Open Thread Wednesday 6/25/14

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Luca Abrate

    My wife & I have lived in beautiful Brooklyn Heights for
    over a dozen years and make every effort to support the local businesses, especially the eateries. We were especially pleased when Armando’s returned after a brief hiatus during the great Spicy Pickle interruption and have had many simple, pleasurable meals there since. Until last night.

    Our party of 4 arrived shortly after 7PM to the restaurant
    that was maybe a little more than ½ full if you factor in the outdoor tables. As briefly as possible; our waiter appeared 10 minutes after we were seated, took our drink order, returned another 10 + minutes later with our drinks only after being reminded of them, said he need a few minutes to take our dinner orders and then we never saw him again! For some reason, the hostess then appeared to take our dinner order from which it took over 30 minutes before two appetizers appeared (burrata salad – tasty but no cooking required & serviceable fried
    calamari) then ANOTHER 30 minutes passed before any of our entrees appeared. Meanwhile,empty bread baskets, olive oil dish, & app plates sat piled high on the table along with empty water glasses. Neither our original waiter whom disappeared
    early into our service nor the hostess whom subbed in for him checked on our table nor offered an explanation about the multiple delays in our order. By then, about 8:15PM, the restaurant was less than a ¼ full so we were deeply
    puzzled by the total lack of service.

    To be clear, we are not demanding, belligerent customers,
    are generous tippers, and have both worked in the restaurant business in the past (front & back of the house) and have only great respect, understanding, and patience for a very demanding business. By nature, we do not write negative
    reviews but last night’s series of miscues were inexcusable and may have been highly likely our last trip there.

  • AEB

    As I get older–if possible–two restaurant deal-breakers loom: noise and poor service.

    Food is, of course, the major issue, but if one or both of the others is sub-par–well, it’s now bye-bye forever, however good the cooking

    Is there anything worse than having to shout at your tablemates to be heard or to feel that you’ve been abandoned by the staff, especially when appetite is keen?

  • BHFoodie

    If you want some good Italian food, head over to Sociale on Henry and Orange. The owner and manager are great. Armando’s hasnt been good for years. They hire line cooks, not chefs and cater to court crowd, mostly.

  • DIBS

    Second on Sociale.

    I think Armando’s pastas are fine and the fish dishes are quite good. I had the worst steak there I have ever had in my life

  • Martin L Schneider

    I attended the housing panel last night at St. Ann’s.

    Our Councilman Steve Levin spent much time on the need for helping people in crisis…the homeless, temporary shelters, rent control which he called the “backbone of the housing program” and the complex and expensive needs in emergencies from fires and hurricanes and the like. He addressed the affordable housing, 80/20 solution which he seems to fervently believe in.

    The 80/20 program is a City and State subsidy for builders which provides extra floors for buildings and other tax supported advantages to the builders in exchange for providing 20% of the units at far below market rates. Builders love it.

    It seems to me that the 80/20 system which plugs people living at lower income levels into buildings with people who are, to put it politely, much better off, in fact, much, much better off, must generate serious sociological issues about those who would live that way. It also allows the City to duck any meaningful contribution to permanent housing for the working poor who number in the hundreds of thousands of families. It does all this by turning housing over to the builders themselves. The builders like it because it has been shaped to favor their financial needs to show a profit.

    I have three major questions which didn’t get asked in the flurry of mostly personal questions by people seriously aggravated over their unfair treatment at the hands of greedy landlords and rapacious builders.

    Question #1 : Is this a sound way to build a sense of belonging, neighborliness and community or really just a small band-aid for the working poor?

    Question #2: Aside from the questionable democratic housing sociology, how many band aids have been provided so far and how many are projected over the next several years and is that number really going to make a difference in the creating a more livable city.

    Question #3: Years ago, there was a meaningful and huge number of apartments developed under non-profit housing plans. The cooperative housing movement, started in the ’30s and continued on to the Coop City in the Bronx not only produced enormous numbers of successful units but also created true communities where residents enjoyed the experience of ownership, fellowship and the satisfaction of personal responsibility. The Heights Cadman Plaza coops was one of the last such projects to be created. The big question is: Why isn’t Coucilman Levin focusing at least some attention on the great potential of non-profit housing? Has the real estate board so dominated the City’s housing policy in recent years as to permanently blot out the possibilities of not-for-profit housing?

  • Kit

    You have described my last experience at Armondo’s, which was almost two or three years ago. I have not ever gone back since that night, nor do I plan to.

  • Hmmm

    My opinion is:
    1) Yes, because it blends people together instead of creating what often becomes a building full of blight.
    2) Why are you looking at it as a baindaid? It is working and has been a success all over the City. As far as a more ‘livable’ city, that has nothing to do with the poor or the wealthy. In Brooklyn Heights if you make $150,000 a year and have two kids, you are struggling — and would not likely qualify for 80/20 housing. I think — like most large, successful cities, you have to realize that populations and wealth ebb and flow. Sometimes you just have to go and live in Queens…
    3) All of the Cadman developements were failures — that is why they dont build more. The middle building is now private and 2 bedroom apartments sell for over $1.2 million. The other two are on the verge of bankrupcy. They just cant afford to keep themselves afloat.

  • Moni

    Sadly, Armando’s food and service plunged considerably since it reopened under the supervision of the owner’s daughter. I had soft shell crabs there onece and was actualy charged $45! (foolishly I didn’t first ask the price of this “special”). The few times we’ve dined there since have been underwhelming. I agree there is no real chef, which is a shame. Considering its barely so-so quality, food is way overpriced.

  • Someone

    You had many pleasurable meals at Armando’s and then you write a review like above for one bad evening where there were some apparent issues with the staff and vowe to never coming back? Wow.

  • El

    This is the first year since I moved to the neighborhood that the 4th of July fireworks are on this side of the river – how crazy crowded will it really be on the Promenade? Though I imagine BBP will help with that.

  • Bartmann_van_Ghent

    This is an interesting observation. I’ve always wondered which is better:
    To be average among the poor,
    To be poor among the rich.

  • Alec

    Mistake #1 – Eating on Montague St. Don’t y’all know the Montague St curse?

  • Jorale-man

    I’ve been wondering too how many people in the neighborhood are going to be getting out of dodge and how many will stick around. I remember past years where it was insanely crowded and the ‘hood was a disaster zone the next day. Given that they’re back on the East River after several years, I bet it will be even crazier this time around.

  • EHinBH

    Get out of dodge. If u want to stay in, fine to stay, but if you live from cadman to CH and atlantic to poplar, u need to leave if you want to live life after 4 pm.

  • miriamcb

    It has always been crazy for the fireworks. Years past, before the park was really developed, we used to go down into Dumbo and watch from between the bridges. Even then, 5 or 6 years ago, it would start getting packed around 4 or 5pm. I think BBP will actually draw more people in to watch the fireworks than would have normally come to the neighborhood since there is this illusion of space. Find a rooftop if you can!

  • Andrew Porter

    I know lots of streets here will be closed off to car traffic, and the number of people allowed on the Promenade will be limited. I plan to watch from the roof of my building. Afterwards, watch the amount of trash on the streets and planters that people thoughtfully leave behind…

  • Andrew Porter

    There was a recent article on Curbed about the lost ad signs in NYC, and they said that the “Watchtower” sign on the Squibb building wasn’t there any more. I honestly haven’t noticed; is it still there?