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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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Friday, May 28, 2010

Dance Africa is Back at BAM!

The annual tradition continues this weekend 5/28-5/31 at BAM (in downtown in Fort Greene Brooklyn, natch!)







The performances and events kick-off today and continue with amazing food, especially tasty veggie dishes, and great fashions, large and small artworks, and thats just from the vendors in the street fair outside BAM, inside there are talented performers presenting rich textures of sight and sound.




For details of BAM's Dance Africa events click here.
Here's last year's post  and below are pics from previous years.... Enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crime is what's up

This is in response to several stories I've been reading and event's I've witnessed in the Franklin Avenue vicinity of Crown Heights recently.

I am a born and raised resident of Brooklyn as I often state, I grew up blocks away from Franklin and three weeks ago as I walked through the area on a tree lined street, I was jumped by several guys.

Basically I got mugged.

It was early Sunday morning, I was coming from a popular spot and what I thought was one guy lurking around turned out to be several and they rushed me. Like I have dozens of times I walked past some guys eyes straight ahead and this time these random people decide to grab me. There was nothing I could do at this point but accept my powerlessness. My injuries were not major but they were enough. My belongings were stolen and so was the sense I foolishly allowed, that my neighborhood had improved.

I dont know where to start on this. It's been three weeks, and thankfully I have a enough of positive going on in my life so that I don't have to think about what could have been, but let me say this, I've explained to friends and family what happened with seriousness and jokes and the fact is a group of guys with nothing better to do decided to exert power over my life for a few moments and of course looking at it personally, I can't help but think crime is what's up in the Franklin Avenue section of Crown Heights.

This is what I've observed my timeline, there was the story of the girl hopping out of a car to slash another girl on Franklin near Lincoln Pl. There was the shooter who fired from a roof top on Franklin near Union in the middle of the day as high schools let out a few weeks ago there were several local robberies I heard about through word of mouth more recently, and then I was mugged and just a few days ago a man shot five times on Franklin and Lincoln.

Because Franklin has it's well worn history of being a rough crime ridden avenue people may think recent events are no big deal. The converse is because of the new businesses and new people and general tone of new-ness on some parts of the ave, people may have a more extreme reaction that everything is going to hell in the neighborhood. My opinion is the that while there is probably no overt relation to all these and other crimes, the frequency of the crimes indicates a general disregard among some local residents for the lives and welfare of the rest of us.


To put it plainly there is a crime wave in the area.

We can debate and theorize why this is, I have my own opinions, but let's table that discussion because recently some people in the area have become more brazen and lawless and we need to figure out what to do to get make it clear that there are penalties for these lawless actions. If that means the giant Star Wars AT-AT looking tower comes, back, if that means more cops standing on corners, so be it. Because it's clear there's a growing level of lawlessness going on, and if we don't start doing the little things like calling 311 for our street lights to be working, the bigger things like pressuring our 77th Precinct and local politicians to be active then we are letting the thugs, the cowards and the lawless win.

Note: For details on other recent crimes in the neighborhood check the "I Love Franklin Ave" Blog. My thanks to the writer of that blog as well for getting those stories out.

Photo Wednesday 05/26/10 : Native Brooklynite Edition

Native Dance at 5myles
Above: Brooklyn Natives? (photo from a performance at the FiveMyles Gallery in Crown Heights, 558 St. Johns Place)

Photo Wednesday will have to be a little abstract this week. too much outside work to do, but below are some links I found amusing about the B the R the O ta Okay....

http://www.observer.com/2010/brobos-paradise

http://gawker.com/5547241/brooklyn-is-cool-until-you-start-reading-about-it

note both links discuss the recent trend of over analyzing Brooklyn an whether we are more clever or ridiculous for our efforts. Cause when I say Brooklyn you say pseudo-sociology, am I right?

The comments are fun on the gawker page. I like (and relate to*) this one from OrneryBabe:


I was born and raised in Canarsie and have lived in Cobble Hill for 15 years (read: before it became annoying). Growing up, Brooklyn wasn't particularly special. It was just a nice place to live and go to school. No one was particularly aspiring to move here.

I despise the people who just got here last year from Nebraska/Iowa/North Dakota and regard themselves as oh so fucking awesome because they live out here. Suddenly they're the New Yorkiest New Yorkers evah. Never mind that they couldn't tell you how to get to Flatbush, or Church Avenue. Or that they have no idea what the Junction is or where to find it.

I find all the articles proclaiming the coolness of Brooklyn pretty amusing. How exciting it is that the hipsters have put us on the map!

I especially love when the new arrivals stare as they're trying to figure out just what the fuck I'm doing in their nabe (it happens a lot). It annoys me so.
 

(except that I did grow up thinking B'klyn was special)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Photo Wednesday 05/19/10: Video Beat Box Edition

As mentioned in last week's post, this past Saturday was Habana Outpost's Annual Block Party, and on top of an afternoon of good food, beautiful sun soaked people churning around the intersection at South Portland and Fulton St. there was also a near endless amount of music. The performances were headlined by Bajah and The Dry Eye Crew (who will be on stage with The Roots July 11th at Celebrate Brooklyn) and as if B&DEC's blend of Sierra Leone inspired Hip Hop was not enough, along came a surprise special guest in the form of the Original Human Beat Box, Doug E. Fresh. Doug dropped some classics, played a little music history, led a light hearted call & response, busted some fly olSkool moves and of course, spread love the Brooklyn way. Video below...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday: Prospect Hts Flea, & Habana Block Party in Fort Greene

Sunny Saturday in the city. After days of September weather I hope you're ready to soak up the 70° sun.

For activities I recommend these two:

Prospect Hts Flea ; Artisan Marketplace

World Akcent's Artisan Marketplace Prospect Heights Flea. A long name to be sure. But it's all to describe a very casual flea market with over 40 vendors in the cool shade atop Eastern Parkway at little Dr. Ronald McNair Park(which is the patch of green space on the other side of the Brooklyn Museum, across Washington Avenue).

World Akcent Prospect Hts Flea

Prospect Hts Flea ; Artisan Marketplace

I found the market two weeks back and it will be occurring every two weeks through the summer. It was great for a simple stroll even. I passed through amid happy shoppers, cool merchants all in a very friendly space with live music and an easy attitude. Among some great wares on sale there were fashions from Society HAE (as in the shop Harriet's Alter Ego) (Shout out to Ngozi!!)

Dr. Ronald McNair Park is located on Eastern Parkway btw Classon and Washington Aves. You can take the subway to the Eastern Parkway or Franklin Avenue stations to get there. Check MTA.info to avoid their weekend construction madness.

My next recommendation is Habana Outpost's Block Party(below).

The party's events will be going on today from 12-4 with kid friendly activities, a designers market featuring hand-made crafts for sale and musical performances all afternoon from diverse talents whose music stylings range from Salsa, to London Soul, to HipHop from Sierra Leone courtesy of Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew.

Also I have it on good authority that there will be a very special guest performing after B-DEC's set, so don't be the one who missed....

You can get to Habana Outpost directly by the Lafayette C train station but except it to be impossible to exit during the late afternoon from the South Portland exit which is almost center of the block party activities. Try exiting at Greene Avenue and walking down Fulton Street. Same as above check MTA.info for less travel headaches.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Photo Wednesday 05/012/10 : Double Duty Dad Edition

Occasionally a little agenda less posting is in order. I snapped this in D.U.M.B.o (or is it Brooklyn Heights, meh too much reorganizing of the nabes) and I think it's a fun pic. I wonder what Mom was doing with her free time?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Photo Wednesday 05/05/10 : Flip on Five Edition

Last weekend was fun, despite my four hours of iKea inspired horror. And from the opening last weekend of One (part of) Brooklyn Bridge Park, comes today's photo for Wednesday. The image just works for me.

You'll flip for it, Brooklyn Bridge Park

And yeh it's "Cinco de Mayo" so feel free to have a Mexican beer company inspired good time, maybe I'll snap a picture of you in the act.
Adios!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day One, Brooklyn Bridge Park

You'll flip for it, Brooklyn Bridge Park
If ever in doubt on how to express joy and fun, check in with a kid. Above, a little girl puts in some Q/C on the lawn opening day of One Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Normally my Bk nature event of choice to start of May is Sakura Matsuri the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (and it is going on as I write this Sunday afternoon) but yesterday I broke with tradition to take in the newest bit of greenery in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The park is as a sapling to a tree. Much of it isn't complete...
IMG_8452
Ponds aren't filled,
Bklyn Bridge Park IMG_8445

One Brooklyn Bridge Park IMG_8459
bike paths are roped off,
One Brooklyn Bridge Park IMG_8464
stairs and a granite structure meant to invoke natural rock formations and provide riverside seating offers a sign instead of the full on experience.

IMG_8444
What is in effect is the lawn and the location. Situated over a former port authority pier, (which you can see in dozens of old NY movies) I was happily struck by all the new angles I had of old familiar subjects. In that way it reminds me of the long replacement pier built on the west side of the village. That pier extends so far into the Hudson it feels like you can walk to Hoboken, and it offers great views down river.

Similar for the new BK Bridge park, great angles on the Bridge towers. I was also excited to see some serious destro-porn in the form of the old National Building in various stages of destruction.
IMG_8451

The space also provides a much needed parallel view back at all those South Street Seaport gawkers.

One Brooklyn Bridge Park IMG_8458
The work in progress park has a pleasant cozy feel. But bring your sunblock because all the trees at this time are saplings and there is absolute no shade to be found.

And despite all that, I loved it. I'm very excited to see more.