Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en in Sunset Park

Thanks to the weather, there were loads of kids (and adults) out trick or treating all over 5th Avenue on Hallowe'en. I saw the first few walking down my street at about Noon. A little early, I say. We attended a most excellent kiddie party at 4 PM and did a little 5th Avenue trick-or-treating on the way and a little door-to-door trick or treating afterward. I didn't get a ton of good photos, but some houses really had great set-ups. (If you have any, feel free to send them along or add them to the BViB photo pool on flickr.) Here are a couple.

Love the little Charlie Brown.

Excellent use of autumnal resources.

This collection was even more fun in person. There is a spider crawling out of the right-hand pumpkin. And I love the simplicity of the left-hand exhibit.

There were some pretty impressive costumes floating around. I saw a few of that scary guy who wears the potato sack head. I think it's from some horror movie. Freddy K. showed up a couple of times. That Scream ghost thing hasn't gotten old yet. Lots of princesses and witches and pirates looking wonderful as always. I also saw a Sesame Street Yip Yip BRRRIINNNGGG alien in hot pink walking down 47th Street. That was really cool. It stopped my toddler cold in his tracks. I couldn't grab the camera fast enough and away s/he went. *

*Thanks to Josh and Janet; they managed to snap a photo of this one!

We also saw the most adorable mustached family. So fun. The toddler looked just like the baby in the Addams Family.

Now, bought costumes are fun - and they save parents like me from the last minute idea to throw a pumpkin bag over the kid's head and call her dressed. Yes, I saw this. And whatever, at least there was some effort. Whether you got your costume off Amazon, in Target, from Mapi's, at Party Party, or from the PSP list, it's done for you. And the results can be very cute.

However, there are also those parents (and we saw a lot of them this year!) who put in the extra effort. Here are two of my favorites.

This young man is a robot, and he even has his own (recycled) remote control. His talented dad made this costume from various materials, and it came out pretty darn nicely.

Look! Turbo boosters! I mean, c'mon. How awesome are Poland Spring bottles (I think that's what they are) spray-painted silver as turbo boosters? Very.

This young lady is a lovely mushroom (Amanita Muscaria, if you must know). These types show up frequently in European fairy tales - usually with some animal waiting out the rain under them. But they also show up in Mario Brothers. Or Super Mario. One of the ones I didn't play because I was still working on Ms. Pacman or Frogger. The cap is homemade and quite sturdy. It came off once or twice, but it still looked amazing.

I asked these two if they were going to a party, but they said no. They were just taking a child trick-or-treating and wanted to get dressed up. Don't they look great?

Happy Hallowe'en!

Happy Hallowe'en

IMG_6003, originally uploaded by bestviewinbrooklyn.

Today the kids will travel up and down 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue (and stop at the occasional decorated house) collecting treats from participating stores.

If anyone wants to hand out candy today, don't expect kids to ring doorbells. Go out on your stoop (or out your coop's door) around 3 PM - yes, that early - and call out "Trick or Treat!" as little kids go by in costume. Very few people expected to be given treats from houses the last few years. It's a lot of fun to see the kids and a great way to meet your fellow Sunset Park neighbors.

Brooklyn Homebrew: Something to Check Out While Waiting for Your "New Favorite Place"

Update: For more detailed information about Brooklyn Homebrew, see Sunset Park Chronicled's article (which was first featured in Brooklyn Based!)
************** *************** ***************** ******************* ******************
Looking for a cold-weather hobby while you hibernate? Want to set up someone you know with a small-scale brewery for the holidays? Well, for the next couple of months you'll be able to buy hops, equipment, and complete kits for brewing beer or wine - right here in Sunset Park.

Brooklyn Homebrew has been on 56th Street, between 4th and 5th Avenues for about four months now. The owners, Benjamin and Danielle, have been quietly selling their brewing products from a subtle spot in Sunset Park; however, they hope to move to a Gowanus location in early 2010. They have on-line ordering set-up as well...but it's more fun to browse and buy.

Get over there and help them lighten their load prior to moving. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 7 PM.

from their website:

Brooklyn Homebrew hopes to introduce and educate a new generation of people to brewing beer at home. We will establish an ongoing dialogue with our customers in an effort to better serve them. Most importantly, we will make the establishment as environmentally friendly as possible, acknowledging the importance of reducing our carbon footprint as well as reducing waste and water consumption.

Brooklyn Homebrew
456 56th Street, #2
Brooklyn, NY
718 309 4267

Friday, October 30, 2009

Barrelhouse Brooklyn Wants to Be in Sunset Park

So yesterday I posted up a teaser about a potential new drinking hole in Sunset Park. Confirmation came more quickly than I thought, so the tease wasn't too unbearable for those who are interested.

Here's the information I have so far:

Two Sunset Park residents have decided to open up an establishment called Barrelhouse Brooklyn right here. The location has yet to be decided, and some of the financing has yet to be secured. Sunset Park is not the easiest place to open a new establishment, but this is where they'd like to be. Judging from the flurry of responses yesterday, there is definite interest in a bar with interesting drink mixes and occasional music.

The optimistic plan is to secure financing by the end of December, find a lease in January, renovate and then open up as soon as possible after that. Realistically, Steven, one of the hopeful bar-makers, is saying they'd love to be open by summer. They are looking at spaces between 4th and 8th Avenues and 40th to 50th Streets. Know of a viable option?

If you want to keep up with the progress and/or give them encouragement and suggestions, take a look at their Twitter page and the Barrelhouse website. You can also check out the rough draft of their cocktails and mixed drinks.

I know that there are plenty of places to grab a drink in Sunset Park. With the karaoke bars and Mexican restaurants, there is no shortage. Don't forget places like the Soccer Tavern on 60th and 8th and Irish Haven on 57th and 4th. They are great for a beer. However, I think that a place that is a little more "date night" or that appeals to a different demographic as more than "let's try it out" - could help keep people in the neighborhood for dinner or bring more people to the neighborhood to spend money in the restaurants. No need to travel 5th Avenue to Bay Ridge or Greenwood Heights. Stay in Sunset Park! (Which many of us do anyway - just not in the bars.) Other than hoping this new establishment will be a good neighbor, my main concern will be: How is the cider?

NYC Marathon this Weekend!

We're lucky in Sunset Park where marathon watching is concerned. The leaders come by early enough that you can go pick up a bagel at Sunset Bagels, a cafe con leche at Gran Via, and then walk down to 4th Avenue to check out how they're doing. After an hour or so of cheering on the faster folks, you can stop over to Eclipse or International or Georges for some Sunday vittles only to return to cheer on the slower folks (who still have the energy to smile and/or wave back). Also, the people in costume still have the costumes when they get to us.


Check out some great info about the entire route here.

More Excellent Historical Photos from Another Sunset Park Blog

As much as I love today's Sunset Park, the old stuff sure is cool. Check out these four photos on Sunset Parkour, a new Sunset blog.

Sunset Park Chronicled found these as well and went the extra step to ask old-timers about the elevated train. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Get Ready to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

For all you crazy Sunset drinkers and lovers of jazz, it's time to prove you mean what you say. Those who clamor for a venue to drink in a relaxed atmosphere - perhaps while listening to some music that doesn't come from a jukebox - you soon may have your chance.

New Local Daycare from a Sunset Park Parent

Wendy Parraga, a Sunset Park mom, has started up a NYS registered family day-care. She has an amazing space with a structured and creative curriculum set-up; you can see it here. Ages 2-4.5 are accepted, and children need to be at least 3/4 of the way to being potty-trained. (I'm guessing that means day-time trained!) Sunflowers Family Day Care opens at 8 AM and has dismissal at 6 PM, so there is a good amount of flexibility. I don't know if there is a "late-pick-up" or "early-drop-off" policy, but one could always ask. The 57th Street location is relatively convenient to the 59th Street express stop for parents who work outside of the neighborhood. See the contact information below.

from Wendy Parraga's message to Sunset Park Parents:

As a mother of an intelligent and very verbally expressive child, I was searching the neighborhood for a suitable daycare or nursery school. i wanted a clean, above-ground space with a backyard, plenty of kid friendly materials, and most importantly caring, nurturing, qualified, energetic teachers with up-to-date teaching practices. Unfortunately, there was no space for my child in the daycare centers I found suitable in the neighborhood.
As an education grad student with a career in education, I truly believe the early years are extremely important. I am dedicated to my young son and to young children. I saw a need for early childhood education services in this neighborhood and I knew I was not the only one seeing this need.

If you are interested and would like more information, please visit or call 347-210-1091 and ask for Wendy. We have part-time (2/3 days a week with 3, 4, 6, or 10 hours) or 5 days with 3, 4, 6, or 10 hours a day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Woodpecker

Woodpecker, originally uploaded by veesvision.

Vanessa at veesvision has quite the eye - and the quick click. I love this.

CB 7 Thanksgiving Food Drive

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. Canned goods, boxed cereals, cake mixes, canned/bagged coffee, rice, pasta, baby food, juice, water, sweets and treats, sauces, peanut butter, and baby 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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Billy

Police Horse 2, originally uploaded by veesvision.

Occasionally we can hear the clop-clop of a horse going up our street. It always brings the kids to the window. Yesterday, we got to meet this officer and his horse, as did veesvision, in person. Both were very friendly.

I don't know about you all, but I think the change to foot patrols and those mini-carts in the park is hugely positive. The image of police driving through the park is pretty negative (a la Do the Right Thing), and it doesn't encourage interaction or safety for pedestrians.

Besides, being the child-centric sort of resident that I am, those carts are a constant source of curiosity for my toddler. The horse was all he talked about for the rest of the day.

From Gowanus to Sunset

It's not a great day for a long walk, so take a few minutes to peruse these photos from a recent walkabout on the photo blog On An Empty Street.

Hallowe'en Countdown

This house never disappoints: 6th Avenue between 44th and 45th.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Garden Jockey and Friends

This is an interesting side garden on 49th (is it 49th?) close to 8th Avenue. It serves as parking and refuge. You've got swans, Little Boy Blue, a lawn jockey, and perhaps a depressed, drunk Charlie Chaplin (help me out here) leaning on a lampost. This is only in addition to lots of landscaping and flowers. It's a lovely garden. The postal carrier stopped when he say me snapping a photo; he agreed it was worth a look every day he passed.

I love that there are several yards like this around Sunset Park. In the low 40's there are several huge lawns that have remained empty of buildings as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gang Forum Gets an Audience, but Not Enough of the Intended One

Sunset Park Chronicled has an excellent run-down of how the Gang Awareness Forum, hosted by the 72nd Precinct, went.

I'll use this as a reminder that anyone who sees gang graffiti should call 311 to report it for clean-up. The huge gang graffiti at the front of the 44th entrance to the park last year was painted over in record time. However, lesser known groups' graffiti remains for months. If you see graffiti that has a single line through it, chances are that's one group "canceling out" another's tag. The more often we call in graffiti like that (or all graffiti, really), the less often it will happen in the long-run.

What You See in Sunset Park: Juggling

IMG_5945, originally uploaded by bestviewinbrooklyn.

He was practicing some juggling after arriving on his swivel-board. (Is that what those two-part boards are called?)

It made for a very interesting spectacle for an almost three-year-old and his mother.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Free Weekend Events - Sunday now added.

Sunday Added: I wanted to make sure this was happening on Sunday. The usual clean-uppers are meeting on Sunday at 9:30 AM in front of the Rec Center. It will be one of the last of the year, so if you need to work on your Karma or if you've just missed the last few, go this week. Sunday looks to be lovely.

Saturday the 24th of October is a busy one despite the forecast of rain.

For the kids: From Noon to 4 PM the annual HealthPlus sponsored Hallowe'en celebration will be going on at the Rec Center (7th Avenue and 41st). This year, there will be a Toddler Pumpkin Patch just for children ages 2-5. It's free, crowded, cute, and fun.

For the Freegans and their supporters:

The Very, Very Free Market that has been around the flagpole area several times now is moving indoors this time around. It will be held at 379 47th Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues) from 2 PM to 6 PM. See below for more details, but here's the gist: You can bring items you no longer want/need, you can take items you really do want/need. You can bring literature about your community group as well. Everything is FREE; no money is exchanged. Any items left over at the end are brought to the Salvation Army over on 9th Avenue (I think, someone correct me in comments if that's wrong.).

from the email:




Enter at 379 47TH St (between 3rd & 4th Avenues)

Make new friends! Meet community members, activists, and group leaders!! Bring along literature about your pet cause.

EXPLANATION: This is a space for community activists, groups and members to draw strength from one another's skills, and surplus or rescued resources. Neighbors meet neighbors; strangers make friends; friends share ideas, connections and conventions; and skilled practitioners of arts, crafts, trades, and professions can share critical skills and know-how, impart training, and offer free services that empower or save money.

EVERYTHING everyone brings, or takes, is FREE, and that may include electronics, clothes, toys, furniture, food, grain, condiments, spices, (YOU fill in the blanks!)

Sorry, no drop-offs or pick-ups. We'd rather see you than your stuff :-) Intended primarily to serve the local community, but open to all. Newly unemployed or chronically homeless? A Special Welcome 2 u!
If you need to take stuff home, come prepared with sturdy bags.


Best access: R train to 45 St; walk up 2 blocks on 4th Ave; right on 47th St.

(If you missed this one, join us again 3rd Saturdays 11-21 & 12-19, same time, same place)

Breaking News: 99 Cent Grocery Coming to 6th Avenue

Signs like the one above are nothing new in Sunset Park. This one promises big things for the future of 49th Street. It's sad - for many reasons - when a place like Ho Ho Cleaners has to leave, but places that survive by taking in WIC vouchers and EBT thrive. It says a lot about where there's money to be made, for one. Also, these "groceries" don't actually provide groceries. Take a peek into a few of the 8th Avenue shops (including the one that replaced Ho Ho), and you see mountains of two things: Pampers Baby Dry diapers and Enfamil or Similac formula. I guess it's quite the profit margin. Or something. (According to a friend, she was approached about using her WIC and EBT benefits to purchase diapers and formula - which she didn't need. She would have been given half their cost in cash. No idea how that would work, but maybe they sell the diapers on eBay or something. But that's just my cynical speculation at work.)

So anyway, the long empty space on 6th Avenue and 45th is getting a new occupant. This is a catch-all shoppe. The new awning has 99 cents and wholesale and retail and WIC and Food Stamps and pictures of milk and Pampers and other items in English, Spanish, and Chinese all over it.

They were also changing the awning from KANG BAO to KING BAO. Apparently there was an error made in the printing. For some reason, the guy working on the A also started peeling off the K.

This new grocery is filling a space that has been empty for years. Another grocery was setting up, but never opened. The people gathered around were pretty excited about the activity, and a woman told me that they were opening next month. The man next to her said, "Maybe sooner!" a few times. When he saw me taking photos, he also said, "See? They're taking pictures already. See?" Nice to see some enthusiasm.

I can't imagine this longtime Grocery and Deli is too excited about it. However, if the new place reflects its 8th Avenue cousins, there shouldn't be too much competition. I can only wish each of them lots of luck. It's good to have something in that corner location anyway. Empty storefronts are never a good neighbor.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Tired Bones

44th , originally uploaded by bestviewinbrooklyn.

Haven't we all felt like what this skeleton looks like after a long day? This is from 44th Street between 4th and 5th. This house decorates every year, but they decided to go even further with orange trim on the gates this year.

McBrooklyn Has Where to Get a Flu Shot Information

McBrooklyn has lots of useful information. Once in a while there will be a Brooklyn Headhunter post to help people hook up with jobs. And today there's a post about how to hook up with a flu shot if you need one. Check it out.

What's Old is New Again: San Lucas Returns to 7th Avenue

They will try to keep the "as" from Las Cazuelas as San Lucas goes up. Desayunos Mexicanos are $4 - and the San Lucas name will hopefully help business return as it returns.

The men putting up the new name seemed optimistic and very happy that it would be called San Lucas once again. A woman I ran into commented that the kitchen is always going, even if the dining room looks empty. It's a tough corner. It competes with 8th Avenue and 5th Avenue, and it's not particularly close to a train.

Good luck to them.

Eating in Translation Takes On The NYT

If you've never checked out the food blog Eating in Translation, do it now. The author, Dave Cook, has been a frequent visitor to Sunset Park's food havens. The blog's wide range of food types in price, geography, and culture makes it a worthy read for anyone. A recent trip by the author to Sunset Park is highlighted in Wednesday's New York Times article about street vendors.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Lines and Circles

Urban Existence, originally uploaded by josephx.

Okay, so this is not quite IN Sunset Park, but I love this photograph. And it's close - the 60's and Fort Hamilton. Thanks to josephx for submitting this to the BViB photo pool.

Add your own photos of Sunset Park (especially Hallowe'en photos now!) to the flickr pool.

Have You Visited the Bibliobus?

The Bibiobus will be in Sunset Park today from 1:30 PM to 3 PM (perhaps a little earlier, perhaps a little later.) It's usually at the 44th and 6th entrance, but if you don't see it there, check in front of the Rec Center. That is supposed to be its new stop.

Lisa Riordan Seville, the blogger at Sunset Park Chron, is working on a story about the Bibliobus, Brooklyn's new Spanish-language library. She hopes to speak to Sunset Park locals and other Brooklynites who have used the Bibliobus. If you would be willing to do a short interview, please contact her at

Another Sunset Park Rezoning Article - This One from The Post

This is an article from Monday, October 20, 2009: Maintaining Sunset Park character key to rezoning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Grim Reapers

2009-10-18 (6), originally uploaded by digenger.

Cold Weather Comfort Food: Milan's

As weather gets colder, and purse strings get tighter, it's time to look for double-duty luxuries. For a weekend lunch or a filling dinner, 5th Avenue in the low-20's has what you need. From Sunset, it's a brisk walk or short bus ride north-ish, but worth it. Check out the two year old visit to Milan's in Eating in Translation.

Sunset Park Product: Lemon Anderson

A reader sent the NY Daily News link to an article about Lemon Andersen and his one man show on Broadway, County of Kings.

Since Lemon (born Andrew) grew up in Sunset Park, his show talks about what it was like for him. He is half Puerto Rican and half Norwegian. Lots of Sunset Park there.

I must have seen him on Broadway when he was in Def Poetry, but it's too long ago to remember. My students and I were all blown away. Great show. As D. Haddock, the reader who sent the link in said, it's so good to hear about someone getting the opportunity to turn their life around.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Last Night's Sunset

, originally uploaded by nkeppol.

Grants Available for Block Beautification

I received this email from Nathan Cole of the non-profit called Citizens Committee for New York City. If you love your block, or if you think your block could use some love, check out the grant application to see if this could help you to beautify your public space just a little more. The deadline is November 30th, 2009. That's a good amount of time, but don't dilly-dally. With Thanksgiving in there right before the deadline, you don't want to get behind.

from the email:

We have a neighborhood beautification grant and services opportunity (Love Your (NYC) Block Grant Program) coming up that I feel your readers can benefit from. Below is a short write up of the grant and a link to our website. Please feel free to email me any questions that you may have. Any help with outreach and spreading the word is greatly appreciated.

Citizens Committee for New York City is pleased to announce a new block transformation grants program. Awardees will receive a $500 cash grant along with expedited support from city agencies for block improvements such as cleaning up a vacant lot, replacing worn out litter baskets, removing graffiti and replacing worn out street signs. The application can be downloaded at

The deadline for applications is November 30, 2009 . For more information, please contact Scott Codey at 212-822-9563 or or Alicia Rouault at 212-822-9558 or

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bay Ridge's Robicelli's Market to Close in Favor of Wholesale

With lots of deliciously favorable media coverage (and a Bloomberg campaign commercial!) and a fiercely loyal following for catering and cupcake yumminess, Robicelli's Market will now close. It's a good thing, really, at least for Allison and Matt, the magicians behind cupcakes like the Bea Arthur and The Kiwanis.

In an announcement to the Bay Ridge Parents Group, through Facebook, and with a link on Twitter, the Robicelli's duo announced that they will be closing their retail shop on October 25th (yikes! get over there now!) in favor of growing their wholesale cupcake and dessert business.

This is what success becomes in these days of the internet ordering and massive media exposure. It really is wonderful for the owners, but it's also sad to see a place that has so quickly become a fixture in a neighborhood.

According to their explanations, this will allow them to maintain the quality of their baked goods while maintaining the quality of life they want for their two children (and themselves!). They have several retail opportunities (for their cupcakes and pastries) around Brooklyn, but as of now they are still seeking a retailer in Bay Ridge. Naturally, if anyone thinks a place in Sunset Park would want to carry their cupcakes and cheesecakes and carrot cake, let them know! Perhaps one of the new-ish delis on 4th Avenue? Or one of the coffee shops in Greenwood Heights?

I wish them great luck and great joy in their plans. They have been excellent members of the business community as well as the Bay Ridge neighborhood.

excerpted from their Facebook page:

We have made the difficult decision to close our retail business on Sunday, October 25th, and continue solely as a cupcake and dessert wholesaling business serving the New York City area, with a webshop for national customers. We will miss all of you who have come in every week, who have become not just customers, but part of our family. This has been one of the best years of our lives, because you were in it. As hard as it is to let go, we feel that moving in this direction is not only what is best for our business, but also for our family.

Some of the internet coverage that caused this bittersweet change:

Food Mayhem

Eat It: The Brooklyn Food Blog

Feisty Foodie (awesome pics of cupcakes and other foodstuffs there)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reading for a Rainy Weekend: Perspective

Good reads for those who have interest in development and history. I've kept these two links on my personal list of things to check once in a while for over a year now. It's time to clean house (or blogroll), and there's no better time for that than a dreary, indoor weekend.

Here are two items from years ago (though not quite as far off as this or this) to remind us that new and disturbing buildings are not so very new, and Sunset Park's changes (and the reactions to them) is also the same old, same old. It's good to remember that efforts at positive change do work, and that it's never a one-time job. It's also never a job that we can hope someone else completes. Many people have to do the heavy lifting. Enjoy.

Clean Up on Sunday (if weather allows)

At last week's clean-up, the majority of what I picked up consisted of cigarette butts, bottle caps, cough drop wrappers, and random pieces of paper. However, there were other more interesting (and disturbing) items available for the pickings. Those not saddled with two cherubs were able to scrounge around for empty and half-filled bottles of various styles and materials. Other items found include many, many tissues, half-eaten meals, opened metal cans, and a lot of unused chewing gum.

If you want a chance to participate in the clean-up/scavenger hunt this Sunday, show up at 9:30 for your rake and/or pick. If you have gloves, bring them. If not, there will be some available.

See the Let's Clean Up Sunset Park! website for more information.

A bonus to the clean-up is that people watchers like me can get an eye-ful. My favorite sightings on Sunday included:

1) My favorite jogger. She is incredibly fashionable as she jogs. Lots of color, huge sunglasses, and usually a smile for anyone who offers one first.

2) The "round-the-park-in-30-seconds" skateboarder. He zooms around the perimeter of the park over and over. I saw him pass at least five times while picking up dirt. He always looks like he's having so much fun.

3) A bicycle tour from Germany. As the first group went by I heard snippets of conversation, so when two stragglers went by I asked, "Seid Ihr aus Deutschland?" and we had a lovely conversation about where my parents are from and how they like their visit and what is amazing about living in Brooklyn versus Manhattan. The group spent quite a while admiring our view. Great day for a bike tour.

4) A lovely family cleaning up and weeding the Chinese Garden. I especially loved seeing them because they kept my son preoccupied with "weeding" while I went around and picked up more substantial trash with my daughter.

5) Police cars and carts going SLOWLY instead of racing by.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bill Thompson's Campaign Opens an Office on 5th Avenue

According to an email received Friday afternoon:

Opening of Sunset Park Office for Bill Thompson Campaign

Come Join our Next
Mayor * Bill Thompson*

October 17, 2009
2:00PM - 5:30PM
4224 - 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Please give us a call or email us to confirm that you will be joining us on this day
Thank you and we hope to see you there and hear from you soon.

Phone: 718-853-5980

Bay Ridge Food Coop Meeting Tomorrow

For those who want a coop but don't want to travel in the northerly direction, visit the Bay Ridge Food Coop site for information about joining. If you prefer face-to-face information, feel free to stop by the Bay Ridge branch of the BPL on 73rd Street and Ridge Boulevard.

This meeting is for anyone looking to find out more information or those looking to join. Children are welcome.

Bay Ridge Public Library, 2nd fl.
73rd st and Ridge blvd.
10:30am - 12:00pm

What You See in Sunset Park: Channeling Wilford Brimley

It's oatmeal season. And the polite gate owner's sign, shown below, knows it. Remember the Quaker Oats commercials with Wilford Brimley? If you've forgotten, check in here.

It can't hurt to hope for people to do the right thing, I suppose.

What You See in Sunset Park: Chucky

Coming home from the library, we spent several moments checking out the decorations at the "scary house." Not bad. I still need to get some photos from a 44th Street house and another one on 37th between 3rd and 4th. I haven't checked out my favorite Halloween house up on 58th Street yet. If you see a house with fabulous Halloween decorations, send them along or add them to the BViB photo pool on flickr.

New Family Daycare Opening in Sunset Park

Sunflowers Early Childhood Learning Family Daycare is having open houses to recruit for their new facilities. Located on 57th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, they are open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 6 PM. No word about costs on the website, but I'm sure a call/email or an open house visit will take care of that.

Not that that's news. There are a lot of family daycare places around the neighborhood, but not all of them are licensed, run by a local mom, and offer part-time as well as full-time options. Also handy, they offer after-school services for children up to 8 years old. Another cool feature is that it's bi-lingual. From the website: Students will be exposed to the Spanish language through daily activities. Teacher will speak both languages at first, then switch exclusively to the Spanish language once the student has been heavily exposed to the same phrases in Spanish.

Check out the website here for information about the upcoming open houses this week. The first ones are tonight (6 PM - 8 PM) and tomorrow 10 AM - Noon and 3 PM - 5 PM.

99 Cent Store Common Sense from Brokelyn

It's always good to be reminded, even when things are pretty obvious. Brokelyn has a useful piece about what to buy and what to avoid at 99 cent stores. Since we have MANY in our swath of Brooklyn, I figure it's a good link to pass around.

My most recent 99 cent purchases include a shower curtain liner, bubbles in some sort of "fun" shaped container, and a mailing envelope.

What do you find most useful (or scary) about 99 cent stores in Sunset Park?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shoddy Street Cleaning: It's Happening in Carroll Gardens, too

The last time I happened to be walking up the block when the street cleaner came by, a neighbor and I noticed that not much was picked up. In fact, the leaves and paper and other random debris remained, despite being arranged into a fairly orderly line up the block. The neighbor (seemingly an expert on street cleaners) said that it was probably because the driver was going too fast for the sweepers to pick stuff up. Not knowing anything about street cleaners, I agreed. Has anyone else noticed quick and dirty sweep-bys going on?

It seems like speedy and ineffective street cleaning is going around. Pardon Me For Asking's Katia Kelly was almost run down by a street cleaner recently, and the street was left still dirty for the trouble.

Dollar Vans On and Around 8th Avenue

photo from The Brooklyn Ink's Stefanos Chen

Sunset Park Chronicled and The Brooklyn Ink have articles about the commuter vans that help many Sunset Park residents travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan Chinatowns. Check them out.

Reminder: Lutheran's Green Market on Thursdays

It accepts EBT/WIC and cash. The carrots and corn look amazing. They have those cute mini-pumpkins. There's a bakery section. The produce was picked on Wednesday. Check out the BIT segment here. It's open every Thursday (8 AM - 5 PM) until November 19th, 2009.

I haven't gone yet because it seems like a hike from my end of Sunset. However, after trekking with my double-stroller to 5th and 62nd to send a package (7th and 55th had a line out the door), Lutheran doesn't seem that far. If the rain isn't too bad in the AM, I'm there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Symmetry

Sunset Park, originally uploaded by SReed99342.

What You Learn at the Community Council Meetings: Facts!

Here's an update on the stabbing/murder on October 4th from the reporter at Sunset Park Chronicled.

Thursday: 72nd Precinct Gang Awareness Forum at OLPH

Whether handed out in front of Key Food, hanging by the door at Tacos Matamoros, or received by email from the community board, the word about the Gang Awareness Forum is certainly getting out.

Anyone with a child in middle school or high school should seriously consider attending this forum. In my experience, the parents and family members of kids in gangs usually had no idea. Sometimes it was because of denial, but often it was because they figured the drawings on notebooks, the clothes, the new friends were just that. Occasionally it is innocent, but sometimes it can be much more serious. If you know what to look for, it makes all the difference. Oh, and don't think that your kid is immune because he's a certain race or economic background, does well on tests, or because she attends religious services with you. Yes, there are patterns, but there are also many anomalies.

Here are the details:

Gang Violence is destroying lives and devastating families in our community.

This forum is designed to bring attention to the increasing gang violence in our community and to educate parents and their children to the dangers of gang involvement.

Come out and join us on October 15, 2009 at 6:30 PM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church - 545 60th Street, in the gymnasium.


Jesus "Raul" Pintos, Deputy Inspector, 72nd Precinct
72nd Precinct Youth Officers
NYPD Gang Division
Local Clergy Members
Family Members of Victims of Gang Violence
And You!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Library Programs for the Pre-School Kids

As the weather gets colder, opportunities to get out of the apartment become more and more precious. Don't forget about the reading programs at the library. They are a lot of fun for the kids, and the RIF programs even offer books to take home - permanently!

The Sunset Park library (51st and 4th) has Babies and Books (RIF) every other Tuesday at 10:30 AM. This is for children under 18 months. It is the first and third Tuesday of the month. Sing a couple of songs, have a little reading time, and then watch the kids go nuts with the baby toys.

Read and Play is a program for children from birth to five years. It meets EVERY Tuesday at 1 PM. Its focus is on inclusion of all children's abilities and learning levels. Learning activities, some storytelling, and some playtime make up the hour or so of fun.

Another program is the Toddlers and Books (RIF) program that meets every other Wednesday at 10:30 AM. Don't be late for this one or you'll miss all the songs! There are two groups (puppies, kittens) due to the large number of families that participate. Children from 18 months to three years old are welcome to register for one of the groups. Again, songs (hokey-pokey, anyone?), stories, playtime and fun make up the program.

Monday, October 12, 2009

72nd Community Council Meeting Tuesday Night

October's Community Council meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Stop by the Marien Heim Houses at 7:30 PM for an update on the state of the 72nd Precinct. It's a good time to voice complaints and to share compliments with the officers. Deputy Inspector Pintos should be there.

When? Tuesday, October 13th, at 7:30 PM

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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Rolls Royce

I thought these were only let out in public for weddings. But no. This one (from NJ) was parked right on the side of the park. It was pretty stunning, I must say.

And don't the trees look really cool reflected in the hood?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Reminder: Angels and Accordians in Green-Wood Tomorrow

Hopefully the weather will hold out.

See here for more detail.

Sunset Park Chronicled Has Lots of New Posts

I am loving this! The new weblog - Sunset Park Chronicled - is super-active. Be sure to visit and give the author lots of positive feedback and ideas for new stories and posts.

In the last few days, SPC has coverage for food, UPROSE, Sara Gonzalez and rezoning, Car v. Bike, and more.

Trees Damaged in the Park: Mother Nature or Homo Sapiens?

From far away, I thought that maybe the wind had torn through this area by the flagpole on Wednesday night. But upon arriving to the embedded carousel near these trees, it became less clear what caused this terrible tree damage.

I seriously doubt the wind caused this. Wednesday night's windy conditions can claim plenty of small branches (and a couple of large ones that luckily didn't hit anyone) down all over the park. These look more like intentional pulling and tearing. Speculation? Educated guess? Totally off? I'll rely on more experienced readers to decide.

According to the NYC Parks website, intentional destruction/removal/permanent damage to a tree can result in a $1000 penalty.

Just one more reason I really hope that karma exists. Maybe in this person's next life, s/he'll be a tree near one of those waterfall exhibits.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An Arrest in a Fatal Gang-Related Stabbing

Update below.

According to the New York Post's NYPD blotter, Sunset Park had a fatal gang-related stabbing over the weekend. There has already been an arrest.

The 72nd has been busy with arrests both in and out of the park. There was another 5 PM-ish arrest today.

from the Post:

One man was stabbed to death and two others injured during a gang fight in Sunset Park, police said yesterday.

The victim, who has not been identified, was slashed in the arm during the melee on 61st Street at Seventh Avenue on Sunday night.

He later died at Lutheran Hospital.

Two other men were cut during the fight. They were listed in stable condition.

Nelson Liu, 19, was picked up for murder and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said.

See Sunset Park Chronicled for an update.

What You See in Sunset Park

No subtitle needed. Another stunning view from top to bottom.

Taco Tour in The Huffington Post

Oh boy. Xochimilco made The Huffington Post. I was glad to read that the staff was unperturbed by the crowds. They are the loveliest folks in Tacos.

What You See in Sunset Park: Dia de Muertos Art

Another band reforms..., originally uploaded by ƒliçkrwåy.

Don Paco has its bread ready, and they have a cool display inside the bakery side. Check it out!

Upcoming Clean Up on Sunday

People like the young lady pictured above are why we need to counteract litter-bugs. Granted, she only dropped a coffee cup lid, but she did it in such a deliberate manner - and so close to a trash can. Today it's a coffee cup lid, next week it could be dumping a bag of household or construction garbage into the park at 3 AM.*

Luckily, Sunset Park has the perfect antidote to litterbugs masquerading as coffee drinking joggers: Every Sunday an active and enthusiastic group of residents cleans up litter around the park. Meet in front of the Rec Center at 9:30 AM this Sunday to join in. Check out their website for more details.

* Please note: this example of a "slippery slope" in littering is pure speculation and should not be taken as fact.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WiFi and Healthy Food By The Park

photo from Marcus V. on

Pizza by the Park, on 7th Avenue and 42nd Street, has been around for about six years. It's made a slow transition to its current pizzeria-and-healthy-food-cafe. Currently, it provides WiFi, several pizzeria style tables and a small stool seating area by the window, a huge menu, fair trade and organic coffee, and local owners who want to become the IN place to get your order on. The cheesy sticks ($2) are popular with local parents because most kids will gobble them up happily. Also, many local freelancers/laptop owners/iTouch folks will be relieved to learn of another location for WiFi, especially near the park. (If you do use their WiFi, try to purchase more than a coffee - my request, not theirs.)

Check them out if you get the chance. See below for my recent experience with their delivery.

Last week I was feeling poorly and decided to treat myself to a lunch ordered in that would also guarantee a lunch my toddler would eat. I'd only ever ordered cheesy sticks and a slice of pizza at Pizza by the Park, and being a Johnny's customer for six years (baked ziti and eggplant!), I never felt like I needed to order from anywhere else.

However, a few weeks ago I ran into Kristie, a local mom and co-owner of Pizza by the Park, while at the baby swings. My chat with her kept the idea of Pizza by the Park in my head, and in my slightly ill and sleep-deprived state (Not that you need to be ill or sleep-deprived...) I browsed the menupages for them, then I dialed and ordered way too much - a medium cheese pizza, an order of cheesy sticks, a veggie calzone on (in?) whole wheat dough, and a Sprite. It came to $19.50.

It took a little while, in fact, my son and I stood by the window and chanted our "We want pizza" chant to stave off hunger. But once everything arrived it was well worth it. (Keep in mind that I am no food photographer.)

The cheesy sticks were perfect to give to the kid while the pizza cooled down. Even the baby had a nibble.

The pizza was solid, yummy, basic cheese pizza. A teenage girl might use a napkin to soak up some of the cheesy grease, but everyone else will enjoy the goodness.

The calzone (shared and eaten that evening with a side salad and soup) was amazing. Lots of veggies, the dough was tasty and heated up well in the oven, and there was a good amount of cheese without overpowering the veggies.

While I know I'll stick with Johnny's for my baked ziti needs, I'd definitely order the calzone again, and I've heard the subs are also excellent.