Monday, October 31, 2011

The Annual Neighborhood Change Roundup

It's been a little over three years since ILFA started up (obligatory link to the first post here), and while the blog and its writer have changed quite a bit since then, there's still no shortage of things to talk about on the Avenue. One constant, of course, has been neighborhood change - by ILFA's latest count, no fewer than 35 new businesses have opened on or just off Franklin between Eastern and Atlantic since the lady and I moved in at the beginning of August in 2008, and the past year has been especially active. Thus, without further ado, it's time for the annual breakdown of commercial development on Franklin Avenue. As always, let me know if I've missed anything.

In last year's rundown, ILFA counted 21 new businesses (with 7 more coming soon), 17 renovations, and 15 closings (including two new and two renovated businesses) along Franklin since summer 2008. This year, with 6 out of those 7 projects completed and another 8 businesses open, the grand totals since 2008 look like this: 35 new businesses (with 5 more coming soon), 21 renovations (completed or in progress), and 19 closings (including three new and three renovated businesses). The complete lists look like this:

35 New Businesses (working north from Eastern - this year's additions in bold):

The Pulp and The Bean
JamRock Kitchen
Mazon Discount
Brooklyn Inkspot (the one next to Dutch Boy)
Dutch Boy Burger
The Breukelen Coffee House
Franklin Park
Nairobi's Knapsack (now closed)
Pine Tree
Away We Go Postal
The Beauty Boutique
The Candy Rush
Rosebud Vintage
Lily & Fig
First Impressions Dental
Alternative Healing
MySpace Realty
Owl and Thistle General Store
BNI Express Laundromat
Crow Hill Jewelry (the pawn shop)
The Pana Store
Sweet Basil 
Franklin Roadhouse (might be closing?)
A Slice of Brooklyn
Oaxaca Taco (now closed)
Gueros Tacos
The Laundromat in the Jewish Hospital (on St. Marks)
Compare Foods
Posh Nails NYC
Kecia J. Weaver Law Office

5 Coming Soon:

739 Franklin (lounge)
The Crown Inn (new bar/restaurant from Franklin Park owners)
Salad Bar (in the former Inkspot Space)
Pharmacy (at St. Mark's and Franklin)
Gym (as mentioned by Tish James at the CHCA meeting)

21 Renovations and Expansions (done, planned, or in progress):

Fisher's/Bob & Betty's 
Gourmet Deli Grocery (Lincoln and Franklin)
Golden Chopsticks
Franklin Express Laundry 
Brooklyn Inkspot (moved up the block)
Franklin Park (the big bar)
Breukelen Coffee House (the back room)
Nam's (forever rearranging/renovating) 
Christopher Deli (new awning)
Bristen's/Island Thyme (now closed)
About Time (always keeping it fresh)
J&B Deli (now closed, became Chavela's)
3D's (said they were renovating, even looked like they started, but I think they've closed)
J's Wong (used to be Happy Wok, moved, but the same guys)
Homage (now closed on account of that fire) 
Lasting Impressions Salon
Franklin Express Deli
Bombay Masala (opened a garden)
Preschool (mural and some indoor work)
Franklyn Deli
Sushi Tatsu (new awning, Thai menu)

19 Closed:

Scarlet Ribbons Thrift Shop (now wino(t), moved to Fulton)
NA Candy Store (deli)
790 Franklin (I think it was an electronics place)
Diana's Desserts (now Inkspot, moved to Washington)
The Spice is Right (now half of Barboncino
Bristen's (now Away We Go Postal)
Nairobi's Knapsack (now Pine Tree)
King Accessory (now The Beauty Boutique) 
3D's (renovations seem permanently stalled)
J&B Deli (now Chavela's)
Off the Hook Communications
El Baron Grocery (soon to be The Crown Inn)
West Indian Cafe (now J's Wong)
Saje (actually closed just before I got here, now the Pana Store)
Homage (renovated, fire)
Muslim Bookshop (fire) 
World Class People's Market (deli)
Insurance (now Oaxaca Taco)
Oaxaca Taco (now Gueros Tacos)

Some thoughts:

- Granted, these lists don't make for easy digestion, but the broad trends are clear enough, and looking at what I said last year (or even in the first rundown in 2009), I think most of it still holds true. There's an obvious gentrifying trend, but it's not quite as simple as bar-replaces-bodega, as several businesses that don't scream "change" have opened and are doing a brisk business (Mazon's, the Pana Store, the Pawn Shop, BNI Laundromat, Compare Foods, etc), while others that do (Nairobi's Knapsack, and now perhaps Franklin Roadhouse - they've been closed a lot recently) - have gone under. Commercial development is only part of the story (many would argue that residential development and displacement are the driving forces behind gentrification, and the most problematic, and there's nothing of that in these lists), but it's a key part, because commercial establishments function as gathering places, cultural institutions, and, of course, sources of sustenance. If a place you can't afford (and don't feel welcome) replaces an affordable place where you knew everyone (not to say that this always happens, just hypothesizing), that's a pretty de-centering and disempowering experience, both materially and symbolically.

- The Pawn Shop! Remember that? A community organization brought a diverse community together and forced the closure of a pawn shop, arguing that such businesses are a destructive force with respect to crime and debt cycles (and as I said over and over at the time, the data was and still is on their side) and, more effectively, that the shop was in violation of zoning codes, and won! And then two weeks later, it re-opened as Crow Hill Jewelry (an f-you to said community org) "buying gold and electronics" and making cash loans, but apparently, the zoning code only applies if you have the word "pawn" in your name, so they were allowed to stay. Talk about a toothless law. Anyway, after a year in operation, the pawn shop seems to generally provoke something between grudging respect (many a merchant respects their tenacity, and points out that no great harm has come of one more pawn shop in a larger area that already had several) to eye-rolling frustration (I've gotten more than one email complaining about their garish "we buy gold" banners and the general nose-thumbing attitude they take - "Crow Hill Jewelry," the banners, etc - to the residents of a block that was going to be landmarked). But there they are, after all that.

- Finally, Franklin doesn't exist in a vacuum - Washington and Classon to the west are blowing up just as fast (if you're looking for a symbol of gentrification, look no further than the Kinky Krown cocktail at the Bearded Lady - in the former Kinky Krowns salon spot - on Washington), and to the east, Nostrand has witnessed a spate of openings in the past year that range from high-end to light-industrial (NoBar, an auto body shop, and many more - Nostrand Park, I'd love to see your list for your Avenue!). In last week's openings post, some folks were discussing these issues, so to close, I'll pose some of the same questions they ask: What are your takeaways from the rapid development of northwest Crown Heights, and how does Franklin figure in the larger picture, as compared to Washington/Classon/Rodgers/Bedford/Nostrand)? How about Franklin south of Eastern Parkway (where the past year has seen the opening of a MetroPCS and Roti 'n Dumplings, a series of storefront renovations, and the promise of another Bob & Betty's?)? What do these changes mean, practically, for you and for the neighborhood at large? Finally, even though change is the only constant, it looks different neighborhood to neighborhood (the process is not the same in Williamsburg as in Fort Greene, to take two prominent and well-covered examples). How can/should we, as residents, merchants, and landlords, seek to channel this change in the service of building a healthy community that serves everyone, longtime locals and new arrivals, on Franklin Avenue? Is it possible? 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

119 Years Later, Recognition for a Fabulous First

This Friday at 11am, at Utica and Bergen Avenues, a small group will gather to dedicate a block of Utica Avenue "Moses P. Cobb Way." While it will be doubtless be a small, brief ceremony, it acknowledges a truly remarkable piece of history, the story of how a freedman from Kinston, North Carolina walked all the way to Brooklyn and became, in 1892, the City of New York's first full career African-American police officer.

Cobb was born a slave in 1856, and sometime during Reconstruction, he set out for Brooklyn's Weeksville, a community founded by free blacks and freed slaves. Google Maps suggests that such a journey would be 526 miles and take 6 days and 19 hours of walking time on today's roads, but 150 years ago, it's likely Cobb was walking for over a month. A few of Weeksville's original homes, the Hunterfly Road Houses, survive today (in the shadow of NYCHA's Kingsborough Houses), managed by the Weeksville Society for the public, but in the 19th century, it was a thriving black community, and Cobb made his home there, finding a job as a janitor at the local police station (This from Evangeline Porter, the President of the Crow Hill Community Association, which takes its name from a 19th-century moniker that may have referred to North Crown Heights/South Bed-Stuy's status as an African-American neighborhood). From there, he was eventually encouraged to take the qualifying exam and become a police officer, which he did in 1892.

The Brooklyn Rail's Kevin Plumberg did a nice story about this back in 2003, where he wrote:

"Moses P. Cobb was a tough man. He was born a slave in Kinston, North Carolina in 1856. After emancipation, he sought a new start to his life, literally step-by-step, by walking to New York City from North Carolina. After his sojourn, Cobb bought a house in Weeksville, a community in Brooklyn’s Ninth Ward formed by freed slaves. In 1892, he became his neighborhood’s first Black policeman."

Hopefully he or a similarly-inclined reporter will be out at Utica and Bergen tomorrow to acknowledge this lesser-known but remarkable piece of New York, and Brooklyn's African American History.

Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair, Crown Heights Farmer's Market, and More

- This Saturday, after marching in the CHCA Garden-to-Garden Halloween Parade, stop off at LaunchPad for the 4th installment of the Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair, featuring the wares of many local artisans. With only two months until the various gift-giving holidays, these craft fairs are perfect places to pick up something that's neither too expensive nor too predictable for the folks at home, wherever home may be.

- The Seeds in the Middle Crown Heights Farmers Market is on today despite the rain at Hamilton Metz Park (Albany and Lefferts) from 1:30 - 7pm.

- Finally, the folks at Ground Up Designers (a fantastic, locally-based and community-conscious design firm - you might remember their Built + Branded project from 2010) are looking for a collaborator on a new community-dependent architecture installation for Franklin Avenue this coming summer. If you're an architect or creative engineer, get in touch with them.

New Pharmacy at St. Marks and Franklin

Only a few doors up from Swan Pharmacy, though this space is significantly bigger. Wonder how they'll fare.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Brooklyn General Assembly This Thursday

For those invested in bringing conversations about economic inequality to the borough of Kings, the second #OccupyBrooklyn general assembly will convene this Thursday at 918 Kent Avenue at 7pm.

Halloween Happenings on Franklin

If you're looking for a way to celebrate Halloween this week and weekend, there's no need to leave the neighborhood. The fun kicks off for adults tomorrow with a Kings County Cinema Society double bill of horror flicks at LaunchPad (see below for more info). On Saturday, kids of all ages are encouraged to come out for the Crow Hill Community Association's 2nd Annual Franklin Ave Halloween Parade (click on the flyer above for more info). The CHCA folks are particularly enthusiastic about having in-costume adults out for the event, even if you're not accompanying a child. If you're a creative type, bring your drums/puppets/panpipes/masks/etc - as the organizers emphasized, they're aiming for a spectacle this year.

J-Horror Double Bill Wednesday: A twisted double feature of inspired hyper-gore and pop-culture curios from Japan: Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura & Naoyuki Tomomatsu, 2009, 84min) and 964 Pinocchio(Shozin Fukui, 1991, 97min). The former is a tragic love triangle with zero production value and cartoonish amounts of neck-blood fountain action. Description of the latter, courtesy of IMDB: “Pinocchio 964, lobotomised cyborg sex slave, is thrown out onto the street by his owners because of his inability to maintain an erection. He is befriended by a criminally insane, memory-wiped, homeless girl. Meanwhile, the corporate entity who manufactured and sold him plots to kill him because of his malfunction.” Vampire Girl trailer at our site.
Preceded by the recent short “Zombie in a Penguin Suit”

Details: Wednesday October 26 / 8pm / at LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Ave btw/ Park and Sterling. 2/3/4/5 to Franklin Ave.
FREE / BYOB / popcorn provided.

Vampire Girl at 8pm; 964 Pinocchio at 9:30. **Probably not appropriate for small children, squeamish adults, or anyone else, really**

Monday, October 24, 2011

Openings in the Neighborhood: Juice Hugger, Barboncino, and More

- Juice Hugger Cafe hosts a Grand Opening Party this Tuesday, October 25, from 6-9pm in their new space on 85 Rodgers Ave (between St. Marks and Prospect). Click on the flyer for more details above - it sounds like a great time, and if you've had their stuff at other local businesses (including The Pulp & The Bean), you know the product is tasty. 

- Barboncino, which seems to be nearly as full as the new Chavela's most nights, scored a very nice review from the Serious Eats folks. As they write, "the place could hold its own against some of the top-tier joints in the city." Not bad at all!

- As mentioned on Brooklynian and at the most recent CHCA meeting (full recap coming soon), the former Brooklyn Inkspot location is being converted by the current owners into a salad bar joint, with lots of veggie options. 

- Across the street, the sign is up for The Crown Inn (formerly known as Franklin Avenue Beer and Grocery), the oysters-and-cocktails bar from the Franklin Park folks. Any word on when they're opening?

- Finally, and perhaps most interestingly of all, Councilwoman Letitia James mentioned at the CHCA meeting that she has been talking with a developer and local gym/fitness chain that wants to bring a gym and fitness center to Crown Heights, and specifically Franklin Avenue. She said she couldn't say more than that, but realistically, the only places south of Atlantic where such a thing would even fit would be the old Nassau Brewery, the giant hole (formerly Mazon's) at Eastern Parkway, or one of the lots that Medgar Evers College owns down on Montgomery. Development in any one of these spots would be quite a game-changer for the blocks around it. Needless to say, ILFA is curious - tips and info on this project would be most appreciated!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crown Heights Survey from a Social Work Student

(At Tuesday's CHCA meeting, social work graduate student Heather Day introduced herself and mentioned that she's conducting a study of the area as part of her degree. Being a grad student myself, I'm inclined to assist a fellow traveler, so below, you'll find the complete survey that she's been asking locals to complete (if, of course, they're so inclined). If you'd like to help her out, you can reach her with replies to these questions at hday09 {at} gmail {dot} com. Feel free, also, to share thoughts about one or more of these questions in the comment thread below, whether in the form of responses to them or ideas for questions you'd like to see asked an answered in a study of Crown Heights.)

I am a grad student at Fordham Lincoln Center for Social Work and am working on a paper now which examines the many facets of Franklin ave and the surrounding community. I will be sharing it with my professor and anyone else interested, but am not seeking any sort of publication and will respect the confidentiality of people who share their thoughts. If people would like to talk individually, I am open to emailing.

Below is a list of questions - I've tried to put the ones I'm most interested in towards the top. It would be very helpful if, in the comments section when people respond (or in email responses), they could list their gender, age, race/ethnicity, and cross streets (or at least whether or not if they live in the vicinity of Classon-Franklin-Bedford between Eastern Parkway and Atlantic).  

Questions below - thank you!

What do you call this neighborhood? Have you heard it called anything else? Why the different names?
What do you see as the neighborhood's greatest strengths?
What do you see as the neighborhoods greatest struggles and areas for improvement?
Whose responsibility is it to improve the neighborhood (police, long term residents, new residents, business owners, youth, elderly, etc)
On a scale of 1-5, 5 being safe and 1 being dangerous, how  comfortable do you feel walking down Franklin ave? Why? Does the time of day effect your comfort level?
Do you see the police presence as mostly helpful or mostly harmful?

How long have you lived here? Why did you move here?
Do you spend leisure time in the neighborhood? If so where? If not, why?
Do you go to Franklin Park, 95 South, or any other bars in the neighborhood? What do you prefer and why?
Where do you get food and why?
Do your children go to school locally or do you teach locally? Why/why not. Rating of school?
To what extent would you describe it as racially/culturally segregated or integrated?
Does the West Indian Day Parade have a positive or negative impact on the community?
If it could be anything, what would you like to see in the open space behind the construction barriers on the corner of Franklin and Eastern Parkway?

How long do you see yourself living here? Why?
How do you feel about new restaurants, vintage/gift shops  etc? Barboncino, Chavellas, Gueros, Candy Rush, Winot, Lily & Fig, Rosebud Vintage, Owl and Thistle. Do you frequent them?
Do you spend time at the BK museum or the Botanic Gardens? Launchpad or Five Myles Gallery?
Employed/Unemployed/Searching/In School?
If you work, is it in the community or elsewhere?  If you work here, do you live here or elsewhere?
How well is your building maintained?

Do you recycle?
 Are there noise issues in the neighborhood? If so, explain
How do you get information about local happenings?
To what extent are drugs a problem? Guns? Homelessness?
Do you vote? Are there other ways you are involved in neighborhood development?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

SOS Crown Heights Presents The Interrupters Friday at 6pm

As part of their Week of Peace, SOS Crown Heights is screening the award-winning documentary The Interrupters (trailer above) tomorrow night. From the same Chicago filmmakers who created the seminal documentary Hoop Dreams in the early 1990s, The Interrupters follows three "violence interrupters" from Chicago Ceasefire, whose public health approach to gun violence has proven remarkably effective at reducing the needless death and destruction caused by shooting (and serves as an international model, replicated in our neighborhood by SOS Crown Heights). 

The screening starts promptly at 6pm in the auditorium of PS 289 (900 St. Marks, at Kingston Ave), and will feature presentations from SOS Crown Heights violence interrupters after the film. More information can be found here.

Three for Thursday (Part 4): Occupy the Media

That's right, there's yet another great event taking place this evening, along with the 2010 Census Redistricting Panel, an Occupy Brooklyn General Assembly on Franklin Ave, and the SOS Crown Heights Peace March. From the BFC website:

Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective presents


The Role of Independent Media at Occupy Wall Street

October 20th, 7:30pm
The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn
$8 suggested donation (nobody turned away)

Watch the trailer:


In just under three weeks over 10,000 videos about OccupyWallStreet have been created and uploaded online. These videos - revealing police excess, marches, general assemblies and more formal documentaries covering the nature and processes of the movement - are helping to activate and proliferate the movement worldwide.

The Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective will host a discussion and screening looking at the practice and theory of covering a social movement through video. Four of the most viewed videos from #OccupyWallStreet (with over 600,500 views to date) will be presented by the Brooklyn filmmakers who created them.

Guest moderator Martin Lucas, director of the Integrated Media Arts MFA program at Hunter College and a senior fellow at the Center for Health Media Policy, will lead a discussion on the role of video in social movements, the coverage of Occupy Wall Street, and the potential challenges of the overwhelming amount of media coming out of Occupy Wall Street today.

An informal reception to follow. Oh, and cheap beers.

Nobody Can Predict The Moment Of Revolution by Iva Radivojevic and Martyna Starosta, 8 min
Right Here All Over by Alex Mallis, Lily Henderson & Ed David, 7 min
@OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street by Adele Pham, 3 min
Consensus by Meerkat Media Collective, 8 min

The Commons
388 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
‪Hoyt - Schermerhorn A, C, G / Bergen F, G / Nevins St. 2, 3, 4, 5
Join our event on Facebook:

Three for Thursday: SOS Crown Heights 2nd Annual Peace March

(There are three great events happening today: a 2010 Census Redistricting Panel, an Occupy Brooklyn General Assembly on Franklin Ave, and the SOS Crown Heights Peace March).

I can't say it better than the folks from SOS Crown Heights, so I'm just re-posting their announcement here. If you live along Franklin and want to participate, the CHCA has registered to march as a group and will be leaving from the Crow Hill Community Garden (Franklin between Sterling and Park) at 5:30pm sharp.

Via SOS Crown Heights: 

On Thursday, October 20th at 6 PM, join hundreds of members from the community in demanding an end to the violence, supporting all the victims of violence and their families, and celebrating the positive changes the community has made to reduce gun-violence

We will be congregating on the north side of Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue at 6:00pm, and marching on the sidewalk along Eastern Parkway to Troy Ave, from Troy marching to Sterling Place, from Sterling Place to Kingston Ave. We will be concluding the March with a ceremony around Brower Park. 

We look forward to seeing you and all our community partners there. Register your group for the S.O.S. Peace March online by clicking HERE or print the form HERE and fax it to 718-774-5349.

Last year, hundreds of people came out for our Peace March. See some footage of the March below.

Three for Thursday: Occupy Brooklyn Brings the General Assembly to Franklin Avenue

(There are three great events happening today: a 2010 Census Redistricting Panel, an Occupy Brooklyn General Assembly on Franklin Ave, and the SOS Crown Heights Peace March).

Occupy Brooklyn, our home borough's branch of the nationwide phenomenon launched by Occupy Wall Street, is bringing their particular flavor of direct democracy - a General Assembly - to 613 Franklin Avenue tomorrow at 7pm. If you care about the issues this movement has come represent, most notably economic inequality, there's no better way to get involved.

From their FB invite (which already has 75 attendees):

Come one, come all to the next General Assembly of Occupy Brooklyn. We would like for these meetings to be representative of the Brooklyn community at large, so we hope that people all of backgrounds living anywhere in Brooklyn will come out.

A team appointed at the first GA has identified a location and time and has offered a proposed agenda. At the GA, all members will be able to propose further agenda items, and vote on a final agenda at the beginning of the meeting.

Invite Your Friends and Family in Brooklyn!!!

Proposed Agenda:

-Basics of the GA, why and how this is participatory
-Finalize Agenda
-Brief Announcements and Check-ins about what work is already being done in Brooklyn
-Relationship to OWS
-Should we occupy?
-Possible direct actions
-Identify working groups
-Divide into working groups

Three for Thursday: Redistricting Presentation from Dr. John Flateau

(There are three great events happening today: a 2010 Census Redistricting Panel, an Occupy Brooklyn General Assembly on Franklin Ave, and the SOS Crown Heights Peace March).

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday - this is the first of three posts about the trio of great events happening today in the wider area. At 6:30pm over in Clinton Hill, Dr. John Flateau of Medgar Evers College (speaking in the video above) is presenting on "The 2010 Census, Reapportionment, and Redistricting: What Will Be the Impact on Our Community?" Sponsored by District Leader (for the 57th AD) Olanike Alabi, the event will take place at the Teen Challenge Center (444 Clinton Avenue, between Gates and Greene Avenues).  

With so much happening today, ILFA's almost certainly not going to get to this event, but it struck me as interesting and important enough to post. Redistricting is one of the least-understood things political parties do, and consequently, one of the most fraught with corruption and misbehavior (there's an excellent documentary out about it called "Gerrymandering," in which our own 57th State Assembly District features prominently). If you're more of a policy wonk (and if marching and direct democracy aren't your thing), this is the Thursday event for you. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

CHCA Meeting Tuesday at 7:30 pm

CHCA logo

This month's CHCA meeting takes place on Tuesday, October 18 at 7:30 PM in the Gospel Tabernacle Church (725 Franklin). Check their website, blog, other blog, or FB page for more info.

Crown Heights, Riots, Gentrification: Some Fresh Takes on the Usual Topics

I thought this video from City Limits reporter Rae Gomes did a nice job of capturing some of the ever-present local issues through local artist voices. Also, for those who are still thinking about the Crown Heights Riot, Medgar Evers College and the Brooklyn Historical Society are co-hosting "Streets of Rage," this Sunday at Medgar's auditorium on Bedford from 2pm - 5pm (more info below):

2:00-5:00 p.m.
This event is free and takes place at Medgar Evers College, Auditorium, 1650 Bedford Avenue
Listen as historians and community members respond to oral history interviews with Crown Heights residents recorded in the 1990s and 2010. What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? The panel will include the following guests: co-curators of the Crown Heights History Project, 1993-1994 Craig Wilder, professor of American History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn, and Jill Vexler, anthropologist and curator of exhibitions about cultural identity and social history; Dexter Wimberly, curator of the Crown Heights Goldexhibition at the Skylight Gallery (July 28-Oct 31, 2011); Rabbi Eli Cohen, Executive Director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council; and Alex Kelly, organizer of Crown Heights Oral History - Listen To This, and the student interview team from Paul Robeson High School. This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Women's Development and the President’s Office at Medgar Evers College. This event is free and open to the public.
This event is part of Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations, a public programming series and oral history project about mixed-heritage families, race, ethnicity, culture, and identity, infused with historical perspective. This project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Humanities, New York Council for the Humanities, Two Trees Management, Brooklyn Brewery, Sweet ’N Low Division of Cumberland Packing, and Con Edison.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SOS Crown Heights Week of Peace Starts Today

Editor's note: SOS Crown Heights, whose work to prevent gun violence in our neighborhood is both crucial and ongoing, have designated this coming week as a "Week of Peace." Click on the schedule above or read on below for more information on the events they have planned to raise awareness about one of the most important issues affecting Crown Heights today.

For immediate release:

Dear Community Members and Leaders,

Please join Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) and the Crown Heights community for our first “S.O.S. Week of Peace,” October 16th to October 23rd 2011.  Local Businesses, houses of worship, community residents, local organizations and schools will gather from across Crown Heights to express the message of non-violence in a range of activities.

The main event of the week will be a Peace March on October 20th, 2011.  Join hundreds of members from the community in demanding an end to the violence, supporting all the victims of violence and their families, and celebrating the positive changes the community has made to reduce gun-violence.  We will be congregating on the north side of Eastern Parkway at Utica Avenue at 6:00pm.  If you would like to walk as a group, please visit to register.

Religious leaders throughout Crown Heights will commence and close the S.O.S. Week of Peace with “Non-Violence Sundays” on October 16th and October 23rd by dedicating their religious services to the message of non-violence. There will also be a screening of The Interrupters, the award-winning documentary about the Chicago Ceasefire anti-violence approach on which the SOS program is based, on Friday, October 21st at 6:30 PM at PS 289 (900 St. Marks Ave at Kingston). 

Since February 2011, the work that S.O.S. has done with the Crown Heights community has shown that when we all work together and focus on gun violence reduction, we can save lives.  Compared to last year, shootings have reduced 70 % in S.O.S.’s target area: from Kingston Avenue to Utica Avenue and from Eastern Parkway to Atlantic Avenue.  Let’s continue to work together to end the senseless shootings and killings. To join the movement and stay informed about our activities, subscribe to our blog (, “like” our Facebook page ( and sign up to volunteer by calling our office at 718.773.6886.

We look forward to seeing you at the Peace March and the S.O.S. Week of Peace.  If you would like to be involved, please contact Eliana Horn at

In Peace,

The Save Our Streets Crown Heights Team

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Brooklyn Tomorrow at Grand Army Plaza (and other weekend events)

If you haven't heard, there's a local gathering tomorrow to complement the citywide marches that are taking place over the weekend. There's been some action in Brooklyn already around foreclosures (which continue to take place at a cruelly high rate in the borough of Kings), and tonight's PDHR talk at Bar Sepia (see the post) should be very interesting for those looking to learn more about this movement. You can also check out the Occupy Brooklyn FB page and, of course, and

Here's the invite that's been making the rounds on the internet:

To whom it may concern,

Tomorrow, Saturday the 15th, at 11am a rally will take place in Grand Army Plaza to make Brooklyn's voice heard in support of the growing Occupy Wall Street movement. The gathering will bring together voices from across Brooklyn who want to express that they will not tolerate the wealth disparities and blatant economic injustice that plagues our country and city.
We would like to ask you to join us tomorrow.

Also, don't forget the good work that Seeds in the Middle is doing tomorrow at the Field to Fork Festival, the Crown Heights Film Festival, or daffodil planting with the CHCA on Sunday.