Monday, November 2, 2015

Sonny Fox Raises Funds for His Alma Mater PS 217

Sonny Fox at 90 years old
Perhaps you remember Sonny Fox, the host of the award-winning children’s television program “Wonderama” which aired from 1959 to 1967? Whether you do or don’t remember, it is worth knowing a little something about Irwin “Sonny” Fox.

Fox grew up in a Jewish family on East 9th Street between Foster Avenue and Avenue H. He had his bar mitzvah in the Young Israel of Flatbush, and went to PS 217, where he has not set foot since 1938.

Fox lives in Los Angeles now, but last year he went on a “Farewell Tour” and visited many of his old stomping grounds, including PS 217. He says a lot has changed in the intervening 80 years:
“The most striking difference is that when I went to P.S. 217 the neighborhood was half Irish and half Jewish,” he said. Fox’s old neighborhood, now called Kensington, hosts large populations of immigrants from South Asia and the Former Soviet Union as well as a growing contingent of charedi Jews moving over from nearby Borough Park. At P.S. 217, notices are printed in English, Spanish, Urdu, Bengali, Tajiki and Uzbek; more than 30 languages are spoken in the students’ homes. 
“That’s what’s so wonderful about New York. I was a child of immigrants, these are new children of immigrants in the same situation. I think of schools as laundromats taking them through the cycles of education and making them American. It keeps regenerating,” he said.
During that visit Fox offered to do a performance to raise money for the school. Calling his show “From Brooklyn to Broadway,” Fox shared many personal stories about his work with some of show-business’s most famous songwriters and others.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Composting Grows in Brooklyn

This coming month the number of people in Brooklyn participating in the newly launched composting program will be doubling.

More composting means less landfilling.
In the fall of 2013 Windsor Terrace became the first Brooklyn neighborhood to receive special composting trash receptacles. About six months later, in the spring of 2014, several neighborhoods were added to the pilot program: Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights, South Slope, Park Slope, and parts of Gowanus.

Now it’s time for Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and the Columbia Street Waterfront District to join up. The parts of Park Slope and Gowanus that were not included before will also be included. To see if you are part of this new stage in trash collecting, go to the website of the NYC Department of Sanitation where you can find a PDF with a map of the newly expanded area.

All households participating in this composting program will receive compost bins to place on the street next to their trash and recycling bins. Curbside collection is due to begin during the week of October 5, except for the added areas in Gowanus and Park Slope. In those areas collection of compost will begin the week of October 26.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Brunching in Brooklyn

For those looking for the perfect place to Brunch, Brooklyn seems to have it all. According to Anna Gustafson, who has been authoring the series ‘Brooklyn Staycation’ for Sheepshead Bites, there are some great places in the Kensington area to go grab a bite.

Steeplechase, located at Fort Hamilton Parkway has actually be named one of the top 10 coffee shops by Gothamist so it’s really worth checking out.  There is also Hot Bagels, Elk Café and Lark Café that bring in a bunch of happy Kensingtoners.

In general, Kensington is a great place for food, and international cuisine at that.   There are many expats living in the area so the neighborhood caters to that. But for those looking for some real traditional food, check out El Mirador’s karaoke nights, tacos, cold beer and other classical Mexican eats.

Of course, one mustn’t forget Hunger Pang. Named the fourth hottest restaurants in Kensington by New York Eater last year, both the grilled hanger steak with miso butter fries, and the frisee shiitake salad are something out of this world. 

There’s lots to eat from brunch to midnight in Kensington.  And many of them have received international acclaim.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lost Wallet with $2200 Returned to Rightful Owner

In an act of pure honesty 62-year-old Michael Marino returned a wallet containing about $2200 to its owner.

Marino found the wallet on Tuesday, and together with his friend Sam Kogon, tracked the owner by Wednesday. All they knew about the man who lost his wallet was his last name, Hernandez, and that his truck had recently broken down and he had the cash so he could buy a replacement truck.
After finally finding the owner, Hernandez gave Marino a big hug.

Marino received a $120 reward for his honesty, and immediately spent the money on food. By Saturday he was once again broke, but he says he has no regrets about returning the money.

He explained that he hopes his son, who is 27-years-old, will find out about his good deed so that, “my son would know I’m a hero.”

“I’ve been honest all my life,” he said, and giving back the money was “an easy decision.”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Brooklyn Bargains Fading as Windsor Terrace Becomes Unaffordable

A few years ago someone priced out of Park Slope could turn to the quieter, and less expensive Windsor Terrace as a viable alternative. Today, however, as Windsor becomes livelier, it is also experiencing skyrocketing real estate costs.
“It’s not really considered a bargain anymore, like it was a few years ago,” said Abigail Palanca, a broker with Town Residential who grew up in Windsor Terrace and lives there now. “There’s been incredible, incredible change, but there are so many families who are still here and so many new families who have moved in, the dynamic is still really nice. You still step outside and everybody says hello. When my kids run too close to the street, I hear five people calling their names.”
Windsor Terrace Brooklyn Public Libaray. Courtesy  Jim.henderson
Windsor Terrace, well-place between Park Slope, Kensington, Prospect Park and the Green-Wood Cemetery, was a well-kept secret that is no more. Subway access is decent. Commuters can expect a 45 minute trip to Midtown Manhattan on the F train. Parking in Windsor is also a bit easier than in its adjacent neighborhoods.
“When I first bought my house here, there were a lot of older people, not a lot of kids—my kids didn’t have friends in the neighborhood,” said 20-year veteran resident of Windsor Terrace, Mary LaRosa Lederer, who owns neighborhood realtor Brooklyn Real. “There were a lot of retired cops and firefighters. I’m seeing a lot of change.”
The changing demography of the neighborhood has not changed the feel of the neighborhood as much as what had been expected.
“I think the fact that we don’t have a Fifth Avenue or a Seventh Avenue or a Smith Street probably saves it a little, because the person who wants to live here has a family or wants quiet,” Ms. Lederer said. “I think that grounds Windsor Terrace a little more.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

News Flash: New York Rents are High, and are Rising

Rents Climb as Neighborhoods Gentrify
It’s no secret that rents have been skyrocketing over the past six or so years all over New York. Rents in Brooklyn reached historic highs as of April, and Manhattan has faced a steady climb in rental prices over the past year. The rent rise is one of the fallouts of gentrification, which has also been a hot topic in these parts.

To help us get our heads around the situation Curbed created a map which shows the median rents in many Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods since 2009.

The data used to create the map comes from StreetEasy, which started tracking rents in NYC in 2008. That means that although the data does reflect an accurate picture of the rental situation, it does not represent every single rental listing.

Tribeca comes out as New York’s most expensive area for rentals, as it was also in 2009. The least expensive areas are in the heart of Brooklyn, Queens, and the northern reaches of Manhattan, such as Washington Heights and Inwood. However, there is not even one neighborhood that is less expensive now than it was in 2009.

Our part of Brooklyn has maintained affordability relative to most other areas. Rents in Kensington, Greenwood, Flatbush, Forest Hills, and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens have all gone up, but only on average of about $200.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crown Heights Butcher Seeking Assembly Seat

Menachem Raitport, resident of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is making his third bid for a seat in the New York State Assembly as a representative from the 43rd Assembly District. Raitport ran as a Republican and Conservative, despite Brooklyn’s reputation as an overwhelmingly liberal

Democratic region. Therefore it is not a surprise that his first two attempts for office ended badly. In 2010 he received a bit over 7 percent of the vote for the 43rd Assembly District, and about 6 percent in the race for the 20th Senate District last autumn.

This race, however, could end quite differently for Raitport. Due to a filing error in April, the three Democratic challengers who are competing for the seat left open by Karim Camara this spring will have to run on third party lines.

Raitport waxes hopeful due to this glitch, admitting that, “In a way, it gives me a better chance.”
The Brooklyn butcher feels strongly about many issues, including bike lanes, taxes, subsidized housing and what it means to be a Republican. Here is an example of just one of his views:
“People have a misconception. They say ‘Oh, you’re a Republican, you’re conservative, that means you’re going to cut food stamps, you’re going to cut subsidized housing, you’re going to cut this.’ That’s wrong. America has to help those who cannot help themselves. That’s what this country was built on, that’s what makes it great. The thing I don’t like is fraud and I don’t like people cheating and I don’t like people taking advantage. I believe very strongly in helping the downtrodden.”
The polls open at 6am on Tuesday, May 5. They will close at 9pm. Voters can only vote at their designated polling site.