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Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer, Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

(above) "Summer Breeze" Recorded by: by Seals And Crofts available on Summer
(That's my attempt to show appreciation for my usage of "Summer Breeze"

The days have been breezing by this summer, for me at least. Last year, without going to deep was one of me floating on a raft too small in an ocean too big. This sun season, I'm on a yacht, not mine, but still a comfortable passenger and often going too fast to notice my travels.

All that to say this post will be a digest of what's past and what I've noticed of late in regards to Brooklyn, New York and me this summer (so far):

The tree terrorist is back. Sunday morning I spotted branches ripped from Bedford thru Franklin and down Eastern Parkway. (photos to come) Last week I saw branches ripped off down Eastern Parkway all the way to Grand Army plaza. I presume this is still the reason.


The apartment building that was heavily damaged by fire last year at the corner of Franklin Av and Park which housed many residents and two beloved eateries, seems to be getting renovations after a year without residents. Men were unloading trucks with bricks and other construction materials into the building during the week of July 1st. (photos to come)


In the midst of the heatwave (Which I missed) Con Ed kept trying to keep Brooklynites and Bronxies (what are the Bronx denizens called?) by threatening to cut power if we didn't first. I saw one of those enormous trucks with the feeder-cables sitting on Franklin as ConEd workers went down on Park. But we seemed to have come through it all fine.(photos to come)


Just when New Yorkers though LeBron's going to Miami would suck all the sports news out of the air, it was suddenly time to say goodbye to George Steinbrenner. A man who let's face it handled more money that most of us every will, who affected the news, the people and the city and occassionally the world in away many never have, and who (this is important to my sensibilities) came from advantage like most people who have affect on the world. All that to say he was not the common man. But his life in New York made you, if you were a certain kind of New Yorker, feel he was as reachable as putting your hands on the concrete at the base of the Empire State Building. He was a tangible part of New York for Millions of New Yorkers who would never meet him, and who frankly he gave to, but overall took from. I quantify that last statement by fact that the New Yankee Stadium was built with around $1 Billion in public subsidized money and that the new stadium's revenues go to the Steinbrenner family and not to the city despite building on city land and enjoying city cops as security among other unpaid for city services.

However in terms of passing, I felt a shift in my perceptions with the passing of George Steinbrenner as much for his outsized personality as for my own sense of time and place. officially another aspect of the life I've lived, the place I knew has ceased to be part of the now and is forever more the then. I don't think that's over stating considering my entire life has known the character of the Boss representing a certain NYC archetype, brooding and billowing in the Bronx and now that mountain moves from the earth to the memory.

In a related story the times has this piece written by the son of a woman who as a young woman got to know a young George, it's a sweet series of anecdotes about "the Boss" that show how we're all young, at least once:

Last week was Summer event crazy with The Roots, Talib Kweli, Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew and more at the Prospect Park, Jimmy Cliff (!) at Summer Stage in Central Park, The Soul Summit (Dance Party) back at Fort Greene Park, and non stop line up of events performances and concerts at other parks around the city. I didn't write about any cause I was too busy getting down.

Next up at the MLK Jr Concert series at Wingate Field and Seaside Summer Concert series Asser Levy Park/Seaside Park, are these events

Here a schedule for the Martin Luther King Jr. and Seaside concert series in Brooklyn. All shows start at 7:30 p.m., and are free. Information: (718) 222-0600 or
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. SERIES Wingate Field, Brooklyn Avenue, between Rutland Road and Winthrop Street, Wingate.
Monday: Toni Braxton
July 26: Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele
Aug. 2: Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty by Nature and Slick Rick
Aug. 9: Aretha Franklin
Aug. 16: BeBe and CeCe Winans, and Fred Hammond
Aug. 23: Sean Paul and the Mighty Sparrow
SEASIDE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES Asser Levy Park/Seaside Park, West Fifth Street and Surf Avenue, where Brighton Beach meets Coney Island.
Thursday: The Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Monkees and Mark Lindsay
July 29: George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
Aug. 5: John Legend
Aug. 12: Aretha Franklin
Aug. 19: The B-52s and Belinda Carlisle
Aug. 26: Annual Latino Music by the Sea concert

And I want to draw attention to a few blogs I read.
First the Kensington Stories written by Ron Lopez. His perspective comes as a life time resident raised in the neighborhood of Kensington, think Church Avenue on the F (and now G) Train (although he always writes about his place up state). We've exchanged some letters and Ron's a good guy with good stories of the old neighborhood ( I lived there for three years, but a bit after Ron's day).

Next up is back2brooklyn.blogspot written by Nora Campisi. I don't know much about Nora, but her stories are authentic Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and come with some great photos.


  1. Re: the trees.

    The NYTimes reported that the Park Enforcement Patrol in Prospect Park arrested a man named Steve Maynard, who had been attacking trees.

    Story here:

  2. Thanks Maggie! Any more details to report? I wonder what the outcome of that arrest was, because Friday night I spotted a row of trees near Bergen Street that seem to have been freshly ripped of their branches.


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