Brooklyn Heights Blog » Celebrity Residents Dispatches from America's first suburb Tue, 18 Jan 2022 21:50:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Stars Come Out For The Cat Café Wed, 02 Jun 2021 21:35:49 +0000

Seth Meyers.

Paula Poundstone.

Téa Leoni.

Ophira Eisenberg.

Lance Reddick.

John Doman.

Reshma Shetty.

Laura Brown.



This is the star-studded line-up hosting Thursday night’s Turning Five and Feline Fine, a streaming event that will celebrate the Café’s fifth anniversary with comedy, features about cat rescue, and cat videos, the holy grail of the internet.

The event will honor Drs. Yvonne Szacki and Pratikshya Patil for their generosity and work on behalf of Brooklyn’s animal rescue community.

The show starts at 7 pm on Thursday, June 3 and will be available on-demand after the event, which is expected to run for about 55 minutes. Tickets start at $25.

The evening is sponsored by Rachel Foster and Alain Kodsi, Heights Advisors, and Tracy and Howard Brickner.

Over the last five years, the Café has logged more than 75,000 visits from people enjoying some time with the cats, attending events and classes, and holding events. Those visitors have helped fund the rescue of more than 4,000 animals, adopting 2,600 to loving homes. In the first five months of 2021, the Café has rescued more than 650 animals and adopted out more than 400 pets.

The Brooklyn Cat Café  is open Friday – Sunday, 12 pm – 7 pm. Cost is $10 per person per half hour and advance reservations.

Find the Café and its feline residents on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Peter Kendall Clark’s “Songs From The Ledge” Moves To Montague St. Wed, 17 Mar 2021 13:43:55 +0000

The Brooklyn Heights community can’t say nothing good came out of the pandemic. How else would we have been treated to a free weekly concert from Peter Kendall Clark, performed from the ledge of the Mansion House on Hicks St.? According to the bio on his website, when the pandemic hit, Peter was in rehearsal to portray the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti in the NYC premiere of The Parting with the Chelsea Opera. Peter’s other canceled 2020 engagements included Fredrik in A Little Night Music at TriCities Opera and Mr. Mister in The Cradle Will Rock at Union Avenue Opera. For now, the Brownstone Baritone will be performing at a new venue on Montague St. starting tonight at 6:00 p.m.

From Instagram @pkclarkbar:

I’m very excited to announce that #songsfromtheledge has a new time and venue beginning [this] evening: Wednesdays at 6:00 PM at 62 Montague Street. Thank you to my friends at the @brooklynheightsassociation for helping out with this relocation, as our crowds were getting to be too big for little ole Hicks Street. Coincidentally, my first apartment in New York was right across the street, and I also lived around the corner for a few years. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in Brooklyn, adjacent to the Promenade entrance. [This evening] should be beautiful with Finian’s Rainbow and Danny Boy on the list (for St. Patty’s) It feels like we are moving to the Schubert Theater!


Photos courtesy of Instagram @pkclarkbar.


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Hate-Read Of The Week: Drama At Grace Church School Wed, 10 Jul 2019 19:20:44 +0000 Jessica Pressler at NY Magazine has published a phenomenal article about the Grace Church School that we couldn’t not share — a classic battle between the nouveau riche and l’Ancien Régime — or, as they put it, “A riot among the one percent.”

When you buy a home in Brooklyn Heights, you aren’t just purchasing real estate, you’re purchasing a lifestyle. The stately townhomes and converted carriage houses, with their window boxes of Algerian ivy winking over splendidly preserved original details — the Grecian columns, the soaring Romanesque windows offering a glimpse of curated furniture — connote a certain level of not just wealth and taste but respectability. These are houses not just for people who have money, but people who have values.

And with that wonderful opener to set the scene, a tale is told in which no one — with the exception of the newly installed rector Reverend Allen Robinson, who has our deepest sympathies for having to deal with this — no  one comes out a sympathetic character, and the moral is either “Support Universal Pre-K for 2s and 3s” or “Tax The Rich” (or both).

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Emily Blunt & John Krasinski Buy “A Quiet Place” in Brooklyn Heights Thu, 10 Jan 2019 22:39:51 +0000

The Real Deal and WSJ report A-Listers Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and John Krasinski (The Office) have purchased adjacent apartments at The Standish for a cool $11M. Sources close to the deal say once combined the renovated apartment will take up an entire floor of the building.

The power couple, who starred together in the horror-suspense flick, “A Quiet Place” directed by Krasinski,  joins Matt Damon and family at the famed building on 171 Columbia Heights. Damon’s penthouse purchase for $16.6 broke Brooklyn sales records.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

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That Time of the Year: Halloween Parade! Sat, 20 Oct 2018 17:27:39 +0000

If it’s late October, that must mean it’s World Series Oktoberfest Readathon almost Halloween! The annual Pierrepont Park Halloween Parade will be happening next Saturday, October 27th, at around 10:30 am, so come on down with all your ghouls, goblins, and Joe Lhotas. During and after the parade, there will be food and refreshments for sale. Enjoy this little neighborhood tradition before they ram a highway through it!

Volunteers are still needed, so if you would like to help, or show off your mad baking skillz, there’s an online Halloween Parade sign up sheet here.


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The “Martians” Are Coming! Matt Damon Touches Down in Brooklyn Heights Fri, 31 Aug 2018 04:57:15 +0000

Last summer Brownstoner reported Actor/Producer, Matt Damon was in contract at The Standish on Columbia Heights for over $16.6 million. The deal has been widely-reported as the largest residential sale in Brooklyn to date. Now, it appears the Oscar and Golden Globe winning “Martian,” his wife, Luciana Barroso and their children have finally landed at the 6,218 square feet 12th-floor penthouse. The sprawling abode is a combination of three units and boasts a 3,366-square-foot terrace.

The intel comes from a Facebook friend of your correspondent who also resides on Columbia Heights. When the source witnessed “many truck loads of stuff being moved in” earlier this week, they conducted a bit of their own “Good Will Hunting.” They inquired of “nosey neighbor” who confirmed, “You know, Matt Damon moved in yesterday.”

The Standish Arms Hotel, a former Jehovah’s Witnesses’ dormitory, was sold to Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings in 2007 who developed the circa 1903 Beaux-Arts building as rental apartments. In addition to its architectural history, The Standish Arms was the fictional home of Superman’s alter-ego Clark Kent and was referenced in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” In 2014, Westbrook Partners and DDG teamed up to buy the building for $60 million, converting it into 29 luxury condominiums and rebranding it as simply, The Standish. As of February 2018, the project was 85% sold.

Damon’s move, of course, is well-timed to coincide with the beginning of the school year. The movie star notoriously  made Page Six in August of 2016 when St. Ann’s School rebuffed his 11th hour inquiry to enroll his three youngest daughters for that coming academic year. It is unknown whether the children will attend the hallowed institution this September.

Photo Credit: StreetEasy

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Nxivm Sex Cult Housed Secret “Pod” in Brooklyn Heights Fri, 27 Apr 2018 19:40:29 +0000

File this story under “you can’t make this stuff up!” With the arrest and arraignment of “Smallville” actress, Allison Mack on sex trafficking and other related charges, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports an offshoot of the pyramid scheme”self-help” group and purported cult Nxivm (pronounced NEKS-ee-əm) took up residence at “111 Hicks St., a Brooklyn Heights tower, where up to a dozen [sex] slaves allegedly stayed for various rituals over the past year, according to Frank Parlato, a former publicist for Nxivm who has turned whistleblower.”

Among the women allegedly housed in Brooklyn Heights are daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, India. Artvoice blog reports Canadian “Battlestar Galactica” actress Nicki Clyne recently married Mack in order to remain in the United States and hold sway over the Brooklyn “slaves.” Mack leveraged her celebrity status to recruit victims at events held at a private residence in Williamsburg. The reported “rituals” are likely to have subjected the victims to the group’s known tactics of blackmailing with “collateral” of incriminating photos, videos or other damaging information, the branding of their bodies, starvation diets, forced labor all leading up to sexual encounters with leader Keith Raniere.

Spurred by Frank Parlato’s accounts, many news outlets have published in-depth exposes on the group’s exploits including  The New York Times,20/20, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Founded in Albany, NY by Keith Raniere and associate Nancy Salzman in 1998, the group touts itself as a “multi-level marketing organization” offering “Executive Success Programs” as a series of seminars. Attendees were required to address Raniere and Salzman as “Vanguard” and “Prefect” respectively. The group has boasted billionaire Richard Branson, Dynasty actress Lynda Evans, daughter of former Mexican President Vincente Fox, Ana Cristina Fox and BET Co-Founder Sheila Johnson as patrons.

Seagram’s heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman, are also among the group’s most entrenched devotees. Raniere was arrested in Mexico last month and Parlato reports Clare Bronfman, “a true fanatic,” has moved to South Brooklyn to be near her svengali, fund and run the organization while he is held in federal lock up in Marine Park. If convicted both Raniere and Mack face mandatory 15 years to life.

And it just gets weirder and weirder. Unsurprisingly, a television show is already in the works.

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Lena Dunham’s Love Letter to Sammy of Pet’s Emporium Sat, 28 Oct 2017 05:22:09 +0000

It’s been a while since we’ve posted a “People in Your Neighborhood” story. So this  adorable missive, written by our celebrity neighbor Lena Dunham is worth a re-post. Sammy at Pet’s Emporium on Montague Street appeared in the October 24th edition of New York Magazine’s The Cut. Enjoy!


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Yes, Matt Damon Likely Will Be Your Neighbor Wed, 13 Sep 2017 03:07:43 +0000

The Real Deal, citing a Wall Street Journal story that’s behind a paywall, reports that actor Matt Damon is in contract to buy the penthouse at The Standish, 171 Columbia Heights. According to the Real Deal, if the sale goes off at the asking price of $16.645 million, it could set a new record for Brooklyn.

Several years ago Damon was considering the purchase of the mansion at 3 Pierrepont Place. It’s said he lost interest after St. Ann’s refused to bend its rules to let his kids in after the admissions deadline.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

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“Day at the Park” Honors MCA This Saturday at Adam Yauch Park Wed, 03 May 2017 04:14:57 +0000

No sleep til Brooklyn! The organizers of MCA Day are hosting “A Day in the Park” in honor of beloved Beastie Boy, Adam “MCA” Yauch.  The event takes place this Saturday, May 6th in Adam Yauch Park from Noon to 4pm.

Come bask in the sunshine at Adam Yauch Park, play some basketball, listen to some music and gather with a community of people dedicated to keeping Yauch’s legacy burning strong. As always: all ages & free for all lifestyles, shapes and forms. Come join us!

Today, (Thursday) May 5th marks the fifth anniversary of Yauch’s passing.  Palmetto Park, where he played basketball as a child, was renamed in his honor in May of 2013.   Yauch, a Brooklyn Heights native, parlayed his notoriety into activism.  After becoming Buddhist, Yauch organized the Tibetan Freedom Concert, a concert still held annually at Carnegie Hall.  Saturday’s gathering is a celebration of his life and music.

*Photo via MCA Day

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Mic Drop: Hundreds Gather For Anti-Hate Rally in Adam Yauch Park with Beastie Boy “Ad Rock,” Electeds, Religious & Community Leaders Mon, 21 Nov 2016 18:10:32 +0000

When Adam Yauch Park was desecrated by anti Semitic and pro-Trump graffiti on Friday afternoon the community reaction was swift.  Law enforcement deemed the incident a hate crime and the City Parks Department immediately painted over the offensive tags.  State Senator, Daniel Squadron deftly organized a bevy of elected officials and religious leaders for the “Stand Up Against Hate” rally.  Within 24 hours, it was announced Adam Horovitz, aka “Ad-Rock” of the Beastie Boys and the Anti Defamation League would also participate. By Saturday morning, children had re-decorated the playground with messages of love.

Stand Up Against Hate Pano

Crowd singing the National Anthem

Sunday morning was blustery and cold yet hundreds of residents along with numerous elected officials and religious leaders, packed the park for a demonstration of solidarity and the denouncement of hate in a post-election world.  Senator Squadron presided over the event.  In his opening remarks he emphasized, “Hatred has no place in our backyard, no place in our city and no place in our country.  Anyone who thinks the current political climate will allow oppression to win in this country is wrong.”

Daniel Squadron-Stand Up Against Hate

State Senator Daniel Squadron

Imam Khalid Latif-University Chaplain at NYU & NYU Islamic Center Director-implored, “For us as New Yorkers, if you see something say something has to mean something different today…in our city, we have to set an example that is different than the rest of this country…we in New York will always be together.” Brooklyn Heights Synagogue’s Rabbi Serge Lippe warned against the normalization of hate crimes and vandalism. He called upon Donald Trump to “forcefully and unequivocally denounce these behaviors and those who wish to use his name and election as a pretext stoke the flames of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred.” In part he closed with, “As Americans we cannot and will not ignore these actions, nor can we afford to be silent.  For our silence will be heard as indifference or worse permission for further acts of vandalism and G_d forbid, violence.”

Imam Stand Up Against Hate

Imam Khalid Latif

Numerous public officials made their own remarks including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander and Carmelyn Malalis the Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Human Rights Commission. More of their statements are included in the official event press release. But it was Ad-Rock from whom everyone was waiting to hear.

Ad-Rock Stand Up Against Hate

Adam Horovitz, aka “Ad-Rock” of the Beastie Boys

“I’m assuming that we are all here because we are thinking the same thing; spray painting swastikas in a children’s playground is a messed up thing to do!” began Horovitz. “And for many of us, it has special meaning because this park is named for Adam Yauch who was my friend and band-mate for over 30 years. But he was also someone that taught non-violence in his music and his life to all of us and to me.”

Continuing, Horovitz did not mince words and drew a direct line from the uptick in hate crimes across the country  to the outcome of the election.  He encouraged, “Do what you can,” and name checked several organizations to which citizens may donate and/or volunteer their time and skills. “Take what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy and lend your services to the causes you care most about.”  Finally, he evoked popular Beastie Boys’ lyrics to rousing cheers, “Because we can’t and we don’t and we won’t stop!” For his full remarks, watch Brooklyn Paper’s video in its entirety below:

Attendees came from near and far to participate in the rally. Hayley, a Brooklyn Heights resident and mother of three, reflected, “It is important to show our children that we will not tolerate hate speech in our community.  This is a playground where my son goes to shoot hoops with people of all races, religions and genders and it was heartbreaking to see it denigrated in such a sick way. It was meaningful to see such a rapid and emotional response from our elected leaders, the police and the Parks Department.”  Mike Kearney, Andrew Katz and Malcolm Riddle, co-founders of MCA Day traveled from Boston and the Washington, DC area respectively to participate.

MCA Day Guys Stand Up Against Hate

Fan who advocates for Beastie Boys’ street naming, LeRoy McCarthy (2nd from left) MCA Day founders Andrew Katz (center), Mike Kearney (2nd from the right) and Malcolm Riddle (far right).


In addition to the speeches, throughout the event, the crowd was also led into renditions of the national anthem, the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” and Woodie Guthries’ “This Land is Your Land.”  Other celebrity attendees included musician, artist and activist Kathleen Hanna, (Ms. Hanna is also married to Horovitz) and actor and comedian Ben Stiller.  Love trumps hate, indeed.

*Photos & Slideshow Credit: (c) SongBirdNYC

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Brooklyn Heights Man is Pokemon GO Champ Sat, 23 Jul 2016 20:27:49 +0000 According to the Daily News, a Brooklyn Heights man, Nick Johnson, 28, has caught all 142 of the pokemon available in the U.S. in the game Pokemon GO. The News story notes that Johnson has accomplished this while putting in 50 plus hours a week as platform manager for a startup company, and also while catching some of the wily critters for his girlfriend. Johnson says he can go on little sleep, at least for short periods of time. He’s caught most of his pokemon in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but had to go to Jersey City for one rare variety, and is considering, after catching up on sleep, seeing if he can find a travel company to partner with or sponsor a worldwide pokemon hunt to catch those varieties only available in other continents.

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The BHB Ten for 2015! Mon, 11 Jan 2016 04:59:26 +0000

Here, in no particular order, are the people you, the readers, and we nominated for the Brooklyn Heights Ten for the past year, 2015.

Tracy (“Mrs. Fink”) Zamot and daughter Gracie: The sudden and unexpected loss of BHB’s founder, publisher, contributor, and guiding light John “Homer Fink” Loscalzo last April left all of us on the BHB staff in shock and grief, but the keenest loss was to his wife, Tracy, and their then four year old daughter, Gracie (photo by Jason Shaltz). With Tracy’s blessing, we have been able to carry on with the blog, though we miss “Homer’s” always pertinent and often witty contributions, as well as his keen sense of how the on-line world works, and his finger on the pulse of popular culture. As reader Mary commented:

If Homer was the mayor of BK Heights, Mrs. Fink is our first lady. The grace and honesty with which she shared her grief with us, while the neighborhood grieved with her, is deserving of more than this annual fun list. But why not?

We agree, while liking to think this is perhaps more than an “annual fun list”; we also salute Gracie for having endured a terrible loss at a tender age in a manner befitting her name.

Roy Sloane: Yes, he lives in Cobble Hill, but Sloane’s unflagging community advocacy–opposing, though unsuccessfully, the closing of LICH, which served Heights as well as Hill and other nearby residents; fighting against over-development in and around Cobble Hill that would put heavy stress on public facilities and infrastructure on both sides of Atlantic Avenue–drew praise from many readers.

Richard A. Somerby: An architect, interior designer, and contractor, as well as a painter and sculptor, the multi-talented Mr. Somerby, whose office is at 48 Henry Street, has been responsible for several very successful renovations and restorations of houses in Brooklyn Heights. His work at 55 Middagh Street is shown in the video above by our Karl Junkersfeld.

The Public School Advocates: There were several readers who supported including all of the members of the District 13 Community Education Council, who have dealt over the past year with the issue of re-zoning P.S. 8 and P.S. 307, along with many other challenges arising from the rapid population growth in Downtown Brooklyn and nearby areas. Special mention was given to the CEC’s chair, David Goldsmith, a former P.S. 8 PTA president; CEC member and Heights resident Amy Shire; and former P.S. 8 PTA co-president Ansley Samson.

Pepe Romero (HQ)Pepe Montero (photo above, by Heather Quinlan): He’s kept the last of the Heights’ longshoremen’s and sailors’ bars, opened in 1939 and moved once to make way for Robert Moses’ BQE, going since his father’s death some years ago. He may sell to a developer if one comes along willing to pay enough to him and his neighbors along the north side of Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street down to the BQE on-ramp, but since these buildings are in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, any developer’s options would be limited. Our guess is that Montero’s has more than a few good years left.

Bjork: She’s bought her ex Matthew Barney’s share of their penthouse at 160 Henry Street, so, unless she’s planning to flip it, it looks like she’s here for a while. She’s also a regular shopper at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange. And, as reader StudioBrooklyn writes:

The lovely and talented Björk has, in addition to releasing yet another mindblowingly beautiful album “Vulnicura”, helped launch an app for iOS which may contribute to wider participation in new 3D interactivity with recorded media (in other words, VR). And she’s just awesome anyway.

The Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition: the BBAWC has been recommended by our Teresa Genaro because they “do a lot for the homeless/needy pets in the neighborhood.” Having seen their–I hope–successful adoption efforts (I do know that Lauren, manager of the late J. McLaughlin store on Hicks, adopted the kitten she’s shown holding in this post) I can only agree.

Furman BookRobert Furman wrote the book on Brooklyn Heights history. What more can we say? Just what we’ve said here.

Dan Miller: StudioBrooklyn also suggests:

Another neighbor, Dan Miller, has been the lead guitarist for Brooklyn’s “ambassadors of rock” They Might Be Giants since 1998. This year marked a new milestone for the band’s prolific output, releasing something like one new song per week for the entirety of 2015, on top of a busy touring schedule.

Reader BHMommy calls Dan “a nice guy”, and to Mary he’s “a treasure.” Who are we to argue?

IMG_3837Ellie Bishop, and R.I.P. Patti Romp: New Jersey native and Vermont resident Patti Romp began selling Christmas trees in front of Key Food on Montague Street some years ago. See Karl Junkersfeld’s video here of Patti in front of Key Food, made in 2011. In 2014 Patti was too ill to make the trip from Vermont, so her daughter Ellie Bishop (photo) came instead. In October of 2015, we got the sad news of Patti’s death. Ellie was back right after Thanksgiving, with four children and a formidable looking but gentle mastiff named Spartacus. BHMommy sums it up:

I’m a big fan of Ellie, the Christmas tree lady in front of Key Food. She is so lovely and fills the neighborhood with Christmas spirit – even though she is only a Brooklyn Heights resident for 1/12 of the year.

This completes our BHB Ten for 2015. There were several nominees: “Captain Cleanup”; Mary Frost; Sami Rhum of Pet’s Emporium; and Ron Chernow, who weren’t included this year because they have been previous honorees, but that’s not to ignore their continuing contributions to the neighborhood. As we did last year with Judy Stanton, though, we would like to recognize a former honoree, Plymouth Church Historian Lois Rosebrooks, on the occasion of her retirement. The history of Plymouth Church plays a vital role in the history of Brooklyn Heights and of our nation. It is our earnest hope that the church will find a way to keep alive Ms. Rosebrooks’ ministry, and we wish her much happiness in her retirement.

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Rachel Antonoff on Brooklyn Heights: “[T]erminally casual. A little kooky.” Fri, 18 Dec 2015 00:08:48 +0000

Fashion designer and Heights resident Rachel Antonoff, interviewed for Vice and asked how she would “[d]escribe the Brooklyn Heights style” answered: “Relaxed. Extremely casual, terminally casual. A little kooky.” Despite this ambiguous description, she says that, having lived here for one year, she considers it “the friendliest place on earth” and says “the weirdest thing” is that “[e]veryone seems to know each other.” In this respect, she says, it’s like her notion of an ideal home, the fictional Stars Hollow of The Gilmore Girls.

She names some local favorites: Noodle Pudding is her top restaurant; she also likes Clark’s, Iris Cafe, LPQ, Fascati’s Pizza, and says Fortune House is the “most underrated”. For clothing she likes Ann Taylor Loft (partly because it’s next door to LPQ) and Housing Works. She has a dog, and rates Sami of Pet’s Emporium on Montague her “favorite neighborhood character”, but also gives a friendly mention to Rocco & Jezebel on the endangered Pineapple Walk.

Oddly, she says she thinks Henry’s End is a bar. In fact, it’s the one high end local restaurant I can think of that lacks a bar. If you face a long wait for a table, Mark, the owner, may invite you to sit at the Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar, several doors away, which he co-owns with the owner of Cranberry’s (to which Antonoff says she goes frequently), and summon you when your table is ready. Antonoff confesses to knowing little of the local bar scene; perhaps her boyfriend prefers it that way.

Photo: Daniel Silbert.

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More Height for Brooklyn Heights? Nets Star Thaddeus Young Settles Here Wed, 30 Sep 2015 01:04:32 +0000

Stories in both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times note that power forward Thaddeus Young, a Memphis, Tennessee native who recently signed a $50 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets, has become the first team member to move to Brooklyn, and specifically to Brooklyn Heights. Although the Nets became Brooklyn’s team and began playing home games in Barclays Center in 2012, basketball operations and training have remained in New Jersey. A new practice facility is scheduled to open in February in Industry City, on the Sunset Park waterfront. Young said he’s eager to have a shorter commute both to the practice facility and to Barclays Center. According to the WSJ and Times stories, other teammates are considering following Young to Brooklyn.

The WSJ article quotes Young about his new neighborhood:

“I’ve been welcomed to the neighborhood,” said Young, the first Nets player to move to Brooklyn. “I’ve walked the Brooklyn Bridge Park, all the piers. My kids hang out there every day, actually.”

Both stories tell of his frustration trying to drive on Atlantic Avenue the day of the Antic.

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Hillary Announces; Anti-Hill Signs Go Up on Cadman Plaza; View From the U.K. Mon, 13 Apr 2015 02:32:58 +0000

Today’s announcement by Hillary Clinton that, yes, she’s running for President, came as little surprise, following as it did the earlier news that she had leased two floors at One Pierrepont Plaza for use as a campaign headquarters. Today signs mocking Ms. Clinton (see photo) appeared, hanging from streetlight fixtures on Cadman Plaza West and facing her new offices, as well as on other streetside fixtures nearby. As yet, no one knows who put them there.

Meanwhile, Britain’s The Telegraph has a story about her “hip HQ” in “one of he most fashionable of New York neighbourhoods.” The piece notes that “[t]he Beastie Boys grew up among the brownstones nearby”; that Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey lives here, as does Lena Dunham; and that prize winning English expat novelist Martin Amis lives in Cobble Hill.

Despite all this, the Telegraph story, says Brooklyn Heights and environs “is not really even the hippest of neighbourhoods.” It notes that “rising rents” are driving away artists and writers (other than bestselling ones like Mr. Amis).

The area today is home to professional couples, the types who can afford the artisan coffeeshops and prefer to spend $9 (£6) on a pint of craft beer than drink Budweiser.

Nine bucks a pint? Where was their correspondent drinking?

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No, Manspreading is Not a Thing So Leave Paul Giamatti Alone Tue, 17 Mar 2015 23:15:22 +0000

In general, our pals at Gothamist are doing the Lord’s work when it comes to pointing out the things that make living in New York City an existential circus.

But this obsession with “manspreading” on the site (not to mention the MTA’s current courtesy campaign) is getting out of hand. How insane has it gotten?


RELATED: Paul Giamatti’s 10 Memorable Supporting Roles

Yes, Brooklyn Heights neighbor and super-fantastic actor Paul Giamatti is being shamed for making himself comfortable on a number 4 train this morning.

Stop the madness!

Photo via Gothamist

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Forget Lena Dunham, Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson Is Brooklyn Heights’ Coolest Resident Fri, 13 Mar 2015 02:45:51 +0000

Girls creator Lena Dunham has a place in Brooklyn Heights, but she’s just purchased a house in Los Angeles. The cool thing about that is that it’s the former home of the A-Team’s George Peppard. That dude was cool.

For some, Girls is an unwatchable show. Watching it is like seeing a scripted version of Snapchat or Tinder. Interesting for some, notsomuch for others.

However, Comedy Central’s Broad City, which stars Brooklyn Heights resident Abbi Jacobson – which is to Dunham’s series what Seinfeld would have been to ThirtySomething – is one of the best shows on TV. They’re the new Lucy and Ethel.

John Stewart hit the nail on the head this week about why it’s so enjoyable – the absolute “joy” conveyed on the show. The adventures of Jacobson and partner Ilana Glazer in the show channel every great comic team in history – Abbott and Costello, Cheech and Chong, the Marx Brothers, Firesign Theater, Monty Python, etc – every week. They’re here to entertain us while they hold a mirror up to society and make us laugh at ourselves.

And this season, the show’s second, has been outstanding. Even America’s Sweetheart Kelly Ripa has jumped onto the magic bandwagon:

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RIP Philip Levine, Brooklyn Heights Resident and Former Poet Laureate Mon, 16 Feb 2015 22:45:14 +0000 Brooklyn Heights his real home, and who once wrote a poem about an incident on the Promenade, died this past Saturday at his other home in California. His Heights neighbor, Michael Bourne, remembers him fondly:]]>

Philip Levine, the Detroit native and former Poet Laureate of the U.S. who considered Brooklyn Heights his real home, and who once wrote a poem about an incident on the Promenade, died this past Saturday at his other home in California. His Heights neighbor, Michael Bourne, remembers him fondly:

It was pelting rain in Brooklyn and I was out with my son, then about four, headed to the grocery store. Directly across the street, I saw a lanky elderly man, his iron-gray hair matted with rain, on the top step of his stoop, banging on the front door of his brownstone and shouting up at the third-floor window to be let in. It was the poet Philip Levine. I had seen him around the neighborhood for years, and may have even waved to him the way one does to familiar-looking strangers, but now I recognized him because just a couple weeks before his picture had been in the paper when he was appointed the nation’s Poet Laureate.

Full story here.


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Lena Dunham Tweets Support for Save the View Now, What Happens Next Probably Won’t Surprise You Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:22:27 +0000

Save the View Now, the grassroots Brooklyn Heights citizens group seeking to curb the height of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pierhouse received support Monday from a high profile resident.

Girls star/creator Lena Dunham tweeted out a link to Glynnis MacNicols’ NYDN editorial about the project.

Reaction from the Twitterverse was…. well… interesting:

The Pierhouse topped out this week. BHB pal Carrie Hamilton snapped a photo of the event over the weekend.

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Is Brooklyn Heights What Manhattan Used To Be? Ethan Hawke Thinks So Fri, 02 Jan 2015 20:02:19 +0000 Manhattan Magazine profile. ]]>

Actor/Brooklyn Heights (technically/really Boerum Hill but we’re on a roll) resident Ethan Hawke says that Brooklyn is what Manhattan used to be in a Manhattan Magazine profile.

Page Six quotes the actor as saying, “The whole city’s changing, while Brooklyn feels to me the way New York was a while ago.” (Oddly this quote is not included in Manhattan Magazine’s digital version of the story.)

Hawke stars in “Predestination”, the film adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s “-All You Zombies-“, opening January 9.

The actor also recently worked on the biopic about jazz legend Chet Baker called Born to be Blue.

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Lena Dunham Stays in Brooklyn Heights, Buys $4.8 Million Apartment at 30 Henry Street Tue, 09 Dec 2014 21:38:29 +0000

Lena Dunham and boyfriend/musician Jack Antonoff have decided to stay in Brooklyn Heights. Published reports say they’ve purchased one of the five apartments at the newly constructed 30 Henry Street condo for $4.8 million. All units in the building have been sold.

There was some speculation last year that Dunham would be moving out of Brooklyn Heights and decamping to Williamsburg.

RELATED: So What is Lena Dunham’s Brooklyn Heights Apartment Really Like?

The UK Daily Mirror reports that the couple moved in on Friday. Curbed reports that they have not sold their 1 BR at the Mansion House.

If you’re unfamiliar with Antonoff, a great primer is his interview with Marc Maron. Listen to it here.

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Lena Dunham Might be the Only Brooklyn Heights Resident Ever to be Honored with an NSFW Rap Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:40:15 +0000

When Gabriel Byrne lived in Brooklyn Heights, no one wrote a totally NSFW rap song for him. Heck, not even one for Giamatti – but hey he’s going to be in the N.W.A. movie so that’s close, eh?

Yesterday, those who pay attention to such things were talking about Brooklyn rap trio Hand Job Academy’s song “Lena Dunham”, which is not necessarily about the Girls star but inspired by her. The group raised a little over $5K on Kickstarter to fund this opus.

Watch the video only if you’re not offended by … well… anything. But seriously, if an episode of Two Broke Girls (let along Girls) is too much for you, DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO.

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Goodbye, Brooklyn Heights: 33 Things I’ll Miss About the ‘Hood Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:51:02 +0000

BHB Guest post By Whitney Matheson

This week I’m packing up the cozy Brooklyn Heights apartment I’ve called home for the last six years. Though I’m incredibly excited about the changes ahead – I got a job teaching journalism in Tennessee – I’m sad to leave the neighborhood I’ve grown to love so much.

The people, places and personality of Brooklyn Heights will occupy a chunk of my heart for many years to come. As a writer and longtime reader of this blog, I didn’t want to leave town without paying tribute.
In no particular order, here are a few things I’ll miss about living here:

1. The wealth of subway options. I love seeing the amazed, envious looks on friends’ faces when I reel off how many train lines I can walk to from my apartment.

2. Gabriel Mayers, busker extraordinaire. Speaking of the subway, Mayers’ vocal and ukulele skills make a long wait for the R train worthwhile.

3. Gregory, the Key Food mannequin. I’ve probably snapped 30 photos of Gregory’s frequent wardrobe changes. He’s like our resident Cher.

4. Current celebrity neighbors. I always get a kick out of seeing famous faces at Henry Public, Tazza or where have you; no matter how hard I tried, though, I never did manage to run into Bjork (and you’d think she’d be super-easy to spot).

5. Past celebrity neighbors. From Mailer to McCullers to Capote to Whitman, it’s a thrill and an honor to roam the same streets as some of my literary heroes.

6. The koi pond at the corner of Joralemon and Henry streets. Those fish offer me a sliver of peace on my walk to the train (or, god forbid, the post office).

7. Vegetarian Ginger’s lightning-speed delivery. Our go-to takeout spot has convinced several visiting relatives that, whoa, tofu can actually be pretty tasty.

8. Three Two local movie theaters. I have fond memories of seeing Woody Allen flicks at Cobble Hill Cinemas and the old Brooklyn Heights Cinema. (Also memorable: attending a rambunctious midnight showing of Bruno at the Court Street theater.)

9. Atlantic Antic, Willowtown Fair, Cranberry Street Fair … ‘Round these parts, virtually every street gets its own celebration. Bring on the baked goods and bouncy castles!

10. The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange. I think almost everyone in my family has received a gift from this spot, which has been around for a whopping 160 years. Their Brooklyn Heights calendar adorns my fridge year-round.

11. Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market. Special thanks to Millport Dairy guys for the limitless cheese samples.

12. Sundays at Smorgasburg. Only here can I convince myself that pigs in a blanket are an artisanal delicacy.

13. Arecibo’s “five-minute” arrivals. I’m especially grateful for the kind (albeit slightly nervous) driver who got us to the hospital when I was in labor —and the other Arecibo driver who took myself, my husband and our newborn daughter home two days later.

14. The annual Window Concert at State and Henry. The sweet scene – piano students playing tunes as passersby listen and applaud – is one of those things you can only find in Brooklyn.

15. Lassen’s red velvet cupcakes. So-so day = mini-cupcake. Really rough day = really large cupcake.

16. Halloween. No neighborhood does it better.

17. The low ATM fee at the Clark Street 2/3 station. Hey, $1.75 ain’t bad.

18. The New York Kids Club. I love everything about the Kids Club – more importantly, so does my daughter – but I’ll admit I get especially psyched when they throw a party that includes wine and cheese for the grownups.

19. Cathy Fitzsimmons’ garden. Stroll down the cobblestone block of Joralemon Street between Hicks and Willow, and you can’t miss her outdoor oasis, complete with a cabinet of fake bird sounds.

20. The mysterious subway building on Joralemon. If you’re super-nice to the construction workers, they just might let you inside. (Don’t tell anyone I said that, though.)

21. Breakfast at Teresa’s. It’s affordable, kid-friendly and they have pierogi. I couldn’t ask for more.

22. Neighborhood movie shoots. Maybe if I owned a car I’d feel differently, but I enjoy stumbling across a period piece or indie flick on my way to buy mouthwash at CVS.

23. Barnes and Noble’s mysterious DJ. Seriously, have you ever noticed the music piped through the Court Street location? From vintage R.E.M. to rare Beatles tracks, it’s usually miles better than it needs to be.

24. Floral Heights’ “Free flower if your name is x!” board. Each week I check to see if it’s my turn yet. My daughter’s name came up once, and the owner happily gave her a rose – even though she was only eight months old.

25. The staff at Waterfront Wines & Spirits. Bless those guys for treating my novice requests (“Um, it needs to be cold, have a screw-off top and appeal to my mother-in-law …”) with total seriousness.

26. Delicious Mediterranean food. From Fatoosh to Sahadi’s to Damascus, I’m never at a loss for good hummus.

27. Swing Alley. I first pushed my daughter in a swing here, and we’ve spent many happy hours at the Alley since.

28. Vineapple. When I lost my job and needed a place to work on finding another one, this cool coffee shop became my temporary office. The pesto-cheddar sandwiches taste like freedom.

29. Pedicures at Choi’s Art Nails. A few weeks after my daughter was born and I was so tired I barely remembered my name, my husband gave me a gift certificate to Choi’s and sent me out the door. It was just the therapy I needed.

30. Our nearby Airbnb host. Props to the guy two blocks away who has let my parents stay at his apartment several times over the years (at a discount).

31. Stoop freebies. I’ve scored some excellent books during my weekend walks (and have tried to pay it forward by giving away a bunch myself).

32. The view from the Promenade. Come on, did you think I’d get to the end of this list without a Promenade reference? It’s the cherry atop the Heights sundae.

33. My friendly neighbors. Last but not least, I’ll miss all of the local folks I’ve met over the years – and so many of you whose names I don’t even know. From those who’ve retrieved my daughter’s lost shoes to the LICH ambulance drivers who carried me down two flights of stairs (long story), you’ve made me feel so happy, welcome and cared for. Thank you.

Whitney Matheson (@whitneymatheson) is a pop-culture writer and mother. In 2015 she will serve as the journalist in residence at Middle Tennessee State University.

Publisher’s Note: We’ve been fans of Whitney for years and it came as a pleasant surprise that she’s been a long time reader of BHB and chose us for her farewell to the Heights. Bummer that she’s leaving the neighborhood but MTSU students are super lucky to have her there.

Photo: Jason Travis

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The Mystery of Katrina of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Proposal is Solved Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:41:39 +0000

As previously reported, over the weekend someone posted a giant banner facing the Brooklyn Heights Promenade asking someone name Katrina to marry him.

Well, this morning via the BHB inbox that mystery was solved.

The brave lad asking for Katrina’s hand in marriage is writer/producer/actor John Buffalo Mailer, Brooklyn Heights native and son of long time resident/author the late Norman Mailer.

As for the future bride, she’s Katrina Eugenia a professional photographer who has been published in Black Book Magazine, Inked Magazine among others. She’s a model who has posed for magazines including Playboy and Esquire.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Eugenia

Here’s her dispatch to BHB:

My now fiance just sent me a link to this adorable and hilarious piece, and I am delighted to know that others noticed his brilliant hard work, and ever so sweet, proposal!

I was tickled pink – as pink as the banner!

We took a stroll to the end of the pier, and at the edge of the East River, he turned me around to read the twenty foot, satin banner, that he made himself, with the help of my best friend, Julie Mollo. At once I laughed and cried as I read it, and turned around to find my Buffalo on his knee, proposing with the sweetest words I have ever heard.

We strolled down to the River Cafe for a magnificent dinner, and all the while, we were floating on a cloud. We had so much fun!

I am Katrina, and I am filled with joy and gratitude to be able to tell you that SHE SAID YES!!! Katrina Eugenia and John Buffalo Mailer are engaged!

Photos courtesy of Katrina Eugenia

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New Book from The Sporkful’s Dan Pashman Inspires Jack the Horse Mac ‘n’ Cheese Fueled Bookcourt Event Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:28:08 +0000 the Sporkful podcast host Dan Pashman hosts a celebration of his new book Eat More Better: How To Make Every Bite More Delicious at Bookcourt [163 Court Street]. ]]>

Jack the Horse Tavern will provide the mac ‘n’ cheese Wednesday (10/22) night at Bookcourt as Brooklyn Heights resident/the Sporkful podcast host Dan Pashman hosts a celebration of his new book Eat More Better: How To Make Every Bite More Delicious at Bookcourt [163 Court Street].

Brooklyn Paper: “I wanted to organize it in a way that was different from a cookbook, because it is not a cookbook,” said Pashman. “It struck me that this all feels very academic. I feel like there is a quirky kind of research I do whenever I eat.”

At the BookCourt event, Pashman plans to have Brooklyn Heights restaurant Jack the Horse Tavern on hand to serve up its macaroni and cheese, which he believes is the best in Brooklyn.

“It is creamy and just a little bit tangy, just as it should be,” he said. “And they use pasta with ridges, which is going to hold sauce better, and pasta is just a cheese delivery system anyway.”

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Actor Dan Stevens, Brooklyn Heights Resident, Profiled in New Yorker Tue, 07 Oct 2014 01:31:19 +0000

English actor Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey as well as Orlando in As You Like It at the BAM Harvey Theater and starred in The Heiress on Broadway, now lives with his wife and two young children in Brooklyn Heights. He’s profiled in this New Yorker piece by Rebecca Mead. Mead quotes him on being a dad in Brooklyn: “[G]etting my head around the New York school system has been a bit of a baptism of fire: it’s quite intense.” He said people here talk about kindergarten the way those in Britain talk about universities. The article also describes an amusing encounter between Stevens and fellow Brit expat, and Cobble Hill resident, Martin Amis.

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New Neighbor: Director Errol Morris Buys in Brooklyn Heights Tue, 23 Sep 2014 02:11:20 +0000

Director Errol Morris and his wife, poet Julia Sheehan, have purchased a 3 bedroom duplex on Pierrepont Street from the estate of poet and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky.

Morris, 66, is known for his documentary work including “Fog of War”, “The Unknown Known” “Gates of Heaven” and “Thin Blue Line”. He also – accidentally – created an internet meme with one of his ads for Apple starring Ellen Feiss, a friend of his son Hamilton:

(h/t Curbed)

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Elizabeth Gaffney, at BHS, Reads, Talks About Bygone Brooklyn Heights Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:36:09 +0000

Novelist and Brooklyn Heights resident Elizabeth Gaffney was at the Brooklyn Historical Society yesterday evening to read from her second novel, When the World Was Young, on the date of its publication by Random House. She read two segments of the novel. The first told how a physician forced to give up her career because of injuries, both physical and emotional, suffered because of an auto accident in which her fiance, another physician, was killed, was courted by and married an old friend from her childhood and youth. Ms. Gaffney concluded this segment by saying, “So began a very bad marriage.” The second was from the 1950s youth of that couple’s daughter, Wally Baker, the novel’s protagonist, and told of her going to the St. George Hotel pool with a friend, Ham, who was black, and of the cicerone who guarded the pool entrance directing Ham to the “colored changing area.”

Following the readings, Ms. Gaffney was joined by Marcia Ely, BHS’s Vice President for External Affairs and Programs (on left in photo) for a discussion. Ms. Gaffney did extensive research for her novel at BHS, using its library and archives. Asked what were the most interesting materials she came across in her research, the author said she found maps of Brooklyn Heights and nearby neighborhoods in which each block was coded according to the number of black people who lived there. These maps were to facilitate banks’ practice of “redlining”; that is, to deny mortgages in places where there was a majority of black residents, and to increase rates in others that were seen to be likely to become majority black.

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BHB’s Heather Quinlan Talks ’86 Mets Movie on CBS New York Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:02:52 +0000

BHB contributor/filmmaker Heather Quinlan was a guest on the CBS 2 morning show on Sunday to discuss her planned documentary on the ’86 New York Mets. But did we detect a hidden message to your humble publisher in her on-air banter?

CBS 2: “Aside from being a Met fan and a filmmaker, it’s a larger-than-life story, larger-than-life characters, epic battles, especially in the postseason,” Quinlan told CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes. “Homer could’ve written this himself back in like the ancient Greek time.”

Quinlan says that contributions to her Kickstarter campaign for the film spiked yesterday after the appearance.

Read more about the film in the Brooklyn Bugle’s Q&A with HQ here.

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