Open Thread Wednesday 9/2/09

BHB Photo Club pic by beaudog via Flickr

BHB Photo Club pic by beaudog via Flickr

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Bart

    Knife Sharpening Truck:

    Does anyone know the schedule, or contact info for the Knife Sharpening Truck that travels around the Heights?

    Do they do a good job? Can they sharpen serrated blades?


  • John

    Bart I use A Cooks Companion on Atlantic Ave. (off Court St.)
    they do a good job, but they don’t do serrated blades.

  • promenade

    Bart, gotta say our experience with that truck is not fabulous. While the guy is sweet as can be, and the whole idea of it is great – he killed our knives. I do know that there are actually two trucks (one green and one red) one is suppose to be better than the other, but for us, once dulled, twice shy.

  • Jazz
  • MAK

    I’ve just had the luxury of spending time with family in the Connecticut suburbs and discovered a lost shopping art — coupon clipping. Amazing savings, especially when doubled or tripled and combined with specials. This doesn’t seem to be an urban sport, as proximity and quality seem more important than saving $$ (generalization). I’m interested in finding grocery stores in the nabe (no car) that are most coupon-friendly. Any thoughts appreciated.

  • brooklynite

    all of the supermarkets (ie, keyfood) and drugstores are coupon friendly. The problem is that sometimes they don’t offer “double coupon day” or other specials like they do outside of the city.
    coupon clipping is an “urban sport”. you probably just have not witnessed it in the heights b/c of the wealthier people that live in the neighborhood. but if you go to pathmark at the atlantic center or by 3rd ave… everyone has coupons. also coupon cutters tend to be used heavily by older generations especially if they lived through the depression. but that is just my experience.

  • In The Heights

    I just had a very unpleasant run in with Ken Baer. I told him very politely that I was supporting Doug Biviano and he started to bad mouth him. Serious chutzpah! So if anyone out there was considering voting for this guy, please reconsider. He was mean and nasty – not the kind of man I want representing me in City Hall.

  • nabeguy

    ITH, at this point in the campaign, they’re not playing tiddly-winks anymore. Baer got me on the phone for 10 minutes a couple of months ago, and I heard him out. He seemed very dedicated to his agenda and had some interesting insights, but his agenda was a little broad and granola-ish for me.With the finish line in view, you can hardly blame any of the candidates for using less-than-courteous language in delineating themselves from the rest of the pack. Buckle up folks, the next two weeks might get a bit bumpy.

  • In The Heights

    I understand how this works, having been involved with campaigns in the past. But when someone tells you they are volunteering for and friends with a candidate, bad-mouthing them is really a foolish waste of time, and really tacky. Baer made himself look desperate and petty.

  • Real Reform Brooklyn

    Baer will finish 7th out of 7. You can take that to the bank. We know other people that have been accosted by him as well. He is an army of one.

    You should check out our latest posting on Steve Levin & Vito Lopez. We are also having new pieces on Jo Anne Simon soon. We think that you will all find them very interesting.

    Keeping It Real

  • Real Reform Brooklyn

    BTW, we also hear that the Knife Truck does not to a good job.


  • haystacker

    Am I the only one who is incredibly annoyed, or at least made seriously uncomfortable, by the teams of strategically placed, clipboard-wielding, pleasant-enough seeming young people, soliciting donations for various left-leaning causes? The ACLU, Childrens Defense Fund, Greenpeace, HIV-AIDS, Gay rights, etc. are all causes I support, but I feel these street workers are just human telemarketers. With the encouragement of a glance, trust me, you will be set upon, and subtly guilt tripped into signing your life away. I feel the streets would be a lot friendlier and more neighborly if these well-meaning do-gooders would just go away.

  • No One of Consequence

    Treat them like any other panhandler.
    It’s your own dang fault if you are “subtly guilt tripped into signing your life away.”

  • lcd

    @haystacker – I’ve become quite good at negotiating through the clipboard wielders. I especially like the “do you care about the environment?” hook. I just smile, say no, and go on to the next one – takes a little bit of a thick skin, but that’s easy to grow when the annoyance factor escalates.

  • T.K. Small


    My father is equally annoyed by the same people because he is essentially a conservative. He takes great delight in wasting their time in a long conversation and debate.

  • info

    These people are all paid solicitors who even sometimes receive a percentage of what they bring in. Don’t hesitate to walk on by.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Now that PS 8 has received an “A” on its latest progress report (see:

    will the folks who posted the comments below after last year’s “F” be eating some humble pie?

    “I sense a certain level of defensiveness in these posts rather than a willingness to confront why the school seems to be doing so poorly. Doing well on tests is an important part of life. To get ahead in life you have to know how to take tests successfully. Complaining that the test is unfair is not going to cut it in our society. Shame on the school for not preparing the kids adequately to do well on the tests. Do you wish to tell the students in A and B schools that they are just lucky and do not deserve their outstanding grade? A good school teaches a child how to learn and how to use that learning to get ahead in life, which means doing well on tests!
    I am very disappointed. If this story is true the principal will have to go and a no-nonesense educator put in his place. I am sick to death of excuses from the teachers and some of the parents too.”

    “I was shocked when I read today’s NY Times piece on PS 8. It was not good for the neighborhood. Obviously the older minority students in the school are failing. Is the principal afraid to push them and challenge them for fear of being politically incorrect? Are they lost in a pseudo-St Ann’s of ubber-whiteness? Whatever the reason, we are failing the black students miserably. I blame the principal. This is a disgrace whether we like it or not. Our public school got an F. Not a C…not a D… but an F! do we really think that the test was specifically designed to make brooklyn heights look bad? I think there should be more soul-searching and less chest-thumping. We have failed our students especially the poorest ones. I do not care what propaganda the PTA or the BHA puts out in the coming days and weeks -covering their posteriors- this is an unmitigated disaster, heads need to roll. It is not enough to say ‘the white kids are doing OK’.”

  • Cranberry Beret

    Sorry, hit submit too early — the link to the NYC DOE progress report is here:

  • yo

    Volunteer: “do you have a minute to help save the children?”

    Me, pushing my baby daughter in a stroller: “I hate children”

    Gets ’em every time…too stunned to reply

  • haystacker

    I love the idea of conservatives chewing up their time until they are beaten into submission and beg to leave the neighborhood.

  • info

    Thanks Cranberry Beret for posting the progress report. I didn’t know it was out yet. As a PS8 parent, I have to admit on a certain level it feels good to see the A – really more for the sake of the school being left alone and for Seth Phillips’ job security.

    But, I contend that there was not much difference in last year with the prior years. My child was in 4th grade last year and the education my child received has been consistently excellent since kindergarten.

    The grading system is ridiculous and this only further proves this. How could a school go from failing to excellent in one year? It was generally the same teachers, students and overall philosophy at work. There was nothing radical that changed within the school.

    We are so lucky to have the incredible leadership of Seth Phillips and his fabulous teaching staff – then and now!

  • Berkeley Grosvenor

    @ Haystacker, No one, lcd, info, yo: As a Montague St resident, I am especially prickly about these clipboard crews. I, too, rely on the contrarian snub. My wife finds them particularly annoying, but remains too polite to do anything other than cross the street or take another route.

    I have to think that all of the street crews are really working for one company (just like the telemarketing firms that call on behalf of multiple charities). Obviously, our neighborhood has been flagged as prime hunting grounds based on zip code and foot fall. Does anyone care to chat up one of these clipboard clowns and try to find out how to get a job with their company. If we can get to the pimp, we can then clear the streetwalkers off the sidewalk. At the very least, we can get them reassigned to Park Slope.

  • haystacker

    There was some recent news coverage about the company behind the “clipboard clowns” (I will be using that term — thanks!). Some kind of scandal. Not sure what. But yes, they are organized. Crossing the street, looking down, pretending to answer your cell phone are all ruses I use to avoid people I went to high school with. I dont like having to do it for these jokers too. Sure, from a marketing POV soliciting in 11201 makes sense – fish where there are fish. I just wish fewer of us would take the bait. If we stopped producing, theyd move on.

  • GHB

    Haystacker, I see them every day on 6th Ave around 23rd St. I just give them a serious glare as I walk by. They know not to f*** with me!

  • brooklynite

    I had a friend who used to work for one of these companies. Their goal was to get people to sign up and donate using a credit card. reason being is that they would automatically charge the credit card every month unless you called to “cancel your donation”. They did get kick backs for how many people they got to sign up with a credit card.

    Just don’t make eye contact and keep on walking just like with other panhandlers.

  • GHB

    Give credit card info on the street? I don’t think so…

  • Andrew

    “Don’t you care about the environment?”

    “No. Why do you think I live in Brooklyn?”

  • T.K. Small

    I guess I am lucky. As a person in a wheelchair, the clipboarders simply ignore me even when I make eye contact with them.