Friday, November 30, 2007
(Heather's stuff is also part of the Brooklyn sampler posted earlier this week).
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
My meal Saturday night in Kensington, at the unpretentious To-B-Thai, was like falling in love, but less complicated and more satisfying. You know what I mean. We started with a crisp yet succulent Mango Salad, followed by the most sublime excuse for Curry Puffs that have ever fallen from heaven. Seriously. I was tingling in places that haven’t tingled in decades. It was only the strict restraint of my dining companions that prevented me from ordering two more plates of puffs and retreating to a private table. Gratefully, I succumbed to their guidance and held off until my Pad Kee-Mow arrived. How can I possibly convey the ecstasy of these noodles? Is meltingly firm even possible? Fresh basil, a brisk kiss of cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon gently lift this dish out of the realm of the merely lascivious and into the sublime. If it weren’t for the gasps of pleasure coming from the next table, I might have been self-conscious about my dining experience; instead, the small room was soon infused with a buzzy contentment.
If you will not do it for me (and you should; I am a nice person, and as deserving of good luck as anyone,) then do it for yourself. Support this fine family restaurant to insure that Kensington will continue to have Thai that I maybe wouldn’t die for, but might just kill.
After we take a cold shower we're ordering from To-B-Thai!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Local photographers donje photography have beautiful cards for sale at new store Estelle. The cards similar to the images above are all taken in local gardens and streets as well as Prospect Park. Go check out more of their work on display at Thai Tonys.
From the email:
This 10-week session includes a 2-week winter break, from 12/22 through1/4, where there are no classes. This was arranged with families whotravel during the winter holidays in mind. So if you're planning to beout of town during the winter holidays it's not a concern; you can still register for Music Together without missing any classes! The complete session runs from 12/3 through 2/24 (that's 10 weeks ofclasses plus the 2 weeks off mentioned above). To register, visit our website: www.mtparkslope.com and click the"Register Online" button.
Classes are Monday and Weds. and are billed as mixed age.
Select Meats is always hopping. In addition to, well, meats, the store sells a variety of Russian-produced foods and foods that people from the former Soviet Union like to eat. And drink.
Let's begin with Russian beer. They sell a couple of brands of Russian beer - I'm most familiar with Baltica - a great beer, in my opinion. Look for numbers on Baltica labels. The numbers indicate alcohol content: Baltica 2, for example, has 4.7% alcohol; Baltica 9 has 8% to get you drunk. All this is explained right here: http://www.baltikabeer.com/brands1-5.php Select Meats also carries non-alcoholic Baltica, for those who are into that sort of thing.
What goes best with beer? Cold-smoked mackerel! "Skumbrija" in Russian. These are the foot-long golden whole fish that you see in the lower left-hand corner of the deli counter. These are ready to eat - just lop off the head and the tail, and slice up! If you don't feel like lopping off heads, look for a large bin of packaged "fish jerky." There are several types of salted dried fish to munch on when you drink your Baltica.
If you need a quick dinner, pick up a bag of hand-made dumplings (Pelmeni) from the corner freezer. They have veal, pork, chicken, potato, and (maybe, I'm not sure), cheese and cherry dumplings. Veal dumplings are my favorite! Dump them in boiling water, and when they float up to the surface, they're done. Eat them with sour cream or butter and cracked black pepper. There are many different brands in the freezer - the store owners can recommend some (I trusted them, and the dumplings were in fact great). By the way, people who work at the store are friendly to a fault, love to help out, and speak great English. Just ask, don't be shy.
You can find every conceivable pickle at Select meats (pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, muchrooms, cheremsha (pickled wild garlic), even watermelon). Can't vouch for canned/jarred ones, but the bulk semi-pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut (in the back of the store in big plastic buckets) are great!
There are various salamis and cheeses - since we only have lived here for 3 weeks, I haven't bought any yet, but generally salami and cheese at Russian stores are fine! Russians love their salami and cheese.
Sweets, in no particular order: cookies that are shaped like nuts with chocolate condensed milk frosting in the middle,white multi-layered "Napoleon" cake, sunflower halva, poppy seed rolls, chocolate covered cheesecake bars (Syrok) that my daughter adores (in the ice-cream case by the door) By the way, the brown bear on the bar's wrapper is a Soviet cartoon version of Winnie-the-Pooh. Peaple w children or those in need of treats - I totally recommend Russian chocolate candy (sold bulk from glass bins above the deli counter), for birthday party favors! Cool-looking wrappers and mostly good chocolates.
They sell prettily packaged tea, too.
Generally speaking, the place is totally not forbidding, clean, and people who work there are happy to explain things to you. Go to Select Meats!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Here's what we got from Sean:
We had a soft opening this Friday because we are still under construction. We are taking requests on the kinds of dog/cat food the neighborhood uses. We will be having Grand Opening in a few weeks when the new sign is up. Construction on the adjacent adoption center is going to begin this Monday.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
“There will be no impediment to implementing the F express once the viaduct is complete,” said NYCT spokesperson Lois Fendler. “We’re looking at it, but we’re nowhere near finishing budgets or anything.”
But now the agency says that the direct underground link between Greenpoint and Kensington — by way of Park Slope —will be permanent.
Brooklyn Junction blog (Canal Jeans)
Ditmas Park blog (see business roll on the right)
Estelle's Grand Opening (Kensington blog)
Anyway, we liked the article b/c its main point "A goal to spend less and get more led to Brooklyn’s Windsor Terrace." is why we ended up in Kensington! We looked at spaces 1/2 or even 1/4 the size in other more hip hoods but realized space and safety (and general convenience easy walk to the F train or quick bus to Q) outweighed the "prime" Brooklyn location. We like being close to the park and a short bicycle ride away from a variety of restaurants when we need them. We also like that we're not killing ourselves over a huge rent/ mortgage. Of course, its all about what's important to you individually but have made a lot of friends here who had the same idea which is also nice.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Honeydew Drop Playhouse at 1113 Church Avenue
The session is four weeks long and will meet Saturday mornings at 9:15. Mixed age classes are open to children from birth to four years of age. Tuition is $60.00 and includes four classes, Lion Collection book and CD, and a half hour of playtime in the Honeydew Drop playroom after class. This is a special price to get things started down here in Kensington/ Ditmas Park area!
The creator of these classes, Michael Harren, just started putting together a website ( http://www.playgroundofsound.com/ ), which includes information about the classes he offers on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. If you want to know more about the material he uses, there is more information at http://www.themusicclass.com/
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The meat packers at Foodtown have been working for a month without a contract. The owners have hired non-union temp employees to replace them. So if you're concerned about amenities at FT, you should also be concerned about the working conditions of the people that bring you those amenities. I went over and talked to the strikers yesterday morning and they were really happy to get support. Being on strike is hard, one woman is pregnant, another I talked to has been working as a meat packer for 38 years and retires in one year but is still on strike. They are asking for decent health care and maintenance of benefits.
I usually shop at Foodtown every single day. This week, however, I refuse to cross a picket line. From their side, the owners are behaving unfairly, and even locked them out when they tried to return to work. I know there are two sides to every story, so I'd be interested in hearing what the owners have to say.
There are 5 people from the Meat Department Union that are on strike. The other people on the strike line do not work for Foodtown. The attached document is the flyer that we are handing out to our shoppers that explains some of the big issues (see below). As you know, we are a family run business and are very thankfull of the hard work of all our associates. We are working hard to resolve this and negotiations have been ongoing forthe last week, even right now, as we speak.
From the attachement:
THE UNION has refused to bargain with the company for all stores. For the last 6 months, and many meetings, the union would only talk about 2 stores that we have in The Bronx.
In fact, we have put forward to the union, a fair proposal. Once agreed to, it includes:
• Wage increases and fully paid health insurance.
• A 401 K retirement plan that the union has agreed to with other employers.
One main issue has been that the Union Pension funds are short over $ 600 MILLION dollars in total, and the union wants the company to pay over $ 3 MILLION to make up the difference,
even though we had no involvement in the management of the funds.
We will continue to work hard towards reaching a fair contract for our workers.
More coverage on FT Meat packers on strike in Bay Ridge: Foodtown Meat Department on Strike
Monday, November 19, 2007
Tell the D.O.T. to ENFORCE the LOCAL TRUCK ROUTE. The HUGE tractor trailer trucks that consistently use Caton Ave. b/c its deemed a LOCAL TRUCK Route are NOT LOCAL TRUCKS. They are using the route as a THROUGH TRUCK ROUTE to get to the airport because it's easier for them but, in doing so, are creating INTOLERABLE NOISE and FUMES for residents that live on Caton Ave!! That is a tip for improvement of this neighborhood. It is a very big problem that needs to be addressed.
Anyone know how to get this message to DOT?
...and click on the "Americana Album of the Year" tab to vote.
Anyone know anyone to email the link to by the way....
Sunday, November 18, 2007
We here at Kensington (Brooklyn) would like to organize a neighborhood get together at the ol' Buzz-a-Rama in the new year... any idea how we get in touch w Buzz to make it happen?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Friends Group of the WT Library is looking for a few good volunteers to bake/buy some treats to sell at our bake sale on Nov.17. If you think you can whip up some cookies, brownies, pies, cakes, flan or other treats please let us know. We have very limited options in terms of picking up the treats before the sale. The ideal option is for the volunteer to drop off the goodies the day of the sale…and buy some other goodies to enjoy and support the library.
We hope to see you on Saturday, Nov. 17. The sale begins at 11 a.m. There is also a terrific jazz concert on the same day.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Fort Hamilton Pkwy (b/w E2nd & E3rd Sts)
Saturday - Grand Opening
11am - 6pm
Year end meeting 11/15 at Shaare Torah
The ANA meeting this evening included some local officers from the 66. The officers from the 66 were full of information and helpful. We were told in the last 28 days there has been only one robbery but a large number of car burglaries. We also had the chance to speak directly w Officer Cohen who assured us that although there were complaints of the phone at the 66 not being answered w any regularity the response through 911 and 311 is always prompt. Unfortunately, there is one desk cop who deals with the 66 line, the 311 complaints and walk ins. We have to say the 66 has always been very responsive to community complaints (we were lucky enough to meet Cohen and his team at a Dahill Neighborhood Assoc. meeting last Spring). That being said the recent robbery on Greenwood and E5th St is not in the 66 borders but we have noticed an officer stationed at the Playground the last 3 evenings on a scooter.
Other ANA news included the news that the next meeting in March will be a membership meeting. We plan on assisting the ANA do some outreach to the newer neighbors and another local was enlisted to get the group online. All and all a very productive and positive move forward.
The ANA has been in existence in this 'hood for over 30 years. The ANA was the local group that hosted Foodtown for its outreach meeting to the community regarding its renovations as well as many other local businesses like the Old Savoy (which is now student housing) and Walgreens. ANA was also instrumental in petitioning deBlasio and other local representatives to get the DOE Fund on Church Ave. Keep the March meeting in mind and come out to support the community (annual dues by the way are a whooping $12 and used to cover copying costs and refreshments at the meetings).
From the inbox:
Thursday, November 15th, 2007
6.30 pm (sharp)
Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center
327 East 5th Street (corner of Church Ave)
Captain Thomas Gleavy, Executive Officer, 66th Precinct, will discuss crime in our community and statistical data regarding the neighborhood. (Maybe we can also discuss w him the numerous emails we have received about the lack of response and the fact that the phone rings endlessly a majority of the time when people call).
ANA will also be raffling off two turkeys donated by Foodtown for the upcoming Holiday!
Here's the email we received:
We plan to have the supply section open in 2 weeks. Construction is almost finished and we are just awaiting delivery of the computers and shelves.
The Legend of Mike the Greaser
Back in the 80’s there was a building on the south side of Church Avenue between East 5th and East 4th street. It was just called “SUPERMARKET” As far as I remember it only opened up when it was dark outside, and the hours of operation were very sporadic.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
On my way home last night from the Ditmas Ave F train stop, I noticed a new coffee shop on Ditmas. I didn't catch the exact streets, but it's on the short walk between the subway and Ocean Parkway on Ditmas Ave, on the south side of the street. The awning is orange. It's pretty shiny and bright and clean inside plus they have pastries, cookies, coffee, and SEATS!
Anyone got the deal on this place? A name, the cross streets, the owners....
Update: Gayana's Bakery & Cafe
Monday, November 12, 2007
Since I now live in Kensington, I thought it might make sense for me to have a studio close to home. Do you happen to know of anything? I don't need any windows - just a securely locked door, a dry environment, preferably vermin free. I now have a space that's about 250 sq. ft. Ideally I'm hoping to rent a similarly sized space for under $500. Please feel free to pass along my email address to anyone that might be able to help.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This does not mean we are any less excited about being in Kensington. We hope to still be an informational site and community gathering place so feel free to send us any important info.
I have been a great fan and participant since your first posting. I love the sense of community it has offered me and my immediate neighbors- a virtual coffee shop of sorts. You have helped us define who we are and what we hope to be. It has been a great blog and I admire and appreciate all of your hard work. It saddens me that a handful of folks have managed to hijack this forum and temporarily destroy the good will and generous spirit which are the true heart of Kensington. So many community building relationships have emerged from this blog that serve as proof positive that with time and patience the emergence of a new, vibrant, and welcoming Kensington is inevitable.
Thanks again for all of your hard work!
M on Chester
Thanks M from Chester. This blog is a labor of love and much more work then people imagine. We also can't make everyone happy which is why we really want contributions and help, email us please! Anyway, the comments section is something we struggle with.... What is the deal w all the snarky comments? We constantly get emails to have a log in and we hesitate on that b/c we don't necessarily want to be mediator or regulator. Plus the open forum has allowed for some real positive interactions that we think would cease with that extra step of logging in. We'll do our best to delete the more absurd and rude but sometimes life takes over and we don't even look at the blog for a full day while at work. That being said follow the rules of kindergarten and play nice!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
"Introducing The Residence at Windsor Terrace, a distinctive new boutique condominium combining elegance, affordability and style. Each of the residences is designed with luminous white marble countertops, wide-plank floors, stainless steel GE appliances and beautiful Italian cabinetry. Attention to detail is evident every where -- from the crown molding throughout to the Jacuzzis and temperature controlled showers. Seven foot windows let the sunshine in all day. Best of all, every unit INCLUDES parking, private outdoor space, w/d hook-ups and a 20 sq. foot private storage unit. The Residence is an elevator building conveniently located 1 1/2 blocks to the F train, across the street from the elementary school and 5 blocks to beautiful Prospect park. The complete offering terms are in an offering plan available from the sponsor, File Number CD06-0854."
Fort Hamilton Pkwy Cross st: East 2nd Street / East 3rd Str
Friday, November 9, 2007
I'd like to send an open invitation to Kensington residents. Tomorrow, my wife has book club starting at 8. For me this means I have to leave, hit the bars, a night on the town. I'll be starting at Denny's a little after 8 and end up at Shenanigins. I dont know if there are any other spots to hit in between. If anyone is interested, see you at Dennys, Ill be wearing my Coney Island Polar Bear Club t-shirt.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Kensington Stories (by Ron Lopez)
Here's a little bit of the new one.... Some Bad Habits
As I sat in my third grade classroom in PS 179 I could hear them roaring towards us. From my desk I could look out the window and see their long yellow roofs. They parked in front of the school entrance way on Avenue C. With their diesel engines just clattering away, I knew it was my time to go. On every Wednesday at 2 o’clock my stomach would start to hurt. It was time for the public school Christians to leave our sanctuary of bliss and head North up East 3rd street to The Immaculate Heart of Mary school.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Kensington, Brooklyn— Due to the increase in the number of businesses using the Kensington Post Office, Council Member Bill de Blasio, the United States Post Office (USPS) and Congresswomen Yvette Clarke will sponsor a Click-AND-Ship and Contract Postal Units (CPU) presentation this Friday to help enhance service at Kensington Station. The USPS will present business owners alternate options via its Click-and-Ship program, an Internet based service that allows one to purchase shipping labels from their personal computer. They will also give businesses an opportunity to help provide postal services from their stores via a CPU, which would bring USPS service into private businesses and retail stores offering an alternative to the Kensington Station.
Who: Council Member Bill de Blasio, Representative Yvette C. Clarke, and Assemblyman James Brennan.
When: 6:00 P.M, Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Where: P.S. 230 Upper School Auditorium, 425 McDonald Avenue in Kensington, Brooklyn
Monday, November 5, 2007
UPDATE! FG posted a how to on using OASIS!
The OASIS Mapping Service (Flatbush Gardner)
The Kensington (Brooklyn) blog notes that it "seems to have a ton of info though we can't seem to figure it out." They mention a couple of empty lots, including one on Caton Avenue which caught my eye when I passed it on my way to visit their East 4th Street Community Garden this past Saturday. I'll use that empty lot as an example. What follows is a step by step tutorial on how to use the OASIS Mapping Service to get information about your neighborhood, and get details about a particular piece of property.
1. Select a Theme
2. Choose your Layers
3. Redraw the map
4. Refine your Layers
5. Zoom in
On a side note we also saw Scott of Donje' Photography at Estelle helping Agnes w few misc. issues. He let us know they are planning on hosting one of the "Calling all Artist" events at Estelle soon. Good stuff!
Clarke To Secure CPU in Kensington
To better serve the residents of Kensington, I have taken steps to secure a contract postal unit for this neighborhood. A Contract Postal Unit allows customers to maximize their time and cut down on lines at the post office. This venture responds to customer needs in the growing Kensington community to offer postal products and services. The housing of a Contract Postal Unit in a business is beneficial to all as it increases foot traffic where it is located and allows the post office to meet the high demands of the neighborhood it services. Retailers that participate in the Contract Postal Unit program are provided USPS branding rights and signage. This is one step to help improve the postal needs in the Kensington community. To learn more about how your neighborhood can secure Contract Postal Units or how to start the bidding process, please contact my District Office at 718-287-1142
We're pretty sure deBlasio has been instrumental in this as well and believe his office is running a workshop for interested business owners. Besides Ms. Clarke's office we would also suggest getting in touch w Tom at de Blasio's office if you're interested.
Locals - GINA FELICETTI & DAVID BLUM
Monday - November 5th at 6:30 pm
160 E. 5th St. at Ft. Hamilton Pkwy.
Karl Stamitz Duo I for Viola and Cello, Allegro, Grazioso, Rondo Allegro, Hoffmeister Duet for Violin and Cello in C Major, Allegro, Romance, Rondo, Ludwig Van Beethoven Duet for Viola and Cello "With Two Eyeglasses Obligato", Allegro
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
The memories are faint and hard to recall. When I picture them it’s like watching an old black and white movie. I remember walking next to him and looking at the belt he wore, I remember holding his hand as we would walk up to Church and inside one of the small newsstands that dotted the Avenue.
There was one in particular that I recall, it was where the tiny shoe store is across from Golden Farm. It had a tiny counter and a few chrome plated stools. They were round at the top and you could spin them around. The tops of the stools were padded with either a black or dark red vinyl. When my dad waited for his change I would gently spin the seat tops while peering under the counter for a glimpse of the hundreds of pieces of dried gum people left behind. “Hey Dad can I see the Camel?” My father would usually hand me the pack of cigarettes to look at. I remember staring at the Camel with the two columns on each side of it. Back then there was no surgeon generals warning on the pack, so a kid could look at it without a parent fearing a question about why you smoke. My father would gently tug me out the door and we would start our journey back down East 4th to our house.
The trips to the candy stores or newsstands as we call them today were fairly frequent for my Dad. You see my father smoked at least two packs of cigarettes a day,and filter-less of course. The news stand next to the bank and the jewelry store was another destination for my Dad and I. I think it’s the only original news stand that I can still remember from the early 60’s. Sometimes my Dad would buy Chesterfield’s, he would always let me look at the pack which I closely studied of course. And sometimes on the way home we would stop by the Beverly Theater to see what was playing. The marquee always cast a huge shadow with it’s lights blinking like a Coney Island arcade. There was a long wide entrance which lead into the theater. It gently sloped up to old time wooden and glass doors. You could always see the concession stand from the sidewalk too, it was probably where the counter is for the “Deal 99 cent store”. And no matter what time of day it was or even if the place was closed you could always smell popcorn in the entrance way.
By the time we would reach East 2nd street my Dad would be puffing away. Billowing smoke like an incinerator from the apartment buildings on Ocean Parkway, out of his mouth, out of his nose and sometimes looking like his ears too. My father was always off to work too, and no matter what time of the day it was. And of course, he had to finish his cigarette before he left the house. “Your father works like a donkey” that’s all I heard my grandfather Paco say about his son. “Education is what will make you succeed in life”. “Your father refused an education and look at him now” I guess my grandfather was talking about college, because my Dad did go to High School. John Jay in Park Slope. But then again, I never knew if he ever graduated.
My Dad worked two jobs and sometimes three, he worked in a restaurant called McPherson’s down by Trinity Place in Manhattan by day, and by night at the Trinity Place post office as a “part timer”. He also did catering work on weekends and even co-owned a coffee shop atone time on Vanderbilt right off Atlantic. So I didn’t see my Dad much, and if I did he was usually sleeping between jobs on a Lazy Boy in the living room. For my brother and I there was no catch in front of the house and there was no playing tag at Greenwood Park. And we knew better not to even ask my father.
One day when my brother and I came home from PS 179 we heard my mom on the phone crying to her sister. We looked in their bedroom and my father was lying in the bed, he was crying too. In those days no one told a little kid what was going on and you dare not even ask. All I heard from my mom was “Daddy's not feeling well and won't be going to work for a while". You see, it all started my father was offered a full time position at the Trinity Place Post Office. There was a routine physical he was ordered to take before he could become a full-time employee. Problems breathing were followed by X-rays. A "spot on his lung" was detected and before you knew it there were tests followed by more tests. Doctors in those days didn't "beat around the bush" like today. Dr. Weisel on Plaza street in Prospect Heights told my Dad straight to his face that he would be "dead in three months". My Dad refused chemo, but did opt to have one lung removed, and I will always remember that scar. It went from his chest all the way around his back, it just looked like train tracks around a mountain through the eyes of a kid. But hey, at least he was home for my brother and I, and that's all that really mattered to us.
Eventually though death did arrive and on August 24th 1965 at the age of 39 my Father died. Just about three months after he was told he would, leaving a seven, nine and two year old without a father. Oh, sure, I know there are old photos of my brother and I together with my Dad building a snowman in our back yard at 399. There are also ones taken upstate at our country house with me on his shoulders. But the truth is nothing sticks in my mind more than those simple walks to Church Avenue holding my Dads hand and smelling stale popcorn by the Beverly. For there are no photos of those times, but just the memories of a seven year old boy who barely knew his father.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Friday, Nov 2@SOB's
204 Varick @ W.Houston
1 Train to Houston, ABCDEF Train to West 4th
Doors at 8pm - Show starts at 9pm. Pistolera hits the stage at 10pm.
$10 or FREE with full costume
Sufjan Steven's Highway - Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist
talks about his orchestral homage to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. "The BQE" premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music tonight and runs through Saturday.
Sufjan Stevens performs on WNYC's "Spinning on Air"