Friday, May 29, 2009

Meep! Meep!

If you see a blur zoom by you today as you stroll Ocean Parkway, it's probably the New York Road Runners. Their Half-Marathon Grand Prix's 7th mile will run through the hood on its way down to Coney Island. So if you are out and about, try not to trip anyone. If you're running, we'd appreciate it if you printed " -- Your semi-monthly news source" on your number tag. K, thnx.

Thanks to Laura for sending this in. *waves* Hi Laura!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mmm... green fruit.

I usually don't like it when my lemons turn all green and fuzzy, but apparently that's good now. Doesn't that picture look yummy? That's all the stuff you can pickup right now in Sunset Park's (courtesy of Green Market. If you'd like to have a market full of green edibles right here in our back yard, check out this online petition and vote your green pants off.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Students at local Yeshiva tumble through broken grate

From the Daily News:

Students posing for class pictures outside a Brooklyn Yeshiva took a terrifying fall through a shaft Friday after a grate suddenly collapsed, police sources said.

The children, ages 10 to 12, were standing outside the Yeshiva Shaare Torah at Ocean Parkway and Church Ave., when the grate inexplicably gave way, officials said.

The 15 to 20 students students tumbled some 15 feet down the apparent airshaft, sources said.

Two students were rushed to Lutheran Hospital with possible fractures. The other studens suffered minor injuries, and were taken to Maimonides Medical Center and Methodist Hospital.

The Kensington school is the elementary and middle school of the Yeshiva Shaare Torah.

Yikes. Hope everyone is ok.

Illegal gambling? Now we're talkin'!

The Village Voice ran a blog post today about how the slow economy has lead to a rise in back-alley gambling joints throughout the city. Today we can all be proud to call Kensington a major offender.

From the Village Voice:
And according to the Bangla newspaper Weekly Thikana, increasing numbers of Bengali immigrants are turning to gambling to supplement their income.

In the article translated into English by The New York Community Media Alliance, the paper claims illegal gambling joints have popped up in basements and the backs of grocery stores in Kensington, Brooklyn (also home to some great Bengali food) and various Queens neighborhoods, including Jackson Heights and Ozone Park. (read the whole story)

Being somewhat ignorant of Bangladeshi culture, I'm not sure what their preferred games of chance are, but if it's just guessing coin flips or something maybe I'll head down there and try and make back my rent.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Next ANA meeting tomorrow!

The Albemarle Neighborhood Association very kindly made their printed newsletter available at Foodtown (something they've probably always done), and it lists the time and date of their next meeting, which happens to be tommorow.
The Albemarle Neighborhood Association will hold its community meeting on Thursday, May 21st at the Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center, 237 E. 5th Street (corner Church Ave.). The meeting will start at 7:00 pm (sharp).

Our guest speaker for the meeting will be Assemblyman James Brennan, who will discuss a range of topics of interest to our community.

As during this past year, Foodtown will supply refreshments for the meeting.

We look forward to seeing everyone on May 21st at 7 pm.

Larry Jayson
This meeting is open to the public. Thanks to the couple people who sent this in.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Anyone lose a bowling ball?

Saw this little guy hanging out on the corner of Avenue C and East 4th. I think he was lost.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Signs of life at Connie's.

As you've probably all seen, Church Avenue Restaurant Cafe has become Connie's Cafe Restaurant and they had their Grand Opening yesterday.

KWT writes:
I spoke with Connie this evening, and she is starting with a standard diner menu, using all fresh ingredients. Each day she will have 6 specials and she plans to have a Sunday brunch menu as well. The hours, to start, will be 6 am - 6 pm. She understands the need for evening hours and plans to expand hours in a few months. The restaurant has a bright and inviting new paint job. Once she gets the permits, she plans to have outdoor seating on the E 5th St side of the building as well.

Please come and support this much appreciated newcomer to the slowly expanding Kensington-Windsor Terrace dining scene. Connie has lived in this neighborhood her whole life, and looks forward to meeting everyone, and hearing suggestions from her neighbors.
Other reports indicate that Connie is interested in possibly hosting some live music as well, which most people would find welcome. Personally, we'll be happy if the coffee and soup aren't cold, like some other cafe's in the area whose names rhyme with "Baroque Candy Virus."

Update! We got an on the scene report:
We had breakfast there on opening day, and enjoyed it very much. My kids had pancakes with apples and cinnamon, and with chocolate chips. Next time they want the banana pancakes. Thank goodness for choices! The adults had delicious eggs with all the accompaniments (potatos, toasts and bacon!) The staff is friendly, attentive, and it was wonderful to see so many people from the neighborhood coming in on the first day. - J
Thanks, J!

Connie's is located on the corner of Church Avenue and E. 5th Street.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

WKAG Rally an (indirect) success

We posted last Friday about the WKAG rally to have the Church Ave triangle turned into a small greenspace.

Many of you have noticed that work on digging it up began almost immediately after this rally.

Maggie of WKAG writes:
Actually it was a great coincidence...
I had requested it a few times over the last couple of years with no response, thus the rally. Unbeknownst to me, they just happen to be getting around to doing it this past Monday. Brilliant timing!!!

Also attached is a pic of some guerilla gardeners seedbombing our Church Ave nemesis at 31-35 Church Avenue. Stop by in a few weeks and see how we're bloomin'!


So the message here is that petitions and rallies work, as long as the outcome you're hoping for has been decided prior to the event. And everyone spraypaints their face blue first.

Craigslist Roundup

It was a slow week for Kensington, I think. Maybe everyone was too busy writing angry letters to TONY.

Someone has a real problem with Sean Casey Animal Rescue

If you're a guy with a Lonsdale Jacket, this young lady would like a word with you

Kensington is getting a Yoga studio and they need instructors

Free Kittens, sans sharpie-on-cardboard sign

40 Tehama St. Family Garage sale on Saturday

Auto Tech needed for local gig

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wonderful short documentary on Buzz-A-Rama

Local filmmaker Rahul Chadha wrote in to let us know that he made a short documentary about our local mainstay, Buzz-A-Rama.

I'll let the quality speak for itself.

The Buzz-A-Rama 500 from Gorilla Face on Vimeo.

Thanks for sending this in, Rahul. This is great.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kensington in TONY, Reporter is kind of a jerk

So we've gotten, oh, I dunno, about 670 emails about Kensington getting showcased in Time Out New York last week. We agreed at first that it was a nice article that more or less captured the overall feel of the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the same guy who wrote the article disagrees.

In a separate piece written a couple days later for an 'edgy' news blog called The Exiled, this guy claims to have knowingly written what he considers an inaccurate representation of the neighborhood for Time Out New York.
I filed a smoothed over narrative of what I saw—Bengalis, Hispanics and Hasids, chattering away amongst themselves in ancient dialects. I left out the trash filled yards, chop shops and nasty eyed stares from the locals. But a questioning email came back from my editor: where are the boutiques, cafes and charming restaurants? My answer, that there weren’t any, didn’t cut it with him.
You'll notice he doesn't claim to have written an article preaching the truth about what he saw only to be denied by his editor. He fully admits to distorting what he saw, presumably because while he objects to the existence of the Real Estate Hype Machine, he doesn't mind profiting from it. Journalistic integrity, it seems, is in short supply at the Harvey Estate.

He goes on to persecute a similar article that ran in the Daily News a couple weeks ago, citing Kensington as a best-value neighborhood. I'm sure most of you remember it, and the fact that it mentioned this here blog. Although we were very appreciative of the exposure, the article characterized us as a "local watchdog", which I don't think we have ever tried to be. Matt Harvey took issue with this, and us, as well.
Even without the rebrand, The Daily News piece is dubious. It reads in part, “The neighborhood also has its own watchdog. Two friends run to monitor growth…” When I was scrambling for a cluster of hipsters to write about for Time Out, I had breathed a sigh of relief on finding a post on the very same. Entitled “where the cool kids go,” it seemed just what I needed to write about the alternative Kensington. The cool kids were all at “Jerbar,” a brand new hipster bar with a “speakeasy vibe,” right smack in the middle of Church Avenue’s Bengal grocers. It took me about a minute to realize that Jerbar was a turgid fantasia cooked up by the overzealous anonymous flaks [sic] behind the site. The bar doesn’t exist.
Matt, a simple click into the comment section would have revealed the truth: that Jerbar turned out to be an inside joke within the Yelp community and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this site. As far as anonymous and overzealous, our names are all over the comments area, and I personally don't recall showing even one iota of zeal about anything in my entire life, much less an overabundance of it vis-à-vis Kensington. Oh, and what in the hell is a 'flak'?

The problem here isn't that we're insulted. Matt Harvey can feel free to call us as many misappropriated words as he likes. But one thing we can't brook is hypocrisy, and in this case, his knows no bounds. Matt, if you were that insulted by the assignment, you shouldn't have cashed your check. Since you did, you should have kept your mouth shut about it in other media.

If you're annoyed, feel free to contact the editors at TONY at to let them know they should be wary about procuring Matt Harvey's services again. There's no place in the world of journalism for a guy that can't even stand up for his beliefs. While you're at it, let them know that Kensington may not be perfect, but no one here is interested in trying to fleece TONY readers into thinking so.

For reference, the Exiled piece in its entirety is reproduced right here. We refuse to link to either of the pieces in question.

Friday, May 8, 2009

West Kensington Action Group needs your help!

The WKAG would like your help making this happen:

Come one, come all!!!! This Sat, May 9th at 10 a.m. SHARP!!! Meet us at the TRIANGLE in the middle of Church Avenue just 3 blocks west of McDonald (at Story Court) for a fifteen minute rally and photo shoot!

We need your support! Please bring all of your friends and family!!! The more the merrier!!! It will only take a few minutes to sign the petition and smile for the camera. Also, just for fun, we might seedbomb the lot! Hope you can join us. It will be short and sweet!
It's good to see people out there trying to beautify the neighborhood a bit. I know from observation that a lot of people use this triangle to turn around (by driving right through it), so this may tick off some agressive motorists, but that's ok. We can tell them they're welcome to come to our tiny bit of greenery and pick all the daisies they like.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Ditmas Park Concert Series

In our continuing bid to slowly annex other neighborhoods until Kensington runs from the Verrazano to Cypress Hills, please allow us to present the Ditmas Park Concert Series, soon to be known as the East Kensington Jamboree:

The 2nd concert in the Ditmas Park Concert Series is this Sunday, May 10, featuring Janus, an intriguing trio who creates new sounds for the flute, viola, and harp. Thank you for listing this in your calendar and on your website or blog.

Sunday, May 10
4:00 pm Janus
Temple Beth Emeth
83 Marlborough Rd at Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11226
B/Q to Church Avenue

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jazz Jam Sessions, new menu at Visions

The folks at Visions contacted us, letting us know that they have revamped their menu and are starting Jazz Wednesdays.

Visions Restaurant/Bar writes:
We are excited to let you know about our New Menu featuring excellent new dishes and a vegetarian menu.
Please see the menu below.

Come and celebrate Mother's Day with your Friends at Visions. Excellent Brunch from 11am - 3:00 pm

Fixed Mother's Day Dinner Menu starting at 5:00 pm - Please call for reservations - 718-282-3388
See menu below

Starting Wednesday May 6th, 2009 Visions Restaurant will be featuring Weekly Jazz Jam Sessions

THE JUSTIN WERT TRIO, Justin Wert - Guitar, Dave Speranza - Bass, Nick Anderson - Drums
1/2 Prices Drinks from 9:00 pm - 1:00 am

We look forward to seeing you soon,
-Your friends at Visions Restaurant and Bar
We're not sure if "Jazz Jam Sessions" means anyone can show up with their accordion and go to town, but at the very least you'll see some talented musicians do their thing.

Visions is located at 752 Coney Island Ave at Cortelyou in beautiful Kensington, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Craigslist Roundup

We've gotten wind that some people in the neighborhood are still using Craigslist instead of
KensList for their marketplace needs, which I'm sure you can all agree is a terrible idea. But until we get 100% adoption rate, we'll highlight items of local interest.

Can anyone out there fix sunglasses?

Someone is hiring a Vet Tech for evening and weekend hours.

Got a hankerin' to feed some feral cats?

Assistant Art Specialist needed.

Countless items no one else wants for sale.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Have you checked out KensList lately?

Exciting things are happening around Kensington. Lots of them are advertised on KensList, and everything else should be too. Need to give your vinyl collection a boost? Looking for a new dog walker? Here's just one of the deals you can find right now:
FS: 414 Albemarle Rd - Open house Sunday! - $289k
Sunday May 3rd, 12pm to 2pm
$289,000 1 br 1.0 ba 900 sqft Coop
This is probably the best Home for sale in Kensington today. The location is Perfect. Quite street, yet close to transport, 24 hour shopping. 10 minutes walk & you are sitting & watching by the lake in beautiful Prospect Park. This 4th floor corner home can be easily converted to a 2 bedroom, (I have done so in the past). There is lots of Pre-war detail...
See the rest of this ad and many others at KensList now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Church Avenue Restaurant Cafe sold

From KWT Neighbors:
I just popped my head in and met the new owner, Connie, who is a lifelong resident of K'ton and used to manage Faro's further down Church. Betsy and Chris, the old owners, quietly sold to her. She's reopening in a few days.

Opinions on the place run the gamut, but hopefully injecting some new blood will bring improvement. I've always had a soft spot for Faros' pancakes, but I've noticed that this place always seems to be sparkling clean.