Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Picture Of The Day: Simple Childhood Pleasure

Round and round
she rode
on her little blue scooter,
with a big smile on her face.

She made me smile as well.

In 1966, The Carroll Gardens Fish Market Was...



It is amazing how much information about Carroll Gardens' past one can be extracted from a 1966 parish 'souvenir journal.'
Joe Alameda of Perfect Corner was kind enough to lend me his copy of a St. Stephens' journal, commemorating its 100th birthday on April 23rd, 1966.
On the last few pages, there are wonderful congratulatory messages, some from local stores.
Above is the one from Sal Cusimano's Fish Store at 359 Court Street. Well, the storefront is still home to a fish market, though Mr. Cusimano is long gone.
Does anyone remember him? When did he sell the business? Can any native Carroll Gardener give us some more information.

There are many other such ads in the journal, so in the next few weeks, I will match them up with photos of what the stores look like today, 43 years later.

Thanks, Joe, for letting me borrow this great document. I'll take good care of it.

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A "DoubleStacker' School Bus At Hannah Senesh School

Did you happen to see it over the week-end, dear Reader?
Right there, at the corner of First Place and Smith Street, a curious double-stacked was parked next to the Hannah Senesh School.

The gleeful chatter of happy kids drifted out onto the sidewalk. Obviously, something fun was happening inside. A quick look at the inscription on the curious bus gave a clue:
A quick search on the internet revealed that the Teva Learning Center is a Jewish Environmental Education Institute.
No info on the organization's cool bus, though.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Picture Of The Day: Magnolia On The Verge

Did you notice, dear Reader?
The magnolia is on the verge of blooming.
Its buds opened up just a teeny bit,
waiting just for the next sunny day
to unfurl into beautiful flowers.

This Spring, Come Join The Committee To Improve Carroll Park





contact information: friendsofcarrollpark@yahoo.com

The Committee To Improve Carroll Park is meeting on

Thursday, April 2nd

7:30 PM
in the Park House

Hope you can attend!

There are lots of fun events coming up and lots of ways
to volunteer in one of Brooklyn's oldest Parks.

The House Beautiful: "Domestic Art" In 1920's Brooklyn

Brooklyn Interior 1920's

STV-031b.jpg 1920's




"Domestic Art" In 1920's Brooklyn

From a stereograph by The Keystone View Company, comes this Brooklyn home decorating tip for the dining and living room. Though it is from the 1920's, later than many brownstones, some of the tips are still valid.
However, the caption accompanying the photo is rather hilarious. Read on:

Making a a house attractive is one of the finer arts. Nothing so makes life worth while and full of richness as a well appointed place to live. We are too often satisfied with cheap prints in place of pictures, gaudy wallpaper, any kind of cheap rugs, and furniture of all sorts.
When we see an interior as nicely fitted as this one, we say, "What fine taste!" But taste is not altogether a natural gift. Like other virtues, it must be cultivated. To teach girls how to furnish their homes properly is the purpose of Domestic Art. Everywhere schools are coming to have courses in the arts, and many large special schools, such as the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, enjoy a national reputation.
In furnishing your rooms at home, or in decorating a school room, simplicity is the first law. Most homes are "cluttered up" with a bit of everything. A few pieces cost no more and are in much better taste than many cheap imitations.
Why are these two rooms attractive? First, because nothing is overdone. The furnishings are not in each other's way. The attractiveness of the table is not hidden by a cloth. But its top is protected by the doilies and a plseasant contrsts is also secured. the chairs are simple in line. The flower-pot matches its surroundings. The dishes, too, appear to belong in that particular dining-room and on that very table. This leads yo the second reason for the attractiveness of this room-the arrangement.
You can think of the effect of this beauty being lost by a bad distribution of the furniture. Observe the placement of each piece. Each is put where it is because it was selected to fit into the scheme of these rooms. The basis of the choice of furnishings is the rooms themselves.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reader Comment Of The Day: "That's What I Miss"

Regarding the post:
Hey, Neighbors! Pardon Me For Asking, But...

A reader had this to answer to the question:

"If you ever moved away from Carroll Gardens,
what restaurant would you miss the most?"

Restaurants? I've lived here all my life, and the restaurants were not at the top of my list.
What I would miss:
The Good Friday Procession at St. Stephen's Church.

Walking down Court St and stopping every 20 feet to say hello to a neighbor.
Walking around the neighborhood at Christmas time to see the holiday decorations.
The front gardens.

I would miss being able to do all my grocery shopping on foot, never using a car.
I would miss Court Pastry...even if I have to wait on line for an hour at Christmas time.
And while I am on the topic..
Things I miss from the old Carroll Gardens:
The Maria Addolorata Feast

The St. Mary's Bazaar

The "Pork Butcher Shops" on Court Street

Frances' Vegetable Store
the vegetable vendor w/ the horse

Hearing the old timers speaking Italian along Court St.

Watching Bocci in Carroll Park (there was a fist fight once between 2 old men)
Going to Sunday Mass w/ St. Mary's Class.
St Mary's Band and having my Grandparents and all my aunts, uncles and cousins around.
That's what I miss.

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Love Brooklyn? Proud To Be From Brooklyn? Why Not Show It!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey, Neighbors! Pardon Me For Asking, But...

Pardon Me for asking

Won't you please, please, please answer this question?

I would so like to hear your answer.


Here it is:


"If you ever moved away from Carroll Gardens,
what restaurant would you miss the most?"


Just because its Friday and because I would love to try out this new feature, I invite you to come up with an answer to a question pertaining to Carroll Gardens or Brooklyn at large.

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Picture Of The Day: Carroll Park After School

Walk through Carroll Park
at 3 PM
and you will find
the neighborhood children
after a long day
in school.

From Restaurant To Dental Office On Court Street

The retail space at 158 Court Street has been empty for a while now.
Long, long ago, it was the home of 'Inaka', one of the area's first Japanese restaurants. Believe me, twenty-two or so years ago, it was a big deal when it opened its doors and one could satisfy a craving for sushi without leaving the neighborhood.
After the original owner sold the business, it briefly became 'Oishi Oochi', but by then, there were other sushi restaurants on Court and Smith Streets to compete with.
More recently, it was the "Little Bistro."

Today, as I was walking by, I noticed that it will soon become a dentist office. Steve Wong, D.D.S., will be moving his office here from Henry Street.
(Oh, and per another flier in the window, you can win a free whitening kit, call for details)

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Public Place Gets Its Own Web Page Complete With Weekly Pollution Clean Up Updates

Last week-end, I walked by the highly toxic Public Place site and was surprised to find the gate wide open on the 5th Street site. Apparently, soil testing has been performed on an ongoing basis.
As per Tom Gray, District Director of
City Council Member Bill de Blasio, National Grid, which is responsible for the clean-up of its former gas manufacturing site, has set up a web page to provide updates for neighbors and to keep the community informed about "the work that has been done, and provide an outlook and schedule for upcoming work, including information about any work that may impact normal community activities."

From the web page:

Remedial Design: Pre-Design Field Investigation

Pre-Design Field Investigations are ongoing at the former Citizens MGP as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) approved Remedial Design Work Plan (RDWP). Work includes the installation of geotechnical borings to gather information required for the design of retaining structures in the areas to be excavated, product collection test wells to define NAPL collection rates and properties, and test pits to better define subsurface structures and existing bulkhead conditions. The site is broken down into four parcels as follows:

  • Parcel I: Smith and 5th Streets
  • Parcel II: Hoyt St along Gowanus Canal
  • Parcel III: Smith and Huntington Streets
  • Parcel IV: Hoyt and 5th Streets.

Activities Week of 03/ 16-20 /09:

  • Groundwater level gauging on Parcels I, II and III.

Future (two week look-ahead) activities:

  • No near-term activities planned. Parcel III Pre-Design Investigation to commence after warehouse demolition is complete.

Related Activities

Demolition activities related to the warehouse on Parcel III are being performed by the present property owner who has responsibility for those activities. National Grid is awaiting the foundation slab removal schedule and will implement the slab removal Community Air Monitoring Program when the foundation slab is removed.

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Hey, Brooklyn! On Saturday, Turn Off The Lights For One Hour And 'Vote Earth'

Hey, Brooklyn! Turn Off Your Lights.

(Brooklyn Borough Hall is doing it!)

Saturday, March 28th,
Between 8:30 to 9:30 PM

Vote Earth by simply switching off your lights for one hour
and join the rest of the world for Earth Hour!

My little family and I took part in this event last year and it felt really great. With candles flickering all around, we gathered in one room and enjoyed just talking to each other.
I am committed to taking part in the event again, but have guests coming over. I guess we will have a candle light dinner....

I was happy to learn that Brooklyn Borough Hall is also going dark, together with many other New York City landmarks.

This from the official Earth Hour Web Site:

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

Related Post:Earth Hour 2008 Brings A Bit Of Reality Into This Brooklyn Home

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Picture Of The Day: Sloping Brownstones

He was slowly walking
down towards the canal,
past this gently sloping
row of townhouses
on Second Street.

Free-For-All Brawl In Red Hook Shipyard Riot...In 1937

A quick look back in Brooklyn history. This great photo was taken on the waterfront near the Red Hook Graving dock back in 1937. The docks were built by the Robins Dry Dock Company from 1864-1916. Today, this is were Ikea built its huge yellow and blue box store.

The accompanying caption states:

Free-For-All Brawl In Shipyard Riot

Brooklyn, N.Y. July 31, 1937

A view of the scene near the Robins Dry Dock And Repair Company's Yard in Brooklyn when police clashed with a mob of 1,000 strikers and sympathizers after six pickets had been arrested. Three men were injured and ten arrested, police were stoned and traffic was tied up by a sit-down demonstration in front of trolley cars before 1500 patrolmen restored order.

In Gowanus Area, The (Fake) Grass Is Greener





Carroll Street between Nevins and 3rd Avenue

The grass is greener near the Gowanus Canal. Don't believe me, dear Reader? Just take a look at the lushness of the little grass edging in this tree pit on Carroll Street between Nevins and 3rd Avenue.

But wait...
Could it be?
Is this what I think it is?
Did someone actually plant fake grass around the sidewalk tree pit?

Oh, and the blue flowers? Fake as well.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Picture Of The Day: Casting Shadows

I was walking along the sidewalk,
deep in thought,
when I noticed the beauty
of the shadow cast
by an ornate fence and gate.

A Moment In Time: The Measuring Man

He looked terribly official
in his orange vest,
pushing his wheeled tape measure
here and there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Climate Change And New York City: A Lecture By Dr. Radley Horton

photo credit: Onkel Ulle on Flickr

Parks and Recreation invites you to a guest lecture



Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2009

Prospect Park Picnic House

6:00PM: check in, refreshments
6:30PM Presentation
7:15PM Q & A
7:30PM Meet the Manager
RSVP: Elizabeth Walsack at 718/965-6951
elizabeth.walsack@ parks.nyc. gov

Radley Horton, PhD, is an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University.
Dr. Horton completed his Ph.D. research at Columbia University's Department of Earth and Environmental Science and NASA GISS.
His research interests include climate impacts and mitigation, and modeling of climate variability and it's regional signatures under climate change scenarios.

PS 29 Literary Salon: An Evening Of Memoir And Fiction

Photo Credit: ookami_dou on Flickr

PS 29 Literary Salon
March 27 2009, 7-8:30 PM

An Evening of Memoir and Fiction
Nick Flynn, Victor Weinstock,
Mark Alpert

Reading, Talk, Food & Book Sales
–Tickets $7($15 w/ babysitting)
425 Henry Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Nick Flynn’s memoir about his childhood and his homeless father, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, won France’s Prix Femina and has been translated into 13 languages. He has written two books of poetry. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the New York Times Book Review, among others. He teaches at the University of Houston. He will read from The Ticking is the Bomb, a forthcoming memoir about fatherhood, bewilderment, and Abu Ghraib.
Mark Alpert’s debut novel, the scientific thriller, Final Theory, has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, among others, for its blend of Big Science and pulse-pounding suspense and excitement. Alpert, an editor at Scientific American, studied astrophysics and poetry at Princeton University and earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University.

Victor Weinstock
is a Mexican playwright, journalist, and essayist whose work includes the hit Mexican musical, Bésame Mucho; the play, Another Somber Fable, performed by Mexico’s acclaimed theater company for the deaf, Seña y Verbo; and multimedia productions. He is New York cultural correspondent for the Mexican newspaper, El Economista. He will read in English and Spanish from his novel-in-progress.

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Picture Of The Day: Carroll Gardens Low-Rise

Nestled amidst warehouses
close to the Gowanus Canal,
this sweet little one-story house
is a reminder that not everything needs to be a high rise.

A Moment In Time: Fighting The Chill

It had been warm just the day before,
but now the icy wind
was blowing down Smith Street.
It did not feel
like spring
at all!

When Did A Permit For A Two-Story Addition Become An Approval For Brand New Construction?

Back in November '08
Only beams of existing structure at 85 Third Street remained
                                           November '08: After demo
November '08: Original structure gone
85 Third Street Today

Looks suspiciously like a new structure
No sign of existing structure
Two 'Stop Work Orders' have been rescinded

So let me get this straight: A developer proposes a two-story addition to an existing building at 85 Third Street. He gets approval and a permit from the Department of Buildings. Then he proceeds to tear the existing structure down and puts a new structure in its place. 

I am not an expert, but even the latest permits seem to still mention that this is an alteration instead of new construction.Pardon me for asking, but is there something I am missing?


A reader passed along a photo f what 85 3rd Street looked like in the fall of '08 during demo
Thanks, Lisa De Brooklyn

Related Reading:

Stop Work Order Of The Day: Destroying Existing Building When Permit Only Allows Two Additional Floors