Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekend Performances in Crown Heights (+ Links)



This, clearly, has not been a good week for blogging, but there are ALWAYS things to do on Franklin on the weekends. This weekend, a number of local spots host interesting performances:

- LaunchPad hosts a solo performance of David Lawson's "Birthright," starting tonight:

Birthright
A solo performance about the Birthright Israel program, and where propaganda and having a fun time intersect by David Lawson (http://www.dtlawson.com/). Read more here: http://www.nytheatre.com/Preview/david-lawson-birthright

Friday, May 31st @ 8pm
Saturday, June 1st @ 8pm
Sunday, June 2nd @ 8pm

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

- Cool Pony hosts a night of electronic and world music on Saturday night, starting at 8:30:


- First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum looks particularly cool this month, with a series of performances on the theme of "Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas."

- Seeds in the Middle hosts soccer and a farmers' market this Sunday at Hamilton Metz Park at Albany and Lefferts.

Also, some interesting Crown Heights links that came my way over the past week:

- The city is taking over a state juvenile detention center nearby, reports the Daily News.

- The Patch folks have a rundown of the latest culinary developments in the area.

- Bad landlords continue to make news in Crown Heights.

- CityRoom ran an interesting post last week about Kellam Clark's local artist colony.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sunday Funday: Cheese & Jam, Open Studios



The weekend's not over - check out these two local events to enjoy tomorrow:

- Wedge, the new cheese chop from Little Zelda, hosts a jam-and-cheese pairing class tomorrow at 7:30pm (six slots left as of this writing). More from them below:

Wedge Presents a Jam & Cheese Pairing Workshop

Join Wedge and one of its vendors, Nicole Rutsch of Liebe is Jam for an interactive workshop filled with everything you need to know about pairing jams with cheeses- and walk away with ideas for an appetizer for your next dinner party or just a special treat you can make yourself one evening! 

Nicole Rutsch, the Fräulein behind the gourmet jam company Liebe is Jam was born and raised in Stadecken, Germany. As a young girl, she learned about canning fruit from her family’s farm and shared the art of making jams with her grandmother. Since moving to New York City in 2001, Nicole has always dreamt of starting her own jam company. Inspired by her memories of munching on homemade jam and freshly baked bread with her grandmother, Nicole started creating her own jams, combining the traditional knowledge her grandmother provided with unique twists on classic flavors. After receiving rave reviews every time friends and family tried a new Liebe is Jam concoction, Nicole decided it was time to take what her grandmother taught her and make her American dream a reality.
 

A few highlights from this workshop include: learning about the tradition and various methods of canning and preserving. Nicole will also share what inspired her to start Liebe is Jam.

We look forward to having you join us on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 7:30pm!
RSVP today @ wedgeonfranklin@gmail.com
$30.00 per person (includes food fee)


- Local artist and Mike Perry hosts an open studio - more info at http://www.mikeperrystudio.com/.

Moon Launch Tonight

From their Press Release:

Moon Launch Party
from 10pm-4am, at Red Lotus Room,
893 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY

Musical sets by Lapland, The Dough Rollers, Music Man and DJ Tinseltown

Moon Launch is a party showcasing indie bands and alternative energy art installations to promote Destination Moon, a solar powered music and arts festival that will be debuting this summer. This immersive event will take place at the Red Lotus Room, "a speakeasy cabaret from another time", which boasts an all-night bonfire and a bar serving everything from cheap beer to a top-shelf "We're really excited to be a part of something so innovative. Looks like amazing things are going to happen" says Jack Byrne of the Dough Rollers.

As a background to the music, partygoers will be able to preview solar powered and alternative energy art installations that they can see in full form at Destination Moon on the weekend of July 20. The eclectic selection, ranging from art pop to blues rock, will be closed out by DJ Tinseltown who will be spinning light funk and classic R&B hits until late.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Updates from Tuesday's Town Hall Meeting: Go Brooklyn, City Council Candidates Forum, & More


Thanks to everyone who came out to Tuesday's Crow Hill Community Association Town Hall Meeting, and thanks to Congregation Kol Israel for hosting us. The bulk of the meeting consisted of breakout sessions for brainstorming and planning concrete actions in five working groups: 

- Community Engagement and Outreach
- Political Engagement
- Housing
- Livable Neighborhood
- Youth

While ILFA was helping to coordinate things and didn't get a chance to sit in on any single group's session, most folks who came seemed energized to start work on a number of initiatives to bring the Crown Heights community together. There will be an official report of minutes from the meeting published next week, but in the meantime, a pair of upcoming events bear reporting:

- Two local educators have founded Go Brooklyn, a non-profit that will be providing FREE summer youth programming in Crown Heights. They will be hosting information sessions about their 2013 session tomorrow and Saturday at St. Francis de Sales school for the Deaf on Eastern and Classon.

- Crow Hill is teaming up with the Crown Heights North Association and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council to host a Candidates Forum for the 35th Council District on Wednesday, June 5 at PS 9 on Bergen and Underhill. You can submit questions online here

In addition to these, ousing working group moderator (and Brooklynian blogger) MikeF submits these two informational links about housing in NYC:




If you came to the meeting and have something to share, either about how it went or what you plan to do afterward, post it below. Onward!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tomorrow Night: Town Hall Part II

All the info you need is on the flyer above. Come keep the momentum going from our first Town Hall meeting in March!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Saturday: Kingston Avenue Festival, Ferment Fest at LaunchPad

There's a pair of great events happening in Crown Heights tomorrow:

From 12-5pm, head over to Kingston Avenue for the Kingston Avenue Festival. More information from the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center is below:

The Kingston Ave Festival is this Saturday, May 18th, from 12-5pm. The Festival will be on Kingston Ave between Pacific and Bergen.

The Festival promises to be a day of excitement, featuring live music, dance, and arts activities, a life sized chess setskateboarding, resource tables, a pie-eating contestthe Brower Park dog parade, an anti-violence art display, facepainting, and MUCH MORE! It will be a great event for children, teens and adults. There will be something for everyone! The Festival is a partnership of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, the Kingston Avenue Merchants Association, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and the Department of Transportation. We hope to see you there!

If you are interested in volunteering to help with set-up, clean-up, or anything in between, please contact Ariana Siegel ar siegelar@crownheights.org or 718-773-6886.

Over on Franklin, LaunchPad hosts their first annual Ferment Fest from 1-10pm:



Saturday, May 18th @ 1pm-10pm
Ferment Fest


LaunchPad and Honest Pete present a day-long celebration of home-brewers, picklers, kimichi makers and more. We'll also be celebrating the official opening of our beautiful backyard with grillin', learnin' and rockin'.

4pm Letterbox Farms Fermentation Demo
http://letterboxfarmcollective.com/

5pm: Adam LaGreca (The Academics)
https://www.facebook.com/theacademicsloveyou

6pm: Paul Meadow
http://paulmeadow.com/

7pm: Black River Quartet
https://www.facebook.com/BlackRiverQuartet

8pm: C Gibbs
http://www.cgibbsreview.com/

We'd still love to have anyone who's interested in sharing their foodstuffs or brews to get in touch (christopher@brooklynlaunchpad.org) - It's also as simple as showing up to set-up this Saturday around noon-12:30pm. We'll begin letting attendees in around 1pm and will be asking for a suggested donation of $10 at the door which covers tastings and music.

LaunchPad
721 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn
2/3/4/5/C to Franklin Ave
1p-10p; $10 suggested donation

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help Sue Rock Originals Repair Their Roof


Sue Rock from Lucky Ant on Vimeo.

Four years ago, ILFA paid a visit to Sue Rock Originals on Bergen between Nostrand and Rogers, and I've been a fan ever since. Just yesterday, they sent an email around soliciting donations to repair their roof, which was damaged last year. Check them out here, and help them out if you can so that they can keep working with survivors of domestic violence and creating their own great stuff, too. 

It's Bike to Work Day: Bike Train Leaving from Little Zelda, Friday at 8:45am


As part of Bike NYC's Bike to Work Day, a "bike train" will be leaving from Little Zelda tomorrow (Friday) morning at 8:45am. The train is sponsored by the Hudson Square BID in Manhattan, where the excursion will finish at 9:30. For those unfamiliar with the "bike train" concept (as this blogger was until a day ago), the organizers describe it as follows: 

"A bike train, if you have not heard of it, is simply a group ride, which is designed to make cycling more fun, social and safe. New cyclists can get to feel more comfortable and learn skills from experienced bike commuters, and everyone gets to know their neighbors who cycle and have a nice ride into work."

ILFA will be saving our legs for Saturday morning's Brooklyn Half-Marathon, but happy riding to all those who participate.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Local Culture Past and Present: Hip Hop on Franklin, Reading Series Tonight

(Franklin Park Reading Series, Tonight at 8pm)

(Organic ODB at Franklin and Putnam)

- The New York Times ran an article/slideshow yesterday titled "Brooklyn: The Remix" that looked at the borough's hip-hop past and gentrifying present. Featured, of course, was Franklin Avenue, where the Franklin Avenue Posse has been replaced by an ever-expanding array of cafes and bars. For more about the Posse, and a sense of just how different things along Franklin used to be, check out Douglas Century's fascinating book Street Kingdom: Five Years Inside the Franklin Avenue Posse (there's an excerpt here, courtesy of the Times). 

- In more immediate news, local literary folks mingle with all-stars tonight at the Franklin Park Reading Series, kicking off at 8pm with $4 pints and a great lineup, as usual. Complete info from their FB page is below:


FRANKLIN PARK READING SERIES: KAREN RUSSELL, ELISSA SCHAPPELL, LEIGH NEWMAN, ROXANE GAY & MICHAEL HEALD
Monday, May 13, 8-10pm
Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden
618 St. Johns Place, between Classon and Franklin Avenues
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Franklin Avenue
http://franklinparkbrooklyn.com/category/events/
http://franklinparkreadingseries.tumblr.com/

FREE! $4 pints!
BOOK RAFFLE!

More on our authors:

KAREN RUSSELL is the author of the short story collections Vampires in the Lemon Grove and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Her debut novel Swamplandia was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A native of Miami, she has been featured on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and in 2009 received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Three of her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories anthologies, and she was awarded the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction.

ELISSA SCHAPPELL is the author of the short story collections Blueprints for Building Better Girls, named one of the best books of 2011 by The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal, and Use Me, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, a New York Times Notable Book, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. She is a contributing editor and the Hot Type book columnist at Vanity Fair, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and co-founder and now editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

LEIGH NEWMAN is the author of the memoir Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in One Story, Tin House, The New York Times Modern Love and City sections, Fiction, New York Tyrant, O The Oprah Magazine, Bookforum, and other publications. She is the Deputy Editor of Oprah.com, where she writes about books, life, happiness, survival, and – on rare, lucky days – food. Her work has been anthologized in My Parents Were Awesome (Villard, 2011) and she is an editor-at-large for the indie press Black Balloon Publishing.

ROXANE GAY’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Oxford American, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Salon, The Rumpus, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications and has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2012 and Best Sex Writing 2012, Her novel An Untamed State (Grove Atlantic) and essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial) will be published in 2014. She lives and writes in the Midwest and is devoted to the movies.

MICHAEL HEALD is the author of the essay collection Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension and the founder of Perfect Day Publishing. His work has appeared in Runner's World, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Silk Road Review, and Propeller Quarterly, among other publications.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Keeping Up With Crown Heights (+ Weekend Links)

(Not quite as bad as last year's truck v. bridge incident, but still, yowch. Photo taken by Lev of Mayfield at 8:25 this morning)

Sometimes, all it takes is a Google alert to capture the many different worlds that collide in Crown Heights. Four links, as delivered to my inbox yesterday at 3:52pm:

New York Times (blog)
Lilith Spencer, the cheesemonger at Wedge, during the store's opening. Uli Seit for The New York Times Lilith Spencer, the cheesemonger at Wedge, during the store's opening. The new cheese shop in Crown Heights may be called Wedge, but Sliver would ...

Fashionista
On any afternoon in Crown Heights on Kingston Avenue, there are sliver sightings of forearms, the sounds of heels clacking, the humming of stroller wheels, and tribes of young mothers wearing long, tressed wigs. The Brooklyn enclave is home to the ...


News 12 New Jersey
Police are trying to piece together what happened during a double stabbing in Crown Heights early this morning. According to neighbors, two men stabbed each other following some sort of dispute inside 852 Saint John's Pl., near Nostrand Avenue, at ..


Patch.com
Enterprise has opened a CarShare location on St. Johns Place and Classon Avenue, just over the border in Crown Heights. Enterprise's rates are lower Than Zipcar with the first year's membership fee waived and just $25 application fee. (Zipcar's rates ...


An artisanal cheese shop, the latest in Lubavitch fashion, a knife fight, and a new car-by-the-hour service, just in time for summer, and that's only one day's worth of news from our little corner of the universe. Brooklynian has already covered three of these four stories, of course (I don't think they jumped on the Lubavitch fashion piece), but they're crowdsourced/managed by the tireless whynot/MikeF. At any rate, on to the weekend's events:

- Speaking of Brooklynian, they're hosting a spring get-together tonight at the Nostrand Avenue Pub at 8pm. Not a bad way to start the weekend off - interesting conversation is almost guaranteed. Amother other things, you can chat about all the new businesses popping up (and old ones closing - JamRock is gone, while Yogumoo looks closer and closer to opening).

- The Haiti Cultural Exchange Film Festival screens work from emerging filmmakers, tonight at Five Myles from 6-9pm. 

- LaunchPad has a typically-fascinating lineup of things to do this weekend, starting tonight:

Friday, May 10th @ 8pm
What The Night Demands Book Release Party


Miles Walser wrote a book. World-famous independent poetry press Write Bloody decided to publish it. Here's your invitation to come to the party where he reads from his first collection of poetry, "What the Night Demands" for the first time.

There will be food! There will be beverages of the buzz-inducing variety! There will be music you can show your moves or awkwardly head-bob to. There will be other poetic guests who will make your heart swoon.

Hosted by James Merenda, and performances by Jon Sands, Aaron Samuels, Megan Falley, and of course...

MILES WALSER reading from his book, "WHAT THE NIGHT DEMANDS."

Leave with an autographed copy of this much-anticipated collection and fond memories of poetry and friends!

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

Saturday, May 11th @ 8pm
Sounds and Sounds

Sounds & Sounds is a concert series at LaunchPad that explores new music and new forms of improvisation.

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

Sunday, May 12th @ 3pm
Brooklyn Draw Jam


Come hang with your friends at LaunchPad and take part in some fun, low-key collaborative drawing games like exquisite corpse, drawing telephone and more. Feel free to come by and work on your own drawings as well. BYO drinks, snacks and drawing materials. Drawers of all levels welcome! ( sugg. donation $5)

- Don't forget to call your mother on Sunday, and if she lives nearby, Park Delicatessen's got you covered: 


- And finally, when the week starts, the fun doesn't stop: on Monday night, the second consecutive week of Franklin Park Reading Series readings kicks off at 8pm.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Zoning Tonight: Community Board 8 Meeting at 7pm


Community Board 8 holds its public hearing on the proposed rezoning of "Crown Heights West" tonight at 7pm. Complete info is copied from their website below. 


The Crown Heights West Rezoning proposal will be discussed for the third time at CB 8's Housing/ULURP Committee meeting on Thursday May 2, 2013, 6:30 p.m. at CenterLight Health Systems/CNR, 727 Classon Ave @ Park Place.

Written comments are invited and can be faxed ahead to the Board office at 718-778-2979, or emailed to info@brooklyncb8.org.

The Public Hearing on the proposal will be held Thursday, May 9, 2013 during the regularly scheduled full Board meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m. The meeting willl be held at Berean Missionary Baptist Church, 1635 Bergen Street, corner of Rochester Avenue.

*******

The Department of City Planning announced on March 18, 2013 that it is moving ahead with the process to contextually rezone a portion of western Crown Heights, at the request of Community Board 8. The proposed rezoning will encompass 55 blocks with the aim of preserving their historic character, promoting affordable housing and improving retail in the area. The goal of zoning will establish limits for building height and commercial areas; it will also offer incentives for affordable housing development along Franklin and Bedford avenues. ”The rezoning of western Crown Heights builds on our commitment to protecting the character of Brooklyn’s distinctive residential neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Amanda Burden in a prepared statement.

“This comprehensive rezoning proposal, developed in close consultation with the community and elected officials, will reinforce the neighborhood’s historic brownstone and row house blocks. It will also ensure new development is appropriately scaled along the area’s transit rich corridors and provides opportunities for affordable housing in select locations.” Community Board 8 has 60 days to review the proposal. Then it goes on to other City agencies. A map of the proposed rezoning is on the jump below, or you can view it on the City Planning website. To view the entire presentation and not just the overview of the project, click here.

To also download the Environmental Assessment Statement, and get additional information on the Crown Heights West Re-zoning Proposal, you can view it here. (Please note that it is a large document that takes a while to load.)

Crown Heights Rezoning Overview [NYC City Planning]

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

SOS Crown Heights Community Conversation Tomorrow


Save Our Streets (SOS) Crown Heights hosts their second community conversation tomorrow night from 6-8pm at the Bethany Methodist Church, 1208 St. Johns Place in Crown Heights. This is a great opportunity to learn about the hard and vital work of violence prevention that SOS is engaged in, and to think about how all of us can contribute to it. After the shooting on Franklin Avenue two weekends ago, none of us should be complacent about the threat of gun violence in our communities (and I urge the anonymous posters from the linked thread who suggested the community does not "step up" about gun violence to go and educate yourselves about this community-based effort to do just that). Complete details are on the flyer, above, and at their website.

Monday, May 06, 2013

TONIGHT: Launch Party for The Slippage, Hosted by Franklin Park Reading Series


The Franklin Park Reading Series doubles down for the month of May with two great events:

- TONIGHTThe Franklin Park Reading Series is teaming up with Harper Perennial to celebrate the release of THE SLIPPAGE, the new novel from one of our favorite alums, BEN GREENMAN! Ben will be reading excerpts from the novel and an acclaimed short story, along with snippets of his popular humor pieces. And we'll hear from superstar guests SAM LIPSYTE (The Fun Parts, The Ask), TOURE (I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?), CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS (Battleborn) and AMELIA GRAY (Threats)!

FREE! $4 pints!
GIVEAWAY for the first 50 attendees: Harper Perennial tote bags with a quote from Ben's beautiful story collection WHAT HE'S POISED TO DO!

DETAILS:

LAUNCH PARTY FOR THE SLIPPAGE: BEN GREENMAN with SAM LIPSYTE,TOURE,CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS & AMELIA GRAY
Monday, May 6, 8-10pm
Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden
618 St. Johns Place, between Classon and Franklin Avenues
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Franklin Avenue
http://franklinparkbrooklyn.com/category/events/
http://franklinparkreadingseries.tumblr.com/


BEN GREENMAN is a poet of romantic angst in contemporary American life. His short fiction—most recently the acclaimed collection What He’s Poised to Do—has been hailed for his whimsical yet poignant portraits of people grasping at connection through the fog of crumbling relationships. Now, in his most ambitious work yet, THE SLIPPAGE: A Novel, he trains his eye on a married couple confronting the future.

Marked by his trademark blend of emotional depth and gallows humor, THE SLIPPAGE is Ben Greenman’s most emotionally powerful work to date. It asks unanswerable questions about modern life, American emptiness, and the possibly false promises of human love.



- Next MondayThis month's reading features a mix of fiction and memoir from female powerhouses KAREN RUSSELL (Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Swamplandia), ELISSA SCHAPPELL (Blueprints for Building Better Girls), LEIGH NEWMAN (Still Points North), and ROXANE GAY (Bad Feminist, The Rumpus) and the innovative Portland publisher and author MICHAEL HEALD (Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension).

DETAILS:

FRANKLIN PARK READING SERIES: KAREN RUSSELL, ELISSA SCHAPPELL, LEIGH NEWMAN, ROXANE GAY & MICHAEL HEALD
Monday, May 13, 8-10pm
Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden
618 St. Johns Place, between Classon and Franklin Avenues
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Subway: 2/3/4/5 trains to Franklin Avenue
http://franklinparkbrooklyn.com/category/events/
http://franklinparkreadingseries.tumblr.com/

FREE! $4 pints!
BOOK RAFFLE!

More on our authors:

KAREN RUSSELL is the author of the short story collections Vampires in the Lemon Grove and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Her debut novel Swamplandia was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A native of Miami, she has been featured on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list, was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and in 2009 received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Three of her short stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories anthologies, and she was awarded the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction.

ELISSA SCHAPPELL is the author of the short story collections Blueprints for Building Better Girls, named one of the best books of 2011 by The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal, and Use Me, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, a New York Times Notable Book, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. She is a contributing editor and the Hot Type book columnist at Vanity Fair, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and co-founder and now editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

LEIGH NEWMAN is the author of the memoir Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in One Story, Tin House, The New York Times Modern Love and City sections, Fiction, New York Tyrant, O The Oprah Magazine, Bookforum, and other publications. She is the Deputy Editor of Oprah.com, where she writes about books, life, happiness, survival, and – on rare, lucky days – food. Her work has been anthologized in My Parents Were Awesome (Villard, 2011) and she is an editor-at-large for the indie press Black Balloon Publishing.

ROXANE GAY’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Oxford American, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Salon, The Rumpus, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications and has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2012 and Best Sex Writing 2012, Her novel An Untamed State (Grove Atlantic) and essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial) will be published in 2014. She lives and writes in the Midwest and is devoted to the movies.

MICHAEL HEALD is the author of the essay collection Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension and the founder of Perfect Day Publishing. His work has appeared in Runner's World, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Silk Road Review, and Propeller Quarterly, among other publications.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Friday Links, Weekend Roundup


Some odds and ends from the inbox (never a dull moment in this town):

- Stork hosts "Cinco de Momma" tomorrow from 10am-7pm. A portion of all sales will be donated to The League Education Treatment Center. See the flyer above for more details.

LaunchPad has lots going on, as usual:

Saturday, May 4th @ 1pm-3pm
Mozzarella Making Class
Learn how to make Mozzarella cheese.  Space is limited and reservations are required. Email: citysuppersbk@gmail.com


Saturday, May 4th @ 8pm
Nadav Lev + Guy Barash
An evening of contemporary guitar music by Nadav Lev and Guy Barash


Sunday, May 5th @ 4pm
NYC Physic and Math Meetup
At the NYC Physics & Math Self-Learners, we work our way through graduate physics materials to discuss what we've learned and to answer one another's questions.

- Just down the hill in Flatbush, you can learn more about the vibrant Caribbean cultures and cuisines of Brooklyn, courtesy of Brooklyn Unplugged Tours:

This coming weekend we are doing a special Flatbush tour which features the culture of the West Indian Islands. The consul general of St. Lucia is expected to join us. Here are the details:

WHAT: 
Expect to meet cool people, taste yummy food and have an all-around awesome time! Length is approx. 2 hours and includes some short walking. 

WHEN: 
Saturday (5/4)  1pm

WHERE:
Flatbush Caton Market
794 Flatbush Ave (corner of Caton Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11226

DIRECTIONS:
B/Q to Church Ave. Exit towards Caton Ave, market is 3 blocks to the right.
Parking available in metered municipal lot next door.


- The folks at Patch have a roundup of what to do for Derby Day.

- Big ups to the crew at Mayfield, who raised over $12,000 for MS last Sunday!

- Also via Patch: Wedge, the cheese and provisions shop from Little Zelda, opens next week (May 8).

- Brooklyn native and freedom singer Richie Havens passed away last month after a long and remarkable career. This article came across my radar, remembering, among other things, his appearance at a 1994 Crown Heights concert to promote unity.

- Further down the line, keep an eye out for Ferment Fest on May 18 at LaunchPad, and the Crown Heights Animal Hospital's May 25 open house.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Thinking About Zoning in Crown Heights West: Events This Weekend












As you may well know, Crown Heights West (as the area featured in the maps above has been dubbed by the Department of City Planning, or DCP) is in the midst of a rezoning process, as discussed at our April 16 Crow Hill Community Association Meeting, as well as on Brooklynian and Brownstoner. ILFA got up and talked about the process to the best of my ability at the April 16 meeting, but as tends to be the case with these sorts of presentations, most folks left with more questions than answers.

If you've got questions, however, never fear, as there are ample opportunities to learn more, hear more, and say more about this process. Read on:

- This starts TONIGHT, when the Housing/ULURP Committee of Community Board 8 meets at 6:30pm (so, yes, approximately 15 minutes from when this was posted) at 727 Classon Avenue. 

- It continues on Saturday, May 4, when the Crown Heights Assembly holds their monthly housing meeting at Ronald McNair Park (Eastern Parkway and Classon) at 1pm. 

- You can tell your story (or perhaps more accurately, hear a story) walking with a Municipal Art Society free walking tour (as part of Jane's Walks), which runs from 9-11am on Sunday and will be led by a pair of Brooklynian's finest.

- Finally, the big shebang, aka the full Community Board 8 public hearing regarding this proposal (at which CB8 will hear testimony and vote on whether to approve the proposal, reject it, or approve with amendments), takes place this coming Thursday, May 9, at 6:30pm. 

That's a lot of options, and if you get to these, you'll hear a lot of different opinions, ideas, and suggestions. If you want to do some home-schooling, the zoning glossary is a good place to start, though you'll want a dictionary or Wikipedia handy to translate it. One key term to understand here is FAR: floor-area ratio. This, and not strict height limits, is the primary way that zoning regulates density. Under an FAR of 1, you could build a one-story building that fills the of the entire lot, or a two-story building whose footprint takes up half the size of the lot, or a ten-story building with a footprint one-tenth the size of the lot. Think of FAR as play-dough - you can spread it flat and low, or tower it tall and skinny. The bigger the lot, the more of it you get. 

I'm not going to attempt a comprehensive review on the proposed zoning here, but a few thoughts are in order. First, zoning basically does three things: it regulates 1) the size of the buildings that can be built, 2) the shape of those buildings, and 3) what goes on in them, all in very broad terms. Additionally, rezoning is a fairly limited process, because the zoning code (essentially, the rules of the game) is set by the City Council. Rezoning is just a reconsideration of the application of those rules to different places, with whatever goals the requesting agency and City Planning have in mind. In this case, the rezoning began at the request of CB8, who wanted three things: 1) preserve the character of the neighborhood (this in response to the boom of glass-and-steel condos next to old-school brownstones or apartments along certain side streets) 2) incentivize the building of some affordable housing (because Crown Heights is getting less and less affordable), and 3) preserve the character of the retail strips (this applied more to Nostrand than Franklin, where the existing zoning would theoretically have allowed for some very big retail spaces to be built). 

So, if you look at map #1 and map #3 above, you'll see the current zoning and the proposed zoning. For the most part, the new zoning essentially conforms to what's already there (and if it doesn't, don't worry - everything already built, or even already under construction that has a foundation, is grandfathered in to the old zoning). The side streets have been rezoned to make new development conform to the existing scale of most buildings, while Nostrand has been rezoned to look more like Franklin than the Fulton Mall (which it already does). Insofar as there are any big potential changes, they're in the block I've singled out, a chunk of Franklin and side streets that's been re-zoned R7A.

What's this? It's the attempt to address goal #2: affordable housing. As it currently stands, the zoning code never mandates that new developments include affordable housing. This has been tried elsewhere, and was raised at the April 16 meeting, but such a change would have to first clear the council and then be applied by DCP. What DCP has at its disposal right now is "inclusionary housing" zones, which create incentives for developers to build affordable housing by giving them more FAR in exchange for building 20% affordable units.

So what's happening in that R7A zone? It's being up-zoned from R6 (it's current status), which has an FAR of 2.43, to an FAR of 3.45 without affordable housing, and 4.6 with it. Why are they upzoning even without affordable housing? It's a good question - the answer, as best I can tell, is that these incentives are only enticing to developers if they can build big, so the whole zone has to go up. That's why you see all those vacant/under-built/soon-to-be-developed lots pictured. They're currently vacant. They'll likely be developed soon, new zoning or not. But with the new zoning, they can go bigger, in exchange, perhaps for some affordable units.

This post could use more explanation and context, but I've taken it as far as I'm able at the moment. Links to alternative programs in other cities (mandatory zoning in Arlington, VA, came up), reviews of the impact of inclusionary zoning elsewhere in NYC, and other such information would be most welcome in the comments.

Gentrification will continue, of course, under the proposed zoning as well as under the current zoning. Ultimately, we're just picking out the color of the car, not what's under the hood (that's the nature of NYC development policy, about which ILFA has a book review posted over at Dissent). But if you live near those lots, or spend time on Franklin Avenue, you may care quite a lot about that color, so take a look at this proposal, and get out and learn about it this week. 

Meet The Candidates with Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform Tonight

 
 
The Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform host a candidate forum tonight:

DON'T FORGET TO JOIN US TONIGHT!

PROSPECT HEIGHTS • CROWN HEIGHTS • FORT GREENE • CLINTON HILL • BED-STUY

Meet the Candidates
Invited Guests:

Abe George – Democrat for Brooklyn District Attorney
Ken Thompson - Democrat for Brooklyn District Attorney
Scott Stringer – Democrat for NYC Comptroller
Eric Adams – Democrat for Brooklyn Borough President


Join Us For the Next Meeting Of:
Prospect Heights Area Democrats for Reform:

Thursday, May 2nd
Duryea church
362 Sterling Pl Brooklyn, NY 11238-4501
7-9pm

RSVP Here

We hope to see you!