Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stories from a Kensington Childhood

The boys from Windsor Terrace were tougher than us. With names like Jimbo Drudy, Bobby O’Shaughnessy and the dreaded Billy Powell, we had to watch our backs. Of course we saw them in church on a Saturday night or Sunday morning, but no words were ever exchanged. Just cold stares. The stories about the Irish boys up the hill were never good. And Greenwood Park? Well, you just better stay away from it if you knew what was good for you.

Now back in the late 60’s and early 70’s there was a roller hockey league at East 5th street and Ft. Hamilton playground. Most of the boys who played there were from Windsor Terrace. Sometimes after church on a Sunday morning me and the guys would watch a game from behind the fence near the Prospect Expressway. A lot of red hair and short tempers under those helmets we thought. The games were played in the coldest of weather too. With red faces bellowing puffs of white smoke my feet were cold and my hands numb clutching the hurricane fence. But somehow the sound of the steel wheels scraping rough concrete made a new music I had to learn. I wanted to play this game too.

Learning to skate at twelve was not very easy. And you had to make sure there were enough cars parked on your block to hold on to while you learned. Always making sure there were no cars crossing either since who knew where your heads going to land when you hit the ground. But not long after the first box of band aids was gone and my black and blues healed I soon found myself gliding down the pavement. No longer looking for a Caddilac fin to hold on to!

The games played on East 4th were hard fought, we used car doors to bank pucks off, body checked each other into Plymouth Duster hoods, broke taillights,windshields, mirrors and sometimes house windows. Yes,we were soon becoming a menace to the block. One day as we were skating on the street we saw two figures fast approaching us from way up East 4th. One, quite big, wearing a green and white hockey jersey and the other, kind of skinny, wearing a NY Rangers jersey. They had Hockey sticks in their hands and were fully dressed in hockey gear. They even hadreal hockey gloves. They were Windsor Terrace Boys!

As the figures became closer and crossed Beverly we stood our ground. Two of them and five of us, no need to retreat. The big one stopped right by our net, “hey where’s the puck?” Nunzio, one of our boys, skated and fished it out passing it to the this big kid with sandy blond hair. With a lighting like move and a snap off the stick the kid with the green and white jersey snapped the puck right through the netting. The puck left a black mark on a car trunk behind it. He looked at us and with a sheepish grin said “oh gez, sorry”. The skinny one with the Rangers jersey took a similar shot into our net, but this time the puck hit the netting and fell harmlessly inside the goal. “What the hell you guys playing here for? Why don’t you join the league down at Ave F?" "Playing on the streets is for kids” said the big one. “Here take this” the big one handed my cousin Pete a flyer, it said “70th pct. roller hockey league has moved to Ave F park.” “Thanks” said Pete. As the two players skated down East 4th towards Avenue C we read the backs of their jerseys..........O’Shaughnessy and Drudy.

The rest is just history and I played at Avenue F for years. O’Shaughnessy was my teammate on Ryans Northstars and Jimbo played with my cousin Pete forthe Terrace Cafe Rangers. We formed wonderful friendships with the Boys from Windsor Terrace and even cried together the day we heard Billy Powell was killed by a car on the way to a game by Prospect Park back in '71. Two years ago we had a 30th year reunion at The Billy Powell Memorial Rink. Many of the Windsor Terrace boys were there including Jimbo Drudy and RobertO’Shaughnessy. It was a wonderful experience seeing the guys after 30 years of going our separate ways. Our worries about mortgages, bills, and our children’s future left our minds that day. It was just like 1975 and we were still playing the sport we loved so much as kids growing up in Kensington and Windsor Terrace. After the game we all met at the “Gallery” a local watering hole under the El on McDonald Avenue where our coaches usually drank after the game back in the day.

Phone numbers and e-mail addresses were exchanged and promises to “keep in touch” rang in the air like the bells of Immaculate Heart of Mary on a Sunday morning. Outside the Gallery I made sure to give O’Shaughnessy a big hug before I left. As we said our goodbyes we both had tears in our eyes. I guess not seeing a friend for 30 years can do that to someone and saying goodbye even more. Walking away from the Gallery and all my old friends was hard. But the glory days of 1975 and our youth still remained in an old bar for a few more hours that day in old photos and stories. But as they say, every beginning must have an end. And when the Galleries metal gate came down that night, the Windsor Terrace Boys were just a memory once again.

Ron Lopez

Brooklyn Best Weekend

We'll be out of town this weekend which is a total bummer since it's all about Brooklyn! Courier Life has the full fun schedule of events here. You'll be able to do lots of fun things in and around Prospect Park with the highlight being Saturday night's viewing of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Long Meadow (preceded by fireworks) and Sunday's Tour de Brooklyn! Tour de Brooklyn rolls through Kensington on its final leg so even if you don't bike get out and cheer on those Brooklyn cyclists!

Kensington Trivia

My Favorite Year (1982) Starring Peter O'Toole filmed on Ocean Parkway!

From a long time resident:

The crew and Peter filmed in front of a building onOcean Pkwy between Church and Beverlry... I believe on the West side.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Locals are World Famous!!!

We don't consider ourselves glamorous or particularly savvy on the dance floor so we're really envious of these locals! We recently heard that the World Famous Pontani Sisters, one of which is Miss Cyclone 2007, all live here! In case you have no major plans for the weekend check them out!

June 1, 2007 -Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque
Corio - West Broadway & Grand
$20, Doors 7:30pm, Show 8pm

June 3, 2007 - Mode Merr returns to Marion's for it's annual fashion & burlesque brunch! Marion's Continental 354 Bowery @ W. 4th St
12:30pm & 2pm seatings
*reservations strongly encouraged* $25.00 pris fixe includes brunch, cocktail & the show!

Many more June performances can be found here!

F to get canopies, no express (yet!)

A little tidbit from a post on NYMag today re: F construction (in Manhattan & Brooklyn)

There's $11 million to replace "historical arch canopies" over Fourth Avenue at the Smith-9th F stop "as per the National Register of Historic Places" — that means fixing the roof spanning the control houses at either end of the stop with original details— plus $23 million to fix lights and MetroCard collection at Smith-9th stop.

June 27th, 4.30pm
347 Madision Ave

Help Channel 9 Get the Peeper!

THE REPORTER IS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD RIGHT NOW (and will be until air time at 10pm) AND WOULD LIKE TO INTERVIEW PEOPLE FOR THIS STORY! email me to get in touch w Carter if you have info!

My name is Carter Evans and I'm a reporter for Channel 9. We're working on a story on the peeping tom we read about on your site. Right now, we're not getting much information from Police. Can you please put us in touch with some of the witnesses or victims who have posted on your site? This story will be running on our 10pm newscast tonight, 5/30.Thanks-Carter

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rent For Less! K-style

Could it be? Is renting in Kensington the draw for all the hipsters? (and everyone else for that matter!) Well my friends if it'll get us a couple of restaurants and a freakin' coffee shop we say bring 'em on!!! To encourage the little tattoo'd skinny jean clad kids (without rich Mommy and Daddy's to subsidize those water-less lofts in East Williamsburg) we've decided to add a regular post on local rentals from craigslist a la your old pals from Bushwick. That's right we're doing the work for you well except we haven't actually gone out and seen these to make sure they are all that and then some.

1. We know this building and are surprised that a 2 bedroom is so cheap... $1600 on E7th & Cortelyou (2 bed). It's smack in the middle of both the Q at Cortelyou and F at Ditmas although a bit of a walk to both but the bus is on the corner. (It's also listed by owner so no fee, woo-hoo!)

2. 387 E. Fourth at Beverly Road 2 bedroom for $1700. Certainly closer to the F at Church Ave. and boasts a terrace! We think this is a cute street and literally one block from the famed McDonald 24 hour market and the less then fabulous Rite Aid.

3. 151 E 4th Street (Near Ft. Hamilton) 2 bedroom for $1900. We think this is a little high but you're right by the train as well as the new thai tonys plus the library and the exxon station is super close for beer or slushies.

Plethora of other listings here.

*New* Wollman Rink - A POOL!

We first learned about the plight of the *new* Wollman Rink from Streetsblog (To Some it’s a Park, to Others, a Parking Lot). Later we received the pool petition in our inbox. The pool would be great but we're more concerned about the parking issue as detailed by Streetsblog (this is Brooklyn isn't it and there are tons of trains close by!). To get involved attend Wednesday's Community Planning Meeting on Wollman Rink in Prospect Park.

(On a side note we'd be pumped for a pool so we don't have to ride all the way to Sunset Park or Red Hook).

Enjoying the Day

Big Apartments - For Sale

We like to look and see whats out there and noticed a few listings that we're wondering about...

1. This building is on the Ocean Pkwy 'service road' b/w Church Ave and Caton. Is it two apartments combined as one or were pre-war apartments really made this large? 179 Ocean Pkwy 3 bedroom 2 bath - $685 Maint: $1200

2. This is technically Windsor Terrace but know some residents consider themselves Kensingtonians. Regardless, this apartment has obviously had some updates.... Are the updates right for the pre-war art deco classic that this building is? 30 Ocean Pkwy 3 bedroom 2 bath - $679 Maint: ?
(There is a 2 bedroom for sale in this building for $449 that needs some work as well as a 1 bedroom for $399 that has had some updates)

3. This is aew construction that we don't really love since it is sorta suburban in look and feel. Kensington Townhouses (E7th St. & Beverly) 3 bedroom 2 bath - $649 Maint: $222 + $63

All listings can be found at within real estate. We had orginally linked there but discovered links to that site do not work... all updated now!

See Local Howling Vic, Tonight!

We're just starting to discover some of the interesting people that live in our midst. One local we just found from a Brooklyn Paper article (BE BURLESQUE - 3/25/06). Lucky for us it was just in time to see some of her work. Howling Vic can be seen tonight!

May 29 @ 9:15pm
4th Annual terraNOVA Collective presents: soloNOVA Arts Festival
Performance Space 122 150 First Ave. (@ 9th St.)
*You can also get info on her upcoming workshops at GrooveMama and take one!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Others Blog Some Kensington

We typically link to articles that mention Kensington or when people in the area get a little press but we found a couple bloggers taking a look around the hood and thought we'd link to these today.

Here OTBKB took a look around Kensington and witnessed what we've known for a while... the apartment stock down Ocean Pkwy is pretty nice as is the mix of the people you'll find living in these buildings. MID CENTURY MODERN IN KENSINGTON (OTBKB - 3/8/07)

A more recent post, and one you can certainly use this summer, is Built Environment. BE takes a bike ride down Ocean Pkwy to Brighten Beach (then a few other places). We've written about this ride before and love it. You'll see lots of different enclaves of Brooklyn as you peddle past and can stop for a bite mid-way at DiFara's which is certainly the best pizza in Brooklyn. RIDE TO THE SEA (Built Environment - 5/25/07)

Security Alert - Local Peeping Tom

From a local neighbor:
On May 4, between 1:30 and 2 in the morning, we had a peeping Tom (wearing only a pair of bikini briefs) climb up onto the burglar bars of the bathroom window of our apartment (which is on the ground floor). He pushed the top of our window down so that he could peer in on X in the bathroom getting ready for bed. When X heard the window move she looked over to see him staring at her but he was not scared off when she initially started yelling.

Approximately two weeks later a peeping Tom was in the courtyard of the same building where our neighbor Z saw him. Z is also on the ground floor but faces the courtyard whereas we are on a side street. Z saw him directly in front of her bedroom window which was unfortunately open at the time (thankfully though she too has burglar bars). Z saw him outside her window in the courtyard completely naked with a paper bag over his head (w/ eyeholes punched out) masturbating. Z yelled through the window that she would be calling the police and he eventually went away.

Last November another incident involving a peeping Tom occurred just a few houses down from the incident detailed above and the police did not take a report! (In fact the police did not take a report on the first sighting of the peeping Tom detailed above. It was not until the second incident that the 66 started taking reports and investigating!) A little after 11 p.m. 'Tom' appeared completely naked wearing a bandana around his face (uncovering only his eyes) and pressed himself against the glass of a bay window on the front porch (lights on, curtains open) while two families looked on in total shock. Afterwards he ran down the street and disappeared almost instantly.

*While we do not know for sure that all incidents involved the same individual, we assume this may be the case.

Caucasion male
early to mid 30s
Eastern European features (high cheekbones, slightly wide-set eyes)
blond/light or brown/sandy wavy hair
light eyes
approx. 6 feet tall and 200 pounds

If you have any information on this man please get in touch with Detective Dawson at the 66th Precinct at (718) 851-5611. ***Please note that when the first incident occurred at a building on E4th St, the police refused to take a report. It was not until the second incident, also on East 4th St, that the 66 would file a report. If you become (or have been) a victim of a similar crime in our area, please insist that they file a report.***

Blum in Brooklyn Paper

We like to share everything on the locals. We just saw Jonathan Blum at the 5th Ave street fair and heard about a small piece from the Brooklyn Paper profiling him so, enjoy!

An artist who makes a living (By Nica Lalli - The Brooklyn Paper, 5/26/07)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kensington Got Zipped!

Just as the summer season is upon us we got word today that a Zipcar location has been added to Kensington! Here's the info:
Zipcar Kensington, 346 Coney Island Ave (it's still listed under Brooklyn-Park Slope)

The Zipcars are located in the garage of the Park Circle at 346 Coney Island Avenue, just south of the traffic circle on theSouthwest corner of Prospect Park. The garage is just north of the Bridges to Brooklyn school and across the street from a police parking lot. Please call (718) 686 0701 one half hour before your reservation.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our Signs...

Following up on our recent post on getting some new signs in these here parts (compared to NoVo Slope!). Above you'll find a lovely 'curb your dog' sign in Kensington. We would say it needs some updating! How exactly do you expect people to obey the laws when the signs showing these laws are illegible. Marty, Bill, Jim.... are you listening?

Update on F - Still F'd Up!

We've developed a little F ranting relationship with Carroll Street blogger First and Court. He just sent us an update he got on the Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation changes we'll be experiencing shortly. (F'ed until 2012?!) We weren't surprised by what he found since it's essentially what Andrew Inglesby said at the meeting back in March. Regardless, its frustrating! Don't they know how many people live and work on this line and how the ridership has increased twofold in the last 5 years??????

We still take some solace in the fact that he actually got a response. We're maintaining our stance to bombard them w requests for improved service on our line! We'll ask First and Court who he contacted and upload as soon as we get the info.

Brooklyn Blimp?

We have no idea what this was but spotted it from our off leash perch in the Nethermead around 5pm this evening. Any guesses?

Update on Unlicensed Vehicles

We guess the squeaky wheel does get the oil! The picture above was taken on Wednesday morning (notice red van sans plates on Story. The grey Camry directly in front had no plates neither did the white Nissan four up). That evening we stopped into the Dahill Neighborhood Assoc. meeting and heard a few residents gripe about the unlicensed vehicle saga on Church Ave and Story St to officers in attendance. We heard from a few people today, and even got an update from Officer Wright, that six vehicles were towed after last nights meeting. We think its a start and are sure the 66 will be keeping an eye out. Concerned residents should monitor the vehicles in this area and report concerns to the 66 directly at (718) 851-5611.

Anyone got any info. on the kids trespassing into PS 230?

Hip Hop Shop in Kensington

We love all local business and this shop on Church Ave. recently peaked our interest. We have to admit though we'd noticed it just stopped by the other day. We found a plethora of hip Nike and Rize gear from the regular uptowns to some $1500 kicks. The store is called Simply The Truth and is located at 63 Church Ave. Recently the store celebrated its one year anniversary and had a party with the neighboring barber shop featuring Ralph McDaniels from The Bridge... we're bummed we missed it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ola Podrida - Upcoming NYC Dates

Local neighbor David Wingo's Ola Podrida has a few upcoming dates in New York City. We're all about the locals and dig Ola Podrida so here ya go...

June 11th 9:00 PM - The Mercury Lounge (/ Apostle of Hustle)
217 E. Houston St. New York, NY 10002

June 29th 10:30 PM - @ Galapagos (w/ Normandy and Spirit Marines)
70 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, New York 11211

July 7th 8:00 PM - Union Hall (w/ Tacks the Boy Disaster and Via Audio)
702 Union St., Brooklyn, New York

(in case you're not sure of what all this means, check out Ola Podrida's myspace page and read the 'about' section)

Re-Cap: Dahill Neighborhood Assoc.

Tonight's DNA meeting was exactly why we think it's important residents attend and get involved in local neighborhood associations. On the agenda was Brennan and a few local officers from the 66 Precinct. A representative from Marty Markowtiz's office (Mr. Whitacker) was also in attendance.

The evening started with a few residents airing their discontent with recent parking violations that were going unnoticed. The 66 officers (Wright and Cohen) gave suggestions on steps to take to get these issues corrected. (One was calling the precinct directly at (718) 851-5611 rather then calling 311). A couple people also spoke about the unlicensed and unregistered vehicles on Church Ave and Story St. The officers were clear that these vehicles should have been getting towed and promised to look at that area immediately. Another women in attendance discussed her issue with local kids entering the newly renovated playground at PS 230 through her yard. The playground recently received a violation (because of a lock?) and is as of yet unopened (although complete). Kids have been hopping the fence through her yard and the officers promised some police presence at that location in the afternoons after school.

Later Brennan spoke about some of the current legislation he is working on as our representative. Much of what he spoke about was in regard to the recent NYC school funding issue as well as the legislation for changing the building code. Someone had a question about local improvements which he dodged well but noted some historic projects he's worked on with the DNA specifically. We're sure Brennan is a super busy guy, the work he's doing certainly seems to be for the greater good of many residents within NYC but it's our small opinion that our little corner of Brooklyn could use a bit more attention.

All and all we felt the night was productive and certainly the 66 officers being in attendance allowed for some positive and constructive dialogue. We hope to follow up on progress with the unlicensed vehicles and trespassers next week. We'll see how well they follow through.

Backless in Kensington

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Best. Freakin'. Fountain, Ever!

This photo just doesn't do the complete work any justice. We couldn't get a top view where you would see two floating lily pads (spitting water!) and the newly acquired koi fish. Off to the left is also an interesting plastic squirrel that goes perfectly with the plastic 'gnome' girl above. What's even better is this guy worked long and hard over the last two weeks to get this ensemble just so. We love him for it! Best. Freakin'. Fountain, Ever!

Sufjan, Are You My Neighbor?

We saw this today Bklyn Rockers Add Some Orchestral Touches (Brooklyn Record) which reminded us of an article we read in Harp on Sufjan from Aug 2006. It noted there that Sufjan is a resident of these parts and in Wikipedia that Asthmatic Kitty Records is outta Kensington (mailing address is in WY). Sufjan if you're reading this, and we know you're real busy right now, we're wondering... are you still here? If so, can we link to you in our links section?

For all others (like us) who'd actually just like some info on upcoming dates for The National (or the National myspace link) here ya go... Five nights (count 'em, 5/28 - 6/1) at the Bowery Ballroom.

Signs, Signs Everywhere NEW Signs - Not Here!

We spotted these shiny new beauties further west off 4th Ave in that NoVo Slope section. We're pretty sure most owners know the laws but we sure don't think some new ones could hurt. Which leads me to wonder why its so darn hard to get some updating around these parts? First we noticed the classy new bus stop hubs popping up further west then these signs... We've gotten a few of those coveted covered cans but god forbid the city start further west and work its way up. *Sigh* It sucks we have to pen a letter to Marty, Brennan and Bill every time we realize we're being ignored. Just once we'd like to see a little movement in these parts without publicly calling out to the officials.

Its now that we'd like to remind you ... Dahill Neighborhood Assoc. is meeting Weds. evening at PS 230 Annex at 8. Go! Ask for signs and some freakin' garbage cans... maybe even tell your neighbors to start a tree planting campaign. (We'll post some of our 'clean up after your dog' signs tomorrow so you can see the difference).

JCPenny Got Prospect

During our after 5pm off-leash stroll through the Nethermead we spotted a crowd and crane at the far end. Ends up this was a photo shoot for JC Penny and beside the crane came w a French photographer on a bull horn. (OK we don't know if he was French but he had an accent and we've decided that was the origin). We were literally a quarter mile away and could still hear this dude barking out orders - move up, move in, go right etc. Be on the look out for a new catalog from JCPenny complete w Brooklyn foliage.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ocean Pkwy Architecture

We didn't do the best job getting the presence of this one but hope you'll notice the brick work all the same.

New Bus Stop?

We haven't been able to confirm but hear there may be a new bus stop positioned in front of the Parkway Pharmacy on the corner of Church Ave and Ocean Pkwy service road. We've been told both the pharmacy and nearby residents are opposed to the stop because of the removal of parking. We're not sure why another stop is needed seeing as there is a stop one block up at E5th and Church but, hey what do we know? We're wondering if we'll ever get those cool new glass bus shelters popping up all over nabes west of us (oh come on you know the places we're talking about!)

Caton & Trucks, Oh Vey!

We've been hesitant to post on this because the problem seems to large to conquer. We hate those damn trucks rumbling down Caton and notice them every morning and evening. We also know the alternative is Church Ave which we really don't think is an alternative. (Why because it borders residential streets and is residential along a bulk of it). We'd really just like the big rigs to have to go around our two major drags but don't know of any plan that is working for that goal. Here's what we do know:

1. Tri-State Transportation Alternatives is currently working on a recommendation for Caton, McDonald and 20th Street. (This tidbit came from de Blasio's office).

2. No 18 wheeler should be using Caton as a route to Linden. Alternatively they should use Church Ave. (Just to reiterate, we don't think this is an alternative).

3. There is no policing or ticketing for these trucks although they are constantly using Caton Ave. (In some instances these trucks are allowing their engines to idle as they run into the bodega near Shenanigans).

4. Although we posted a bit on the Bay Ridge Tunnel it does not seem to be a viable alternate route. This tunnel is a part of the Cross Harbor Freight Movement Project. Many local Community Boards in Brooklyn and Queens have expressed concern that this will actually increase truck traffic on local streets since they'll all be streamlined into one route (map). Essentially although it would benefit Manhattan it wouldn't benefit us.

5. Even local reports on the problem and the on lack of police presence does little good. This one was written at the end of January and we have yet to see anyone ticketing the offenders. Trucks driving Caton Ave Nuts - Brooklyn Paper 1/27/07.

6. Caton is the dividing line between Windsor Terrace and Kensington but more importantly, the 66th and 72nd Precincts as well as Community Boards 6 and 12. For any real solution to occur we would imagine there would need to be some meetings of these groups. Considering this is happening in a less fashionable zone of both boards find that highly unlikely.

Kensington the New Bushwick?

We don't know how we missed this but according to Williamsburg Playwright (and Alaskan native) Nick Jones ''New York seems to have an infinite number of outlying hot neighborhoods''. ''Bushwick was the new Williamsburg. Now Kensington is the new Bushwick".

Somebody better start telling the cool kids since this was published back in December and we haven't seen any angular haircuts or skinny jean clad hipsters at Foodtown yet.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Brooklyn Paper Explores the Boom

Ten short years ago we remember calling friends who lived in Prospect Heights out of their minds. Later as we moved to Brooklyn as renters we felt lucky to have a park and bars close to the pad and a decent commute for a pretty measly monthly bill. As we grew up and saw the boom begin we were lucky enough to buy a place in a quiet sleepy neighborhood that allowed us to bike ride to those restaurants and still be close to work (we all actually work in Brooklyn now so have no commute complaints).

As our incomes have grown a bit and we've started to think of family and yard etc. we're realizing the dream here is harder to attain.... But it's not just in Brooklyn, those friends in the Heights just bought a house in Long Island that we think is nice but certainly out of the range we would want to pay. Many of our friends are starting their families in one bedrooms. We increasingly find ourselves envious of those who had the forethought to go a little over their means for a bigger place years ago. We're also a little surprised about the types of people moving into those hipper hoods we left behind (I didn't realize I-bankers wanted to be in Brooklyn!). Generally we love were we will and are happy those who surround us within our immediate community are similar to us in terms of priorities, community, etc.

We love it here and have no plans of leaving but often wonder depending on our next step were we will go... Even if we do make a good profit on this could we afford anything else close by that will have a little more space? An article in the Brooklyn Paper from Saturday explores Brooklyn's turn around and many of the individuals who made it happen. It also touches a bit on the concerns we're sure many of us share.

Brooklyn’s desirability is encouraging intense growth that brings more people, more cars and some of the very urban ills that borough residents hoped were in the past.

The drastic population influx could give way to Manhattan-style residential density. Love them or hate them, projects like Atlantic Yards and all the new residential towers in Downtown Brooklyn are happening because developers think there is a market for the thousands of units of housing and tens of millions of square feet of office and retail space.

Many of the people who “saved” Brooklyn can’t afford to live there anymore.

Who Saved Brooklyn? (5/19/07 - Brooklyn Paper)

New Salon on Ft. Hamilton

We noticed the new hair salon on Fort Hamilton near Thai Tony's was open Sunday morning. We didn't go in to inquire about prices or services (though the window listed - manicure, pedicure, waxing and facials) but are sure they could do some good business in kid cuts considering the foot traffic from Greenwood Playground. Any reviews?

Commercial Space on Ft. Hamilton

A local neighbor spoke to the owner of the development on Ft. Hamilton and East Third. There will be two spaces available in approximately 1 month. Each space is ground level and are one thousand square feet with no development restrictions. (We didn't get the numbers but were told the rents for both these spaces would be considerably cheaper then many of the spaces we've documented on Church Ave). The third space is 2000 square feet and on the first floor. This space must be rented to something that will benefit the community (a doctor's office, a non-profit organization, childcare center etc.). A few weeks ago the owner was in talks w a dental practice for that space but we're not sure of the outcome. We hear the owner's name is Serge and his number can be found on the permits lining the area in front of the development.

Graffiti or Art?

This has been on a lamppost on Ocean Pkwy for as long as we could remember... We really like the silhouette and even though we are in the midst of trying to plan some community clean up event don't think we'd paint over this guy. We'd love to know the artist and the origin.

5th Ave Fair

The Fifth Ave. Street Fair in Park Slope is one of our favorite events. It always seems to signal the start of summer for us and compared to the other tube sock and snap booth bonanza's around the borough we always seem to find some good eats and buys. Today was no exception. Of course we had to stop by to see favorite Jonathan Blum (local Kensington resident) in front of his studio space. (Just a little side note... before we knew Jonathan lived in Kensington or he knew we lived in Kensington we had started investigating how to incorporate his work into our wedding. We were lucky enough to have Jonathan paint our wedding invitation!) We actually found a few other artists near him today one who used his studio space this winter and the other his sister... we wish we had been smart enough to ask for their websites because we liked both of them a lot but found the fair too busy to really stop to take a good look. Jonathan will be selling at Seventh Heaven (6/17) and Smith St. Fair (6/24) so we'll hit him up for the info. then.

Local Composting?

We've been wondering about local composting options... We think there is a composter at the E4th Community Garden but don't know if we're allowed to toss our banana peels in as we're not members of the garden. Anyone have a local composting suggestion?

Greenwood Cemetery - CBS News Sunday Morning

Greenwood Cemetery is profiled this morning on CBS Sunday Morning for the story below. Links to come once attached at the CBS Sunday Morning site.

What does your final resting place say about you? Do you want your tombstone to reflect how you lived your life? Martha Teichner looks at the design of tombstones through the ages, from modest to extravagant, from monumental monuments in granite and marble to the latest high-tech options.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wi-fi Locations in Prospect Park

From NYC Parks Dept. Wi-fi Information
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, in association with WiFi Salon and Nokia, is providing free WiFi access in selected parks. There are currently 17 designated wireless internet hotspots throughout the city available to laptops, PDAs, and other internet-ready devices for those who have no internet access or, simply, individuals who enjoy some fun in the sun.
Our hot spots in Prospect Park include the Boathouse and the Picnic House. Sweet! Now we can spend our days on the laptop outside rather then in some stuffy coffee house we don't have anyway!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Student Housing in Kensington?!

Has a student housing company filled the vacancy at the previous old age home on McDonald across from Foodtown? We would be pretty excited for some new young blood in the neighborhood but wonder if this will really take. Don't college kids want to be in the mix someplace closer to Manhattan or is Brooklyn (even Kensington) really that cool? Regardless, we're really curious about when this deal changed hands since summer 'session' starts June 1.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hoping for a Restoration

This old beauty is near Coney Island Ave. We had noticed it many times the first about 2 years ago when it seemed to have rat poison signs posted on the fence and doors. Later we saw a box spray painted near the door w a line through it. We had assumed this meant it was primed for demo (*sigh*).

Today when we passed we saw the doors and windows wide open and a dumpster. We asked the guys removing old newspapers and other household items into the dumpster what the deal was. One claimed to be the owner and a GC who said he wasn't sure of the next step. Here's the run-down.
Will you sell it? Not sure...
Will you restore it? Maybe...
Seems it'll need a ton of work, how are the original details? In tact...
Well what about the rats? No rats...
But it'll take at least a couple hundred G's to get it working again, could you sell it for much? I'm a GC with some time on my hands now...
But it's been sitting for so long, how long was it vacant? Seven years...
Why'd you wait so long? Didn't have time before...

The owner/GC said he'd be back Sunday so maybe we'll stop in and see if he'll let us take a look around. We're super curious about what lies within it's old sturdy brick walls. (She's still got the old iron stars screwed in the outer side wall which makes us wonder if anything has ever been done in there). Here's to hoping this old gal can come back to life with it's original moldings and touches in tact (if they are in fact still there).

ANA Meeting Re-Cap

Councilmember Brennan had an unavoidable conflict and sent a representative to the meeting. Shawn Campbell announced that the Cortelyou office will now be staffed 4 days a week, 9-5 Mon-Thurs. She requested that anyone wishing to visit should call ahead in case they leave for a meeting and are not there. Also, John Keith will now work out of this office a couple days a week. It was mentioned that the Cortelyou office will no longer provide immigration services.

Other Business:
Letters to the Liquor Board were sent from the Temple, School and ANA opposing the issuance and opening of the Old Brick Oven Cafe.

During the next meeting ANA President, Larry Jayson, is going to put together a certificate presentation to the Doe Fund workers cleaning up Church Ave. (Readers: This is a very worthy recognition and we hope you attend to convey your support!)

TREES, TREES, TREES - The city planted 3 new trees on the corner of Albemarle and E2nd. ANA will be requesting more in hopes of getting the whole street lined!!!

Post office has received mixed reviews on the ongoing improvements. Some say service is great - 10 minutes or less. Some say line is out the door without relief. Who's right??? (Readers: Please stop by de Blasio's office to sign service kiosk petition!)

The next ANA meeting will be on Albemarle Rd between E4th and E5th outdoors. That's right it's the annual outdoor meeting! It will feature a local physician and the pharmacist from Silverod to discuss medical and pharmaceutical services.

(Thanks to Scott for the info and rundown!)

Trees Planted in Kensington!

Three trees were planted in the front and side of 114 Albemarle Road (near East 2nd). We made a request for this location a few weeks ago but are pretty sure the requests were out there much much earlier since it usually takes at least 6 months to get one.

If you'd like to make a request for a tree (either in an existing or new spot) stop by de Blasio's office for the form. Once you get the building or home owner to sign the form return it to de Blasio's office so CB 12 can approve it at the next meeting. Yippee for green!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thursday Evening Events in Kensington

Two big exciting events happening Thurs. night in the hood.
1 - Albemarle Neighborhood Association Meeting
Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center
327 East 5th St.
(Assembly representative Jim Brennan will be speaking!)

2 - Brooklyn for Barack/ Kensington-Ditmas for Obama
Private home on East 8th Street
(Organizational meeting for the Walk for Change action on June 9th)

Historic Kensington

KWT CSA Deadline Approaching!!!!

Okay veggie eaters the deadline to participate in the Kensington/ Windsor Terrace Community Supported Agriculture 'group' is quickly approaching (June 1st). Here's what you gotta do to get in on this. (If you want the official run down go here).
1. Decide what you want!
Full vegetable share: $475
Half vegetable share (picked up alternate weeks): $245
Full Egg share (1 doz): $95
Half egg share: $50
Full Flower Share : $145
Half Flower Share: $80
Full Fruit Share: $245
Half fruit share: $125
"Mega Combo Share" (one of all shares every week): $925
"Variety Pak Share" (half-share of everything, picked up alternate weeks): $485

2. Go here and print the form (circle what you want or note it since it didn't print out on ours).
3. Write check for amount found in #2
4. Get envelope and insert form, check and post.
5. Send envelope to: Garden of Eve, PO Box 216, Aquebogue NY 11931
6. Email: to get on the listserve for updates etc.
7. June 9th pick up your food at the E4th Community Garden (Pick ups will be Sat.)
8. Eat!
9. Continue 7 and 8 for 24 weeks (last pick up Sat. before Thanksgiving)

Lastly, we want to give the organizers - Bill, Gina, and Susan (did we forget anyone?) a big thank you for making this happen in the K/WT! We're sure it was a TON of work and sincerely appreciate your commitment and hardwork.

Lola and Pale Male's Kin Prefer Brooklyn

We're sure you've all heard about the red hawks of Central Park West Pale Male and Lola who almost lost thier nest a few years ago. Well it seems one of thier kids (those crazy hipsters) have high-tailed it to Brooklyn. (Insert funny joke here about how even red tailed hawks have been priced out of upper Brooklyn or Manhattan) Anyway, one is mating and living close by in Greenwood Cemetary. City Birder has been kind enough to post the run down of the soap opera that has been the red hawk's Brooklyn life.

Thai Tony's - Gothamist Review

Gothamist beat us to the punch on the review of Thai Tony's which is fine by us since we like to see the hood get a little press. You can find the full review here. Make sure to comment at Gothamist and tell the people about good ole Kensington/ Lower Windsor Terrace. (You could also mention that we need more restaurants!)

Thai Tony’s
3019 Fort Hamilton Parkway
(near East 2nd Street)
(718) 436-6932

Report Cards for NYC Transit

The new President of NYC Transit was in the NY papers yesterday saying one of his first major initiatives would be a system of rider report cards for subways and buses. Considering this guy has only been on the job two weeks and his vision is a paper survey to be handed out in stations we're not gonna hold our breath. Regardless, we'll take this oppurtunity to voice our complaints about Transit service to Kensington
1. Bring the V local to Brooklyn and run the F express
(We think this G thing is kinda silly. As one reader said yesterday all the people at local spots will need to switch trains to get to Manhattan. Doesn't seem fair to us.)
2. More regular service during rush hours and less weekend service changes. (And if you are gonna have service changes on the local use the damn express track, its there!)
3. Run the B67 more frequently.
Any additions?

Transit Chief Plans to Ask Riders to Grade Subway and Bus Lines (NY Times 5/15/07)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

STOP WORK - 503 Beverly

Spotted this 'Stop Work Order' at the new development at 503 Beverly Rd (at corner of E5th & Beverly). We know there have been lots of these orders posted at the many many new 'luxury' condos rising through the hood but its the first one we've actually seen. Does anyone know the cause of the stop order?

Afternoon on Ocean

Post Office - de Blasio Petition

We got de Blasio's newsletter in the mail today which reminded us of our conversation with Tom re: the post office petition. de Blasio is asking for additional federal funds for a finicial location for the post office. Essentially this 'service' outpost would allow people to buy stamps, boxes, envelopes etc. We are sure this would be a welcome addition to the lovely Kensington post office since it could certainly cut down on that famous line. If you'd like to sign the petition run by de Blasio's office at 2907 Fort Hamilton Pkwy.

Big Sky Takes on Denny's

Big Sky Brooklyn (a photo blog) took a look around Kensington today and the local watering holes. Makes us think we all need to come together and grab a cold one at a local spot sometime soon.

Monday, May 14, 2007

G Extends to Church????

We've been waiting for the official word on the Culver station improvements since a bit came out in the New York rags earlier this year. When we met Andrew Inglesby at a meeting de Blasio coordinated for F train riders in Kensington he was tight lipped. We don't want to start any more rumours but missed this from the Real Deal (G line extension benefits Brooklynites) when it was published back in March.

Here's another great document to check out if you're interested in the increase in ridership within the borough and how the Community Counsel for Services proposed to change it back in November 2003. Make sure you look at slide 21!

Unlicensed Vehicles

There are probably some of you out there who wonder why we continue to post this info. Honestly, because we think something happening here is not on the up and up. Explain to us why on a quiet residential street cars and mini-vans (without license plates and scratched off VIN numbers) are allowed to park day after day with no consequence? Here's what we found today:
1. Six vehicles parked in front of 58 Church Ave with no plates or out of state plates (pictured above)
2. A white mini-van and grey Camry on Story St. (no plates, no VINs)
3. A beige Chevrolet parked at the intersection of 36th St & Church Ave (no plates, didn't check VIN)
4. Various vehicles without plates in front of the 'auto' shops at 45 and 49 Church Ave. (didn't check VINs)

Feelin' Jealous - We Want Green Day!

We try to stay hip to the happenings in and around the hood. We tend to notice lots of press on so called gentrifying "affordable" neighborhoods in Brooklyn that include us, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and well us and PLG. (Sorry but we just don't think a $1 million dollar brownstone in WT keeps out enough riff raff and those "Victorian" homes are obviously a bitch to heat). We keep tabs on the hood mainly b/c we know Mark and some of his buds from PLUS (Prospect Lefferts United for Services) have been organized for awhile now and like to know what is next and basically what we can emulate. Well today we saw this....Get Down and Dirty on Lincoln Road.

PLUS (and PLG residents) organized a planting event... We want a planting event, someone organize a freakin' planting event!!!! All of you people who said you wanted a greener Kensington well by gosh DO SOMETHING! We're in the mist of trying to get a tree and graffiti survey (and form sign up) thing to happen on Church, as well as keeping this damn blog going, and calling the parks department about maybe getting some evening events at Greenwood Playground. (Yes, we ARE patting ourselves on the back as we write this). Kensingtonians this is to you - don't just comment, organize to re-vitalize.

*Email us ( if you want help organizing or the people to contact. And just so you know, we'd like to beautify Church Ave.(b/w Ocean Pkwy & McDonald). It needs it and there are plenty of empty tree 'spots' as well as the little dead one you see above in front of Friendlys.

Ambrosia Restaurant

Ever wonder about that weird sign across from the Subway with the fake flames depicting a brick oven? Yeah, us too! Which is why we were glad to find this in the in-box today.

I took my mother-in-law there for Mothers day and was suprised at how good the food is. Like the Old Brick, this is run by Albanians and even had a special menu for members of the Albanian Soccer Team with what I assume were home country-type dishes. They have been in the area for around 4 years but renovated some months ago to very good effect. They have a liquor license and a nicely furnished lounge when you walk in, with the restaurant in the back that included an outdoor area.

My husband and I had chicken noodle soup, which was clearly freshly homemade and tasted it. I also had an excellent green salad - something that can be done so poorly - this was fresh, well presented, and dressed with a sharp, lively vinaigrette. Both my shrimp cocktail (with their own recipe cocktail sauce) and my husband's seafood pasta were extremely fresh and tasty.

The wait staff is part of the family, not professional, but charming and friendly.

Well thanks for the tip! We've never been but have always been curious so this is good to know. Anyway, we love tips so send 'em along to

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Why Kensington is Good for Biz

We have to say although we've found the rents on Church Ave to be a bit outta whack for the hood our research has been limited. Friends in the real estate biz have reminded us that in commercial space there is always negotiation. Which brings us back to the lack of general fun sorts of amenities here Kensington. Sure, we can get our nails done, go to a diner for pancakes, eat some damn good samosas or get dishwasher liquid for 99cents but, if we wanna hang in a local joint all day w our laptop sipping tea we hop on a train. Yesterday we were craving some middle eastern and rode up to 7th Ave. Most weekend nights we hang with friends in Brooklyn but when we're doing stuff with local friends or have people come to us we generally stay in. There aren't too many places to go out to eat or to sit and have coffee or to even swig a beer (yes we've tried Dennys and it does have some panache!). Recently we had a long talk w a long time resident (just someone who found it affordable and easy to live here back in the late 90s). He said that he wasn't sure if a commercial biz would be able to thrive here and we totally disagreed. Here were our points.

1. In the last 3 years (since we've been here) although the neighborhood is maintaining is diversity and affordability it is also having a huge influx of people like us who are professional and getting priced out of the neighborhoods we rented in. (As an example our building was only 19% owner occ. when we moved in and now over 70% w 2 more on market). Many of us commute in and out to jobs further 'north' in Brooklyn or the city and want some stuff to do when we get home. Many of us have irregular hours and are looking at places to frequent while we work from home just to break up the monotony

2. Concern about the hours before 5pm is a tough call but we took a look around and noticed there are in fact a lot of people here during the day many of which are looking for a good place to grab a sandwich or coffee. Just within a 6 block radius there are five schools (PS 130, PS 230, PS 230 Annex, PS 179 and IS 62). Many of these teachers ride up to Terrace Bagels for their lunch. There is also a nearby train station (F at Church & F at Ft. Hamilton) as well as 3 bus lines. There has got to be at least a few MTA workers looking for lunch. We also have a Post Office (ahhh Kensington Post Office) and many commercial businesses down McDonald. Let's not even mention the truck traffic (they have to eat some place right?) or those construction workers from all the recent development. We also gather from the amount of babies we see being strolled around there are a ton of Moms and Dads looking for a meeting spot outside the nearby library or Greenwood Playground.

3. The selection is limited so a little diversification would probably get a lot of support. We already have a Thai place and still people seemed to flocked to Tonys this past week because it had sit down service. Besides now 2 Thai restaurants, we have 3 Chinese, 3 Mexican, 3 pizzerias, 2 Pakistani/ Bengali and 2 diners. (We're forgetting a few probably like Ambrosia but are they open these days?).

We're not sure what would do well, we sure know what we would like... Maybe something like the Windsor Cafe or an Olive Vine or a sandwich place with vegetarian selection and how about Cuban? We think a lot of people are just looking for a place to get out of their houses/apartments... did we tell you how many people we saw at Thai Tony's? The real estate market isn't changing any time soon in Brooklyn and as more and more people get priced out of trendier hoods they'll head here. While we frequent and love the places we have there are a ton of spaces available for rent on what are already bustling commercial strips. If you've got the capital and are looking for something off the beaten path that could eventually blow up as this hood gets busier we'd say negotiate and let us know for some free press.

Locals Represent in NY Times

We're always proud when we see locals and neighbors profiled in the media. Two Sundays ago neighbor Eric Novak was mentioned for some sculpture he did for a Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in LA, Giving Life to Found Objects, Two by Two (NY Times 4/29/07). In todays City Section we noticed a local Kensington couple profiled for their use of 'protest' signs in thier homes front window. Wearing Their Hearts on the Front Window (NY Times 5/13/07).

Living in Windsor Terrace (NY Times)

We seem to spend a lot of time in Lower Windsor Terrace - the library, Greenwood Playground, Ft. Hamilton for Thai etc. We also kinda of consider lots of WT as part of our hood though the real WT/ Kensington border is at Caton. We're pretty sure there are lots of people who feel the same and notice our neighborhood yahoo group is K & WT. For these sorts of reasons we were thrilled to see the NYTimes profile Windsor Terrace in the 'Living In' column.

Less ‘Precious’ Than the Slope? Certainly Cheaper (NY Times 5/13/07)

Celebrate Brooklyn w/ Pistolera

Celebrate Brooklyn! has released the official summer 07 schedule. We're pretty pumped neighbor Pistolera will be playing July 5th.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Historic Kensington

March 25, 1900 from Brooklyn Eagle archives

Assemblyman Jim Brennan at ANA 5/17

Guest speaker for the general meeting will be New York State Assemblyman Jim Brennan. The Assesmblyman will discuss the F train elevator and other issues of importance to the community.

Albemarle Neighborhood Association
May 17, 7.30pm
Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center
327 East 5th St.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dunkin Donuts Rumour Dies

From KWT:
I spoke to the owner of the development on Ft. Hamilton and East Third. They have not rented to Dunkin Donuts. They would not be opposed to renting to Dunkin Donuts but at this point nothing has been put on the market officially.

(If you can't tell Dubya is holding a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee in this pic).