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BrooklynBornThis blog started in my head when I listened in the 90's to friends who feared Brooklyn and newcomers who blogged about BK as if it barely existed before they arrived. Brooklyn as Tabula Rasa. My blog satisfies my need to hear and air feelings of B'klyn from the people whose life experience was born here. Also I hope to provide balance to some of the revisionist historical musings I've seen how Brooklyn and her residents used to be, we're still here. If we can all live as best possible while appreciating the past and neighbors we've inherited that would be great too.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brooklyn Heights Public Library Slated for Redevelopment/Partial Sale

Architect's rendering of the proposed new library with residential rental units above.

I just noticed the news that the Brooklyn Public Library is selling the land of it's current Brooklyn Heights branch for $52 Million to developer Hudson Companies who will build a new library and market rate apartments on that space.

The new library will be physically smaller than the current but the press release says there will be more "usable" space in the new than currently available. Market rate for the area which is across from Cadman Plaza will make the apartments among the most expensive in the borough.

Personally I have no qualm with any of this. I don't know the exact number of people who make use of the library but I worked on a BPL project a few years back and the purpose of that project was their constant need to raise funds. Budgets have been tight at the libraries for decades. If the BPL can raise some much needed funds, without entirely closing a branch, in a neighborhood where I'm guess you'll find on average more private libraries in homes than most neighborhoods have books in their own public library, I don't see a major loss.

The libraries do need to continue finding ways to expand the vital services they provide like internet access and skills training so that they can stay viable and fund their branches in less well off neighborhoods. Selling the branch for apartments isn't going to be a revenue stream going forward.

I could be wrong. Do you have any thoughts to share?

News reports from NY1 http://www.ny1.com/content/news/215639/brooklyn-public-library-votes-to-sell-brooklyn-heights-branch-to-private-developer/

Brooklyn Eagle: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2014/9/16/breaking-brooklyn-public-library-approves-52-million-sale-brooklyn-heights-branch

And the most comprehensive coverage I found was on the Brooklyn Heights Blog:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Photo Wednesday 091014 : West Indian Parade 2014 Edition

I was in the parade which feels like many more than ten days ago. Not in the parade in the teen aged sense of the days when I'd hope the barricade and join the mostly other non participant paraders, but in a more age mature stroll with my niece and nephew down the parkway lanes, enjoy the people watching and food scents.

From my point of view, having walked back and forth from Franklin to Nostrand and back, as well as taking the train out to Utica Av, (with the exception of a lack of information dolled out to the rank and file officers on where crowds could permissibly cross streets) the parade was a grand success.

I have lots of pics (Senator Chuck Schumer was hilarious with the bullhorn in my opinion) and I'll put up a gallery soon, but I've settled on this shot from high above Franklin Av and Eastern Parkway.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


So yesterday was a lot. I'm still recovering from the greatest weekend in Brooklyn this summer of 2014.

The Afro Punk Festival had been on my calendar since I was forced to miss it last year, and then outta the blue Spike Lee, 40Acres, DjSpinna and the New York Knick City Dancers (?!) decided to throw a huge old fashion Brooklyn block party styled tribute to Michael Jackson at Restoration Plaza in Bed-Stuy.

So of course I hit both.

Afro Punk 2014 Day 1xP-2585 And (as you can see) I got pictures, click through the one below or check the album (since yahoo killed flickr's slideshow function https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_fuetur/sets/72157646939767815/)  and it's like you were there, only much quieter and less cool.

Afro Punk 2014 Day 1xP-2463

and video and stories and my god there needs to be another weekend between last and next just to express all the greatness that went down, from Spike hosting a good all family event for longterm Brooklynites and newcomers from around the world, including bringing out two of the newest Knick players, to a free rock event that somehow got a fraction of the Arcade Fire concert's media coverage despite it being just walking distance away from AfroPunk which was hands down the greatest music event last weekend and possible of the August if not the summer.

Here's a list of bands if you were getting married last weekend or just had fingers in your ears:

Meshell NDegocello
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Bad Brains
Alice Smith
Lianne La Havas
Unlocking The Truth
Body Count with front man Ice-T
The Bots
Valerie June
about half The Roots
and thats only about 1/5 of the show. Plus there was food beer and rows of tents with vendors selling artwork, clothing and more. And entry was free.

So up there is a slideshow of some of the best pics and I'll be getting the video I shot soon with some special clips.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

AfroPunkFest 2014 & Spike Lee MJ Party

(above: Alice Smith mid set on Saturday Aug 23, 2014 at Afro Punk Festival, Commodore Barry Park, Bklyn)

AfroPunk 2014 music art food culture ere in Downtown/Fort Greene Brooklyn and i'm here.

5:15p Alice Smith at the Green Stage literally brought the sun out with her voice and energy.

Amazing set, Alice gave that no nonsense sweet sweet fierce fierce love to the crowd, her inspirations and even had a little left over for the soundman.

Lianne La Havas, brit born, Jamaican/Greek descended chartreuse/muse followed a Beverly Bond DJ set, and proceeded to cause a Brooklyn swoon the likes of which many are still happily unrecovered from. 

Throughout the crowd I heard as many people singing La Havas lyrics as there were remarking about how perfectly darling she is. Its true Lianne's songs have the quality of a young woman who's in the effort of finding love has had heart tarnished and uses the experience to burnish out songs which when delivered in her range from primal scream to often audible whisper, melt the heart.

It's a perfect bit of scheduling that Valerie June (whom I just caught before her set ended) Lianne La Havas & Alice Smith, played a processional lead toward Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, because each of the three musicans present a facet of young womanhood. Valerie's rockabilly strunging and "aw shucks-esque" sing cleverly ensconce a Valerie's  woman who will not be taking shit now or later. Lianne is romantic optimist, going mind and heart wide open into the romantic abyss, and Alice is lightning a potential lover hopes to catch and worries my fry them. 

If you'll allow me to wrap these three musicans into a loosely fitting metaphor, here goes, Alice Smith is Id, Lianne the Ego and Valerie's the Super Ego. Granted each has songs in which they play all and none of those roles, but on stage thats what the viberation I hear.

Alice Smith is a force of nature unapologetically contained in the body of an electrifying young woman. When Alice's label lacked the vision of her second album, the Grammy nominated artist went to her crowds and funded "SHE" her second album which has produced more of the high voltage, piognant and true songs of Alice's heart as mind, laid bare, that make her a musical pleasure to be transfixed by.

The stellar end to the 1st night of Afro Punk at the green stage was aptly presided over by the one and only Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. If you've ever been in a church service, if you've ever been to a racuous party, or had the pleasure of both in one, you'll have a slight idea of what heaven on Earth  Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings unfurled in Commodore Barry Park at Afro Punk 2014. Sharon was  minister preacher in full in one sequence sharing with the congregation her personal struggles and uncertainties after illness, "I didn't know if I would make it, I had no hair, no eyebrow hair no nostril hair, I didn't know if I would be anywhere.." in another moment renegotiating the playlists into a satisfying melody of their decade longer career songs. The movement of souls was visible, a funk more fortified than the sess tinged air, churning up the clouds as their musical chariot descended, like the revival jams of 100 Days, 100 Nights and eons of horny bass all rolled in to one, knocking the often unknowingly sanctifying crowd flat dead and bringing us back to life. Thats how Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings closed night one of Afro Punk 2014 on the green stage.

Today acts ranging from the nearly brad new life of "Unlocking the Truth" (who at aged 13 swiped the title of youngest festival group  from The Bots) to stalwarts of punk, ska & rock, Fishbone, who can always be counted on for a memoral show, will hit the Afro Punk stages, along with dynamic and diverse acts including Tamar-Kali, SZA, The Internet, Cro-Mags, the legenday Michell Ndegeocello, and culminating with a festival ending set by D'Angelo. So you've been told.

In a true challenge to musical loyalty and geographic possibilty at today is also the Spike Lee presented Michael Jackson party in Bedford-Stuyvesant at historical mixed media venue Restoration Plaza from 12noon to 6p Dj Spinna will be controlling the decks an spinning straight MJ and Jackson and or Jacksons inspired track just as Spinna does at hos annual MJ and MJ vs Prince parties around the country.

Cell service at these events tends to be spotty which I dont know whether to blame on infrastructure, or crowd control, but that is the case so I'll be uploading pics tomorrow as well as some choice video.

Fyi if youre a straight R&B type, the Mj Party ends at 6 as D'Angelo starts at Afro Punk at 8:30 so that C train (Kingston Av to Lafayette, followed  by a walk north on Ashland) might have your name on it

All Free. That's what's up Brooklyn, USA.