Sunday, November 30, 2008

Car Windows Smashed on Friday Night

On 44th Street, at least three ** now it's five ** cars had windows smashed, and at least one car had its contents searched for valuables, on Friday night. On our way up to the park on Saturday we saw two tinted windowed cars with smashed windows, and up the block there was one more car with a window smashed in. One long-time resident, who claimed a tinted-windowed car, said that it had happened over night. He didn't volunteer any information about theft, but another resident said that her car had definitely been searched for items after already losing a window.

This block has not seen too many vandalized cars over the last few years, at least not on the house side. On Wednesday early evening, some youths were seen hanging around the block and acting like they wanted to smash in a windshield, but they ran off when they saw someone on the sidewalk. It doesn't seem like they'd be the ones who took the time to return and break into cars to steal stuff, but you never know.

A vandal and a thief has to have a pretty good feeling that no one will see them/notice them to break into and rummage through three cars on a residential street. Just one more reason for all of us to be vigilant and to err on the side of caution. If you see suspicious activity, even if it seems innocuous or just "out of place" and not serious, call the precinct or 911. Really! I have it on good authority that the 72nd Precinct WANTS us to do that.

from the June Community Council Meeting:

...suspicious persons on your block, looking into cars, or behaving in strange ways can warrant a 911 call. A passed out person on the street or in the park warrants a 911 call. The incident where a woman was being used by teens as a shield could be a 911 call. 311 should be used for nuisances and quality of life issues. We can also call the Community Affairs office at 718-965-6326 to report QoL issues. The phone is attended until 10 PM.

This was communicated by Captain Simonetti, and now we have Captain Jesus Raul Pintos. I am sure that Captain Pintos feels the same way.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hellfire and Holiday Refreshments at Light Industry

Okay, so it's really Hellfire and Rhinestones, but I thought that the "holiday refreshments will be served" after the fiery description of the evenings offerings was very funny.

Light Industry is staying on the fringes of the season with their December 2nd presentation. On that Tuesday, at 8 PM, for $6 at the door, you can see items that celebrate the golden age of televangelism as curated by Leah Churner. Werner Herzog's God's Angry Man, Christmas in America (from which the photo comes), and footage of "piano man Jimmy Lee Swaggart, who styled himself as the antithesis of his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis, and became the subject of an Ozzy Osbourne song in 1988."

All that and holiday refreshments. Anyone want to babysit two under-twos?

See it all at Light Industry
55 33rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues), 3rd floor

Friday, November 28, 2008

TimeOut New York Has Sunset Park Singer in its "Sights"

Accompanied by several photos of her possessions (in a kitchen where only tea is brewed!), TONY highlights Shara Worden, the lead singer of My Brightest Diamond, and her eclectically decorated apartment. It also has a separate section with her reasons for living in Sunset Park. That part was, of course, what interested my most.

The main "pro" is what a lot of people who work and play in Manhattan say: Quicker trains than much of affordable Brooklyn (Bay Ridge, in Ms. Worden's case).

I'm confused by her con, however. She said that there isn't a lot of park space...hmmmm. I suppose it depends on where you live. But in the 30's, there is Green-Wood Cemetery, which makes for a fantastic walk. And lots of people use Sunset Park (the actual park) for jogging. The sidewalks on 41st and 44th are also utilized quite effectively for a challenging jog. Everyone from Orthodox men in full dress to a woman who runs in a jogging outfit complete with a winter coat to a group of four tween boys who regularly jog up and down the hill encouraging one of them that "Yes, he can!" make it up the hill.

That section also gives some space to places like Eclipse, La Fe, Sunset Park Diner and Donuts, and Melody Lanes (just for the bartender).

Check out the "Why Sunset Park?" section here.

Post-Thanksgiving Parking Job

The space shown above is often a dangerous choice for those with smaller cars. Somehow, drivers of larger cars feel like it's their duty to create a space where there truly is none by pushing smaller cars back a few feet. It happened to us once (see the first paragraph on the linked post).

This van decided to try that this morning with the smaller car behind it. However, the close proximity of the larger SUV next in line prevented any movement. I still don't think it would have been a legal space since the fire hydrant is only a few feet away from the van's bumper, but the traffic cops are pretty lenient with that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving Repossession

Gunset Park, a blog that showcases various scenes around Sunset Park, has a reality check (as if we need one!) of economic consequences here. From the looks of the paint job, this van has been left to fester more than once.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Food (or cash) to Give Thanks

The CB7 Food Drive ended yesterday (although they will accept donations until 2 PM today), and the drive collected about three boxes of food. I'm sure it would have been more if life and activities and the business of the ever-approaching holidays weren't tugging at the minutes and hours of our days. When I dropped stuff off, there wasn't even one box full, so I was glad to hear that three boxes had been filled.

The Center for Family Life will be receiving the CB7 boxes of food for its food pantry located at 5505 4th Avenue. 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.

Those of us who are not in line for food should feel thankful. I propose we show our thanks by sharing what we have. It sounds goofy and preachy, I know. And I'm preaching to myself as much as to anyone else. But passing by that line of people waiting for food outside Methodist Episcopal/Iglesia Luz del Mundo on 4th and 47th is deeply humbling, especially as a parent. They distribute food on Thursdays from 4:30 PM - 6 PM (or 5:30-7, depending on who is giving information), and there has been a block-long line before 4 PM for many Thursdays.

If you are able to give something during these queasy economic times, please do. Buy two boxes of pasta on sale and give one of them. Pick up a few cans of tuna or a few jars of tomato sauce to donate. How about black beans or baked beans? A bag of rice or some canned fruit? The next time you order in or go out to eat, spend that much on non-perishables to bring over to one of the above locations. Relatively painless to you, helpful to them. Unfortunately, I think the heightened need will be there for a long, long time.

You can search for pantries close to you for donations or receiving help here. The Food Bank of NYC is a great place to make a cash donation as well.

Here are some links to articles/posts about food pantries around Brooklyn and NYC:

Today's Daily News

NewYorkShitty's Great Post about the Soup Kitchen at the Greenpoint Reformed Church

from June Crain's NY Business

NYTimes Articles:

The Executive Director of the NYC Coalition Against Hunger Answers Questions

Pantries and Kitchens are Struggling - this was from a year ago!

Local (by way of Hong Kong) Food Maven Loves Mexican Madeleines

I ran across fine furious life - a food blog - by chance, and it is quite a treat. Not only are the photographs of food (and pet rabbits) wonderful, but the writing is crisp and entertaining, not saccharine or pretentious. The author, Michele Humes, writes for Serious Eats (both reviews and recipes), and she even has a YouTube Crepe Video that is as much fun to watch as it is to anticipate re-creating. There's also a project she co-authored called that provides ideas for meals focused on...Noodles. She lives "on the edge of Sunset Park" - so I'll claim her as a neighbor.

Her post yesterday about Mexican Madeleines is lovely (despite the commentary about Webster's spelling):

...long having eyed the lurid pink pastries with “skepticism” (I’ll never understand how you people can stand to spell it that way), I finally bought one of Jirasol’s. I took it home, bit into it (ok, you got me, I photographed it first), and promptly burst into tears. It’s not often that the cuisines of China and Mexico intersect, so I don’t know quite how this came to be, but the concha tasted exactly like the bolo bao, or pineapple bun, of my Hong Kong childhood.

That's just a sample. Check it out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunset Park Wants a Community Garden

Some Sunset Park residents want to grow stuff...lots of stuff. You know, things like vegetables and flowers and green things. Despite there being several very active members of the Sunset Park Garden Club, there is a desire and a need for a more typical community garden with plots and benches and composting. (I'm just naming stuff from other community gardens, but I don't know if the organizers actually want these things. It sounds good though!)

I believe there is a community garden on 4th Avenue and 65th (or is it 64th?). I've never actually seen it, but I'd guess it's by that dead end where the tree sellers set up under the overpass. However, those on the northern, lower-numbered streets want some garden exposure as well.

If you want to get involved on the ground floor, come to a meeting to help brainstorm and organize!

from the organizer:

Do you want a place to grow vegetables and flowers and play with the kids?
Are you interested in helping to beautify your neighborhood?
IF SO...Please join the Sunset Park Garden coalition on:

SATURDAY THE 29th at 10:30 AM
in front of the 9th AVENUE subway station (on 39th Street)

We will be discussing a plan of action for converting the empty lots near the 9th Avenue subway station into a community garden for the residents of Sunset Park.

This will be a meeting to plan the garden, and a chance to sign a petition to the MTA for use of the land.

Tell your friends!! Bring your kids!!! All are welcome!!

If you can't make the meeting but still want to help, please email with your name, address, phone number, any ideas or comments, and I will add your name to the petition list.

Also, if you have any information about the history of the empty lots next to the 9th Avenue subway station, that would be great...they apparently used to be a garden, and we would like to know why they were abandoned.

for more information, please email:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights Slam the Energy Scammers

I found this link on Brownstoner, and it shows how a group of truly concerned citizens can help out neighbors. The Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights put together a flier for the neighborhoods that have been attacked by energy savings scams of late. Is attacked too strong a word? This PDF flier gives a lot of handy tips and encouragement to those who run into the aggressive door-to-door representatives from IDT and other companies.

If you want background to this issue, do a quick search on Brooklynian (in the Greenwood/Sunset Park forum), Brownstoner, or Gowanus Lounge.

Green-Wood Cemetery Trolley Tour on Sunday

**Update** The trolley tour is sold out, but the Book Signing and Q&A still has space. Reservations are required!
Thanks to commenter lostinbrooklyn for the update.

This Sunday Green-Wood Cemetery hosts a guided trolley tour with Alexandra Kathryn Mosca. The title of the tour is Images of America: Green-Wood Cemetery, and it starts at 1 PM on Sunday. The trolley tour is $20, or $10 for Historic Fund members. Space is limited, so call for reservations. Meet at 1 PM inside the main entrance at 25th Street at 5th Avenue.

Please call 718.768.7300 for reservations.
From the brochure:

Join Alexandra Kathryn Mosca, author of the just-published Images of America: Green-Wood Cemetery, in a trolley tour honoring Green-Wood’s “Who’s Who” of 19th- and early 20th-century New York. Visit the monuments and learn about the fascinating lives of Henry Chadwick (“The Father of Baseball”), DeWitt Clinton (New York governor and main proponent of construction of the Erie Canal), Charles Feltman (inventor of the hot dog), Dr. Susan McKinney Steward (first African-American female doctor in New York) and more. Mosca, a regular contributor to magazines such as American Cemetery and American Funeral Director, is joined by Steven Estroff, Green-Wood’s manager of education and outreach. A question and answer session and author book signing follow the tour in Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel. Refreshments will be served. SPECIAL tour and book OFFER: Spend $30 and receive BOTH the trolley tour and a copy of Ms. Mosca’s book (a $20 value). (The offer is $20 for Historic Fund members.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CB 7 Meeting Tonight

Stop by the CB 7 meeting at 6:30 PM to keep updated on your neighborhood, and bring some non-perishable items while you're at it! The meeting is at 4201 4th Avenue (entrance on 43rd Street). The food drive ends on the 24th...bring items in NOW! Check here for items they especially need.

One topic will surely be the Brownstoner highlighted rezoning issues in Windsor Terrace (or is it Kensington? Check out the comments for opinions on THAT.).

Also, Aaron Brashear of CB 7 was on WNYC with Brian Lehrer today. The topic was safety issues at construction sites. Click here for access to the podcast. Since I am an avid Brian Lehrer listener, I was lucky enough to hear it. It's worth a listen.

The Good News: Lots of Sunset Park Restaurant Attention

Within the last year or so, Sunset has gotten loads of (mainly) positive attention where food is concerned. That's nothing new. However, I thought I'd post links to two of the most recent since one highlights a new(er) restaurant, Mai Thai, and the other has a long list of places that don't always show up as obvious choices for a quick, cheap lunch or a place to get a more substantial meal. Enjoy. (Image from Eating in Translation.)

Keep Your Eyes on Mai Thai - Village Voice
One personal caveat: As with many restaurants, people occasionally get ill from the food. I haven't been back or ordered from Mai Thai since a friend shared that both she and her husband were violently ill after eating vegetable dishes from Mai Thai. They think it was the sauce, but who knows. I'm sure I'll get over it eventually.

Eating in Translation: Sunset Park
The entry about L&Y Bakery is very informative regarding the most delicious method for eating unfamiliar fruit.

The Bad News: Disappointing Delivery from Maria's

We've had very positive experiences when we've gone to Maria's for lunch/dinner. Well, perhaps just positive. When they first opened here in Sunset, it was excellent. It was worth the extra dollar or four added to the items on the menu (compared to other local establishments). Now that they've been here more than a year, it seems that some things have been slipping. The brunch is still a darn good deal if you get a bloody mary or mimosa. The pozole with the tostada is an especially good deal.

What kept me going back, however, and what kept me ordering in from them, was the guacamole. The last three times we ordered delivery were guac disasters. The first (of the last three) time there was more onion than avocado. Really. It would have been good as a spread on a burger (veggie for me, thanks), but as guacamole? Just too crunchy and, well, oniony! Still, one terrible guac encounter didn't deter me from trying again. The next time we ordered in with Maria's, the guac was better, but not amazing. We also noticed that their prices had climbed considerably. I understand raising prices a little. Really, I do. But to add three (or was it four) dollars to the vegetable enchiladas? What? Also, my maduros were as dry as tostones. I think someone got mixed up in the kitchen. Well, okay, but at least the guac was tasty. So we ordered a third time (this is over about six weeks, by the way). The guacamole was back to being chunky onion salsa with some avocado added. The tostadas were still good, and the pork burrito was "really good," according to my husband.

The other problem that they have had recently is a staff attitude problem. Some formerly friendly, talkative, sociable staff members have become apathetic, error-prone, and - at least on the phone - hard of hearing. If there's no time to take my order, maybe there shouldn't be delivery. The only person we've still had positive interactions with has been the man who delivers. He's awesome. My many years of experience in a restaurant tell me that when staff start making lazy errors and stop caring about even pretending to be friendly, there's something wrong at the top. Perhaps the working conditions have changed dramatically? Perhaps some changes in management?

Three chances is all I'll give a place. Despite the past successes we've shared with Maria's, I think that will be it for their delivery.

Besides, the tacos and burritos are cheaper and just as tasty at Matamoros...and the Mole at Nuevo is really good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IDT is Still Out There

On Brooklynian and Gowanus Lounge, warnings have surfaced that there are still door-to-door reps from IDT (and perhaps other places) asking to see your ConEd bill so they can "save" you money. Be on the lookout, and if you have neighbors who are older, give them a heads-up as well.

Brooklynian Thread

Gowanus Lounge Update Posting

43rd Street is a Busy Place These Days

The north side of 43rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues is hopping lately. Of course, there is the on-going, pseudo-construction side where two family homes used to stand; they were torn down this spring. Since then, there hasn't been much activity. However, the little activity that there HAS been seems to have disturbed the neighbors. These two signs have appeared on the construction fence: one has a number to call with complaints, and the other is a two page "noise mitigation plan."

The site is pretty messy otherwise. There is even debris, like empty cans and dug up rocks, on the sidewalk outside the construction fence. The CAT backhoe (I think that's what it is) is sitting in the site, but there hasn't been a lot of progress with a foundation, from the looks of it.

Moving down the street, a building that sold several months ago is having its insides re-done.And the house at the end of the block (near 8th) is being demolished. It's a huge lot, comparatively, and they are taking the building down a lot more slowly than the houses at 713.
Busy block, and I'm surprised at the amount of activity considered the uneasy real estate/economic market these days. Good luck to them, and hopefully what emerges will be some well built and well renovated dwellings for a range of incomes. Too much to ask?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toy Swap in Bay Ridge

If you have some extra games or toys or puzzles that your kids no longer want (or that you don't want them to have...), consider bringing them to 80th Street and Ridge Boulevard for the Bay Ridge Toy Swap on Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. Oh! And it's a CHILD FREE event...adults only. Non-walkers are welcome strapped onto their parent, but otherwise, keep the kids at home. Besides, you don't want them seeing their goodies go, do you?

Here's the information from the organizer:

FREE HOLIDAY TOY SWAP IN BAY RIDGE Go Holiday Shopping for the kids in your life for FREE!

If you're like me, you're dreading holiday shopping this year because
of our country's (and perhaps your own) economic situation. Furthermore, if (like me) you have a child who is still young enough to not really know the difference between a brand-new toy and a gently-used one, you want to maximize this time and SAVE MONEY on holiday toy shopping.

My kid doesn't
really need new toys, he just needs different ones. And God knows, I have tons of toys he no longer plays with. So, let's swap!

WHERE: UNION CHURCH, 80th Street & Ridge Boulevard

WHEN: Saturday, November 22, 10am to 12pm

WHO is invited: YOU and any of your family/friends but NO KIDS.
(infants/babies that cannot walk or crawl okay) - you don't have to be from Bay Ridge

RSVP: Jenny Pollack, jennypollack@
WHAT to bring: GENTLY USED TOYS OR KID THINGS including...

* Toys/games should be in good shape, no pieces missing (or as few as
* Kids' books/CDs & DVDs

* Big items like bikes, scooters and dollhouses okay
* Stuffed animals/puzzles/ board games

* Art supplies, crafts stuff still in good shape

Please bring something if you plan to shop


* We'll be assigning a "coupon" or ticket value to the stuff you bring
so the more you bring the more "currency" you have to shop with.
* Any toys left over we'll donate to charity or a local church in Bay
* Personal request: does anyone have the board games "Caribou" or
"Hi-Ho Cherrio" that they're kids are done with? (They're on my son's wish list :-)

Just to reiterate - NO KIDS INVITED - they'll just go nuts and ruin our free shopping fun. Serious, grown-up, shopper/donaters welcome.

Touring Walkers in Sunset Park

I would have loved to attend this walking tour of Sunset Park, but several circumstances beyond my control prevented it. However, on a quick walk through the park, I did spy the lucky folks who were able to learn about WPA buildings, the first coops in New York City, and the architectural gems that are sprinkled (quite liberally, I think) throughout our neighborhood.

The group looked chilly, but interested in what Joe Svehlak, the guide, had to say. Hopefully there will be another walking tour of SP in the future. If anyone went on the tour, I'd love to hear a review/rundown!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crafty Moms in Sunset Park

There are a heck of a lot of people who are much more creative than I am around here. And I don't mean creative in dressing or facial art or language use. I mean truly creative and talented. A couple of local moms have "stores" on, and their handmade items are really incredible.

In the Sloanester store there are baby/toddler hats, neckwarmers, something called a Kumano Felted Vessel (it's beautiful, but I've never seen one before), some fingerless gloves, and some very cool felted necklaces (one is featured here in a photo). Prices range from $3 for a handknit bracelet to $99 for the Kumano Felted Vessel.

Susan, the creator of the above items, describes her Etsy store on the homepage:

"All items are handmade in Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A., using sustainable practices and materials. Made in a smoke-free environment. I like making one of a kind pieces so each one is unique."

Another Etsy store from a Sunset Park mom is Jack Sprat, focused mainly on clothes for boys, although other items show up once in a while. Items currently in the store include a houndstooth shirt (featured in the photo), a pair of olive kangaroo-pocket pants, and paper and thread collages for a child's room. Prices range from $32 to $75.

The store is described on the homepage:

"Jack Sprat seeks to outfit little fellows with dash and spunk. Each garment is thoughtfully crafted to be both smart and comfortable. New garments will continue to appear throughout the fall/winter season."

So, if you're looking for gifts or a splurge for yourself, check out the stores your neighbors have set up on Etsy. You will be supporting a local parent, as well as purchasing a one-of-a-kind item.

Sunset Park Gets World's ONLY Dedicated AIDS Vaccine Lab

We're edgy. The Brooklyn Army Terminal is the new home to a $17 million lab: The AIDS Vaccine Design and Development Laboratory. Read more about it from NY1 and The New York Times.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Walking Tour of Sunset Park

Have some time on Sunday? Have an extra $10-$13 on you? This sounds like an excellent opportunity to get to know the neighborhood's history and culture (and get a little exercise in).

Thanks to Kristen Goode, Brooklyn's connection at , for sending this my way...I'd have had no idea otherwise!

Brooklyn local, Joe Svehlak, takes a look at Sunset Park's historic roots and many diverse ethnic groups. Sunday, 2 PM to 4:30 PM. The tour begins at the NE corner of 43rd Street and 4th Avenue. Call 718-522-7425* for more information and for reservations.

Check out the website for a full description.

* An anonymous commenter said that the best number to call is 718-788-8500, extension 217, and you can find that on the website above.

Demonstration Against Discrimination at Sunset Park Employer

According to this article in the Brooklyn Eagle, there will be a demonstration at the distribution center for Agriprocessors Inc., which is run by Sholom Rubashkin. The article states, "Sholom Rubashkin was arrested Oct. 30 on charges relating to the gross mistreatment of in excess of “300 illegal immigrant workers,” according to the New York Times." The demonstration will be held on Sunday, November 16th at 3 PM. Agriprocessors is at 5600 1st Avenue.

For more information about the Agriprocessors and Rubashikin demonstration, please contact the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn at (718) 624-5466.

El Pequeno Artista Brings Back Movies for Kids

Just in time for the cold or rainy or sleety weather, El Pequeno Artista (20th Street at 5th Avenue) brings back its movie time with titles sure to please both kids and their parents/caretakers. It starts tomorrow (Friday) at 5:15 PM. Call 718-965-1406 for more information or for the title shown this week.

from the email:

On a cold, slow, Friday afternoon, what's better than bringing kids to an old-fashioned projector screen movie? Come join the fun and rediscover the magic of the movies! Every Friday at 5:15 p.m. starting this week, El Pequeno Artista presents classics & new, blockbusters or independent children's movies at its 20th St. studio. $6 per person - one juice box included per child. Below you will find a few of the titles to be shown - many more coming up! Feel free to bring snacks for your kids or/and a bite or drink for adults. Tables are available to eat while you watch!

...and more!

Ages: Depends on the movie - most of our selections will range between infant and 8 years of age.

Location: El Pequeno Artista, 249 20th Street @ 5th Avenue.

Subway: R train to Prospect Avenue or 23rd Street. The 5th Avenue bus stops a block and a half away.

Cost: $6 per person. One juice box per child included!

Hasta Nunca Time Warner Cable

Last week, I think it was last Thursday at about 2:30 PM, our cable went out. NY1's anchor-person just froze mid-word, and the other channels were a dirty slate color with no action. We tried the usual tricks: turning off the boob-tube, shutting the whole system down, checking out the set-up options, watching the re-boot screen and hoping the little buttons that show progress would light up...they didn't.

All that didn't work, so we broke down and called Time-Warner Customer Service. After several questions and attempts to get us to use the "automated system" to solve the problem, the person at the other end of the line (that sounded so far away it could not have been local) said that we needed to get another "box" to fix what was ailing our connection.

My husband went to the TWC office down on 5th Avenue in the 20's (woohoo! super-local!) and exchanged our five-year-old TW box for a brand new one. Nothing changed. Same problems, same results to all the "tricks."

Instead of television, we watched Edith Piaf struggle with fame in "La Vie en Rose" - excellent film, by the way - and we eventually got through to TWC customer service again. This time, the representative said that there was no cable signal coming from (to?) our site. He said it wasn't the box, and that we probably hadn't needed to exchange the old one. Aggravating, no? Basically, the customer service was non-existent, and the people on the phone were less than helpful or sympathetic. I mean, fewer customers and more people who use the automated system = fewer jobs in TWC customer service, doesn't it? You'd think the reps would be a little more eager to be helpful. At least that's what I'd think.

So, this weekend, we made the leap. We cancelled our cable, and we bought an antenna (although it looks more like an iBook). The antenna was $59, so in the end we'll be saving a lot of money. I, however, am also happy about breaking the addiction to brain-deadening shows like Curb Appeal, Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, How Do I Look?, and re-runs of CSI and Charmed that I've already seen twice. I'd rarely watch an entire show, and it often turned into background noise for cooking or cleaning up. Having these shows on also made grading papers feel less like work, but it would make the "feels less like work" take a lot longer.

Now I can settle into my less brain-numbing addiction to Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate. The channels we get still take care of the basic television needs like some reality (Amazing Race) without giving us too much (seeing Kat Cora beat out a challenger chef AGAIN) about topics my husband always wonders why I care about. We don't own a home, so why watch those renovation shows? I am the least fashionable person within an eight mile radius, so why do I care about how someone from Chicago spends $5000 on clothes in NYC? We purposely kept our wedding (relatively) simple (go City Hall!), so why do I want to watch people get married who needed a wedding coordinator to make it happen?

I don't know. I have a problem, and admitting it is the first step. However, now I don't need to worry so much about it! We only get ten or so channels, and two of them aren't even real channels; they just give running weather and news and other fun facts. Without the monthly cable bill, we save cash. And without the cable, I save brain cells and time.

I highly recommend the change to those who are still cable/satellite subscribers. So far - several whole days - it's been lovely. Of course, my husband has already talked about satellite, but I'm hoping we stick with the simplicity of truly basic television. Maybe I can visit someone with cable to see a re-run of Iron Chef America or What Not to Wear?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2nd to last Farmer's Market Saturday will be a Party

from Ana, the market manager for the Sunset Park market:

The farmer's market is officially ending on 11/22/08. This upcoming Saturday, 11/15, we're having an end of the market celebration with music, food demonstrations, and games for senior citizens and WIC recipients to win Health Bucks!

Health Bucks are $2 coupons that senior citizens and WIC recipients can use to buy fruits or vegetables. Come in the morning for Health Bucks games, and in the afternoon for music and food demonstrations.

The market is on 4th Avenue between 59th and 60th Street, and runs from 8:00AM to 3:00PM.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunset Park Town Hall Meeting Postponed

The November 12th Town Hall meeting with the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors will be rescheduled; a new date will be announced when it becomes available.

CB 7 Thanksgiving Food Drive to Benefit Local Food Pantries

Now through Monday, November 24th, Community Board 7 is accepting canned goods and non-perishable food items at its office at 4201 4th Avenue - the entrance is on 43rd Street. Suggested items include:

All sorts of canned goods, boxed cereals, cookies, cake mix, canned/bagged (sealed) coffee, rice, pasta, baby food, formula, juice, water. All donations will benefit food pantries serving the CB 7 District; this includes Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace.

If you wish to make a monetary donation, please call the CB 7 office at 718-854-0003 or email for more information.

Consider buying two of a few items you are purchasing for yourself the next time you visit a supermarket, then drop the extras at the CB 7 office. If you shop at the 5th Avenue Key Food, you're just a block and a half away from the office...what could be easier?

Monday, November 10, 2008

St. Agatha's Holiday Fair wants Vendors!

St. Agatha's, located at 48th Street and 7th Avenue, will hold its Annual Holiday Fair on December 7, 2008 from 9 AM to 3 PM. Items for sale include both new and used items, some handmade items, as well as food and beverages. They are looking for more vendors, so if you make something cool or have items to sell, rent a table!

A table at the one day event costs $25. Please call 718-435-3137 to reserve a table and for more information.

Columbia has an Eye on Brooklyn and Sunset Park

Columbia's School of Journalism has an on-line blog with reporters with "beats" all over our fair borough. The Brooklyn Ink publishes stories on an irregular basis, but it has some interesting photos and articles about items that don't usually receive much attention.

One such article is "The Lost Youth of Sunset Park." One of the students highlighted in the article complains that his experience at FDR High School (one of the most racially diverse high schools in the borough) gave him a negative impression of education due to jokes and racially motivated incidents. There isn't any follow-up about his claims in the article, but either way, the 17 year-old hangs out in a local internet cafe in our Chinatown almost every day instead of going to school. Check out the article here.

Another article about our area brings up a juxtaposition we see often enough around the way: A Respectable Tenant - in this case, a church, next door to a Place of Ill Repute - in this case, a porn shop. "Love Thy Neighbor?" talks about the difficulties of trying to worship a higher being while others take care of worship using alternate methods. Read more here.

I'm sure there is more to come, so check back with The Brooklyn Ink once in a while.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Photos from the November 1st Celebration at the Sunset Park Library

The Sunset Park Library hosted a celebration of Mexican and Chinese traditions on November 1st. These photos are courtesy of a local parent, mjording, and her flickr account. Thanks Cindy!

From these photos, and many more on the flickr stream, it looks like it was a fantastic celebration. The costumes and make-up are superb!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors Hosts Town Hall Meeting

Are you concerned about the changes new construction and renovations are making to Sunset Park? If so, come to a neighborhood town hall meeting to voice your concern and find out more.

from an email from SPAN:

SPAN invites you to the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors Town Hall meeting!

When: Wednesday, November 12th, from 6 to 9 PM
Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 411 46 Street, entrance on 4th Avenue.
Why: Sunset Park is in the race for its survival! Changes in the zoning of Sunset Park threaten to bring us high rise, luxury condos and much higher rents.

We will be showing a short film about the rezoning of Harlem and selling refreshments.
Childcare is available.

Tabla Rasa Opens a New Show: Nobis Solo

Beginning November 12 through January 31, 2009, Nobis Solo will be showing at Tabla Rasa Gallery. Gallery hours are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from Noon to 5 PM. Call 718-833-9100 to check on event and schedule updates.

The Meet the Artists Reception is on Wednesday, November 12th from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM.
Tabla Rasa Gallery is located at 224 48th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Free Kittens

A neighbor has several kittens with which she needs to part ways. They are free - but be warned that she is looking for people who will be responsible and kind and loving to the kittens. If you're interested, email your contact information including a working phone number to and I will pass it along.

St. Jacobi Hosts Concert for the Public on November 9th

The final St. Jacobi concert before their Christmas concert will be November 9th at 4 PM. It will feature Michiyo Tanaka and the Praise in the Wind Singers. St. Jacobi is on 4th Avenue at 54th Street, and the concerts are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors Meeting this Saturday

The next SPAN meeting is this Saturday at 11 AM. The meeting will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church on 4th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.

On the agenda: Planning for the November 12th Sunset Park Town Hall Meeting.

Get involved in neighborhood issues including fair housing and development concerns. Meetings occur once every two weeks at the above time and place.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Forgot Your Election District and/or Polling Place?

Check on the district here:

Check on your polling place here:

What You See in Sunset Park: Vote Truck

This car from Michigan visited Sunset Park to remind us to VOTE. It's pretty cool, but wouldn't it be more useful in Michigan than here? Either way, do make time today to cast a ballot - or flick a switch - so that you can complain when things don't go your way. If you're eligible to register to vote but don't, you really can't complain when you don't like how things are going. I prize my right to complain...almost as much as my right to vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Sunset Parker Bemoans Gentrification

A blog called Fuzzy Logic has a post about the (recent?) changes in SP. While she calls Bay Ridge "Chinese-Ruled" (news to me) and she states that One Sunset Park is the first condo building starting up (check out 7th and 8th Avenues in the high 40's and 50's), her main concern is one that a lot of us probably struggle with when we see UHauls chugging around looking for parking (or, more recently, holding a parking spot with trash cans...a big NO NO according to the many residents who loudly voiced their annoyance).

from the blog:

In a few years, the best taco shops and authentic Brooklyn pizza shops will be gone, replaced by chains and migrating hipsters from Williamsburg. Not to sound bitter, 'coz we sure can use a descent coffee shop and less 99c store... but I don't want to trade ma & pa's shops for yet another generic-face-lift-blah store. Oy, the dilemma!

I don't think she'll have to wait a few years for there to be severe changes (although Johnny's isn't going anywhere)...and I'm not so sure we'll be getting any "decent" coffee shops any time soon (La Gran Via is much more than decent anyway), but there is a definite chance that we'll be losing more and more stores to landlords' desires to raise rents...I know of very few store fronts that have been filled recently. Only 5th Avenue seems to be making any headway, and that takes a long, long time. 8th, 7th, and 6th all have plenty of rental space for small business to snap up, but there aren't any takers.

Light Industry Shakes Things Up With Friday/Sunday Shows

After many, many Tuesdays of culture for Industry City, Light Industry is adding new nights to its schedule. Hallowe'en was the first of the Friday evening offerings, and this Friday and Sunday continue the schedule. Tickets, as always, are $6 at the 55 33rd Street door. Go up to the third floor!

On Friday, November 7th, at 8 PM, check out Films by Matt McCormick - presented by...Matt McCormick! The newest offering is Light Tiger Eye, but also on view will be The Problem with Machines that Communicate and clips from McCormick's on-going installation project Future So Bright.

On Sunday, November 9th, also at 8 PM, you can catch Too Early, Too Late by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. The website includes a detailed description, including this: The film is thus a diptych. One, France. Two, Egypt. No actors, not even characters, especially not extras. If there is an actor in Too Early, Too Late, it's the landscape.

It's great to see that LI has been enough of a success to add more dates to their calendar. Perhaps the new dates will help bring out new crowds as well.