Thursday, March 31, 2011

Columbia Waterfront - rugged, diverse, and gayer than Park Slope

In this report from The Brooklyn Paper, Natalie O'Neill digs through the New York Times' intense graphic analysis of the 2010 census report and discovers that sleepy Columbia Street (aka "Census Tract 47") has the highest percentage of same-sex couples in the borough.

Why might that be? According to the article, "Gays and lesbians say that Columbia Street offers the best of both worlds: it has a small-town feeling without the 'small-town mentality'.”

Brian McCormick (pictured above with partner Scott Page in a photo by Stefano Giovannini) sums up the neighborhood's charms: "There's a sense of rugged individualism and diversity."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Stop by the office at 223 Columbia and we'll show you around.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amazing Graceland!!

Photo by Aaron Eiseman

If you haven't already heard of it, and you need a rockin' hairdo or a new tattoo, go to Graceland, in Williamsburg. Just a little over a year old, it is, as its name suggests, an Elvis inspired, AWESOME place to beautify. The collaborative effort of Corvette Hunt and Bethany Paul, longtime friends and former stylists for a downtown rock & roll mainstay, got together with Josh Lord & Yadira Mendez-Firvida of East Side Ink and created a beautiful, sleekly customized space (a former motorcycle garage) where beauty, music, hair, ink and lots of love have found a happy and chic home. Everyone has other things going on creatively, such as stylist Kimberly, (I have NEVER loved my hair more and I mean it) who is a singer-songwriter (and has just finished her EP and first video!) and assistant, Clark, who is a member of Electric Tickle Machine, a hot and fun band with a kick-ass live show! Everyone there is a hand-picked, true talent and you won't find a salon with a more lovely staff and ambiance. Not to mention their vinyl collection is ridiculous. I hope to be getting inked there soon. Check out Kimberly's & Clark's music below!! Elvis is so proud...

677 Lorimer Street (b/w Withers & Frost)
(718) 384-7677 for an appointment

Kimberly Wyma
Clark & Electric Tickle Machine

Red Hook Civic Association

Red Hook Civic Association is meeting tonight!
7 p.m.

PS 15 auditorium

They will be discussing a variety of things, including:

-- Closing of the senior center
-- Problems with the buses
-- Helicopters
-- Atlantic Basin

Hope you all can try to make it out.

Still time to sign up for our First Time Homebuyers' class - Monday night

Please join Victoria and Tina on Monday, April 4th at the Brooklyn Brainery. If you have even considered buying a home, this honest look at the pros and cons of homeownership will save you time, money, and heartache.
The class is just $15. Sign up and check out the rest of the Brainery's classes here. (Note - the banh mi class is already full!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gutter Cafe

We read months ago in The Brooklyn Paper that the New York Department of Transportation was planning on planning on bringing a new program to Brooklyn this summer season, the "pop up cafe". This basically means that parking lanes would turn into outdoor cafes for some neighborhood restaurants. Among the neighborhoods most interested in Brooklyn, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens were top of the list. Well, the results are in! The Post reported last week that the first Brooklyn Cafe to participate in this program will be Ecopolis Cafe, at 180 Smith St (between Wyckoff St & Warren St). Obviously this program stirs up a little aggravation when it comes to the loss of parking. Thankfully the design for Ecopolis will only take up one metered spot. Not too much of a burden and in return patrons can sip their cappuccinos and have a snack, maybe a cookie (Delicious fact: Ecopolis carries City Bakery cookies!) in the sunshine.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Today, Friday March 25 at BAG Gallery!

Closing reception for "Beast" from 6-8pm at the BAG Gallery. 
"A perfect dose of art and conversation after work!"

Join them for a closing reception for the "Beast" participants, with informal artists' talks.  Participate in a dialog about the work, hear about inspiration and creative practices, and help boost the growing community of Brooklyn artists that we love so dearly! Stop by after work, have a drink, and get the conversation going.  

Brooklyn Artists Gym (BAG) is an artist studio and gallery facility in the Park Slope/Gowanus area of Brooklyn, New York. BAG provides its artists with ample studio space, 24/7 access, art storage facilities, critiques, gallery opportunities, and community. BAG's mission is to help make it possible for artists to further their work and careers at a reasonable cost.

BAG Gallery hosts shows curated by BAG curatorial staff as well as select artists and curators who apply for Gallery rental.

Now until June 20th! Spring Membership Promotion
Have you been thinking about joining BAG? If you sign up for 3 months, receive a $100 break on your membership!  If you're already one of our lovely members, refer a friend and we'll thank you with $199 toward your next month.  Help us build our community with new and wonderful artists!
For more information please contact us at  or visit

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Brooklyn Mutt Show II is March 26 and 27!

The Second Annual Mutt Show has arrived at the Brooklyn Lyceum. It is on March 26 and 27 from 11AM to 7PM. This show features more activities, better giveaways and, on what we think is a dog show first, the SNOOK-A-LIKE contest for the dog that looks ...most like Jersey Shore's Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.

There will also be a free dog run/ agility course courtesy of The Doggie Academy ( and trainers on hand all weekend to answer your most puzzling Dog questions.

Its $25 dollars to compete, free to view and the proceeds will benefit the Toby Project (

227 4th Avenue (Corner of President Street).
Brooklyn, NY  11215
R train to Union Street.

Register TODAY, support a good cause and get ready for a weekend of Furry fun!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

News from Portside

Waterfront Visions
Last Monday, NYC released a new comprehensive waterfront plan, Vision 2020 and the EDC companion piece of implementation projects WAVES.   

Both plans reflect a major shift in city policy from focusing on the land to the water part of the waterfront , or what PortSide calls the BlueSpace.  We at PortSide are thrilled with the direction of the plan, because we were founded to help cause this shift in policy, to deliver programs in that spirit, and to create a place where we would do that.

That place will be Atlantic Basin, and we are pleased to report that Vision 2020's recommendations affirm PortSide's plans for that site and that all our recommendations for Red Hook made the plan. These include promotion of the Red Hook port as a hub for distributing east of Hudson freight and considering a boathouse for Valentino Park.

We thank the planners and The City for launching Vision 2020 on the Brooklyn waterfront which we think merits special attention given its sprawling size, diversity of waterfront uses, and proximity to other major waterfront points.

We encourage all of you to read the plan and engage in the implementation process so the vision becomes real.  Due to the large size of the plan, even at low resolution, it may be easier to download it in segments here than as one file here.

Regarding WAVES, the EDC has released a Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study.  We recommend reading the site profiles to understand the methodology and demographics used to come up with the results.

The EDC will soon release a RFP for wharfage in Atlantic Basin for the tie-up spaces that are not intended for PortSide use.
News of the PortSide Board
We are pleased to announce that Bob Balder has joined our board. Balder is the Regional Director of Planning and Urban Design at Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm, where he provides leadership in domestic and international projects. Balder's experience includes business development, project management, sustainable land planning, feasibility analysis, and facilitating outreach and public approvals for cultural, commercial, retail, residential, industrial, and waterfront projects. Before joining Gensler in 2005, Bob was at the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) where he served as Executive Vice President of Real Estate and directed a staff of over 100 development, construction, and property managers. More under board bios on our webpage contact.

Jeanne Marie Van Hemmen's term on our board has expired, and we thank her for her enthusiastic and energetic networking that connected us to WISTA and other individuals and organizations supporting PortSide thanks to her efforts.
The images and stories are grim, overwhelming and not over. To the Japanese people, we offer our condolences and best wishes.  

To those of us thinking about waterfront planning in New York, this tragedy is a reminder of what the sea can do and should be a lesson in resiliency planning. This is a time to reflect on how other cultures, the Dutch and Japanese for example, have thought more about what water can do and accordingly planned, built and rehearsed evacuations.   

For an example of how sensitive our system is to much smaller weather events, here is a video showing a surge of litter and sewage entering the Gowanus Canal after the tornado last September.  

For educators, the New York Times has prepared lesson plan concepts for how to learn from the earthquake and tsunami.
Harbor seal
There is local good news.  A Harbor seal graced us with a visit on March 16th at 5:15pm.  

The seal was spotted 25' off the Mary A. Whalen. It dove, resurfaced and swam to the shore south of Pier 9B, Red Hook where it explored the raggedy remains of the Hamilton Avenue ferry terminal.  This is the first time we have seen a seal in the Red Hook Container Port. For more information about the return of seals to the harbor, see a feature article in the current issue of the New Yorker.   

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Return of the Red Hook Crit

Red Hook is different. It's not just the maraschino honey and the pupusas. This weekend brings the return of yet another event that sets this neighborhood apart from the rest of the city: The Red Hook Criterium bike race. The Crit, as it is known, is not for the faint of heart: for a preview, watch this footage from last year's race. If you're ready to dodge photographers, dogs, and custom vans while sprinting across the bone-rattling cobblestones of Beard Street, register here. (Track bikes only, please.) The non-insane can just watch.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Petition to have the salt pile removed on Pier 9!

WE ARE NOW FACING A 3RD YEAR OF THIS HAZARD as a new huge mountain of salt is loaded onto the site. We petition the City of NY, The Port Authority of NY & NJ and ASI to REMOVE THE SALT PILE ENTIRELY to another location where it can be safely and properly stored.

Since 2009 our neighborhood has been plagued by the city's storing of a massive quantity of road salt on Pier 9 at Kane & Columbia Streets. Residents and elected officials have asked American Stevedoring Inc. (ASI) & the City of NY to remove the salt pile to no avail.

Covering the salt pile is NOT a solution. The salt pile is uncovered for months at a time while being used, loaded and unloaded, and on windy days when the covering comes loose. This substance gets airborne and disperses throughout the neighborhood.

Salt is an irritant, can irritate the respiratory tract and causes hypertension. Some pet advocacy groups claim that road salt is harmful to dogs, and aquatic life may be particularly susceptible. Canada has considered listing road salt as a toxic substance due to the salinity itself.
Some evidence suggests that sunlight and bacteria can trigger a toxic substance (cyanide) to be released from road salt.
Salt entering the port of New York in 2005 was of Chilean origin. It contained perchlorate, a contaminant regulated by the EPA. Perchlorate may affect the functioning of the thyroid gland in humans. In addition, the use of this location for the storage and loading of this corrosive substance is incompatible with the new waterfront park and greenway development plans.     

Please read and sign the petition here:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

JAPAN BENEFIT CONCERT at I-beam this Sunday!

Tonight Sunday March 20, a Japan Benefit Concert to raise money for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and it's after-effects. They have a really terrific group of musicians lined up, it is a rare treat to see all of these... wonderful people together in one evening...  

They would love to see as many of you there as possible, please help them to get the word out even if you cannot attend! 

All proceeds will be donated directly to the Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund:
That is an excellent place to donate whether you can attend or not.

From 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm.
Venue: I-beam
168 - 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY

6:00-6:30 Kathleen Potton Harris
6:30-7:00 Magali Souriau Trio with Chris Cheek and Matt Pavolka
7:00-7:30 Sara Serpa & Andre Matos Duo
7:30-8:00 Jen Shyu
8:00-8:30 Kyoko Kitamura
8:30-9:00 Yayoi Ikawa
9:00-9:30 Jesse Stacken, Akiko Sasaki(koto), YUKARI (flute) & Gerald Cleaver (d)
9:30-10:00 Trio This w/George Schuller, Barney McAll & Matt Pavolka
10:00-10:30 Amy Kohn
10:30-11:00 Akiko Pavolka's House Of Illusion with Nate Radley, Matt
Pavolka and Bill Campbell
11:00-11:30 The Four Bags with Michael McGinnis, Jacob Garchik, Sean Moran and Brian Drye

DINE IN BROOKLYN .... Make your reservations now!

After the New York restaurant week last month, it is now to Brooklyn to organize its culinary event.
Brooklynites, make your reservations now, Dine in Brooklyn kicks off MONDAY MARCH 21!

The 10-day event includes 200 borough restaurants with prix fixe meals, $25 for dinner and $20.11 for lunch. A smaller list of restaurants offers a 2-for-1 deal: Two brunch & lunch meals together for $20.11 as well.

It is now time to test some great restaurants and why not some French like "Le Saint-Germain" in Bay Ridge, "Bacchus" in Boerum Hill, "Ici" and "Chez Oskar" in Fort Greene, "Autour du Monde" in Clinton Hill or "Moutarde" in Park Slope...

Neighborhoods from Bushwick to Bensonhurt, and even pricey restaurants like the River Cafe in Dumbo will participate in the special, which ends March 31.

Some tips!
- Choose Restaurants Where the Deal Is Unique
- Choose Restaurants With Representative Menus
- Make Sure It's Really a Deal
- Don't Forget About Brunch
- Roll The Dice

Bon Appetit!


Dine In Brooklyn Restaurant Week Restaurant List

Bay Ridge
Boerum Hill
Boro Park
Brighton Beach
Brooklyn Heights
Carroll Gardens
Clinton Hill
Cobble Hill
Coney Island
Ditmas Park
Dyker Heights
Fort Greene
Prospect-Lefferts Garden
Marine Park
Mill Basin
Park Slope
Prospect Heights
Red Hook
Sheepshead Bay
South Slope
Sunset Park
Windsor Terrace