Monday, May 30, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
- If you can't get enough film, head over to Gowanus tonight to Littlefield to catch another screening from Kings County Cinema Society (who brought Sidney Lumet to LaunchPad earlier in the week), their Short Film Slam (click the flyer above for more info).
- Force and Flow on Dean hosts their monthly Sound Bath tonight, offering "the healing power of drone instruments," including (for this edition) cello, flute, and singing bowls.
- Tomorrow (Saturday), the Walt L. Shamel Community Garden (Dean between Bedford and Franklin) is hosting a FREE basic bike tune-up event from 11am - 3pm, open to all but specifically for the kids and teens in the neighborhood. They'll also be doing a flat-fixing workshops at 12pm and 2pm.
- Speaking of chickens, a new start-up in Crown Heights, Victory Chicken Corporation, has just launched an ambitious plan to establish 1,000 chicken coops in New York City. From their press release:
"Raising chickens in backyards and community spaces was commonplace across New York City as recently as a few decades ago. As part of the rapidly expanding urban agriculture movement, Victory Chicken is committed to bringing them back, and is offering its standard “Rosie” Package to make it easy for families, roommates, schools, community gardens and everyone else to raise their own urban flock."
The fence around the cafe-to-be at Classon and St. Mark's has come down, revealing a sizeable raised terrace out front, and the back room at the Breukelen Coffee House is a welcome addition.
Special to Liz (re: the comment on the previous post) - I've got no idea, though they've been at it for awhile. Someone told me it was going to be a salon, but that was over a year ago, so take it with a grain of salt.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
If you've got Monday off, spend your Sunday night at Southpaw (125 5th Avenue, BK). You'll be glad you did.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
From their website:
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Lots of other things on tap for this week/weekend:
More movies on Thursday in Fort Greene, courtesy of Rooftoop Films:
Thursday May 26, 2011
NO WAY OUT - Short Film Thrillers
These fun and frantic short films—comedy, animation, music videos—tell the twisted tales of terrified souls trapped inside the machine. One of these little old ladies is not like the other, but she’s settling among the group. This ordinary office is not what it seems, but you may end up working here. A disturbing chaos is sweeping these average American high school scenes, but there’s no time to transfer out. And once we have gone into the future, we may never come back whole. But patch up that shabby space suit, dust off that bloody prom dress, and batten down the hatches: it’s gonna be a spectacular show when this ship goes down.
On the Roof of Brooklyn Technical High School
29 Fort Greene Place (between Dekalb and Fulton), Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY 11217
G to Fulton, C to Lafayette, 2,3,4,5 to Nevins or B,M,Q, R to Dekalb
8:00 PM Doors Open
8:30 PM Live Music by Ela Orleans
9:00 PM Films Begin11:00PM After Party at No. 7 Restaurant (7 Greene Avenue at Fulton Street), sponsored by Radeberger Pilsner.
- On Saturday, the folks who run the Walt L. Shamel Community Garden (Dean between Franklin and Bedford) are hosting a FREE basic bike tune-up event from 11am - 3pm, with flat-fixing workshops for all you budding cyclists at 12pm and 2pm. Kids and teens are especially welcome.
- The Brooklyn Paper has a pretty solid Memorial Day Weekend Rundown.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
May 21 - June 19, 2011
May 21, from 4:30 -7 pm
seven artists – seven stories
Hours: Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, 1 to 6 p.m. or by appointment: 718-783-4438
FiveMyles is supported by The Greenwall Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, Public Funds from the New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the Foundation forContemporary Arts, the Brooklyn Community Foundation and by the Brooklyn Arts Council, JPMorgan/Chase.
Directions: Take the 2,3,4 or 5 trains to Franklin Ave. Walk two blocksagainst the traffic on Franklin. Turn left into St. Johns Place. Walk 1/3 block to 558 St. Johns Place. FiveMyles is within easy walking distancefrom theBrooklyn Museum.
558 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238
718.783.4438 / www.fivemyles.org
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Then it was the executive officer's turn. "Do you want to know what happened?" he asked, clearly flustered. "Because it's important." NYPD officers, he said, "leave in the morning, and their families don't know if they're coming home." He was willing to believe that there might have been opportunities for "de-escalation" on the part of officers on the scene, as well as residents, but he drew a hard and fast line. "If you put your hands on a New York City Police Officer, you're going to jail, and I will land a helicopter in the middle of Franklin Avenue if I have to, to make sure that our officers go home to their families." Nine cops, he added, were hurt in the incident.
Seeking to diffuse the extremely confrontational mood that was taking hold, one of the CHCA's officers rose to explain that, as part of the Impact Zone on Franklin (a program that places 40 beat officers fresh from the Academy on high-crime streets from 6pm - 2am), police are called upon to enforce "zero tolerance," the hotly-debated strategy pioneered by the NYPD under Bill Bratton in the 1990s. In short, it means that minor infractions that get ignored in other Precincts, such as drinking on your stoop or riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, result automatically in tickets or arrests. As she put it, the intent is to "clear up quality of life issues as well as crime issues." Advocates say policing the little things creates an atmosphere of law and order that keeps the big things from happening. Critics say it does little to address the underlying causes of violent crime, merely pushing it out of sight while criminalizing poverty and street life.
It was here that the 77th's executive officer jumped back in, looking to re-frame his position. The impact zone, he said "is trying to foster a new community." He'd mentioned earlier that he got his start twenty years ago in the 77th, and now he added that "we're always going to be here" and "the results you see today" when comparing Crown Heights to its past self "didn't happen on their own." He called on one of the Impact Zone officers, who said she had grown up on Franklin and Union, and that she knew people got frustrated when they were stopped on the street or pulled over, including her father and brother, but that "if you haven't done anything wrong, there's no reason to get upset, we're not here to do anything to you." The woman who had launched the discussion applauded her for growing up nearby, and the tension dissipated into the usual talk of working together and getting involved by attending the 77th Precinct Community Council Meetings (the next one is June 13 at St. Teresa's on Classon and Sterling).
For some reason, I seem to be losing parts of posts (the blog-gods telling me to keep it short and succinct, perhaps). Anyway, there's a reconstituted second half coming soon - suffice to say that while I believe the CHCA and 77th are committed to finding a way to address these tensions, I found the resolution described above a little unsatisfying.
The day after the CHCA meeting, I saw another arrest on Franklin. This one wasn't as over-the-top, though it did involve a cruiser parked on the sidewalk against traffic at Franklin and Sterling, and several cops searching a man who asked, with evident frustration, why the police were going through his wallet when all they needed was his ID. Watching it brought me back to the frustration I felt at the resolution of the debate the previous evening.
I believe the 77th and the CHCA members want to resolve this, of course, but I worry that the language that gets deployed skirts the issues. In this lexicon, ability to speak legitimately for or about the community stems from having been here a long time (this makes sense, but it doesn't account for the divergence - if the NYPD and locals are part of, and fighting for, the same community, what on earth happened?). "We" (whoever we are) cleaned up Franklin Avenue, we deserve thanks and dialogue, not suspicion and violence. We are not the enemy, "they" are, where they is forever an ill-defined group that sallies forth from beyond the margins of society to rend the social fabric and then fades away, leaving the good, honest residents, or good, honest, officers to pick up the pieces. This kind of language leads to statements of the obvious (should there be repercussions for hitting a cop? absolutely! should an officer mace a peaceful guy in a wheelchair? of course not!) and has its own resolution built in, the invariable cathartic moment (I grew up here!) that allows the "good guys" to join forces and march off to put an end to the bad guys once and for all.
The problem with this language is that it ignores the messy reality of the situation. There are, of course, some really awful people who commit heinous crimes out there, but there's not really much debate about how either cops or communities should handle them. Incidents like the one on May 10 aren't cut-and-dried; someone didn't just haul off and punch a perfectly courteous cop out of the blue, and some officer didn't whirl on a man in a wheelchair and mace him in broad daylight with no provocation. These situations start from a position of mutual frustration and distrust, a sense of "we're just living here the way we always have" meeting a sense of "we're just doing our jobs." They escalate because a young officer is too eager to assert his authority, or because a young resident is too eager to defend his manhood. They are complicated situations, and they do not involve some evil "they" - they involve decent police and decent residents who find themselves at odds in the context of a policing strategy that puts them there.
Take the Impact Zone, pushed for by a coalition of local electeds and community leaders, including the CHCA. It has undoubtedly made Franklin safer, if NYPD crime stats are even close to correct. This really matters. It has also undoubtedly resulted in petty arrests and stop-and-frisks that make longtime Black and Latino residents feel as though their existence has been criminalized, their standing in the community disrespected and diminished in favor of newcomers. It's no surprise that, in this climate and context, people resent arrests, and occasionally lose their cool and resist them (ILFA does not, of course, endorse any violence toward the NYPD). There's a ton of information out there about NYPD has abused its power, and how stop-and-frisks amount to racial profiling (heck, last year, Kevin from About Time was arrested by Impact Zone officers, and he's one of the leaders working hardest to improve the community), and yet, I know these officers don't leave for work in the morning planning racism, malfeasance, or violence against residents. The problem is that these things, as they stand, are two sides of the same coin, and separating what we like about the Impact Zone from what we don't requires serious thinking about police strategy and community-police relations.
In the midst of the argument on Tuesday, another woman stood up, and mentioned that she had a son, and that "if he looked suspicious" she knew he would be arrested. She started to say "and I have to say it . . ." but was quickly cut off by another voice that said "no you don't." There was a pregnant pause, and then she changed directions. I don't know exactly what she was going to say (I have a guess or two), but I'm not sure she shouldn't have. Looking crime on Franklin in the face means thinking about how police serve, relate to, and even set the boundaries of, the community. "Good" police and "good" residents are part of the problem and part of the solution, no matter how often we rhetorically push the "bad" in our neighborhood into some great beyond, the product of some evil other.
The CHCA and the 77th are planning a drive to educate local residents about the meaning of zero-tolerance in the context of an Impact Zone that has, crucially, reduce violent crime on Franklin. This is a good start. We should also educate the police about local residents, to help them differentiate the dangerous criminal from the community leader, and even the harmless old uncle who's had one too many from the belligerent drunk. Hopefully, this will lead us to think about ways to "dialogue" and "de-escalate" situations before somebody socks a cop or maces a bystander. Otherwise, somebody's going to come home from work and find a helicopter in their parking space.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Two great events tomorrow night: Come meet your neighbors at the Crow Hill Community Association's monthly meeting, and then swing over to Franklin Park to catch some live acoustic music at Brooklyn Unplugged (organized by local band 45ShootOut).
Also, speaking of cool new spaces, the Breukelen Coffee House has finally opened their back room, an awesome multi-purpose space for everything from live music to vintage/craft sales. Swing by and check it out.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Sunday, May 08, 2011
The hottest block on Franklin (between Sterling and Park) is getting a vintage store, in a cute little space that was a storefront church five years ago and has been vacant since. The owners have been working on the interior all weekend, and they hope to be open by the end of the month.
Friday, May 06, 2011
- TONIGHT: Brooklyn-based (with one member in Crown Heights - ILFA loves locals) band People's Champs release their debut EP at Piano's on the Lower East Side. You can snag a free download of their new single at their Bandcamp site.
- TOMORROW: Girl. Scout. Cookies. So very, very tasty. So very, very out of season - except that the local troop is selling them at LaunchPad from 10am - 1pm. They've got 360 boxes to move, so make sure you come down quick for your Thin Mints and Samoas.
- MONDAY: The Franklin Park Reading Series returns with another great lineup. In case you need any convincing about the quality of the series, one of last year's readers, Jennifer Egan, just won the Pulitzer Prize!
- Lincoln Postal, the shipping center that looks like a hip bar on Classon and Lincoln, was handing out flyers on Franklin yesterday, and they have a much more impressive slate of services than ILFA was previously aware of. Did you know that you can do almost everything there that you can do at a US Post Office (but without, you know, braving an NYC post-office)? And that they have self-serve copying and printing, as well as office supplies, moving and packing gear, and mailbox rentals with a real street address (not a P.O. Box) for all you start-uppers? I did not know these things, but this will keep me from crossing Atlantic to the bunker that is the Brevoort Station anytime soon.
- However, there are still plenty of good reasons to venture north into Bed-Stuy, among them the new French Press and Espresso Bar at 505 Franklin (just off the C train), where a slideshow of Bed-Stuy history runs on one wall.