Brooklyn Heights Blog » News Dispatches from America's first suburb Fri, 30 Oct 2020 03:45:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Early Voting Hours Extended Fri, 30 Oct 2020 03:35:58 +0000

Due to massively long lines at early voting polling sites, the NYC Board of Elections has extended their hours of operation. The polls will now open at 7:00 am and stay open an hour later than originally scheduled. We posted helpful voting tips last week.  You can click HERE for a refresher.

HOT TIP: If you have an absentee ballot (one that was replaced after the mismatched envelope snafu), you can skip the line entirely by dropping it off at your early polling site.


If you do find yourself in a long line, don’t despair. Volunteers for Pizza to the Polls have been delivering pies to early voting locations all across NYC and the U.S. Actor, Paul Rudd was recently spotted handing out cookies at the Barclay’s Center as a thank you for voting. Anecdotally, despite inclement weather and long waits, New Yorkers have been waiting patiently to perform their civic duty.

New York Magazine collaborated with 48 artists to offer a new spin on the ‘I Voted’ sticker. There are four versions of the October 26th issue, each with 12 unique designs and an accompanying sticker sheet on the inside cover. (Milton Glazer, co-founder of NY Magazine and designer of iconic I Love NY logo, would be so proud.) Brooklyn Heights’ own, KAWS, is one of the featured creatives. (A retrospective of his work, KAWS: What Party, opens at the Brooklyn Museum February 12th).

Gothamist reports as of Wednesday night, nearly 600,000 people have voted in NYC. Brooklyn has the greatest number of early voters in the five boroughs. GO BROOKLYN! So, let your voice be heard then post your ‘I Voted’ selfies in the comments!

Photo Credit: NY Magazine/Barbara Kruger ‘I Voted’ sticker

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Halloween Is Not Totally Cancelled in Brooklyn Heights! Fri, 30 Oct 2020 01:36:15 +0000

From Brooklyn Heights Association:

No–Halloween isn’t totally cancelled. The beloved neighborhood parade tradition continues, but with some safety modifications.

The BHA will be hosting a socially-distant, face-coverings required Halloween Parade for families on the Promenade on Saturday October 31st at 10am, offering kids a chance to show off their costumes and receive a treat. 

We can’t wait to see your costumes! If you’d like to get in the spirit with this DIY paper and felt face mask, download it for free from and make it for the parade — or for everyday use!

Unfortunately, the normal Halloween trick-or-treat celebrations on Garden Place won’t take place this year. Garden Place residents look forward to hopefully welcoming everyone back next year!

Follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter for the latest updates!

And Later in the Day at Estuary:

On Saturday October 31st, families are invited to swing by Estuary’s patio at ONE15 Brooklyn Marina from 4-8pm, where children can join pastry chef Christophe Toury to dip a free candy apple in chocolate, caramel, or sugar. Plus, adults in costume get a 10% discount on festive cocktails to sip on while strolling through nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park

Halloween 2020 Post Card Flyer


And from the DUMBO BID:

Dumboween 2020:  Photo Fun for Everyone!

Live on Saturday, October 31 from 12pm-7pm


ON MAIN ST (At Plymouth St)

ON DOCK ST (At Water St)


We’re creating festive photo experiences, perfect for showing off that creepy costume or commemorating a day in Dumbo.

No reservations necessary, but masks required + please keep six feet of distance from others while enjoying this experience.

Details at Dumboween 2020.

One Girl Cookies

One Girl Cookies

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Rioters Smash Windows at Atlantic Avenue Businesses Thu, 29 Oct 2020 02:23:21 +0000

Update: Sahadi’s tells us they had no windows damaged. “Our neighbors had a little graffiti but our windows and façade had zero damage.” The Bklynr story includes a photo of a boarded-over window at Urban Outfitters, which is on the opposite side of Atlantic from Sahadi’s. Bklynr reports that on Tuesday night rioters smashed windows and did other damage to 39 businesses along Atlantic Avenue, including Sahadi’s (photo). Five police officers suffered minor injuries, and nine police vehicles were vandalized. The rioters, estimated at 200, appeared to have come from an otherwise peaceful demonstration in Fort Greene Park reacting to the killing by Philadelphia police of Walter Wallace Jr., a mentally disturbed Black man holding a knife. Bklynr interviewed Kate Chura, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue BID. “’Our understanding from the NYPD is that the original march started in Fort Greene Park and this was a sort of spillover splinter group, which has kind of been the MO that we’ve seen,’ Ms. Chura said.”

For the future, Chura says she doesn’t quite know how to help businesses prepare.

“It’s always best to build relationships, but if you have people coming from nowhere it’s going to take a larger effort. Coordination, intervention. Or, everyone just goes and puts down a roll-down door. But these are businesses that are barely able to keep the doors open during the pandemic,” she said.

The Daily News reports that Mayor de Blasio condemned the violence. According to the Daily News story: “‘No violence is acceptable,’ he said. ‘Of course those offenses should be prosecuted, and I absolutely want to see those prosecutions.’”

Flickr photo by Rachael Ash

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Theater 2020 Presents “Masque of the Red Death” On Line for Halloween Wed, 28 Oct 2020 00:43:41 +0000

Looking for some virtual excitement this Halloween? Starting at 8:00 p.m. Theater 2020, Brooklyn Heights’ own professional stage company, will present a virtual reading, featuring the Karloffian voice of David Fuller, of a classic uniquely suited to our present world, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” If you dare, email and you’ll be sent a Zoom link and passcode. It’s free, of course.

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Open Thread Wednesday Wed, 21 Oct 2020 11:38:55 +0000

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Open for In-Person Shopping During Limited Hours Sun, 18 Oct 2020 03:26:14 +0000

The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange (photo), which has been taking orders on line (and you may still do so) has now opened for in person shopping from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. If you shop on line, you may now pick up your purchases curbside Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m. During the Thursday through Saturday hours you may now come in (mask required, and limited number of customers allowed inside at any time) and browse their extensive collections of crafted items, many by local artisans. These include, among others, housewares, jewelry, kids’ and dolls’ clothes, toys and games, greeting cards, and delicacies, as well as books of local interest. The store is located at 55 Pierrepont Street, between Hicks and Henry.

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ArtWalk on Atlantic Avenue Begins Weekend of October 17-18 Tue, 13 Oct 2020 02:48:08 +0000

Starting this coming weekend – Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18 – and continuing through Sunday, November 1, Arts Gowanus, along with the Atlantic Avenue BID and Atlantic Avenue LDC, will present Arts Gowanus ArtWalk on Atlantic Avenue, a “1.5 mile, self-guided, socially distanced ArtWalk” extending along Atlantic Avenue from the waterfront to Fourth Avenue (thus including the whole extent of Atlantic along the Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill boundary, as well as several blocks to the east). The event “will feature Gowanus artists displaying paintings, drawings, prints, photography, installation and sculptures and will be displayed on storefronts, roll down gates, and dining fences of 65 Atlantic Avenue businesses.” There will be “pop-up performances.” There’s more information here.

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Permanently Closed: Brooklyn Heights Businesses Lost To The Pandemic Mon, 12 Oct 2020 01:49:31 +0000

Seven months into the pandemic, most of our local small businesses are hanging on. With pure grit and ingenuity, restaurants turned parking spots into dining spaces, and retail stores went online until their doors could open again. Tragically, not all of the businesses survived the long shutdown, not to mention the loss of tourists and nearly half of the residents who left town for months. Here, we memorialize the Brooklyn Heights businesses that permanently closed since March 2020.

Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks St.)

Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks St.)

JtH Next Door (66 Hicks St.)

JtH Next Door (66 Hicks St.)

Five Guys (138 Montague St.)

Five Guys (138 Montague St.)

Amy's Bread and East & West Wellness

Amy’s Bread (72 Clark St.)

Chocolate Works (110 Montague St.)

Chocolate Works (110 Montague St.)

The Heights Salon of Brooklyn (136 Montague St.)

The Heights Salon of Brooklyn (136 Montague St.)

Scott J Aveda Salon (119 Montague St.)

Scott J Aveda Salon (119 Montague St.)

B.GOOD (141 Montague St.)

B.GOOD (141 Montague St.)

Heights Nail Salon (60 Henry St.)

Heights Nail Salon (60 Henry St.)

Le Pain Quotidien (121 Montague St.)

Le Pain Quotidien (121 Montague St.)

WMA Karate (67 Atlantic Ave.) (Classes moved online and outdoors -

WMA Karate (67 Atlantic Ave.) (Classes moved online and outdoors –

Blossom Poke Bowl (153 Remsen St.)

Blossom Poke Bowl (153 Remsen St.)

Cafecito (Clark St. Station)

Cafecito (Clark St. Station)

Emack & Bolio (115 Montague St.) (To close permanently on 10/31/20.) (Photo courtesy of BHB reader.)

Emack & Bolio (115 Montague St.) (To close permanently on 10/31/20.) (Photo courtesy of BHB reader.)

The loss of these small businesses is a blow to the community. Some are simply irreplaceable. What could possibly fill the void that Cranberry’s or Jack the Horse left behind? But we can find hope in knowing that there are already small signs of recovery and renewal. Here are three businesses that opened in the midst of the pandemic and by all indications, are fast becoming favorites of the neighborhood.

Cardinal Mkt (44 Henry St.)

Cardinal Mkt (44 Henry St.)

Vineapple (71 Pineapple St.)

Vineapple (71 Pineapple St.)

Ella Crown Bakehouse (149 Atlantic Ave.)

Ella Crown Bakehouse (149 Atlantic Ave.)

Support our local economy. Support our small businesses.

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Theater 2020 Presents Free Virtual Reading of New Play Mon, 28 Sep 2020 04:29:49 +0000

Here’s a treat for all theater lovers, and especially for Janeites; devotees of the writing of Jane Austen (image, Wikimedia Commons) of which I’m one. Theater 2020 is Brooklyn Heights’ own professional stage company. They are presenting, for free and by live zoom reading, a new play by Lynn Marie Macy, Theater 2020’s resident playwright, Jane Austen at Prinny’s Palace. The play, which features a multinational cast,

“is a comic exploration of the day Jane Austen was invited to the Royal Palace by Prince Regent for tour hosted by his overly admiring Royal Librarian, James Stanier Clarke. Despite her distaste for the dissipated lifestyle of England’s soon to be Monarch, this event marked the highest public distinction her work received during her lifetime.”

The play will be shown, in conjunction with Brooklyn Public Library, in two sessions, each forty minutes long. The first is on Saturday, October 3, starting at 2:00 p.m.; register here. The second is on Saturday, October 10, also at 2:00 p.m.; register here.

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Coming at Brooklyn Bridge Park Mon, 28 Sep 2020 03:08:31 +0000

Tomorrow evening – Monday. September 28 – starting at 7:00 there will be a virtual “Books Under the Bridge” event, presented in conjunction with Mil Mundos Books, with readings by, and conversation with, the poets Raquel Salas Rivera, Ricardo Maldonado, Andrés Cerpa, and Alejandra Rose. The event is free, but you must register here.

On Wednesday evening, September 30 starting at 7:00 there will be a free workshop and virtual underwater tour of marine life along the Long Island shore by Chris Paparo, the “Fish Guy”, who is also Christopher Paparo, Southampton Marine Science Center Manager and an Expert for SUNY Stony Brook. More information and register here.

On Thursday, October 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy will present a “Conservancy Day of Celebration” honoring the Environmental Center’s fifth anniversary and in person activities returning to the Park. It “will feature live, online educational programming and in-person fitness opportunities in the Park.” Activities schedule and free registration here.

This coming week – Monday, September 28 through Sunday, October 4 – there will be open registration for in-person fitness classes – all requiring masks and proper social distancing – in the Park. There’s a complete list of events and dates here.

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Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Plans to Re-Open Soon; Meanwhile, You Can Shop On Line Tue, 22 Sep 2020 00:28:03 +0000

This window, at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange earlier this year, promised better days ahead. COVID-19 forced the shop, at 55 Pierrepont Street, to close. For a time the Exchange could only take orders by phone or email. Now they are able to take orders on line; you may shop here.

The Exchange hopes to be able to open its door to shoppers soon, subject to the usual and needed restrictions regarding mask wearing and limiting the number of customers in the shop at any time. We’ll keep you up to date on developments.

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NYC Schools Delayed Again Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:16:04 +0000

Just four days before NYC school children were supposed to begin in-person learning, Mayor DeBlazio announced further delays to the school year.

  • Monday, September 21st: Pre-K and children in special needs D75 schools begin school
  • Tuesday, September 29th: K-5 and K-8 schools open
  • Thursday, October 1st: Middle and High Schools open

The Mayor explained the delay would enable the City to address staffing shortages. However, this 11th-hour change leaves parents scrambling to adjust their work and childcare schedules and sends teachers back to the drawing board to revise their teaching plans.  It also calls into question Mayor’s entire handling of the situation.

In addition, the City has also backtracked on providing students with live instruction during remote sessions.

If you’d like to ask the Mayor about his thought process, call into the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC at 10:00 am for Ask the Mayor.

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Brooklyn Heights – Tree Heaven? Tue, 15 Sep 2020 03:20:04 +0000

We lost a few in Tropical Storm Isaias, but Brooklyn Heights retains and maintains a healthy population of street, park, and garden trees. In her Eagle story, Mary Frost tells of the history. Before the 1940s the Heights, like most of Brooklyn, had few trees. This is why Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (!943) could consider the event remarkable. Then the Brooklyn Heights Association went on a tree planting binge, planting, according to the Eagle story, 1,081 trees in the 1940s, and 46 more since. The Eagle quotes BHA president Erika Belsey Worth as noting that some blocks, for example, Clark street between Willow and Columbia Heights, have lost many trees, and that many other Heights trees “are at maturity and beyond” and need “tender, loving care.”

The Eagle story also quotes former BHA executive directors Judy Stanton and Peter Bray about programs organized during their terms in office. Ms. Stanton recalled two “tree census” projects to examine the conditions of street trees, in one of which your correspondent participated. Mr. Bray supervised a program to enlarge tree pits, many of which were strangling trees’ roots. Current BHA executive director Lara Birnback wants to extend the tree pit survey, and also to recruit “block captains” to monitor the condition of trees and report any problems, as well as caring for newly planted trees.

Finally, the Eagle story notes that BHB friend Peter Steinberg, whose al fresco nuptials on Grace Court Alley I blundered onto in 2009, has created a website “that tree fans can use to easily record tree pit data. All people need in order to participate is a tape measure and a smart phone.” Unfortunately, the Eagle doesn’t give a link to the site. I’m sure Peter will give us one. Update: Here are the instructions:

Reach out to and tell them what block(s) you’re interested in — they will email you the link and off you go!

By the way, the process really is dead simple — you just need a phone and a tape measure. I was able to measure all of Grace Court — both sides — I’m under two hours. And that was with an 8 year old as my assistant.

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Bluegrass and Books on Line from Brooklyn Bridge Park Fri, 11 Sep 2020 02:17:16 +0000

This Sunday, September 13 from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, in conjunction with Brooklyn Bridge Park, will present on line the “Women’s Stage” portion of its 2020 “Long Distance” festival, featuring a diverse group of women musicians with styles “spanning traditional and modern Country, Folk, Blues, Old Time, Bluegrass, and Jazz.” The opening act will be Nora Brown, a young Brooklynite who is a stellar banjo artist, having been taught by the late Shlomo Pestcoe. The photo, which I took at the 2018 Brooklyn Folk Festival, shows her at age twelve. The Festival is free; there’s more information here.

Another of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s traditional outdoor events, Books Beneath the Bridge, goes virtual this year and will begin this Monday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. with an event presented by Cobble Hill’s Books are Magic that will feature a group of poets and prose writers reading poetry that will “navigate themes of protest poetry, migrant voices, gender-queer perspectives, the richness and resilience of black girl culture, modern-day parenting, and more.” There will be a question and answer session with the readers. If you wish to participate, please register here.

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Well, We Saw This Coming: First Day of In-School Instruction Delayed Until September 21 Sun, 06 Sep 2020 16:38:43 +0000

Of the ten largest school systems in the country, the NYC DOE was the only one with plans to start the 2020-21 school year as originally intended on September 10th. By comparison, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago opted for fully virtual schooling in mid-July and early August respectively. But by now parents are, however painfully, aware New York City has delayed the first day of school.

The first week of instruction is fully virtual and begins on September 16th. For those families who opted for hybrid learning, in-school instruction commences on September 21st. So what happened? Here, to help make some sense of the chaos and bring a smile to your face, is a Tik Tok from our friend and FABulous neighbor, Jose Rolon, aka @nycgaydad.

In all seriousness though, the health and safety of 1.1 million schoolchildren, their teachers, administrators, and staff hung in the balance along with that of everyone’s families and their mental health. The DOE remained adamant schools would open on time. Hizzoner, Mayor De Blasio, and School Chancellor, Richard Carranza faced intense pressure from elected officials, school principals, teachers, and families. (An August 19th PEP meeting stretched from 6:00 pm – 4:00 am with hundreds of speakers voicing their increasing concerns.)

And so, the news changed daily, taking us all on an emotional roller coaster. (Admittedly, your correspondent found it frustrating and difficult to keep up). For a full sequence of events, head over to Chalkbeat which has consistently provided excellent re-opening reporting.

How do YOU feel about how the DOE handled re-opening school? Would it have been better if the DOE had made a decision earlier in the summer and stuck with it? Did you choose fully remote or hybrid learning? Or, did you opt for a charter or private school? Do you have child care issues? Do you have children attending different schools? Any lingering concerns? Comment away!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons Avolor/Flickr

Disclaimer: SongBirdNYC is the parent of an elementary-age child who has attended public school. The views expressed in this post are their own.

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Poll on Closing Montague Street for Outdoor Dining Fri, 04 Sep 2020 13:05:02 +0000

Update: the survey resulted in Montague being kept open to car traffic on weekends. Our friends at the Montague Street BID and at Brooklyn Community Board 2 have alerted us to a poll being run by the BID asking whether Montague Street should be closed to auto traffic on Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. to allow restaurants to serve diners outdoors as part of the City’s Open Streets and Open Restaurants program. Responses are requested before this coming Tuesday, September 8. You may cast your ballot here.

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EMERGENCY: Cat Stolen From Our Cat Cafe Wed, 02 Sep 2020 02:11:34 +0000

Update: Good news! Felicia has been found, and is safe.

On Tuesday evening, Felicia was stolen in her carrier from outside the Cafe on Montague Street.

The man who took her was “older” and headed down Joralemon Street towards Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Please contact the Cafe at  (347) 946-2286 if you see her or her carrier.

Felicia is in a carrier like the one pictured below.




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Montague BID Head Tapped to Lead Atlantic Avenue BID; Will Have Both Roles Mon, 31 Aug 2020 02:44:09 +0000

The Eagle has reported that Kate Chura has been named the new Executive Director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (“BID”), of which she has been serving as interim Executive Director for some time. She has also served as Executive Director of the Montague Street BID for almost five years, and will continue to hold that post concurrently with that at Atlantic Avenue.

The Eagle story quotes Greg Markman, board chair of the Montague Street BID, praising Ms. Chura for her “marketing efforts”; her help in getting a “greenest commercial block” award, and her promotion of “events that brought foot traffic to Montague Street ….” He added that

“Over the past six months, the efforts of Kate and her team have helped some of our businesses remain open during the pandemic. I’m confident that she will help the businesses on Montague Street and Atlantic Avenue continue to navigate the new business landscape and thrive as best as they can.”

The only fly we can see in this ointment is: suppose, after the pandemic fades, there are (as we think there are likely to be) many vacant commercial spaces on both Montague and Atlantic. If rivalry develops over who gets new tenants, can she remain neutral?

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Brooklyn Folk Festival Goes Virtual Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:43:09 +0000

Your correspondent has long been a fan of the Brooklyn Folk Festival. Until this year, it has been held in the spring, at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church. This year, it was announced that an indoor festival in the spring was impossible, but it would be re-scheduled for the fall. It has now been scheduled to be held on line on October 23, 24, and 25. All performances will be free, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

We will follow up with details as to performers and schedules when available.

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Citi Bike Stations in Brooklyn Heights to Expand Tue, 18 Aug 2020 01:29:49 +0000

The Eagle reports that the city’s Department of Transportation has plans to expand existing Citi Bike docking stations throughout Brooklyn (and the city), and to add new ones in an effort to expand availability and reach of the service. According to the list in the Eagle story, these are the Heights locations to be expanded: Columbia Heights & Cranberry Street will get 14 additional docks for a total of 37; Clark Street and Henry Street will get 12 additional for a total of 43; Montague Street and Clinton Street will get 19 additional for a total of 58; Court Street and State Street will get 9 additional for a total of 32; and Schermerhorn Street and Court Street will get 20 additional for a total of 59.

Photo: Chuck Taylor for BHB.

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Local Electeds Move Against City Parking Placard Abuse Mon, 17 Aug 2020 02:34:48 +0000

Kings County Politics reports that State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (photo) and City Council Member Stephen Levin are urging the city to enforce parking regulations, particularly with respect to abuse of city issued parking placards, in Downtown Brooklyn. As has been noted here before, this is a problem that extends into Brooklyn Heights, especially along Joralemon and Pierrepont streets.

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Virtual Events Coming at Brooklyn Historical Society Tue, 11 Aug 2020 03:37:58 +0000

The Brooklyn Historical Society is presenting virtual events, all of which are free, but for which registration is required. Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 11) starting at 6:30 p.m. Fordham law professor and political activist Zephyr Teachout, along with Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra, will discuss the ideas set forth in Ms.Teachout’s book, Break ‘Em Up, in which she advocates using antitrust law to break up incipient or existing monopolies like Facebook, Google, and the recently merged Bayer/Monsanto. More information and register here.

On the following Tuesday, August 18, also starting at 6:30 p.m., BHS, in conjunction with the Ms, Foundation for Women, will present “Women + Power: BODY POWER”, a discussion featuring Tressie McMillan Cottom, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Barnard College professor and transgender activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, moderated by Ms. Foundation’s Raquel Willis. There’s more information and register here.

While the events are free, BHS needs support to keep going. If you’re not a member, you can join here.

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Cats In Covid Crisis Thu, 30 Jul 2020 23:56:00 +0000

Since mid-March, I’ve been delivering cats.

Not in the “giving birth” kind of delivery, but in the “ordering delivery” sense, when someone wants/needs something and someone else brings it to their door.

As people began working from home, they wanted a furry companion beside them, or they had the time to devote to a new pet, or they wanted to do something good at a time when everything felt awful.

So our beloved Cat Cafe was flooded with requests to foster cats and kittens, and I had the absolute pleasure of delivering the coveted felines to their humans.

Now, four months into our bizarre new world, the consequences of Covid are less pleasant.

    • In March, the ASPCA shut down its spay/neuter program, which provided free surgeries, testing, and vaccinations to rescue programs and certified TNR (trap-neuter-return) personnel–the program spayed/neutered hundreds of cats a day. During the four-month suspension of the program, a lot of cats that would have been rendered reproductively useless this spring have instead indulged the call of nature, resulting in a kitten explosion.
    • As summer approached, many (more) New Yorkers left the city, reducing the number of available people to foster/adopt.
    • The city animal shelter system, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), which is required by law to take every animal brought to it, has drastically reduced intake since the beginning of the pandemic shutdown in mid-March and is referring the public to small, private rescue groups (like Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, which runs the Cafe), usually run by single individuals or a few people, paying costs mostly out of pocket.
    • ACC has stopped doing spay/neuter surgeries, so rescue groups that pull animals from the shelter are having now to pay the costs themselves. There are limited private veterinarians that offer discounts and those that do have very limited appointment spots. Rescuers who were getting spay/neuter and vaccines for free are now paying $100 – $200 per cat, when they can get an appointment.

How has this affected the Cafe and BBAWC?

  • Through the end of June 2020, BBAWC and the Cafe took in 539 adoptable animals and adopted out 440. These numbers match the number of animals the organization helped in all of 2019.
  • In 2019, they were able to trap-neuter-return 239 cats; so far this year, they’ve been able to TNR only 86.
  • Their veterinary costs last year were about $75,000, a number they have already exceeded this year.
  • In 2019, nearly half of the 14,000 cats taken in by ACC were transferred to private rescues. Before COVID, all of those cats would have been spayed/neutered before being released to a rescue. Now, many are released to rescues intact.

Because many of the big, well-funded shelters in New York City work only with adoptable animals, small rescues are fielding constant requests from people finding homeless cats and kittens in their neighborhoods, many of which are feral and unsuitable for adoption. These small, independent rescues rely on donations, fundraisers, and volunteers to do their work.

How can you help?

  • Of course, you can donate. All donations are fully tax-deductible.
  • Adopt!
  • Not ready for that commitment? You can foster, too.
  • Become a volunteer driver. It’s an easy, contactless way to help, and you get to explore neighborhoods all over NYC.
  • Share this post on your own social media channels.

The Cafe itself is still closed under Phase 4 restrictions, but you can keep up with its residents and needs on both Instagram and Facebook.


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Cobble Hill Association President Amy Breedlove Stepping Down Mon, 27 Jul 2020 03:06:35 +0000

As reported by the Brooklyn Paper, the Cobble Hill Association’s president Amy Breedlove will be stepping down after two terms’ service, as required under the term limit provision of the Association’s charter. Her replacement has not yet been elected.

Ms. Breedlove is remembered by Brooklyn Heights residents for joining with us in opposition to the closure of Long Island College Hospital. Although that opposition was not entirely successful, she was able to bring the developers, the operators of the remaining medical facility, and representatives of the affected communities together to improve the community benefits flowing from the development plan.

She was also active in the discussion about options for the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, stressing the need to do something about the “trench” separating Cobble Hill from the Columbia Street District.In doing so, she raised questions about the whole renovation scheme, including the proposal to replace the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a “temporary” six lane highway.

We at BHB express our thanks for Ms. Breedlove’s advocacy that has benefited Brooklyn Heights as well as Cobble Hill and other neighboring communities.

Photo: Cobble Hill Association

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Haves and Have Nots: Elite Brooklyn Private Schools Rake in Millions in Federal Paycheck Aid-DOE Budgets Slashed Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:21:43 +0000

Gothamist reports elite Brooklyn Heights private schools are among institutions that received millions from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Private schools are eligible for PPP because they are considered non-profit businesses. According to data released by the Small Business Association, St. Ann’s, Packer Collegiate, Brooklyn Friends, and Brooklyn Heights Montessori all received loans. This money is in addition to CARES Act funding.

While exact amounts are unavailable from the SBA, Packer, and St. Ann’s reportedly each received PPP loans of $5 – 10 million dollars each. Brooklyn Friends received $2 – 5 million in PPP and Brooklyn Heights Montessori School $1-2 million. The loans have a 1% interest rate and, per Gothamist, “are eligible to be forgiven if the money is used on payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.”

DOE Budget Crunch

In contrast, NYC public schools got smacked with the short end of the financial stick. The DOE was slated to receive $717 million in CARES Act funding. However, recent changes proposed by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could cost NYC’s schools over $100 million. As a result, Gothamist reports, NYC has joined a lawsuit which “charges that the federal Department of Education is violating a federal education law called Title I.” On the Federal level, public schools are not eligible for PPP.

The pandemic has also saddled New York City with a $9 billion dollar overall revenue shortfall. Speaker of the Council, Cory Johnson described the passage of the 2021 Fiscal Year budget on June 30th as “heart-wrenching” and “full of impossible choices.” The Department of Education budget took a $462.9 million dollar hit with most of the cuts to “fall on classroom instruction, according to an analysis by the Independent Budget Office” reported ChalkBeat. For a complete breakdown of the DOE budget click HERE.

Special Needs Funding Squeeze  

Less widely known is that schools will also suffer a shortfall of Fair Student Funding, the monies a school receives per student based on their individual needs. Families waiting to have their children evaluated by the DOE as part of the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) process are in limbo and ultimately so is the funding they may be granted through the process.

The DOE halted all in-person during the shutdown. They cannot be conducted effectively online or by video. No evaluations mean no diagnoses. Without it and the subsequent IEP meetings with the School-Based Support Team (made up of teachers, social worker, school psychologist), a student struggling with learning challenges cannot receive their services.  As such, their school won’t receive the necessary additional funding to cover the costs for the coming academic year. Furthermore, most schools are not even funded 100% of their Fair Student Funding each year, to begin with.

It will be up to Principals and their School Leadership Teams (SLT) to determine how and where to cut expenses within the operating budget to ensure kids receive what they need. This places impossible pressure on individual schools, especially those in poorer, under-served neighborhoods. IMG_6915Inequities Magnified by Pandemic

The pandemic has laid the achievement gap bare within the DOE, the country’s largest and most segregated school system. NYC’s public schools serve 1.1 million children. According to Columbia University’s Bank Street Graduate School of Education, two out of five children in NYC live at or close to the poverty line.

The Return to School 2020 website lists greater equity among the DOE’s guiding principles. “We will not look away from the ways this virus has further magnified the effects of systemic racism in our communities. We will continue to explore opportunities to directly correct structural inequities—like closing the digital divide.” And, the blog will continue to report on how COVID impacts Education.

CORRECTIONS: This article has been updated to replace an incorrect link to Gothamist and reflect private schools are non-profit and not “for-profit” businesses.

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DeBlasio Announces Hybrid Back-To-School Plans For September Sun, 12 Jul 2020 02:41:22 +0000

Amid the reports of dangerous spikes of Covid-19 across the country, Mayor DeBlasio announced on July 8th NYC public schools will open in September on a “hybrid” schedule. The tentative plan entails three versions of staggered in-school instruction. Protocols include mandatory masks for children, teachers, and staff and nightly deep cleanings of school facilities.

In a letter to families meant to instill confidence in the City’s strategy, School’s Chancellor Richard Carranza introduced a Return to School 2020 resource page. There, parents can explore three programming models.  Digital education publication, Chalkbeat also does a good job of breaking this down. The DOE site explains, “Principals and school leadership teams [SLT’s] will compare the different programming models to the specific needs of their students and communities to select a best-fit model.” Families also have the option of choosing full remote learning. Governor Cuomo, of course, has the final say for opening day on September 10th.

As the pandemic continues to evolve, the DOE encourages families to check Return to School 2020 throughout the summer.

UPDATE 7/13/2020:

Family and Student Information Sessions

Throughout the summer the Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) will host a series of Family & Student Information Sessions to answer any questions or concerns that families may have. The first of these will be held on July 16, 2020, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.  Spanish and Mandarin interpretation will be available.

You can join this event by registering at the Return to School 2020 Webpage.  Translated flyers will also be available for download there.



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Clark Street Elevator Repairs on Hold; MTA to do Borough Hall First Sat, 11 Jul 2020 02:31:11 +0000

We’ve seen some questions on Open Thread Wednesdays, and heard them in on line conversations with friends: when will the MTA proceed with replacement of the Clark Street elevators? Just this February the MTA announced that the Clark Street subway station would close for eight months while all three aged, breakdown prone elevators are replaced, although no start date was given. Then came COVID-19.

Our friends at the Brooklyn Heights Association tell us that the MTA has put Clark Street repairs on indefinite hold, although funds for the repairs are in place and not threatened, choosing instead to do repairs to elevators at nearby Borough Hall instead. By “Borough Hall” we presume they mean, as well as the single elevator serving the 2/3 line from near Borough Hall, the two elevators at what’s designated the “Court Street” station on the N/R line. These elevators, as your correspondent can attest, have lately become as, if not more, unreliable than those at Clark. If they are taken out of service for some time, there will still be access to R and N trains from the Borough Hall station entrance at Montague and Court streets, by following a corridor to the left past the turnstiles, then down an escalator (or stairs if you’re a fitness fanatic) and one more short flight of stairs to the N/R platform.

There’s more information here.

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Part of Columbia Heights to be Closed on July 14, but What Part? Fri, 10 Jul 2020 01:38:16 +0000

Let’s see … Pierremont Street. Is that in Fort Greene? Vinegar Hill? Bushwick? Canarsie?

You’ve been forewarned.

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BQE Below Brooklyn Heights Being Resurfaced Tue, 07 Jul 2020 03:01:39 +0000

Our friends at the Brooklyn Heights Association have advised us that the City Department of Transportation, in an effort to reduce the problem of vibrations from the cantilevered portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, has ordered the resurfacing of the BQE from Brooklyn Bridge to Remsen Street. The BHA’s announcement said that the reduction in traffic because of COVID-19 may have made the vibration problem worse because it allows trucks to move faster.

Your correspondent went looking for evidence of resurfacing work, and got the photo above, taken from the north end of the Promenade, showing the surface of the upper, Queens bound, level having been milled to a point just south of the bridge that carries Columbia Heights over the BQE. While the work is intended to reduce vibrations in the longer run, in the shorter one the milling and resurfacing may actually increase them.

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R.I.P. Martin Schneider, Brooklyn Heights Preservation Pioneer Mon, 06 Jul 2020 03:54:19 +0000

We are greatly saddened to learn, thanks to the Brooklyn Heights Association, of the passing of Martin Schneider. Marty, a TV producer and Heights resident, was, along with Otis and Nancy Pearsall and others, a strong participant in the battles to save Brooklyn Heights, first from plans to put the BQE through the Heights, then to stop Robert Moses from building a monolithic high rise along the east side of Henry Street from Middagh to Clark, that would block morning sun and invite only transient renters. He was a regular reader of, and commenter on, BHB. He joined with another BHB regular, Karl Junkersfeld, to produce a video about the struggle to preserve the Heights.

Photo: courtesy Bettina Schneider Stuart

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