Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fantastic Photo of Franklin in the Fifties

From a reader comes this photo of a Chinese family that lived across from the hardware store that is now Dutch Boy Burger in the 1950s. 

In other news, Little Zelda is hosting another sing-a-long tonight, to Weezer's eponymous "Blue Album" (soundtrack of my youth), and I got a fantastic haircut yesterday for $15 at Benny's Barbershop on Classon between Lincoln and Eastern. If you've been schlepping over to the Slope or into Manhattan for your haircuts, save yourself some time and money and check them out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Links and Updates: Crosby Coffee Company, Theater at Jack, Bedford-Union Armory, Crown Heights Crime, and Bees

(coming soon: Crosby Coffee at Bergen and Classon)

- Crosby Coffee at Bergen and Classon is getting close to opening. Their high ceilings and big windows give the place an airy feel, and they'll be serving Caffe Vita roasts made to order with a Synesso pressure profiling machine (coffee aficionados tell ILFA this is impressive stuff, and not found at most Brooklyn coffee shops). They'll also be taking credit cards for any purchase (even a single cup of joe to go). The shop is named in honor of Crosby Gaige, the legendary chef and cocktail-recipe-compiler who wrote the 1939 New York World's Fair Cookbook, from which some recipes will be borrowed (the World's Fair connection also inspired their elephant theme). 

- On the heels of a nice write-up in the Times, Jack, an new theater and creative arts space at 505 Waverly (near Fulton), is set to open this Saturday with a rent party featuring live music from 6-11pm (flyer below). While not, strictly speaking, in Crown Heights, ILFA is a fan of Jack's creative leadership, who staged a fantastic production of T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral" a couple years back. 

- Local resident Jessica McNamara is one of many New Yorkers keeping bees on their rooftops, as reported in the New York Times. She's hoping to harvest 100 pounds of honey this year (seriously awesome photo - see above). 

- The Daily News ran an article exploring some of the suggestions made in Marty Markowitz's Bedford-Union Armory report. 

- The charges have been dropped in the bizarre rape case that made news by falling to pieces on the already-embattled Brooklyn DA's Office over the past few weeks, but police are still in search of the rapist who attacked a woman waiting for a cab a few days ago. 

- Finally, I've added a blog post I wrote for Dissent on "The Stop and Frisk Generation" to the "Also By ILFA" section.

Monday, June 25, 2012

VOTE: Congressional Primaries Tomorrow, Jeffries v. Barron in particular

Tomorrow, June 26, is Primary Day for congressional elections in New York City. While most Brooklynites will spurn the polls, as many incumbents are running either unopposed or lightly-opposed, an exciting race in the 8th Congressional District between State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (well known to Crown Heights residents as our representative in the 57th) and East New York Councilman Charles Barron will be the main event tomorrow. ILFA lives in the 8th, and will be voting for Mr. Jeffries, but I'm not here to convince anyone, merely to remind people to get out and vote and to provide links to some of the latest news and analysis. If you don't know what district you're in, click here, and if you don't know where your polling place is, click here

Some links on the Barron - Jeffries race:

- Election cheat sheets from the Brooklyn Paper and New York Magazine

- An article from the Daily News calling Bed-Stuy "the Ohio of the district" (which is to say it's the swing neighborhood).

- A post from Capital New York about the flood of money Hakeem Jeffries has raised, particularly as Charles Barron has surged. 

- Back in May, the Washington Post wondered aloud whether Hakeem Jeffries was "Brooklyn's Barack Obama."While Mr. Jeffries demurred about the flattering comparison in print, the campaign has made plenty of connects with their literature, which features a handsome shot of Mr. Jeffries with Mr. Obama.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Love Dean Street

ILFA has disappointed many a friend and acquaintance by revealing that, despite the name of the blog, the lady and I don't actually have an address on Franklin Avenue. While there are obvious reasons to pay attention to a major commercial thoroughfare as opposed to a quiet residential street, in the last few months, our block of Dean Street has made some news of its own. Led by the Dean Street Grant Square Block Association (for more on the interesting history of Grant Square, here are some little historical pieces from the glory days of ILFA's youth) and the Walt L. Shamel Community Garden, there are lot of good reasons to head north along the Avenue to Dean Street this summer. 

Beautiful Streetscapes: The Block Association recently won a neighborhood improvement grant from the Citizen's Committee for New York City, which will go towards plantings and beautification. If you live on Dean between Bedford and Franklin, swing by the garden from 2-4pm today to pick up your plantings.

Fresh Food: The Farmer's Market, to be held in the Walt L. Shamel Garden (Dean between Franklin and Bedford) starting next Saturday, June 30, and running every Saturday from 8am-2pm through October. 

Art Classes for Youth: After a new development evicted them from the Crow Hill Community Garden, Art Not Arrests moved into the Walt L. Shamel Garden, where they'll be offering a great slate of classes for young people all summer long. 

The garden and the block association will also be hosting events later this summer including movie nights (a hit last summer) and their annual Art Fair. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thursday: Make Music NY in Crown Heights

Make Music New York is bringing music of all kinds to over 1,200 locations in the five boroughs tomorrow, including to several venues in Crown Heights. For more information, check out their map, or just stroll down Washington or Franklin (or Bedford or Fulton if you're coming home from the A or C) tomorrow evening. Participating venues include 95 South, LaunchPad, Lily & Fig, and The Candy Rush, who have a local children's musician offering lessons for your little ones at 11AM (I think Little Zelda may have some live tunes as well - can't hurt to swing by and see). 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Crow Hill Community Association Meeting Tuesday at 7:30pm

The last CHCA meeting before summer vacation (meetings resume in September) takes place Tuesday night at 7:30pm in the Gospel Tabernacle Church at 725 Franklin Avenue. Items on the agenda include the election of Board Members, who will lead the organization for the upcoming year.

Over the weekend, the founders of LaunchPad raised concerns and made some fairly serious accusations regarding the CHCA's relationship with MySpaceNYC, the ubiquitous local realty firm that has been at the center of many major commercial and residential turnovers along the Avenue over the past five years. The CHCA have posted a response on their blog that disputes several key facts of the accusations. At this time, I've got no additional information with regard to this matter, so I'll leave it to readers to read the various postings and draw their own conclusions (and I'm sure there will be updates to provide after the meeting).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last Minute Saturday Updates: Crown Heights Assembly in Brower Park, Sandwiches from TasteBuds, New Garden at Barboncino

Some additional events today (don't forget about Built in Brooklyn and Silver Door from the Hoover Dam Collective, too):

- The Crown Heights Assembly, an Occupy-inspired group of local folks who come together to discuss strategies for social justice in the neighborhood, meets today at 3pm in Brower Park.

- Barboncino is proud to announce the opening of their new backyard, which looks as lovely as the rest of their space.

- TasteBuds is open, and the sandwiches are delicious, hearty, and priced in the $6-8 range. Check 'em out!

Silent March to End Stop & Frisk This Sunday

On Sunday, members of nearly 300 civil rights organizations, community and student groups, labor unions, churches, and professional associations will lead a Silent March Against Racial Profiling to End Stop and Frisk in Harlem. The protest has done much to draw attention to the controversial policing tactic over the last few weeks, inspiring a wide array of articles, videos, and even an Android App. ILFA's position on stop-and-frisk policing, which the NYPD claims is an essential violence-prevention strategy, will be known to frequent readers, but to be clear, I stand with those who argue that stop and frisk, as currently practiced by the NYPD, is an unconstitutional exercise in racial profiling that pulls young men into the vicious circle of the criminal justice system, racializes spaces (including, of course, gentrifying neighborhoods), and creates an atmosphere of mutual distrust and antagonism between police and African-American and Hispanic communities that serves to hinder, not aid, substantive policing. From a practical standpoint, I think the costs far outweigh the benefits, and from a moral standpoint, I think a quick perusal of any Warren Court decision is a good reminder that the 14th Amendment is still on the books and Jim Crow is indefensible (yes, I mean that). But my own repetitive ramblings aside, here are some interesting pieces on stop-and-frisk from the past week and beyond:

- The Silent Protest, as a tactic, has a long history in the struggle for Civil Rights, particularly in New York City

- The New York Times ran an excellent "Op-Doc" (if it sounds like hospital shorthand, you need a new name - the Post would clearly call these "Reel Opinions" or some such) on one young man's harrowing encounters with stop and frisk, which cited his involvement Make the Road New York as an important source of pride and empowerment in the face of these experiences

- I linked this video a few months back, but it's worth reposting: The WNYC Radio Rookies (local teens) take on stop and frisk

- The Root ran a thoughtful piece by the son of a retired NYPD officer who supports stop and frisk, while many other officers spoke with the Village Voice, sharing a range of opinions.

- Local journalist and blogger Zachary Goelman took a long and careful look at stop and frisk and the results it produces back in December. 

- Local blogger and activist Bobby Constantino spent much of the spring on a one-man crusade against stop and frisk that, by his own admission, made him wonder if he was crazy. While much of his solitary action was certainly unorthodox, I'm inclined to think his feeling disturbed is at least partly due to the manifest problems with the tactic. 

- This is slightly off-topic but related: Bed-Stuy Patch reports that a skywatch has just gone up on Bedford Avenue at Clifton, casting its 70s-futuristic-police-state eye over a strip that looks a lot like Franklin did a few years ago (when we had one of our own in front of Nam's). Connected as they are with the Kelly-Bloomberg (or Bratten-Giuliani, if you prefer) school of policing (impact zones, stop and frisk, zero-tolerance, tech-happy), it's worth reflecting, as do several of those who commented on the post, as to what purpose these high-tech toys ($130,000 taxpayer dollars a pop) serve. Do they reduce crime or just displace it? Who feels safer when they see a skywatch (certainly not ewoks) - do they comfort some folks and intimidate others? Do they have a habit of showing up in high-crime areas, rapidly-changing areas, or both? 

- Finally, I should make it clear that while I'm opposed to stop and frisk and deeply skeptical of the goals of high-visibility, high-publicity policing stunts, I recognize that policing is an extremely tough, if not impossible, job and that it's incumbent upon those of us who criticize the NYPD to offer suggestions and strategies for preventing and reducing crime without taking shortcuts down the slippery slopes of profiling and civil liberties abuses. So, to close, I offer one of ILFA's very favorite neighborhood organizations, SOS Crown Heights, as a model that we can all learn from and emulate, one that has made a significant impact on violent crime in Crown Heights not by criminalizing Black youth, but by empowering them and putting their talents to work. There will never be one solution or an easy answer, of course, but policing that treats communities as resources in the struggle against violence, and not as enemies, is an important first step. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bedford Park - Developers Behaving Badly, Destroying Community Garden

The documentation is unreadable as presented above, but if you click on the images, they should be legible. Basically, back in 1994, the Brooklyn Ecumenical Council (BEC) dedicated a pair of lots on Bedford as a community garden and park, to be jointly used and paid for by residents and owners of the surrounding buildings. Fast forward 18 years, and a developer who's acquired some adjacent land believes he has rights to the space, and has already shredded the trees, shrubs, and bushes that had adorned the lot for the past two decades. Needless to say, the residents are fighting back, and they're hoping to mount a legal and political challenge to this land grab, starting with a meeting on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 6:30pm in the Day Care Center on the first floor of 1448 Bedford Avenue. If you're someone who has legal expertise to offer, or if you'd just like to be involved in the preservation of green community spaces in our rapidly-changing neighborhood, get in touch via the phone numbers on the first page above.

Saturday: Built in Brooklyn Returns, Stork Hosts Reading

Saunter up to the Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair tomorrow (it's supposed to be a gorgeous day) to check out the work of local artisans, on offer from 12-6pm. If you've got little ones in tow, Stork is hosting a reading of LoCo's Lullaby with author Madafi Pierre right across the street at 9:30am and again at 10am.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Calling All Crown Heights Artists: GO Brooklyn

Even if you're not an artist with a studio in Brooklyn, check this out. The Brooklyn Museum is currently accepting artists for "GO Brooklyn," a community-curated open studio project geared at supporting local artists, building community relations with public institutions, and giving the public a say in what features at these institutions. Drawing on the rich tradition of open studios in Brooklyn neighborhoods from DUMBO to Bushwick, GO will organize a massive, borough-wide open studio weekend on September 8-9, during which time any artist with a studio in a Brooklyn zip code can register to show their work from 11am-7pm. Meanwhile, those of us who don't make art will have the opportunity to wander through Brooklyn checking this work out and voting for our favorites by text, app, or online. The top few favorites will then be featured in a show at the Brooklyn Museum itself that will debut during December's First Saturday. 

Submissions in every imaginable medium are encouraged - email coordinator Victoria Cho at ms.victoriacho {at} gmail {dot} com with any questions. 

Also, don't forget tonight's benefit at Five Myles (558 St. Johns) from 6-9pm. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Around the Avenue: Openings and Happenings

Lots going on these days - time for a quick Franklin Avenue rundown:

- Little Zelda kicks off Thursday night singalongs this Thursday at 8:30pm with The Smiths' classic The Queen is Dead. Next week features Weezer's eponymous "blue" album, followed by Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea on the the 28th.

- TasteBuds Sandwich Shop is all set to open this Friday, June 15th in the former About Time space, while down the street, the folks at Rosco's (in the former Slice of Brooklyn location) are working around the clock in hopes of opening a week from Monday (June 25). There's also a new ice cream/frozen treats spot coming soon a few storefronts north of Daily Press on Franklin and Fulton.

- The Walt L. Shamel Community Garden on Dean between Franklin and Bedford is hosting a Father's Day bake sale this Sunday, June 17, from 10am-2pm, to raise money for their Farmer's Market, which kicks off on Saturday June 30th and will hopefully run all summer long. This great local garden is also the new home of Art Not Arrests.

- Speaking of Art Not Arrests, their slate of summer art classes for youth is ready. Check it out (and sign up your young people) on their site, or click on the flyer below for more info. 

- Finally, there's less than a week left to show your support for the fabulous Franklin Avenue Kids Day with a donation on Kickstarter. They've raised an impressive $4,000 in eight days, but they still need another $1,500 to fund the project, so if you can, reach for your wallet (every little bit helps)!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's Never Too Early to Start Thinking Weekend: The Hoover Dam Collective Presents Silver Door at the Red Lotus Room This Saturday

The Hoover Dam Collective, who've put on some fantastic local shows at LaunchPad over the last two years, are celebrating their second birthday in grand style at the Red Lotus Room this Saturday. Complete info is below, as well as on their site and FB page. Looks to be a heckuva party, and a very affordable one, at that: 

On June 16th, 2012, The Hoover Dam Collective presents "Silver Door," our Second Anniversary Show, which is sure to be one of our biggest shows to date, featuring live dance, performance art, visual art installations, and film, plus music performances by Communication Corporation, The Rainbow Children, Horny and the Dance Machine, and Underground System. Silver Door takes place at the Red Lotus Room in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8, with free food from 7-8pm. Cover is $10 at the door before 10pm, $15 after 10pm. There will be a cash bar, outdoor bonfire, and a late night dance party. Come help us celebrate our “silver” anniversary!

The Hoover Dam Collective is a group of young artists based in Brooklyn, New York, who are particularly interested in making work that crosses the boundaries of specific art disciplines. The Collective was founded in 2009 by a group of dynamic individuals from the world-renowned arts conservatories at State University of New York at Purchase College. In the last 2 years, we have produced more than 20 arts events in and around New York City, and have included over 100 artists in our productions. Our primary goal is to expose our art to new audiences and break down the barrier between spectator and performer.  Most importantly, we hope that our work can help audiences re-evaluate the role that art has in our lives and in the world around us.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reading Series Kicks Off Summer, Monday at 8pm

Another great literary event from Penina Roth Monday night at Franklin Park:

We're kicking off our summer season with a wide range of acclaimed fiction, including innovative flash, a captivating coming-of-age story, and a compelling family drama. Short story masters DIANE WILLIAMS (Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty) and ELIZABETH ELLEN (Fast Machine) will be joined by debut novelist JENNIFER MILLER (The Year of the Gadfly) and Crown Heights writer ANDREW COTHREN (Eleven Eleven). And PATRICK SOMERVILLE (The Universe in Miniature in Miniature, The Cradle) will give a preview reading of his highly anticipated new novel This Bright River (out June 26).


DIANE WILLIAMS (Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty)
PATRICK SOMERVILLE (This Bright River, The Universe in Miniature in Miniature)
JENNIFER MILLER (The Year of the Gadfly)
ANDREW COTHREN (Eleven Eleven)



618 St. Johns Place, between Franklin and Classon Avenues
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Franklin Avenue

DIANE WILLIAMS is the author of seven books, including, most recently, the short story collection Vicky Swanky Is A Beauty. The publisher and founding editor of the literary annual NOON, she has taught at Bard College, Syracuse University, and the Center for Fiction. Currently, she lives in New York City.

PATRICK SOMERVILLE is the author of two novels, the forthcoming This Bright River and The Cradle, as well as two books of short stories, The Universe in Miniature in Miniature and Trouble. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, One Story, Epoch, GQ, Esquire, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He is a MacDowell Fellow and the winner of the 2009 21st Century Award, given annually by the Chicago Public Library. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago, and he teaches creative writing in the MFA programs at Warren Wilson and Northwestern University.

JENNIFER MILLER is the author of the novel The Year of the Gadfly and the nonfiction book Inheriting the Holy Land: An American’s Search for Hope in the Middle East. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Marie Claire, Men's Health, Salon, Guernica, The Millions, The Daily Beast, and other places. She holds an MFA in fiction and a MS in journalism from Columbia University and has taught writing at Columbia, WritopiaLab, and the Free Bird Writer's Workshop. A native of Washington, D.C., she now lives in Brooklyn.

ELIZABETH ELLEN is the author, most recently, of the short story collection Fast Machine, which features her best work from the last decade. Her stories have appeared in numerous online and print journals, including elimae, Quick Fiction, Hobart, Lamination Colony, Mud Luscious, Sleepingfish, kill author, and Pindeldyboz. She is also the author of the chapbook Before You She Was a Pit Bull (Future Tense), and her collection of flash fictions, Sixteen Miles Outside of Phoenix, was included in A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (Rose Metal Press). Currently, she lives in Ann Arbor, where she co-edits the literary journal Hobart and oversees Hobart's book division, Short Flight/Long Drive books.

ANDREW COTHREN received his BA from Binghamton University. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Legendary, Drunken Boat, and Eleven Eleven, which nominated him for a Pushcart Prize. He currently lives in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Dessert Party at Lily & Fig Right Now (2-4pm)

Looks so good...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Crown Heights, Atlantic Yards, and the Nets - Brooklyn Speaks Rally on Sunday at 3pm

ILFA doesn't usually cover Atlantic Yards or the Brooklyn Nets, both because Franklin is just far enough east that it often seems to fall outside the immediate Ratner blast radius (though more on this in a moment) and because if you want Atlantic Yards info, Norman Oder's got you covered. Still, a few things I've stumbled across over the past month or so have raised some questions that I thought merited further discussion.

- Most pressingly, Brooklyn Speaks is hosting a rally to demand oversight, jobs, and housing tomorrow at 3pm at the corner of Atlantic and South Portland. An umbrella group for many organizations that have been fighting Forest City Ratner and Atlantic Yards for nearly a decade, they've got the support of many local politicians, including ILFA fave Tish James, who's been a persistent and eloquent critic of the various iterations of the Ratner Plan for Central Brooklyn. There's more info about this event (and other upcoming ones) on their website, but the rally is fairly self-explanatory - they're demanding more jobs (according to their numbers, of 15,000 construction jobs promised, only 186 have been created for Brooklyn residents), the construction of affordable housing (171 affordable units were torn down, 2,250 have been promised, none yet built), and increased oversight of both the construction process and the ultimate result. 

- Trying to take the initiative in the PR game, Forest City Ratner built a playground for Crown Heights residents at St. John's and Buffalo, a few miles from the area, last month. Sonja Sharp had the scoop for DNAInfo, and the Brooklynians have been chatting about  it. Something to think about, given the location of this playground, is that Forest City Ratner, though (theoretically) locked in to providing those affordable units, has considered moving them "offsite" from the main development (between Vanderbilt and Flatbush) to the former St. Mary's hospital on Buffalo. Prospect Heights residents predictably blasted the plan, which segregated the affordable units from the rest of the luxury project, and one wonders whether Ratner is trying to split Community Board 8 by currying favor in the eastern part of Crown Heights in order to eventually effect that plan.

- Those "First Home Game since 1957" signs that have popped up all over? The Nets pay $25 a pop for businesses to put them in the window (as a local business owner informed me). A lot of money and legwork, but still probably cheaper than a 30-second TV spot. 

- Finally, the comically underplanned parking situation at Atlantic Yards, which has been in the news consistently this spring, has ILFA rethinking my earlier comment about Franklin being outside the arena's blast radius. Franklin Avenue residents aren't fighting new clubs and arena liquor licenses, but with parking as ridiculously bad as it may be nearby, we may yet find arena-goers trolling the streets of northwest Crown Heights in search of a place to park.

What sort of impact do you think the arena and the Nets are going to have on the neighborhood? Will traffic and business spill over, or are we too far east? Are you planning to root for the new "home" team (even if they lose Deron Williams and turn out to be awful)? Other thoughts?

Friday, June 08, 2012

Speed Dating for A Cause with Atlas DIY

A dear old friend of ILFA's founded a fantastic Brooklyn-based nonprofit earlier this year, and this coming week, they're hosting a speed-dating fundraiser in Manhattan at the Greenwich Treehouse. The organization, Atlas DIY (Developing Immigrant Youth) is a cooperative (as in the young people they work with are partners in running the organization, planning programming, hiring staff, and the like) empowerment center that provides a wide array of services out of their office in Sunset Park. If you're keen to meet new folks or you just like supporting efforts to empower immigrant youth, check them out. As an added bonus, ILFA readers who sign up for the speed-dating portion of the evening get $5 off the ticket price if you put "ILFA" in your email subject line.

Complete info below, and more at their site:

Wednesday, June 13th, Dating: 6pm-8pm, After Party: 8pm On!
At the always amazing Greenwich Treehouse, 46 Greenwich Ave.
Dating: $30 After-Party Only $10
To register to date (spots are limited!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Little Zelda's Big Nights, New Garden at Bombay Masala

As reported last week in a nice article on DNAInfo (whose Sonja Sharp is now absolutely destroying ILFA on new scoops), Little Zelda, the 18-seat gem of a cafe on Franklin between Sterling and Park, is now open in the evenings serving wine, just in time for the summer. Having finally scored their license, owners Michael and Kate are currently serving Spanish wines of all varieties and small plates of goodies (marcona almonds, olives, boquerones, cheeses, and such) until 2AM. Drawing on Kate's connection to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (as profiled by the New York Daily News), they've also got some great-looking new planters outside, which promise to "grow up to be quite jungly and beautiful," according to Michael. ILFA typically makes morning stops at Little Zelda's for chocolate bread, but it looks like ducking in for a drink on the way home from work will soon be part of the routine as well.

Just down the street, Bombay Masala has bought and begun to to renovate the space formerly occupied by Ebita Realty, where they've hung a sign promising their new "Bollywood Bar." While that project may be in the works for awhile (permits and such), the owners have made quick and spectacular use of the adjoining backyard spaces, installing a leafy deck with a fountain and outdoor bar that's as lovely as any outdoor eating space on Franklin. Bombay's always been a takeout staple, but with their upgraded menu (the food has definitely gotten better in the last few months, and it was always good) and their new garden, it's now a great place for a night out, too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Kids Day Needs You: Contribute Now to Keep a Great Annual Tradition Going

The annual Kids Day on Franklin Avenue is one of ILFA's very favorite events of the year, so much so that I insisted on posting about it from Mexico while the lady and I were on our honeymoon last year (did I mention that the lady is a very tolerant individual?). If you haven't heard about the Kids Day, check out the video from 2010 and the photos from 2011. Going into its 5th year, the Kids Day offers a full afternoon of completely FREE good times for hundreds of local kids, including carnival rides and inflatable equipment, face painting, water games, food, and prizes of all sorts. Spearheaded by Kevin and Garnet Philip, Kids Day is always a community effort, one to which the Franklin Avenue Merchants contribute a huge amount of time and money. This year, after many years of low-tech fundraising, the organizers have put together a Kickstarter campaign to make the event bigger and better than ever.  Check them out, and click on the widget below to make your donation to support this year's edition of this fantastic local tradition.

From the Kickstarter campaign: 

Kids Day is an annual event that takes place in Crown Heights Brooklyn. One stretch of Franklin Avenue from Sterling Place to Park Place is converted into a carnival for a day with games, rides, prizes and more. And best of all IT’S COMPLETELY FREE!!! 
Kevin Phillip started this event in 2008 in a vacant lot. Now it takes up an entire block on Franklin Avenue and is put on with the help of the Crow Hill Community Association (CHCA) and The Franklin Avenue Merchants Association (FAM). The theme this year is “Coney Island” and we will be bringing some of the iconic rides from everyone’s favorite Brooklyn theme park right to Franklin Avenue.
Not everyone in our community has money for, or access to these types of events, that is why it's so important for us to make Kids Day 100% free and accessible to everyone. We still need $6500 to pay for permits, rentals, and prizes (and to cover the Kickstarter and Amazon fees). The Crow Hill Community Association is a 5013C, so your donation is completely tax deductible! 
Last year was a huge success, and this year we want to top that! Donations of any and all sizes are greatly appreciated.  Kids Day is an important event that brings our community together and we hope everyone can make it out on July 21st to take part in this amazing fun filled day!
Here is a sneak peak at some of the rewards!
Kids Day T-Shirt ($25)
Kids Day T-Shirt ($25)
Small Gift Basket ($25)
Small Gift Basket ($25)
Large Gift Basket ($100)
Large Gift Basket ($100)
Coveted Spot on the Kids Day Banner ($500)
Coveted Spot on the Kids Day Banner ($500)
Event Space at The Candy Rush ($1000)
Event Space at The Candy Rush ($1000)
For more pics and info visit The Candy Rush Facebook page!'

Monday, June 04, 2012

SOS Crown Heights Launches Kickoff to a Safe Summer Today, March to End Gun Violence Thursday at 5:30pm

Fresh off a great week of programming for "Arts to End Violence," which included a fantastic screening of youth films and a heartbreaking documentary (if you haven't seen it, Player Hating: A Love Story is as honest and thoughtful a look as you can find anywhere of the trials and tribulations that many people face in Crown Heights) at LaunchPad, SOS Crown Heights is leading "Save Our Streets Week" this week, culminating in a March to End Gun Violence Thursday evening. Complete info from their website is copied below: 

We need your help to end gun violence in Crown Heights. Please join Save Our Streets Crown Heights (S.O.S.) for our annual March to End Gun Violence on Thursday, June 7th, convening at Brower Park at Kingston Avenue and Park Place at 5:30 PM and departing at 6 PM. The March will be an opportunity to celebrate the reduction in shootings in the S.O.S. target area in the past two years, from 23 incidents in 2010 to only 12 in 2011, and an opportunity to commit to taking action to make our streets safer. Before the march, S.O.S. will host a block party from 12:00 – 4:00 PM on Park Place.

The March to End Gun Violence is part of Save Our Streets Week, June 2nd - June 10th, a week of events to celebrate our accomplishments, identify the costs of gun violence in our neighborhood, and discuss the next steps in reducing violence in the neighborhood. Religious leaders throughout Crown Heights will commence and close the S.O.S. Week of Peace with “Worship Weekends” June 2-3 and June 9-10 by dedicating their religious services to nonviolence messages. Monday, June 4th will be “Virtual Peace Day” when we spread our message online, and on Tuesday, June 5th we will have our first Peace Games, a day of games for people of all ages in Brower Park, 4:30-7:00 PM. We will also screen Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed at The Candy Rush at 733 Franklin Avenue, on Friday, June 8th at 8:00 PM. Please see the complete schedule below. Please see more details on our blog.

S.O.S. needs volunteers to run this week of events. If you can volunteer at any time during the week of June 2nd - June 11th, please email Eliana at

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Sunday: Soccer for Harmony


Don't forget about this great event tomorrow from Seeds in the Middle:

Do you play soccer? Do you support healthy kids? We're calling all players - of all ages - and SPONSORS on June 3rd for our 3rd Soccer for Harmony tournament - this time in conjunction with the 71st Precinct's Family Day, featuring rides, food, festivities, a parade for kids and more. 

The friendly competition will feature three different rounds - male adult teams, youth teams and women/co-ed games, with players spanning the globe. You can sign up individually or put up a team. You can also join a 6 pm co-ed pickup game.

In our first Soccer for Harmony, the Orthodox Jewish community team trounced the Caribbean crew. Second round, the Caribbean crew rallied, and beat the Jewish contigent. Now - round three, they face off again. We invite you to expand the challenge! We're looking for 16 teams of 7 vs 7.

Not only play ball, but you also help kids get fit, play soccer for low-cost or free & support our Crown Heights Farmers Market. Parents - sign up your child for youth soccer now.  
Stay tuned for our next Seeds in the Middle newsletter to tell you about all our activities: gardens, chefs, Hip2B Healthy Market, running, zumba, ballroom dancing, arts and more.

SPONSORS: We provide great publicity for any sponsoring business! Look at the press coverage! Check sponsor opportunities here. See our letter and sponsor form.

Check the Crown Heights Farmers Market on NY1.

Click on the link below to register now!
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Questions? Contact or call 917-756-4202.
We look forward to seeing you in Crown Heights - on the field - on Sunday, June 3rd. 

Don't forget! Send the kids to march in the parade at 11:30 am!

Seeds in the Middle
crown Heights Farmers Market c/o