Artist Jennifer Maravillas has spent the last three years walking all 9,000 blocks of Brooklyn and collecting trash to create a 10-foot-by-10-foot map of the borough, according to Animal New York. She recently finished the map, titled “71 Square Miles,” and it went on display yesterday at BRIC in Fort Greene. The Prospect Heights resident donned rubber gloves to pick up the refuse, tracking her movements in mainland Brooklyn first by labelling blocks and later with a running app. You can check out a digitized version of the map here or see it in person through September 6 as part of the “Mapping Brooklyn” group exhibition at BRIC.
What’s it like getting around Brooklyn using car2go? BlankSlate writer Jeff Scherer planned a busy Saturday in Brooklyn in order to find out.
We had an ambitious day ahead of us, my wife and I. It was a beautiful day fall Saturday — my birthday, in fact — and we were determined to spend it well. One thing we didn’t want to do was to spend half the day on the subway. car2go to the rescue!
Our first destination that morning was the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (or BARC), an animal shelter in Williamsburg, to walk some of the dogs who are available for adoption. To get from our house in Carroll Gardens to Wythe Avenue and North 1st Street in Williamsburg by subway would take at least 45 minutes, assuming the G train was running on time, including a 15-minute walk from the station. But we wanted to get there before all the good dogs were taken, so we checked our car2go app and grabbed a nearby car.
Brooklyn is going through something of a transportation renaissance. Remember the old days, when it was impossible to get a cab, and you had to call for a dicey, fake-pine-smelling livery car? Now there are bike lanes, green cabs, and, coming this month, car2go. Soon, when you need a car, you’ll just find one parked nearby, drive to your destination, and leave it there for the next person to use.
If that sounds like something you might want to try, make sure to register for car2go before the October 25 launch date: for a limited time, you can sign up for freeand you’ll get 30 minutes of free driving. There’s no monthly fee with car2go — you just pay for the minutes you use. So this is a free chance to drive the eco-friendly, two-passenger Smart Fortwo around your favorite borough (and to see how easy it is to park a car that’s 35 percent smaller than average). (more…)
In Germany and Italy, in Seattle and Austin and Miami and Montreal, people have been experiencing a quiet revolution in how they get around their cities. When they have somewhere to go, they find a nearby car, climb in, and drive it to their destination. Then they leave it there, ready for the next person to use. It’s like Citi Bike but with cars, and more places to park.
With car2go, there’s no monthly fee. Once you’ve signed up, been accepted, and get your card, you pay only for the minutes you use. You see one of their cars on the street (or find it with their app), you just get out your card, grab it and go. When you’re done, you park it in any legal, non-metered parking space in your Brooklyn home area and walk away. Check it out!
You can probably imagine the times it might be handy to grab one of these adorable, easy-to-park cars and hit the road. There are those neighborhoods that are not directly connected to each other by subway, like Carroll Gardens and Prospect Heights. (Or Red Hook and… almost anywhere.) Take an impromptu trip to Coney Island. Get your cat to the vet in no time. The possibilities are endless.
At this point, you probably have a lot of questions. Check out car2go’s website for FAQs on signing up, driving, and parking. And don’t forget to sign up now while it’s still free (Promo code: BKLYN), and get 30 minutes of free driving!
Brooklyn author and journalist Neil deMause has launched a survey asking Brooklynites what drew them to the borough and why they’ve stayed despite rapidly rising housing costs. The questionnaire is part of deMause’s research for an upcoming crowdfunded book, “Brooklyn Wars,” about Brooklyn’s gentrification and redevelopment boom.
The idea came to him while he was wondering why rents have increased even as local poverty rates have risen. “I was discussing this with a housing economist friend, and while we both had theories, none of them were convincing,” he said in a press release. “While web surveys are inherently anecdotal and unscientific, even a self-selected sample should give some hints as to how Brooklynites view their reasons for remaining in a borough that charges $3,000 a month to live in a closet an hour’s subway ride from their job.”
So far, leading early responses include “it’s cheaper than Manhattan,” “diversity” and “boyfriend.”
Over the past 20 years, Brooklyn has gone through a shocking transformation. Where once it was nearly impossible to get your Manhattan friends to come visit you in Brooklyn, now they’re moving in next door. This is especially true of particular parts of the borough, places that started out rough around the edges, only to become the hottest destinations in the city. It’s true of Williamsburg, of course. It’s true of Smith Street. And it is certainly true of Park Slope’s 5th Avenue.
Longtime Park Slopers remember a time when 5th Avenue’s crime rates made it, for some, a “no-go zone.” While 7th Avenue was the main street for young families, 5th Avenue had trouble attracting businesses other than bodegas, 99-cent stores, hardware stores, and dive bars. Now, after seismic changes in crime rates, real estate prices, and demographics, 5th avenue has become the new main street, attracting high-end boutiques, inventive restaurants, and…dive bars. We’ve come a long way, baby.
So take a walk with us down 5th Avenue! We hope you’re ready to shop, eat, play, drink and eat some more.
Here’s a cute starter family apartment right on the Parade Grounds in Caton Park. The top-floor pad has two bedrooms along with lots of windows and lots of light–and a good deal of prewar charm to boot. The asking price is $439,000 and monthly maintenance is just $739. Pretty good, right?
The Brooklyn Historical Society next month will debut an exhibit about the abolitionist movement in Brooklyn and the little-known activists behind it. “In Pursuit of Freedom” traces the roots of Brooklyn’s slaves, who made up 30 percent of the Kings County population in 1790. Even after emancipation in 1827, Brooklyn’s commercial growth, fueled by commodities like cotton, tobacco and sugar, relied heavily on products of slave labor in the South. In the early 19th century, black and white Brooklynians began to organize associations, schools and churches to fight for black civil rights and the abolition of slavery.
Visitors will learn about Brooklyn’s relatively unknown abolitionist activists, including Sylvanus Smith, one of the original land investors in the free black community of Weeksville, William Wilson (aka Ethiop), James and Elizabeth Gloucester, and James Pennington, some of whom have been the subject of Montrose Morris columns on this site. At left, a pamphlet about James Pennington in the Brooklyn Historical Society collection. The exhibition is part of a public history initiative in partnership with the Irondale Ensemble Project and the Weeksville Heritage Center.
The exhibit was designed by Matter Architecture Practice, technology firm Potion, design firm Pure+Applied and lighting designer Robert W. Henderson, Jr. The exhibit will include an online curriculum, walking tours, an original theater piece by Irondale Ensemble and a memorial to Brooklyn Abolitionists that will appear in the new Willoughby Square Park when it opens in 2015. “In Pursuit of Freedom” will open January 15 in BHS’ newly renovated building at 128 Pierrepont Street.