Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lincoln Center Local Live Coming to a Library Near You

Throughout the months of July, August and September residents of Brooklyn and Queens will be treated to special free music programming sponsored by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Education and the Brooklyn and Queens public libraries.

Broadway Pops International will bring musical theater to the Kensington Library on Autust 16 at 2pm
The variety of music will be wide, with 14 different offerings ranging in styles from opera to gospel to flamenco and American musical. The music will be presented in one-hour sessions which will also include discussions with questions and answers with the performing artists. These encounters allow the audience to engage in a more meaningful and enjoyable way with the music.

The first performance was on July 12 at the Queens Central Library. It was flamenco dance performed by Elementos de Flamenco. The last show of the series will be live streamed from the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center and will take place on September 27th. The encore performance will be viewable at five Brooklyn Public Library locations, including at the Kensington Library at 4207 18th Avenue. The Queens Public Library will also have 13 branches participating. For more information go to the Lincoln Center schedule.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Golden Farm Finally Caves and Gives Workers Contract

It was a hard-fought battle for the workers at Golden Farm Market and Deli, but finally, after two years, owner Sonny Kim agreed to give his employees contracts.

Workers Win Contract at Golden Farm Market/Deli
The Kensington, Brooklyn store owner had been trying to fight the workers demand for contracts by trying to get Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 338 decertified. He also had been trying to dissuade shoppers from boycotting and picketing the store. After two years of fighting Kim decided it would be in everyone’s best interest, including his own, to offer his workers contracts, and did so in late June.

Martin Gonzalez, one of the workers who now, for the first time, have a contract to work at Golden Farm said, “We the workers of Golden Farm thank you for all your help. Thank you for your time on the picket line. Above all, thank you for making this campaign a dream come true — a campaign that nobody stopped, only victory.”

Another worker added: “Hi, my name is Roberto and in the name of my co-workers from Golden Farm we greet you most sincerely and thank you very much — to every one of you — for the unconditional help. This victory is also yours. Thank you to everyone and God bless you.”

The contract signed by the workers and owner stipulates that each worker is entitled to paid sick days, holidays and vacation time. They also received small raises, the first time they have been paid beyond minimum wage. The contract also includes a “good cause” clause, which states that management must have, and provide, a reason to fire an employee. The contract also allows workers the rights to have active union representation.

This last bit about union representation was the last hurdle to overcome before Kim agreed to the contract.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sanitation Department Surprised When Shortage of Garbage Bins Leads to Overstuffed Trash Cans

The Sanitation Department seems to be stuck on the problem of illegal dumping of household and business trash in garbage bins around New York and especially in Brooklyn. In an effort to prevent the unsightly and unsanitary overflow of trash in bins, the Sanitation Department began to remove the bins from sidewalks back in 2011. And what has been the result? It doesn’t look too good.

Pails on the sidewalks are still stuffed with refuse from families and local businesses.

“They overflow quite frequently, then the garbage just spreads all around the neighborhood,” said Bridget Elder, 52, resident of Kensington.

Since the beginning of the experiment 95 bins have been taken away. In Brooklyn bins were removed from Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Kensington, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace.

Not Enough Bins, or Too Many?

Many residents believe that there is only one way to end the problem and clean up the area, and that is by increasing the number of garbage truck pick-ups. Although most trash bins are emptied once per day, it is clear the frequency of emptying the trash must increase.

“You used to see garbage cans all over the place,” said Kensington resident Robert Waugh. “Now, there’s a lot more garbage on the ground. This is just insane.”

The Sanitation Department has the power to add pick-ups, but removing the bins is cheaper, and that (non) solution also is less time consuming.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Smoke Bomb on School Bus Sends Students to Hospital Instead of School

Last week on Tuesday almost one dozen children were sent to the hospital after someone on their school bus set off a smoke bomb.

Smoke Bomb on School Bus Sends Children to Hospital
The bus was on its way to the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School in Kensington, carrying 40 children between the ages of 5 and 11. At about 7:20am the yellow school bus stopped at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Dorchester Road due to the heavy smoke in the bus. The bus still had about 12 more blocks to go before arriving at school.

Some of the children were transferred to the hospital as a precaution. All were released soon after it was clear that none of them were harmed.

Police believe that someone on the bus set off the device, which was a type of firework that is designed to release plumes of thick smoke. When such a device is exploded inside a closed, contained space, the police added, there is a danger that the smoke can cause breathing problems or other medical ailments.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bikes and Books Get Together at the BPL

In anticipation of the “Bike the Branches” bike tour, the Brooklyn Public Library is outfitting hundreds of adults and children with bike helmets. The annual tour features people riding either on their own or in groups to visit as many as 60 branches of the BPL. When they arrive at each branch riders, and anyone visiting the library, will be able to participate in activities geared to families. Those who arrive at the most library branches will be eligible for prizes.

One helmet giveaway already took place at the Kensington branch of the BPL last week. This week, on Tuesday, May 13, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, riders are invited to come to 10 Grand Army Plaza to be fitted for a free helmet, as long as supplies last.

Participants who sign up ahead of time can join in themed bike rides like the one touring some of Brooklyn’s most famous distilleries. Another ride visits famous literary locales, and another will be going to some of the borough’s most popular landmarks.

Tour day is May 17 beginning at 10am. Registration is online and costs $20 per adult and $10 per child under 17. Seniors over 65 also pay $10. There are group rates for families or groups with up to 10 members.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mohawk Tavern Changing Name to Something More PC

After  members of the Mohawk Nation complained about the name of a local bar, the owners of that bar have made the decision to change its name.

The bar, which opened up last week, was named quite innocently the Mohawk Tavern after the Mohawk River near Albany, New York, where two of the owners grew up.
Mohawk River
“There was some chatter on the blogs and some members of the Mohawk Nation who lived in the neighborhood were unhappy,” owner Brandon Lenihan said.

Located in Windsor Terrace at Prospect Avenue and Reeve Place, the bar will remain open, but will soon have a new name “in a day or two,” the owners announced. Lenihan added that no matter what the name of the bar will finally be, the public should be aware that they will be serving beers from New York State breweries as well as locally produced wine.

“I am really glad they dropped the name! My uncle was Mohawk — it is 2014, why are we using the name of another culture for a business? I am really relieved to hear about this change and I will be one of the first people to line up for a drink. Glad they did the right thing!” read one comment posted on the local Kensington BK blog, where the name change was first reported.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kensington Stables Protest Plan to Ban CP Horse-Drawn Carriages

Worried about what the future will be for retired horses if the carriages pulled by them are banned from Central Park; Walker Blankinship, who runs Kensington Stables near Prospect Park is protesting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans for the beloved tradition of horse-drawn carriage rental in Manhattan’s fabled park.

Are Horse and Carriage in Central Park Going to be Banned?
Not if Kensington Stables can help it.
Blankinship asserts that the unwanted horses will end up on the chopping block, slaughtered for meat, despite de Blasio’s reassurances that a loving home will be found for each and every one of the horses. De Blasio would like to see the carriages banned, as he, along with animal rights groups, see the custom as inhumane to horses.

The main group lobbying for a ban on the horse-drawn carriages is the New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) advocacy group. In a statement they claim that:

"The stable owner is putting forth a false choice by saying carriage horses shouldn't be banned because other forms of animal cruelty against horses exist. That's like saying you can't take in an abused dog found on your street corner because some other dog in a shelter somewhere else would have his spot taken. Those who want to adopt a horse want to specifically stop this unnecessary and inhumane practice of horses in dangerous midtown traffic. 
“NYCLASS has been working closely with animal protection groups including the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, to identify individuals who are committed to providing retired horses loving homes on private farms and in sanctuaries. 
“The interest has been overwhelming. More than that, though, NYCLASS board members have guaranteed a home for every retired horse. Not one of these horses will go to slaughter."

To get the ban passed however, de Blasio needs the approval of the City Council, which might not be so easy. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that most New Yorkers want to maintain the tried and true, not to mention romantic, tradition of Central Park horses, drivers, and carriages.