Monday, April 24, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Spring In C.G.

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On Second Place
Just one of Carroll Gardens' front yards currently in full bloom.


Tastes Of Brooklyn's Invites To Its Spring Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Crawl

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This Thursday, April 27 from 3 to 8pm , Tastes of Brooklyn will be popular restaurant crawl throughout Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Sample food and drinks at some of this neighborhood's best eateries and food purveyors, including Avlee, La Cigogne, Stinky, Sahadi's and Fawkner.
Tickets are $20 for 4 tastes, $50 for 11 tastes.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Seeds in the Middle.

From Tastes Of Brooklyn:
"Our city's finest chefs partner with farmers, youth and healthy movers and shakers for an extraordinary restaurant crawl in the historic neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Take a walk to try exquisite delicacies using locally grown seasonal ingredients along Smith, Court, Clinton and Henry Streets, and maybe even Columbia Street, south of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Top chefs and artisans will offer sumptuous fare - all to empower our neediest children to access all they need to get healthy and save elephants. Our talented youth will share fresh beverages. Smoothies, lime/lemonade with fresh mint, fresh orange juice? Stay tuned for news on fitness fun at the local parks. Our local eateries date to the early 1900s to recently opened unique venues. Sample top cuisine and support local businesses without stressing over a reservation. Enjoy our deliciously fun fiesta - while supporting worthy causes!"

2017 participating restaurants and food donors
Ambrosial Granola
August Laura
Avlee Greek Kitchen
Awash
Bar San Miguel
Bornholm
Brooklyn Farmacy
Brooklyn Strategist
Caputo Bakery
Caputo's Fine Foods
Cobble Hill Coffee Shop
D'Amico
F. Monteleone Bakery and Cafe
Fawkner
F.O.B. Filipino BBQ
La Cigogne
Kor Tor Mor
Local Roots NYC
Marco Polo Ristorante
The Owl's Brew
Purbird
Sahadi's
Scotto's Wine Cellar
Smith & Vine
Stinky Bklyn
Sunken Hundred
Travel Bar
Urban Oyster
White Maize Arepas

Pre-order your tickets here.


Au Revoir, Anne & Valentin! French EyeWear Boutique To Close Smith Street Location

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Anne & Valentin, a high-end French eyewear boutique that got its start in Toulouse, has just announced that it will be closing its Boerum Hill location at the end of this month.  An email to current customers reads:  "We chose your neighborhood because of its strong and vibrant community and we have loved being part of it. It felt like home and we will dearly miss it. Anne & Valentin and its entire team want to sincerely thank you for your tremendous support. It's been incredible being your neighbor!"

Gabriel, the reader who sent PMFA the announcement regarding the closing of the store, wrote:
"I have been a longtime fan of their glasses, pricey but stylish, and was surprised when they opened a store a few years back. But I always wondered how our neighborhood was going to sustain a whole store. It seems like Smith St. might not be ready for high-end retail, despite what I am sure the landlords wish."

Anne & Valentin had opened at 200 Smith Street in early 2015.
Customers can continue to find them at their two other locations in Manhattan, 2 Prince Street and 248 Columbus Avenue.


Gourmet Fresh On Court Street Expands Into Former Amelia Hair Salon

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Carroll Gardens has been in dire need of a regular (and reasonably priced) supermarket ever since Met Foods on Smith Street and Pathmark on 12th Street in Gowanus closed their doors.  Now only Key Food on Henry Street remains, unless one has the means to shop at Whole Foods in Gowanus or Union Market on Court Street.
Gourmet Fresh, at 437 Court Street between 3rd and 4th Place, has been another option, though it is rather small.  However, a recent expansion into the space next door has increased its space by one third, which is great news.
Gourmet Fresh now has a larger fruit and vegetable selection and hopefully, more items will be added to provide the neighborhood with another viable grocery store, even if their prices are still way too high.

The storefront Gourmet Fresh took over for the expansion was previously occupied by Amelia's Hair Salon which had been there for quite a number of years.  Amelia herself can still be found at Donne Salon on Smith Street, so she is still in the neighborhood.

What do you think of Gourmet Fresh's extra space and food offerings?  Does it replace a full sized supermarket in Carroll Gardens?


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sounds On Sackett Presents Jazz Pianist And Singer Roslayn McClore This Saturday

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 Beautiful music in a spectacular setting right here in the neighborhood? Yes, please!
This Saturday, April 22nd at 7pm, Sounds on Sackett at St. Agnes Church in Carroll Gardens presents jazz pianist and singer, Rosalyn McClore. A jazz stylist, Rosalyn will perform jazz standards inspired by Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald.
St. Agness is located at the corner of Sackett Street and Hoyt Street.
Tickets are $20 for adults. Children under 12 are free.
Stay for the reception after the concert and meet new neighbors.


'Indian Table' Now Open In The Former Brucie's Space On Court Street

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Indian Table has taken over the former Brucie's space at 234 Court Street between Baltic and Kane Streets. According to the first Yelp reviews, the food is fantastic.
The storefront and the interior space have been nicely renovated. A tiled accent wall looks lovely and so do the mosaic tiled tables.  Several bar stools line a nice wooden bar in the back and there is additional seating along a copper-lined shelf along the street side.
The menu includes interesting options, many of which are vegetarian.  Prices range from $7.95 to $9.95 for appetizers, $12.95 to $20.95 for entrées.  There are choices of  six different Tandoori breads and several variations on Basmati rice.
Indian Table has applied for a liquor license and hopes to have a full bar soon.

Have you been here yet?


Monday, April 17, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Salvage

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Gowanus salvage yard under the Culver Viaduct.
There is something for everyone here.


El Dia De Los Niños Celebration At Carroll Gardens Library Will Feature 'Bilingual Birdies Band'

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On Friday April 28th at 3:30pm, the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library will feature  a concert by the Bilingual Birdies Band for El Dia De Los Niños. This event is sponsored by Apple Bank for Savings as part of their borough-wide support for the World Family Language Series with the BPL.

Here is more information on the event:
Bilingual Birdies Band will be performing an interactive concert to celebrate El Dia De Los Niños. Children and parents will learn Spanish and French through music, movement, puppetry and games. The program will be presented in English, French and Spanish.

The World Language Family Series is provided through the generous support of Apple Bank, celebrating over 20 years in Brooklyn and over 150 years of neighborhood banking in greater New York. Additional support for multi-lingual First Five Years programs provided by the Altman Foundation.

You might also mark April 19th on your calendar for the last BloomAgainBklyn Creative Aging Flower Workshop with the BPL at Carroll Gardens Library. It starts at 1:00 pm.

The Carroll Gardens Library is located at 396 Clinton Street at the corner of Union Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn


With Its Relaxed Atmosphere and Inviting Space, East One Coffee Roasters Is A Welcome Addition To Carroll Gardens

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Chef Will Ono, Head of Coffee James Stahon, and owners Tom Cummings and Morten Tjelum

East One Coffee Roasters officially opened its doors at 384 Court Street at the corner of Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens less than two weeks ago, but already the community seems to have adopted the new coffee shop and eatery as its own. This past Friday, with the sun shining through the large open windows,  customers had made themselves right at home along some of the larger tables in the spacious front portion of the establishment, sipping coffee, eating a pastry, relaxing, meeting up with friends, or working on their laptops.
Accessible through a hallway at the back of the coffee shop, a spacious eatery was equally busy.  Serving brunch, lunch and dinner, East One's menu includes Broccolini scramble, shrimp and grits, pozole verde, and a cubano sandwich.
A full bar allows for a choice of wine, beer and cocktails with meals, but also means that the place turns into a late evening spot for a drink and a late snack

Soon, East One will be roasting its own beans on a gleaming new Diedrich IR 12 Roaster, which is housed in its own glass enclosed cubicle in the dining room.  The roasted coffee will be available for sale.
In other words, East One is the perfect spot no matter what time of day. 

Owners Tom Cummings and Morten Tjelum are delighted by how busy their establishment has been in its first few days.  It is obvious how much thought and hard work they put into East One.
Together, they established two similar independent coffee shops/ eateries in London.  East One is the partners' first in the United States, though the name refers to the post code prefix for the East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch, "the stomping ground for coffee enthusiasts and independent artisan restaurants", according to Tjelum.
Cummings and Tjelum are glad to have chosen Brooklyn for their new venture. They "very much enjoy the neighborhood atmosphere in Carroll Gardens and intend to contribute to the local community in whichever way we can and look forward to be a positive addition to Carroll Gardens.”

It is quite nice to see so much activity return to 384 Court Street. Before the partners took the space over this past fall, it had been the home of Casa Rosa.  The old-fashioned Italian restaurant closed in 2014 after 34 years in business.
Tjelum told PMFA that quite a few long time residents have stopped by to reminisce about having had weddings, christening and other family affairs in the former restaurant.  Tjelum always invites them in to show off the renovation, but to also point out architectural details that were kept as a nod to the place's past.  "We tell them 'please come in!' You are the basis of the neighborhood. We want to be inclusive."

With its proximity to Carroll Park and its convenient location in the middle of the neighborhood, East One is a great addition to Carroll Gardens. Its relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere make it the perfect go-to place at any time of the day or evening.
Stop on by, if you have not already done so.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Streetcar

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Old streetcar, old federal brick building and new daffodils in Red Hook 


Boating On The Gowanus: A Beautiful Yet Eery Experience

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Chrissy Remein and John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper
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John Lipscomb
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Oil sheen on the Gowanus
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Coal tar and gasses bubbling up to the surface
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Raw sewage near the large CSO at head of canal
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When Riverkeeper Captain John Lipscomb contacted me a few days ago to say that he was bringing the organization's patrol boat to Gowanus and asked if I would like to hop on, I said 'yes', of course.
So, I met John and Chrissy Remein, Riverkeeper's New York City Coordinator at a dock in Red Hook yesterday and climbed on board, along with a film crew, which is currently working on a documentary on Gowanus.  John navigated the boat to the Ninth Street Bridge, where we got on a smaller boat to access the upper part of the canal.

Boating on an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site is always a bit unnerving, I must say. Even with a life vest and an experienced captain at the helm, the visible pollution on the surface of the water and the acrid fumes are reminders that this is one of the most toxic waterways in the country.

Plastic bottles, discarded shopping bags, and other garbage floating around the boat are the least of the problem.   In certain parts of the Gowanus, big globs of coal tar bubble up to the surface and leave an eery, oily sheen on the water.  Closer to the top of the canal, near the Flushing Tunnel and close to the largest Combined Sewer Overflow, foam mixed with human waste is piling up around a boom just feet from the Union Street bridge.
Of course, that is just what the eye can see. The native sediment at the bottom of the Gowanus Canal is contaminated with a deep layer of  'black mayonnaise', a mixture of coal tar and other industrial waste that accumulated there decades ago.

As everyone knows, a clean-up of our toxic waterway is underway and so far, the EPA
team responsible for its remediation has kept to the schedule outlined at the beginning of the process.   However, the Environmental Protection Agency is the hardest-hit agency under President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposals. The budget would cut funding for the Agency by 31 percent from its current level, EPA’s staff could be cut by about 21 percent, and the Superfund program, responsible for cleanups of contaminated sites, would have its funding cut from about $1.1 billion to $762 million.

According to Inside EPA, the Agency's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is currently developing "a plan for consolidating its 10 regional offices into eight, a step being justified as a way to realize 'efficiencies' but which is already sparking concerns that it could spread an already strapped agency too thin to accomplish its mission. In addition, some state sources are concerned that cutting back on the number of regional offices could also limit support..."

Of course, the beauty of the Superfund program is that the polluters will ultimately foot the bill for the clean-up, but fewer staff and cuts to the Superfund program certainly will directly impact the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal by delaying it.

An EPA memo detailing how the agency plans to implement the Trump administration's budget request was just published by Inside EPA.  Here is the section pertaining to Superfund program cuts:

The administration is proposing to slash $330 million, or 30 percent, from Superfund cleanup spending in FY18. The memo details these cuts. For instance, it says Superfund emergency response and removal funds of $144 million would be cut by $29 million, and 19 FTEs would be eliminated from the 244 FTEs allotted to that program. This would lower funds for non-time critical removal actions and non-cleanup support contracts, it says, "returning responsibility for cleanups to states and local communities."
At the same time, it encourages the program to maintain current levels of on-scene coordinators with an eye toward using special account money. The attorney points to inconsistencies in this: EPA is seeking to reduce non-time critical actions with the message of moving that work to states, but at the same time it is cutting states' grants, and the removal program is to look to using special account remedial money when such funds have not traditionally been assigned to go to removal actions.

Superfund's federal facilities funds would be cut by $513,000 from a total of $5 million with 5.4 FTEs eliminated from 103.2  full-time equivalent employees.  In Superfund's remedial program, $152.8 million would be cut from a total of $371.9 million, and 63.7 positions eliminated from 868.8 FTEs.


"The program is to continue to prioritize the use of existing settlement funds to clean up hazardous waste sites and look for ways to remove some of the barriers that have delayed the program's ability to return sites to the community," the memo says. It also encourages the program "to increase direct charging FTE to Superfund special accounts, as appropriate."

Superfund enforcement would be slashed -- from $31.8 million down to $1.9 million in nonpay funds -- and this program would see an elimination of 177.5 FTEs from a total of 708.6 FTEs, the memo says. This would reflect a "refocus on enforcement areas that are not delegated to states and on providing national consistency," it says. It will also leverage resources by combining the Superfund and federal facilities enforcement programs.


If these budget cuts do go into effect,  it will be a disgrace and will be a heavy price to pay for Gowanus and its residents.  For decades, the community has been exposed to extremely dangerous conditions and a slowdown in the Superfund clean-up would seem almost criminal.
The Gowanus Canal can and should be an asset and a safe place for all New Yorkers. 
Obviously, we still need to fight to make that happen.