Brooklyn Heights Blog » Brooklyn Heights Dispatches from America's first suburb Sat, 15 Jun 2019 03:24:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scissura: BQE Panel Faces “Daunting Task” Sat, 15 Jun 2019 02:40:51 +0000

Carlo Scissura, chair of the panel appointed by Mayor de Blasio to study the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, told Mary Frost of the Eagle that the panel must undertake “a daunting task.” He said that, contrary to the expectations of many, the panel’s work is not to evaluate the many proposals for BQE reconstruction, but to

“review the state of the BQE, understand the traffic patterns of who’s using it, understand the realities of the issues surround[ing] construction and engineering and design around this roadway, and this corridor, and then with real facts and real understanding and real evidence, come together as a panel and offer ideas and suggestions on what should happen next.”

His only comment on the proposals that have been put forth is that he doesn’t believe any of them that require relocation of MTA fan plants are viable. “[I]t is in my mind doubtful,” he said, “that [the MTA] want to spend a hundred, two hundred million dollars when they have other needs that they have to address.”

Mr. Scissura also noted that the panel must consider “[h]ow will [the reconstruction] affect the surrounding communities, and the communities stretching into northern Brooklyn and Queens and southern Brooklyn and Staten Island?”

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Update on Poplar Street Community Garden: It’s 25 Years Old Now! Tue, 11 Jun 2019 02:48:21 +0000

Last week we posted about a party this coming Saturday, June 15 from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Poplar Street Community Garden, located at the northwest corner of Poplar and Hicks streets. What we didn’t know at the time was that this year marks the Garden’s 25th anniversary. The photo above shows it in 2010. Poplar BeforeThe photo above shows what it looked like in 1983, before the gardeners went to work. Note the “Wrong Way” sign in both photos.

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The Eagle Gets the Inside and Topside Scoop on the Bossert Sat, 08 Jun 2019 00:52:46 +0000

The Eagle’s Lore Croghan was allowed into the Bossert Hotel, now preparing for a “soft opening” in August, and got great photos (follow the link, after clicking “Read full story” below) of the lobby’s elaborate decor, along with a peek at one of the hotel rooms, and some spectacular shots from the rooftop terrace outside what will be a bar. Bars and restaurants will not be part of the “soft opening”; they will open later at an unspecified time.

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Alice’s Tea Cup Bakery & Café Opening Next Week Fri, 07 Jun 2019 03:22:01 +0000

You may recall back in September 2018, BHB announced that Alice’s Tea Cup was opening a location on the corner of Hicks and Middagh, across the street from P.S. 8. Ever since then, locals, especially sleep-deprived parents in need of caffeine, have been asking when, when, when? You may also recall that our writer-in-chief Claude Scales posted a photo in an open thread last month, of the grin of the Cheshire Cat peeking out of the storefront, signaling that it was soon.


Well, this past week, I ran into Alice herself, all grown-up and much wiser but still blonde and pretty, outside the storefront. Actually, her name is Lauren Fox, and she and her sister Haley Fox opened the first two locations of Alice’s Tea Cup in Manhattan where they were born and raised. When I saw Lauren, she was directing an employee, Carolina, on perfecting the painted signage on the windows, while workers were still constructing the interior. “It’s been a lot,” she said, barely containing the angst. The first question was, of course, when are you opening? Next week was the answer.

Why this location? Lauren said that she and Haley plan to model the business more towards a take-out café and open in more cities. Also, in their Manhattan locations, which are full service restaurants, customers for years have been suggesting they open in Brooklyn. So, they searched and saw the listing at Hicks and Middagh, and fell in love with the windows. “I mean, where do you ever see this kind of storefront display?” Lauren asked. They also loved that the location was across the street from an elementary school, since Alice’s Tea Cup has always cherished and catered to their very young clientele.

When asked how they came up with the concept for Alice’s Tea Cup, Lauren said, “From our love of tea. We grew up going to tea with our parents. And the story of Alice in Wonderland. Our godchild’s name is Alice and we both babysat her when she was little. We’d read her the book, constantly. So the name and concept was a nod to the book and her.”

Alice’s Tea Cup will seat about 12-14 and serve coffee, tea, scones, cupcakes, oatmeal with mix-ins, to-go sandwiches, picnic/lunch boxes, and made-to-order cakes. Also, what will likely become my new favorite breakfast – scuffins.  What’s a scuffin?  If a scone and a muffin had a baby….

For more info on all their locations, click here.

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It’s Pride Month: Here’s What’s Happening Wed, 05 Jun 2019 03:51:10 +0000

June is Pride Month. The Brooklyn Historical Society has an ongoing exhibition at their 128 Pierrepont Street (corner of Clinton) headquarters, On the Queer Waterfront: The Factories, Freaks, Sailors & Sex Workers of Brooklyn which will be on display through Sunday, August 4. Other events in the Borough are listed on the Brooklyn Pride website. Update: There’s more here.

Photo: Benson Kua via Wikimedia Commons

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Poplar Street Community Garden Hosts Gardening Party Saturday, June 15 Mon, 03 Jun 2019 03:08:50 +0000

The Poplar Street Community Garden (photo by C. Scales), located at the northwest corner of Poplar and Hicks streets, will hold a “gardening party”, to which all–adults and children–are invited, on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 3:00 p.m. There will be a beekeeping show-and-tell, refreshments, live music, some light get-your-hands-dirty gardening fun, not to mention the beauty of the Garden. It’s all free.

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Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Open This Summer Mon, 03 Jun 2019 02:26:40 +0000

The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street (between Hicks and Henry), will remain open this summer, unlike previous summers when it closed June through early September, occasioned by the fact that it is staffed by volunteers (disclosure: your correspondent’s wife is one of those volunteers), most of whom take summer vacations. This summer enough volunteers are available to keep it open. During June, the Exchange will be open its usual hours of Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During July and August it will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5:00 p.m. It will be closed July 4th through 6th.

The Exchange is a not-for-profit craft and gift shop that supports “craftspeople from Brooklyn and beyond.”
IMG_8997The exchange’s offerings include children’s clothes, toys, and books as well as items for adults, including t-shirts, housewares, condiments, and books.

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BHA Has Two New BQE Plans Sun, 02 Jun 2019 18:09:16 +0000

It’s not quite to the point that there are more alternative plans for the rehabilitation of the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights than there are aspirants to the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. As the Eagle’s Mary Frost reports, the Brooklyn Heights Association has presented two new plans, both by the firm of Marc Wouters Studios, which also did the first design presented by the BHA early this year.

The new designs differ from the BHA’s earlier one in that they would, in one proposal, use the temporary bypass roadway as the base for expansion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, or in the other, create a new level of parkland in place of the present northbound BQE lanes. According to the Eagle

BHA says that both of these new concepts offer several distinct advantages from other recent proposals, since neither would require the costly relocation of other major infrastructure (including MTA facilities, the park’s headquarters or a major sewer trunk line under Furman Street) and neither would affect the condominium building at 360 Furman St.

Renderings of both of the new proposals can be seen in the Eagle story linked at the top of this post. Meanwhile, the work of the committee appointed by Mayor de Blasio to study alternatives for BQE rehabilitation or replacement continues, and the committee seeks comments from the public.

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Restaurant Roundup Fri, 31 May 2019 05:35:51 +0000

Here’s some restaurant news that will whet your appetite!

Henry’s End is settling into their new space at 72 Henry Street. The red neon sign has been lovingly transplanted to the former Sociale location where diners have definitely been taking advantage of their new outdoor seating, weather permitting. According to the Community Board 2, Happy Fin Poke at 60 Henry Street (formerly Great Wall), has applied for a liquor license for wine and beer. Sake with your tuna anyone?

How’s this for some deep dish? Also per CB2, new establishment, 46 Below has applied for a New: Full on Premises liquor license at 46 Old Fulton Street. Spumoni Gardens has applied for a wine and beer liquor license at the same address. Could the legendary Gravesend pizzeria be putting down roots in North Brooklyn? If so, their square cut Sicillian pies and delicious spumoni desserts will give the other nearby brick oven restaurants a run for their money!

And finally, the Time Out Market New York will open this Friday at 8:00 am at Empire Stores, 55 Water Street across from Jane’s Carousel.

The new food and cultural space is bringing together the best of this huge, ever-changing city under one roof. What exactly does that mean? Well, across two floors (including a stunning rooftop terrace), you’ll be able to try mouth-watering bites from 21 of our favorite local chefs, sip craft cocktails from some of the city’s best bartenders and catch live performances from hot up-and-coming talent.

The market will open daily at 8am with a portion of vendors serving breakfast items such as coffee, juice smoothies and baked goods. Remaining vendors will open at 11am. From Sunday to Thursday the market will be open until 11pm and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Our suggestion, visit on an empty stomach!

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BHA Issues “Call to Action” on Clark Street Station Closure Wed, 22 May 2019 03:02:49 +0000

The Eagle reports that the Brooklyn Heights Association has issued a “call to action” concerning the possible one year closure of the Clark Street subway station while its ramshackle, breakdown-prone elevators are repaired. The MTA has so far failed to give an answer as to whether it intends a complete shutdown. A complete shutdown would greatly inconvenience many subway riders, and could spell death to several businesses, some of long standing, in the arcade connected to the subway entrance.

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First Word From BQE Panel; Website Available Fri, 17 May 2019 12:51:49 +0000

The Eagle’s Mary Frost reports that the panel studying options for the Brooklyn Queens Expressway has issued its first report. It has begun studying the various proposals as well as existing structural conditions and traffic flows, and is meeting with potentially affected or interested agencies as well as community groups. The Panel’s chairman, Carlo Scissura, said “[h]e anticipates that the panel will issue a report in the fall that will address what can be built and establish guidelines for the construction.” The panel has a page on the city Department of Transportation Website that invites public comments; those concerned may also call Mr. Scissura’s office at 212-213-2434.

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E-Waste Recycling Event This Sunday Fri, 17 May 2019 03:57:07 +0000

The Brooklyn Heights Association has let us know that there will be an e-waste recycling event this Sunday, May 19 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. It’s sponsored by the First Unitarian Church. Items may be disposed of on Pierrepont Street between Monroe Place and Clinton Street. For more information click on “Read full story.” More information here.

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Promenade Garden Conservancy Bake Sale Saturday Thu, 16 May 2019 03:23:07 +0000

The members of the Promenade Garden Conservancy, who are responsible for the upkeep of the gardens and for the floral displays we enjoy, are holding a bake sale this Saturday, May 18 (rain day May 19), from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Montague Street entrance to the Promenade. All proceeds go to the upkeep of the Promenade gardens. More information here.

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Grace Chorale and Friends Concert This Sunday Thu, 16 May 2019 03:06:22 +0000

The Grace Chorale of Brooklyn and friends will present a concert this Sunday afternoon, May 19 at 3:00, at the First Presbyterian Church, 124 Henry Street (between Clark and Pierrepont). There’s more information and you can buy tickets here.

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Four Brooklyn Heights Churches Welcome Tours Next Weekend Sat, 11 May 2019 02:48:27 +0000

Next weekend, Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, in conjunction with various religious institutions, will present its annual Sacred Sites Open House. Among the participating houses of worship are four Brooklyn Heights churches: Grace Church (photo, C. Scales for BHB), open Sunday the 19th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, 113 Remsen Street (main entrance on Henry), open Saturday the 18th from 9:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday the 19th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Plymouth Church, 75 Hicks Street, open Saturday the 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague Street (main entrance on Clinton), open Sunday the 19th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All of the Brooklyn Heights participants in this year’s Sacred Sites Open House are Christian, but Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple, 83 Marlborough Road, Prospect Park South will be open Sunday the 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the Moslem Mosque Inc., 106 Powers Street, Williamsburg, will be open Saturday the 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Mosque tour requires advance registration.

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Subway Service Alerts: Brooklyn Heights and Nearby Fri, 10 May 2019 03:07:07 +0000

Once again it’s a “Green Light Weekend” From Friday evening, May 10 to Monday morning, May 13, as there are no planned (as always, we stress “planned”) service changes directly affecting service at any local stations.

The following work week, each night from 9;30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday to Tuesday May 13-14, Tuesday to Wednesday May 14-15, Wednesday to Thursday May 15-16, and Thursday to Friday May 16-17, there will be no service in either direction at the 4/5 train platforms at Borough Hall, as 4 trains will be terminating and originating at the Brooklyn Bridge station in Manhattan. Both 2 and 3 trains, as well as A, F, R, and N trains, should (again we stress “should”) be running normally. For those traveling into Brooklyn, 3 trains will be making all 4 train stops in Brooklyn.

For planned service changes that may affect travel on other parts of the system, either during the weekend or the following week, and for unplanned disruptions, see MTA Info.

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Repast Baroque Ensemble Presents “The Curious Inventions of Biagio Marini” Thursday Evening Mon, 06 May 2019 02:54:56 +0000

This Thursday evening, May 9 at 8:00 p.m., at the McKinney Chapel of the First Unitarian Church. 116 Pierrepont Street, the Repast Baroque Ensemble will present “The Curious Inventions of Biagio Marini,” featuring works by that seventeenth century Italian composer, along with works by Dario Castello.

Marini’s music was considered to be avant garde in his time. Repast presents this audacious and innovative 17th Century repertoire with an ensemble that includes the dulcian (the early bassoon), theorbo (a large lute), 2 violins, a portative organ, and cello.

There’s more information here and you may purchase tickets here. The McKinney Chapel is wheelchair accessible.

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Mothers’ Day Instagram Contest Sun, 05 May 2019 03:48:17 +0000

Montague Street businesses are sponsoring a Mothers’ Day Instagram contest. The rules are: (1) take a photo of your mom and post it on Instagram; (2) tell why you love her; and (3) tag with #montaguelovesmoms and #ilovemontguestreet, as well as the name of any Montague Street merchant. Prizes will be awarded; more information here.

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Borough President Adams Weighs In On BQE Plans Sat, 04 May 2019 02:20:07 +0000

We recently published a letter from a Brooklyn Heights resident to various elected officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, responding to what NYC Department of Transportation representative Tanvi Pandya told a neighborhood group concerning DOT’s intentions about the repair of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Borough President Adams has responded to our neighbor’s letter, as follows:

[T]hanks for reaching out and sharing the DOT comments. The plan will go through the ULURP process that includes the Borough President and Council. Both agencies are opposed to the DOT plan. We will be united to stand against it. Don’t be discouraged by the DOT words. Be encouraged by our united front against their proposal.



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Will Hell Freeze Over? Bossert Said to Have “Soft Opening” in August Fri, 03 May 2019 03:54:42 +0000

Brownstoner reports that the Bossert Hotel, at Montague and Hicks streets, may have a “soft opening” in August, followed by a “hard opening” in September. The owners have applied for a liquor license, in which they have disclosed these details:

The liquor license will cover a restaurant on the ground floor and a bar in the lobby (which will have live piano music), two ballrooms (used for weddings and other events) and a bar on the 14th floor that has both indoor and outdoor seating.

No music is planned for the outdoor area, which will close at 10 p.m. every night, Huey told the community board. The indoor area of the 14th floor will close at 11 p.m., while the restaurant and bar downstairs will close at midnight.

The newly appointed managers of the Bossert are the managers of the Tillary Hotel in downtown Brooklyn. According to the Post story, the Tillary has attracted a young crowd and some neighbors have complained. The story quotes the manager as saying: “At the Bossert, the goal would be higher rates, more corporate clients — we’re aiming toward a five-star hotel.”

PHoto: SongBird NYC for BHB.

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Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Return to Brooklyn Side Fri, 03 May 2019 02:37:11 +0000

The New York Post reports that this year’s Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks

will return to the Brooklyn Bridge, where tens of thousands of pyrotechnic shells will be launched, as well as from four barges along Pier 17 in the Seaport District, company officials announced Thursday.

It adds that

July’s fete will feature more than three times the explosive power than previous displays and will incorporate the [Brooklyn B]ridge’s entire 1,595-foot span.

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Clark Street Subway Station May Close For One Year Tue, 30 Apr 2019 03:00:06 +0000

Mary Frost of the Eagle reports that rumors, based on conversations between merchants with businesses in the arcade adjoining the entrance to the Clark Street subway station and MTA employees, are that the station may be closed for a full year while repairs are made to all three of the station’s frequently malfunctioning elevators. The elevators are the only practicable means of connecting street level to the platforms, as they lie ten stories below the surface. The merchants are understandably alarmed, as they depend on foot traffic to the subway from the Clark and Henry Street entrances for most, if not all, of their business. The Eagle has contacted the MTA, and has been told that it “would be issuing a statement within a couple of weeks on the project.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons; Jim Henderson.

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BQE Updates: Expert Panel Meets With BHA, Community Leaders, and Electeds; DOT Clarifies Position Sat, 27 Apr 2019 16:22:47 +0000

Our friends at the Brooklyn Heights Association have told us that the expert panel appointed by Mayor de Blasio to study and make recommendations about the repair of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights “met last [Thursday, April 25] evening with representatives from 16 community organizations, local elected officials, and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and her staff.” The panel’s chair, Mr. Carlo Scissura, said this would be “just the beginning of the community engagement process and promised that a public hearing would take place within the next few weeks to enable the Panel to hear directly from the public.” He also said, “we’re here to listen. We’re here to learn.” In addition to listening to community members, he said the panel will consult with other potentially affected or interested parties, such as the MTA, the Port Authority, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. “To facilitate [the panel’s] work, subcommittees will evaluate the governmental approval structure for the project, engineering and constructability of options, and aspects of the project related to parks, environment and historic preservation.” Mr. Scissura “anticipates that the Panel will issue a report in the fall that will address what can be built and establish guidelines about what should be built.”

During the meeting, the BIG Group, BHA/Marc Wouters, and Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office presented their alternative plans for BQE reconstruction. The BHA distributed its Statement of Values that includes in its list of “What We Expect Will Be Achieved” a plan that preserves “the historic character of the Promenade and of Brooklyn Heights, including maintenance of pedestrian access to the Promenade as long as possible during any construction”; that “minimize[s] the impact of the highway on nearby residential buildings and the air, noise and visual pollution in all adjoining neighborhoods”; and that will include “the implementation of traffic demand management measures, including street direction reversals, that minimize the use by diverted traffic of local streets in all affected neighborhoods.” Included in its list of “What We Expect Will Be Avoided” are “the proposed Promenade Highway at our neighborhood’s doorstep”; “any temporary construction which — were funding to disappear — would become an unacceptable permanent structure”; and “[u]se of non-consensual eminent domain.” The BHA requests donations to its BQE Fund.

In response to our publication of a letter by a Brooklyn Heights resident to elected officials concerning DOT official Tanvi Pandya’s statements at a meeting with Poplar Street residents, DOT Assistant Commissioner and Press Secretary Scott Gastel sent us the following statement:

NYCDOT is not committed to any one plan at this time as evidenced by the recent convening, in consultation with local elected officials and civic associations, of an expert panel to evaluate options for replacing this aging infrastructure. We deeply value the experience and perspectives the panel members bring to the table and are very much looking forward to what they recommend. It is correct that the panel will issue advisory recommendations because the final decision for the BQE project concept can come only through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. NYC DOT will not begin the formal NEPA process until after the panel issues its recommendations. Once the formal environmental review process begins, the public will have additional opportunities to both formally and informally participate.

We also value the time and effort that has gone into other concepts that have been presented, and the panel will be looking into them further. The project will require approval from a number of legislative bodies and agencies, and we’ll continue working closely with them throughout the project, including during the panel process.

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Reminder: Silhouette Artist at Brooklyn Women’s Exchange This Weekend Wed, 24 Apr 2019 01:55:53 +0000

Silhouette artist Deborah O’Connor will be at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street (between Henry and Hicks) Friday, April 26; Saturday, April 27; and Sunday, April 28, during regular store hours. The silhouettes make ideal Mother’s Day or Father’s Day presents. More information here.

To make an appointment, please call 718-624-3435 or e-mail

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DOT Representative Tells Poplar Street Residents it Remains Committed to “Temporary” Promenade Destruction; a Heights Resident Responds Tue, 16 Apr 2019 02:43:16 +0000

At a recent meeting with Poplar Street residents, the city Department of Transportation’s representative, Tanvi Pandya, made it clear that DOT isn’t giving an inch in its desire to effectively destroy our neighborhood by demolishing the Promenade for a minimum of six years (good luck with meeting that timetable) and putting a six lane highway in its place. A Heights resident has responded by sending this letter to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson:

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I am writing to you as I heard your impassioned speech at the Brooklyn Town Hall meeting at Plymouth Church and how you came out against the DOT plan to turn the Promenade into the BQE.

That being said, a meeting was held between the DOT led by Tanvi Pandya, Manager of the BQE plan for the DOT and residents of Poplar Street and here are some take-aways from the meeting you should be aware of:

1. The DOT remains committed to its Promenade Highway plan. Although at last September’s meeting the DOT itself proposed as alternatives its so-called “innovative” plan or the “traditional” method of reconstruction involving lane closures, they in fact seem to be set against anything other than a full bypass highway. (The BHA’s alternative “Parallel Highway” plan, for example, calls for employing the traditional method in short “choke-point” sections; it also appeared that BIG’s BQP Plan may call for the traditional method to be applied in areas from the Columbia Heights bridge to Sands Street.)

2. The Mayor’s expert panel may make recommendations, but the DOT will call the shots. It appears the DOT views the expert panel as a mere advisory group that will make recommendations that the DOT may or may not follow.

3. The DOT is undeterred by council members’ statements that its Promenade Highway plan will not get the required council approval. When asked why the DOT was still pushing the Promenade Highway and Brooklyn Bridge flyover given that: (i) the plan must go through the City’s ULURP process, which requires city council approval, and (ii) City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at the Town Hall meeting that the plan would not be approved, Tanvi responded that the DOT would not be guided or limited by what a political leader said in a meeting.

This is highly disturbing and I feel as a concerned resident that response should be made as well as the DOT’s uncompromising stance be made public. Please let me know what actions you and your office will be taking.

Thank you.

We understand similar letters have been sent to City Comptroller Scott Stringer and other elected officials.

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BloomAgainBklyn to Host Spring Fling at Plymouth Church May 7 Mon, 15 Apr 2019 02:53:46 +0000

BloomAgainBklyn is

a community-based, non-profit organization which repurposes unsold and once-used flowers into new arrangements which are distributed by volunteers to home bound seniors, local nursing home residents, trauma and homeless survivors, and others in need. The organization’s goal is to create an uplifting experience for those who may not regularly have visitors or receive flowers, and also facilitate positive interactions between volunteers and recipients.

BloomAgainBklyn will hold its “Spring Fling” gala event on Tuesday evening, May 7 from 6:00 to 8:30 at Plymouth Church, 75 Hicks Street. It is

an evening of music, food, drinks and flowers. Floral arranging and a flower crown bar, specialty cocktails and hors d’ouvres inspired by cultures around the world.

There’s more info and buy tickets here.

Image: Public Domain.

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Kids’ Craft Event at Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Sunday Wed, 10 Apr 2019 03:20:02 +0000

This Sunday, April 13, the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street (between Hicks and Henry) will host a craft workshop for kids five years old and up, accompanied by a caregiver. The project will be to create lovely sachets just in time for spring; (see illustration here). Stop by anytime from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. No RSVP needed. Suggested donation is $5.00 per family.

Looking ahead, silhouette artist Deborah O’Connor will be at the Exchange Friday, April 26th (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.), Saturday, April 27th (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) and Sunday, April 28th (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). To make an appointment, call 718-624-3435 or email

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Bid, Win and Support P.S./M.S. 8 Tue, 09 Apr 2019 13:26:18 +0000

The P.S./M.S. 8 Annual Auction & Benefit is happening now! Anyone, anywhere can browse and bid online for silent auction items by signing in at  There are weekend get-aways, coveted concert and event tickets, sports memorabilia, jewelry and much more.

Mobile bidding is easy and secure. Simply sign in with the link above or register here to get started. Browse the silent auction and place your bid, with the option of setting a maximum bid (like eBay). You’ll be notified if you have been outbid.

Proceeds benefit the PTA of P.S./M.S. 8 and fund teaching assistants, arts enrichment programs, after-school clubs, the Garden and Equity & Diversity Committee initiatives, staff professional development and more.

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Brooklyn Folk Festival Off to Roaring Start Sat, 06 Apr 2019 16:32:44 +0000

If the quality of last night’s performances at the Brooklyn Folk Festival holds up through the rest of the weekend, this will be the best Festival yet, and that’s clearing a high bar. The opening act was Tenores de Aterúe, an a capella quartet who do traditional music from Sardinia, an island to the west of Italy. Their harmonies were spine-tingling, especially on their rendition of the Agnus Dei from a mass sung on Sardinia’s northern, French neighbor, Corsica, which history buffs and Francophiles will recognize as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.

IMG_1358Jake Xerxes Fussell is a blues and country singer and guitarist originally from Georgia but now living in North Carolina. This former Floridian was especially taken by his rendition of “The River St. John’s,” which you can hear here.

IMG_1365La Cumbiabamba NY perform music of the Caribbean coast of Colombia, a syncretic style combining indigenous American, African, and Spanish influences. Their rhythms were so compelling that the whole front of the room was soon filled with enthusiastic dancers.

IMG_1371Jontavius Willis is a 22 year old bluesman fron Georgia, looking forward to college graduation this May. He proved himself a master vocalist, guitarist, and harmonicist in a performance that spanned many styles. This rail buff particularly enjoyed a piece in which he did train sounds on his harmonica, calling on the audience to supply whistle sounds at appropriate moments.

IMG_1374While these acts were performing on the mainstage, there was a Louisiana dance party in the Parish Hall. The Revelers, a hot band from Lafayette, capital of the Bayou State’s Cajun country, had a large crowd dancing.

IMG_1378The final act was by two local favorites, Feral Foster and Ali Dineen. They did a mix of classic and original country and folk, including a rendition of the Sons of the Pioneers standard, “Cool Clear Water.”

There’s plenty more to come today and tomorrow; the schedule is here.

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Quick Takeaways From Tonight’s BQE Town Hall Thu, 04 Apr 2019 04:33:40 +0000

The Town Hall convened just hours after a bombshell announcement by Mayor de Blasio that he has appointed a panel of experts to evaluate the various proposals for repair of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, thereby backing away from his earlier support of a City Department of Transportation proposal that would replace the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a six lane highway for a period of at least six years.

At the meeting’s outset, Hillary Jager of A Better Way NYC (at left in photo, with Martha Bakos Dietz, President of the Brooklyn Heights Association) said she and other community representatives had met with City officials, who “said they want to take a fresh look” at how to deal with the BQE.

All of the elected officials and their representatives present expressed strong support for any alternative that would avoid either closing the Promenade for an extended period or diverting traffic to local streets. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson described the Promenade as “a treasure” and noted that the Council, along with the State Legislature, must approve any final plan. He observed that congestion pricing, just approved by the State, will likely cause less traffic on the BQE, and that the City needs to “re-prioritize” its policy regarding cars as opposed to public transit. Finally, he said the City Council will hire its own independent experts to evaluate options.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer also stressed the need to invest in public transportation: “That’s the future,” he said, “it’s not just about the BQE.” The City needs to break away from “the development outlook of the 1950s” and “stop building luxury towers.” Instead, we need to find how to make the City an affordable place for all, so that his young children would not be forced to leave New York.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “Don’t just think outside the box; destroy the box.” State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon stressed the “need to look regionally” and noted the importance for reduction of truck traffic of restoring tolls in both directions on the Verrazano Bridge. This would require action by Congress. A representative from the office of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said he expected this to be included in an appropriations bill to be introduced in May of this year. State Senator Brian Kavanagh said the DOT “realized it made a fundamental mistake” by limiting its planning to solutions that stayed within the existing BQE right of way. He stressed the need to get all concerned agencies on board, including the MTA and tha Port Authority.

Representative of the architectural and design firm Bjarke Ingels Group, “BIG,” described their recently announced plan, which they developed at their own cost pro bono, to re-route the BQE at the level of Furman Street, placing it under a roof that would extend the size of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

At the close of the meeting, representatives of A Better Way NYC and the BHA noted the need for continuing community involvement in the environmental impact and land use review processes. We will keep you advised of relevant dates and deadlines.

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