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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.

More about this blog

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Artistry in Crown Heights thru May 3rd

This past Sunday the weather provided an otherworldly exterior of dense fog while just a few yards inside of Crown Heights western edge, (yah it used to all be Crown Heights...) at FiveMyles the ten year old Crown Heights gallery and performance space nestled into St. John's Place, Artists constructed and project introspective visions of art.

artworks of Anita Glesta (video) and Andra Samelson (sculpture) @ FiveMyles Gallery in Bklyn
The two person show features the works of Anita Glesta
(above: Expulsion - video Installation)

artworks of Anita Glesta (video) and Andra Samelson (sculpture) @ FiveMyles Gallery in Bklyn
Andra Samelson (above and below: Down to Earth – sculpture)

artworks of Anita Glesta (video) and Andra Samelson (sculpture) @ FiveMyles Gallery in Bklyn

The exhibition naturally inhabits the space as it features video projections, formations of wood and wood borne sculpture, which muse about classical narratives and existential questions.

A diverse crowd of seasoned artists, friends, well-wishers and youthful neighbors made for a well attended opening.

artworks of Anita Glesta (video) and Andra Samelson (sculpture) @ FiveMyles Gallery in Bklyn
As the event was coming to a close, the wine was displaced by a spread of fried fish and cornbread laid out by gallery owner Hanne and her family adding new flavors and a cozy Brooklyn accent to the well known gallery experience.

But you don't need me reporting in my curator voice, peep the pics and see the exhibition, it'll be up through May 3, 2009.

artworks of Anita Glesta (video) and Andra Samelson (sculpture) @ FiveMyles Gallery in Bklyn

Monday, March 30, 2009

Da Fog

Today's taste of Spring? Cold 52˚, 15 mph winds. As my grandmother used to say "icky..."

Yesterday was at least dramatic with a heavy dose of figurative and literal atmosphere.
Here's a pic from Crown Heights:

IMG_0170.JPG

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hipsters take from "Bodega", NYTimes provides PR

Yeh we are the world and we are the children. And that's all I need to know where I am in life. But then I read in the NY Times that the concept of "Bodega" has taken a "Star Turn" and I'm all befuddled.

Bodegas or the "corner store" as locals would also call it, have long been a star in New York's urban neighborhoods providing center stage for events grand, hysterical in their banalities and tragic. Yet after being defined for generations, the NY Times suddenly proclaims the Bodega is a star. Why? Simple. Cause some hipsters opened a very pleasing and convenient sounding store in Greenpoint called the Brooklyn Standard. Because what else would you call your business when you've been raised in California and Oregon. Then tragedy struck when even the consultants they had at hand couldn't come up with a convenient phrase to describe their convenient store. Suddenly they came up with the perfect word to define this amazing new business: "Bodega". And uh yeh, a star was born.

The best line comes from the guy Kate Zidar, who does the composting in this "Bodega:
"...to quote Kate Zidar, a Brooklyn Standard consultant whose duties include overseeing a worm-filled compost bin in the backyard, the word “bodega” has “superseded its origins.”"

Right, you can come up with that gem but you couldn't come up with an original description? Did you consult the worms?

Photo by John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times

Look at the picture, see these guys aren't Latino or Middle Eastern or Asian so there it is, the ever desired proof of clever through irony. I get it, it's like watching Sarah Palin wink. Thanks for bringing this to my attention NY Times, you're so hip. opps, wow there's irony everywhere, clean-up!

Least anyone misunderstand my rant, if you want to start a business and you're stuck for a way to promote it and you have a contact at the NYTimes, awesome, get money or in this case, Rock the Casbah. But IMO for the New York Times to essentially provide advertising space to a private business that has consultants, is appropriating something already in existence is unfortunate when you imagine the thousands if not millions of stories that go on in New York City every day. Even in Bodegas.

Self-Defense Event Sunday 3/29 (or iPod? iDefend.)

Council member Letitia James would like to remind everyone that she's presenting a Self-Defense Awareness Event tomorrow (Sunday 3/29).

I wonder if it will include such needed suggests to newcomers as don't accept invitations from strangers on dark streets and learn to operate gadgets from your pockets instead of waving them like a target in Duck Hunt.

Here's the official details provided by Council member James' office:

A Self-Defense Awareness Event will be held on Sunday March 29th, from 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm at Long Island University, in the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gymnasium (the former Paramount Theater), located on DeKalb Avenue at Flatbush Avenue Extension in Brooklyn.

Participants include representatives from the Office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, the 88th Police Precinct, as well as certified self-defense instructors from Embora Wellness and Movement Studio - www.embora.com, who will lecture and lead the class.

Please come listen, learn, and practice self protection & safety tips, as well as self-defense techniques with the community.

This Event Co-Sponsored by:

Council Member Letitia James

The Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University

Embora Wellness and Movement Studio - www.embora.com

The Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Public Safety Task Force

Contact: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191, and (646) 201-8183


Friday, March 27, 2009

Frankly speaking: Frank White is closed
(or is it? Update below)

It's Friday and I don't know where you're going tonight, but unless your a real estate broker you're not going to Frank White's lounge on Atlantic (at the boarder of Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill (once upon a time twas the boarder of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, yeh I know...))
IMG_9806.JPG
That's because Frank White is closed. Yup, I happened by yesterday and took some pics.

It was a cool lounge, good neighborhood spot, even hit up a party where Spinna played. They had an artsy aesthetic, doing things like using Poker chips as currency, WHICH I STILL HAVE (might as well be Bear Sterns stock). But alas it seems artsy accents and trading cash for cuteness couldn't keep the place afloat. Which makes me wonder when are entrepreneurs gonna realize that this stretch of Atlantic Av is not the place to put up a successful social business. (insert Atlantic Yards comments.....Now!)

Frank goes up to small biz heaven like Pork Knockers before it (closed around 2000 same locale).

Now that Frank White is for rent, think I can get the space for one black Movado?

UPDATE: According to longtime BBBlog poster "Leer", Frank White may live on.
Leer said...

Yea. I talked to the owner recently and she said that they are closing there but will be reopening a few doors down. This time it will only be for events and showcases... no food. So Frank White will live on. Although I feel that any type of foot traffic business is doomed on Atlantic... wish they would take it to Fulton St.

Maybe I can cash in my chips after all...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When will we stab back at the Empire: meanwhile MTA fares go up.

The MTA fares are going up, again.

Regardless of where you stand, here is the most relevant factoid about the MTA and fare increases. Not one elected official is directly responsible for fares going up or staying put. The MTA is run by a 17 member board selected by politicians but ultimately self governing. The MTA was designed that way so that no politican would be held responsible for the inevitably unpopular fare increases.

So when we the people who pay for these services feel there is injustice in the service we get , the way money is managed and the price we pay, we have no direct person to hold accountable.

If you're pissed off about this, please share this information. Maybe one day we'll all get it together and make the MTA answerable to the Mayor or the Govenor (jeez can you imagine) somebody who could be made to run the MTA better.

(services are being cut btw, click here to see how it affects you)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flatbush Av planning and the word "gritty"

Photo Fieldtrip to Atlantic Yards

Saw this story "Is The Fix In for Flatbush" on the Brooklyn Paper about attempts to add street amenities to the stretch of Flatbush Ave going down from Grand Army Plaza to Atlantic Avenue.
Interesting article, Although I have to say, when writing about one of the longest avenues in the borough, which has the same name as two (or three) distinct large sections of the borough, it would be great to be specific in referencing Flatbush.

Personally I have seen attempts to beautify on that stretch of Flatbush Av, most recently in the mid 80's that added gas lights, benches and tree filled street triangles. There's not a lot to work with so it'll be interesting to see what if anything is done.

My questions is how necessary is this? That part of Flatbush seems to thrive deeping on the economic environment more so than the aesthetics. Also what's wrong with "gritty stores" on Flatbush?

Higher Art


Seems Brooklyn Museum is raising it's admission price by $2 to $10, "and seniors and students will pay $6". Granted it's a suggested admission but all the more reason to enjoy 1st Saturdays where it's guilt and admission free after 5pm. Details at Newsday site

Monday morning cool blue

NYC Ad over street scene
Yesterday I was in Bedford-Stuyvesant most of the day. I saw this ad presented by the city govenment (for some department that was not as resonate as the design it used) and I loved the design style.

Granted Wednesday is Photo day on this blog, but I wanted to share this photo and I have nothing else finished to that I can post today. Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Battlestar Galatica Ends

So BSG is over as of tonight's two hour series final.
Le sigh.

I'm still trying to figure out who's massive widescreen tv I'm watching it on, so let a brother know! Meanwhile here are some strangely fascinating cupcakes I found while trolling for a watch-spot. Frak.
Cupcake report from "Cakes That Take the Cake"

1st Day of Spring events ahead



Happy Spring 1st! Soon these clouds too shall pass revealing a new world of rainbows and wonder.

Here's a few events coming sooner and later:

Tomorrow @ Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Free guided tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. Meet in front of the Visitor Center. (Group tours are available for a fee; call 718-623-7220 or visit the group tours page for information.)

Of course next month April 9th is the Cherry Blossom Festival はなみ (hanami)
But there's plenty of events between now and then, check their calendar for details. GMAP

--

Next week Saturday the 28th at the Brooklyn Children's Museum they be chasing the rainbow (these days who isn't) and breaking it into all it's lovely pieces and colors (like a piggy bank) ages 5 and up, two sessions one at 11am the next at 3pm.
Here's their words:

Chase Wonder Why Workshop Series: Colors of the Rainbow

Get ready for those April showers—come find out how rainbows are made! Hear stories about how people once explained this colorful phenomenon, take a look at a rainbow up close, and craft your own recycled rainbow art to decorate your room. Pot of gold not included.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum / 145 Brooklyn Avenue / Brooklyn, NY 11213 /GMAP

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An for those of you who simply want to sit cafeteria style, eat corn and burritos from a truck whilst pretending not to people watch, you'll be happy to know that in less than 30 Days Habana Outpost will re-open! Yah! [GMAP]

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Have a spring event to post? Feel free to drop a comment.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon too

I love New York. And I love Brooklyn even more. Because where but Brooklyn, NY do you find an image like this.
Fire Fighter Hero to Dog on a Ledge

See on any given day in the burbs you're likely to get your cat up a tree. But here in the big city, you got your dawgs on a ledge.
Onlookers await the rescue
Maybe it's a 401canine. Ohh!

HAD TO DO IT! HAD TO!! NO Apologies!!

Okay, since I'm the only one laughing it's time to do like Warner Wolf and go to the video(tape). But first here's the setup, I'm in Crown Heights (cause I still count Washington Av as the boarder, I'll never stop complaining about shifting boarders) and I'm headed down St. Johns Place when I notice a guy petting his dog in the window. Double take and I think,"wait that dog is outside the window! WTF!?" Well as fortune would have it, t'was this dog's day made more so by that most relevant of New York elements, location, location, location.
Pet Recue and Ladder Truck into Action
You see the apartment building the dog chose for it's shout for attention that only bloggers can hear is located two doors down from the Firehouse of Engine 280 & Ladder 132 aka "In The Eye of The Storm".

And now we continue the video already in progress...

(Part 1) I had to adjust focus on my camera, so the videos is in two pieces.

And now the thrilling conclusion!

How can you not love Fire Fighters, Denis Leary be damned!
Btw, If you can come up with something better than "401Canine", I'd like to see you try.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

PhotoWedns 3/18/09 Thank You, Gowanus Lounge

A place to rest.
*Street Couch Series (suggested)
A "Street Couch" as coined by Robert Guskind of GowanusLounge.com

Brooklyn is a place to rest. Lounge even. That's the way I see it.
No matter how much posh, chic, glass walled, towering steel is projected on us I'll always see Brooklyn as the living room to Manhattan's rumpus room. Being raised in a brownstone on a tree lined street and traveling to Manhattan for BIG shopping, BIG movies, and other types of BIG fun will form that mentality. Some people might want an eight-foot diameter disco ball in their living room, not I. That's why I go to clubs. In Manhattan.

The blog Gowanus Lounge reminded me of that sensibility. If you don't know it's a blog whose view was the Gowanus section of Brooklyn and whose focus seemed to be all things in the world that effected Brooklyn and vice versa. The blog presented a stream of thought provoking neighborhood news, upcoming events and lighthearted features such as the "Street Couches Series" where they'd post a photo of couches that for reasons left to the imagination, furnished the curbside. I enjoyed the challenge posed by the Street Couch Series to look at more than just the literal and apply my imagination to something others might regard as worn and past it's prime. That's how I took it anyway.

Unfortunately, the founder of the blog Robert Guskind, who some have referred to as the "Brooklyn Blogfather" passed away a few weeks ago on March 4th. As I wrote in comments on other blogs I never met him but I enjoyed Gowanus Lounge and am happy that his loved ones are continuing the site.


So last week I was walking through Prospect Heights, (me old stomping grounds) I found not one but two Street Couches, one on the curb and the other footsteps away, on deck.

*Street Couch Series (suggested)
And suddenly I wasn't just walking down the street surrounded by the discarded past, I was part of an urban fantasy scavenger hunt. I'd found treasure! I whipped out the camera, snapped some pics and thought how simply fortunately it is that Guskind decided to share his views of Brooklyn and imagination with us.

Thank You. Rest (Lounge even) in Peace, Robert Guskind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Great set of 70's Brooklyn photos on Flickr


Photo from Flickr by user Whiskeygonebad.

Someone passed a flickr link to me of a photoset belonging to photographer "Whiskeygonebad". I knew nothing about the guy, but his photos are a great mix of family memories, everyday hanging out, and teenage bravura all dressed in a palette of 60's, 60's and especially 70's Brooklyn. He's posted photos from as far back as the 40's as well. Check out his works if you want another idea of how many eras and worlds exist all in Brooklyn.

"Whiskey" in addition to having a great compositional eye, is Italian, grew up in Boro Park. Looking at his 70's pics I felt like I was viewing the art directional inspiration for Saturday Night Fever. Here's that 70's set. [Flickr]

Surprise Layoffs at Brookdale Hospital

Suddenly laid-off Brookdale Hospital Registered Nurse on NY1

News around Brooklyn: 200 surprise layoffs at Brookdale Hospital. How many ways can this story be unfortunate? Which is worse, that 200 workers came in to work this week and only then learned that they had been laid-off, or that the public hospital servicing areas of Brooklyn where crime is still a serious problem, Brownsville, East New York (and to a much lesser degree East Flatbush) is hemorrhaging workers whose absence seems likely to affect care at the hospital. Details from NY1 complete with first person accounts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And somewhere Al Bandiero is smiling

I was listening to 92.3 K-Rock this afternoon when suddenly the most annoying song (in a world of annoying songs) came on and wouldn't go off. The sound of ticking was the only thing heard and I keep waiting for the vocoder to drop when finally I realized, I was listening to the last moments of the station 92.3 K-Rock. I'd read earlier that they were changing formats, and the same afternoon I faintly heard mention of the change coming at 5pm. Sure enough, it was three minutes to 5, and the ticking wouldn't stop. Cheekily they punctuated the ticking with a heart monitor going flat line.

The first song seemed to be a Kanye remix, the fifth or sixth? DMX. awesome, how many not laid off frustrated workers were in the middle of their turnpike commute jonesing for some Bon Jovi when they had to listen to the Ruff Rider himself growl at them from the mid 90's. I'm sure Obama will get the blame for this change.

For those who read this and have some remorse for the former modern rock format, renamed 92.3 NowFM (lame, but it's always now, no?) all I can say is it was 1985 when the great dance station 92 KTU became K-Rock, (yeh they hopped over to 103.5 but everything changed) ending a station that was one of the most heard in the Disco era in NYC. Al Bandiero anybody?

Sadly it does leave the city that much closer to cultural hegemony.

For a sample of what used to be heard from 92.3 on the dial check this sample.

PhotoWedns 3/11/09 Grey Skies are Gonna Clear up Edition

The forecast for this week in the BK seems to be various shades of grey, just the sort of thing to give greater appreciation for skies of blue. Here's some blue sky over the rapidly rising new residences in Downtown Brooklyn.
IMG_8683.JPG
On the left the Avalon Fort Greene and on the right the Toren Condos

Urban skies interest me in the way they're often framed, essentially becoming a map of the negative space of cities. I find the contrast between buildings and open spaces interesting as well.

Least I confuse anyone keeping track of my feelings toward mega-buildings, while I'm not a huge fan of clustered residential towers, in the Upper East Side, Chelsea or wherever, in this part of Downtown Brooklyn it generally doesn't bother me as this was a under-utilized space on which sat businesses that were not major growth providers for the surrounding neighborhoods. The Avalon (on the left) is especially huge, and I can only hope not ugly in it's final design, but I have to accept that if these things are going to be built, at least they be built in areas like underused commercial downtown as opposed to residential neighborhoods.

Now ask me about the development a block away that is going up in the space of what was the area's main supermarket and hear my blood boil.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pols speak out against Billionaire money grab


One of these images inspires jokes, the other laughs at our expense

Several area politicians in response to growing concern that the billionaire developer of the proposed Atlantic Yards Stadium project could get his hands on some Obama stimulus dollars have sent a letter to Governor Patterson excerpted below:
Assembly Members James Brennan, Hakeem Jeffries, and Joan Millman, Council Members Letitia James and David Yassky, and 52nd District Leader Jo Anne Simon sent the attached letter to Governor Paterson this past week. The letter explains why these Brooklyn elected officials feel the proposed Atlantic Yards project should not receive funds from the federal stimulus package passed last month.
The letter also suggest that people who have send their own letters to Govenor Patterson.
Brooklyn residents have expressed a similar concern, and the elected officials are providing a voice for their constituents. Please feel free to contact the offices of elected officials who signed onto this letter with any questions. Thank you.
Don't like what you're hearing? Well you can sign the online petition asking the Governor to not use stimulus money for Atlantic Yards here: [http://www.petitiononline.com/noaystim/petition.html]

The complete letter is at the end of this post.

For those who have no idea what Atlantic Yards is, in this blogger's opinion Atlantic Yards is a classic misuse of taxpayer dollars and taxpayer hopes by a developer intending to shove something huge and dishonest down our throats. I wrote some details of Atlantic Yards below but I'd recommend checking out both the Atlantic Yards wikipedia page and Atlantic Yards Report the site of reporter Norman Oder who from the beginning has been shining an unbiased light on what the project really is.

Here's a computer rendering projecting what the project would look like compared it's surroundings when it's done:


Before

After



here's a line from wikipedia about the scale of the project:
"...since Atlantic Yards sits on 22 acres (89,000 m2), it can be expected to become the most densely populated census tract in North America, with a density of 361,000 to 490,000 people per square mile, about twice the density of the current densest census tract in the United States..."
If you can find it, you could also watch the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns decides to destroy land and build an NBA stadium which sums up the whole issue pretty well. That episode is called "the Burns and the Bees" Here's a clip:


The point of the message our elected representatives has sent to the Governor is that it has been suggested that the developer of Atlantic Yards the proposed stadium, luxury condo and rental project which if completed would shoe-horn 20 sky scrapers into five square blocks, may be looking for Obama stimulus dollars to help complete the project which has lost funding thanks in part to the global economic crisis.

If you want to read more about the Atlantic Yards proposal (and you should since you're probably helping pay for it) here it is:

The developer Forest City Ratner (led by Bruce Ratner) had been expecting additional corporate and taxpayer dollars to help raise the money necessary to build. The project itself takes a mix of things people can support, like new housing, development and entertainment (the proposed Nets basketball stadium) and overdoes each element compounding the poor judgment is the attempt to place all of this on a few blocks at one of the most congested points in Brooklyn, the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue which itself intersects a block away with Fourth Avenue.

In simple terms it's too big for the area it's proposed to be in, the claim of affordable housing is exaggerated, the impact to the area will be damaging and considering the project was decided by governmental officials without oversight, the project has spent too many millions of taxpayer dollars. Worse the developer without a clear plan has been allowed to destroy several buildings in the proposed development area making the area look more rundown than it had been.

Another jacked-up part of this project is that the land to be used is owned by the same MTA that operates the subway and even now is crying poverty to raise the transit fares. Well the land itself was valued at $215 million and yet they allowed Ratner to buy it for only $50 which he hasn't paid after six years.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about it on March 7th:
the MTA accepted Forest City Ratner's bid of $50 million for the LIRR's rail yard, even though an appraisal valued it at $214.5 million. Extell, a Manhattan developer, later submitted a competing bid for $150 million. The MTA rejected that bid, but did negotiate with Forest City Ratner to get it to double its bid to $100 million. The MTA then accepted Ratner's new bid, even though it was $50 million less than Extell's.

The MTA hasn't seen a dime of the money yet. The opposition has waged a relentless court battle that has halted construction of the arena. Mr. Goldstein, whose condo stands smack in the middle of the proposed arena site, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit aimed at blocking the state's use of eminent domain to condemn his building.

Currently the project is being fought most intensely by local residents including a group who would be forced out if the project is allowed to be completed as proposed.


The full letter:
***************************************************
March 3, 2009
Honorable David A. Paterson
Governor of the State of New York
The Executive Chamber, State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Paterson,

We are writing regarding reports that Forest City Ratner is requesting funds
from the Federal stimulus package for the Atlantic Yards Project. We request that
any application or other submitted documents to the Governor’s office related to
the stimulus package be immediately disclosed to the public and the elected
officials signing this letter. In addition, there should be a public hearing and
opportunity for public comment on any application for funds. We also request a
meeting with responsible state officials prior to any decision on the use of stimulus
funds for Atlantic Yards.

It is our understanding that neither the M.T.A. nor the Empire State
Development Corporation has submitted the Atlantic Yards project to your office
as part of any list of projects for the use of Federal stimulus funds. This indicates
that Atlantic Yards is not considered a priority by these agencies at this time.

It is regrettable that the State of New York, in cooperation with the
developer, chose to override New York City’s zoning and land use laws for the
Atlantic Yards project, depriving local community boards, the Brooklyn borough
board, and the New York City Council, of what would have been their legal right
to vote on the Atlantic Yards project. As a result, the project has never been vetted
through the traditional democratic land use processes available to the community
and the people of the City of New York.

Many events have occurred which have created uncertainty and risk
regarding the 8 million square foot development approved by the State in
December 2006. The original economic and financial assumptions upon which the
approval was based have dramatically changed. At a meeting with elected officials
in December, Forest City Ratner stated that it hopes to be able to finance the arena
this summer, notwithstanding the economic climate, if current litigation against the
project is unsuccessful. If it is unable to finance the arena, it has not yet committed
to proceeding with a residential development. This is hardly a basis for the State to
commit additional funds without a full public discussion process.

We hope your office will be quickly forthcoming with the requests we have
made. Thank you.

Sincerely,

NYS Senator 18th S.D.Velmanette Montgomery
Assemblymember 44th A.D. James F. Brennan
Assemblymember 57th A.D. Hakeem Jeffries
Assemblywoman 52nd A.D. Joan Millman
Councilmember 35th C.D. Letitia James
Councilmember 33rd C.D. David Yassky
District Leader 52nd A.D. Jo Anne Simon

cc: New York State Congressional Delegations
NYC Assembly and Senate Delegations
Timothy Gilchrist, Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and
Infrastructure
Jeff Pearlman, Assistant Counsel, FOIL Officer, Governor’s Office
Lee Sander, Executive Director, MTA

**********************************************************************

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

PhotoWedns 3/4/09 Vandelism or Art?

I noticed this piece of graffiti a week ago on Fulton St. and near Clinton Av.

Graf on Fulton
self-expression outside Auteur Du Monde on Fulton and Clinton in Clinton Hill
IMG_0804
A wider view

So assuming the doer of this spray painted imagery did not have permission of the building owner this would be an act of vandalism. Which for some (especially photo ready politicians) is still the blight of our city, which btw our tax dollars pay to remove. Personally I like the way it looks mainly because the spray painting person seems to have chosen a color that matched the orange of the brick wall intentionally. The effect, to my eyes, creates a transition between the wild glyph shapes into the ordered brick pattern of the building. But I'm a painter and an artist, so what do I know.

Recently there was a story on Gothamist about three teens and a twenty-year old who went to town on Central Park's Bethesda Terrace. Here's a look:


Graffiti on the Bethesda Terrace arcade walls (Photograph by Jen Chung/Gothamist)


Commenters to the site took issue because Gothamist makes frequent postings about "street artists" who in the opinion of the commenters are vandals themselves.

My opinion was conflict and disgust. Because my imagination and life experience tells me it's possible that the group were not simple irreverent jerks, that they could have looked at the art of Bethesda Terrace and wondered why their creations shouldn't be displayed as prominently. They painted the word "sueños" (dreams), hearts and their tag, albeit sloppily. Who knows they could have deep aspirations or they could have been high. I'm a radical liberal, what do I know.

At the same time, I followed the restoration of the Bethesda Terrace and it took years, millions of dollars, and resulted in a truly beautiful FREE space for ALL in the city to share. So I do think in the case of this group (they were apprehended in the act) that they should get a jail sentence that will take effect if they don't work on the restoration crew that has to undo what they did.

But I've seen vandals create art and artists vandalize. When is it art and when is it vandalism? What do you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Economy, Ludicrous Speed and You

I started the year promising continuous optimism, and I support that message. At the same time with yesterday's sub 7000 plunge of the stock market to 1997 levels, the expectation of record job loss again from last month and this story that Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, (pictured) 83 year old former CEO of A.I.G. (A.I.G. being beneficiary of another billion dollar tax-payer cash gift after post billions in loses of course) is suing A.I.G. the company he led until 2005, claiming A.I.G. ruined his finances and health by lying about A.I.G. finances, things are moving closer to "Ludicrous-Speed" by the day.

So yeh after all that, optimism without positive proof seems pretty stupid so I thought I should search for some answers. Plus lately a lot of friends of Brooklyn (yep, FOBS) have been losing sleep, nails and asking questions about what to do when unemployed, and frankly I had few non-punchline answers. (have a drink- *zing!) But after a little googling, I found this gem from the NY Times, getting elbows deep in the "How-To's of Unemployment".

Cool of the Grey Lady, eh?

Then it went from cool to AWESOME when I looked up and noticed the article was penned seventeen years ago this March back in 1992!

Even MORE AWESOME! the first paragraph leads with:

With the nation's unemployment rate now at 7.3 percent, the highest in almost 17 years, tens of thousands of Americans are applying for unemployment compensation for the first time.

7.3 percent unemployment?!? Right now unemployment is at 7.6! And it's expected to jump to a full-on 8 percent when the next report comes this Friday! Awesome.



Y'know what? Have that drink and "Smoke um if you got'um".