Open Thread Wednesday 3/3/10

Heights Blizzard II-Columbia Heights

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Andrew

    Besides all those vacancies on Montague St, there’s also a glut of space on C Henry St– the big basement space in the St. George at Pineapple, the combined, former-Pig’N Out and flower mart spaces, and the former home of the embezzling Busy-Chef/Blue Pig/Oven empire on the “Corner of Cranberry.” Plus Clark St has the ex-Sea Asian space and vacant as well as the huge ex-Palmira’s space in the St. George tower.

    Are the property owners looking for unreasonable rents, so that prospective businesses are going elsewhere? Smith St? Park Slope? Williamsburg? Prospect Heights?

  • Claude Scales

    Just to show that griping in the Heights is a time-honored tradition, here’s an item from an 1854 New York Times, spotted by norman e-mailer:

    “We heard a resident of Brooklyn Heights complaining yesterday that he had often been annoyed by the cargoes of Peruvian guano, and Buenos Ayrean hides, stored in the warehouses under the Heights, but the two annoyances combined did not begin to be half so nauseating as the odor emitted by the Ailanthus trees under his windows.”

  • aliG

    I, too, cannot deal with the smokers but it is part of city living. If you live in a co-op, you can ask the board to nix anymore smokers coming into the bldg. Not sure if it’s legal to ask potential buyers if they smoke but I’m sure they’d be able to smell it.. I know the noise is part of city living too but our neighbors scream at each other ALL day and night. Her last husband moved out a year ago with a hammer stuck in the middle of his flat screen tv…freaks.
    Anyway, is there a place in Brooklyn to make an anonymous report of animal abuse?

  • Remsen

    Seems recently that for every closing on Montague, there is a store opening on Atlantic…

  • naysayer

    Speaking of phony names, Homer Fink is a false name. The real name of “Homer” is John Loscalzo. Go ahead-google it.

  • Jim


    The Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus will give a one-hour performance of traditional folk songs from Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia and more, song a cappella.

    Friday, March 12th at 7:30pm, at Congregation Mt. Sinai, 250 Cadman Plaza West.

    Facebook users can RSVP at this page.

    For more on the Slavs, see their home page at

  • othersideofthebridge

    I heard the opening act is the Harvard one-armed amputee multi-racial lesbian midget chorus.

  • haystacker

    Rents on Montague Street are so astronomically expensive only companies with the deepest of pockets can make a go of it – unless what you they sell is what the people want. A good example: Housing Works. They’re busy all the time, and unless they negotiated a sweetheart deal, they will probably do fine at that location for a long time. Without naming names, there are a few other businesses on Montague Street that look like their days are numbered. Montague Street simply does not generate enough free-spending foot traffic to justify the absurd rents landlords still believe they deserve. I used to believe (and have stated it here) that the action (and the fun) was on the sidestreets. Sadly, this economy is so disastrous even some of the stores on the side streets are hurting (and shuttering). Please continue to patronize the stores you love (Im not naming names). We truly appreciate it and we all benefit from it.

  • Teddy


    Ten years ago dealing with smokers in bars was part of city living. If you told a smoker back then that they wouldn’t be able to light up in bars in 3 years, they would have laughed at you. Residential dwellings are the final frontier for anti-smoking regulations and that frontier is being crossed slowly in California & other areas. The only downside to banning smoking in bars which I recently encountered is some parents bringing their child into the bar.

    On a similar carcinogen-related note, the EPA finally designated the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site yesterday. In response, Toll Brothers pulled the plug on their project today which probably gave them a good excuse to back out with current state of the economy. Some people wonder what that designation will mean to homeowners/business owners in Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill & parts of PS.

  • Matthew Parker

    @AliG: Call the ASPCA for the animal abuse report (even anonymous). If you call the cops, they will transfer you to the ASPCA, who may send out an officer to investigate.

  • traitor

    @alig: cant even be man or woman enough that you have to report your neighbors animal abuse anonymously? Sigh, Stasi or KGB would have florished in the old communist days here. in this hood..

  • cat

    “what about my neighbors downstairs that cook fish every sunday? what about my next-door neighbor whose toddler screams so loud i can hear it through the walls? what about the woman above me who wears high heels over my bedroom late at night? or the dude across the street who watches porn on his widescreen plasma that i can clearly see out my front window?”

    Nystrele: I don’t think any of these activities lead to second-hand-smoke- related health issues. Let the smokers kill themselves; they don’t have to take the rest of us along with them.

    Anti-smoker: I found that burning a candle (even a non-scented candle) will help with the odor.

  • my2cents

    This discussion of vacancies on Montague dovetails nicely with the New Yorker article. All those delightful stores Patricia Marx visits in other neighborhoods…and we have vacant shops. Something is wrong. Landlords need to wake up and think about creating a healthy business environment rather than losing money month after month waiting for a chain store to come calling.

  • Kim G.

    A large bowl of undiluted white vinegar removes smoke and cooking odors…if you don’t mind the vinegar smell

  • BklynKnight

    At what point does the errant parking habits of cars with “official” plaques , license plates or special needs impinge on the safety and quality of life for the rest of us average citizens? During the recent snow storms I’ve witnessed city plows and fire trucks turn away from my street because of cars like these being parked on the opposite side and clearly restricting passage. Ironically, alot of these cars habitually park in their same spot as if they own them; while limiting street cleaning, snow removal and trash pick ups regularly. I understand that some people clearly have limitations for accessing their vehicles. With that in mind shouldn’t they be parking closer to their own premises and consider allowing an adequate right of way and full services for the rest of us? Just wondered?

  • aliG

    Traitor, that’s just wrong. I think an anonymous call to the aspca will do alot more than me confronting the person and not having law enforcement get involved. And rather than this person knowing who called, he/she will always be on guard and hopefully less likely to abuse the pet. I think reporting the abuse is “man or woman enough”.
    @my2cents, I love the little area of Hicks between Remsen and Montague with Overtures and Seaport Flowers, I wish all of Montague was bustling with little stores like that.

  • Harry K

    I’ve had many discussions with some of the independent merchants still remaining in Brooklyn Heights about the difficulties of making it here. The dominance of large chain stores and the growing number of commercial vacancies in our neighborhood is pathetic. my2cents and haystacker are right on – the rents demanded by the commercial property owners for Brooklyn Heights spaces are outrageous and being raised all the time. Very few small merchants who would like to do an interesting start-up here can afford it. Many of the property owners are happy enough to take the loss of an unoccupied space for tax purposes and have fantasies (well, who’s to say what will really happen?) that if they just hang on for a few years the economy will change, Brooklyn Bridge Park will be in, and they’ll get the outrageous rents they want..

    On a topic unrelated to rents but related to the mediocre quality of what’s offered on Montague (obviously there are some significant exceptions to that smear), one big reason why most (not all) of the restaurants there are just plain lousy is that they make their big money off the Brooklyn government lunch trade. It’s a captive market, and the food doesn’t have to be any good. The better restaurants towards the end of Henry St. aren’t playing that game, and many are not even open for lunch. And on that note, support Bread and Butter! THe NYTimes review was pretty snarky, and (if you’re listening, B&B) the main suggestion I’d make is to have more vegetables as part of the plates or even as a la carte side dishes that aren’t full of butter and cream. “Comfort food” is fun but can be pretty rich and heavy.

  • Matthew Parker

    @aliG: You’re 100% correct.

    @Traitor: If someone were abusing their spouse, would you confront them or go to the cops? The ineffectual macho BS way you’re advocating leads nowhere except to more problems.

    The right thing to do if you suspect animal abuse or human abuse is to call the authorities who are trained to handle these situations properly. If there’s no abuse going on, then it will be a minor inconvenience for those involved. If there is abuse going on, it will likely be put to a stop one way or another in the proper way.

  • Bartmann

    @anti-smoker, I agree with your distaste for having smoking neighbors.

    Noise can be blocked by closing windows, wearing low gauge earplugs, or turning up a stereo. You can block exhibitionist neighbors, with drapes, or shades. These measures, while sometimes a nuisance, can lesson the noise or sights.

    But there’s no way to lesson smoke in your apartment. It has a way of getting into your clothes, so that even when you go to work you smell it. Fans can be a good way to get fresh air into your apartment, but in the winter you are really held hostage.

    What I would suggest is when you leave the apartment to go to work in the morning, open all the windows in your apartment. Sure it will get cold, but you’ll be at work. When you return home you can close the windows. At least your air will be fresher than if you had kept your windows closed all day.

    Since you can smell the smoke from the apartment below yours, the construction of the building may be very cheap, or the building so old and leaky that you’ll smell anything. You may want to move into a more solid building. This is causing you a great deal of stress, so it’s better to be proactive; move and improve your life. It’s kind of like the subway: if a smelly homeless person sits next to you, you get up and move.


  • Tim N.

    There are actually pretty effective filters that can at least reduce the smoke so that it doesn’t travel as far or isn’t as pungent when it reaches your apartment. You could make a suggestion to the neighbor or the landlord (I know, I know, what planet am I on?). Short of that, renter’s right are pretty minimal. It is the guy’s home. In a co-op situation you could probably generate more corrective action.

  • tb

    Where can I find out about the history of the PS 8 building itself? Anyone?
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Homer Fink

    @naysayer.. duh… everyone knows that.

  • Tim N.

    Awesome photo, by the way… :>)

  • karl Junkersfeld

    This is from their site:

    P.S. 8, also known as The Robert Fulton School and The Magnet School for Exploration, Research and Design, opened in 1846 at 65 Middagh Street between Hicks and Henry (now marked with a brass plaque). As the population of Brooklyn boomed in the late nineteenth century, the school outgrew its building, and construction began on the current red brick building, which opened 100 years ago in 1906. Previously, the address was the residence of John A. Roebling, chief engineer and principal designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. The school once held grades K-8, but in 2004 it settled on its current enrollment of pre-K through 5th grade students. Like the community it serves, P.S. 8 is both historic and modern.

    I have a picture of the school in 1915 if interested.

  • PennyRC

    The Pier 6 Dog Run is opening soon! The run is located at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, on the last pier of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It will be opening in late spring. We are currently looking for dog owners/walkers to join the Pier 6 Dog Run Volunteer Group. Email to stay updated on the run and learn about fun events for you and your pooch.

  • nabeguy

    Here’s a photo from the BPL
    This may be the one that Karl mentioned, but the construction materials in it lead me to believe it’s earlier than 1915, since the school was complete long before that.

  • karl Junkersfeld


    I’m reading “A Collection Of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and you, my friend, would make him proud with your deductive reasoning. First, for finding the picture I was referring to and secondly, for observing that the construction materials, indeed, appear to indicate that the school is in process of construction. Fact is, the Brooklyn Library has a fine selection of pictures but their dates and locations are sometimes incorrect.

    I know what you are going to say, it was “elementary”. (no pun intended)

    “It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the basis of the deduction.”

    In this case, construction materials.

  • nabeguy

    Karl, you can be the Watson to my Holmes any day of the week. Or vice-versa.

  • traitor

    @ Matthew Parker: I am going to report u for animal abuse tomorrow.

    @AliG: I am reporting you as a spousal abuser tomorrow.

    I apologize for the the minor inconvenience that it will cause to the both of you but its fun and anonymously. I am sure you both are a nice people.

    I am not advocating to confront the person involved or doing nothing, but the right thing to do is at least give the authorities your name. I just have the problem with anonymous reporting, dictatorships have been built on them.

  • anony.

    what do you guys think the best Asian Fusion restaurant in Manhattan is?