie regularly. He doesn't do it because it's novel; he does it because he likes it and he says it's good for you. I need my Moxie cut with seltzer or something less - potent.

Another interesting table/stand was from Word Books out of Greenpoint. There were some excellent children's books and sweet without being saccharine notecards. I first heard about this place here. The owner was incredibly friendly, and everything they had out was thoughtfully chosen, visually enticing, and just fun.

Both Freebird and Word are featured in this slideshow.

It's not easy to make a living at selling books right now (ever?), but don't you think that Sunset Park could use a great independent bookstore? Or even a mediocre one to start? Bay Ridge has a couple (Bookmark Shoppe, Bay Ridge Bookstore - don't know info for this one. On 4th in the 80's), and Park Slope has been losing them like crazy. How amazing would it be to have the Rainbow Cafe and Bookstore? I know I'm dreaming, but seriously, how great would that be?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Run-Down of the 72nd Precinct Community Council Meeting

About 25 residents were in attendance at the Community Council Meeting. Nothing new was reporting regarding the two murders in Sunset Park. For those who haven't heard, a teenaged member of gang shot and killed two men in another gang. It was not a random act, but probably spurred on from an earlier event. It's a sad situation all around. There were two memorials near the flagpole*; we witnessed one visibly upset group, seemed like family, lay down fresh flowers at one of the memorials. Basically, three lives are over. All of them - despite gang affiliations and violent choices - are someone's sons and brothers.

* There was also another memorial set up near the playground sometime on Saturday. It overlooked the view of downtown Manhattan. It was probably a memorial for someone who died on 9/11. It, along with the other two memorials, was vandalized and destroyed by Monday morning.

Anyone who has been to the park lately must have noticed the heightened police presence. I've even seen foot patrols, which frankly, I haven't noticed in all the time I've used the park.

Members of the Friends of Sunset Park attended the Community Council Meeting, and I am indebted to their email for the listed information below:

Other issues raised at the Community Council meeting were:
  • Increased sidewalk drug sales activity on various blocks throughout the 72nd Precinct
  • Return of after-hours alcohol sales and noisy patrons at Los Potrillos - 39th/4th Ave
  • Noisy & littering patrons at Rose Quartz Bar - 39th/3rd.
  • Request for Deputy Inspector Pintos to personally mediate resurging disputes between Chinese van operators; apparently a long-standing issue.
  • Commendation + photo op with owner and wife of Chinese Restaurant on 6th ave/61st St. for their generous food contributions to the recent Police Appreciation Day celebration.

The next Community Council meeting will be the 2nd Tuesday in October. Same time (7:30 PM), same place (45th and 4th). Please consider becoming a regular!

Sunset Park and the Brooklyn Food Coalition

Be at the Rec Center (7th and 43rd) on Monday, September 21st at 6:30 PM if you love food.

The Brooklyn Food Coalition (born of the Brooklyn Food Conference) is having its first Sunset Park meeting this month.

According to an email from Nancy Romer, the General Coordinator, here's what it's all about:

The purpose of the meeting is to constitute a Sunset Park neighborhood branch of the Brooklyn Food Coalition which would identify and work on one, two, maybe more specific issues or campaigns related to food justice---access to healthy, sustainable food with social justice for food workers and consumers. So far there has been lots of interest in developing work around labor rights for food workers, general food access in the neighborhood, and school food. Other ideas may surface as well. The point of the group is to get neighbors together to work on a very local, neighborhood basis and then to bring those campaigns and concerns to the broader Brooklyn Food Coalition to see if actions can be spread throughout the Borough.

Bay Ridge Food Coop Launch Party TONIGHT!

This idea has been in progress for a while, and I haven't been paying much attention on the BR message boards due to other concerns. Sorry about the last minute notice, but I only found this when cleaning out my spam folder. Thanks, Jim, for forwarding this to me!

Register for the launch party here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Sunny Weather Events

* The 5th Avenue BID is hosting a festival along 5th Avenue - again! So give back to the 5th Avenue merchants and buy something. Lots of items are on sale and discounted. Soak in the sun while walking down the middle of 5th Avenue. No cars!

* Let's Clean Up Sunset Park! Meet in front of the Rec Center in Sunset Park at 9:30 AM to help pick up litter around the park. Check out the website for more details.

* If you are heading over to the Brooklyn Book Festival, don't forget to check out locals Matt and Jessica (see their links on the right) as they moderate a panel with three graphic novelists and host a "comics jam." (The comics jam sounds like so much fun. I wish I could draw more than a shockingly perverse version of Mickey Mouse.) From Matt's weblog:

International Stage (Borough Hall Plaza)

11:00 a.m. The International Graphic Novel.

Three acclaimed graphic novelists who tackle big social and political themes in their work discuss what the form can accomplish, from an international and domestic perspective. Featuring Guy Delisle (The Burma Chronicles), Peter Kuper (Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico) and Sarah Glidden

Borough Hall Conference Room

1:00 p.m. Comics Jam with Jessica Abel and Matt Madden

A jam comic is an improvised collaborative comic. One person draws a single panel and then passes it on to the next person, who draws a new panel that continues the story. Get ready to draw and collaborate! For teens and adults. Participation limited to 25.
(How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less). Moderated by Matt Madden.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: 9/11 Tribute

Sunset Park 911 Tribute, originally uploaded by Michael Comeau.

Taken last night.

Thanks to Michael Comeau for uploading this to the BViB photo pool.

Visit Sunset Park's Memorial Grove Today

Sunset Park has Brooklyn's September 11, 2001 Living Memorial Grove. Overlooking lower Manhattan, it is meant to serve as a memorial and reminder. They are also "creating a gathering place for remembrance and healing."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Deli Option for Sunset's 4th Avenue

Almost nothing gets Brooklynites more excited than the prospect of a good cup of coffee and a fresh bagel in the morning. Therefore, the opening of any new bagel/coffee establishment is greeted with barely reigned in enthusiasm and never-ending optimism. Of course, standards are high, so once reality crashes down on those dreams of coffee and bagels, the disappointed gloom of those who hoped for the best soon descends.

According to a couple of locals, the new bagel place on 32nd and 4th Avenue may be different.

Smoothies, fresh squeezed OJ, Boar's Head, freshly made salads for your sandwiches, soups....

One person who lives around the corner was also happy to see milk at a reasonable price. She also said that it's clean, bright, and has good service. There is also a seating area if you don't want to order and run.

These days, any new business needs all the help, business, and luck it can get. So stop in and check it out.

On 32nd Street and 4th Avenue, change has come.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friends of Sunset Park Responds with Ideas to Better the Park - and You are Needed

There's a new post on the Friends of Sunset Park website. It is a response to the murders of two men a week ago, and it is a call to action from the residents of Sunset Park. It includes asking for active participation in community meetings, and it mentions being active in responding (via 311/911) to dangerous or disturbing situations in the park.

Here's an excerpt:

And, what, you ask, can WE do? YOU & I, the hard-working, peace-loving and responsible majority of Sunset Parkers:
  • will attend as many 72nd Precinct Council Monthly meetings as possible- always held on the second (2nd) Tuesday of the month.
  • will frequent their park in greater and greater numbers at whatever hour they wish;
  • will report (call/email) to 311 (with copy to the Friends of Sunset Park- , please) when garbage accumulates, vandalism occurs, graffiti appears, lampposts are broken, bathrooms are broken and/or dirty, tree limbs are cracked and about to fall on some one's head, benches are broken or paint is peeling;
  • will call 911 (with copy to the Friends of Sunset Park- , please) when you witness patrons gambling, using/selling controlled substances, urinating and defecating in public;
  • will take our garbage with us and place it in a garbage can. If you see someone leaving an area and not taking their garbage with them, point politely (and with a smile) to the garbage and to the nearest garbage can. If you think additional garbage cans are needed, call 311 and request them- please call/email FoSP to let us know that you've contacted 311;

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reminder: Community Council Meeting tonight

Hear about the double-murder last Monday evening. Hear about the traffic accident that put a delivery man in the ICU. Listen to the 72nd talk about the summer full of events.

When? Tuesday, September 8th, at 7:30 PM.

Where? 45th and 4th Avenue (Marien Heim Houses)

Who? Anyone who is interested and concerned with what happens in Sunset Park. Basically, you.

It's a time for residents to learn information, give kudos for a job well done, voice complaints about a job less than perfect, and ask questions about the area. The meetings are the second Tuesday in the month. Make it a habit!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Another Horrific and Sad Accident: 51st and 7th

I just walked by the ghost bike on 7th, just a few blocks from where this scooter/car accident occurred. Here's the link to the NY Daily News story. The cause of the accident is still being looked into. Based on the location of the vehicles in the photos, one can (attempt to) draw some conclusions as to the cause. It was a delivery moped and an FDNY command car.

I won't be accepting any comments that are disrespectful to the delivery man who is now fighting for his life in the ICU at Lutheran.

Learn Massage for Free

Stressed out about the economy, summer's end, or the use of firearms in the park? Want to help someone else relax (so you can call in a favor at a later date)? Here's your chance.

I don't know if many slots are left, but it sounds like a fantastic program.

Paraphrased from the SPAN list, via The Rock Dove Collective:

Please join the Rock Dove Collective for a free Massage Workshop on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 6 PM. Come to the 3rd floor of the Center for Family Life at 443 39th Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues).

Learn how to prepare for massage by stretching, focusing, and paying attention to others.
Learn how to give yourself massages with your hands and simple tools like tennis balls and doorways.
Learn how to give others massages.
Learn other relaxation techniques to help you take better care of yourself.

Please RSVP to to reserve a space.

72nd Community Council Meeting is BACK

I'm sure this will be an interesting meeting.

When? Tuesday, September 8th, at 7:30 PM.

Where? 45th and 4th Avenue (Marien Heim Houses)

Who? Anyone who is interested and concerned with what happens in Sunset Park. Basically, you.

It's a time for residents to learn information, give kudos for a job well done, voice complaints about a job less than perfect, and ask questions about the area. The meetings are the second Tuesday in the month. Make it a habit!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pre-Holiday BBQ

This morning, a reader sent in this photo of a burnt out SUV on 45th Street between 4th and 5th. It's one of the messier burnt out cars I've seen. More insurance troubles? Or was it a theft this time? Either way, my theory as to location has to do with subway proximity. While some people have getaway cars, others are torching their means of transportation.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunset Park Shooters Caught

Update: More info from The Village Voice.
According to officers in the 72nd Precinct, three men have been apprehended for the murders of two men in our park on Monday evening. The shooting was apparently gang-related.

Congratulations to the 72nd on the quick and effective detective work.

Last Few Days of the Sunset Park Pool Season

SuPaCommPool, originally uploaded by amigarad.

And it's been comparatively empty lately. The weather may not be as HOT as it was a week or so ago, but the water is also not as COLD as it was at the beginning of the season.

The pool is open through the weekend, so take advantage!

Thanks to amigarad for uploading this to the BViB photo pool, and thanks to -anna- on flickr for taking the photo!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

4th Avenue Improvement in 1902

What's old is new again. In 1902 the City was all about adding trees as an improvement. Now the City is working its way towards adding one million trees as more improvement. The photo is from the 1902 Parks Department Annual Report.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Two Men Shot Dead in Sunset Park

Updated links:

The park is cordoned off on the 7th and 41st side, and there are a couple of officers standing by to stop anyone from crossing through that way.

Friends of Sunset Park has a posting
NY Daily News
Gothamist has links to 1010WINS and NY Daily News
NY1 has a video and article
Last night two men were killed around 7th Avenue and 41st Street. If it was the shots I heard, it was around 8 PM. But then it could have been fire-crackers.

Here's a link. I'll add more later for those who are interested.

Under Minerva Recycles - until October 4th

Curated by Vanessa Juriga

Exhibition Dates: 26 AUGUST - 4 OCTOBER, 2009

Under Minerva is pleased to announce Is this Recyclable?, a group exhibition that examines how artists utilize recycled products, found objects and other non-traditional materials to create their artwork. This thirteen-person show focuses on artists who break away from traditional materials and use what is often overlooked or readily available to them as catalyst for their creations.

For nearly one hundred years, artists have been using non-traditional objects to create art. In 1915, Marcel Duchamp coined the term readymade to describe his found art. In the 1980s and 1990s, many artists began focusing on mass-produced items. At present, several artists are using discarded objects and recycled materials as their medium. Is This Recyclable? contemplates whether this trend is a response to environmental issues, commentary on the increase in consumerism or an attempt to uncover new meaning for the object.

From sculptures made out of recycled objects, portraits created out of keyboard keys and melted down pill bottles that create a flowing installation, Is this Recyclable? is a dialogue between what the object once was and what the object now is. The artists featured are: Angela Basile, Jasmine Begeske, Mark Cannariato, Travis Childers, Gary Duehr, Jesse Holt, Ryan McIntosh, Desi Minchillo, Raquel Muslin, Anne Percoco, Caitlin Rueter, Ian Trask, and Barbara Wisnoski.

Under Minerva Gallery and Event Space
656 5th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11215
(Between 19th and 20th Streets)