Thursday, June 30, 2011

ILFA Goes Adventuring - Writers/Reviewers Needed!

After almost three years without much more than a weekend away from Franklin Avenue, ILFA is leaving Brooklyn for nearly two months on a series of adventures that include getting married to the lady (!). While I'm obviously excited about this trip, it always saddens me to leave Crown Heights, especially during summer, and extra-especially during THIS summer, when so many new places will be opening and initiatives like Destination Nostrand, Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair, and the 4th Annual Franklin Avenue Kids Day are taking off.

ILFA will still be keeping tabs on the goings-on around the Avenue, as well as ruminating at great length on my various hobby-horse topics, but posts may be fewer and farther between for a little while. In the interest of keeping things going, I would LOVE to publish posts, stories, and reviews of new places from anyone who feels like writing one. Tips, complete posts, photos, and ideas of all kinds can be shared via the email address on the right, or or on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy your summers, everyone, and stay cool!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CHCA Planter Party Thursday Evening

From the CHCA folks:


We are ready to start filling the planters for Franklin Avenue
and we need your help

Please join us Thursday,
Bring gloves, a spade, plants/flowes, kids, your neighbors
or just yourself
and help us make Franklin Avenue bloom this summer

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Candy Rush Opens Saturday!

You've seen the countdown in their window - now check out the press release:

The Candy Rush Announces Grand Opening Event
Grand opening (open to the public)
Saturday, June 25th, 2011
733 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Free Entry 10am-10pm

Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn’s new candy capital!
Brooklyn, NY, June 21st 2011. Apple heads, Bon Bons, Bubblegum Cigars, Lemon Heads, Sugar Daddies and much much more, will all be stocked in the new Candy Store and Ice Cream Parlor coming to 733 Franklin Ave Brooklyn, New York.
The Candy Rush is proud to announce their Grand Opening Celebration on June 25th, 2011. The dessert spot will proclaim Franklin Avenue as Brooklyn’s new candy capital, with its large variety of delectable treats.

The scoop on “The Candy Rush”
The Candy Rush is a vintage Candy Land and Ice Cream shop by day and eclectic event space by night. The founders, Kevin Phillip and Garnett Alcindor, are on the quest to deliver the ultimate treat experience with their vast candy selection and fresh organic ice cream, delivered by Blue Marble Creamery. The Candy Rush will offer thirteen of Blue Marble Creamery’s best tasting flavors. Customers will be able to customize their ice cream selections by adding their favorite fruit and candy toppings. The candy store also offers homemade juices, root beer floats, milkshakes and fresh brewed coffees topped with your favorite ice cream.
The 1200 square foot dessert spot showcases handmade countertops, tabletops and a candy-coated bench, built with actual candy. Guests can eat out doors on the beautiful deck.
At The Candy Rush, a container of ice cream can range from $2.50-$4.00. Homemade juices made by Chef Shani Porter, will be $2.50 for 12 ounces, and $2 between 3pm-5pm on weekdays. The candy store is stocked with an assortment of candy, including hard-to-find vintage candy and modern day favorites. Customers can choose to purchase various candy combinations starting at $8.00/lb. The candy store will also sell made-to-order candy gift baskets, great for any occasion.
Grand Opening Event
Lets get the confetti and sprinkles; ice cream lovers of all ages are invited to come celebrate! The grand opening celebration will officially kick off on Saturday, June 25th at 10am. The first one hundred scoops of ice cream will be FREE for attendees.
Creditable press and bloggers will receive an all-access pass, in which they receive free samples and gift bags.

The Candy Rush, located 733 Franklin Ave Brooklyn, New York, between Park Place and Sterling Place is open Monday through Saturday 10am-10pm and Sunday 11am-6pm. There is convenient access to the Franklin Ave/Botanical Gardens subway station, not to mention blocks away from the Brooklyn Public Library, Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum.
The Candy Rush is available for hosting events of all sizes, and offers customization of any occasion.
Contact Information
Sade Jennings
733 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Monday, June 20, 2011

CHCA Meeting Tomorrow

ABC Widgets

Upcoming meeting

Tuesday, June 21st, 7:30 PM
LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Avenue
between Park & Sterling Place

This is our last meeting until September

Come celebrate summer with us, we will provide beverages, please bring a snack to share

Garden News


The Crow Hill Community Garden is looking beautiful with a communal space in the front and plots in the back.
Compost bins are being built and we have been given a donation to help us bring water to the garden.

4th Annual Kids Day Bake Sale



CHCA logo

In other news

Plant the Planters

Stay tuned for information on when you can come out and help plant the new planter boxes on Franklin Ave.

Share this

Help us get the word out. Post this email on Facebook or Twitter, or forward this email to a neighbor .

Stay connected

Visit our website, Facebook page, and blog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

If you need a gift on the fly, check out these offerings from Park Delicatessen:

Fathers Day is this Sunday June 19th, here are some of our favorite items certain to make any Dad smile...
Park Delicatessen hand bound letterpress notebooks
5 1/4X 3 3/4 & 81/4 x5 Blank pages
Handmade Slingshot using fallen trees from Brooklyn and recycled leather
Wooden one hit capsule
Hand drilled and turned
Japanese kimono slippers
Assorted vintage accouterments
Krink- Highest Quality inks and markers
Books by Brooklyn artist Mike Perry

Friday, June 17, 2011

Franklin Avenue Kids Day Bake Sale Tomorrow

From the organizers:

About Time Boutique & CHCAPresents ...

The 4th Annual Kids' Day Bake Sale!
That's right the 4th Annual About Time Boutique & Crow Hill Community Association Kids' Day Bake Sale is going on. Since, June 4th, 2011 (and every saturday until July 23rd), the kids from the Crown Heights neighborhood have been in front of the About Time Boutique, located on 736 Franklin Ave (between Sterling Pl & Park Pl), every Saturday selling delicious baked goods from 12pm-4pm.
Feel free to donate baked goods! cookies1
About the About Time Boutique & CHCA Kids' Event:
Franklin Avenue's merchant community unite to give the children of Crown Heights an unforgettable day of fun in the sun. Led by About Time Boutique and the Crow Hill Community Association, local business leaders will raise and donate thousands of dollars, which will be used to turn Franklin Avenue between Sterling Place and Park Place into a spectacular playground for a day. The 4th Annual Kids Day Event will fall on Saturday, July 23rd from 10am-6pm. Volunteers needed!

We appreciate your support.
Note: All donations and proceeds will be used towards the About Time Boutique and CHCA Kids' Day Event. All activities are voluntary, no compensation for participants activities. Donations accepted at Lily & Fig, Had Associates, The Candy Rush or About Time Boutique. We need your support!
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Destination Nostrand!

From the folks at Nostrand Park:

Nostrand Park is excited to announce the launch of its new pilot program, Destination Nostrand, intended to beautify, promote, enliven, and enhance Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn:

In collaboration with Brooklyn-based arc
hitecture firm, VAMOS Architects, and Brooklyn-based event marketing company Masai Marketing, we have designed a series of temporary pop-up installations that will showcase vacant commercial spaces along Nostrand - the concept is called "Destination Nostrand". Funding is provided by a Community Development Block Grant from NYC Dept. of Small Business Services. Design support was provided by desigNYC.

DN Video Link
Click to view Destination Nostrand video
Want to participate?There are lots of ways to get involved - have your commercial space featured on DN; promote your business idea in one of the vacant spaces; post your artwork in one of our pop-up gallery spaces; or if you just want to participate in the fun and logistics, just let us know.

LAUNCHING: 11am - JUNE 25th at 685 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Crown Heights Literati: Local Author James Boice's New Book, "The Good and the Ghastly" Drops Today

Local author James Boice's third novel, The Good and the Ghastly, hits shelves today, and he'll be welcoming it into the world with a reading at BookCourt this Thursday, June 16 at 7pm. For those who don't like to venture out of the nabe, he'll also be at the Franklin Park Reading Series in July. Check out the trailer for his book above.

Also, for those looking to meet and greet their virtual neighbors, the why_nots are organizing a potluck tonight at Mount Prospect Park. ILFA can't make it, sadly (wedding planning is in full swing) but it sounds like fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Great Lineup at the Reading Series Tonight

Franklin Park Reading Series

The Franklin Park Reading Series has an even-more-fabulous-than-usual lineup tonight (and that's saying something - past readings have featured Pulitzer Prize winners, bestselling authors, and more) . From their Facebook Page:

No exaggeration -- this is an epic event! Four of today's most exciting young novelists -- KAREN RUSSELL, STEFAN MERRILL BLOCK, TEJU COLE, and DIANA SPECHLER -- are coming to Crown Heights!

From a contemplative walking tour through post-9/11 Manhattan to magical adventures in the Florida swamps, our acclaimed authors will share provocative and compelling stories from their latest novels.

As always, the fun is FREE and the drink special will be $4 pints.

BY SUBWAY: Take the 2. 3. 4 or 5 to Franklin Avenue.


KAREN RUSSELL (Swamplandia!, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)
STEFAN MERRILL BLOCK (The Storm at the Door, The Story of Forgetting)
TEJU COLE (Open City)
DIANA SPECHLER (Skinny, Who by Fire)

KAREN RUSSELL, a native of Miami, is the author of the novel Swamplandia! and the short story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. She has been featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, and was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. In 2009, she received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Three of her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories volumes. She is currently writer-in-residence at Bard College.

STEFAN MERRILL BLOCK was born in 1982 and grew up in Texas. His first novel, The Story of Forgetting, won Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas. The Story of Forgetting was also a finalist for the debut fiction awards from IndieBound, Salon du Livre and The Center for Fiction. His second novel, The Storm at the Door, will be released on June 21. He lives in Brooklyn.

TEJU COLE was raised in Nigeria and came to the United States in 1992. He is a writer, photographer, and professional historian of early Netherlandish art. Open City is his first novel. He lives in New York City.

DIANA SPECHLER is the author of the novels Who By Fire and, most recently, Skinny. She has written for The New York Times, GQ, O Magazine, Esquire, Self,, the Wall Street Journal online, Nerve, Glimmer Train Stories, Moment, Lilith, and elsewhere. She received her MFA degree from the University of Montana and was a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University. She teaches writing in New York City.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Linkathon - Reading Series Tomorrow

- The Franklin Park Reading Series returns tomorrow night at 8pm (more coming soon on this one).

- NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott will be appearing at the First Presidential Policy Forum at Medgar Evers College tomorrow at 3pm. The event is open to the public.

- As it heats up this summer, grab a cold drink and hop in the way back machine with this great slideshow of of photos taken in Brooklyn in the summer of 1974.

- Alternatively, BeFitNYC, an initiative of the Parks Department, has a new website and a mobile app available for those who want to stay active in June, July, and August.

- Officials from Bermuda were in Crown Heights recently because they are looking into adopting the CeaseFire approach to gun and gang violence, as pioneered in Chicago and practiced by Save Our Streets Crown Heights.

- City Limits ran a nice piece and follow-up blog post from reporter Patrick Wall on the ongoing development and neighborhood change in Crown Heights.

- The Wall Street Journal took a look at playground policing just up Franklin in Bed-Stuy.

- Make Music New York, the citywide music festival on June 21st, will be coming to a great range of venues in Crown Heights and Prospect Heights.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Wine Bar Coming to Franklin; Breukelen Coffee House Art Opening Tonight

- Yet another new spot will be opening sometime in early autumn on the hoppin' block between Sterling and Park. Joining the oyster and cocktail bar, Chavela's, the candy store/ice cream parlor, and Rosebud Vintage (along with standbys About Time Boutique, Lily & Fig, and LaunchPad) will be a wine bar, not yet named, in the storefront at 728 Franklin (pictured above). The owners describe their venture as "low-key, only 12-15 seats, serving wine and a couple of beers, with a record player that customers can play their own records on (or choose from our collection)." They hope to open around October 1st.

- The Breukelen Coffee House hosts the latest of their art openings tonight at 5pm, featuring work by artist Dana Kellstrom.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Addressing Problematic Policing: Local Business Owner, Community Leader, Arrested for Second Time

Last week, local business owner, landlord, and community leader Kevin Phillip was arrested for the second time in just over a year by officers patrolling Franklin as part of the "Impact Zone" strategy in place on the Avenue. His wife, Garnett, sent the following eyewitness account:

"Wednesday afternoon, while working on our storefront in the heat for over 10 hours, Kevin decided to walk across the street to pay our staff for the day's work. He was rushed by 3 young police officers who began searching his pockets without an explanation. When he asked for their badge numbers and reason behind this, he was arrested with no questions asked. Not only did they arrest him, they slammed his head against the car door and injured his lip."

Like most people, Kevin and Garnett were deeply upset about this incident, but to their immense credit, they've taken a constructive approach to what happened (neither of Kevin's arrests has resulted in any charges whatsoever being filed, and from what I understand, no explanation for either has been offered). Over the weekend, they called a meeting with the NYPD (both Ray Kelly's office and the 77th Precinct), Councilwoman Letitia James, and the Crow Hill Community Association, and made a plan to host an event in two weeks at which the officers who patrol Franklin Avenue will introduce themselves to local merchants and residents, in the interest of fostering some mutual trust and support as well as avoiding disastrous incidents like the one Kevin suffered through last Wednesday.

ILFA applauds the efforts of these community leaders - Garnett reports that both the CHCA and our Councilwoman "showed so much support and compassion" - to turn what could be remembered as an ugly, divisive instance of police profiling and brutality into a teaching moment that will hopefully serve to prevent such things from happening in the future. Watch this space for more information on this meet-and-greet and other events that will be a part of the community and NYPD response. If, however, it is permissible to editorialize now that the facts have been reported, I hope that community members who have the opportunity to meet with these officers bring a little of the healthy, constructive anger that was expressed at last month's CHCA meeting with them. The NYPD is comfortable threatening to land helicopters on Franklin Avenue if someone lays a hand on an officer (as was said at the meeting). Fair enough - no one should assault a New York City police officer. However, we should be equally outraged if New York City police officers assault community members without cause or explanation, and while we can't call out the chopper, there must be consequences for those officers who violently abuse their authority, as well as for their commanding officers. The 77th Precinct appears to be taking this incident seriously, which is a good start, and hopefully these meetings will generate some good ideas and connections. It will be up to all of us, however, to hold the NYPD to whatever standards are set and promises are made, and to demand an end to hit-first-and-ask-questions-later tactics that serve to perpetuate every negative stereotype about big-city police officers, and which exacerbate racial and class divisions.

A retired NYPD officer who worked in an Impact Zone on the Lower East Side has a fascinating memoir of the experience posted here. It's worth a read, and should inform our thinking as we work together with the 77th to ensure that the NYPD serves the entire community in Crown Heights.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Crown Heights Community Mediation Center Kicks Off Summer of Celebration This Sunday

The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center works as hard as anyone to bring the area's diverse communities together, and this summer, they're launching an initiative to support and expand all of the exciting block parties, festivals, and celebrations that proliferate in the neighborhood. The Summer of Celebration starts this Sunday at Hamilton-Metz Park. From the CHCMC:

Each summer, the 71st Precinct hosts a family day picnic in Lefferts Park (Albany and Lefferts Aves), to celebrate unity in Crown Heights. This year, the event is this Sunday June 5th, and will also serve as the kick-off event for the Crown Heights’ Summer of Celebration series of events. The picnic will host the Crown Heights Connects resource fair, a project of The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center's LTI program to help connect residents with local organizations and help create meaningful connections for people wanting to help people.
Many of us know and love Crown Heights for its vibrancy, diversity, strong communal bonds, and mix of traditional and progressive trends. But these are tough times, and we’ve had our share of ups and downs. We hope that this event will also help create a stronger, more interconnected community.

Crown Heights Leadership Council presents Crown Heights: Summer of Celebration

The Crown Heights Leadership Council, an informal group of community activists, politicians, law enforcement, and other stakeholders in Crown Heights, is embracing a summer of community events under the banner of Crown Heights: Summer of Celebration. The goal is to emphasize the positive achievement and energy in Crown Heights, as well as to create excitement and awareness around the many existing services and organizations in this neighborhood. Labeling the many efforts and events in Crown Heights under a common logo and mission statement will create consistency and partnership among the organizers and recognition among residents, hopefully increasing attendance numbers. Event ideas include educational evenings, movie screening, arts activities, block parties; we’re open to your ideas! The kickoff event of the summer will be the 71st Precinct’s Community Council Family Day picnic on Sunday, June 5th. The Crown Heights Community Leadership Council will hold a culminating event and press conference to mark the end of the summer and the twentieth anniversary of the conflict in Crown Heights.

Franklin Avenue Way Back When

With the new Candy Store and Ice Cream Parlor at 733 Franklin generating chatter about the changing nature of the Avenue's local businesses, ILFA thought it would be a good idea to hop in the way back machine and hear from an old-timer about what the Avenue used to look like. Enter Howard Adamsky, the Brooklyn-born author of Employment Rage, who volunteered his talents on ILFA's facebook page awhile back. His complete reminiscence is below, and it includes (ta da!) candy stores. (Readers: if you've got a great Franklin story, ILFA wants to run it).

Few things in life bring me as much joy as a walk down Franklin Avenue.

No; wait. Let me start at the beginning.

For openers, I will not bore you with the details of my idyllic childhood or the wretched misery I experienced moving to Canarsie when I was 16 (against my will I might add thank you very much…) but I will tell you this - Simply stated, I love Franklin Avenue so let's just go from there.

I was born on Park Place between Classon and Franklin. I lived there until I was 11. We then moved to President Street; the second floor apartment facing the front in that grand red brick building at the corner of President and Franklin. I lived there until I was 16. (That building is so amazingly cool that there is a website dedicated to it at

Bottom line?

Franklin Avenue was my home and I never thought it would end. From about Carroll Street right through Prospect Place, I was on that street every single day. It was the main drag that connected what was seen as Crown Heights to Prospect Heights at Eastern Parkway and it had all of the stores and fun any kid could ever want.

Just to name a few, Steve’s Pizza, a great place that had the best pizza on the planet. Nino’s Pizza, another great place that also had the best pizza on the planet. Ben and Sol’s, the deli where you could get a bag of French fries for a quarter. I & H, (Izzy and Harry’s) candy, the best candy store ever where the egg creams were 15 cents and nickel candy bars actually cost a nickel. Barton's and Baracenni, two fancy candy stores right across the street from each other on Franklin at Eastern Parkway where my mother said that the rich people shopped.

Continuing up into Prospect Heights, there was another place that sold the best pizza on the planet closer to Park Place in the event that Steve and Nino decided to go out of business because one can never have enough pizza places. Honey’s for skates and stickball bats, Nats for potato chips and Eidens if I was too far from Nats and needed to get more chips without doing a lot of walking. (I lived on candy, chips and pizza. I still do.)

But there was more - so much more. The writer in me struggles. The grief of nostalgia and haunting sound of times gone by make it hard to express my memories of this place that is so far away.
Let me assure you that Franklin Avenue was about far more than pizza and kids toys and candy bars. It was about people living together in a magical place. It was about summer nights that were so hot, there seemed to be no air for breathing. It was about lampposts tossing shadows that frightened me as a child. It was about unplowed snow and kids in the street and all of the things that made Brooklyn a dream place to be a kid

Franklin avenue was about the hustle and bustle of Saturday shopping and Fishers Supermarket and fruit stands. It was about busses going up and down Franklin avenue that were first electric and later, powered by gas. It was about looking 2 ways because Franklin Avenue was indeed a 2 way street when I was a kid. It was about a kind of magic; a giddy excitement created by the the new and the fun and the sheer delight of living that kids can’t seem to explain and adults can’t seem to understand. Franklin Avenue, was a joy.

Sadly, that was then and this is now but Franklin Avenue still fascinates and endures in a way that is timeless. I know this because I still walk my favorite street every time I drive down to New York. I jump on the 2 train and take it to President Street where I bound up the stairs from the darkness into the sunlight with a child’s energy and anticipation. I look at the new stores and hear the new sounds and stop and talk with almost everyone who is willing to take a moment to chat. I eat the pizza and drink the coffee and breathe the air of the familiar and the cherished.

Thomas Wolfe said that you can’t go home again. I disagree.