Monday, November 30, 2009
And if you're fortunate enough to not worry about your next meal, consider donating cash or food to one of Sunset Park's food pantries. They're doing a great job, but they really need some support.
United Methodist (47th and 4th) provided a Thanksgiving meal to many people, and their pantry line is always very long on Thursdays. I met the pastor there last week, and he's a really great guy. Check out this link from May for more information.
Don't believe me about the 39th and 65th Street (and a little of 60th Street) deal? Here, look:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Best View in Brooklyn photo pool
Brooklyn, NY: Sunset Park neighborhood
Sunset Park, Brooklyn
I'm sure the blog author will let people know other ways to submit photographs. It looks wonderful so far, and hopefully it will give Sunset Park some much needed focus.
Friday, November 27, 2009
On this Black Friday, here's an antidote to some of the craziness. (Of course, I also strongly encourage frequenting the retail stores in Sunset Park!)
The monthly Very Very Free Market that recently moved to United Methodist, is going daily. Of course anyone is welcome to participate, but the focus for those who "buy" from the store is those who truly need items. The way the store works is people bring items they no longer want or need, and they take items that are new to them.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
From the Daily News: Enslaved hooker's dead baby found during bust of sex trafficking ring
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Marty Markowitz's Shop Brooklyn campaign includes some Sunset Park stores this holiday season. Okay, so it's only three stores (so far), but that's three better than when I checked last week.
Keep your cash local, or at least give the stores a chance to impress you. Stop in, check them out, and buy if you like what you see. The holiday lights are already on, and the holiday music (this year some songs will be sung by talented school children from around the area) will begin on Friday.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Hoof it on down to Ocean Spa on 8th Avenue and 49th Street for a pretty darn excellent foot rub. I was torn between a Swedish massage and a reflexology treatment, and ultimately I chose my feet over my back because I didn't feel like stripping and I had a finite amount of time and money to spend.
I had a two-year-old SpaFinder gift certificate for $50 that I wanted to spend in the neighborhood. I know Home Spa in Carroll Gardens takes them, and O Spa in Bay Ridge takes them, but I wanted to stay close and I wanted to keep the funds in Sunset Park. After a quick search on the internet, I found that Ocean Spa is the only Sunset Park spa that takes SpaFinder gift certificates! Decision made.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Anyway, they whisked me in and settled in to one of those amazing hair-wash-scalp-massages that Chinese run salons do. This one was amazing. Not only did I get my scalp scrubbed, but she also massaged my shoulders and arms and back for a minute or so. That alone was worth the $18 I shelled out for the cut. Really.
The stylist didn't speak much English, so the receptionist/head scrubber translated. He was shocked when I showed him how much I wanted chopped off (I mean, if I only go once a year...), so he wanted to double-check. It was a basic, quick, clean cut. He seemed to know what he was doing, but I never get anything that you could call a style, so I guess I'm a bad judge/test case.
He was also shocked (and double-checked with the translator) that I didn't want my hair blown straight. It just looks foolish on me; it's even more foolish than the Rosanne Roseannadanna look I get when a hair dryer comes near me. I reassured him that five minutes in the wind and damp weather would calm the wild, poofy look he so feared. I was charged $18 plus tips for him and the head scrubber. It may have ended up being a $20 charge had he needed the time to blow it straight. (It took 45 minutes on my hair last time I allowed it.)
An aside to parents: A woman came in with her one year old, and she held him on her lap while they cut and colored her hair. She explained to me that a babysitter is too expensive, so she had to bring him. I guess their color must be pretty cheap, too. Anyway, the salon was totally fine with it, and if your kid can sit in a stroller while you get your hair done, it's a way to save on the babysitting. Of course, this was on a weekday in the AM. I wouldn't suggest it for afternoons or weekends.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Yeah, yeah. The sunset is lovely. But International's food is really good, too. Click on the photo to see the photographer's favorites. I like the fried cheese and yuca.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
After a Stop Work Order was issued on October 5th, 2009 for working without a permit, we had about six weeks of a lonely crane sitting on top of the building. Now that the SWO has been rescinded, it seems that everyone is ready to get going. Or, at least, the gates are open and materials are waiting.
the oversized lot at 765 has been in-process since their SWO was rescinded. It will be an 8-unit dwelling. A nice balance to this 10-unit dwelling. Bookends, really.
from the email:
I wanted to write to suggest that as you start making your gift lists for sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and any special kids in your life, you consider our CD, El Baile Del Sombrero. El Baile Del Sombrero is a CD of children’s music in Spanish composed and performed by and me. It's a really fun CD with lots of dances, games, and laughs that we'd love you to share with people you care about.
The CD is wonderfully illustrated by Nina Frenkel who has brought to life all the characters from the songs on the CD--from Fermin the Cat to Teo, the little rabbit who forgets he likes carrots. It's something that kids will enjoy looking at and poring over as they listen to the CD. El Baile Del Sombrero is perfect for families that already speak Spanish but families that have an interest in exposing their kids to Spanish will have fun with it too! At our website, abbasubi.com, you can listen to songs, see a video of Fati & I performing live, and download a lyric sheet.
Now that some other people have heard El Baile Del Sombrero, we've gotten some really positive feedback. There's a few reviews of the CD online that really describe all the reasons it will be a great gift.
Wanna Jugar with Migo?
Spanglish Baby Finds
El Baile del Sombrero costs $12. You can order it from CD Baby by clicking on this link http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/faticharles. It's also available on Amazon, or you can support a great Brooklyn business and order it from Nairobi's Knapsack!
I'd really appreciate it if you could pass this email along to people you think might be interested in El Baile del Sombrero for their own friends and families!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this email and have a wonderful holiday season!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Brownstoner beat us to this series of photos, but I think it deserves another look anyway. Barry Yankowitz snapped a wonderful series of reflective shots on 1st Avenue. I like this one because of the factory reflection. Check out his other photos in the BViB photostream and in his own collection.
from The Brooklyn Eagle's reminders of various opportunities/needs:
Community Board 7’s Thanksgiving Food Drive
CB 7 is accepting donations of canned goods and non-perishable items, such as boxed cereals, cookies, cake mix, canned/bagged coffee, rice, pasta, baby food, juices, water, sweets, etc. Donations will benefit the food pantries serving the CB 7 District. Bring your donations to the office at 4201 Fourth Ave. no later than Friday, Nov. 20. If you wish to make a monetary donation, please call the office at (718) 854-0003 or e-mail communityboard7@ yahoo.com for further information. Board 7 is also holding a holiday gift drive, accepting donations of unwrapped new toys and clothing for girls and boys (infant to age 12) through December 18.
from the article:
One front is using increased enforcement in targeted areas with proactive arrests. The second front enrolls the entire community in the "Gangs 101 Course" taught by NYPD Gang Division cops to other cops. Pintos said that without that, parents would lose their children to the gangs.
Upon closer inspection, my friend and I ruled out security cameras, sirens, and solar panels to help light the lamps. All we had to do was check the bottom of the locked suitcases, of course.
Call 311 for the results. And if you are told the results aren't yet available, set up an alert for a week later and call again.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Cool shot. Today looks sunny and lovely, even if it's a little chilly. Get out and enjoy the park!
Don't forget that the Bibliobus will be in front of the Rec Center from 1 PM to 4 PM!
One woman who went to drop off items was practically surrounded when she arrived and some of her personal items were almost taken by overly enthusiastic participants - including her car seats! Her impression was that these aggressive people were not there for themselves but for business or re-sale purposes. I've heard from one of the organizers that some people have actually been banned. Even a tiny minority of people who behave like this can affect the entire event by keeping people who want to bring/donate items away. At the last event, many people were able to find items that they truly needed for their families or friends. Let's hope that this worthwhile event will continue to help members of our community for a long time.
from the informational email:
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
From Sunset Spark! and its description of this fantastic project:
PAZ started a cartography club over the summer. The kids took video from balloons and extracted photos from it for the cartography club website. They also took photos from around the neighborhood with different types of cameras. They're all geocoded if you want to see them on a map. Learn more about it here:
The location for the winter months will be in front of the Recreation Center at 7th Avenue and 43rd Street. It will be there from 1:30 PM to 4 PM.
You can sign up for a library card, return books from the Bibliobus or any Brooklyn Library branch, take out books, and even take out videos and CDs.
Or just a sad, deserted form of transportation for a couple of stuffed animals?
The teddy bear looks more forlorn than the snowman despite his more comfortable placement.
There's a nice shiny chain holding them onto the sign.
What's your guess? Deserted? Lost? Stolen? Waiting for a pick-up?
Monday, November 16, 2009
And that's pronounced Konk. You know, in case you want to order some or whatever. I learned that abruptly when a 16 year old corrected my pronunciation while our class was reading _Lord of the Flies_.
I'm not even sure these are actual conch shells, but I figure they're close enough. Kind of like pronouncing Conch with a CH.
Thanks to Tony Giordano for sending in this photo and explanation about Our Lady of Perpetual Help on 5th Avenue. He explains why such a long-time piece of Sunset Park could still seem "out of place." Naturally, OLPH doesn't need much explanation as to how it adds to the community.
See Tony's explanation for his choice below:
My nomination is OLPH - Our Lady of Perpetual Help
The scale of the building is far beyond that of any other building in the community (well, I would have to leave out the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the public housing unit on 4th Avenue & 24th Street)...it is monumental in size and architecture. It is surrounded by extra wide sidewalks on two sides, setting it apart from the two and three story buildings that are nearby. It is designated as not just a church, but a basilica - making it a special structure in the Roman Catholic religion. I believe it may be the largest church structure on all of Long Island - installation of Bishops take place there. While there are over 150 cathedrals in the U.S. there are only 15 basilicas. There are over 20 organizations associated with the building - including a school, youth groups and ethnic groups meeting to support their mutual faith in their native languages.
OLPH certainly is unusual for any community and is certainly an important, crucial element of the community.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
from the article:
So where can one go for the real stuff? Coe fully contends that the best Chinese food he’s had outside of China can be found in Brooklyn’s own Sunset Park. He particularly recommends the dim sum at Pacificana (813 55th St. at 8th Ave.), soups at Lanzhou Hand Pulled Noodles (5924 8th Ave.), Cantonese dinner at Lucky Eight (5204 8th Ave.), and spicy cold rice noodles at Yun Nan Snacks (775 49th St.)
I'm currently reading Andrew Coe's Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese food in the United States (thanks to Eat It: The Brooklyn Food Blog), and so far it's very informative and entertaining. As any parent of young children knows, a book that can be read in a months-long string of ten minute chunklets is a gift. This one manages to be that book without feeling too fluffy or simple.
So anyway, this Andrew Coe thinks that Sunset's Chinese food is the best anywhere outside of China. Yay! Click on the Brooklyn Eagle link above to find out what his favorite meal in Sunset Park's Chinatown is.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Until last night, I'd never stopped in to Maria's just for drinks; it was always the lunch special, brunch special, or guacamole (yum!) that brought me there. Now I've been introduced to the nightlife - Maria's Bistro Mexicano style. And it was good.
We (five Sunset Park moms sans strollers, partners, kids) sat at the bar and had a grand old time. Troy (manager/barkeep) let us know that there was a seasonal margarita available: Pumpkin. None of us were too excited about that idea. Pumpkin? He said that it's made with real pumpkin puree. It didn't sound particularly appetizing, but a woman in the dining area ordered one - perhaps as a dessert drink? - and it came with some whipped cream. She seemed quite pleased with the result.
After we got our order of sangrias, beer, and wine, Troy gave us a shot of the pumpkin margarita to taste. And you know, it was really, really good. It wasn't super sweet, and it still tasted like a margarita - just with pumpkin. Somehow it went well together. One of our group got it as her second drink, and she said it was very tasty (she didn't have whipped cream). So, I suggest that if it sounds good to you, try it...perhaps as an after dinner drink.
The sangria is always a solid go-to choice, but if you're looking for something a little different, don't overlook the shelves behind the bar. There are three bottles with various tequila infusions. Blueberry, strawberry, and jalapeno tequila. Two of us got the jalapeno, and while the bite was slight, there was a nice flavor that followed the tequila. Troy said that when it was first made, the jalapeno flavor really screamed for attention. Maybe he'll make a new bottle soon for those who want some pain with their drinks.
With karaoke on Saturday nights (10 PM), excellent bar food (I saw fried avocado on the menu, but didn't try it), and lots of light and more serious drinks to choose from, Maria's will definitely help to keep Sunset Park warm this winter.
Friday, November 13, 2009
CB 7 is accepting donations of canned goods and non-perishable items for its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. All donations will benefit the food pantries serving the Community Board 7 District. Anyone who has seen the lines for the local food pantries knows that there is plenty of need.
Go through your cupboards and pantries to see if there are items you can donate. Another idea is to take a small amount of cash (if you order out once a week or go out for dinner/drinks, put in that amount) and go shopping specifically for the drive. You can also just give the money to the drive. Canned goods, boxed cereals, cake mixes, canned/bagged coffee, rice, pasta, baby food, juice, water, sweets and treats, sauces, and formula are all accepted.
Bring your donations to the CB 7 office at 4201 4th Avenue (corner of 43rd and 4th Avenue) by Friday, November 20th. Bring them early, so you don't forget!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
You can also read about Sunset Park's handball courts in The Brooklyn Ink.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The 72nd Precinct reports 11 reported robberies between October 26th and November 1st. That's a lot, in case you haven't been checking statistics. This past week there were an additional 5 robberies reported (see image above - click for a better view). Stay aware of your surroundings and call 911 immediately if you've been robbed or assaulted in any way.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Center for Family Life is hosting a cooking class called Cooking East to West - A three day course in the cuisine and cultures of the legendary spice route. Instruction will be by members of Emigre Gourmet, a group of Sunset Park women who are launching a cooperative catering business, together with chef instructors from Kingsborough Community College (which has an amazing beach in the summer available to all registered students, even those registered for just one class). It's a three-session course with food from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America & the Caribbean. Mmmmmm.
The three December classes (three hours each) cost $150, no small fee, but I'm sure a fantastic dinner is included. Like I said, it's a good opportunity to give or receive a gift - or to treat yourself. They all take place at the 345 43rd Street CFL location. Call 718-788-3500 for more information or to make reservations.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Usually, I really hate when someone messes with stuff that doesn't need improving; the most recent egregious example is the Demi Moore as Hester Prynne film that ends happily for Pearl, Hester AND Dimmesdale. Argh! Or maybe it was the watered-down, simpering film version of The Handmaid's Tale.
Anyway, the previous Jane Austen mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, sold an insane 600,000 copies. According to a publishing insider, "Whoa." Hopefully, that bodes well for the SS&SM this holiday season.
I tried to come up with some clever idea to inspire Sunset Park residents to get out there and learn something new about their neighborhood, but all I came up with was the following:
Send in your suggestion to email@example.com for a place in Sunset Park that seems like it doesn't fit in with its surroundings, but actually works and adds to the community. It could be a new place of business, an establish gathering place, something that truly surprised you about Sunset Park when you first learned about it. Pretty much anything that is unusual or abnormal (in a good way) in Sunset Park. Priority will be given to "entries" that have a photo and a detailed explanation as to why it was chosen. Deadline is this coming Saturday - that's November 14th, 2009!
Considering that the amount of commenters on this weblog is only about 2% of the unique visitors it gets, your chances are pretty good if you actually follow through with an entry. Free book! Whoooo! You can keep it to read or give it as a gift. It's brand new from the publisher!
Sara Gonzalez' office is collecting cards of support and happy wishes to send over to USA troops serving right now. Children are encouraged to create their own cards that wish soldiers well. You can bring them to the Community Council meeting at 7:30 PM meeting on Tuesday at the Marien Heim Houses on 45th and 4th. If you can't make that, I'm sure you can drop cards off at the offices of Sara Gonzalez on 56th Street at 5th Avenue. Call 718-439-9012 to double-check before bringing them over.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
But there are also the parents who try (and succeed) at being a touch more creative. They are the ones who set out deadly and delicious dip, smoked cheeses, rice krispies treats, Jim Beam, and Yuengling in a can. They let the kids play with a sitter while the parents can relax just a little more than usual. They are also the ones who have friends who make super-cool cakes and snacks.
At one such "He's Three!" birthday party this weekend, I got to eat art. Not only was the cake a super-cool construction site (see above), but another guest brought some anime characters masquerading as chocolate marshmallows and cream puffs. Anna the Red, of Anime Bento Lunch fame, was there - and she brought the adorable items pictured below. Sorry about the poor quality of the cream puff bunnies. They were incredibly cute and delicious. If no one had been looking, I would have eaten a baker's dozen of those marshmallow monsters. As it was, I just had one - yum!
The cream puffs were a big hit. My son only wanted to each the bunny heads, however. I had to eat the bodies. Too cute.
To read an interview with Anna the Red in Wired, click here.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I hadn't seen this article in the New York Times about higher levels of certain chemicals in Chinese drywall, but there is was on the Yahoo! site. Considering the high number of construction projects and renovation projects going on around Sunset Park, I figured it might be of interest to others.
from the article:
First, contact your home’s builder, who may be able to answer the question immediately. If that’s not an option or if your builder isn’t helpful, look for signs of the problem drywall, including a sulfuric (think rotten egg) smell in the home and corrosion (a blackening) of metal items like bathroom fixtures, electric socket copper wires, air-conditioner copper coils and copper pipes. (On its Web site, the Product Safety Commission has images of what such corrosion looks like as well as a Q&A on the subject within its broader drywall information center).
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Scandinavian and American pride in rippling color. It looks like this is Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the USA. The Finnish flag is missing, but there's room under Sweden.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
And a lovely view of the water. I like the complement of the blue sky and water to the yellow poles to the greenery on the left. Thanks to jillysp for uploading this to the BViB photo pool.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
If you want a cheap, tasty meal, order a soup and pancake from PD on 8th and 44th. $2 total and quite filling.
Here's a more detailed description from the blog Cherry Patter.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I happened to be cheering next to Mike's family when he showed up at the 5 mile marker. After a quick snuggle with his baby daughter and a supportive hug (and probably kiss, I tried not to invade their privacy too much) from his partner, Rachel, he ran on. I hear he completed the marathon in excellent form and met up with family and friends for some brunch in Manhattan.
Any other Sunset Park marathoners want to be featured? Send a marathon photo of yourself and a brief description of your run to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll take them through Wednesday.
Tabla Rasa Gallery is a wonderful venue that has hosted amazing shows over the last few years. The owners are friendly and enthusiastic about their space. The new show, opening on November 4th, features artists' works focusing on the human face. The works featured on the website and in the email are arresting. I'm looking forward to checking it out. The artists' reception is Wednesday at 5:30 PM, and the gallery is open to the public Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 PM to 5 PM.
from the email:
Opening at Tabla Rasa Gallery on Wednesday, November 4th, ABOUT FACE offers selections curated to turn around the viewer's expectations of the human face in art. Whether obscured, distorted, psychologically askew, or oversize in scale, none of the works resemble traditional portraiture.
Original contemporary paintings, photographs, sculptures and works on paper will be on display. Among the artists exhibiting in ABOUT FACE are Jeannine Bardo, Stephen Basso, Simon Dinnerstein, Anita Giraldo, Clarity Haynes, Kiseok Kim, Alexandra Limpert, Alex Pimienta, David Prifti, Stuart Shedletsky, and Larry Siegel.
The gallery is located two "D" or "N" express subway stops from Manhattan to the 36th Street Station plus one "R" stop to 45th Street.
Ample street parking is available.
Tabla Rasa Gallery is free and open to the public. There will be an artists’ reception on Wednesday, November 4th, from 5:30 until 8:30 pm. General gallery hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1:00 until 5:00 pm. ABOUT FACE remains on view through January 23, 2010.
Call 718.833.9100 for additional hours, events, and schedule updates.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I got to see the mayor go by in an excellent car. In fact, I was looking at the car and wondering who got to ride in it while he was going by. And then he was gone. I got to see the male leaders (elite?) go by. That was cool. There were a good number of costumes, including Eiffel Tower guy, lots of clowns, lots of sparkles and birthday hats, and lots of wigs.
The people close to me were some of the more enthusiastic. The girl below got to hand-slap about 50 or so marathoners. Many made it all the way across the lanes just to slap her hand. I don't know who enjoyed it more: the girl, the marathoners, or the girl's family. That was an encouraging and supportive way to cheer on the runners.
Another guy didn't behave quite as nicely. He crossed 4th Avenue (as some people must) with a younger sibling, but he didn't just cross. He decided it would be funny to run along with one of the runners and disrupt him. He did this when it was still pretty sparse, and he got caught.
Oops. If you want attention and a ticket, I suggest streaking at a Cyclones game.
There was also a great band on 4th and 42nd. You can follow the singer's twitter here.
You can check out lots of other great Sunset Park photos of the marathon here (around 25th) and here (mid-50's).