Search the archives of this Brooklyn Born Blog!


More about this blog

Brooklyn Born Blog Subjects

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Afro Punk is Back! Summer weekends officially start

Afro Punk that recent annual Brooklyn tradition fusing the cultures of rock, punk, skater, bmx, with a dusting of Hip Hop returns to the space across from the Brooklyn Academy of Music today and will be on through. Bad Brains and Mos Def are headlining the performances and the aerial action will be put up by some of the city's most daring skaters and bmxers.

Here's the post from last year's event, which served as my introduction to Janelle Monae:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

PhotoWed 6/23/10 : Capoeira posed Edition

Dance Africa outside BAM IMG_7980 1

I'm a little late with this pic, but that's how my wagon's been draggin'

This is from a group of Capoeira practitioners outside of BAM during this year's Dance Africa festival in Fort Greene Brooklyn of course.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mermaid Parade Coney Island Brooklyn 2010

I made it out to Coney after all... here's some pics:




I so wanted him to sing "under da sea"
I so wanted him to sing "Under da Sea"



lil ducks


these guys had a very dramafilled guidorific screaming match for ten minutes and two blocks,something about a girl

water bottle

Brooklyn's Famous...



she reminds me of Darryl Hannah in "Splash"

sometimes you have to get away


I always wanted to take one of these pics

Mermaid affection


"Line do not cross"

the end

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer! Mermaid Parade today Gentrifying Brooklyn tonight Events all over

Ah summer time of fitting in more temperate joy than there are hours in a day..

I'm thinking of hitting up the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island in a few hours and giving some love to the Brooklyn Boardwalk.

Also tonight at Coney Island is the season opening for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets' minor league team, they face off against, who else, the Staten Island Yankees!

There's a screening tonight of a film called Gentrifying Brooklyn at FiveMyles Gallery in Crown Heights

In Prospect Park tonight at the bandshell there's a revisiting of "Bitches Brew" a celebration of the original Miles Davis release, part of the "Celebrate Brooklyn" series.

Habana Outpost is always a good look for good lookings in Fort Greene

The green markets at Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park's entrances are underway

The Brooklyn Flea is going on of course at Bishop Loughlin Field in Clinton Hill

and whatever more is happening give a shout and I'll post it

In the city at SummerStage in Central Park there's a NYC Pride Rally with Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Martha Wash, The New York Gay Men's Chorus, Vickie Shaw, Billie Myers, Bruce Vilanch, Wendy Williams and More. That's a good look, Me'Shell Ndegeocello is a musical genius.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Soon Come: new bar on Fulton from some Bklyn veterans

I'm mining Brownstoner heavy today, they have word on attempts by the Pratt Area Council to bring business to another short under-utilized strip of Fulton Street, near the Clinton-Washington subway station. According to the article their efforts have reached fruition, a new bar is on the way, to be called "Hanson Dry" (after the dry cleaner of the same name that used to occupy that spot, I remember people leaving church at St. Luke and St. Matthew around the corner and picking up their drying at Hanson, ah change, maybe now traffic will flow the other way)

And the crew that's bring Clinton Hill, this new watering hole, the some of the same folks who brought us SouthPaw, Soda, and Franklin Park. I'm down, when's Sean bartending?

More details at Brownstoner:

Greene Hill Food Co-op Gets Putnam Home!

Some friends are on the board of the Greene Hill Food Co-op (representing Fort Greene and Clinton Hill (same thing...)) and I was excited when I first learned of it. That was two years ago. I've moved a bit so my FG/CH radar isn't as sharp as it used to be but here's the big news. Not only has their board unanimously agreed on a location for the new food co-op, it's on a patch of Putnam Avenue (right between Downing and Grand, near Fulton) that has needed something to anchor and propel the area to prosperity.

Specifically I am referring to the short streets between Putnam and Fulton, that since I was a kid three decades ago have been home to at best some dubious activities.

Which is a shame for many reason not the least of which is that in most away from that two block area you have good homes nice blocks and great people. Plus around the corner on Fulton is that great little bakery that opened a year and a half back "Desserts By Michael Allen"

Brownstoner reports the Food Co-op details here:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CROWHILL ASSOC. COMMUNITY MEETING TONIGHT be there or stop bitchin (Crown/Prospect Heights)

For all those concerned with recent bursts of crime and tree molestations in the neighborhood, tonight is the perfect time to voice concerns, and find out what local authorities are doing to address those issues.

There will be a Crow Hill Community Association - Meeting Tonight at LaunchPad (the arts organization and storefront that I keep attending but never blog about) which is located at 721 Franklin Avenue between Park Place and Sterling Place. Short walk from the 2,3,4&5 trains at Franlin, even shorter walk from the Park Place Shuttle.

According to ILoveFranklinAve blog:

"It's the last meeting for the summer (the next one is in September), and guests will include a representative of the 77th Precinct and Councilwoman Letitia James. The meeting takes place at LaunchPad (721 Franklin Avenue) at 7:30 PM, and if I'm not mistaken, they'll have some light refreshments to facilitate some socializing before and afterwards."

Everyone concerned with the neighborhood, wanting to keep things progressing toward the better, planting of trees, encouraging of needed businesses etc should come out. See ya there!

Piano to the People!

Saw this story in today's online NY Times and had to share. 60 pianos (as we speak!) are being prepared for placement throughout the city (although I'm thinking that means Manhattan)

(I was wrong the pianos will be in the five boroughs) Map below

And the piano's purpose? Amusement of the masses. Now I can already imagine a million inappropriate scenarios but... I'm keeping my mind outta the gutter on this one. In a world where most urban kids have little contact with classical musical instruments I think this will be great.

Here's the link from the group "Sing for Hope" and according to the info on their site:
 "Touring internationally since 2008, “Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by artist Luke Jerram."
Much of the labor and time in this project according to the Times is made possible through donation and volunteerism.

And the map of where to find the public pianos:

Now what they need to do is give out the sheet music to classic hiphop samples...

Makes me imagine all the city stories and episodes this will generate all summer. Impromptu Billy Joe
concert in the Lower East Side, Alicia Keys blesses the crowd in Harlem, yeh I'm going in, with the optimism and why not? With an idea like this art project how far are we from a city like this:

Although I could do with a few less "Solid Gold" dance steps, but I guess that's the point, eh.

(Btw: in the video, the dude in the pink headband and green cutout shirt will win-your-heart. I don't know his name, but if I knew it I'd remember.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

*New Features* Blog Search and Comments!

Hey readers, first lemme say thank you very much for reading. I would in fact write this stuff regardless, it's how I do, but the fact that people find my writing worth reading, and even better respond to it, is a joy to me and I hope to you too.

I'm now almost two and a half years in and to make the experience of reading and finding, interesting topics on the brooklynborn blog better and easier, I've added a search bar (finally). Type in any word or topic and you'll get back related posts, just like a grownup blog.

Also to share the really interesting things many of you have to say, recent comments will now appear to the right from which you can jump right to the conversation.

sniff, my baby blog is growin so fhast! (I'm my best Florida Evans voice) Thanks again and keep Brooklyn in your heart.

-Brooklyn Born

HOT BIRD returns?! (same as it never was)

HOT BIRD - crowds amass
"Nostalgia" is in fact named for a mental disorder in which one seeks to find something that doesn't exist anymore.

The "Ace" song "How Long...Has This Been Going On?" was stuck in my head as I rolled through the Fort Greene night. (to really enjoy this post, jump to the bottom and hit play, then read on...)

As for the song in my head, there was nothing romantic or broken to inspired it, it simply was there, bouncing off the rubber walls in my mind. And then I came down Clinton Av, spotted a giant arrow illuminated by marquee light bulbs and the song became real apropos.

HOT BIRD - entranceApparently "HOT BIRD" is back.

Where it never was.

Right there on the corner of Atlantic and Clinton, it's open for business and respectable filled with patrons. The corner was enclosed last year and I heard about the desire to open the spot up, but when exactly did all that happen?

And is this as weird to anyone else as it is to me?

Back Story

When I was a kid growing up nearby there were several attempts to jumpstart businesses on Vanderbilt Av. Few lasted long, (with the exception of Bob Law's Seafood Cafe) One of my favorites from that time mid 80's was Ice Cream Park, but that's another story. One of the last I remember toward the end of the 80's was "Hot Bird".

There was some local chatter about it being tasty fried chicken, and that's all I know. What long out lasted the chicken spot were the painted signs. Unavoidable, like magnets to the eye, with their giant screaming yet somehow modest black letters on baby chick yellow walls. The largest on the side of a building at Clinton and Atlantic Aves.

Having been here and always associated the signs garishness with the failed chicken spot, I clearly lack the vision that a newcomer gets of that sign. I've heard people talk about it like it was a stone tablet from deities, taunting overhead, never leaving the mountain top. I've seen hundreds of photos of the sign. (which is why I never take a photo of it) I felt it reached the zenith when pictures of the old yellow and black evocative description made it into a show at the Brooklyn Museum. All I could do was shake my head. For me, a life long resident of the area, it was no different than walking out one day and seeing all the teenagers wearing something ridiculous, in unison, in the name of their own sense of fashion.

I just don't get it.

As mentioned, last year I heard tell of a group opening up a business to be called "Hot Bird" and I think I heard some newcomers mention the people who started it "had come back" which I highly doubt. I just don't imagine the folks I jonesing to bring the bird back.

HOT BIRD - inside views (night)

I image this is a newcomer operation, I could be wrong, it's happened. But as I've often written about, I'm not the biggest fan of sprawling recontextualizations, especially when a Newcomer stripes all that was, save the sign above the door which with its loss of context becomes interesting simply because of irony and disconnect.

HOT BIRD - commingling
But there are other Newcomers too, the ones I cherish for helping rebuild aspects of my Brooklyn. Ah... my valued Newcomers, one day I will sing the praises of your intrepid and die-hard devotion to anything new (and at least mildly interesting)

Which is I guess what interests me about HOTBIRD's rebirth. Understand, that for me HOT BIRD means as much as a manhole cover. Even though I've gone on at length about all manner of things destroyed and discarded, even the DKNY sign with the NY Skyline that used to be on Houston in the Soho, ironically.

But I never pined for HOT BIRD even when it was open. I mean despite visible claim on its sign of having been "The Best Bar-B-Q in New York" I don't remember anyone else thinking that back in the day. I mean yeah the chicken was tasty, but shit it was the 80's! At that time the second best "Bar-B-Q" probably came out of a Heinz bottle.

The twist here, what gives this situation interest to me is that it's an elevation this time.

So HOT BIRD is back, though it almost never was. Something from near nothing. That I like. That valuable quality of taking what is no longer in use, and finding it significant, even if it wasn't really all that significant to many in the first place, and then investing, projecting value into it. On the macro and micro scale, that's the incubator NYC reliably generally provides to new and old.

Once there was a HOT BIRD, now there is a HOT BIRD, as always the city is a fertile wardrobe waiting to be tried on and turned out.

BTW fans of "Ace", this one's for you. Link and video below:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Brooklyn experience #362 : Subway Connection

Franklin Avenue Station Subway Schedules online-crop
It's Friday, um headed home. The B train to Brooklyn final got enough joy out of it's stop and go approach to the station, when the doors open at Atlantic avenue I can't wait to escape. I'd be running up the stairs even if I weren't frustrated with my commute and ready to shed the stank of a work week. Little known fact is that Atlantic Avenue station soon to be christened in honor of corporate welfare is not only one of the ten largest metropolitan transportation hubs on the planet, it's also running on a schedule that causes all the trains running there to arrive at the same time.

Two steps at a time and in seconds I'm thirty feet higher, still underground, awaiting the south bound IRT. Nobody calls it that anymore, maybe a few but nobody new.

An indecisive jet of cool tunnel atmosphere surges over us and when the doors open, crowded platform meets crowded subway train. It's twister really. I've played that kids game and never contoured myself nearly as much as the way you need to do in a NYC subway car just to get to that strangely undesired oasis of open space always equidistant from the open doors.

This time instead of doing a Matrix-esque leaning rotation to avoid some enormous backpack, I'm avoiding a serving platter. My insta-punchline mind responses,"I knew brooklyn was gentrifing but this..." cue wiggling groucho eyebrows... It is an actual serving tray though, and while it may be made of cheap plastic, and its ornate clear lid made the same,the array of sandwiches "under glass" look very real, simply made and tasty. A young lady northern european in long lost lineage and likely now brooklyn based is holding the tray with one hand. she and a similar friend (sans tray) are having a completely incidental conversation, and all the while swaying, as we all do to the beat and drum of the express train to Utica Ave.

I continue musing, as I do, at the scene. The voice that bellows now is from another time. Loud. Amplified. Crisp. It's the way you expect a radio personality to speak in person, all clear and from the deep diaphragm. It's because of that sonic quality that I look. I never look, there are two many such voices periodically bursting through otherwise quiet of a subway car, even before opening the doors linking one car to the next, an making claims of poverty, basketball uniforms, senior trips, and blatant disregard for organized labor, for me to pay attention to. But the voice has gotten the attention of all of us. I see everyone looking wondering about this sound and the simple worn message it lifts.

Now is when I wish you could have been there.

How perfect. Can you imagine? This voice-keeper, explaining directly his desire for assistance, his willful surrender of pride, in order that he may get enough to make it through a day, a life, with barely anything. Or so he claimed. And unlike the men younger, probably more fit than me, whose sneakers cost more than my glasses and still beg for cash, this man seemed to be living his impoverished words. How perfect than when the young tray totting newcomer offered him a sandwich. As he was carrying a sack with one hand, a torn fast food cup cradling crumpled dollar bills in the other, it made sense and felt even better when the newcomer offered the entire tray and all it's probably conference room intended and ignored, deliciousness.

The image of the elder man stuffing the entire tray (I guess he couldn't just through the sandwiches in individually) into his bag was both poignant and comically. Somewhere my mind conjured a happy reverse Santa, irregardless of this man's umber glow and compact body. And we all smiled as a result, outward, inward, in chatter, in the distinctly New York way in which sudden color commentators inform their fellow eyewitnesses of what is happening and has happened, right before assuming how this story came to be and what happen when it's all out of eyeshot. this was necessary, though unplanned.

When I was a child, my grandmother got me into jigsaw puzzles, and there was always this uncomfortable suspension, waiting, watching, near limbo, gazing out the hundred and thousand pieces, waiting. Until finally a peak. When two pieces that seemingly had no business, suddenly clearly connect and complete. and only then did it seem plausible that the picture could ever improve. Friday in Brooklyn, on the IRT #4 to Utica Avenue, at the end of the work week we were so needing for the pieces to fit.

World Cup, Summer Streets overlap in Prospect Heights

ESPN announced recently they'll be shutting their signature sports restaurants across the country, but they are game for Prospect Heights!
Today Saturday the 12 they'll be World Cup Soccer viewing and ESPN zone activities along a to-be closed stretch of Vanderbilt Ave between Bergen and Dean Streets.

It's really a kick-off to the city's Summer Streets program when neighborhood roads are made car scarce in order that pedestrians and especially kids can take to the streets and enjoy communal activities. It doesn't get much more communal than the World Cup and I'm sure world soccer themed bar Woodwork on the corner of Dean and Vanderbilt doesnt mind.

Details from their release (thanks for the post ilovefranklin blog)
ESPN to screen World Cup games outdoors
at Summer Streets on Vanderbilt

The kick-off for Summer Streets on Vanderbilt begins this Saturday, June 12 with a World Cup celebration including a screening of the World Cup matches outdoors on Vanderbilt Avenue. ESPN will be sponsoring an open-air viewing of the games on a large high-definition projection cube that will be set-up in the middle of Vanderbilt Avenue between Dean and Bergen Streets. ESPN will also be sponsoring the ESPN Interactive Zone, which will include lots of games and give-aways. Outdoor screening of matches begins at 10 am with the Argentina-Nigeria match and continues at 2:30 pm when the USA faces England.

This Saturday, June 12th, and on Sundays June 20th and 27th from 12 pm to 5:00 pm, Vanderbilt Avenue between Dean Street and Park Place will trade cars for pedestrians, and honking horns for dancing beats. Four blocks of the avenue will be closed to traffic and transformed into a pedestrian plaza for the second annual Summer Streets on Vanderbilt. In addition to the World Cup events, there will be inflatable bouncy castles, face painting and hula hoop contests, capoiera and fashion shows. Local bands will take center stage and restaurants will flood into the street with outdoor dining.

Presented by the Vanderbilt Avenue Merchants District (VAMD) and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC), 2010 will mark the second annual Summer Streets on Vanderbilt.

* More information about the event can be found at
* Press inquiries please contact Bianca Sultana PR at
* To volunteer, contact or 718-772-3074.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Photo Wednesday 06/09/10 : Subway Waterfall edition

IMG_8215 1

I can't be the first BrooklynBlogger (hey can a bklynblogger get an invite to the ball?) to mention the unwanted cascading waterfall that is the southbound Prospect Park Station of the Q, B & Shuttle.

IMG_8214 1

IMG_8212 1

IMG_8213 1

Worst thing about it besides the fact that it pours from the above platform drainage system meant to pipe it away is that it showers almost completely in front of the stairwell leading to the exit. Now that the city is cutting down on the buses and leaving stops to become insta-relics can we at least fix the plumbing?

(btw: the photos don't do the deluge justice)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Tree (is ripped off) in Brooklyn

Seriously, what's up with the trees?

IMG_8021 1
A several weeks ago I had the serendipitous experience of seeing some torn down tree limbs (generally small ones) and then minutes later going online and finding photos of the same trees on the blog "IloveFranlinAve".

"ILFA" concluded it to be vandalism and I wanted to take the time to write clearly about what I though was a different reason the branches might have come down, I thought it was "Citizen Pruning".

As is oft the case lately, I don't have much time to blog, (least of my worries) so I made a mental note, but no actual post. To expound on Citizen Pruning, it does require training and certification before you can go ripping down branches like an urban Tarzan, but my opinion based on need and Barcelona (photo below), was that this was the logic behind the fallen branches.

See a friend in Spain once pointed out that the beautiful trees lining their famous Barcelona landmark "LaRambla"
(think Eastern Parkway with the center road saved for pedestrians, cafes and the prerequisite annoying mime) consisted mostly of the same trees we have here in Brooklyn.

Big difference? Nope not their chain smoking and infeasible midday naps, the difference is the trees over there are pruned.
(Photo source:

Just in case you're not a garden variety geek and you don't know a well pruned tree grows better fuller and with more balance, let me tell you to it does. Here's more about that.

So that was my thought when I saw branches over Franklin Ave. Also I personally think alot of the trees that have been recently and thankfully planted (I assume as part of the 1 Million Tree plan) are set too deep in the ground, causing some branches on these saplings to be just a few feet above ground.

So all that an more was my opinion which I meant to respond with to ILFA's original and first on the scene posting. And I woulda got to it later if I hadn't seen this on Bedford and Park on Tuesday:


And these on Park Pl. Between Franklin and Classon:
Torn Park Pl, btw Classon & Franklin Av 6/1 (2)

Torn Park Pl, near Classon Av 6/1 (4)

Torn Park Pl, btw Classon & Franklin Av 6/1C  (2)Torn Park Pl, near Classon Av 6/1 (3)

Torn Park Pl, btw Classon & Franklin Av 6/1 (1)
And this on Eastern Parkway between Franklin and Classon:
Torn Eastern Pkwy 6/1 (4)

Torn Eastern Pkwy 6/1 (3)

Torn Eastern Pkwy 6/1 (2)

All in the same morning! I was out the night before and not a leaf on the ground, by 9am there was that damage.

I saw this one the next day also on Park Pl:
torn 6/2/10 Park Pl angle1

torn 6/2/10 Park Pl angle3

Now I'm still not 100% convinced that it's not an misguided attempt at citizen pruning, cause yeh a lot of trees in the area like this one:
Needing a pruning1

could use some Sprucing up (awwww....yeh I had to) but this one was ignored.

Then on the other hand I saw this:
Torn Park Pl, btw Classon & Franklin Av 6/1B (1)

It's an evergreen tree! Is there really a need to rip a limb out of that! c'mon son?

So what is it? School kids/teens? (maybe that would explain the Eastern Parkway trees which were clearly ripped more than cut. Lots of school age kids mess with trees on Eastern Pkwy, I did at that age) If not kids is it perhaps a Brontosaurus or just a disgruntled Meatasaurus? Of course Brontosaurus don't exist but there's definitely something manic and serial going on with these tree trimmings.

I've put out a question to some local authorities asking if this is a city led thing, maybe the city has picked the wrong "Groundskeeper Willie" for the job. So far no word back.

What do you folks think?