Friday, May 06, 2016

Few Great Spots Still Available For Popular Carroll Park Fair Scheduled For May 21

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The yearly Carroll Park Fair has been scheduled for Saturday May 21 from 10 AM to 5 PM by Friends of Carroll Park. If you have been thinking about participating as a vendor this year, don't wait to reserve  a spot.  There are just a few left.
Here is the deal:
Rent a patch of Carroll Park's Valentino ball field during this ever-popular annual market!
The cost for a 10' x 10' space is $35.
To reserve your spot, call 917 574 0745 or email carrollparkfair@gmail.com with your name, phone number, and a brief description of what you'll be selling (i.e.; jewelry, records, household miscellany).
Sorry, but food or drink sales are not allowed. Rental includes the space only, no amenities: vendors must bring their own tables and/or chairs.
All proceeds from the annual flea market benefit Friends of Carroll Park, a non-profit organization that has been in existence for over 30 years. It is run entirely by volunteers. All funds received by the Committee are spent on the Park – mostly on trees and plants.

So clean your closets, sell your extras and meet your neighbors. And please spread the word.



Thursday, May 05, 2016

Picture Of The Day: Double Deckers

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Tourist buses parked in a lot on 2nd Avenue in Gowanus.
The rainy May weather can't be much fun for out-of-town visitors.



Is This The End For Marietta On Court Street? Old Fashioned Clothing Store Has Been Closed For A While Now

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Carroll Gardens without Marietta, the old time clothing store at 392 Court Street, would simply not be the same neighborhood.  It is a vestige of the neighborhood's Italian heritage, of a simpler time when local residents bought flowered housecoats, flannel underwear, waist high undies and cotton handkerchiefs.
For quite a while now, the store has been shuttered.  In January of this year, a "Closed for Vacation' sign appeared on its front door, but it never re-opened afterwards.
That has many Carroll Gardeners wondering if this time, it may not re-open.
Which would be incredibly sad and a tremendous loss to the neighborhood.

The clothing store has been in operation at this location since the 1940s. It was originally founded by Marietta Chirico, a gutsy Italian immigrant who saved up her money and bought the Court Street building, so that she could open her dry goods store on the ground floor. Later, her two sons Joe and Matty stepped in to help run the business.

Though there never seemed to be any visible order in the store, Joe always knew exactly in which brown cardboard box to look to find what their customers are looking for.
Besides white cotton underwear, Joe and Matty, when he was still alive, served up their infectious laughs and hilarious banter. Walking into their store was a real experience and one can only imagine what Mother Marietta was like.

After Matty passed away a few years ago, his older brother Joe who is now well into his 90s continued on. Every work day at about 11 am, he would slowly make his way from his home on Clinton Street to take his place behind the counter of his store. Joe's grandson started helping him run the store for the past few years, so there was hope that Marietta's would remain open for a while longer

I spoke to several people about the fact that the store had been closed now for weeks. One longtime resident told me that it never really re-opened after the 'on vacation' sign went up in January. Someone else told me that Joe was now in a wheelchair and was not coming out of his house any more. There are rumors that the storefront has been rented to someone else, but I was not able to confirm this.

Whatever the reason, it is terribly sad to imagine that Marietta may not re-open.
Let us hope that this is not the end for this neighborhood institution.

Marietta at 392 Court Street when it was open
Matty and Joe Chirico when both brothers still ran the store
(image above courtesy of Carroll Gardens Patch)

Here is a beautiful video of the Chirico brothers in their store. It was filmed by Abbey Adkinson.



Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Picture Of The Day: Thunderbird

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Parked on Union Street on a rainy day.

Cobble Hill Tree Fund's Annual Plant Sale Scheduled For Saturday, May 14

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As in years past, the Cobble Hill Tree Fund is hosting its very popular annual plant sale at Cobble Hill Park, at the  corner of Congree and Clinton Streets. The event is scheduled for May 14th from 11 am to 3pm.
Besides annuals, perennials and herbs, there will be a land identification game for kids and a free t-shirt with $75 purchase.
The Fund is "dedicated to planting trees, providing education on the care of trees, and the on-going beautification of our community." All monies raised at the sale will be used for that purpose.
So if you are a neighborhood gardener, mark your calendar.


Nightingale 9 To Host Summer Benefit In Support Of 7th Annual Smith Street Stage Shakespeare Production In Carroll Park

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"The Tempest": a production by Smith Street Stage.
(photo credit: Smith Street Stage)
The cast of The Tempest: Coming to Carroll Park This Summer
(photo credit: Smith Street Stage)

On Monday, May 16, 2016 at 6 pm, Nightingale 9 at 329 Smith Street is hosting a very special summer benefit evening in support of Friends of Carroll Park and of Smith Street Stage, which have been bringing Shakespeare plays to our park for the past several years.

This June 8 through June 26th, Smith Street Stage's actors will present its seventh annual installment of the Shakespeare in Carroll Park series by performing "The Tempest".
The benefit will support our lovely neighborhood park as well as the free Shakespeare performances.

So join the Smith Street Stage players, Phillip Baltz, Wendy Bellus, Jeffrey Costello, Lauren Deen, Kerry Diamond, Patrick Diamond, Gary Dolan, Anne Fulenwider, Christina Grdovic, Cat Greenleaf, Nicole Kaldes, Elisa Lipsky-Karasz, Stacy London, Jen Mankins, Rob Newton, Elliott Phear, Susan Phear, Jessica Richards, Kate Sekules, Christina Skogly Knowlton, Robert Tagliapietra, Rony Vardi, and other friends and neighbors.

Snacks and drinks courtesy of Nightingale Nine.  Special Tempest cocktail courtesy of Barking Irons Applejack

Tickets are $75 per person and available through Brown Paper Tickets here


Friends Of The Carroll Gardens Library To Host Book Sale This Saturday

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Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library will be hosting a book sale fundraiser to benefit our local branch, located at 396 Clinton Street at Union Street. Don't forget to stop by to browse the large collection of fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, best sellers, and children's books. Enjoy guest performers Rolie Polie Guacamole and buy a treat from the bake sale.

Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library supports the branch and its staff in many ways, so it is all for a good cause.


Monday, May 02, 2016

The Smith Street Funday Sunday Will Take Place In 2016 As A Tribute To Its Founder, Bette Stoltz

Bette Stoltz, founder of South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation


When Bette Stoltz, South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation's founding Executive Director, unexpectedly passed away this past November, she left a huge hole in the neighborhood. For decades, Bette had been deeply committed to the community and to the merchants and restaurateurs who took a chance on Smith Street when the area was not yet popular and before Smith Street was called "restaurant row."

Besides founding SBLDC, she served for years as a member of Community Board 6, was involved in the creation of the beautiful Transit Garden at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place, served on the EPA Gowanus Canal Superfund Community Advisory Board and was a member of several neighborhood associations, including Friends And Residents of Greater Gowanus.In addition, she helped fund and bring a full fledged Culinary Arts Curriculum and facilities to the High School For International Studies at 284 Baltic Street and was so proud of its students and graduates.
In the past year, Bette was hard at work on creating a joint Business Improvement District (BID) for Smith Street and Court Street.

Bette did many things, and she did them all well and with a big smile on her face.  It was clear, however, that one of the things she loved most, was to nurturing new businesses and advise its owners on how best to succeed on Smith Street, or as she called it "the little street that could."
To insure their success, Bette organized wonderful community events like the Smith Street Funday Sunday Fair, Bastille Day and the Smith Street Soup Festival, which brought local residents out to meet the business owners in their neighborhood.  All were amazing successes.

After Bette's passing, it was unclear what would happen to SBLDC and Bette's Smith Street events.
I am so excited to report that Bette's daughter Erica Stoltz will be stepping into her mom's footprints to host the Smith Street Funday Sunday Festival in 2016.

Erica writes:
The death of Bette Stoltz was a shock to all of us. She was woven into the fabric of Smith Street and the public events she produced are an important part of the flavor of Brooklyn. The outpouring of love from the community she served brought tremendous comfort to my family and I. In her honor I am producing the fair this year so that we all can continue to celebrate the wonderful community she helped build.
We are going to open the fair with a Second Line procession to give all the vendors a chance to celebrate Bette's life as well. I look forward to seeing you there.
Erica Stoltz, Executive Director of SBLDC 

Erica produced this wonderful video below on her mother's work and her legacy here in South Brooklyn.

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Good-Bye, Dosa Royale! Court Street Eatery Will Be Relocating To Fort Greene

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Add Dosa Royale to the long list of businesses that have recently closed their doors on Court Street and Smith Street.
Luckily, this does not mean the end for Dosa.  Many of you wrote to PMFA to report that the eatery would be relocating to 258 DeKalb Avenue in Fort Greene.  The restaurant, according to a note in the window,  will also  still be represented at Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea every Saturday and Sunday.

Owners Thiru and Heather Rajamani, who own Dino in Fort Greene as well, opened up Dosa Royale at 316 Smith Street in early 2014.  The restaurant served curries and dosas, thin crepes made from black lentils and rice batter that are stuffed with vegetables and served with condiments.
It seemed to be popular for a while, but lately, the place was mostly empty when I passed by.

Will you miss Dosa Royale here in the neighborhood?  Will you seek out its new location?


'Twice Upon A Time": A Puppet Show At Gowanus Souvenir Shop

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This coming Saturday, May 7th, take your kids to Gowanus Souvenir Shop for a very special puppet show that is sure to delight them. The performance will go from 10:30 am to 12 pm and tickets are $15.
Gowanus Souvenir Shop is located at 543 Union Street.
Here is more on the show:
Twice upon A Time is the enchanting tale of Anushka, a young girl, who simply can't get to sleep one moon-lit night. As her mother gets more and more angry and she gets more and more desperate, her story books spring magically, musically to life, coming to her rescue. Twice Upon a Time, which premiered in London in 2010 includes musical versions of favorites such as The Hungry Caterpillar, Where The Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon and Goodnight Gorilla. With live cello, guitar, accordion and flute with Madeline Solomon.

The show will be followed by a craft activity where the children make a Special Mother's Day Puppet!


Reserve your tickets here.


Sadly, Sunday's 38th Annual Court Street Festival Was Mostly A Washout

photo credit: David Castillo

Sunday's damp and unseasonably cool weather sure put a damper on the 38th Annual Court Street Festival, which seemed to mostly be cancelled.  I must admit that I never made it to the fair, but friend and photographer David Castillo of Blue Barn Pictures ventured out with his family yesterday and reported that it was "dead" on Court Street.
David's photo above was taken between 3rd Place and 4th Place at 2 pm on Sunday.
It looks as though many vendors did not even bother showing up.
Did you stop by the festival?


Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Moment In Time: The Balloon Man

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The ballon man of Carroll Park.
He has put smiles on kids' faces for several years now.


Always A Treat To See: An Opened Carroll Street Bridge

(photo credit: Elizabeth Kenney)

Maintenance work is being performed this week on the landmarked Carroll Street Bridge. Built in 1889, the retractable  bridge, one of only four such bridges left in the country, spans the Gowanus Canal.  
Friend and neighborhood resident Elizabeth Kenney took the photos above yesterday, when the bridge had been swung open so that maintenance work could be performed
She writes: "Always a treat to see."

Strangely, while crossing the bridge at Union Street, Elizabeth came across an FDNY Explosives team "They were walking over the Union Street Bridge and looking around, but then they continued to Bond Street. Not sure what they were up to."
Does anyone know something about this?

Thanks for sharing the photos, Elizabeth.

Below as a photo from 1900, showing the Carroll Street Bridge from the Municipal Archive.





Local Students Learn About Plants, Earthworms And Volunteering In Carroll Park

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Several Kindergarten and First Grade classes of the International School Of Brooklyn, which is located at 477 Court Street, took a little field trip to Carroll Gardens this morning to learn about dirt, earthworms and plants.
Gary Dolan, president of Friends of Carroll Park was on hand with gloves and trovels, which the kids used to loosen the dirt so that they could add worms to the earth.
The children learned about the benefit of worms to the plants in the park and were obviously delighted by the wiggly creatures. They also learned how to pot a little marigold, which they got to take home.
Hopefully,  the students will have a new appreciation for the earthworms and for the plantings in Carroll Park.

Thanks, Gary, for taking the time to teach the next generation about nature. Hopefully they will, one day, become park volunteers!



The 38th Annual Court Street Festival Will Be Held This Sunday

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Whatever your plans for this week-end, don't miss the Court Street Festival on Sunday, May 1th. Court Street will be closed from Union Street to 9th Street to make room for about 200 vendors. There will be children's rides and music and lots of food. It starts at 12 and will go till 6 Pm.
See you there?

The Court Street Festival has been a yearly event in Carroll Gardens for the past 38 years. So come out and enjoy a fun day in the neighborhood.