Yesterday afternoon the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project held a site tour of safety proposals for Park Avenue between Navy and Steuben streets. MARP released a proposal for safety measures (after lots of community feedback) and submitted the plans to the Department of Transportation yesterday. Students from nearby Banneker Academy, Council Member Tish James, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, representatives from the Ingersoll Houses, Walt Whitman houses, Transportation Alternatives, and local residents gathered for a site tour. The tour highlighted the avenue’s major safety concerns: massive potholes, no street striping, and poor sanitation to name a few. “It’s an eyesore, it’s underutilized, and it’s being used inefficiently,” said James. “We need to think outside of the box and focus on how to trasform Park from a dumping group to something productive for this community.” Click through for some photos of our 17-block trip under the BQE, as well as all the details about MARP’s extensive proposal. MARP also started a petition to push for the much-needed improvements.

Many row house owners in the more expensive areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan are opting to restore lost stoops, according to The New York Times. Reasons include aesthetics and historic authenticity but also resale value. A stoop adds to the sale price, said experts such as Dexter Guerrieri, president of the real estate firm Vandenberg, the Townhouse Experts, who teaches a class on how to enhance the value of a town house. Many houses lost their stoops in the early 20th century when they were chopped up into apartments. Removing the stoop let the landlord squeeze every bit of value out of the floor plan by incorporating the parlor-level entry into an apartment. The cost of restoring a missing stoop can run $35,000 to $100,000, said the article.
Stoops Grow in Value, and Not Just as Seating [NY Times]
Photo by Historic Districts Council

Image source: LaBellaVida on Flickr

This evening brings a cool and fun bingo event at Astoria’s own Blackbird’s. This game night is a product of the Astoria Board Games and Booze Meetup group. Founded in February 2012, they have been organizing gatherings all over Astoria involving board games and booze. While there, consider trying some of Blackbird’s food along with their booze, which gets raves by the locals.

Bingo Night at Blackbird’s

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
9pm-midnight  | FREE!

Cuomo Is Open to “Tweaks” in Ethics Panel [NY Times]
Worker Killed in Fort Greene Building Collapse [NY Times]
It’s War at Grand Army Plaza [NY Post]
Brooklyn Parents Fume as Buses Don’t Show [NY Daily News]
Promenade Site of 9/11 Memorial for Many Brooklyn Residents [NY Daily News]
New Water Front Green Space Opens in Brooklyn [WSJ]
South Beach on Rise by the Bay [Crain’s]
Occupy Wall Street Plans Teach-in After Jay-Z Questions Movement [Rolling Stone]
Under the Muck [Brooklyn Paper]
Community Board Vows to Revoke Amnesia’s Liquor License [Brooklyn Paper]
Park Slope Library to Have iPads for Very Young Readers [DNAinfo]
Bushwick Gym Applies for Liquor License [DNAinfo]
Carlton Bridge Expected to Reopen Around Sept. 24 [AYR]
Fed EB-5 Visa Investigation Includes Barclays Financing [AYR]
4th Avenue Development Site Hits Market for $9M [TRD]

Yesterday turned out to be a glorious day for Brooklyn Flea to launch the new location of its Smorgasburg food market in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Tobacco Warehouse. Great food, weather and views led to a huge turnout. Other than September 30th (the date of the Dumbo Arts Festival), Smorgasburg will take place in this location on Sundays until Thanksgiving.

A little bit of Kansas found its way to Queens this weekend

So how did this weekend’s storm affect you? We are hopeful that you were able to stay safe and that none of your property was damaged. Probably the most bizarre thing to happen during the storm was the tornado that touched down in Breezy Point, out on the Rockaway Peninsula. The tornado was about 50 feet across and stayed on land for about 600 feet; winds were 70 mph, making it a “weak” tornado. We bet the Breezy Point Surf Club felt differently, as they sustained the most damage from the twister. If haven’t caught the video yet, here it is:


The last bits of the US Open

Starting at 4pm on Monday, September 10, the Men’s Singles finals are being played between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. This major match was supposed to happen on Sunday evening (the Women’s Singles were pushed a day to that slot instead – congrats, Serena), but the Saturday storms contributed to the delay. And even though the Open ends after the men play, and won’t be back for another year, you can savor the fact that one of the permiere worldwide sporting events happens right here in Queens. So proud.

It’s true, Thom Yorke was here in Queens, spinning and dancing his heart out, entertaining the Warm Up masses

The internet was all excited about the fact that Thom Yorke was spinning some of the tunes heard during the final MOMA PS1 Warm Up of the year. It was an excellent time and all about fun, fun, fun.

Parkour in Queens, including a movie

Have you heard of parkour? It’s the art of moving and overcoming obstacles, physically, and has origins in France. It’s a controversial sport and its participants are passionate about it (cats are natural parkour practitioners, though they probably don’t know it or really care). Word on the street is that one of the best places to practice parkour in NYC is at Queens College because of all its varied obstacles and types of surfaces, but Rockaway Boardwalk and Roosevelt Island are also popular parkour haunts.

Queens resident Kevin Horan of Rockaway Beach is such a parkour virtuoso that he was asked to be in an independent short film called “Atlas.” The film’s director, Nadia Lesy of Ridgewood, said the film depicts Greek mythology through parkour movements. Horan plays Zeus. The film is slated to be released in January 2013.

Looking for papalo?

This fresh herb, papalo, is often used in place of cilantro (it might be an option for your cilantro haters – yes, that soapy taste you detect has to do with genetics) in Mexican and other Latin American food, and can be found pretty easily in Queens – check the Mi Tierra market (which has a fantastic produce section) on Roosevelt near 85th Street (GMAP) and also at the Socrates Sculpture Park greenmarket in LIC (GMAP).

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Colonnade Row
Address: 43-49 Willow Place
Cross Streets: Joralemon and State Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1846
Architectural Style: Greek Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Heights HD (1969)

Colonnade rows were very popular in the 1830s and ’40s. They added some interest and gravitas to what are basically very plain houses, and really put the Greek in Greek Revival, with those massive columns extending the houses further into the streetscape. There were once many more of these rows in existence in New York City, but they have been the target of all kinds of efforts in “modernization” throughout the last 100 years. The best known remaining colonnade is La Grange Terrace, on Lafayette Street across from Cooper Union in Manhattan, and that is only a part of what was once a longer row, and has been altered quite a bit in its history.


Image source: Times Ledger

So it looks like the residential conversion of the old Chilton Paint factory (109-09 15th Ave – GMAP) in College Point, which was first planned back in 2005, might finally be happening. According to the Times Ledger, there was a change of ownership, and in August the new owner filed paperwork with the city to get the project back in motion. According to the original 2005 plans, the conversion would turn the building into 134 apartments, the exterior of the building would remain intact, and a public walkway would be built along the waterfront. There would be views of Manhattan, though given where the building is situated LaGuardia airport and Rikers Island seem like they would be in view too. 

The one-story warehouse at 226 Greene Avenue in Clinton Hill is set for a revamp courtesy of the man who currently owns and operates the architectural salvage shop in the ground floor. Local favorite Eddie Hibbert has filed plans to build another two stories on top of the half of the warehouse building that he owns. The addition will consist of two floor-through, loft-like apartments. According to the DOB filing, the move will expand the square footage from under 1,200 now to over 3,000.