Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Second Place

Second Place between Smith and Court Streets
It's a beautiful day outside.

A Moment In Time: Red Cardinal

A visitor to my neighbor's back yard this morning. 
He sat there for a while, obviously enjoying the sunshine after yesterday's snow.

Good-Bye, Maybelle's. We Will Miss You

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A PMFA reader alerted us to the fact that Maybelle's Café at 502 Henry Street at the corner of Sackett Street  is closing this weekend. I had to check it out for myself and stopped by this popular neighborhood spot. The first thing I noticed was the quote by Charlie Chaplin written on the blackboard standing in front of the café. The young lady behind the counter confirmed that this Saturday will be its last day. When I asked about the reason, she told me that "the owner is moving on to other things."
Too bad. Maybelle's had some of the best coffee in the neighborhood and was always a great place to work and to meet friends. Their sandwiches were pretty taste as well.

Let us hope that another café will take its place.

Of course, Maybelle's occupied the space which was once the beloved Cammareri Bakery. In the late 1987, several scenes of the movie Moonstruck with Cher and Nicolas Cage were filmed in the bakery.

(stills from the movie Moonstruck

Below is a  scene of Loretta Castorini and Ronny Cammareri's  first encounter filmed in Camareri's basement.

395 Clinton Street: New Meets Old With Regrettable Results

East side of Clinton Street between Union and President Streets. (looking towards President Street)IMG_4222
Beginning of construction at 395 Clinton Street back in September 2013 IMG_2696
395 Clinton Street today
Back in October 2014, PMFA checked on the construction of a new 2 family, 3 story with penthouse townhouse residence being constructed at 395 Clinton Street between Union Street and President Street, amidst some of the most beautifully preserved and elegant brownstones in Carroll Gardens.

All the homes on the east side of the block where the new building is going up still have their cornice, decorative window lintels and corbels, as well as their stoop and iron railing.

The new building at 395 Clinton Street is being constructed on a parking lot that belonged to the stand-alone house at 393 Clinton Street at the corner of Union Street.  The owner of #393 filed paperwork to separate the two lots a few years back in order to be able to build on the site.

Construction on the new building began in the fall of 2013, but has progressed very slowly. A Department of Buildings Partial Stop Work Order currently exists on this project.  The architect on record is TMP Architectural, LP in Manhattan.

A few days ago, I stopped by to check on the progress at 395 Clinton Street and was dismayed to see that no attempt had been made to make the new building fit in contextually. With its recessed entrance and first floor, 395 Clinton Street is certainly one of the most unusual new buildings in the neighborhood. Sadly, it destroys the historic streetscape and distracts significantly from its brownstone neighbors.

Since this block, as well as most of Carroll Gardens, is regrettably not protected by NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission*, I had hoped that the owner and architect of the new townhouse were nevertheless going to be respectful of the integrity of the neighboring buildings. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

What is your opinion?

* The Carroll Gardens Historic District,  the smallest landmarked district in the city, only includes the buildings on President and Carroll Streets between Smith and Hoyt Streets and the western ends of the two blocks between President and First Streets. The district was created in 1973.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blizzard Of 2015: A Very Gentle "Monster Storm"

No, we did not get the predicted two feet of snow. Here in Carroll Gardens, no more than eight inches fell. But it is rather pretty outside, so I grabbed my camera and took a little walk first thing this morning. The best part of this 'monster' storm? No cars. The streets were deserted at 8 AM. We don't see that every day.

I hope everyone is fairing well during this snow. Please remember your elderly neighbors and help shovel their sidewalk or look in on them to make sure they are doing fine.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Channeling Spring

The snow is starting to really come down outside and the wind is picking up.  Yellow tulips and baby daffodils on my windowsill are a reminder that spring will be here before we know it.

Wellness Classes For Older Adults A Wonderful Resource At Carroll Gardens Library

Participants at last Thursday's Wellness class for older adults with instructor Akwesi Asante
Yoga instructor Akwesi Asante

The Carroll Gardens Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at 396 Clinton Street at the corner of Union Street, is offering some wonderful daytime programing including book time for babies and toddlers, kids science programs as well as hosting an English conversation group and an open writing memoir group.

For the past few years, our local branch has also been hosting wellness classes for older adults on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 am. Thanks to Carroll Gardener and library volunteer Rosalie Wysokowski, who has been coordinating these excursive classes, the offerings include Aerobics, Strength Training, Chair Excercises, and Yoga.

Just recently, fellow library volunteer Harriet Libstag has been able to secure a $1000 donation from Ridgewood Savings Bank at 244 Court Street thanks to Branch manager Frank Guevara.
The donation funds Akwesi Asante, the yoga instructor who teaches the Thursday class.

This past Thursday, I attended Asante's class and was inspired by the group of women who had come out to take it.  Many of the exercises focused on balance and on building up strength. Akwesi Asante has a wonderful kind and humorous way about him, which made the class fly by and put a big smile on everyone's face.

The older adult wellness classes as well as the other programs at the library are absolutely free, so please take advantage of them.

“Carroll Gardens Library hosts programs for people from all walks of life – children and seniors, students and professionals, lifelong New Yorkers and new Americans,” said Sheila Schofer, Brooklyn Public Library’s director of neighborhood services. “Everyone is welcome at Brooklyn Public Library.”

Friday, January 23, 2015

Picture Of The Day: 'Do Not Enter"

"Do Not Enter" traffic sign submerged in the Gowanus Canal.
Good advice, don't you think?

Local Residents Report "Insane Noise And Vibration" From Pile Driving At Sterling's 345 Carroll Street Construction Site

Rendering of the Sterling Equities condo development under construction at 345 Carroll Street
The past few months have been hell for Gowanus residents who live next to the Lightstone Group construction site near Bond Street between Carroll Street and Second Street. Between the toxic smells from the environmental remediation at 363-365 Bond Street, the idling trucks, and the pile driving, their lives have been greatly affected.

If that was not bad enough, residents now have to deal with construction right down the block at 345 Carroll Street where Sterling Equities is erecting a 32 -unit luxury condominium building.
A few days ago, pile driving has begun at the 345 Carroll Street site and neighboring buildings are shaking.
PMFA has received a few emails on the subject. This one is from Reader R, who writes :
"I was wondering if anyone had reached out to tell you about the insane noise and vibration being experienced by the work done at 345 Carroll Street.
I live up the road and my house is literately vibrating plus the noise is deafening. It sounds like they are driving piles into the ground.
Happy for you to mention this on the blog, I would like to see if others have had the same issue."

Two other residents in nearby buildings reported that yesterday, the shaking and pounding noise from pile driving was terrible.

If you live nearby, let us know if you are experiencing the same problems.