04/21/14 4:00pm

More than 75 artists will open their studios this Saturday for Industry City’s first Open Studios event in Sunset Park. Visitors can meet and explore the work spaces of painters, printmakers, video artists, sculptors, glassblowers, woodworkers and photographers.

You can see the full list of participating artists and a map of their studios, which are scattered across three different buildings, on the Industry City Studios website. Open Studios will happen Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm at 220 36th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues.

Photo via Industry City Studios

04/18/14 4:00pm

dumbo prices top most other nyc hoods

Two of Brooklyn’s most influential figures in art and real estate, choreographer Elizabeth Streb and developer Jed Walentas, will discuss the borough’s evolution and the importance of supporting artistic ventures next month at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer started the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM) in a Williamsburg warehouse in 2003, and she has since built the space into a creative and educational center that offers classes, workshops, demonstrations and rehearsal space.

Walentas, one of the principals of Two Trees Management, has been one of the driving forces in transforming Dumbo from an industrial ‘hood into one known for million-dollar condos, art galleries and coffee shops. Two Trees is also demolishing much of the old Domino Sugar Refinery complex and constructing a large mixed-use development that incorporates the factory’s landmarked main building as office space.

“Both have transformed community through art: Streb by creating an artistic home — whose doors are always open to passersby — in a  formerly industrial neighborhood; Walentas by providing free and low-cost space to artists and arts organizations,” BHS writes in the event description. The talk will take place Wednesday, May 7 at 6:30 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street. You can grab tickets on Eventbrite, and the event is free for members and costs $5 for everyone else.

Photo by Simon Collison

04/16/14 4:00pm

Next weekend, the third annual Brooklyn Zine Fest returns to the Brooklyn Historical Society with panels and a wide variety of publishers, artists and writers selling their wares. Panels will discuss topics like queer and trans zine writers, zine collecting and publishing zines anonymously.

And over 150 zine enthusiasts will be selling self-published magazines on everything under the sun: art, comedy, graffiti, comics, environmentalism, food, film, local history and much more. Check out the full lineup and the panel schedule for the festival, which will take place April 26 and 27 from 11 am to 6 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street.

Photo by Seth McFarland for Brooklyn Zine Fest

04/15/14 4:00pm

Tenants at Homewood Gardens Estates in East Flatbush claim their landlord is trying to push them out in favor of white tenants willing to pay higher rents, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. The suit alleges that landlords Yeshaya Wasserman, Shay Wasserman and Yitzchok Rambod ignored repair requests, forced evictions and offered cash buyouts, the New York Post reported. The East Flatbush residents also say the landlords consistently refuse to make repairs for black tenants, fail to cash rent checks and delay the delivery of front door keys.

“In contrast, white tenants move into renovated apartments, their rent checks are cashed, they receive monthly rent statements and they are not subject to harassment,” the suit states, according to the Post.

The lawsuit also claims black residents have seen their rents double, while white tenants have seen minimal rent increases at lease renewal time. Wasserman and his partners bought the buildings on Brooklyn Avenue and Hawthorne Street in 2009. The state’s Tenant Protect Unit has been investigating Wasserman since last fall, when it subpoenaed documents from all eight of his properties in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Landlords Pushing Black Tenants out for Whites: Suit [NY Post]
Closing Bell: State Investigates Crown Heights, Flatbush Landlord for Tenant Abuse [Brownstoner]

Image via Google Maps

This morning at Borough Hall, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced he plans to make the 166-year-old building LEED certified by retrofitting the windows, installing solar panels, and implementing geothermal heating. “Borough Hall is going to lead by example, that’s L-E-E-D,” said Adams. “If a government building built in 1848 can be transformed into an energy efficient structure, then every building that’s built in this borough and this city can follow.”

He promised to set aside capital funding to update the Greek Revival structure, one of the borough’s oldest public buildings. On top of that, he has already pledged $1,000,000 in capital funds to repair the bluestone and courtyard behind building.

Adams also announced the first meeting of his Renewable and Sustainable Energy Task Force (ReSET), which aims to encourage green building practices in Brooklyn and the rest of the city. “I’m helping the mayor infuse the green technology concept into the [planned] 200,000 units of affordable housing,” he explained.

No word on whether he has already checked with the Landmarks Preservation Commission on his plans for Borough Hall.

04/11/14 4:00pm

Council Member Stephen Levin has announced the five community improvement projects in District 33 that will receive $1,560,000 of city discretionary funds. Residents voted last week on how their tax dollars should be spent in the district through a process known as participatory budgeting. Here are the projects that received the most votes, in order:

  1. Repairs at four NYCHA playgrounds – Gowanus Houses, 572 Warren Street Houses, Wyckoff Gardens, and Jonathan Williams Plaza – will receive $400,000.
  2. The Gowanus Community Center, pictured, will get $325,000 for renovations.
  3. The McGolrick Park Playground will be completely reconstructed, to the tune of $450,000.
  4. BOOKlyn Shuttle: $198,000 will be set aside to buy and retrofit bus a bus designed by Pratt Institute to “inspire, stimulate and improve the literacy of North Brooklyn’s youth.”
  5. The bathrooms at P.S. 261 will be renovated and repaired with $175,000 in funds.

Image of Gowanus Community Center via Better Late Than Never

 

04/10/14 4:00pm

The Municipal Art Society is hosting a walking tour of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill that will explore its history and the ethnic enclaves that settled there a hundred years ago. Local historian and genealogist Mary Ann DiNapoli will delve into the lives of various members of the Arab American community that moved to the neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th century.

She’ll also discuss the foods and traditions that are unique to this time of year, and tour attendees will get to sample some wares from some of Atlantic’s wonderful Middle Eastern shops. The tour will take place this Saturday at 10 am. Tickets are $20, and you can purchase them through the MAS website.

Photo by Katia Kelly for Pardon Me for Asking

04/03/14 4:00pm

A new Brooklyn tourism site called ExploreBK.com will begin creating useful content next month for visitors who want to get to know the borough, according to the Daily News. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is partnering with BlankSlate, a Dumbo-based media company, to launch the site next month. BlankSlate also runs Brownstoner’s advertising and marketplace. The website will cover events, restaurants, retail and hotels, and include a searchable directory of local businesses.

Tourism has been on the rise in Brooklyn, with 15,000,000 tourists visiting in 2010, according to the Borough President’s office. And 22 hotels are under construction to feed the demand for rooms that are cheaper than Manhattan but still close to major destinations, particularly in Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn and Sunset Park. Currently there are 3,500 hotel rooms, up from 778 in 2005.

Photo by Eric Konon

04/02/14 4:00pm

grand prospect hall south slope 32014

Park Slope’s annual Taste of Fifth festival will bring 40 of 5th Avenue’s bars and eateries to one place next week and raise money for local charities. Restaurants like Al Di La, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Bogata Latin Bistro and Luke’s Lobster will be serving up their cuisine at Grand Prospect Hall next Wednesday.

Attendees also get to enjoy live music and complimentary wine and beer at the festival. Tickets cost $45 online or $50 at the door, and $20 of each ticket goes towards one of 14 Park Slope charities of your choice. The 5th Avenue BID has a full list of charities and vendors that will be at the event, which will take place April 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Grand Prospect Hall at 263 Prospect Avenue.

03/31/14 4:00pm

nassau-avenue-g-train-station-033114

The MTA is suspending G train service between Nassau Avenue and Court Square for over a month this summer, and Greenpoint’s elected officials are holding a town hall Thursday to discuss the shutdown. The G train won’t run in Greenpoint from July 26 to September 1 because of Sandy-related repairs, according to Senator Daniel Squadron’s office. There will be a shuttle service between the affected stops.

State Senator Daniel Squadron is hosting the meeting, which takes place April 3 at 6 pm in the Polish and Slavic Center at 176 Java Street. Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Dilan, Assembly Member Lentol and Council Member Stephen Levin are expected to attend.

Photo by jim.henderson for Wikipedia

03/27/14 4:00pm

1-prospect-park-west-030614

Following the news that Park Slope assisted living facility Prospect Park Residence plans to close, local pol State Assemblywoman Joan Millman has introduced a bill that would effectively halt the shutdown for two years. The law would create a nine-person commission to study and report on the effects of long-term care facilities closing their doors.

For two years, all long-term care facilities throughout the state would be prevented from closing, converting to another use, or reducing their staffs. The Department of Health has already OK’d the closure.

In the meantime, community groups are planning more protests against the closure tomorrow and Saturday in front of the senior home at 1 Prospect Park West. Details can be found on Facebook. An online petition against the closure has garnered more than 3,000 signatures.

Conversion or Tear Down for Troubled Park Slope Senior Home? [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

03/26/14 4:00pm

empire-stores-032614

Dumbo was once a major port and an important stop for goods and people. It was also an important place for Brooklyn’s free blacks and the location of many abolitionist activities. Suzanne Spellen, aka Brownstoner columnist Montrose Morris, will lead a walking tour next weekend on the neighborhood’s history, with a focus on its role in slavery and the anti-slavery movement.

The tour is offered by the Brooklyn Historical Society as part of its exhibit “Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom.” It will take place next Saturday, April 5 at 11 am. Tickets are $15 for BHS members or $25 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Photo by maggiemoo1