Monday, October 12, 2015

"Let's Talk About School Overcrowding": Carroll Gardens And Cobble Hill Parents Organize Event To Discuss The Issue

It was bound to happen: overcrowding in our local public schools. When you take the rise in popularity of Cobble Hill in Carroll Gardens amongst young couples with children, the addition of several large scale developments in the area, and consider the lack of planning for new school seats, it can't be a surprise to anyone that  all three of our local schools are busting at the seams.

The problem will get even worse with the completion of the 700-unit Lightstone Group Project on Bond Street, the possible re-zoning of the Gowanus corridor, and the proposed 770 unit housing development at Public Place.

The parents of local Public Elementary Schools 58, 29 and 32 have joined together to address the overcrowding issue on Wednesday, October 21 from 7 to 9 PM at PS 58 on Carroll Street. On hand will be representatives of the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority and our local elected representatives.

For more information on the meeting, click here. It should be an interesting conversation.

Tropical Ghana: Cooking With Charles Can At Court Tree Collective

Are you into food and cooking? If so, you should check out Court Tree Collective, the small gallery and event space at 371 Court Street between Carroll Street and First Place in Carroll Gardens. In addition to some innovative art exhibits, Court Tree has been hosting awesome culinary classes with chefs that hail from around the globe.  On October 24th, Court Tree will introduce the cuisine of Ghana. Below is more information:

Court Tree Collective presents Tropical Ghana Fisherman Style by original Court Tree member Charles Cann. Back by popular request the grilled fish is coming back with a new friend. You know the grilled fish, now meet Charles’s Baked Koose (vegetarian).

Grilled Fish, Ghana Fisherman Style
When the fishermen in Ghana set out to sea, they also take their clay grinding bowl, salt, pepper, ginger, a portable stove and a few other items in their canoes to help them cook and grill some fresh fish from their catch. Your turn to join on land, in Brooklyn, for this mouth-watering flavor loaded fish, paired with Baked Koose.

Baked Koose (aka Baked Akara) [Pronounced Koh-Say]
Koose is a deep-fried snack made out of black-eyed beans batter. A well-known delicious snack that comes vegetarian and excites many in Ghana, Koose is also known as Akara in Nigeria and dates back centuries. It is believed to have made its way to Brazil as Acaraje – a popular Brazilian street food. Now, enter Baked Koose! The next generation in the Koose family comes baked, delicious and retains the wholesomeness of the beans to get you recharging right away.

Sign up for the class here!!  The cost is $35.

Local Community Groups Mobilizing To Re-Establish B71 Bus Route Between Carroll Gardens And Park Slope

The B71 back in 2010, before it was eliminated
Back in 2010: Protests to save the B71 bus route

In 2010, the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced the elimination of the B71 bus, which had connected Carroll Gardens and Park Slope via Union Street for years. The route was used  by many school-aged kids, the handicapped and the elderly.  It also provided easy public transportation to Prospect Park, the central Brooklyn Library, as well as the Brooklyn Museum for Carroll Gardeners.
Despite several protests and petitions by local residents and elected officials, the route was suspended in June 2010.  
Efforts are now on the way to bring the B71 route back.  An online petition addressed has been circulation this past week and a demonstration is scheduled for tomorrow, October 13th at 10:30 PM at the corner of Union and Smith Streets.
Below is an email on the subject by Councilman Brad Lander.

When the MTA eliminated the B71 bus route that ran along Union Street in June 2010, they cut a vital transportation link for our neighborhoods. Students lost their route to school. Seniors lost the bus that took them to the grocery store and shopping on Fifth Avenue. The link up to Prospect Park, the Library, and the Brooklyn Museum, or down to Columbia Street and Brooklyn Bridge Park was severed.

We fought hard at the time. Now -- with a growing number of families and businesses all along the route -- it's time to renew that fight.

If you agree that we need the B71 back, sign this petition and join the campaign.

Thanks to the work of advocates in our community, momentum is growing to bring back the route. Building upon the work of longtime advocates for the route, like former Assemblywoman Joan Millman, advocates in the Park Slope Civic Council led by Michael Cairl, with help from Community Board 6’s Eric McClure, and Community Board 8’s Rob Witherwax, are mobilizing to bring back the bus. Residents of the Columbia Waterfront, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, and Prospect Heights are organizing together (you can read about it in an article in this week's Brooklyn Paper).

Their new proposal for the route (see maps of Eastbound andWestbound service here) improves upon the old route by extending it all the way to Pier 6 on one end and to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum on the other. The proposed route also avoids congestion along both Union and Eastern Parkway that led to the unreliability of the old B71, and would extend service later into the night. It’s a smart proposal. I support it, and I hope you do too.
Sign the "Bring Back the B71" petition to show your support!

This Tuesday morning, NY State Assemblymember Joanne Simon, along with State Senator Daniel Squadron, City Council Member Steve Levin, other elected officials, local community groups, and the TWU, is organizing a press conference for residents:
Bring Back the B71
Tuesday, October 13 at 10:30 AM
Corner of Smith and Union Streets

Please join the press conference if you can. Please sign the petition, and forward this e-mail to other interested neighbors. (In addition to showing growing support, we'll also make sure to keep you updated on other actions in the campaign).

Thanks for your help. Together, we can bring back this vital transit artery.

It will be interesting to see if the MTA is more receptive to the community's wishes, five years after the B71 was eliminated.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Green Everything

Green garage, green cabs.
Hamilton Avenue at the end of Court Street.

South Brooklyn Children's Garden On Columbia Street To Host Its 4th Annual Harvest Festival

(photo credit courtesy South Brooklyn Children's Garden)

South Brooklyn Children's Garden on Columbia Street will be celebrating its fourth annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 24, from 10 am to 1 pm. The event is free and open to the public and a wonderful opportunity to meet others in the community. so mark your calendar and Mark your calendars and plan to bring your family.

South Brooklyn Children’s Garden to Host Harvest Festival on October 24
Fourth Annual Festival Celebrates Urban Farming and Will Include
Autumn Activities, Local Food, and a Harvest Pie Contest

The South Brooklyn Children’s Garden (the Garden), a community garden and urban farming cooperative in the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood of Brooklyn, announced today that it will host its annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 24, from 10 am to 1 pm. Now in its fourth year, the Harvest Festival, which is free and open to the public, brings together community members of all ages to celebrate the autumn harvest and the role of urban farming in sustainable agriculture.

Last year’s Harvest Festival had more than 400 attendees, and this year’s festival is expected to draw an even larger crowd, with activities including harvest pie contest, pumpkin patch, face painting by Sharon of Fantasy Arts, Autumn crafts by Arts*Cetera, Crafty Kids Brooklyn, and Creatively Wild Art Studio, live music from The Dad Beats, and food from local restaurants

One of the highlights of the Harvest Festival, the harvest pie contest brings together local bakers to vie for coveted prizes and bragging rights. Amateur bakers are invited to bring a homemade pie containing autumn harvest fruits or vegetables to be judged by a distinguished panel that will include representatives from GreenThumb and Food Bank for New York City as well as local community leaders. The grand prize winner can choose either a free membership to the Garden for the 2016 season or a photography session from Erin Silber Photography, with second and third place winners receiving prizes donated by local merchants. All pies must be entered by 11:30 am, with judging taking place at 12:30 pm.

The South Brooklyn Children’s Garden is located at 204 Columbia Street on the corner of Sackett Street in the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Get more detail on South Brooklyn Children’s Garden's web site here.

While There Are Still Artists In Gowanus, Take Advantage Of Gowanus Open Studios 2015

Arts Gowanus started back in 1997 with a mission "to nurture the vibrant creativity in the Gowanus neighborhood." Though recently, many artists have been displaced because of development pressures in the area, the group's Gowanus Open Studios event is still going strong and is being held every October. It is a chance to meet local artists in their ateliers, and to participate in our neighborhood's exciting art scene

This year, Gowanus Open Studio will be held the weekend of October 16-17 the 2015 and will include over 340 artists. One of those artists is Regina Perlin, who has been painting the Gowanus Canal and Carroll Gardens and the changes over these past years.  Stop by Studio 2L at 168 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) to meet her and her studio mates, Ella Yang who also paints the Gowanus Canal, and Sarah Brook who constructs evocative, spiritual abstract wall sculptures.

You can find the entire list of participating artists here.
All information on the event below and by visiting

October 16-18
Studios are open Noon - 6:00pm
Sat + Sun, October 17 + 18

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Friends Of Carroll Park To Celebrate Halloween With Movie Screening, Scary-oke, And Kids Parade

As in years past, Friends of Carroll Park, the all volunteer group dedicated to improving our local park, will be hosting some fun events to celebrate Halloween.
Bring the family, bring friends, help spread the word. Most importantly, have a blast.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 7:00 p.m. 

Fall Movie Screening: "Little Shop of Horrors"

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Annual "Scary-oke" Karaoke Party!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31, 12:00 p.m.
Annual Kids' Halloween Parade

Stay in touch with Friends of Carroll Park through Facebook or Twitter

Monday, October 05, 2015

As Always Mazzone's 11th Annual PumpkinFest Was A Success

This past Saturday may have been a blustery day, but that did not prevent neighborhood kids to have loads of fun at Mazzone Hardware's 11th annual Pumpkinfest. There were pony rides, clowns, refreshments, music and also face painting, music and refreshments. And of course, Mazzone's had lots of pumpkins that the kids got to paint.
Where you there?

Thank you to reader WB for sending the photos of the festivities on Court Street at 4th Place and for allowing us to use them.

Carroll Gardens Pets (And Owners) Gathered In Carroll Park This Past Sunday For Traditional Blessing Of The Animals

Local pet owners gathered in Carroll Park this past Sunday for the annual Blessing of the Animals held to honor St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.   Some pets obviously got dressed up for the occasion, others just seemed to be happy to hang out in the park with each other.
As in years past, the event was held jointly by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church, and St. Paul & St. Agnes Roman Catholic Parish.
The blessing of the animal is a beloved tradition in Carroll Gardens and certainly a fun event to watch, even if you don't have a pet.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Flood Alert: Lightstone Group's Residential Project At High Tide Today

Friday, October 2, 2015 
(photo credit: Mark Karwowski)

Below, photos of Lightstone Group's development and Gowanus Canal at high tide taken on Saturday, October 3rd

(photo credit: Mark Karwowski)

Flood warnings have been broadcast in the news for the past few days here in New York City and the rest of the East Coast.

Here in Gowanus, the waters of the polluted canal were rising after a period of steady rain. Above are some photos taken today from the Carroll Street Bridge at 12:30 PM  by reader and friend Mark Karwowski.  The mechanism of the bridge were underwater which happens often when it rains here in Gowanus. More significant is the result of the rising water on the Lightstone Group residential development currently being built at 365 Bond Street. The new bulkheads in front of the building were almost totally submerged under water from the Canal.
One wonders what could happen on Sunday/ Monday, when we could potentially get some serious rain as a result of Hurricane Joaquin.

The Gowanus Canal, of course has been declared a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In related news, Councilman Brad Lander sent out the following message earlier today regarding the possible effect of Hurricane Joaquin in the area.

As you know, there’s a chance that Hurricane Joaquin is headed our way. We don’t know its exact path, and hopefully it will head out into the Atlantic, rather than make landfall, as the most likely current forecasts predict (you can stay up-to-date via the National Weather Service, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management).

But since there is a real chance that the storm could hit near NYC, we should be ready. If the storm does hit, it would likely be Monday orTuesday, so please use the weekend to make sure you’re prepared:
Know your hurricane evacuation
Have an emergency plan in place for your family: Some good tips are here, including what every household should have on hand in case of emergency (drinking water, nonperishable food, a working flashlight and batteries, etc).
Sign up for text and email notifications from Notify NYC, the City’s official source for information about emergency events and important City services, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
Report power outages or downed wires to Con Ed at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633) or (where they also have helpful storm preparation tips).
National Grid customers can report gas service interruptions by calling 1-718-643-4050.

In the event that the storm does hit us, we’ll work to set up a system for you contact our office if you have any problems in your neighborhood.

A few other notes:
Whatever ends up happening with Joaquin’s trajectory, we are getting a lot of rain. As many of you know too well, there are places in our neighborhood where flooding-from-rain is chronic – especially near the Gowanus Canal , along 9th Street and 2nd Avenue. We can’t fix that before Monday, but I’m working hard to make sure that we address it with a real fix soon.
For many of us, this time spent anxiously looking at weather report is evocative of the days after Sandy, and a reminder of the tragedy we weathered together just three years ago. As I think of Sandy, I remember not only the pain we saw, but the extraordinary compassion of our community. If needed, I know that our community will respond again (and we’ll be here to help coordinate efforts). In the meantime, use this weekend to check up on an elderly or homebound neighbor.
While no single event can be pinned on climate change, there is overwhelming evidence that the increase in severe weather events is linked to global warming caused by human activity. So if Joaquin doesn’t hit, think about using the found time to take action for a more sustainable planet. I was pleased to see Mayor de Blasio come out earlier this week recommending that NYC’s pension funds divest from coal (and consider other fossil fuels as well). There are so many ways to do so – one is to get involved with 350 Brooklyn (part of the broader network o


High Tide In Gowanus Canal on Saturday 23rd, October 2015