Brooklyn Heights Blog » Brooklyn Heights Dispatches from America's first suburb Wed, 24 Apr 2019 02:39:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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Big Musical Weekend: Bargemusic Returns; also Bach in the Heights and Brooklyn Folk Festival. Wed, 03 Apr 2019 02:14:20 +0000

Bargemusic returns from its winter break this coming weekend, with three concerts. On Friday evening, April 5 at 7:00 there will be works by contemporary composers Haas, Neuwirth, Kurtág, and Donatoni performed by violinist Miranda Cuckson (photo, by John Rogers) and pianist Conor Hanick. On Saturday evening, April 6 at 6:00 pianist Alexandra Joan will play works by Schumann, Schoenberg, Carter, and Rachmaninoff. On Sunday afternoon, April 7 at 4:00 violinist Igor Pikayzen and pianist Lindsay Garritson will perform works by Beethoven, Poulenc, Ysaye, Shostakovich, and Wieniawski. On Saturday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a free, family oriented “Music in Motion” concert, details here. Doors open at 3:45; first come, first seated.

Don’t forget: on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church, 125 Henry Street, Bach in the Heights will present J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass. Reservations may be made at Eventbrite or by calling 718-596-6369.

Also, the Brooklyn Folk Festival will be at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church Friday through Sunday. You may buy tickets here.

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This BHA-sponsored event is still looking for volunteers! Whether you’ve got a fresh new take on cupcakes you’ve got to share with the world, or just a decent person, they need your help! Sign up here!



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St, Ann’s School Second Brooklyn Heights Institution Named in #MeToo Accusations Sun, 31 Mar 2019 21:14:10 +0000

March has been an unkind month for two prestigious Heights institutions. The Heights Casino last week was reported to have investigated allegations that squash coaches there engaged in inappropriate conduct in the presence of students they were coaching. This past week, ICYMI, the The New York Times reported that

[a] yearlong investigation has found allegations of sexual misconduct, including male teachers having sex with students, at Saint Ann’s School, a Brooklyn private school known for its experimental educational approach and artistic culture.

According to the Times story the school sent a letter last Monday to “parents, employees, and alumni” in which it disclosed that the investigation “identified 19 former Saint Ann’s faculty and staff members who had potentially engaged in sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior with students over the span of three decades.” Of these, there were

six male faculty members whose alleged misconduct included having sexual contact with a high school senior and then sexual intercourse after graduation, engaging in sexual contact with a student at an off-campus party, unwanted kissing and inappropriate physical contact.

These six were not identified because, according to the letter, the evidence in all cases wasn’t “clear and convincing.” None of the six are still at the school.

The Times quotes St. Ann’s headmaster Vincent Tompkins as saying the letter is “a reflection of our commitment to transparency and accountability as part of the process.” He also said “Saint Ann’s had changed its protocols to better respond to inappropriate sexual behavior, including consent workshops and background checks on new faculty.”

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Reminder: BQE Town Hall on Wednesday, April 3 Fri, 29 Mar 2019 02:41:20 +0000

Don’t forget: the Brooklyn Heights Association will present a Town Hall meeting to discuss plans concerning reconstruction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway this coming Wednesday, April 3 starting at 7:00 p.m. at Plymouth Church, 57 Orange Street. Among those present will be City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Borough President Eric Adams, and City Council Member Steve Levin. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

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Brooklyn Folk Festival at St. Ann’s Church April 5-7 Wed, 27 Mar 2019 05:11:31 +0000

This year’s Brooklyn Folk Festival will take place at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, enter at 157 Montague Street (near Clinton) from Friday evening, April 5 through Sunday evening, April 7. A complete schedule is here.

This year’s lineup includes some old favorites, including Frank Fairfield and Meredith Axelrod (photo by Brian Geltner), thirteen year old banjo and vocal phenom Little Nora Brown, bluesman Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, and John Cohen, whom your correspondent remembers well from his days with the New Lost City Ramblers and the Putnam String County Band. John will appear with the Down Hill Strugglers, a group that includes Eli Smith, emcee of the Festival.

The Festival will also include some notable new acts, including a multi-generational string band, the Ozark Highballers, whose first album is being released on Jalopy Records, an affiliate of the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, sponsor of the Festival. Jalopy is located at 315 Columbia Street in Red Hook, and will host an after party following each Folk Festival evening session. Other new acts include two exciting ones from the State of Georgia: Kashiah Hunter and the ATL Crew doing Sacred Strings, and young blues artist Jontavious Willis.

For the kids, there will be a sing-along celebrating Pete Seeger’s 100th birthday. at 2:00 p.m Sunday.

It’s not all about music. There will be many events about folk related art and film, including a showing, on 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, of the film American Epic. There will also be the “world famous” Banjo Toss on Sunday afternoon.

You may buy tickets here.

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Brooklyn Heights Author Rachel Cline Reads From New Novel Tue, 26 Mar 2019 02:55:11 +0000

On Thursday evening your correspondent attended a reading at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe by Brooklyn Heights resident and native Rachel Cline, from her forthcoming novel, The Question Authority. Her central character in the story, like Ms. Cline, lives in the Heights and works for the City’s Board of Education, but Ms. Cline carefully said that the “Board of Education” in the novel is not the actual Board of Education, just as the character’s boss is not Ms. Cline’s boss. This is, in other words, fiction, not autobiography.

The short piece Ms. Cline read begins with her character waking up and finding that her cat, usually nestled on her bed, is missing. She gets up, looks all through her apartment, and can’t find him. On her way to work, an easy commute by foot, she looks everywhere, but doesn’t see him. Arriving at the Board of Education, she finds a message to report to her boss’s office. Her boss tells her a male teacher has been reported to have been sexually harassing female students. Her instruction is not to fire him, but to put together an offer to pay him to leave quietly.

The Question Authority will be published in April. Meanwhile, you may pre-order it here.

One spoiler I forgot to ask Ms. Cline at the close of her reading: does she find the cat? I’m worried about him.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB.

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BHA’s Exec Director Peter Bray Leaving; Replacement Sought Sat, 23 Mar 2019 02:12:31 +0000

The Brooklyn Heights Association has announced that “with much regret, … it has begun a search for a new Executive Director to replace Peter Bray, who will be leaving his post at the end of June to attend to a serious health issue within his family.”

Mr. Bray has served as BHA’s Executive Director since September, 2015. In addition to his work over the past months to promote alternatives to the City Department of Transportation’s plan to replace the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a temporary six lane highway for a period of not less than six years during the renovation of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, he has

also extended the BHA’s traditional efforts to resolve problems with the delivery of City services and to improve the community’s quality of life. By working with residents and City agencies, Bray has overseen the BHA’s projects to slow traffic on Brooklyn Heights streets and to repair streets, like Love Lane and College Place, that had been long-neglected. He has helped promote the BHA’s sponsorship of family-oriented events in Pierrepont Playground, launch a new program to foster healthier street trees, and spearhead Brooklyn’s first designer showhouse.

The BHA is seeking a qualified replacement for Mr. Bray. A job description is here, and applications may be submitted to

We at BHB join the BHA in wishing the best to Mr. Bray and his family.

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CB 2 Chairman Says DOT “Back to Square One” on BQE Plans Tue, 19 Mar 2019 04:04:45 +0000

Kevin Duggan in The Broklyn Paper quotes Brooklyn Community Board 2 Chairman Lenny Singletary quoting City Department of Transportation officials as saying, at the closed door meeting with Community Board representatives a week ago, that

they moved away from the agency’s two initial plans proposed last fall — which would either turn the Brooklyn Heights Promenade into a six-lane speedway carrying cars and trucks for no less than six years in order to shore up the triple cantilever; or repair the three-tiered expressway lane-by-lane, a longer job that could cause traffic jams on some local streets for up to 12 miles — after residents demanded the city explore other options.

While those options are still under consideration, according to the Brooklyn Paper story, the DOT is considering others, including that proposed by the Brooklyn Heights Association and another by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

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Heights Casino Coaches Accused of Sexual Harassment of Local Teens Tue, 19 Mar 2019 03:35:29 +0000

Apparently, membership does NOT have its privileges.  A local family says their daughters were sexually harassed by three of the club’s squash pros and the Casino did little about it. The NY Post reports, “Julie and Edward Burke claim The Heights Casino on Montague Street, “reluctantly” investigated their allegations, but hid its findings and disciplined no one, according to a petition filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court.” The papers also claim several other families complained to the Casino board.

Laurent Elriani, 42, husband of junior squash program director Linda Elriani allegedly compared the bust sizes of his young charges. Alberto Rezende is said to have openly bragged about engaging in carnal delights within close proximity to Bar Mitzvah guests when the club was “overrun” by children.  A third, Fabian Kalaitzis, 43 reportedly flaunted his tinder account in front of young girls.

A spokesperson for the Brooklyn Heights Casino said, “All allegations of misconduct were thoroughly investigated by an independent third party and dealt with accordingly. We view this lawsuit as a baseless attempt to slander the Heights Casino and plan to defend our club vigorously.” The Elriani’s deny the allegations as false and are planning to “clear their good names” with a counter-suit.

For some back story on the historic Flemish Revival building and the club’s less than inclusive past membership practices, check out Chuck Taylor’s archived post from 2012. The blog will post any further details of the case as it develops.




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City Comptroller Proposes New BQE Plan Thu, 14 Mar 2019 03:47:57 +0000

The Brooklyn Eagle’s Mary Frost reports that City Comptroller Scott Stringer (photo, Thomas Good / NLN) has proposed an alternative to the City Department of Transportation’s plan to replace the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a temporary six lane highway for a period not less than six years, or to repair the BQE lane by lane which would, according to the DOT, require closure of the Promenade for at least two years and would also lead to serious traffic backups and cause heavy diversion of traffic onto local streets, affecting not only Brooklyn Heights but also neighboring communities.

The Comptroller’s plan, according to the Eagle story, would be to convert the cantilevered portion of the BQE to a two lane truck only highway that would occupy the present lower deck of the cantilever. The upper deck, just below the Promenade, would become new parkland that would extend southward past Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens by building a deck over the trench in which the BQE runs past those neighborhoods. The Eagle story notes that both the Brooklyn Heights Association and the Cobble Hill Association have responded positively to the Comptroller’s plan, although the BHA has presented an alternative concept that remains on the table for consideration by the DOT.

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Bach B Minor Mass at Zion Church April 7 Tue, 12 Mar 2019 16:04:43 +0000

Bach in the Heights will perform J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass, conducted by Edward Houser, on Sunday, April 7 at 3:00 p.m. at the Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church, 125 Henry Street (between Pierrepont and Clark). The singers and instrumentalists for this performance include those “who regularly perform with premier musical organizations like the Metropolitan Opera, Orpheus, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s or study at Julliard, the Curtis Institute and Manhattan School of Music.” Tickets are $20 in advance or at the door. Reservations may be made at Eventbrite or by calling 718-596-6369.

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Town Hall Meeting on BQE Rescheduled for April 3 Sun, 10 Mar 2019 17:03:20 +0000

The town hall meeting on the BQE reconstruction plan has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m., at Plymouth Church. The town hall is co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Heights Association and A Better Way.

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Repast Baroque Ensemble Presents “Wanderlust” at First Unitarian Thursday Evening, March 14 Thu, 07 Mar 2019 19:19:04 +0000

The Repast Baroque Ensemble returns to Brooklyn Heights, and to the McKinney Chapel of the First Unitarian Church, 116 Pierrepont Street, this coming Thursday evening, March 14, starting at 8:00. They will present “Wanderlust,” a program of music that “explores the German enthrallment with nature and escapism, from the Baroque and Romantic periods.”

The concert will include works by Buxtehude, Bernhard, Spohr, Schubert, and Mendelssohn. In addition to Repast members Amelia Roosevelt (violin), Katie Reitman (cello), and Gabe Shuford (harpsichord) (see musician bios here), this concert will feature soprano Nell Snaidas and Arash Noori on theorbo and guitar. You may buy tickets here.

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BQE Latest: DOT Closed Door Meeting With CBs; Council Speaker Urges New Look; BHA Postpones Town Hall Thu, 07 Mar 2019 03:59:37 +0000

The City’s Department of Transportation will, according to Kevin Duggan in The Brooklyn Paper, have a closed door meeting this coming Monday, March 11 (the story doesn’t specify the time or location of the meeting) with “leaders of local community boards” to get their views on plans to rehabilitate the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that runs below Brooklyn Heights. One of these plans, which the DOT has presented as its preferred option, would be to replace the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a temporary six lane highway for a period not less than six years. The other DOT option, the “traditional” plan, would repair the BQE lane by lane and, according to the DOT, require closure of the Promenade for at least two years. It would also lead to serious traffic backups and cause heavy diversion of traffic onto local streets, affecting not only Brooklyn Heights but also neighboring communities.

According to the Brooklyn Paper story, DOT didn’t say what community boards had been invited to the meeting. It does quote Robert Perris, executive director of Brooklyn Community Board 2, which includes Brooklyn Heights as well as some neighboring communities, as saying CB 2 has been invited. It also quotes Patrick Killackey, a member of CB 2’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee and a former president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, as saying, “I want [DOT] to not be evasive about it, and answer our questions about alternative proposals.” Among these alternatives is one proposed by the BHA.

In another development, Julianne Cuba in Streetsblog NYC reports that City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

“is demanding that the city rethink its much-reviled plan to tear down and fully replace a short segment of the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn Heights — which carries 153,000 gas-guzzling vehicles every day.”

The Streetsblog story notes that the Speaker’s remarks about the BQE reflect his proposals in his Let’s Go Transit Plan, which envision much less reliance on private autos and trucks.

Finally, we have word from the BHA that the town hall meeting on the BQE, announced for Tuesday evening, March 12, is being rescheduled because of scheduling difficulties with local elected officials. The BHA is hoping to find a date acceptable for all in early April. We at BHB will keep you posted.

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BQE and Mega-Jail Dominate BHA Annual Meeting Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:33:21 +0000

It was standing room only at the Founders Hall Auditorium of St. Francis College for Tuesday’s Annual Meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association. As the Eagle’s Mary Frost reports, BHA President Martha Bakos Dietz said the BHA had submitted to the City’s Department of Transportation an alternative plan that would avoid putting a temporary six lane highway in the present location of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and that the DOT has said it is considering this alternative, as well as “three to five others.” Ms. Dietz also announced that the BHA will hold a town hall meeting on the BQE a 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at Plymouth Church.

The Eagle story also reports that the City’s proposal to increase the size of the Brooklyn House of Detention, located on Atlantic Avenue a few blocks from Brooklyn Heights, to forty stories, is opposed by the BHA for its lack of context and environmental effects, as well as for the City’s failure to have, in Ms. Dietz’s words, any “meaningful engagement with the affected community.” She noted that the City wants to start its land use review process (“ULURP”) for the jail expansion next month. The BHA has urged the City to delay starting ULURP, “identify a second jail site within Brooklyn,” and consider “alternatives to incarceration” for certain inmates.

Photo: Andrew Porter

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Grace Chorale and String Orchestra of Brooklyn Present Memorial to “Red Summer of 1919″ at St. Ann’s Church This Weekend Wed, 27 Feb 2019 03:49:40 +0000

This Friday evening, March 1 at 7:00 and Sunday afternoon, March 3 at 3:00 at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague Street (near Clinton), the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn will join to present “A Long Dark Shadow”, a commemoration of the summer of 1919, a summer that is credited with “the awakening of Black America”, as Black soldiers who had served their country in World War I returned and were greeted with the same racism they hoped to have left behind, sometimes with fatal results.

The concert includes And They Lynched Him On A Tree, music by William Grant Still and lyrics by Katharine Biddle, performed by the Chorale and the Orchestra; followed by the Orchestra performing Lyrics for Strings by George Walker; and concluding with the premiere of a new work commissioned by the Chorale, A Stone to the Head: The Death of Eugene Williams by the composers Flannery Cunningham and Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa. Friday tickets are available here and Sunday tickets are available here>

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Goodbye, Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable? Also 192 Montague, AKA 200 Montague, to be Razed for Residential? Tue, 19 Feb 2019 23:03:41 +0000

For some years now my wife and I have patronized Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable, at 181 Atlantic Avenue, a few doors west of Sahadi’s, for fresh produce at reasonable prices. It appears this may be coming to an end soon. According to Brooklyn Community Board 2, the agenda for its Land Use Committee meeting to be held at 6:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20 at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Dibner Building, Room LC400, 5 Metrotech Center (on the north side of the Metrotech Commons) includes this item:

181 Atlantic Avenue — Brooklyn Heights Historic District — Application is to demolish the existing, one-story, commercial building and construct a new, four-story, apartment building with ground floor retail using concrete masonry unit construction and four-inch face brick, a pre-cast metal cornice, cast stone lintels and at the ground floor, aluminum and glass with custom columns, corbels and cornice.

IMG_1133We earlier noted that a demolition permit had been filed for the four story commercial building at 192 Montague Street (photo above), sometimes known as 200 Montague, but that no plans had been filed for its replacement. Now on the Land Use Committee’s agenda for tomorrow is the following:

200 Montague Street — Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District — Application is to demolish an existing, four-story, “Altered Modern” commercial building and construct a new, 20-story residential building with ground floor retail.

Whatever action is taken by the Land Use Committee tomorrow, these applications will be further considered by the Executive Committee at its meeting to be held at 6:00 pm, Monday, February 25, 2019 at the CB2 District Office, 350 Jay Street, 8th Floor (across from Metrotech).

Photos: Claude Scales for BHB

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Montague Street Businesses Show the Love with Instagram Contest, Giveaways Tue, 12 Feb 2019 01:30:40 +0000

Through February 14th, The Montague Business Improvement District wants to spread the love! It’s as simple as posting to Instagram:

How Can You Win?:

>>Follow @montaguebid on Instagram.

>>Post pictures of what you do, buy, eat or drink on Montague Street by February 14th.

>>Tag a BID businesses and use the hashtag #ilovemontaguestreet.Winners will be contacted by direct message, so keep your peepers peeled to your DMs.

Win flowers, fashion eyewear, meals, hotel stays, workouts, haircuts, beauty, self-care goodies and chocolate parties from businesses including:

  • Bossert Management Group
  • Brown Harris Stevens
  • Chocolate Works
  • Cohens Fashion Optical
  • Dellarocco’s
  • Grand Canyon Diner
  • Heights Cafe
  • James Weir Floral
  • Keihl’s
  • Lantern Kitchen Thai
  • Orangetheory Fitness
  • Pinto NYC
  • Saketumi
  • Scott J Aveda
Enter often. Shop local. Have fun.
Share the love. Be kind.
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Theater 2020 Presents Into the Woods at St. Francis February 21 – March 17 Mon, 11 Feb 2019 03:28:34 +0000

Theater 2020, Brooklyn Heights’ own award winning professional stage company, will present the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim musical comedy Into the Woods at the Founders Hall Theater, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, in a run of sixteen performances beginning Thursday, February 21 and continuing through Sunday, March 17.

“Into the Woods,” where the characters in the fairy tales of Grimm, come alive wishing for a better life, first looking out only to their own self-interest, but learning in the end that true happiness comes from a collective caring about others. Told in a hilarious book by James Lapine with glorious music and lyrics by the master Stephen Sondheim, we discover that while we may lament our lot, we can do something about it, just remembering “No One Is Alone!” Awarding winning Producer/Director David Fuller sets this production in a refugee resettlement camp, somewhere in the world today.

Performances will be Thursday through Sunday each week; you may buy tickets here.

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Incident At Clark Street And Columbia Heights This Afternoon Mon, 04 Feb 2019 20:31:43 +0000 We’ve received word that there was an incident that resulted in someone pulling out a gun near the corner of Clark Street and Columbia Heights around 3pm this afternoon. At this time (3:20pm) there’s a large police presence, and there’s rumored to be a wrongful arrest based on mistaken identity. This is a developing story, and we will update as soon as we get more information…

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Brooklyn Only Foods Opens on Henry St. (With a Speakeasy Entrance to As Of Now Gallery) Mon, 04 Feb 2019 05:48:19 +0000

I was on a walk on Henry St. on Sunday when I noticed a shiny new awning and light coming out of the storefront that once housed Heights Car & Limo. The space had been dark and vacant for four years, and even before that, it was quite an eyesore with a drab brown façade and the outlines of an old sign that had been removed. Without the burly livery drivers sitting outside, the spot looked even more sad and lonely the last four years.

As I walked toward the bright newness, Jamel Othman, the owner of Heights Falafel next door, came out and said, “We need your support!” I looked at him puzzled, and Jamel said, “That’s my son’s new business.” I looked again and noticed that Heights Falafel also had a shiny new awning. I marveled at the beauty of the matching side-by-side awnings over small businesses owned by father and son, side-by-side. These stories are so hard to come by in New York City these days and this one I had to tell.

The awning over 78 Henry St. reads “Brooklyn Only Foods.” I walked in and saw Jamel’s son Karim Othman at the counter. “You look so much like your mother,” I said. “Yeah, everyone says that. I got lucky,” Karim replied. If you patronize Heights Falafel, you’ve surely seen his beautiful mother, Lisa Rosettie, working behind the counter. She was also there on Sunday helping her son at the new shop and she’ll continue to help with developing ideas for prepared foods.

Brooklyn Only Foods Interior

Karim was raised in Park Slope and went to Packer. “So with Packer and my dad’s business being here since 2001, I feel like I grew up in Brooklyn Heights,” he said. Asked about his new business, Karim said,

“I was doing an internship at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where I worked at the farm one day a week and at the restaurant five days a week. I was commuting to Westchester from Brooklyn every day. Blue Hill’s concept is sustainability, locality, and accountability for the food it serves, and knowing who’s producing your food and creating that connection. So if we were getting pheasants from a farmer, that farmer would come and explain his whole practice to us about raising pheasants in a healthy and sustainable way. It’s all about being accountable to your customers and the environment.

After that internship, I decided that I wanted to start a food-related business. I wanted to continue with the accountability and locality that I learned at Stone Barns, in that I would know all the vendors, speak to them, and see their operations. So I opened this shop. Most of the products here, I personally went to the suppliers, met with them, and picked up the goods. Everything here is either produced in Brooklyn or the business started in Brooklyn and they’re all businesses that I want to support. For example, the Gold’s horseradish started in the 1930’s in Brooklyn and now it’s a major national company. Or the Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup, every old-school Brooklynite knows that you can’t make an egg cream without it.”

I asked Karim, “Did your parents influence your decision to start a food-related retail business?” He responded,

“Yes, it was a combination of Stone Barns teaching me the narrative, the ideas, and then there’s my dad who sometimes worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, day in and day out. Ideas are great, but to fulfill the idea, it takes a lot of hard work. So my dad showed me the work ethic. I think it’s something lost on a lot of young people these days.”

Brooklyn Only Foods Interior 2

In addition to the snacks, sauces, chocolates and more displayed on the shelves, there’s a refrigerated case stocked with drinks, cheeses, and smoked meats. Behind the counter, sandwiches are offered, using bread from Caputo’s in Cobble Hill and all local ingredients, including one made with roast beef from Marlow & Daughters in Williamsburg and another with smoked white fish from Acme, a smokehouse in Greenpoint. Karim is working on adding more ready-made sandwiches.

After I visited Brooklyn Only Foods, I dropped into Heights Falafel, where Jamel was beaming with pride and said, “I’m very proud of Karim. He got an idea and I believed in him to execute it. As parents, we did everything to support him and I’m happy that he’s making his dreams come true.” Karim’s mom Lisa echoed the same sentiment and added, “The internship with Dan Barber at Stone Barns changed Karim and gave him a lot of motivation. It’s been great to see his ideas fill these shelves little by little, day by day.”


But wait. That’s not the end of this story. If you go behind the counter and walk down a short flight of stairs, there is an art gallery called As of Now Gallery. That’s right, a speakeasy entrance to an art gallery, run by Karim’s longtime friend Austin Siegert, who worked as an art handler at Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan and is an oil painter. This unique arrangement came about when Austin mentioned to Karim that he wanted to look into renting spaces and doing pop-up openings to showcase artists that he believed in. Karim suggested the basement of the shop as a permanent home for the openings. “I thought it was a great idea because the people who would want local sustainable foods from Brooklyn might also be the type of people interested in local artists,” said Austin. “So we got to work gut renovating the basement space that still very much had the old Russian cab stand vibe.”

For more info on Brooklyn Only Foods, check out and follow on Instagram @brooklyn_only_foods. Current hours are 7 am – 6 pm daily.

As of Now Gallery is also on Instagram @asofnowgallery, where Austin can be direct-messaged for an appointment to view the gallery, or email

Support our local economy. Support our small businesses.


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Levin: “[T]here Has to be a Better Way” for BQE Repair Thu, 31 Jan 2019 03:42:59 +0000

City Council Member Stephen Levin was interviewed on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, and had this to say about the City Department of Transportation’s plan for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway rehabilitation:

Robert Moses’ infrastructure projects created all types of massive havoc around New York City, divided communities and really displaced thousands of people. As we’re looking towards 21st century infrastructure in New York, I think that we have to reckon with that and do what we can to address it restoratively.

I applaud the Brooklyn Heights Association and a new group called A Better Way, because they’ve really said “You know what? Let’s take a look at this, let’s get some transparency into this process…let’s build a 21st century highway.”

We need to be looking at alternatives. We need there to be some kind of real transparency to the process. [We need] a community advisory committee so that we can bring good ideas to the table.

We think that there has to be a better way to do this.

Thanks to for this information.

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Grace Church Winterfair Saturday Wed, 30 Jan 2019 02:43:19 +0000

This Saturday, February 2, Grace Church, 254 Hicks Street (corner of Hicks and Grace Court) will hold its annual Winterfair. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., you may shop for children’s clothes and toys, men’s and women’s clothing, books, CDs, DVDs, vinyl discs, sporting equipment, plants, flowers, furniture, housewares and tchatchkes. Carl Weisser will do silhouette portrats. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the cafe will serve hot luncheon entrees. Admission to the Winterfair is free.

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