Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • AEB

    Thanks so much, neighboronhicks. Will miss the ground-floor “beautification.”

  • Cranberry Beret

    The family that owned the building for many years sold it this winter to a developer. (One family member living there died last year and the sole remaining family member was too old to live alone, and moved out.)

    There’s a sign on the door that says asbestos abatement is underway.

    A worker told a neighbor that supposedly it’s being converted into a house. Seems odd, since it’s an apartment building. Who knows.

  • AbeLincoln

    PS8 was built on the blood, sweat and tears of many staffers and families before you. It’s a cringe-worthy insult to say it doesn’t “tour” well. Give some credit where credit is due. Count your blessings to have such an amazing school near your home. And once at the school, give an abundance of time and money so that others can follow in your footsteps.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Easy does it, Abe. If you read my comment a little more carefully you might find my issue was with the nature of the large group tours and the wrongly underwhelming impression they can create. (In fact you made a similar comment, and I’d argue yours was worded a bit more cynically.) I happen to be actively involved at PS8 and will have a child going there next year. I can personally attest to the greatness of that institution and do in fact plan to giving the school as much of my available energy as I can.

  • Slyone

    I’m interested in this– when I toured back in 2007, we were renting and could have moved elsewhere and were thinking about whether we would. It was the PS8 tour that made it clear I liked that school community more than more established places in nearby neighborhoods. And the tour was big then, too. It was something about the teachers, and the way the staff seemed so excited to be there. It wasn’t more polished, or more perfect, it just felt like a nice community.

  • Slyone

    Thinking more: Maybe I just like places that feel like they are growing and changing in interesting ways. PS8 could be at that place more now than it has been in recent years bc/o new leadership. It’s obviously a different place than it was a decade ago, but new leadership means rethinking “habits.” I think that’s good.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Obviously this is highly subjective. I initially toured the school with a large group (maybe half a dozen or more sets of parents) in the spring of 2017, in anticipation of my kid going there for kindergarten (he ended up being one of those waitlisted). We popped into a number of classrooms and, due to the size of the group, couldn’t help but interrupt the regular flow of goings on. Teachers and students alike stopped and did the rabbit-in-headlights thing, and our parent tourguide struggled her best to accurately synopsize for us what we were seeing in a larger context. Between the kids in the classes and the 12+ adults standing around gawking at them, the rooms seemed positively crowded and somewhat chaotic.

    I came back on my own a few months ago in advance of doing classroom observations (I’m working on getting my teaching certification), and the principal personally gave me a tour, which made a radically better impression. We were able to sit quietly in the back, and if the students were working on their own I was encouraged to go around and ask them questions. This is where PS8 really shines—seeing the students and teachers actually doing their thing, not self-consciously.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Morty and Big Jim were regulars at “Rocky’s” “Hair Emporium” in the Clark St. station. Maybe, he (Morty) played to his audience, but he expressed some terribly bigoted sentiments. Yeah, you can say he grew up in different times, but few do about POTUS, and I’m inclined to think that this is the furthest thing from harmless…. On a more positive note, where do you exhibit? – i.e., it IS a great piece and I’m sure it looks better in situ than in the 2-inch version.

    Does “StudioBrooklyn” mean you only WORK in the Heights?

  • AbeLincoln

    It’s possible I got a little overexcited in my previous post.: ) To clarify, I feel like using terms like “tours-well” sounds elitist and implies that PS 8 is something more than it really is – a New York City public school. (An amazing public school, but still a public!) I see in another post that you’re coming from private so I can see how your first impression could have been a bit jarring. But looking past that, as you and other posters have mentioned, it’s full of kids getting a solid education and yes, for the most part, they are happy.
    Our family left the school last year. During the time we were at ps 8 we were privy to meeting some of the most amazing, hard working parents and staff who dedicated themselves to creating the school it is today. Honestly, I hope the families who reap the benefits of this hard work will appreciate just how far the school has come. All the best to you and your family!

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I didn’t mean that phrase to sound like anything except its utility in describing the function of a skewed first impression. I’m a product of public education, and it’s something I firmly believe in. It’s sad to see how NYC’s growing density and socioeconomic disparity has upended the common-sense benefit of choosing a public education; I wish all neighborhoods had such a great option.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Yeah Morty definitely held some views (which may have been personally informed and examined, or may not) that I found extremely problematic. My painting of him is meant first and foremost to be a work of documentary, not flat adulation. That said, he was also a friendly neighbor and I discovered that he had been giving away substantial chunks of money to various causes, most of them undeniably good, some I’d personally take issue with but aren’t deemed widely controversial.

    I’ve returned to school recently so the painting practice has been capped to a trickle; no exhibitions for a year or two. But thanks for showing interest! As I’m remaining semi-anonymous on here for the time being I can’t post a website link but I’m not hard to find offline…to answer your last question, my studio is in my home. Every once in a while passers by will see me out front photographing a painting, which is probably the biggest give-away. ;)

  • MaryT

    Thanks, one and all. Good to have options.

  • Andrew Porter

    Here’s another photo I took decades ago. Sorry, the Old BH Postcard scans have all been posted.

    This is Jack Biblo in the old Biblo Books used book store that used to be at the corner of Middagh and Hicks (where R.A. Somerby, Architect now has their office). Fore much more about Jack, see his 1998 obituary in The New York Times, here:

  • Joe Reubens

    Studio Brooklyn, what’s your website? I knew Morty from Rocky’s and I am so impressed with your portrait. Amazing.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Thanks Joe. That means a lot. For the time being I’m remaining somewhat anonymous on the blog; I hope to unmask at some point. I regret that there’s no way to direct-message on here. A few other commenters on here, including Claude Scales, know my identity and could probably connect us if you know who to ask; I wish Claude would organize another Blog meetup!

  • Brooklyn Mom

    I’m a little late to your post, but just wanted to give some feedback on International Charter School. Although we are zoned for PS 8, we decided to go with ICS and have had no regrets. The 2 teachers per class, and responsive teaching method was a huge selling point. And to be perfectly truthful, I toured both schools (PS 8 & ICS) and wasn’t t wowed by either tour. I had to remind myself that these are educators giving the tours not salespeople, so presenting the school may not be their strong suit while teaching hopefully is. Good luck with whatever your decision is!