Brooklyn Heights Blog » Parents Dispatches from America's first suburb Wed, 03 Mar 2021 13:02:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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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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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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Artist, Philanthropist, Carousel Namesake, Jane Walentas Dies at 76 Sat, 11 Jul 2020 02:56:40 +0000

As reported by Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Brooklyn Paper, Philanthropist, Artist, Real Estate Developer, and “First Lady of Dumbo,” Jane Walentas passed away July 5th after a brief battle with cancer. She was 76 years old.

The Walentas Family and their management company, Two Trees, is synonymous with DUMBO as we now know it. And the carousel, which has delighted children and adults alike since September 2011, is inseparable from Jane.

A New York Times article from 2011 traces the journey of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel, originally installed in Youngstown, OH in 1922, to Brooklyn. Purchased by the Walentas’ in 1984, much of the tedious scraping away of decades of paint was carried out by Jane herself with an Exacto blade. She told WNYC in 2011, “It’s not a labor of love, it’s an obsession.”

In November 2012 Hurricane Sandy threatened to wash the carousel away. Fortunately, it endured, as will Jane’s legacy of creativity and generosity. We at the blog send our deepest condolences to the entire Walentas family.

Photo credit: SongBirdNYC

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New Section of Brooklyn Bridge Park Opens Fri, 10 Jul 2020 03:08:12 +0000

A new section of Brooklyn Bridge Park, upland from Pier Two (the one with the basketball courts and other athletic facilities), opened recently. It includes a water feature, seen in the photo taken by your correspondent today), with fountains that jet up at intervals, providing cooling relief on hot days like today and fun for kids. At the left of the photo is part of an oval shaped lawn that will probably, like others in the park, be popular for sunbathing.

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Park Plaza Diner Closes for Now; Eyebrows Trivia & Karaoke Zooms Wed, 01 Apr 2020 20:05:03 +0000

The Park Plaza Restaurant was once-bustling with attorneys, courthouse, and Office of Emergency Management employees, college students, and regulars from the neighborhood. For many, the family-run Park Plaza was a second dining room where patrons and staff alike knew one another’s names. Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams frequently held meetings with constituents at a coveted corner table. Children ogled the cookies and cakes in the case near the cash register.

Sadly, once the COVID-19 crisis shuttered restaurants for dining-in, even take out orders weren’t enough to keep the beloved restaurant operational. The blog found this message on the diner’s website this morning.

To our loyal customers. As of April 1, 2020 Park Plaza Restaurant will close indefinitely due to the covid -19 pandemic. This was a difficult decision but we feel the right one at this time. Our first priority is the health and safety of our customers and our staff.

We appreciate all the love and support we have received over the last few weeks from all of you. We will reopen when the time is right and will continue to serve the Brooklyn Heights community and beyond like we have been for 37 years.

Please use our contact us form for inquiries.

We at the blog are all thinking of Nick, Dimitri, Eve, Rosie and the entire Park Plaza staff and hope all of our neighborhood restaurants can re-open soon.

Tommy Kafkalas, aka Tommy Eyebrows, has been an entertainment staple at Park Plaza for close to three years.  Each week in the bar, he hosted Tuesday Night Trivia and Family Karaoke on Wednesdays. Early in the evening, the kids would knock out everything from “Let It Go” to “Old Town Road,” and “Hotel California” with full harmonies. Then at 8:00 pm it was “adult swim.” Drinks flowed, laughter and comradery ensued.

Last week, Tommy moved Karaoke to a Zoom conference as an experiment. Tonight, you can log on starting at 6:00 pm with Zoom ID: 387 867 5309 and belt one out. He’s also expanding his schedule. In an email to his mailing list, Tommy shared, “Next week I will be working alongside my Beard and Brows partner Tim to bring you events every day (except Sunday) to keep the morale up!”

Stay safe everyone. And don’t forget to #shoplocal when you can. As Tommy would say, “Eyebrows Out!”


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Dog Poop Vigilante Redux 2020 Tue, 10 Mar 2020 01:55:12 +0000

[Warning: Do not read this while eating, or if you generally have a weak stomach.]

Long time readers may recall the dog poop vigilante of 2011 who took matters into her own hands and taped signs around two lumps of dog feces left on Hicks St. reading, “Pick up your sh*t or don’t have a dog” and “What kind of lazy person leaves dog sh*t?” Why was she driven to such extreme measures? Her one-year-old almost picked up a log with his bare hands.

This morning, while walking through Cadman park at about 9:00 a.m., I came upon a fresh, still-wet pool of dog diarrhea that showed a half-hearted, shameless, and narcissistic attempt at clean up. If you’ve ever been to Cadman park on a nice day, you’ve seen the masses of kids rolling around on the turf.

20200309_190924I mean, look at that. I couldn’t just leave that there for someone’s toddler to roll in it or grab at it. So, I marched to the field office behind the monument and spoke to a Parks worker. She was very nice and grateful for the heads up and said, “We’ll be clearing the litter soon anyway.” Not trusting how long that would take, I went back home, printed a sign, and covered up the biohazard. By that time, there were already four tiny tots toodling around on the turf.


Asked for comment, the O.G. dog poop vigilante said, “It’s nice to see that someone has carried the torch to keep curious toddlers safe from disease in the Brooklyn Heights community.”

To the very selfish, very reckless offender: The EPA classifies dog poop as a toxic pollutant in the same category as chemical and oil spills. If your dog is sick and has diarrhea, I’m guessing it’s even more hazardous. Do you really need a lesson on zoonotic diseases given the recent news?

To all dog owners who use Cadman as a dog run before 9:00 a.m.: Please look out for each other. As one reader commented in the past, “If you see sh*t, say sh*t.”


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Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Hosts Valentine’s Craft Event for Kids Sunday Thu, 06 Feb 2020 03:44:49 +0000

This Sunday, February 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street (between Hicks and Henry) will present a Valentine’s Day craft event for kids:

We’ll be making quilled designs for Valentines Day. Also known as paper filigree, quilling is a technique that turns rolled paper into intricate patterns and designs. Come to the BWE to learn this art form popular since the Italian Renaissance!

There are photos of quilled paper designs here.

This event is best for children six and up, who must be accompanied by a caregiver. There is a suggestd family donation of $5.00.

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UPDATE! JENNA FOUND! Brooklyn Tech Student, Jenna Hospedales, Missing Since Thursday Tue, 14 Jan 2020 16:44:21 +0000

UPDATE: The teen’s mom confirmed to PIX 11 Jenna was found on Tuesday evening and is safe at home. It has not been made public where the teen was during the time she was missing.

URGENT! The 77th Police precinct, CB2 and, numerous news outlets are seeking help in finding Jenna Hospedales, a Brooklyn Tech High School freshman, missing since Thursday, January 9th.

CBS New York reports, “Jenna Hospedales is 5-foot-8 and weighs 118 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74682), logging onto the Crime stoppers website at, or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enterings TIP577.”

On behalf of the blog, we send our love and support to Jenna’s family and friends and sincerely hope she is returned home swiftly and safely.

Cover Photo Credit: Instagram @___niama___

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Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Free Performance Saturday Mon, 09 Dec 2019 03:37:03 +0000

This Saturday afternoon, December 14 at 2:00 (seating begins at 1:30), at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights Branch, 109 Remsen Street (accessible entrance from Henry Street between Montague and Remsen), Theater 2020, Brooklyn Heights’ own professional theater company, will Present “A Radio Christmas Carol”, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ (photo) “A Christmas Carol”, by David Fuller and performed as a one hour Radio Play, complete with Foley Artist sound effects. The performance will last one hour. Admission is free. “This event includes some light holiday treats and is a lovely holiday event for the whole family, ages 6 years and up.”

Dickens photo, public domain.

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Selfies with Elves at the Bossert – Yes, the Bossert – on Saturday Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:32:04 +0000

If you’re in town over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Montague BID and its member merchants are sponsoring another “Selfies with Elves” event on Saturday, November 30 from noon until 2:00 p.m. A receipt from any Montague Street business gets you and your child admission to “Selfies with Elves” and Balloon Artistry at – and this is the really exciting thing – the Bossert (98 Montague, corner of Hicks). This seems to imply admission to the restored great hotel’s lobby, at least.

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Plymouth Church Yankee Fair Saturday Fri, 01 Nov 2019 03:45:23 +0000

This Saturday, November 2, historic Plymouth Church, Orange Street between Henry and Hicks, holds its annual Yankee Fair. Nothing to do with baseball loyalty (thank God), but instead to Congregationalist history going back to the Pilgrims. There will be many things for sale, including kids’ and adults’ clothing, toys, books, housewares, food, and so on. There will also be activities for kids, and live music. Admission is $25 for a family or caregiver with one child; $45 for two or more children and accompanying parents or caregivers; and a suggested donation of $10 for adults without kids. There’s more information here.

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BREAKING: Pierrepont Playground Halloween Parade CANCELLED Sun, 27 Oct 2019 12:10:01 +0000 For anyone asking “Hey, when does that Halloween Parade start?” and checking BHB to verify, The Pierrepont Playground Halloween Parade has been CANCELLED for Sunday. There will be an “Afternoon Of Fun”  tomorrow (Monday, 10/28/2019) at Pierrepont Playground from 3:30pm to 5pm, where, according to the organizers, you can “wear your costumes, do some crafts and enjoy all the treats we couldn’t eat today!”

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Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturday Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:00:23 +0000

This Saturday, October 19 Brooklyn Bridge Park will present its tenth annual Harvest Festival on Pier 6, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Activities will include a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts, face painting, live animals, music, lawn games, food trucks, and more. It’s all free, except for the food trucks. There’s more information here.

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Show Your Love for Cadman Plaza Park Sunday Fri, 18 Oct 2019 02:12:35 +0000

This Sunday, October 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. you can join the celebration of “I Love Cadman Plaza Park Day.” You’re invited to meet at the circular garden at the south end of the Astroturf field and from there to plant daffodil bulbs as part of the New Yorkers 4 Parks Daffodil Day, and to help with weeding, raking leaves, and distributing wood chips around the trees. Wear work clothes; gloves and tools will be provided. No experience is necessary, and kids are welcome. The weather forecast is encouraging.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to – this allows planning for how many gloves and tools to provide.

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Atlantic Antic This Coming Sunday, September 29 Wed, 25 Sep 2019 03:28:44 +0000

The 45th annual Atlantic Antic will take place on Atlantic Avenue between Hicks Street and Fourth Avenue this coming Sunday, September 29, from noon until 6:00 p.m., rain or shine. Local merchants will be represented, with special deals for the occasion, along with food, music, dancers, visual artists, clothing vendors, and fun sites for kids. There’s a Schedule and Official Program here. It’s sponsored by the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation.

Photo: Chuck Taylor

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Montague BID “Sunday Social” Happening On Sept 15th Sun, 08 Sep 2019 02:56:33 +0000

Now in it’s third year, the Sunday Social is a FREE family-friendly day of entertainment, music and activities. The Kids Zone, curated by Brooklyn Bridge Parents, will host more than 25 free hands on activities including STEM, crafts, sports, Bey Blade tournaments, bouncy house, soccer, face painting, music and two free puppet shows.  Restaurants and businesses on Montague Street will be offering family friendly menus and prices, giveaways, gifts with purchase and specials throughout the day.

The Sunday Social is sponsored by the businesses of Montague Street and is part of the Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks.  From Noon to 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 15th, Montague Street from Clinton Street to the Promenade will be closed to cars.


12pm & 2pm: Bessie’s Big Shot, a new variety puppet show presented by City Parks Foundation at the
end of Montague Street at the Promenade.

1pm & 3pm Join the Paprika Marching Band for a parade down Montague Street between Clinton and the Promenade

4pm Dance performance by ZCO Dance Project

 For more info, visit , follow @montaguebid on Facebook and Instagram #ilovemontaguestreet #sundaysocial

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Bargemusic This Labor Day Weekend Thu, 29 Aug 2019 01:29:02 +0000

In town this long weekend? Bargemusic will have a “Here and Now Labor Day Festival” featuring works by contemporary composers, most of which will be world premiere performances, with the others being New York premieres. The concert Friday evening, August 30 at 7:00 will include the world premiere of “Brooklyn Menu”, composed and played on piano by Brooklyn’s own Kathleen Supové (photo), of whose work Ben Sisario, in NY Press, wrote:

This was classical music played like the best rock’n’roll. It was passionate, earnest, loud and more complex than the gatekeepers of high culture would like to think. Brava.

The Saturday evening, August 31 concert, beginning, at 6:00, will include a world premiere of portions of “DECADE-ENCYCLE”, a work consisting of memorials to lost friends, by Brooklyn native composer Stanley Walden, performed on piano by Daniel Schosberg. For those who can’t make it to the Saturday concert, the program will be repeated, except that it will include the parts of Mr. Walden’s “DECADE-ENCYCLE” that weren’t included in the Saturday concert, on Sunday afternoon, September 1 at 4:00.

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.

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Bargemusic This Weekend Thu, 15 Aug 2019 02:25:58 +0000

On Saturday evening, August 17 at 6:00, and again at 8:00 (no Friday concert this week), Bargemusic will present the St. Petersburg String Quartet (photo), joined by pianist Tao Lin performing works by Glazunov and Schumann.

On Sunday afternoon, August 18 at 2:00, pianist Steven Beck will play an all Bach concert, including several selections from The Well Tempered Clavier.

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.

Bargemusic will take a short late summer break, with no concerts, and no Music in Motion, the weekend of Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25. Concerts will resume with a “Here and Now Labor Day Festival” Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 1. Details here later.

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

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

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

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Last Day of School Means Karaoke Party at Park Plaza! Wed, 26 Jun 2019 15:26:33 +0000

School’s out for summer! To celebrate, Tommy Eyebrows is hosting a special EXTENDED KARAOKE PARTY TODAY at Park Plaza Restaurant starting at 4:00 pm in the sports bar! Adults take over the mic at 8:00 pm.

In Brooklyn Heights, the family owned Park Plaza is already a second living room. For parents especially, karaoke night is a way for everyone to let loose with their friends, great music and of course, great food. FACT: Chef Dimitri has a formal education from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. (Check out the new BBQ and updated diner menu HERE) We interviewed Tommy to find out how this beloved neighborhood hang evolved.

How did you get started as a karaoke DJ?

I started karaoke about 5 years ago with a friend of mine. His partner moved out of state and he needed a person to take over on the mic. His exact words were, “Hey you have a big mouth, why don’t you give it a shot?” Once he moved away I took over the gig we originally did together and the rest is history.

How did your relationship with Park Plaza evolve?

A former bartender who used to attend one of my karaoke nights in Bay Ridge told me that Park Plaza was looking to do something different. At the time, the bar area was newly remodeled and was perfect for karaoke or trivia. One week later I met up with Dimitri and we decided to give karaoke a shot. [Two] years later, it has become a weekly event that all ages look forward to. 

What is your favorite thing about karaoke at Park Plaza?

I love my kids! These kids are some of the most talented/adorable kids I have ever seen. My favorite thing about the kiddie karaoke is seeing them grow not only musically but literally. One of my kids came to me for the first time around a year ago and was scared to death to sing, or even for that matter talk in front of people. Now adays, you cant take the mic away from him!

When we switch over to the adults that’s when I can let loose a bit. I have met some really amazing people from the neighborhood that have made Park Plaza a weekly Wednesday Night hang out.

What are your favorite songs that people sing?

Whenever I hear a 8-10 year old kid sing a song that is way before [their] time, that truly makes me happy. I’ve had kids sing Hotel California, Imagine, Disco Inferno and of course with me, …Piano Man. Also to see these kids sing Broadway tunes is mind blowing.

Don’t forget the adults! My job is to make everyone stop worrying about things in life and enjoy the moment. If you can sing well I will praise you, if you cant sing well but you are having a blast doing it, I will be your number one fan! From 6-11 every Wednesday I want the bar to be a No Judgement Zone! Sing whatever you want, get to know the people who are at the bar, and just have a good time!

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Wedesday Night Karaoke at Park Plaza Wed, 19 Jun 2019 19:24:36 +0000

One of the best kept secrets in the neighborhood is Tommy “Eyebrows” Karaoke at the Park Plaza Restaurant.  Tonight and every Wednesday night, starting st 6:00 pm kids can belt out their favorite tunes while their grown-ups enjoy Chef Dimitri’s new BBQ menu, diner favorites and the full bar. Adults take over the mic at 8:00. The fun goes until 11:00 pm. See you there!

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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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Kite Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturday Tue, 07 May 2019 02:56:08 +0000

This Saturday, May 11, from noon to 3:00 p.m., weather permitting, there will be a Kite Festival at Pier 5, the soccer field pier near the foot of Joralemon Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park. This year’s festival will include many new features, including live music, robot demonstrations, and many more fun and educational activities. Admission is free. There is more information here.

Photo: C. Scales for BHB.

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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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Annual Pierrepont Playground Park Egg Hunt Saturday, April 6th – Volunteers Still Needed! Tue, 02 Apr 2019 02:53:32 +0000 The Pierrepont Playground Park Egg Hunt is this Saturday, April 6th! The Hunt begins at 10:30am sharp, so tell the kids it starts at 9:30am to get them there on time!

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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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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Senator Gillibrand at St. Ann’s Church Saturday to Promote New Book Thu, 13 Dec 2018 18:23:11 +0000

New York’s junior U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, prominently mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for President in 2020, will be at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, Clinton and Montague streets, at 1:00 PM this Saturday, December 15. She will read from and discuss her new book for children, Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, illustrated by Maira Kalman. There’s more information and you may buy tickets here. The event is sponsored by Books are Magic.

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Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Free Performance Saturday Thu, 13 Dec 2018 04:56:47 +0000

This Saturday afternoon, December 15 at 2:00 (seating begins at 1:30), at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights Branch, 109 Remsen Street (accessible entrance from Henry Street between Montague and Remsen), Theater 2020, Brooklyn Heights’ own professional theater company, will Present “A Radio Christmas Carol”, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ (photo) “A Christmas Carol”, by David Fuller and performed as a one hour Radio Play, complete with Foley Artist sound effects. The performance will last one hour. Admission is free. “This event includes some light holiday treats and is a lovely holiday event for the whole family, ages 6 years and up.”

Dickens photo, public domain.

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