Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ioby: A Big Idea that Funds Little Projects

Just thought this was a great idea!

ioby: A Big Idea that Funds Little Projects

Brandon Whitney, Cassie Flynn and Erin Barnes wanted to make a difference in their Brooklyn neighborhoods and they noticed that a lot awesome grassroots efforts were starting up and then starving for cash. So, last April the Earth-loving Yale alums launched In Our Backyards(ioby), an online microphilanthropic initiative. The website connects wannabe philanthropists with ongoing and start-up projects, making it easy to donate time, money or word of mouth to help good works get off the ground. It’s sort of an environmentalist’s Craigslist, where you can give 20 bucks to start a neighborhood composting program or volunteer a couple hours to fix a broken beehive. Unlike Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative types, ioby’s not-for-profit status makes it tax deductible.

ioby is a reaction to NIMBYism, the social phenomenon that describes how sites like garbage dumps, toxic factories and heavy industry are often built in poor neighborhoods after more affluent neighbors reject such plans, saying, “Not in my backyard!” To counter NIMBYism, ioby places special emphasis on projects in low-income areas and initiatives that include immigrants and people of color. ioby hopes to harness a pattern of local giving and to channel the funds back at the same communities making donations. Most of the projects cost around $2,000, so fundraising with small donations–$37 on average–works well.

Working from Barnes’ Brooklyn apartment, ioby has fully funded 21 projects in its first year. One, the Prospect Park Lake Cleanup, raised $140 over its goal, which was later donated to the Prospect Park Alliance. The project drew 16 donors and 22 volunteers; four people were both donors and volunteers and many lived within one mile of the park.

The focus on neighborhood and proximity is key, says Barnes, to ensuring that participants don’t simply write one check and move on. If they see progress, either because it’s at the end of their block or because they personally pulled plastic bottles out of the lake, do-gooders are more likely to stay involved.

Still, ioby’s goal goes beyond one-time solutions. By getting individuals involved in making improvements they can see and personally benefit from, ioby hopes donors and volunteers will continue to care. “Maybe then you’ll become an environmental steward for life,” Barnes said, “instead of just someone who wrote a check for twenty bucks.”

Text by Amber Benham, sent by Annaliese. Photos courtesy of ioby.

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Kea Carpets and Kilims

Kea Carpets and Kilims is located at 477 Atlantic Ave. between Nevins St. and Third Ave. Last Saturday night they had an opening featuring freeform vintage rag rugs from Morocco. Called Boucherouite these rugs are constructed of recycled materials from old clothing, cotton, synthetic fibers, nylon and even plastics. Gorgeous bright colors and unusual diamonds, zigzags, stripes are featured in the rag style texture. I highly recommend a trip to see these stunning pieces of art.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We need transportation in Red Hook!

Please complete the 2-minute survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CJ5TSRY ) to help Red Hook Economic Development (RHED) demonstrateto New York City Transit (NYCT) Red Hook's need for public transportation.

As many of you may be aware, New York City Transit intends to merge the B61 and B77 bus lines among a host of service reductions that would go into effect on June 27th.  RHED’s Transportation Committee is concerned that should the merger go ahead, the expanded line will be subject to

·         Overcrowding - essentially fitting the riders of two bus lines onto one
·         Slower travel times - to accommodate longer boarding times at each stop for the increased usage
·         Schedule delays - less likely to keep on schedule due to traffic conditions miles from Red Hook (ex. A bridge going up over the Gowanus).
Please also join RHED as we voice these concerns at Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee meeting on Thursday May 20th at 6:30 at Long Island College Hospital (339 Hicks Street), where NYCT will hear from the community regarding the service cuts.

Crafts in Brooklyn

I wanted to Share some crafty events coming up in Brooklyn.

Fist up is the annual Bust Spring Fling Craftacular hppening May 23rd at the Warsaw on Driggs Ave in Williamsburg. This event features over 50 vendors all selling their own handmade creations and is only $2 to get in, plus you get a goodie bag. check out the websire for details: http://www.bust.com/craftacular/bust-holiday-craftacular-2009-ny.html
and the artists: http://www.bust.com/Craftacular/Vendors-NYC.html

The second event isn't for a couple of weeks but its good to get the word out early. This years Renegade Craft Fair will be happening at McCarren Park June 5th and 6th. Renegade promises to be a fantastic event with over 300 local designers and crafters! There will also be a few workshops. Plus its free to attend and outside. For more details go to:
and check out the artists... my favs are smoke and daggers and seltzer designs:

Personally I cant wait to check them out. Lets get out there and support our local artists and designers!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How To Make It In America, for reals

Calling all freelancers, newcomers, college grads: I insist you take a long look at Geeta Dayal's guide to living on the cheap in NYC. It's a great list, simple but effective, and reminds me that I spent my early 20's in living on $8000/year in Williamsburg.

Monday, May 10, 2010

BKLYN DESIGNS Recap: a few of our facorite things...

This past weekend the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce held the 8th edition of BKLYN DESIGNS, a show and celebration of Brooklyn talent, creativity, and commerce. In short, awesome things made by awesome Brooklyn based designers. These items were our favorites and we thought everyone should know about them and maybe give some business to Brooklyn's newest sector of manufacturers. 

UM Project's SMPL table and Milking Stools have the simple charm of childrens furniture but with more sleek sophisticated adult style. Table top is corion with powder coated aluminum legs and comes in black or white. The stools come in multiple colors. find them at http://www.umproject.com/

Wud Furniture uniquely mixes beautiful natural wood with more industrial looking materials. They have invented a new material, Epoxy encased Lead, that gives the look of a durable hard industrial surface while still having the look and feel of high design. http://www.wudfurniture.com/

Furniture by Palo Samko has the look of Rustic County solid wood furniture, but with more decorative details and some interesting material combination, like including maps and compasses and legs that look like telescopes. Made for the explorer who prefers the city these beautiful pieces stand on their own. http://www.palosamko.com/

Ram Metal makes some truly versatile furniture including an adjustable height table made with restored machine parts. You want to sit or stand? how about both, with just a turn of the wheel. www.rammetals.com

I thought wall paper was out. well atleast no one was making anything worth papering your walls with... until now. Grow House Grow make really unique and kind of strange but beautiful wallpapers for your home that kind of remind me in a way of oldfashioned paper patterns, but way cooler. www.growhousegrow.com

Now for the true brooklyn nastalgist.... own a piece of the coney island boardwalk in the form of this amazing reclining seat thats actually made out of wooden slats salvaged from the boardwalk. Best of all, it kind of looks like a roller coaster!! www.uhurudesign.com

Hope ou enjoy these as much as we did!!

Mother's Day in Dumbo

I decided to take my two boys, three and seven to Dumbo for Mother's Day. Our first stop was Dewey's Candy Shop, of course kids love this place, we picked out some bulk candy and headed for the water. It was chilly and windy, but that did not stop us from going to the rocky beach and throwing rocks in the East River. If you have not taken part in this activity, then you really should try it, especially if you have kids. My boys can do this for hours, it is a great way to relieve stress! Then we went to the playground that is shaped like a big ship, the boys ran up and down. We all decided to go for a ride on the tire swing, it was really fun! After all that playing we headed to Bubby's for some dinner, it wasn't open yet, so we went back and threw some more rocks. Bubby's is great for kids, especially when you sit next to the play area. We ordered food, the boys played, I enjoyed my burger and Shiraz. The boys gulped down a very delicious black and white milkshake, my older son did not like his grilled cheese, because it had white cheese. The food there is really good, and I love that they try and use organic and local ingredients whenever possible. We went home tired and happy.

Its Bike Season!

Its finally started to be nice out almost everyday and with the nice weather comes lots of biking... atleast for those of us who are too wimpy to keep biking through the winter.... anyway, if you're like me and just getting your bike ready go you probably need a tune up or some new inner tubes or just some bike advise. So i wanted to share my new favorite Park Slope bike shop. Brooklyn Bicycles , located at 375 9th st at the corner of 6th ave, was opened a little over a year ago by Tony Gallucci. It has since then outshone the other shops as the place to go for great service and knowledgable staff, who really care about providing great customer service. Whether you need a new bike, a tune up, or the tools to do a tuneup or repair yourself, they can help. They do great work and know what they're talking about. and now every wednesday night they have a group bike ride that leaves from the store at 7pm. how awesome is that! so stop by and get your gear and you'll be ready for a spin around the park, a ride to work, or that long distance all day ride.
check out their website... http://bklynbikes.com/

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A post-Craigslist NYC?

The folks at real estate blog theapplepeeled.com wonder if New Yorkers have outgrown craigslist. A google search of the phrase "sick of craigslist" brings up hundreds of rants, and even an eponymous blog (albeit with a single entry - sometimes the rage subsides).

We're wondering if a new model is due. In an intensely networked world, does craigslist even make sense as a marketplace for real estate? And if something were to take its place, what might it look like?