Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crown Heights Animal Hospital Aims for March 4 Opening

The Crown Heights Animal Hospital at 753 Franklin (a branch of the Prospect Heights Animal Hospital on Flatbush) is aiming to open this Monday, March 4, according to some folks inside the store earlier this week. They'll be happy to serve all your beloved mammalian friends, as well as exotic pets of all species. 

In other new business news, one announcement at the last CHCA was that we will soon have another coffee shop on the Avenue, this one at St. Marks and Franklin. The owners seem like very nice folks, and weathered the audible groans at the announcement of another coffee shop with aplomb. No word on the exact location or planned opening date.

Finally, with respect to the CHCA Town Hall Meeting, ILFA can confirm that the Saturday, March 23 event will be the first of a few meetings, and that following meetings will take place on other days so as to accommodate those who can't attend on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Contentious Crown Heights Links: Bike Corrals and Charter Schools

(the much-discussed bike corral)

Some things that came through ILFA's inbox over the past few days - there is, as always, much to be discussed:

- Local journalist Maya Lau, who contributed a review of Catfish to ILFA in January, wrote an article about the bike corral spat for the NYT's CityRoom blog. 94 comments and counting...

- The Root talked to Congresswoman Yvette Clarke about the challenges Caribbean immigrants face in Brooklyn (this issue is certainly contentious at the national level, but this article isn't, particularly). 

- Anticipating future spats, DNA Info voiced concerns about the timing of the CHCA's upcoming Town Hall meeting (planned, in part, to address issues raised in connection with the bike corral).

- LaunchPad has another great slate of events coming up this weekend, including performances, live jazz, and improv comedy (which can sometimes be contentious - I'm reaching here, but wanted to give them a shout). 

- The WAGPOPS (Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents for Our Public Schools) passed this email regarding charter co-locations along. The Brooklynians have been discussing these issues for some time.  

Dear parents and school communities,

You may have been contacted by Citizens of the World Charter Schools recently to enroll your child in their lottery or help them spread the word about their schools opening in Crown Heights and Williamsburg.

We are concerned about the misinformation you may have received about Citizens of the World Charter Schools (CWC) and urge you to find out more before applying to CWC or offering them a platform to speak to your communities.

Hundreds of local parents have launched a lawsuit against the SUNY charter school authorizers to stop CWC from opening. Here's the paperwork on our lawsuit:   http://www.scribd.com/doc/122236115/WAGPOPS-lawsuit-against-SUN

Every elected official in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, including US Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, NYState Senator Martin Dilan, NYState Assemblymen Joe Lentol, City Councilmember Steve Levin, City Councilmember Diana Reyna, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Community Education Council 14, District Leadership Council 14, and Community Board 1, oppose Citizens of the World Charter Schools.

As of two weeks ago, articles that criticized CWC became harder to find (unless you google "Citizens of the World" with "scandals" or "segregation"). Enrollment in the CWC lottery is approaching and CWC does not want parents to know the reasons why parents have been trying to stop them from opening.

The story of how CWC came to Brooklyn:
http://thewgnews.com/2012/09/the-demise-of-public-education-mr-mrs-moskowitz-push-more-charters-on-williamburg/

A Village Voice article about CWC and Success Academy:
http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-01-30/news/Eva-Moskowitz-Bloomberg-Charter-Schools/

NYC Public School Parents' take on CWC - exposing corruption, financial instability, management issues, and the impact on nearby neighborhood public schools:
http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2012/05/comments-on-applications-of-citizens-of.html

An interview and background on WAGPOPS!:
http://greenpointers.com/2013/01/31/charter-schools-and-wagpops/

Two articles about CWC relating to how their choice leads to our segregated schools:
http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2012/04/exposing-segregation-tactics-of-eric.html
http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2012/05/citizens-of-world-charter-parent-choice.html

An article from a Los Angeles parent fighting Citizens of the World Silver Lake
http://echopark.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-got-school with a follow up article from a charter school founder http://echopark.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-charter-school-founder-sounds-off-on-the-impact-of-charter-schools

We encourage you to consider your neighborhood schools. You'll find that even though your neighborhood public schools don't have fancy Powerpoint presentations or a marketing/PR budget of almost $150,000 (that's the CWC marketing/PR budget using our tax dollars), they do offer a constructivist curriculum, diversity in the classroom, arts/science/sports, balanced literacy, project based learning, and the opportunity to genuinely engage with your child's school. 

Our lawsuit is pending.  In the mean time, public school families in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and across NYC rely on the support of other parents and community members  to preserve the promise of public education to serve all of our children and ensure that every neighborhood public school is excellent.

Should you have any questions or want more information, please don't hesitate to email us.

Kind regards,
WAGPOPS!

Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents: Our Public Schools!
Representing parents from PS31, PS34, PS110, PS414, PS84, PS147, PS380, PS132, IS318, JHS126, etc.,
http://www.facebook.com/WilliamsburgGreenpointParents
https://twitter.com/WAGPOPS

Arts To End Violence Kicks Off Next Week


Arts to End Violence, the annual arts festival from the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, kicks off next week with an art therapy workshop at their home on 256 Kingston Avenue. For more, see below:


The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center is pleased to announce its third annual Arts to End Violence festival and contest.  CHCMC is a neighborhood problem-solving center that aims to strengthen the Crown Heights neighborhood through youth programming, neighbor services, and the community-based anti-gun violence program, Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Crown Heights. Last year the show brought artists together to share their own messages of peace and feelings about violence. The results were a diverse group of powerful images and performances that invigorated the community efforts to reduce violence. We are again calling on artists of all ages to submit art for this project in three categories: 2-dimensional art, video, and performance. Artists 24 and under are eligible for cash prizes and all are eligible to be displayed in the Ron Taylor Gallery in Crown Heights this spring. The deadline for submission is April 1st. 

For more details about Arts to End Violence, please see the ATEV page of our blog or check out ourTumblr. The gallery show will open with an evening celebration on May 23rd and art will remain on display until June 9th. We encourage artists, gallery spaces, teachers, art programs and media to call us at 718-773-6886 or email us at chcmcblog@gmail.com to learn more about how to get involved. Please share this information with your networks! See the attached flyer or forward this email. CHCMC staff are happy to present in schools and other locations. Our goal is to open this opportunity to as many people as possible. 

This year's ATEV program will kick off with an Art Therapy for Kids workshop, taught by professional Art Therapist and Crown Heights resident, Arla Herron-Nurse. The event will be on Wednesday, March 6th, from 7-9pm at the Crown heights Mediation Center (256 Kingston Avenue, between Lincoln and St. John's Place). The event is free, materials are provided, and all are welcome. Please RSVP to Ariana Siegel by calling 718-773-6886. Please see the attached flyer to share with your networks.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Three Great Events From LaunchPad This Weekend

Lotsa fun to be had around the Avenue this weekend, including LaunchPad's Winter Carnival Fundraiser tonight. Complete weekend schedule below:

*****************************
Friday, February 22nd @ 8pm
LaunchPad's Winter Carnival Fundraiser

Join us February 22nd for a Winter Carnival Fundraiser at LaunchPad featuring...

- Live music by Electric Monday (http://www.facebook.com/electricmondaymusic)
- Mask making table
- Home-brewed beer by Honest Pete
- Costumes and dancing strongly encouraged
- And more!

LaunchPad
721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn
2,3,4,5,C trains to Franklin Avenue station
8p, $10 suggested donation

**************************************

Saturday, February 23rd @ 8pm
Pulsewave: Riffs N' Chips


Come out of the cold and enjoy the sweet riffs and melodic chips of some of chipmusic's coolest rockers at this month's Pulsewave. Pulsewave is the US's longest running show dedicated to exploring the sights and sounds of vintage game consoles and computers.

$10 admission & ALL AGES

ANIMAL STYLE (PA) -
Animal Style is an audio visual chip music project by Joey Mariano started around 2001.
http://filefreakout.com/animalstyle/

SADNES (CT) -
Sadnes is an exploration of self and a coming to terms with prior occurences. A blissful mixture of 90's grunge backed by a Nintendo Entertainment System. His sound will make you wish ripped jeans and messy hair were back in style. It’s time to hate your parents.
https://soundcloud.com/sadnes

DANIMAL CANNON (NY) -
Your life will be greatly enhanced once you attend a Danimal Cannon show. He's like a government stimulus check that gives you ice cream sandwiches made out of guitar solos. Can you really afford to pass that up? Didn't think so.
http://danimalcannon.bandcamp.com/

visuals by BATSLY ADAMS (NY) -
Andrew Reitano [Batsly Adams] is an electrical engineer / programmer / visualist based in NY. He creates visuals using a combination of two Sega Genesis consoles and a hand-built video synth circuit. His style involves pushing the limits of the Sega video processor (VDP), utilizing hardware tricks to produce images beyond the expected capability of the system
http://www.batslyadams.com/

We will be having an open mic this month! Come show us what you've made/written! Every open mic spot has a 5 minute limit, which includes set-up and tear-down. Open mic sign-ups are first-come, first-serve so get there at door time if you want a spot. Don't be shy, come out and play!

LaunchPad
721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn
2,3,4,5,C trains to Franklin Avenue station
8p, $10

**********************************

Saturday, February 23rd @ 2pm
Black History Month Celebration

What does Black History mean to you? Did you become a writer many Februaries ago as a third grader doing a report on Lorraine Hansberry? Or a painter after you first saw the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat? Or does Black History start closer to home with your own family and friends? LaunchPad wants to know your history!

Join us on Saturday, February 23 from 2pm-5pm and tell us what Black History means to you. Show us your art, play us your song, read us your story, read someone else’s, anything goes.

Email launchpadbhm@gmail.com to tell us if and how you’d like to participate. Share your history!

LaunchPad
721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn
2,3,4,5,C trains to Franklin Avenue station
2p, Pay what you wish

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cool Pony Arrives This Weekend



Questions have been swirling about the next new business for Franklin's busiest block since the Candy Rush closed (sob), and yesterday, Brownstoner officially broke the news that Cool Pony has arrived (albeit somewhat incompletely/incorrectly - Kevin and Garnet, who still own the space, have leased it and won't be running the new spot). ILFA swung by today on the recommendations of readers (who'd already been in - thanks to Ben for the top photo, above) and learned that the shop will be quite the multi-purpose place. During the day, they'll have it set up as a thrift store and record shop (with a pile of 78s already on the shelf), and at night, it will transition to a live music and performance venue serving small bites and, if the application process goes well, beer and wine. While they're aiming for an "official" grand opening on March 1st, they're kicking things off this weekend with a slate of events that includes a Friday night square dance and a Sunday night adult puppet show, among others. Swing by this weekend to check them (and lots of live performances) out. 

Press release and full schedule to follow in this space.

Tonight: Brooklyn Love at Five Myles (7-10pm)


Five Myles (St. John's between Franklin and Classon) hosts Brooklyn Love tonight, an evening of music and food to benefit the Brooklyn Community Foundation. If you're not familiar with BCF, check out their annual report to see how they allocated over three million dollars worth of grants in the borough of Kings last year. The fun starts at 7pm, and includes food, drink, and live performances. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Niman Ranch at Tastebuds


Top: Niman Ranch Pork Company Founder Paul Willis enjoys his pepper bacon on a TasteBuds biscuit.
Above: Niman Ranch corned beef with swiss, lettuce, tomato and mustard on a jalapeƱo biscuit. 
 
When TasteBuds opened back in May, ILFA reported on the ways that owners Kevin Philip and Mike Fink were doing things their way, developing a unique place while doing their best to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded food scene in Crown Heights. One of those decisions was the use of Niman Ranch products in their sandwiches, from the bacon on your breakfast biscuit to the corned beef and pastrami in your New York deli classics. Niman, which provides meat to Whole Foods and Chipotle as well as NYC hotspots including Daniel and Saul, might not have been the most obvious choice for a local sandwich shop looking to sell a quick-and-easy lunch in Crown Heights, but in a way, Niman and Tastebuds are a lot alike. 

Niman's Paul Willis launched the company's pork program to preserve a world and a lifestyle he loved - the old-school farms of Iowa, where pigs actually lived outdoors - and make that world competitive in a modern business environment. The network he's built, which includes nearly 500 farms and ships meat nationwide, offers a viable alternative to the factory-farm model, one that keeps farmers in business. It seems fitting that Tastebuds, whose owners have deep roots in Crown Heights, hire locally, and lead and fund community events (but aren't afraid to change their business models to keep up with the rapid changes in the area) would find a partner in Niman Ranch.

Willis paid a visit to Tastebuds this afternoon to see his friends in action (Fink's wife, local filmmaker Jan Weber, has worked with Willis before - see the video below), and DNA Info's Sonja Sharp stopped by to report on the event take some photos (I didn't make the slide show, but my sandwich did, and really, the sandwich looked better). Bacon biscuits and sliced corned beef made the rounds, and Fink and Philip weighed in on their favorite sandwiches (Fink loves the Croque Monseiur, made with Niman ham, while Philip goes for a classic pastrami). Asked why he'd made the trek to Crown Heights (he was in town speaking at TEDx Manhattan), Willis smiled. "This place, this neighborhood - it's unique for us."



Brooklyn Welcomes Niman Farmers from Mike Enright on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Crow Hill Community Association Announcements: Monthly Meeting Tuesday, Town Hall in March

The Crow Hill Community Association will hold its February meeting this coming Tuesday, February 19, at 7:30pm in the Gospel Tabernacle Church at 725 Franklin Ave. It should be an interesting meeting - they describe it as follows:

In preparation for our town hall meeting in March, we've invited individuals that represent different groups in our neighborhood—seniors, merchants, landlords, artists, teachers, social service workers—to talk about what's working in our community and what's not.
Come out to listen and gain a different perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by people in our neighborhood.


As they note, they've got a bigger event coming up in March, a Town Hall Meeting to discuss some of the big questions and challenges facing Crown Heights at greater length. Complete info is below, but as part of their preparation, they're collecting responses to the following three questions on their site:


  • What do you like about our community?
  • What do you *not* like about our community?
  • What is your dream for our community? 


  • The event takes place on March 23 at the PS 22 campus on Classon and St. Marks. See you there!


    CHCA is excited to be planning a community-wide Town Hall meeting in March. We see this as an opportunity to talk about the future of our community, and we want everyone’s voice to be heard.
    Save the date 
    Saturday, March 23, noon – 3pm
    P.S. 22 Campus
    443 St. Marks at Classon Ave.
    Help us get the word out
    Download a flier, print it out, and give it to the people in your building, school, place of worship — wherever!
    We also need help putting together mailings, placing posters to get the word out, and running the event itself — preparing materials, serving food, and providing daycare. 
    Email chca@crowhillcommunity.org to volunteer.
    Make your voice heard
    Tell us your vision for Crown Heights by filling out our three-question survey.
    • What do you like about our community?
    • What do you *not* like about our community?
    • What is your dream for our community? 

    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Weekend Links: Cartoon Carnival, Couples Massage, and Niman Ranch at Tastebuds

    Some links from around the Avenue:

    - LauchPad hosts a Cartoon Carnival on Saturday night:

    Saturday, February 16th
    Tom Stathes Cartoon Carnival: So Love Me Maybe
    To celebrate the holiday, Tom Stathes digs out some rare, vintage Valentine's cartoons for your enjoyment. We’ll be screening more than an hour’s worth of cool animation from the 1920s through 1940s on actual 16mm film with a projector.
    By doing this, Tom seeks to keep alive a form of film presentation that is now quickly dying: the projection of real film. Tom is also replicating the old semi-professional projected 16mm film screenings which were common in schools, clubs, private homes, and neighborhood ci
    nemas in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Come be a part of our fun and unique holiday experience, which you're sure to enjoy!
    $10 at the door, and a nice 'wintry drink' is included with the price!
    Doors at 8pm and the cartoons start a little afterward. Earlier arrival is better if you require seating.
    LaunchPad
    721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn
    2,3,4,5,C trains to Franklin Avenue station
    8p, $10 suggested donation

    - Force and Flow hosts a couples massage workshop on Saturday afternoon:



    Valentines Day Couples Thai Massage Workshops

    Saturday, February 16
    1:00 – 3:30PM and
    5:00 – 7:30PM
    @ Force and Flow
    $70 per couple
    Preregistration Required - http://blog.forceandflow.com/?page_id=701
    4 Couples Max Per Session
    This Valentine’s Day, give each other a gift that you can continue giving throughout the year. Come experience the pleasures and benefits of giving and receiving Thai Massage, also known as Thai Partner Yoga Bodywork.
    Learn how to stretch, release tension, and encourage relaxation in your partner and yourself simultaneously! This is a beautiful way to spend a couple of weekend hours and a deeply effective and meaningful way to care for one another.
    Ophra Wolf, owner of Force and Flow, is a highly regarded Thai Massage practitioner whom has studied both in Thailand and the US and has worked with individuals and couples since 2004.
    The workshop is limited to four couples per session, with two available sessions, 1PM and 5PM. No experience with Thai Massage or yoga is necessary, but if you have any physical concerns please contact Ophra in advance. You will need comfortable clothes to move in, we will provide the rest.

    - And Paul Willis of Niman Ranch swings by TasteBuds on Monday afternoon:

    TasteBuds Announces a Tasting Event Hosted by Farmer & Founder of Niman Ranch Pork, Paul Willis
     
    Paul Willis will greet customers of Brooklyn’s hottest sandwich shop, share stories, and some new Niman Ranch products. Everyone is welcome!
     
    TasteBuds.
    President’s Day Event
    12 noon to 3:00 PM
    Monday, February 18, 2013
    736A Sterling Place
    Brooklyn, NY 11238
     
     
    BROOKLYN, N.Y. February 18, 2013.  Dedicated to using only the highest quality ingredients in their signature sandwiches, TasteBuds opened its doors in June of 2012 with an array of Niman Ranch products, including Jamon Royale Applewood Smoked Ham, Applewood Smoked Bacon, and their peerless all-beef Fearless Franks—all becoming instant hits with customers.
     
    Behind these excellent products is an excellent farmer who raises hogs to exacting standards of humane, antibiotic-free animal husbandry. Paul Willis developed those standards on his own farm in rural Iowa (where he still raises pigs on pasture today) and with them founded Niman Ranch Pork, a network of small independent family farms raising hogs—sustainably & naturally--under the Niman banner.
     
    TasteBuds is honored to have an extraordinary farmer visit our extraordinary Crown Heights neighborhood to host TasteBuds and Niman Ranch President’s Day Tasting  Event. Everyone is welcome!
     
    TasteBuds Snadwich Shop is located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 736A Franklin Ave. (Between Sterling Pl. and Park Pl.) Open 7 days a week, 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am – 6 pm, Saturday; 11 am – 6 pm Sunday, serving hot homemade biscuits, farm-fresh eggs, sandwiches, sides, and breakfast all day.

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Happy Valentine's Day, Crown Heights

    Wholesale flower guys were prepping rose bouquets out in front of the old Panamanian storefront church at Franklin and Dean this morning, and the Avenue was all a-flutter with flowers as I walked to the train. Happy Valentine's Day to all (even if it's a Hallmark Holiday, it's nice to see flowers in February).

    If you're looking for something to do tonight, punk band Big Ups is throwing a record release party with Flagland at Shea Stadium in East Williamsburg to celebrate their new split record. How is this Franklin-related? Well, they chose cover art from our little corner of Brooklyn to celebrate the fact that, as bands, they are "always friends." Awww.


    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Crown Heights Writes: Literary Events This Week

    The Franklin Park Reading Series goes off in an hour, but you already knew that (and given how popular this event has become, the tables are probably packed already). Still, if you've got a thirst for great reads and $4 drafts, swing by Franklin Park tonight at 8pm for what's sure to be a great reading.

    Later in the week the Renegade Reading Series gets back in the game with a Wednesday night relaunch at LaunchPad, featuring five local writers. They'll be meeting on the second Wednesday of the month from now on. Complete info from their FB page is copied below:


    Hello Renegades! Hope you haven't missed us as much as we've missed all of you. We're really excited to be back from what we'll refer to as simply a very long December.

    I know what you're all thinking - "February 13th is a Wednesday, you guys. Clearly you've made a mistake." Well, I suppose this would be as good of a time as any to let you know that the reading series will be every 2nd Wednesday of the month now. There will still be free booze and cupcakes though, so we hope this doesn't cramp your style too hard. (There is no cover, but y'all are encouraged to make a small donation to help keep LaunchPad and the Renegade Reading series alive.)

    Other than that, things will go on like they have before. We'll all gather at 8 for the usual wine drinking, cupcake eating, chatting, flirting, and general shenanigans. Then we'll sit down at 8:30 and be a captive audience for this excellent lineup of readers:

    Sara Batkie
    Kelly Rush
    Stephen Green
    Larry Kaplun
    Adina Lepp

    We're really excited to start this whole thing up again, so as you've done such a good job of already, please bring friends, dates, strangers, dudes off the street, bosses, mommies, and roommates. We'll provide some top-notch Trader Joe's wine, but if that doesn't fly with your pallet, feel free to BYOB.

    Friday, February 08, 2013

    Weekend Links: Ghostbusters Blizzard Edition

     
    If you're anywhere near a window right now (or reading this on your phone outside, heaven help you), you'll know NYC is already in the grip of a massive blizzard that's only going to get worse in the next few hours. As the Times writes:

    "At some point Friday night, the arctic jet stream will drop down from Canada and intersect with the polar jet stream, which usually travels through the lower 48 states.

    “They will cross somewhere between New Jersey and Nantucket,” said Tim Morrin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “That is where the center of the storm will deepen and explosively develop.”

    Yikes. If there's one piece of advice I've ever taken to heart, it's "don't cross the streams." The weather channel should clearly have called this winter storm "Stay-Puft."

    In the meantime:


    - Valentine's Day is fast approaching! Park Delicatessen, our local florist, has you covered.



    - Work continues at Pacific and Franklin, where a corner storefront and its next-door neighbor are being gut renovated. They haven't been rented yet, so no word on what will be coming in. 

    - My Brooklyn wrapped up another successful run at reRun Theater last week, and has announced a third series of screenings in March. This film has legs - the Voice was impressed by the impression it's making on those who've seen it. 

    - Niman Ranch founder Paul Willis, whose products help make TasteBuds sandwiches so tasty, will be stopping by their shop to talk about his business on Monday, February 18, from 12-3pm. 

    - The Brooklyn Bureau has a sobering article about how federal cuts are hurting HIV/AIDS work in Brooklyn, where the disease is spreading more rapidly than anywhere else in the city. 

    - Finally, two for the literary set: 

    - From the folks at Little ZeldaSunday at 7:30 p.m. is the inaugural weekly gathering of The Life and Times of David Foster Wallace, a group devoted to reading all the author's works, and some works about the man. Meeting at Little Zelda.

    - And on Monday night, it's time once again for the Franklin Park Reading Series, 8pm (with $4 pints) at Franklin Park.

    Thursday, February 07, 2013

    MySpaceNYC Responds to Crown Heights Assembly



    Back in November, the Crown Heights Assembly led a protest outside the Franklin Avenue office of real estate firm MySpaceNYC. A few weeks ago, the concerns and critiques the Assembly outlined in November received a more extensive airing in the much-discussed article "The Ins and the Outs: a look below the surface in gentrifying Crown Heights," published by Narratively. The accusations in this article (MySpace declined to comment), along with plans for additional actions by the Assembly outlined in leaked meeting minutes last week, led MySpace to reply with a cease-and-desist letter, reproduced above, which they shared with Brooklynian yesterday afternoon (scroll to the bottom for the original link).  

    The text of the Assembly's leaked meeting minutes (referred to in the letter above) are as follows:

    Escalation strategy:

    1. Ourspace Blogroll to Document/build the story of Our Space. A blogroll that represents the stories of people who have come through CHA meetings; Documentation of MySpace research, Goldman Sachs property buy, what else?
    2. Have some people go undercover – go to MySpace, check out some houses, and run through the demands, subtly, ask for rent histories, etc. Then have them document their experience.
    3. Smear their brand: Adbust their logo
      Stickerbomb Franklin a week before ”Action”
    4. Next action: Flyering on the day of (across the street?) encouraging people to jump on the phone right away and phonejam for a day. Disrupt their business – 100 people pledge to call again and again.
      And then, drop worst rental histories on doorsteps at end of day?
    5. Follow-up covert “occupy” action – on a given day, or 4 people a day for 2 weeks, have 20 people go through whole process of looking at apartments, seem interested in a particular spot, then at last minute, pull out demands and say we're not interested unless you will do these things. (video this somehow? Or tape record)
    6. Our Space Block Party (or at Brower?) with anti-gentrification theme, housing information, lega; information tables, etc in summer

    ILFA is not an attorney, so I'll allow those with more extensive knowledge to weigh in on the finer points of this back-and-forth. At the extremes, it's clear that vandalism is illegal, and equally clear that accusing a business of promoting gentrification and displacement on the internet is not. 

    I'm also inclined to refrain from extensive comment in the interest of hearing what readers have to say about these competing documents themselves, but suffice to say that two different visions of community (and community leadership, and community interest) are at play in this contest. MySpace makes money in real estate and gives a chunk of that back to support community groups and their initiatives including the Kids Day and the MLK Day Clean-Up effort. The Assembly couldn't care less about MySpace's charitable giving; they want to change real estate business practices through social pressure and direct action. The MySpace model is one in which successful businesses take the lead in the communities where they operate; the Assembly's is one in which those businesses are held accountable by the community. 

    This all raises big, broad questions: Who or what constitutes a community, and what are its boundaries (are they geographic, demographic, voluntary, etc)? Who speaks on behalf of community interests (and decides what these interests are)? What responsibilities do individuals have to others in the neighborhoods where they live and work, and how are these responsibilities enforced, if they are? The answers to these questions, it seems to me, are a big part of what's at stake in this ongoing debate. 

    Friday, February 01, 2013

    Around the Avenue: New Storefronts, Weekend Links, Upcoming Fun

    These storefronts at Pacific Street and Franklin Avenue, which have been shuttered since ILFA moved in nearly five years ago, are getting a makeover inside and out (there were two guys out sandblasting the stonework to clean it this morning). No word yet on if they've been rented and who might be moving in, though brief glances inside suggest that they'll be undergoing gut renovations (the corner space appeared to have been a dark, divey bar or sports club a few decades back). While changes on Franklin have centered on the five-ish blocks immediately north of Eastern Parkway (from Bob & Betty's to the Gueros-Rosco's-Mayfield cluster), new construction and new businesses now seem to be moving north toward Atlantic, perhaps in response to the 1000 Dean Street development (the bodega across the street had just renovated when it was hit by an electrical fire in November).  Readers, any idea what might be coming in (or what you'd want to see)?

    Lotsa Links:

    - Speaking of changes along the Avenue, DNAInfo has a report about the efforts of the 71st Precinct to fight crime through their own Impact Zone south of Eastern Parkway.

    - It's Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum tomorrow. This month's theme is "African Innovations" in honor of Black History Month. 

    - The Brooklyn Paper weighed in this week on the bike corral debate on Franklin.

    - The Jewish Week had an article and review about local writer Rebecca Dana's memoir of living in Crown Heights, The Jujitsu Rabbi and the Goddess Blonde, out as of last week. 

    - For amateur or professional drinkers, the Brokelyn Beer Book is out as of today. 30 beers for 30 bucks, all around Brooklyn. Not too shabby. 

    - It's three weeks from now, but a good one for the calendar: on Thursday, February 21st, Five Myles will host a benefit for the Brooklyn Community FoundationBrooklyn Love.