Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all! After one car ride, two flights, and four trains (all the way back from Philly, because no airline was flying into NYC until 2011), ILFA is back in Brooklyn and celebrating with an I Love Franklin Avenue cocktail, created on a whim after we saw some Absolut Brooklyn at the local liquor store.

- double shot of Absolut Brooklyn
- the same of apple juice (or sparkling cider for a New Year's touch)
- just a slightly larger measure of ginger beer (available at your local bodega)

Serve over ice in a mason jar or whatever else you've got lying around, garnish with a slice of apple, and raise a glass to 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Studebaker in Crown Heights

I've posted before about the renovated Studebaker showroom on Bedford and Sterling before, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I noticed this faded sign on Dean between Franklin and Classon (one for the Fading Ad Blog crew). From what I can make out, it reads "Studebaker Service Station, 1000 Dean Street," advertising a long-gone garage whose address is the building the sign is painted on. It appears that once upon a time in Crown Heights you could buy your Studebaker on Brooklyn's "Automobile Row" (click this one - great piece by Crown Heights' own Montrose Morris) and when it needed repairs, you could swing it by this service station a few blocks away. If there are any old timers out there who remember this era, by all means, share your stories!

Also, I'm adding the Fading Ad Blog to the blogroll, along with The Map Scroll. Both are great collections of interesting visual displays of information.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All . . .

. . . and to all a good night. Whatever your religious leanings or celebratory tendencies, I hope the end of 2010 treats you well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Sherita, Sherita - what are you, exactly? You're selling fuel oil to landlords at the corner of Classon and Atlantic, or at least you once were, but that doesn't explain your appearance, now does it? Forgotten New York calls you a lipsticked dinosaur, but to me, you're more of a Dr. Seuss character, especially with that headgear. But whenever I have occasion to ride home on Atlantic Avenue, your pink visage warms my heart.

Question for readers - what the heck is Sherita?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coming Soon - Breukelen Vintage

They're not officially open yet - still waiting on the Dept. of Buildings for a Certificate of Occupancy - but the folks at the Breukelen Coffee House (recently named one of the "best coffeeshops for doing work" by Time Out New York) let the lady and I take a quick peek at their new back room shop, Breukelen Vintage. The limited wares look like fun - sweaters, coats, jewelery, and some quirky odds and ends - and they'll be on sale in the New Year. Take a peek behind the curtain next time you're there to check it out.

CHCA Final Meeting of the Year Tonight

ILFA will be traveling for the holidays, but if you're in the neighborhood, swing by:

Please join us
this Tuesday 12/21 at 7:30
at our December meeting
(LaunchPad 721 Franklin Avenue)
and celebrate the Holiday Season with us

We will be taking nominations for the 2011 Board of Directors.
Only current members may participate in the nomination/election process.
You are welcome to fill out an application and join on Tuesday ($30/household, $125/merchants).
To serve on the Board of Directors, one must be a member and have been active in the Association for a year.

Refreshments will be served

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vodou at Five Myles on Saturday

The Brooklyn Paper had the full story earlier in the week - come check out the launch of Vodou Brooklyn, the new book from Clinton Hill photographer Stephanie Keith, at Five Myles this Saturday. The event runs 8pm - midnight and includes a performance.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love for Franklin 2: Food at Veggies

Another place I've been stopping in lately is Veggies Natural Juice Bar, which despite their name has launched a serious full-time food menu. I'm a big fan of their chili and soup in this weather, but they've also started making a $5 veggie burger that people are raving about, as well as raw vegan dishes and various comfort-food side orders. You can keep up with their daily soups and specials on Twitter (@Veggies785). Photos and menu info are also available on their website.

Did you lose your dog?

Did your doberman run away? Does he look like this? If so, Arthur from the neighborhood found him, and he's safe and sound. From the rescuer:

Just a couple hours ago I let in a lost Doberman who was crying at the bottom of my stoop in the cold. He's got a collar but no tags and had a little orange and gray fleece vest on. He knows some simple commands, sit, stay, give, etc. He's a fixed, nicely behaved, cold and hungry galoot.

If this is your pooch, contact me and I'll put you in touch with Arthur. You can also let him know directly via Brooklynian.

Love for Franklin: Bristen's Noodle Bowls

(This meal cost $10.)

After straying to the west, I wanted to give some love to Franklin establishments at the end of the week. First up is Bristen's, where I've become enamored with the spicy beef noodle soup. It's filling, it's tasty, and it's ready in about five minutes for five dollars. I'm a pretty simple guy, and this meets all my criteria. Word has it the dumplings are good as well, though I haven't tried those yet. Any other reviews of the new menu?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Love for Classon Ave 2: Thirst Bar

Franklin Avenue may be the local retail strip, but quiet, leafy Classon seems to be undergoing a mini-boom of its own. The latest, along with Pasha (see below), is truly unexpected - a wine bar in a chic new space on Pacific and Classon, steps away from several junkyards and just down the street from T&S Live Poultry.

Thirst Bar, from the owners of Fort Greene's popular Thirst Wine Merchants, is officially ready to go after a soft opening this weekend. First, the basics - their address is 629 Classon Ave, and their hours (at least for December) are: Tues-Thursday: 5pm-11pm; Friday-Saturday 5pm-midnight.

Their subtitle/motto/ethos is "Slow Wine, Scratch Food," and from my brief glance at the chalked-up menu, it looks like glasses will be available from $5 and up, and small plates will start around the same. The space itself is gorgeous - high ceilings, tons of natural light, a long bar down one side and tables made from recovered hardwood down the other - even if the surroundings are more "repair shop" than "wine bar." The owners, to their credit, are unfazed by the immediate locale - as they see it, they're walking distance from the subway and a lot of homes, they've got a strong following and good reputation at their Fort Green shop, and in the end, they believe the food, drink ("seriously interesting" wine, water, and coffee from a heavy-duty espresso machine), and atmosphere will keep people coming back. They're even hoping to put cafe-style seating out along Pacific next summer, which, if you know the corner, is quite something to envision at present.

Somebody go have a drink and a bite there and let us know how it goes!

Update - The Voice, as it turns out, beat me to this one, and they actually know a thing or two about food and wine. Read it here.

Love For Classon Ave: Pasha

ILFA did some walking around on our sister avenue on Saturday, and came across the newly-opened Pasha, offering pizza by the slice as well as middle-eastern fare and some basic American-style burgers off the grill. The prices seem VERY reasonable - three bucks for a falafel sandwich, if memory serves - and they're offering take out and delivery (the menus are already popping up around the neighborhood). Anyone tried the food yet?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Indelible Impressions: Franklin Park Reading Series TOMORROW

Don't miss the Franklin Park Reading Series, tomorrow at 8pm ($4 pints and great literature)!

The theme of December's mostly nonfiction, multimedia extravaganza is "Indelible Impressions." We'll be featuring a slide show of literary tattoos from Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge's new photo anthology The Word made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide, Time Out editor Beth Greenfield will be reading from her searing memoir Ten Minutes from Home, and literary humorist Peter Hyman (The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches from an Almost Hip Life) and journalist/memoirist Dan Lopez (Time Out) will share their latest work. Justin Taylor, who is also an acclaimed fiction writer, will give a sneak preview of his upcoming novel The Gospel of Anarchy.

As a tie-in to to the tattoo slide show, we'll be raffling off a $50 gift certificate to Franklin Avenue's famed tattoo shop Brooklyn Ink Spot.

The Word Made Flesh has been attracting a lot of attention. In their "Pressed for Time" feature NY Press highlighted tomorrow's event:

In the Times's holiday gift guide, it was a recommended coffee table book:

Again in the Times, a recommended "visual book":

In anticipation of Monday's event, Beth Greenfield was just interviewed by L Magazine:

And The Times praised Justin Taylor as "a new voice that readers — and writers, too — might be seeking out for decades to come." He was also just named one of "5 Brooklyn Writers to Watch in 2011" by L Magazine.

Our Facebook event page has the details:!/event.php?eid=163911086977857

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Bazaar at Force and Flow Tomorrow

If you're looking for a place to do your holiday shopping locally, make sure to swing by Force and Flow tomorrow for their Holiday Bazaar, featuring the wares of local merchants and artisans.

Also, I had a reader ask about where to get Christmas Trees in the area, and I confess I don't know. Nam's has their annual lineup of table-sized trees and a few wreaths and holly branches, but for a full-size tree, the closest spots I know of are the Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market and the stand at Flatbush and Dean. Anyone know of a closer spot?

Sunday, Dec 12
12 - 7PM,
Force and Flow
1102 Dean St. #4, Between Franklin & Bedford Ave's

To throw a little spice into the holiday shopping season and to offer beautiful, locally crafted alternatives to petroleum based plastic gifts from China, Force and Flow is once again organizing a holiday bazaar. Inspired by the wildly colorful markets of the Morocco, the studio will transform into an exhilarating venue for affordable hand crafted goods. Here's a chance to spend your money on gifts that support the community, sustain the environment and satisfy your taste buds all at once. With live music, bodywork samples and other suprises, this promises to be your most surprising and exhilarating shopping outing this year!

So far we have ceramics, jewelry, silkscreened items galore, hand made wallets, clothes, yoga bags, cookies, herbal tea blends, handmade cards, artwork, knits and more... We'll also have some wine and treats to keep everybody warm and happy : )

Second Saturdays and More - The Coming Weekend and Week at LaunchPad

Saturday, December 11 at 8pm
(Second Saturday) Songs & Sounds
A collection of musicians who perform in duos each month, pairing a singer/songwriter with an improviser to explore the boundaries of expression through words, music, and improvisation.

Sunday, December 12

A variety of yoga classes throughout the day.

Monday, December 13 at 7pm

Homebrewing 101
A 'Mini Skills' class organized by Brooklyn Skillshare. A short (2-hour) introduction to the basics of homebrewing, including a demonstration explanation of the equipment, ingredients, and processes involved in brewing your own beer at home. No prior knowledge is required, and by the end of the class you should be ready to go home and make your first batch yourself!

Tuesday, December 14 at 8pm
Brooklyn Sews

A weekly sewing collective. Come work on a personal project or contribute to a group project. Bring your ideas for other
arts, crafts, mosaic, textile, etc work.

Wednesday, December 15 at 9pm
Comedy Show

90 minutes of improv comedy. Enough said.

Friday, December 17 at 8pm

Small Gray Sea Bass
This drums/guitar/saxophone trio plays original compositions and free form pieces that investigate the potential of musical communication. Listen to some samples.

Do you have a suggestion for a new event at LaunchPad? Do you have a skill or talent you want to share with others? Does your organization need a place to hold meetings? Let us know, we'll help make it happen. There is no fee to use/attend LaunchPad, only your participation is required (donations for instructors and performers are always appreciated).

Be well, we'll see you around.

721 Franklin Avenue (between Sterling and Park)
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Atlantic Yards Traffic Forum and Water Bill Assistance, Both Today

(from the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council)

PHNDC Bulletin
Upcoming Events for the Prospect Heights Community

This is an update from the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council informing you about news and events happening around the neighborhood this month.

Can the traffic
really get worse?

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
presents a forum on traffic and transit issues raised by Atlantic Yards construction and the planned opening of the Barclays Center in 2012.

  • What impacts are already being felt?
  • What is coming from the arena and future construction?
  • What does the recent court decision mean to the community?
  • What can we do now?
Wednesday, December 8, 7:30 PM
P.S. 9, 80 Underhill Avenue (between St. Marks Ave. and Bergen St.)

Speakers include:
Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries
Councilmember Letitia James
Ryan Lynch, Senior Planner, Tri State Transportation Campaign

Visit for additional information about community developments, events and the activities of our member organizations.

(and from Councilmember Al Vann)

Councilman Al Vann, Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant (CIBS) &

NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)



DEP is coming to central Brooklyn

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

6 pm – 8:30 pm


Boys & Girls High School

1700 Fulton Street

Homeowners will have an opportunity to discuss their water bills one on one with a DEP customer service representative, learn more about other payment options, learn about the Water Debt Assistance Program, and learn about the Automated Meter Reading.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Karaoke at Franklin Park on Tuesday

I do believe it's the first time they've done this.

JC Leyendecker Lives on Franklin Avenue

top: a new t-shirt design, coming soon from About Time Boutique.
Jamie Hef's mural for the pawn shop.

J.C. Leyendecker does not actually live on Franklin Avenue. The turn-of-the-century artist and illustrator was born in Germany, moved to Chicago (where, like the lady, he attended the School of the Art Institute), and lived out his days in New Rochelle, creating more than 300 covers for the Saturday Evening Post along the way. Were it not for Norman Rockwell (whose work is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum), he'd be the most famous Post cover artist, but second-place to the guy who painted "The Four Freedoms" ain't half bad.

So why are we talking about J.C. Leyendecker? Two weeks back, when I posted a notice about the CHCA's special meeting regarding the pawn shop, I linked Nostrand Park's post about the new mural that the owner commissioned from local artist Jamie Hef. Predictably, the post got a lot of comments, as did Nostrand Park's, and we both received one from "yuppiekillah" that read as follows:

Hay yuppies… lets start your art education now…. if you guys had any culture or any love for art then you all would have done your research on the art your so aggressively slandering..that baby is actually a reference that is about a hundred years old from a well know artist by the name of Joseph Christian Leyendecker (March 23, 1874 – July 25, 1951)who was one of the pre-eminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. He is best known for his poster, book, and advertising illustrations, the trade character known as The Arrow Collar Man, and his numerous covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker painted more than 400 magazine covers. During ‘The Golden Age of American Illustration’, for the Saturday Evening Post alone, J. C. Leyendecker produced 322 covers, as well as many advertisement illustrations for its interior pages. No other artist, until the arrival of Norman Rockwell two decades later, was so solidly identified with one publication. Leyendecker “virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design.” He also influenced Norman Rockwell, who, if your cultured(pun intended)??? should know is one of the most popular artist of modern illustrations….learn something people and learn something through art every once in awhile…..PEACE=Positive Education Always Corrects Errors

Most of the above can be confirmed at Wikipedia (actually, most of the above is copied from Wikipedia), so let's take yuppykillah's advice (incidentally, when the Daily News covered this story last week, they received the same comment, albeit from a poster named "communitypawn," which is the name of the pawn shop's parent company). Google "JC Leyendecker babies" and you get a whole lotta babies. Does Hef's mural evoke Leyendecker's illustrations? I suppose this cover and this one are the closest comparisons, but I'll leave that one up to the readers (if you've got more to say, you can join a productive conversation on Brooklynian, or post something absolutely insane on Yahoo like the rest of the Yahoo commentariat).

Meanwhile, another Franklin Avenue merchant, About Time Boutique, has unveiled a new line, "I am Franklin Ave," that also utilizes a classic Leyendecker image, this Saturday Evening Post cover from Thanksgiving 1921. Who knew that an early-20th century illustrator would play so prominent a role in Crown Heights merchant politics in 2010?

Just one more thing, because I think this has been getting lost in the shuffle: there is actual data out there about the impact pawn shops have on communities, and it reveals that pawn shops are bad for communities, for two reasons: 1) they correlate strongly with increased property crime and 2) they trap people who don't have access to credit in cycles of short-term debt that lead to long-term fiscal problems. Are pawn shops the end of the world, or even the worst thing facing Crown Heights? No, of course not - but crime and debt are serious issues, and I told Bob/Eugene as much when I spoke to him (the data I reference is linked here as well). Sure, pawn shops are legal (though the "jewelery store" may still be a zoning violation, in which case it is illegal), but legal and moral are not the same thing.

So, please, make any and all arguments, especially about the use and abuse of J.C. Leyendecker and babies, but keep these facts in mind (or share some findings that argue differently).

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Barboncino (Wood Oven Pizza) Construction Underway

They've finally got their permits, and now demolition is underway at Barboncino, the Neopolitan-style wood-oven pizzeria and full bar coming to 781 Franklin Avenue. Check the video above from the owner to see what progress they've made so far.

Pine Tree Market Now Open, Brunch Comes Back to Bristen's

The shelves are stocked, the window displays are shining, and the balloon arch is out - Pine Tree, the new organic market from the owner's of Nam's in the old Nairobi's Knapsack space, is officially open. The lady and I just took a stroll through, and were thoroughly impressed: the selection is huge, the place looks beautiful (lots of golden wood and stainless steel), and on top of the stuffed-to-bursting shelves and coolers, they've got a sidebar with coffee by the pound and cup, a gelato bar with at least a dozen flavors, and an impressive little raised alcove with seating and a sushi bar. According to SYA on Brooklynian they'll be handing out free samples of the sushi later today, and they'll also be offering Korean fare including bibimbap soon. Go check it out today (photos coming soon)!

Also, Bristen's, which has gone over to an East Asian noodle and dumplings menu for dinner (a menu that's a surprisingly well-kept secret - I went in the other day and had a huge bowl of tasty noodles for $4.95), will be bringing back their brunch menu (by popular demand) as of this weekend.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Tomorrow Night at LaunchPad

From the never-boring folks at LaunchPad:

"Breukelen- Street Rituals" Photography Show by Yu-Chen Chiu
WhenSat, December 4, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Where721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238 (LaunchPad) (map)
Description"Breukelen- Street Rituals" by Yu-Chen Chiu Yu-Chen’s most recent work, "Breukelen- Street Rituals", employs fifteen black and white photos to weave out theater-like daily life in Brooklyn. It also investigates how the mix of the old and the new in the urban archeology, and the multiple-layered cultural ideology, have affected the residents definition for “self”. Photography also on display 2-4pm. "Bridging The Gap" dance and drum performance at 8-9pm. Reception at 9-10pm. Come meet new friends and share your thoughts.

A few more from Park Delicatessen

Note to all other local merchants - if you send me photos, I'll post 'em.

Note to local shoppers - check out your local businesses for gifts!

For Toddler...

For Her...

Goldies Soap, Handmade in Brooklyn
Soap singles in asst scents $8
Vetiver Day Cream $15
Lip Balm $5
Gift set of 3 soaps $24

For Him...

4 Star Winnwood Brushed Flannel M, L, XL $58.5

For DIY Gifting...

Assortment of storage jars S $8, L$10, XL $12(not Shown)

Music Skateboards Deck from NYC $58

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Great Gifts from Park Delicatessen

It's officially December, which means even we slackers can no longer ignore our holiday shopping. To go along with the sales and bazaars mentioned in previous posts, check out some of these holiday offerings from Park Delicatessen (on Park Place just west of Classon).

I realize I'm doing free advertising here, but there's a reason for it - shopping locally is an easy, self-interested way to build neighborhood resources and meet local merchants, who are, in my experience, a LOT more interested in hearing what customers have to say than, say, anyone working at the Atlantic Center (which becomes the 7th circle of hell around this time of year).

Enormous Champion Set of 6 letterpress Cards $18.

Campbell Raw Press letterpress Cards. $6.

The Park Delicatessen Classic Holiday Flower Arrangement $35.
Delivery available.

Check our website for more gift ideas:

Lest we forget, they're also a skate shop:

This Holiday season Park Delicatessen will be serving up Skateboard completes 3 ways, with tons of great product there"s something for everyone, and every budget.

Option A- Good
Pre assembled completes from Real, Krooked, Anti-Hero, and more. These are definitely not toys. Perfect for beginners or someone just getting into skateboarding. Tons of sizes from 7.2" all the way up to 8" wide. Ready to rock right out of the box.

Option B-Better
An unheard of great deal, choose from an assortment of decks from Alien Workshop, Zero, Toy Machine and more. Comes assembled with Venture trucks, Lucky Bearings, and Hubba Wheels. These are great for beginners all the way up to a season ripper.

Option C- Best
Choose whatever you like to make a custom complete. We have a ridiculous amount of pro model decks all of them with the most current graphics. All DIRECTLY FROM THE SOURCE. Pair it up with any trucks and wheels you like from our enormous selection. Indy bearings or maybe swiss? Whatever you like, its your choice.
$160 and up

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crown Heights Community Mediation Center - 2011 Leadership Training Institute

I prattle a lot about community and community improvement, but there are folks in Crown Heights who devote their days to making the neighborhood a better place, and they're asking you to join them. The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, who are also responsible for the Save Our Streets Crown Heights initiative, are now accepting applications for their 2011 Leadership Training Institute. From what their coordinator told me, a few participants found out about the program on this blog last year, which warmed my heart. Hopefully there are more great folks out there just waiting to read this.

The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center is now accepting applications for the 2011 Leadership Training Institute. The Leadership Training Institute is a program aimed at bringing together community members who are dedicated to working to improve Crown Heights to both strengthen their leadership skills and build relationships with others in the community.

Through the Institute, participants will meet with trainers who are experts in their fields on a variety of topics to learn from each other, and develop and ultimately implement their skills. These topics include networking, community organizing, grant writing and fundraising, coalition building, working with the media, and event planning. Participants will be able to put their newly acquired skills to use by organizing a community project as a final project of the Institute. Past groups have organized a local photography contest, a resource and entertainment fair to complement the Annual Family Day Picnic in Crown Heights, a healthy foods expo and published a guide for access to healthy food in Crown Heights.

This year, LTI will have two cohorts: One will build on momentum from last year's group by continuing to work on healthy food access and the other will work on an anti-gun violence project related to the work of our program, Save Our Streets Crown Heights.

At the end of the program, participants will come away with concrete skills as well as relationships with others in the community who are dedicated to improving Crown Heights.

Applications are available for download HERE, and can be submitted by email to, fax to 718-774-5349, or in person at the Mediation Center; 256 Kingston Ave. Please direct all question to Micah Weiss at 718-773-6886.

Sonia Sanchez at Medgar Evers this Thursday

For the Crown Heights literati, from Medgar Evers College:

Sonia Sanchez Reading and Book Signing at Medgar Evers College, Dec. 2
On Thursday, Dec. 02, Medgar Evers College will host a book reading and signing for celebrated renowned
poet, activist, and scholar Sonia Sanchez’s new work I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't and Other Playsfrom 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. in Founders Auditorium at 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Like her poetry, Sanchez’s plays voice her critique of the racism and sexism that she encountered as a young female writer in the black militant community in the late 1960s and early 1970s, her ongoing concern with the well-being of the black community, and her commitment to social justice. The collection includes the never-before-published dramas I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t (1982) and 2 X 2 (2009), as well as three essays in which Sanchez reflects on her art and activism. An introduction by Jacqueline Wood illuminates Sanchez’s stagecraft in relation to her poetry and advocacy for social change, and the feminist dramatic voice in black revolutionary art.

Sanchez was the Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Temple University. She is the recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. One of the most important writers of the Black Arts Movement, Sanchez is the author of sixteen books.

The event is sponsored by the Medgar Evers College English Club, the Department of English, and the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY.

For more information, contact the Center for Black Visit

Affordable Acupuncture at LaunchPad

Starting tomorrow (Wednesday), local acupuncturist Sara Calabro, founder of AcuTake Health, will be offering low-cost community acupuncture sessions at LaunchPad from 11am - 6pm. Click on the flyer above for more info, but suffice to say the the prices are extremely affordable (a sliding scale from $15-35). While ILFA has never personally tried acupuncture, several family members and friends swear by it, particularly sufferers of pain relating to muscle fatigue or chronic illnesses. At fifteen bucks, why not give it a try? (Update: I just clicked over to the NYTimes site and found an article about professional football's resident acupuncturist).

There's a lot going on around the neighborhood this week, so watch this space for quick updates of this variety (for those who miss the overweening 2,500 word think-pieces, they'll be back just as soon as finals are done, and your friendly neighborhood blogger will be armed with a whole host of new ideas from grad school).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

CHCA Special Meeting Tomorrow (Monday)

From the Crow Hill Community Association (more coverage at Nostrand Park, too):

Are you happy with a “WE BUY GOLD & ELECTRONICS” business opening on Park Place off Franklin Avenue?

Does the mural they have painted offend you?

Do you find it disrespectful that they have named themselves “Crow Hill Jewelry”?

Do you feel that an establishment which buys gold and electronics is simply a front for thieves to fence stolen merchandise?

Do you feel that just as Franklin Avenue has begun to flourish, this business represents a giant step backwards?

Is this an appropriate business for a quiet residential street?

Will you join with Crow Hill Community Association in trying to keep this business from opening and help us close them down if they do?


We are having a special meeting for this issue

Monday November 29th - 7:00 PM

LaunchPad: 721 Franklin Avenue

We need your help and support, this business poses a threat to the entire community

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday on Franklin - Updated

If you're really geared up to start your Christmas shopping today, don't go stand in line in Manhattan with the chumps - pick up some great deals shopping locally! About Time Boutique is having a monster sale this weekend (flyer above), and the Breukelen Coffee House is opening their new back room vintage shop, Breukelen Vintage, today, with a party from 4pm - 11pm featuring free drinks and free music.

That's just the new stuff - as always, there are plenty of places to shop up and down Franklin. If you're new to the area (or you're traveling out for one of the events above), check out the Franklin Avenue Merchants page for a complete list of what the Avenue has to offer.

Update - the lady points out that Climax Official is also having a big weekend sale.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a good one!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2 Great Holiday Events From Force and Flow

Force and Flow Integrated Bodywork, which recently moved to an expanded space at 1102 Dean Street, has two very interesting events coming up - check them out below! Local vendors in particularly should have a look at the second one (the Holiday Bazaar).

Also, a quick note on the recent dearth of posts: I've been swamped lately, but if you send me complete information to post (as Force and Flow did!), I'll do my absolute best to get it posted in a timely fashion. I'm hoping to expand the ILFA staff and platform over the winter in order to improve coverage of our rapidly-growing neighborhood, but in the meantime, please keep the local updates coming, and my genuine apologies to those whose notices slip past me.

Sunday, Nov 28th
6PM, meet at Force and Flow
1102 Dean St. #4
$15 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

Our monthly Sound Bath series returns with a very special installment of sonic immersion - a guided Sound Walk! On Sunday, Nov 28 Katie will lead us on a walking meditation on how we hear through the streets of Brooklyn. We will take turns, half the group at a time, walking blindfolded so that our listening senses become heightened as our ears become ever more finely tuned to the sonic environment around us. Walkers will experience the phenomenon of deep listening through other senses such as touch, taste, and smell, getting in touch with the soundscapes we usually take for granted. This is a sonic adventure not to be missed, a great way to get to know the neighborhood and to walk off all that extra Thanksgiving food!!! Bring a warm hat and coat, and if it decides to rain on us we'll do a more traditional Sound Bath indoors.

Sunday, Dec 12
12 - 7PM,
Force and Flow
1102 Dean St. #4, Between Franklin & Bedford Ave's

To throw a little spice into the holiday shopping season and to offer beautiful, locally craftedalternatives to petroleum based plastic gifts from China, Force and Flow is once again organizing a holiday bazaar. Inspired by the wildly colorful markets of the Morocco, the studio will transform into an exhilarating venue for affordable hand crafted goods. Here's a chance to spend your money on gifts that support the community, sustain the environment and satisfy your taste buds all at once. With live music, bodywork samples and other suprises, this promises to be your most surprising and exhilarating shopping outing this year!

We still have space for a few more vendors, so if you would like to sell your goods at the bazaar please contact us at

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vote on Veggies Soup of the Month, and get some for FREE tomorrow!

I meant to post this earlier but the day got away from me - if you're reading before midnight, click over to the Veggies Natural Juice Bar website and vote on your favorite vegan soup. The winning soup will be available for FREE tomorrow (Wednesday - Thanksgiving Eve) at Veggies on Franklin (between Lincoln and St. Johns), so stop by for your free cup. As of a few hours ago, Lentil with Kale and Vegetables (pictured above) was in the lead.

It's worth noting that Veggies has recently started serving food all day, every day, and this blogger has yet to be disappointed. Check them out tomorrow for a sample of Crown Heights home cooking before you head out for the holiday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Links

(photo credit: Adams IV, New York Daily News)

- Franklin Avenue's most colorful grocer, Tony Fisher, made international headlines this week by brewing up a 10-shot espresso drink at his coffee shop, the Pulp and the Bean. The NY Daily News, which has been good to Fisher over the years, broke the story, but other news outlets picked it up quickly, including Britain's Telegraph, which ran an article about the "Dieci" in their "Weird" section next to stories about an armless pianist and a farmer giving ganja to his ducks.

- As posted by Nat earlier this week, Tony also announced at the CHCA meeting that Fisher's will close will close for renovations in January, but that in the meantime he'll be stocking up for the holidays and welcomes any suggestions from local shoppers.

- Speaking of the CHCA, if you missed their meeting on Tuesday, click over to their website for information about credit opportunities in Crown Heights.

- In addition to credit opportunities, local entrepreur Sei Shiroma is offering resume-improvement services for locals seeking new jobs. His information and rates are below, but note that he's offering a sliding scale, so don't shy away if you don't have the cash!

Franklin Avenue Resumes
run by Sei Shiroma - English graduate and freelance editor - offers consulting, reviews, and revisions for most types of professional resumes. Fees will be determined on a case-by-case basis but clients can expect $50-$100 for a revision and $200 for an entire written-from-scratch resume.

To date, all of Sei's clients have excitedly gone on job interviews and happily accepted offers since their resume revamping - noteworthy placements include Pfizer, Grey Advertising, and ESL teacher in Korea. Consider Franklin Avenue resumes for your next career move. Email FranklinAvenueResumes {at} gmail {dot} com for more details.

- Finally, the Crown Heights Writing Workshop (of which this blogger is a proud alumnus) now has a blog, courtesy of workshop founder and leader Victoria Cho, a fabulous local writer who's appeared at past editions of the Franklin Park Reading Series.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anti-Gun Violence Films and Discussion Tonight

From Save Our Streets Crown Heights and the Kings County Cinema Society, at 7pm tonight at LaunchPad:

We are proud to be partnering with several great local orgs this week to present a night of films and discussion about gun violence in our streets... Thursday evening at LaunchPad.

We are joining with Save Our Streets, a project of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center; Downtown Community Television; New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; American Friends Service Committee; and our gracious host, LaunchPad, on this important event.

Short films include:
- A Harlem Mother (2009, 10min) director Ivana Todorovic's award-winning documentary
- Playguns, by local filmmakers Michael Pinckney and Taj Lewis
- Holding Up, by Wyatt Maker and Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, based in Park Slope
- Benny Lyde: A Role Model Dies Young, by DCTV Filmworks
- Halt, by DCTV Filmworks
... and more. with introductions by filmmakers and producers

Shorts curated by Nick Shimkin. Big thanks to Beyond Bullets, DCTV's ongoing media campaign to address gun violence in US cities.

Following this program (45-50min) our partner organizations will host a panel discussion about solutions and responses to recent shootings.

Panelists include:
- Lisa Jones, Save Our Streets coordinator
- Shaina Harrison, Youth Director, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
- S.O.S. outreach workers
- more to be announced

This one is free and open to all. Please pass on this info to activists, your friends, your kids, your neighbors.
This is an event for the community, not for policy makers.

Thursday, 11/18, 7pm at LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Ave. btw Park and Sterling. 2/3/4/5 to Franklin Ave

For more: Eroll Louis on efforts to curb violence in Brooklyn and the formation of S.O.S. Crown Heights in the Daily News

More shorts (less sobering ones) and a feature next Wednesday at LaunchPad- our regularly scheduled slot.
And new venues coming soon, keep ears to the ground.

Hope you can make this one; will be an informative and productive evening.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

March On Over to the CHCA Meeting Tonight

Remember that Medgar Evers College Preparatory School Marching Band, the East Coast Ocean of Soul? Well, they made it to DC - watch them perform at the national championships above (ILFA has a soft spot for MECPS because I used to help out with their middle school track team)!

Also, don't forget tonight's (Tuesday's) Crow Hill Community Association Meeting, which will focus on credit opportunities in and around Crown Heights. Representatives from People's Federal Credit Union and Banco Popular will be in attendance. Swing by LaunchPad (721 Franklin between Park and Sterling) at 7:30pm to learn more.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crown Heights Has a New Bookstore

(Photo from Hawthorne Street, who covered the opening of Daddy's Basement back in September)

From Penina Roth, host of the Franklin Park Reading Series and promoter of all things literary in Crown Heights comes this guest post:

In September Luc and Shara Josaphat fulfilled a long-held dream when they opened Daddy’s Basement, a cozy bookstore on Rogers Avenue. With floor to ceiling windows and bookcase-lined walls, the shop brightens an otherwise drab strip of shuttered storefronts, bodegas, salons, and street side churches.

Daddy’s Basement was named in honor of Shara’s father, who turned his Brooklyn basement into an informal restaurant and neighborhood gathering spot. As Shara explains, “It comes from the idea of living in my father’s space – I wanted to recreate that in the mode of literature.” Even in design the bookstore echoes her childhood sanctuary – the long black sales counter mimics the bar in her father’s café.

The 30-something husband and wife owners have strong ties to Medgar Evers College – Luc graduated last year with a degree in English and Shara is now a senior, majoring in cross-cultural literature. Fittingly, last Thursday, the college’s Center for Black Literature premiered their new reading series at Daddy’s Basement.

The first installment of the John Oliver Killens Reading Series, named for the Pulitzer Prize-nominated African American fiction writer, showcased three debut authors – Angelenos Ernessa T. Carter (32 Candles) and Tanya Wright (Butterfly Rising), and Clinton Hill’s Tiphanie Yanique (How to Escape from a Leper Colony).

When the Center’s Assistant Director, Clarence Reynolds, opened the evening, he noted that, with the closing of Bed-Stuy’s Brownstone Books, Daddy’s Basement is now one of only two black-owned bookstores in New York City (the other one is the Hue-Man Bookstore & Café in Harlem).

The three authors read gripping excerpts from their books and, in an extended q&a session, discussed their craft, influences, and the creative process.

In the coming months, Daddy’s Basement will be hosting several high profile authors, including Darin Strauss (Half a Life) and Ben Greenman (Celebrity Chekhov). (Author’s note: Greenman wowed a Crown Heights audience last week at the Franklin Park Reading Series.)

Dr. Brenda Greene, director of the Center for Black Literature, praised the Josaphats. “You’re fulfilling the mission of Medgar Evers to be transformative agents within yourselves and the community by giving back.” Highlighting the business risk, she added, “You’re not going to make money selling books, but you’re pursuing your passion, which is important to do in life.” Daddy’s Basement is located at 327 Rogers Avenue, between Montgomery Street and Sullivan Place. They’re open Monday-Saturday, 11-7, and 12-7 on Sundays. 347-770-8114

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Love For LaunchPad

LaunchPad in Crown Heights, Brooklyn from Becky Bratu on Vimeo.

There are a lot of great things to say about the work Mike and the gang are doing at LaunchPad, which hosts everything from CHCA meetings to NYFA exhibitions. For a peek into their vision and way they operate, check out this great audio slideshow from the Brooklyn Ink.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Save Our Streets Crown Heights Activities Today and Tomorrow

Sorry for the late notice on this - be sure to check out SOS Crown Heights' great work here, as well as the work of their sister org, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, here.

Dear Friends of the S.O.S. Crown Heights and Crown Heights Mediation Center programs,
Sadly, there were two shootings this past week in the 77th Precinct. One occurred on November 5th, at Troy Avenue and St.Johns Place, and one occurred on November 7th, in Brower Park. With these two shootings we've now experienced 66 shootings in our neighborhood since January 2010.
S.O.S. Crown Heights organizes a shooting response for every single shooting we learn about in the 77th Precinct. During a shooting response, we make the statement that these shootings and killings are unacceptable. They last approximately 30 minutes and acknowlege the tragedy of the violence and send a hopeful message that together we can transform the community. Please help us stop the spread of violence. We want to make Crown Heights a safer and healthier neighborhood for everyone- a place where shooting a gun is simply never even considered.
Please note the times and locations for the two responses:
Date: Thursday, November 11th, 2010 (Veteran's Day)
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Troy Avenue and St. John's Place
Date: Friday, November 12th, 2010
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Kingston Avenue and Park Place
Also upcoming, we are screening several anti-gun violence films made by local filmmakers and holding a discussion about what we can do to transform the community.
Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Time: 7:00pm
Location: LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Avenue
Co-sponsors: DCTV, Kings County Cinema Society, American Friends Service Committee, LaunchPad, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and S.O.S. Crown Heights
To stay up to date on our current activities I urge you to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook.