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