Friday, November 30, 2012

Magic Show to Benefit Newly-Revamped LaunchPad Tonight

As most folks know already, LaunchPad has undergone some big changes in the last few weeks, with It Takes A Village! occupying the space during daytime hours and the guys from Slap Dash taking over evening events management. They're still offering a great slate of arts programming, from readings to concerts to visual and performance art pieces, but like any non-profit org in this economy, they could use a boost from locals who benefit from their programming. In the interest of having some fun and raising some money, they're hosting a fundraiser - Magic Show! - to benefit the space tonight at 8pm, accepting donations on a sliding scale. If you're around, check them out this evening. Complete information from their website is copied below.

Magic Show! A Fundraiser to Benefit LaunchPad
The creative team behind the Slap Dash series presents an art party/fundraiser for their home base, LaunchPad.

Magic Show centers around a new magic-inspired art exhibition featuring local artists, curated by Jess Worby. In the tradition of the Slap Dash series, the multimedia evening will also feature magical performances, video art, screenings and readings. All of the proceeds will benefit LaunchPad, a creative gathering place focused on the arts, community programs, technology, and anything else that ca
ptures the imagination.

Visual Artists: Chi Birmingham, Nathan Bulmer, Josh Burggraf
Philip Cheaney, Rob Corradetti, C.M. Duffy, Ray Jones, Keren Katz, Victor Kerlow, Pat Kinsella, Brendan Leach, Haejeon Jessica Lee, Hye Su Lee, John Malta, Joey Parlett, Gant Powell, Matt Rota, Jess Ruliffson, David Sandlin, Erin Supinski, Dasha Tolstikova, Jen Tong, Andrea Tsurumi, Jess Worby

Animations curated by Tom Stathes

Magic and Mind Reading by Vinny DePonto

Video Art by Jason Martin

721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn
2,3,4,5,C to Franklin Avenue station
8p gallery opening | 10p performances
$5 to $20 sliding scale donations

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happening Right Now: Bike Corral

The city began installing Franklin's first bike corral in front of Little Zelda (on Franklin's hottest block, between Sterling and Park) this morning at 8am. Photo above.

For more information on bike corrals, bike parking, and how local residents and businesses can advocate for and acquire them, check out the NYC DOT Bicycle Parking page.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PDHR Leader Ede Fox Launches City Council Campaign Tonight

Local resident and Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform leader Ede Fox officially launches her campaign for City Council tonight at JACK in Clinton Hill (505 1/2 Waverly, between Atlantic and Fulton). Swing by to learn more about Ede's campaign and enjoy some snacks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Secondary Sound Acoustic Jam Night Tonight

From the folks at Secondary Sound:

Jam Night Is Tonight! 

9pm - Midnight @ The Breukelen Coffee House

The Jam is ON tonight! Bring your friends, bring your instruments, and bring your spectacular talents for a night of rocking and rolling (and jazzing and bluseing,) cozied up in the Breukelen Coffee House at 764A Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights! 

One tiny change this evening; We will be rocking acoustically, ya'll! Turns out our sound guys are relaxing on a beautiful beach in Puerto Rico while we weather the storm here at home! Bring your amps, or your acoustic instruments and we will make this work like they did in the days of cavemen. 

Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way! See you tonight!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Free Meals From Local Resident and MySpace NYC This Friday

From their FB page:

Dear Community, 

It is our pleasure to inform you that next Friday, November 30th, MySpaceNYC will join Mrs. Noelle, a local resident and humanitarian, in feeding the community. Mrs. Noelle presented the amazing cause to our staff members and we're pleased to be apart of this event. We will set up two tables on the side walk in front of Mrs. Noelle's residence, at 568 Franklin Ave, and we will provide enough food to feed at least 150 people. We're happy to assist Mrs. Noelle and thankful to be apart of this.

Hope you plan to join us! 4 days to go!

Shop Local for the Holidays on Franklin

Black Friday has passed, as has Small Business Saturday, but for many Brooklynites the holiday shopping season is still just getting underway. If you live locally, consider getting your gifts on Franklin, where your money will go to support local merchants whose contributions to the community include sponsoring the Franklin Avenue Kids Day, the Halloween Parade, street beautification, and more. I'm in full booster mode here, but it's not just the dollars and cents - shopping locally is a social process, too, one that builds links, affection, and trust between merchants and residents on which community-based action (around a wide variety of issues) is often founded. 

ILFA has received gift guides and gift updates from the local businesses listed below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list - if you're a local merchant, feel free to pass along additional information. Readers, if you've got a great local gift idea, share it here too!

- Calabar Imports, just arrived from Washington as of this summer, has some great items on offer in their new Franklin location.

- Owl & Thistle General Store sent their gift guide around recently, and much more can be found on their website. They've made a great effort to stock the work of local craftspeople and artisans, including much of what's sold at the Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair, on a regular basis. 

- The folks at Park Delicatessen over on Classon are never short of great gifts (and fabulous flowers, if you're looking for something in that vein). 

- Stork is the place to get great gifts for the young and the restless.

- About Time Boutique may no longer have a physical location on the Avenue, but you can still get great gear that represents the neighborhood on their website. 

It'd take far too long to list all of the restaurants and eateries on Franklin, but many of them (including, based purely on walk-ins over the last few days, The Candy Rush, Little Zelda, Pulp & Bean/Bob & Betty's, and Lily & Fig) have great items wrapped for gifting as well. Gift certificates are also available at many restaurants, and are an excellent gift-based strategy for making insular Manhattanites take to the subway and come visit in the cold winter months.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tuesday: CHCA Meeting, Wondering Around Wandering Closing Gala

Tomorrow evening should be a fun and interesting one on Franklin. First, the Crow Hill Community Association holds their November meeting at 7:30pm at the Gospel Tabernacle Church (725 Franklin). Then, Mike Perry's Wondering Around Wandering Gala kicks off at 8pm, featuring three live bands and some spectacular flower arrangements from Park Delicatessen. Tickets ain't cheap, but all the proceeds go to Sandy relief, so don't let the price deter you - this will be WAY more fun than clicking "yes" online or dropping some cash in a can (not that you shouldn't do those things too, of course).

If you can't make tomorrow's event, local artist and community leader Nina Meledandri is raising funds for relief by selling her paintings of her family's childhood vacation spot on Fire Island. Visit her website to learn more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Art On Franklin: American Landscape at Five Myles Tonight, Wondering Around Wandering Closing On Tuesday

Two quick updates on our local art scene:

- American Landscape opens tonight at Five Myles from 6-8pm (description from the gallery below). The show runs through December 16.

New work by: Marin Abell, Josh Bricker, Dan Carlson,
Chad Curtis, Dymph de Wild, Ben Finer, Daniel J. Glendening,
Peter Lapsley, Jan Mum, Tom Pnini, Leah Raintree,
Rick Reid, Corina Reynolds, Greg Stewart, John Wanzel

Organized by Dan Carlson
This exhibition collects 15 young artists from across the country who use the Romantic landscape paintings of the Hudson Valley School as a point of departure to make work that re-contextualizes America's endless bounty in late-model capitalism.
Image (above): Daniel J. Glendening

- Wondering around Wandering, the pop-up gallery and community event space from Mike Perry at 983 Dean Street, will host its regular hours tomorrow from 1-6pm and then close for two days to prepare for their final gala, featuring live music from three bands and raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. If you haven't had a chance to check WAW out yet, this is your last chance!

Friday, November 16, 2012

UPDATED: Protest at MySpaceNYC Saturday at 1pm

The Crown Heights Assembly will be leading a demonstration at MySpaceNYC on Saturday to protest the displacement of longtime residents and the overcharging of current tenants. More details coming soon.

UPDATED: See below for the complete press release from the Crown Heights Assembly.

Saturday: Crown Heights Rallies for Tenant Justice at MySpace Realty

Long-Term & New Residents Unite to Demand Rent History Disclosure,
Building Repairs, An End to Displacement
Contact  Nick Petrie                   914-589-8921       

Friday, November 16, 2012 – On Saturday, November 17th at 1pm, a coalition of long-term residents and new residents of Crown Heights will rally at the offices of MySpaceNYC, a real estate brokerage that profits from the displacement of long-term Black and Latino tenants and the overcharging of new tenants.  The rally, organized by a community power group called the Crown Heights Assembly, marks the beginning of a new alliance of Crown Heights residents demanding that the machinery of displacement be dismantled in our neighborhood, one brokerage at a time.

Onikah Evans is a lifelong resident of 1045 Union Street, a building acquired by ZT Realty this year; some units in 1045 Union are brokered by MySpaceNYC.  Evans said, “Right now, they’re trying to take the keys and move people out without giving them anything.  Now they’re trying to start the heat, but the heat is not hot.  It’s not coming through the radiator, it’s a false claim of heat.  They’re not doing repairs in the building.  No repairs.  Before we, used to see workers in the building everyday.  Now, we don’t see workers in the building at all.  Right now, my kitchen sink hasn’t been working for three days.  We called the office, and no maintenance.”
Nick Petrie, a tenant on St. Johns and a Crown Heights Assembly member, said, “I was shown an apartment by a MySpaceNYC Agent who adamantly promised that my landlord was responsive and responsible. The original asking price for my unit, a 2 bedroom in a rent-stabilized building, was $1900 a month. Far outside my budget, the MySpaceNYC Agent agreed to ‘bargain-down’ the price on my behalf to $1800.”

Petrie continued, “MySpaceNYC's lies became clear after living in my apartment for a few weeks. My bedroom ceiling has become deluged with water and collapsed four times. There are rats in my walls. For weeks our heat was inoperable and we had inconsistent hot water. When I asked my landlord, Elcorno Martin, to fix these problems, he first ignored me, then yelled and me and shouted profanities at me. When I told him he was legally required to give me heat and hot water after October 1st, he shouted me out of his office saying, ‘What law says that? I don't have to do that!’”
Petrie concluded, “After checking my rental history from DHCR it is clear that I am being overcharged by Martin with MySpaceNYC's aid.  The last legal rent for my unit was $1250 while I pay $1800. MySpaceNYC is profiting from the displacement and harassment of long-term residents and the illegal overcharging of new residents. As a new resident of Crown Heights, I know that I am facing different challenges from long-term residents being pushed out of their homes. I write this to be clear that we must work together to push back against the landlords and brokerage firms making money off us all.”

On Saturday, this alliance will announce, “Crown Heights isn’t MySpace; it’s our space. We will demand:

Show Us The Real Rent We call on MySpaceNYC to sign a legally binding agreement that requires the firm to show all prospective tenants the legal rental history of the apartment when they see the place.  This will prevent the illegal rent overcharges now epidemic on the Franklin Avenue corridor and spreading beyond that area.  MySpace must require landlords provide official DHCR rental histories to prospective tenants as a material condition of working with the brokerage.
Meet All Tenant Demands: Stop The Displacement & Fix The BuildingsMySpaceNYC has the power to force all of its landlords meet tenant demands as a material condition of working with the brokerage.  These tenant demands include: stop illegal evictions of long-term residents, stop refusing services and repairs, and end tenant harassment.  We demand that MySpaceNYC sign a legally binding agreement requiring its landlords meet with tenants to immediately remediate building-level and apartment-level demands.

Third Annual Franklin Avenue Roundup: Pace of Change Accelerating?

(Crane at 341 Eastern Parkway; Fatima Restaurant evicted)

It's time once again for the annual gentrification-revitalization-neighborhood change roundup, a yearly look at commercial changes up and down Franklin Avenue, the namesake of this blog and the home base of its author. I started writing ILFA in late October of 2008, three months after moving to Crown Heights. The blog initially started out as more of a personal exploration of the whole borough, facilitated by a job that had me traveling daily to public schools across Brooklyn (this is still commemorated in the tagline "Walking Around Brooklyn With a Camera and a Pen," which itself is hopelessly dated - who uses cameras or pens anymore? It stays because "Walking Around Brooklyn with a Smartphone" is worse). As I learned quickly, however, one can't live in Crown Heights for very long without encountering the rapid changes taking place in the neighborhood, and as I met more of my neighbors and spoke more frequently with local business people and community leaders, the conversations turned repeatedly to the shifting shape of Franklin Avenue. 

Gentrification doesn't lack for attention in the borough of Kings, and many residents profess to being sick to death of the entire topic. Still, it's a process that affects all of us who live in Crown Heights, and one which I think warrants continued critical attention. Over the last four years, I've tried to use ILFA in two ways: first, to report on and occasionally analyze these rapid changes from my own perspective (new-ish arrival, ed-non-profit employee, community association member, urban history graduate student) but with a sympathetic ear to the diversity of local perspectives (from the excited to the disgusted); and, secondly, to create something of a forum (one necessarily limited to those with the time, technology, and inclination to read and comment on blogs) for the discussion of these issues. In that spirit, and without further ado, here's the rundown (and here are the ones from 2011 and 2010)

52 New Businesses Since August 2008 (working north from Eastern - this year's 16 additions in bold):

The Pulp and The Bean
JamRock Kitchen
Mazon Discount
Brooklyn Yoga Collective (replaced Marianne's Hair Braiding)
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
Brooklyn Fit Lab 
739 Franklin
The Candy Rush
Lily & Fig
It Takes a Village (sharing space with LaunchPad)
First Impressions Dental
TasteBuds (replaced About Time Boutique, now online)
Alternative Healing (now closed)
Black Ice NYC (replaced Alternative Healing)
Rosebud Vintage
Little Zelda
The Crown Inn
MySpace Realty
Owl and Thistle General Store
Bella Greens
BNI Express Laundromat
Crow Hill Jewelry (the pawn shop - now closed)
Sweet Basil 
The Pana Store
Modern and Vintage Shop
Calabar Imports
Excelsior Cycles (replaced United Community Church of God)
Franklin Roadhouse (now closed)
Mayfield (replaced Franklin Roadhouse)
Rosco's (replaced A Slice of Brooklyn)
A Slice of Brooklyn (now closed)
Oaxaca Taco (now closed)
Gueros Tacos
Eve and Mike's Pharmacy
The O Experience (salon above Imperial Bikers M.C.)
The Laundromat in the Jewish Hospital (on St. Marks)
Compare Foods
Posh Nails NYC
Kecia J. Weaver Law Office

8 Coming Soon (based in part on rumors):

Pizza Place (in former African Hair Braiding space, 800 Franklin)
Falafel Place (next door, 798 Franklin)
742 Franklin (MySpace storefront, rumored to be Starbucks)
Indian Place (738 Franklin, SW corner of Franklin and Sterlin)
Island Seas (in the old 3Ds space)
Coffee Shop (former Muslim Bookshop space, lost in fire)
Bollywood Bar (in former Ebita Reality space)
1000 Dean Street (to contain beer garden/food court)

25 Renovations & Additions (done, planned, or in progress - this year's in bold):

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)
Barboncino (added yard, event space coming)
Nam's (forever rearranging/renovating) 
Christopher Deli (new awning)
Bristen's/Island Thyme (now closed)
About Time (always keeping it fresh - now TasteBuds)
Community Garden (in a storefront space - now closed)
J&B Deli (now closed, became Chavela's)
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)
Dean Deli Grocery
Organic Deli Grocery (badly damaged in recent fire)

30 Closed (11 closures this year, in bold):

African Hair Braiding (to be Pizza Place)
Passion Hair Salon
Translation Services (to be Falafel Place)
Scarlet Ribbons Thrift Shop (now wino(t), moved to Fulton)
NA Candy Store (deli)
Marianne Hair Braiding (now Brooklyn Yoga Collective)
Aissatou Hair Braiding (sign says they moved nearby)
Fatima (one of the best West African restaurants in NYC)
790 Franklin (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 (to be Island Seas)
J&B Deli (now Chavela's)
Alternative Healing (now Black Ice)
Off the Hook Communications (now Little Zelda)
El Baron Grocery (soon to be The Crown Inn)
West Indian Cafe (now J's Wong)
Crow Hill Jewelry (the pawn shop)
Saje (closed just before I got here, now the Pana Store)
Homage (renovated, fire)
Muslim Bookshop (fire)
United Community Church of God (now Excelsior Cycles)
Franklin Roadhouse (now Mayfield)
Ebita Real Estate Office

World Class People's Market (deli)
Insurance (now Oaxaca Taco)
Oaxaca Taco (now Gueros Tacos)

5 New Construction Projects Underway:

341 Eastern Parkway 
Four Story Development (on site of CHCA garden)
505 St. Marks Residential Development
Four-Story Building (fence just went up, NE corner of St. Mark's and Franklin)
1000 Dean Street

Some thoughts:

- The pace of change seems to be accelerating along Franklin. The Avenue added approximately 12 new businesses a year in the first three years ILFA was tracking it, but it added 16 this year, despite a tighter, pricier rental market and increased competition for storefronts. In past years, there have been 4-5 places coming soon; this year, there are 8, and that's not including three or four other storefronts under renovation without prospective tenants, two new four-story developments, and the two looming mega-projects (of which more below). For that matter, new construction on Franklin is happening for the first time since I've been tracking this, and bricks and mortar are flying fast and furious this year. 

- Closures have picked up considerably as well - of the 52 new businesses since August 2008, 6 have closed, and another 24 have gone under as well, for a total of 30 since 2008. Only 4 businesses closed between ILFA's 2010 and 2011 roundups, as compared with 11 this year. Competition for space is picking up, and landlords are looking for new, higher-paying tenants. Fatima, one of the best West African restaurants in New York City, was evicted this week, and four African hair salons in two blocks have been closed over the past year. There was a time when ILFA tried to argue that changes on Franklin didn't conform neatly to typified gentrification trends (citing the openings of JamRock Kitchen, the Pana Store, the Pawn Shop, etc), but that's no longer a viable argument. 

While residential displacement is often at the core of debates around gentrification (with good reason), commercial displacement can play a major role as well. Rent stabilization and rent control are imperfect protections for residential tenants, but NYC hasn't had commercial rent stabilization at all since 1962. When businesses go, especially gathering places like hair salons, community support networks dissipate. Coupled with rising prices for housing and food in the area and zero-tolerance policing, these kinds of closures hasten the process of displacement.

- Prognosticators have been searching for a tipping point since before I arrived (was it when Nam's went organic? When Franklin Park opened?), and while I'm hesitant to ascribe too much significance to one or two events, it seems fair to say that some game-changing developments, most notably 341 Eastern Parkway and 1000 Dean Street, loom on the horizon. These developments, which have attracted millions of dollars of investment from some rather well-known players (you may have heard of Goldman Sachs), are another big reason that the pace of change feels different. Earlier changes were often the work of longtime local residents or merchants, putting their own dollars back into renovations or new efforts. Folks with more Brooklyn-wide restaurant experience followed quickly (the guys at Franklin Park/Dutch Boy/Crown Inn come to mind, as do the Gueros/Rosco's folks), as did first-timers with visions. Still, these folks weren't so big as to change the game by their mere presence. Now, however, citywide/global capital has made its way to Franklin. What will it bring? We'll know soon enough. 

In closing, it's been another year of rapid changes for Franklin, and things don't show any sign of slowing. There are lots of reasons to be excited about the neighborhood - vacant storefronts are now full, crime is down, cooperative community beautification efforts have improved the streetscape and provided great local youth events (including the Kids Day) - and there are lot of longtime residents (and some new arrivals, too) who've worked very hard to make these things happen. There are also reasons to be ambivalent or frustrated about changes, with displacement and rising costs of living (and doing business, if you're a merchant) often chief among them. There's more to say, but this post is long enough, so I'll kick it to the readers: How do you feel about the rapid changes? How can local residents (whether they've been here for a month or a decade) affect and channel these changes to the benefit of the greatest number of people in what is, today, a very diverse community? And what's next for Franklin?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Last Crown Heights Farmers Market of the Season Today from 1-7pm at Hamilton-Metz Park

From the folks at Seeds in the Middle:

Come to the Crown Heights Farmers Market today, Thursday, 1 pm to 7 pm, for our last market of the 2012 season!
Like many in the region, Hurricane Sandy heavily impacted our farmers. But we are happy to welcome back RH Farms and their beautiful bounty.  

Where: Albany/Lefferts Aves. at Hamilton Metz Park 

Did you see the new garden at Hamilton Metz Park?

If you haven't caught sight of the beautiful trees and plants, take a look in Hamilton Metz Park at the  children's garden, planted with the family of Farmer Roy Hildebrant - in his memory and in the memory of all who died too young. We trust it survived all the storms!

Thank you, Kaboom and Home Depot and NYC Parks for the soil, plants and supplies.  

Roy's wife, Michelle Hildebrant and their six children and friends joined PS 221 Hip2B Healthy students to plant a new garden at Hamilton Metz Park, Albany/Lefferts Avenues, right next to the field. More photos to come.

Farmer Roy Hildebrant was our first farmer, and co-founder of the Crown Heights Farmers Market. See his obit here. 
Basketball: Interested in basketball, soccer? Stay tuned for updates on new programming. 
Thank you to all who have supported us!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fire at Pacific and Franklin

As reported earlier by DNAInfo, there was a two-alarm fire at Pacific and Franklin this morning that claimed one life and injured several other people. If you know of any efforts to help the victims of this tragedy, please post them here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two Big Literature Events on Franklin This Week

In the last three years or so, local literati have been blessed to have Penina Roth in Crown Heights. Having built the Franklin Park Reading Series from a local event into one of the premiere literature readings in the city, she's now partnering with like-minded folks around the city to bring even more great readings and events to the neighborhood. This week alone, there are two fantastic events at Franklin Park:

- On Monday, the regular Reading Series hosts their second annual event with Electric Literature, featuring a great slate of authors. As usual, things start at 8pm in the big room with $4 pints.

- On Thursday, swing by again for the launch of MY BOOKSTORE: WRITERS CELEBRATE THEIR FAVORITE PLACES TO BROWSE, READ, AND SHOP, an anthology of essays from notable authors about their favorite bookshops. Franklin Park will be celebrating with three of Brooklyn's leading indie bookstores --  Park Slope's Community Bookstore, Fort Greene's Greenlight Bookstore and Greenpoint's WORD. Contributors Carmela Ciuraru (Nom de Plume: A Secret History of Pseudonyms), Emily St. John Mandel (The Lola Quartet, The Singer's Gun) and Matt Weiland (State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America) will share their essays, and those who preorder the book (click on the links above to do so) will get a free pint ($4 all night for those who attend). 

Friday, November 09, 2012

Crown Heights Film Festival Closing Ceremonies on Saturday

Check 'em out!

Join us tomorrow for the Closing Festivities Day at Crown Heights Film Festival!

Date: Saturday, November 10
Location: FiveMyles, 558 St Johns Place (between Franklin Ave and Classon Ave), Brooklyn
Time: 2:00 - 9:30 (Doors open 1:30)

If you've missed a few films you wanted to see during the festival, you may be able to catch them again! Tomorrow we will be re-screening all 6 CHFF award winning films throughout the afternoon before our awards presentation. There will be opportunities to talk with the filmmakers about their films.



8:30 Performance by BROWN RICE FAMILY

10:30 until Late: Our fundraising after-party will be held at bar 739 (739 Franklin Ave). No cover charge if you joined us for the films that day at FiveMyles (keep your tickets!), otherwise there is a cover charge of $10. There will be drink specials, a lot of celebration, and dancing.  DJ K. Life Walks will be doing his magic that night!

Thank you all once again for supporting our work at CHFF.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Snowed In

New Yorkers had precious little time to celebrate President Obama's re-election between storm recovery and the latest from mother nature, a nor'easter that's doing double-duty as an early season blizzard. If you've got extra winter clothing handy, consider donating it to those who are still without their belongings (or whose belongings were destroyed). There's a short list of ways to donate here.

Also, if you're looking for indoor fun over the next few days, the Crown Heights Film Festival has three more days of great films showing locally, and they could use your support!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Get out and VOTE today, everybody! If you don't know where your polling place is, click HERE (some poll sites have been moved on account of the hurricane, though that likely will not affect Crown Heights). Look for the signs above to find polling places, too. 

And if you're watching returns in the neighborhood, let us know where (ILFA will likely wander into whatever bar is showing them).

Update: Franklin Park will be showing election coverage all day and all night from 2pm on.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Weekend Update: Collections for Hurricane Relief, Crown Heights Film Festival, & More

Weekend happenings on Franklin, including an open house at It Takes a Village (see flyer above):

- Today (Saturday) from 9am-noon the Crow Hill Community Association will be gathering relief items for victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways. You can drop off the materials listed below at 730 Franklin (in front of the former CHCA community garden). Bold/asterisks indicate a much-needed item:

  • empty boxes to collect items
  • water *
  • cereals
  • canned fish or meat: tuna, salmon, ham
  • powdered milk and infant formulas
  • canned or packaged meals: pasta, mac and cheese, chili, stews, meaty soups
  • peanut butter (plastic jars only)
  • canned vegetables, fruits, and juices
  • AA and AAA batteries *
  • flashlights and lanterns *
  • toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouth wash
  • deodorant
  • razors and razor blades
  • toilet paper
  • diapers (child and adult)
- Also in the interest of supporting Sandy's victims, Franklin Park will be donating all of its Sunday proceeds to the relief effort. I KNOW Franklinites won't balk at an excuse for guilt-free Sunday drinking.

- The Crown Heights Film Festival will be going strong all weekend long. Like many local groups, their plans have taken a hit, with many out-of-towners unable to come in for shows, so they'd love extra support from locals.

- Finally, parents in the neighborhood should swing by the open house for It Takes a Village (see flyer above) to learn more about this new and innovative playspace opening on Franklin.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Open House This Saturday: It Takes a Village

I meant to get this posted earlier, but things have been moving a little more slowly since the hurricane. Anyway, some local parents have created It Takes a Village, an innovative new model for community child-rearing, and they're having an open house this Saturday for those interested in learning more about it:

It Takes A Village!
721 Franklin Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

It Takes A Village! is a fun, safe, and social non-profit community space for local families with children under the age of 4. "The Village" is a funhouse for kids and a clubhouse for parents -- a home-away-from-home where new families find friends, reassurance, and a creative environment. Children here learn by engaging socially: an inspiring second home for exploration and diverse friend-making. The Village is a continually evolving open space to nurture our growing community of new families.

Members get a key to the front door, and unlimited access to a space, which will be furnished with books, toys, and wonderful outdoor playground. We also will have a wide array of classes: from yoga to music to lactation workshops etc. Above all The Village will be a place to go and hang out and be with other families and their children 7 days a week.

Membership will cover the cost of the rent and insurance, it will be a monthly number somewhere around $40.