Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Russ & Daughters to Anchor Food Court in Navy Yard

The grand grandfather of appetizing, Russ & Daughters, will have the honor of being the anchor restaurant in the newly developed Building 77 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The ground floors of this space is undergoing transformation into a community space housing an ambitious food court, and Russ & Daughters will be its heart.

Photo by Jeffrey Bary
Russ & Daughters was established in 1914. Over the 102 years of its existence on the Lower East Side it became famous for its signature smoked fish, caviar, bagels, bialys and other baked goods. Today the restaurant is owned by Niki Russ Federman and Josh Tupper, fourth generation descendants of the original owners.

The new store in the Navy Yard will be Russ & Daughters’ first venture into the wild ‘burbs of Brooklyn. The store will fill 14,000 square feet with a food manufacturing center as well as a retail outlet and a bagel restaurant. The store is also planning on running baking workshops.

“When we visited [the site] for the first time, we were amazed by the spectacular and vast space,” commented Russ Tupper. “Building 77 will open up this previously hidden gem to the public. The excitement that will be generated from the intersection of food production and enjoyment in Building 77 will help solidify the Navy Yard’s place as a vibrant and unique location in New York to work and visit.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nargis Café Makes it to Top 100 of Brooklyn Restaurants

Azərbaycanca: Salyan çörəyi. Photo by Dronqqo

The popular Nargis Café has caught the attention of not just the critics at the New York Times and the Village Voice, but the people voted favorably on Yelp, hurling it into the prestigious top 100 places to eat in Brooklyn.

The Nargis Café has been serving Uzbek food since 2007 at the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Kathleen Place in Sheepshead Bay. Yelp discovered the top 100 restaurants by searching Brooklyn restaurants who obtained the highest star ratings over the past year. The Nargis Café turned out to be one of the most well-liked and popular of Brooklyn’s restaurants.

A glance at Yelp shows a large number of glowing five-star reviews. Here is one such praise for the eatery:

A wonderful restaurant in the heart of Russian Brooklyn that I somehow never thought to try. Several people talked it up in the last few years, so on a recent weekend I guided the parents and the gf over for some Uzbek comfort food. Buzzing with families and friends at 2 pm on Sunday, they were still able to get us a table within minutes.

Another Yelper loved that it is “Cheap.” And has a “Great blend of spices in meat.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

MCU Now Accepting Applications for 2016 Scholarship Program

Eligible high school seniors are invited to fill-in applications for the 2016 Scholarship Program sponsored by the Municipal Credit Union. MCU will award a total of $66,000 in scholarship money to college-bound high school graduates. There will be eight memorial scholarships for $5,000 each, and 13 grants of $2,000 each.

In order to be eligible for these scholarships the student must be either a child or grandchild of an MCU member in good standing. The selection process will judge the applicants on their academic performance, extracurricular and community activities, references, and an essay describing the student’s goals. Applicants will also automatically be eligible for a $500 statewide Public Relations and Marketing Council Scholarship.

“MCU is deeply committed to supporting the youth throughout the communities our members work and live. Our Scholarship Program is one way we achieve this by recognizing and rewarding young people for their outstanding academic performance and community service,” said MCU President/CEO Kam Wong. “We hope our scholarships will enable these students to achieve their goals and succeed in their future endeavors.”

A student from Windsor Terrace was the recipient of the James McKeon Memorial Scholarship. Katherine O’Donnell used her $5,000 scholarship from MCU to pursue studies in biomedical engineering at Binghamton University.

Applications are now available at the following Brooklyn branches of MCU:

350 Jay Street
1560 Flatbush Avenue
2142 Ralph Avenue
1904 Surf Avenue

They are also available at any MCU branch as well as on-line on the MCU website: The deadline to submit applications in January 15, 2016.

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.”