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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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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CrowHill Comm Assoc Meeting tonight 11/18

The meeting will be held at the Gospel Tabernacle Church 725 Franklin Ave
Between Park Pl and Sterling Pl in Crown Heights to discuss local issues, all are welcomed especially Crown Heights residents.

This is the tentative agenda:
  1. Opening statement from CHCA Vice President Paul Carson
  2. Report on Halloween Parade by CHCA President Frank Esquilin
  3. Status of children’s workshops & Scholar’s Program by CHCA President Frank Esquilin
  4. Community Survey by CHCA President Frank Esquilin
  5. Community Information by CHCA Project Manager Constance Nugent-Miller
  6. Thanksgiving Food Basket cost approval by CHCA Treasurer Joanne Crispe
  7. Report on CHCA website by CHCA Secretary Josh Thompson 
  8. Guest Speaker: Mr. Mathew Pitt from Councilwoman Cumbo’s Office                     
  9. Guest Speaker: Mr. Harold Lutchman, Capital One Manger
  10. Guest Speaker: Mr. Guillermo Phillips, President of the Panama Assoc.                              
  11. "Did You Know?" by Mike Fagan
  12. Guest Speaker: Ms. Jennyfer Bagnalli, President of the PTA for P.S. 316
Check their website for more information: 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Successful talk about renters rights in the wake of Gentrification

Before the event (I'll post a better photo later)

Last night's talk about Gentrification was better than I'd hoped. The organizer of the meeting Neta Alexander screened two films "Rent Freeze" which documented the struggle to install a five year rent rate freeze for all stabilized and rent controlled apartments in New York City. And "A Snowboarding Day in Brooklyn" by Jason Scott Jones, which captured a moment of bless ruined by the inequity certain New Yorkers often face.

The event was well attended with an active audience and four guest speakers Donna Rachel and the filmmakers. Topics of renters rights were heavily discussed. I met great people and came away more optimistic and with specific ideas on what we can all do to increase the sustainability of longstanding communities while uniting with new comers to the neighborhood to make Crown Heights in particular and the once neglected neighborhoods of New York city as a whole, vibrant functioning places again.

I'll post more about the discussion event, and some inspired thoughts that came out of it, and hopefully some new ongoing reporting that may be featured on this blog.

Friday, September 26, 2014


TOMORROW -  SATURDAY 9/27 7:30pm a public talk about Gentrification - Rent Controls & Resistance - will take place at the FiveMyles Gallery at 558 St. Johns Place in Crown Heights. 

Everyone is invited to come down and join in. Two short films on the topic as it relates to Brooklyn will be shown, come down and meet the contributors to the Brooklyn Born blog as well as the filmmakers and Rachel Godsil, Director of NYC's Rent Guideline Board, and lenders of the Crown Heights Tenants Union.

Details on the flyer for more information contact Neta Alexander (NA889@nyu.edu)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Smorgasburg & Bklyn Flea, coming to Crown Heights

 (Above) "BERG'N" the newest eating, hanging, drinking spot to land in Brooklyn and most audaciously, in Crown Heights. Soon to be sharing Winter customers with the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg


I like food. And much in the same way I like to have my good t-shirts dry-cleaned for reasons of practicality and pampering, I occasionally enjoy spending more than I should on small portions of obsessively prepared, delicious food.

In other words I like Smorgasburg.

And they've just dropped the word that they're going to be in Crown Heights for the winter weekends starting on Nov 8th & 9th placing them at 1000 Dean Street the newest of recently renovated commercial spaces in the western end of the neighborhood. This will place them back to back with Berg'n which I have been to twice but yet to review because I want to get a fair sense of Berg'n before I proclaimed it the latest and tastiest Beer-eteria I've been to. Oh see? there that went.

Eric Demby, Smorgasburg & Brooklyn Flea co-founder says there'll be between 100 and 110 vendors each weekend and that they'll be set up with more permanent stalls. Of those, five to 10 will be cooked-food stands and more from the "packaged-food contingent." In addition to food vendors from Smorgasburg there will be marketeers from the Brooklyn Flea in the space, making for an enclosed experience of food, shopping and meet up spaces. ("Whooohoo 360ยบ!!" says the marketing staff.)

Snips aside it's a brilliant move. Berg'n the venture co-funded by GoldmanSachs (is this the first time they've invested in Crown Heights?) has been packing them in, even in these pics I took on their second day open just before lunchtime.

(Above: owner and Ramen Burger creator Keizo Shimamoto, he nimbly prepared one for me)

I'd figured it would be the convenient lunch destination for whatever businesses filled 100 Dean Street. Now this merge of offerings that attract and overlap like-minded customers boosts all the player's profiles and profits, and will probably go a long way to keeping Berg'n profitable despite the weekday afternoons when people traffic is lower.

(Above: A Ramen Burgen, bun of ramen noodles in between a tasty hunk of shredded beef chuck, juicy steak tomato, arugula and special mayo sauce, seconds later it became part of me)

I haven't written about 1000 Dean (the old Studebaker repair building long since under used) being made into a wide open ready to go commercial space mostly because I haven't heard of a main tenant being announced. Bergen and Dean streets run straight from Brownsville(Ocean Hill now, yeesh) East New York's end of Crown Heights and continue west straight to within blocks of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Bike lanes and buses on both streets. It's exactly what I've been saying to potential property buyers for years now, follow the bike lanes, there on lies a plan.

So all this new business in Crown Heights could be cool. Downside I can imagine now there'll be more new people who haven't gone through the crucible of moving to Crown Heights, meeting neighbors and becoming aware through hard and soft interactions not to be a entitled douche. So let's so come November how much fun it is to be around here on the weekends. Between this and Starbucks having opened today on the other end of Franklin's now crowded commercial corridor (mostly from Eastern Parkway to Dean St) we'll really get a sense of how much of the conscientious character of the neighborhood stays intact as we develop forward.

From the left; Mighty Quinn's (BBQ), Asia Dog, Pizza Moto, & Ramen Burger,
(clearly you can't sell food here without a compound name)

Look at those scant lines of people up there, it won't be that way when the Smorgasburg train comes to Crown.

More details from the folks at Gothamist: http://gothamist.com/2014/09/25/smorgasburg_crown_heights.php