Monday, January 23, 2017

Picture Of the Day: First Nor'Easter Of 2017

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Wet and windy evening here in Brooklyn during this Nor'Easter.
Smith Street at First Place

Wait, There Is One New Opening On Smith Street.....Cay Spa

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Amidst the many store closings on Smith Street, there occasionally is a business opening.
A little more than a week ago, a reader pointed out a new back rub and reflexology place at 219 Smith Street in Boerum Hill called "Cay Spa." A sign outside advertises an offer of 60 minutes massage for $45.

One hopes that this is one of the legal back rub places as opposed to Tao, Inc, the very sketchy one just a few blocks away at 257 Smith Street, which offered additional services that were very questionable. It closed overnight after questions about the place arose.
In any case, one has to wonder how a back rub place expects to make it on a commercial stretch that has seen so many businesses fail in the past two years and where rents are still relatively high.

Have you gotten a massage here yet?

Just Another Store Closing: Paspartou On Court Street

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And the news of businesses closing on Smith Street and Court Street continues with Paspartou, a "Brooklyn Artisanal Shop of European roots laced with nautical influences."

The lovely storefront at 206 Court Street in Cobble Hill is currently for rent by Halstead Properties for $7,500 a month.
Paspartou, which sells jewelry, tableware, bedlinen and decorative items both vintage and modern, opened in 2013. All items in the store were carefully chosen by owner Gosia Rojek, who has impeccable taste. The store was a wonderful source for gifts, but, alas, a bit too expensive.

The space was formally occupied by Cobble Heights Realty.  What would you like to see to move in next?


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Gowanus By Night

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Gowanus Canal from the Union Street Bridge on a recent winter night.


A Moment Back In Time: Bond Street at 1st Street Not So Very Long Ago

(photo credit: Ben Ustinov)

Here is a blast from the past! Gowanus resident Ben Ustinov shared a photo he took six years ago and was nice enough to share with PMFA readers.
Ben writes:
"I took this picture six years ago at the corner of bond and 1st Street, long before Lightstone. Someone came up with a creative way to deal with all the sad Christmas tree waste that lines our streets every January. Thought you might enjoy it."

It prompted me to search my own files, and I found more photos of the original brick building that stood at this corner before the Lightstone Development went up at 363 Bond Street and 365 Bond Street. How quickly things have changed in just a few years the neighborhood....
Call me crazy, but I miss it.
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 The way things were in Gowanus not so very long ago.
Bond Street at First Street looking towards the Gowanus Canal, 2012
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The same intersection in late 2016 with the new developments
 at 363 Bond Street on the left and 365 Bond Street on the right


St. Paul's Church In Carroll Gardens Invites All To Their "Friday Supper For Charity"

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What a lovely idea to get to know neighbors.  St. Paul's Church at 199 Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens is hosting a drop-in dinner on Friday January 20th. All money's raised will go to charity.  It sounds like a lot of fun, so mark your calendar.

"Third Friday Supper for Charity: January 20th! Kick off the 2017 with the first of our Third Friday Suppers for Charity. All proceeds support parish outreach. Enjoy great food cooked up by great parish cooks, enjoy the convivial gathering, and enjoy not having to shop, cook, and clean up at home! This is a convenient “drop in affair”, so you may come to eat between 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. $15 for adults, $5 for children, max per family: $30. Bring friends."


More Sad News: Dover On Court Street Seems To Have Closed

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From Dover's web site

It would appear that Dover at 412 Court Street served its final dinner this past Sunday evening. We first heard about the surprising closing from a friend who bid adieu to this 'neighborhood gem' on her Facebook page.
By Monday morning, a simple "Closed" sign had been taped to its doors and by Tuesday, the web site
featured the same and had been reduced to just the opening page.
To make sure, we talked past it on Tuesday evening, and the place was dark, the chairs resting on the tables.

The restaurant, owned by chefs Joseph Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, who also opened the wildly popular Battersby on Smith Street just a few blocks away, had received accolades for Dover when it opened in early 2014.
The eatery seemed to be very popular in the neighborhood and certainly drew many dinners who had failed to secure a reservation at Battersby.

It is disappointing that Dover only lasted two years in the neighborhood and sad to see another dark storefront in Carroll Gardens.
The space was previously occupied by Vinzee's , a burger joint, and before that, it was home to t laundromat.

Monday, January 16, 2017

No Surprise: American Apparel Store On Smith Street Closing

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Not unexpectedly, the American Apparel store at 237 Smith Street will be closing its doors along with the L.A.-based clothing company's other retail locations in the country.

Once widely popular, American Apparel prided itself on its quality and of manufacturing all its garments in the United States. However, the brand's appeal tarnished in 2014 after several sexual harassment suits were filed against Dob Charney, American Apparel's founder and former CEO.
In October 2016, the company filed for bankrupts and just this month, the brand was auctioned off for $88 million to Canadian clothing manufacturer Gildan Activewear.

American Apparel's remaining 110 stores will be closing imminently, according to the L.A. Times. So will its manufacturing facilities in Southern California. More than 3,400 workers employees will be losing their job.
For the past two weeks, the remaining merchandise at the Smith Street store has been heavily discounted. Presumably, the 112 Court Street location in Brooklyn Heights will also be closing.

What would you like to see move into 237 Smith Street?  It is one of the larger retail spaces in a beautiful brick building on this commercial stretch.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

From PMFA's Inbox: Please Help Lost Injured Dog Spotted In Carroll Gardens

PMFA has just received an email by local resident Chloe regarding a small injured dog that has been spotted in the neighborhood. Chloe writes:

Hi Katia,
My sister, who also lives in the neighborhood, tried to help a lost/stray/escaped and injured dog this morning, but wasn't able to hold on to him. She's pretty torn up about it, so we're trying to spread the word. I'm also posting this info on the Boerum Hill list serve and Bococa Parents list serves, but thought I'd send to you in case you are able to post or recommend other neighborhood resources. Below is the email she sent to our dogwalker, Paws & Rec.


Hi Jennifer,

When I was out walking Puddle this morning, I saw a small dog running down Butler street. He wasn't on a leash and didn't have a collar. I ran after him for a few blocks and when I caught up with him, I saw that his legs were bloody. 

I called 311 and animal control, but while I was calling, he sprinted away and I completely lost him. I searched all around the neighborhood. The only thing that brings me comfort is that there was another young woman also helping to catch him and she continued to follow him when I was on my phone. 

Anyway, I pray that somebody else picked him up before he got more hurt. I feel terrible that I couldn't keep up with him. I just wanted to let you know in case you may know someone missing a dog or if you hear more about him. 

I didn't have the wherewithall to take a photo, but he looked sort of like a puggle. About 25-30 pounds with a tan coat and dark brown face, with some gray whiskers (not a puppy). He looked healthy aside from his legs, which were bleeding (I couldn't get close enough to see what was causing the bleeding). He growled a little when I got close, but not because he was threatening me, more because he was scared and vulnerable. 

If I think of anything else I'll let you know, but it's totally heartbreaking and I just wanted to let you know in case someone in your dog network had more info. 

Thanks,
Nellie

Please, if you live in the area, keep an eye out for this little dog.  And if you have any further information, please pass it along.
Let us hope that he will get the help he needs and can hopefully be reunited with his owner, if he has one.

UPDATE:
Over on PMFA's Facebook page, reader Rob just told us the great news that the dog was reunited with his owner.

Rob reports:
"A number of good samaritans were involved in quietly coaxing the dog over to them, getting the dog on a leash, and then getting in contact with the owner who then took the dog to the vet to address the wounds on his paws."

Love this and love this neighborhood.


"More F Shenanigans": Some Manhattan Bound Trains To Skip Smith-9th, Carroll, and Bergen Street Stations Till January 27

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 screen shot of MTA Service Change web page taken this morning at 8 am.

In the past few days, a "service change" notice has appeared (and disappeared) several times on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's web site concerning F train service at all three of our local Brooklyn stations.  According to the announcement,  some Manhattan-bound trains will skip the Smith-9th Street, Carroll Street and Bergen Street stations during morning rush hour and afternoon hours from Monday to Friday till January 27th.

Reader Kim made us aware of the notice a few days ago and called the service change the "latest F train shenanigans." She also concluded that this:
 "is most definitely NOT due to actual planned work. 
1) it is during rush hour when trains are running, 
2) the G would be running on the same line making stops on those same stations, so the excuse that it's "planned work" makes no sense. Is this the MTA's 1st plot to sneak in the local cuts in the new year? One has to wonder.
I am not looking forward to the ridiculous and unsafe number of people on the platform in the coming days
. "

You may remember that the MTA announced last year that it was proposing the implementation of express F train service between the Jay Street-MetroTech and Church Avenue stations (with a stop at 7th Avenue Park Slope), with half of all F trains running express each way during peak morning and evening rush hours. No new trains would be added to the line.

The express service is slated to be fully implemented in the fall of 2017. During a few weeks this past summer, the MTA already tested the changes.

The plan was met with much skepticism from Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Red Hook and Gowanus residents, who feared that a 50% reduction in service during rush hour at their local stations would lead to severe and dangerous crowding on the platforms.

A "Don't Cut Local F" petition was circulated by a group opposing the change. This past September, the group met with City Councilman Brad Lander, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, who pledged to fight the cuts.

Since Kim sent us the latest F train service change information and the link to the MTA web page two days ago, the notice has been taken down and put back up several times.  It was back up this morning at 8 am, so we were able to take the screen shot above.

What the MTA is up to. Either this is a legitimate service change due to "planned work" or its not.  If it is, why does the announcement keep on disappearing? Why is the G train able to use the tracks that it shares with the F train at these stations?
More likely, it is just MTA's way of getting us used to the express F train and the skipping of our stations during rush hour.

Have you noticed any F train service changes in the past few days? If so, how did this affect you?

To read the MTA Feasibility study for the F rain express service, click here.

UPDATE
I sent the information and a link to this post to State Senator Squadron's office, since he has been very vocal about the F Train express issue in the past. This afternoon, I received a response from Andrea Bender, who works for Squadron.
She writes:

Hi Katia,
Yes -- we are aware of the issues. We've had high level conversation with the MTA about this. They told us they are working on a signal near Bergen Street causing seven Manhattan-bound trains in both the AM/PM rush to run express between Church St. and Jay Street. We are monitoring the impact on the local stations closely. We're asking people to share photos and their experiences with Don't Cut Local F.
Thanks, Andrea


Photo of the F/G train platform at the Carroll Street Station
Taken January 9th by Lesley Grossman

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"The Watershed": A New Bar Opens On South End Of Court Street

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A reader alerted us to the fact that a new bar called "The Watershed" just opened on what he calls the "forgotten side of Court Street",  near the Brooklyn Queens Express Overpass.
The new business opened at 517 Court Street in the space that was formerly occupied by Teafee, a local tea and coffee spot that closed its doors this past April after only three years in business.
There is not much information about The Watershed on its web site, nor on its Facebook page, except for the fact that it will be hosting trivia nights.

The on-premises liquor license application was submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of Bayne Capital, Inc. Community Board 6's Permits and Licenses Committee recommended the approval of the license in July 2016.
The applicant mentioned to the committee that the new establishment will serve snacks, but will not have a kitchen.
(It is interesting to note, according to CB6's meeting minutes, that the applicant claimed that Teafee had kept the same hours as the new bar proposed. I cannot imagine that Teafee was open till 4 am on a Saturday? Also, the applicant apparently told members of the committee that the previous business was "a coffee place with a liquor license." Did Teafee ever serve liquor? I don't remember.)

Have you visited The Watershed yet?



Monday, January 09, 2017

Sad Sight: Removal Of Long Island College Hospital's Footbridge On Amity Street

(photo credit: Elizabeth Kenney)

Here is a sad moment in time captured by friend and Carroll Gardener Elizabeth Kenney yesterday.
The photo shows the footbridge that spanned over Amity Street between Henry and Hicks Street, combining two of Long Island College Hospital's two beautiful old brick buildings being taken down.
Many here in South Brooklyn will remember using this bridge when staying at the hospital, visiting a patient or just keeping an appointment with a doctor.
The dismantling is all part of the demolition of Long Island Hospital, a once proud institution that served the community for over 150 years. During a short affiliation that started in 2011, the hospital was shamelessly plundered by Continuum Health Partners. It was further undermined when it became part of SUNY Downstate's University Hospital of Brooklyn, which sold some of its assets and then closed the facility altogether. The remaining complex was purchased by Fortis Property Groups, which is currently dismantling many of the buildings so that new high-rise condos can be built in their place.

Here is a photo of the bridge between the two buildings taken by Michael D. D. White of Noticing New York in 2013.
(photo credit: Michael D. D. White of Noticing New York)

How incredibly depressing is it to see the hospital being dismantled?


'Regular Visitors': A Bright New Spot On Smith Street

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It is not all doom and gloom on Smith Street, our little commercial strip that runs through Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill.  Yes, of late is seems as though it has fallen on hard times, but amidst many empty storefronts, one can find some worthy new arrivals.
Take for example Regular Visitors, a beautiful new place at 149 Smith Street on the corner of Smith and Bergen Streets, which opened its doors this past November.  Not only is it a convenient coffee stop for those hopping onto the subway around the corner to head into Manhattan, it is also a newsstand and a beautifully curated 'general store', which offers quality home goods, toiletries, gifts, gourmet food, and so much more.
From a cup of coffee to a leather tote, from a bar of chocolate to a stunning set of ceramic bowls, there are really lots of reasons why this place will make a regular visitor out of us all.

Have you stopped by yet?