Brooklyn Heights Blog » Parents Dispatches from America's first suburb Sun, 23 Apr 2017 03:22:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pierrepont Playground Egg Hunt 4/8: Volunteers Needed! Fri, 31 Mar 2017 00:42:57 +0000

jsw_easter_egg_hunt_2Saturday, April 8th, will be Pierrepont Playground’s umpteenth annual Egg Hunt! Over a week away! Plenty of time to clear your schedule! The great hunt will start at 10am, and there will be a (nut-free) bake sale as well.

They are still looking for volunteers, so if you want to help clean up, or provide (nut-free) pastries, go sign yourself up.

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Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Hosts Spring Craft Workshop For Kids Thu, 30 Mar 2017 03:17:29 +0000

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

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Coming at Brooklyn Historical Society Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:38:16 +0000

This coming Saturday, April 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Brooklyn Historical Society will host a Family Play Day

where families get to try hands-on activities and games that will be featured in a new exhibition about the history of the Brooklyn waterfront.

The activities will include building puzzles, making postcards, drawing murals, and others, and are designed for children ages two to twelve. Participants will become important in deciding what becomes a permanent part of the Society’s exhibition when it opens later in 2017. Snacks will be served, and those who attend will receive a gift from BHS. Admission is free, but you must reserve tickets here.

Did you know that Brooklyn briefly had an NHL team before the Islanders? Word has it that the Isles stay here may be brief, but not so much so as the Brooklyn Americans, who had previously been the New York Americans, and who played under the Brooklyn name for one season (1941-42) that proved to be their last. On Monday, April 3, starting at 6:30 BHS will present a screening of Dale Morrisey’s new documentary, Only the Dead Know the Brooklyn Americans. The film will be followed by a discussion with Stan Fischler, MSG’s “Hockey Maven,” and Allan Kreda of the New York Times. Admission is free, but you must reserve tickets here.

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Mathnasium To Move Into Heights Kids Space Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:16:50 +0000

Neighborhood tiger moms and dads, rejoice! Mathnasium, a math tutoring center, will be moving into the empty space on Pineapple Walk that used to be home to Heights Kids. The recently-posted sign on the window says Mathnasium will be opening this spring.

The space has been empty since last July, when the neighborhood collectively grieved over the loss of Heights Kids. Ever since, parents have been forced to wander the toy desert for blocks and blocks to pick up that last-minute birthday party gift. Still, no oasis has been found anywhere to match the charm of Darek and those collectible Schleich figurines.

According to its website, Mathnasium is a franchise, like a McDonald’s serving up math, with more than 700 locations worldwide and an average of two more opening every week. Good luck to the new occupants and let’s hope another one doesn’t sprout up on Montague St.


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P.S. 8 Kindergarten Waitlist Strikes Again-Now What? Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:48:04 +0000

Kindergarten placement notifications were emailed on Wednesday and some families are in for a disappointment. Just one year after rezoning, P.S. 8 will have a waitlist for the 2017-2018 academic year. This year 22 children received an alternate placement (vs. 50 children in 2015). The grapevine indicates children were offered seats at P.S. 307.  P.S. 8 received 187 in-zone applications and 165 offer letters were sent for the 125 available seats.  The number of offers is determined by the Office of Kindergarten Admissions.

Anecdotally, the impression has been that the rezoning of P.S.8 and 307 would stave off the problem for at least a few years.  But while waitlists at P.S. 8 could be the new normal, given historic rates of attrition (number of offers vs. numbers of actual registrations) there is a good chance the waitlist could clear for 2017-18.  Parents just have to be patient. NYC School Help consultant, Joyce Szuflita advised in her March 2016 blog post (“A Tale of Two Waitlists”), “People who panic drown. Remain calm.”  OK…easier said than done. So what else can parents do, right now?


The wait list is stressful for families and all the impacted schools, both the overcrowded and those receiving overflow. So, be a good neighbor. PLEASE NOTIFY P.S.8 ASAP if you DON’T plan to send your child to the school whether your child was offered a seat or placed on the waitlist.

If you DO plan to send your child to P.S. 8, pre-register them without delay.  Bring your child with you to the school along with the required documentation Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, until April 7th.  The sooner parents notify P.S.8 of their decisions, the sooner the administration can contact wait-listed families.


  • Read the P.S. 8 Waitlist FAQs.  Many of parents’ initial questions have been addressed by this document.
  • Confirm your child’s position on the waitlist. Contact the Office of Kindergarten Admissions at (718) 935-2009 or via email:
  • Tour the school where your child received alternate placement. P.S. 307 is offering tours on Tuesday, March 14th – 9:00am and Tuesday, March 21st – 9:00am.  Parents are asked to call 718-834-4748 if they are unable to attend on those dates and times.
  • Investigate ALL D13 options.  The Kindergarten Admissions Guide lists schools by district with full contact information.
  • Be patient. The wait list tends to move in mid-April after the close of pre-registration (April 7th) and charter schools hold their lotteries. Expect more activity mid to late June after the Gifted & Talented acceptance deadline (June 16th).  Spaces often open up at the very end of the summer and even through the first weeks of school.
  • Pre-register your child at the school where they received alternate placement by the April 7th deadline. Your child must accompany you.  Please bring the required documentation.  This ensures your child a Kindergarten seat in September.

Joyce Szuflita is adamant about this last point. She emphasizes, “You WILL NOT get some imagined advantage by not registering. Not pre-registering does not force the DOE’s hand in any way. You will be placed on a regular wait list (like everyone else) for any school that you have ranked higher than the school that you were placed in (except your zoned school – where you are on the special Capped Zoned School wait list).” The capped wait list is explained in full in the P.S. 8 FAQs.


  • Research and apply for charter schools by April 1st. Most charters conduct their admissions lotteries in April.
  •  If your child tested and qualified for either district or city-wide programs, submit a Gifted & Talented application by April 24th.
  • Check with private Pre-K’s such as Plymouth Church and Kiddie Korner, among others.  Many offer private Kindergarten programs.
  • Try the old stand-by private schools such as Packer Collegiate, St. Ann’s, Brooklyn Friends, etc. They belong to the Independent Admissions Association of Greater NY (ISAAGNY).  Acceptance letters were sent in early February and the reply deadline was February 17th.  But, it may be still possible to apply and placed on a wait list.  AltSchool and Basis Independent Brooklyn are not part of ISAAGNY but have similar admissions timelines. Parochial schools are another avenue to explore as well.  It has been suggested too that parents investigate tuition insurance if they apply to private schools late in the game.


DISCLOSURE: This correspondent was an active participant in advocating for wait-listed families in 2015-16.  She is a P.S. 8 parent, school volunteer and frequent attendee of various D13 meetings.  Views expressed in this post are gleaned from this experience and are solely those of the author.

EDIT: This post has been updated by removing Grace Church from the list of schools offering private Kindergarten as their program will be discontinued after this academic year.  A link for P.S. 307 has been added along with information about school tours.

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P.S. 8 Camp Expo This Saturday Fri, 03 Mar 2017 03:23:21 +0000

Does the mild weather have you dreaming of summer? Planning on sending your kiddo(s) to camp? Then head over to the annual P.S. 8 Camp Expo is this Saturday to learn about the diverse programs available for both day and sleep away camp.  The expo takes place from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, PS 8 Gym, 37 Hicks St. Enter through Poplar Street.

Admission is free for parents, caregivers and kids. The PTA is also raffling off several prizes including:

  • One month membership to Brooklyn Boulders
  • Family Portrait Session from Roberto Falck Photography
  • PS8 parent and jewelry designer Beth Ward’s samples for Anthropologie
  • A variety of CDs

Click HERE for a complete list of participating camps.


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BHA Annual Meeting: P.S.8’s Phillips and Others Honored; Expert Panel Dubious about BQX Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:03:32 +0000

Court hearing on Pier 6 towers has been rescheduled–see below. At Monday evening’s annual meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association, BHA President Patrick Killackey (photo) began by asking, rhetorically, what a neighborhood association can do in a time of political turmoil. He answered by arguing that the nature of the times requires more action at the local level. We might not, he said, be able to bring about the disarmament of North Korea, but we can do, and have done, things that can improve our lives and perhaps inspire others to do more, both in our community and in others. As examples, among others, he cited the Promenade Gardeners and those who fought to reduce helicopter noise in the Heights and nearby.

Mr. Killackey noted some new developments. The BHA House Tour, which ended in 2015, will be replaced with a new Designer Showhouse event to take place in September of this year. More details are forthcoming. On Monday, March 6, there will be a hearing in court on the BHA’s lawsuit to prevent construction of two high rise residential buildings near the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Update: The new hearing date before NYS Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings will be Friday, March 17th at 11:00 AM at 71 Thomas Street, Room 203, in Manhattan.

Mr. Killackey noted with regret the departure of DCI Centa as commander of the 84th Precinct, but expressed confidence in his replacement, Capt. Roberto Melendez. Mr. Killackey reviewed the progress that had been made under DCI Centa, including the installation of cameras on Joralemon Street and the appointment of two community affairs officers to Brooklyn Heights.


Awards for community service were presented by Heights resident and Channel 13 personality Tom Stewart (photo above), who got a good laugh for announcing that the first award went to La La Land. The real first award for community service went to Irene Janner, who served on the P.S.8 PTA during the years of the school’s transition from struggling to desirable, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Brooklyn Bridge Park, and was treasurer and office manager for the BHA. The second was to Love Our Pool, a group of parents who fought to keep the Pop-Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park open for at least another summer, while the Park finds another way to provide a swimming venue. The third was to community activists Judi Francis and Ren Richmond, and to the law firm Jenner & Block, which has donated its services pro bono, for their fight to keep high rise towers from being built near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.


The BHA’s top award, the Martha Atwater Award, went to Seth Phillips (photo above), who became principal of P.S.8 when it was still a struggling, underperforming school to which local parents tried to avoid sending their children, to one so successful that it now has an overcrowding problem. He was also instrumental in expanding the school, and in establishing a new middle school, I.S.8, to relieve the shortage of nearby, attractive middle school options for local students.

The meeting concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by New York Times writer Jim Dwyer, and featuring experts on transit matters. The topic was the proposed “Brooklyn-Queens Connector,” a streetcar line that would connect Sunset Park in Brooklyn with Astoria, Queens. The panel members were. in general, skeptical of the project. The notion that the project could be financed by property tax increases on adjacent properties was questioned because the properties along the line were either fully developed or too small to produce the needed revenue. Engineering problems related to the route being mostly within a flood plain, and lacking a dedicated right of way, which would mean traffic delays. Concerns were also expressed about the ability of the proposed route to connect with other means of transit, such as subways and buses. Finally, it was argued that money would better be spent on improvements to transit on underserved areas like East New York and others on the City’s edge. One panelist said that underserved areas near the proposed BQX route, such as the Red Hook Houses and other NYCHA housing near the Queens waterfront, could be served more economically by providing better bus service connecting to subways.

The audience seemed mostly hostile to the BQX proposal, as each criticism of it from the panel attracted a vigorous round of applause.

All photos by Andrew Porter.

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Brooklyn Women’s Exchange Hosts Valentine’s Craft Workshop For Kids Fri, 03 Feb 2017 04:11:17 +0000

On Sunday, February 12 the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street (between Hicks and Henry) will host a Valentine’s Day workshop for kids five years old and up, accompanied by a caregiver. The project will be the making of “Li’l Monsters” (see details here). Stop by anytime from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. No RSVP needed. Suggested donation is $5.00 per family.

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First Presbyterian Presents “Breakfast With Santa” Saturday, December 17 Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:52:11 +0000

On Saturday, December 17, First Presbyterian Church, 124 Henry Street (between Clark and Pierrepont), presents “Breakfast With Santa”, a “family friendly, stress-free visit with Santa.” There will be pancakes, Christmas music, crafts for the kids, and photos with Santa. There are two seatings, 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Tickets are $10 per person or $40 per family. Seats are limited; call 718-624-3770 to make reservations.

For more information, contact Tracy Zamot,, 917-579-6704.

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P.S. 8 Holiday Craft Fair This Saturday-Special Guest NY1’s Pat Kiernan Thu, 01 Dec 2016 05:45:50 +0000

Get a jump on your holiday shopping while the kids have fun with arty activities.  This Saturday, December 3rd P.S.8 is holding their annual Made @ P.S. 8 Craft Fair from Noon to 4:oo pm in the Lower School Gym and Cafeteria (entrance on Poplar Street).

The PTA shared,”This year, we have over 30 vendors, including many Etsy artists, PS8/MS8 parents, local artisans and beautiful creations from our students. There will be a Craft Lab run by Creatively WILD Art Studio offering a variety of great kids activities throughout the day, a photo booth, and cookie decorating.”

Pat Kiernan Book

In addition, beloved NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan will be on hand at 12:30 for a reading and signing of his new children’s book “Good Morning, City.”  The event is free and open to the public. Home made snacks and treats will be available for sale.  Bake sale proceeds will benefit the school.

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Build a Gingerbread House; Help Habitat for Humanity Mon, 28 Nov 2016 04:14:53 +0000

Habitat for Humanity is “a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world.” On Sunday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. at Grace Church, 254 Hicks Street (between Joralemon and Grace Court), you and your children may help Habitat toward its goal of providing affordable housing for all by making a small donation and building a gingerbread house (construction material will be supplied). Representatives of Habitat will be there to talk about their work. This event coincides with the annual Christmas Party of Grace’s “Stroller Group”, but members of all faiths, or no faith, are invited.


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Swastikas, Trump, And A Kids Park: A Personal Note Sat, 19 Nov 2016 02:30:57 +0000 It’s Mrs. Fink. Hey!  I haven’t been here much.  Besides my daughter, my husband loved (LOVED) this blog and this community more than anything.

So, it’s hard for me.  Baby Fink, as Homer lovingly called her, had to witness his death in our Brooklyn Heights apartment.  That she, or ANY of our children have to witness the death of our country and our ideals on the playground we frequented? NOPE. No fucking way.

We took Baby Fink to Adam Yauch Park when it was named.  We spoke of his truths, his faith, the songs good and silly, and that he left this world peacefully.  We did this because we knew some of the people involved, we shared a love of music and, well. Our right to party!

I’m waiting for people to “teenage prank” this away.  Maybe it’s true, but, frankly, I don’t care.  Not one fucking iota. You don’t get to (incorrectly I might add) paint swastikas where our children play. Not precocious, not cute, just really, really racist.

My husband loved this community, this blog, the power of US.  Do NOT let us down. Just fucking don’t do it.

Let’s fight for our rights to justice,

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Halloween Happenings: Brooklyn Heights and Boo-Yond! Mon, 31 Oct 2016 03:30:46 +0000

Boo, Eek!   Halloween is finally upon us!! Here’s a round up of the best of what our end of Brooklyn has to offer. Add additional events or photos of your Halloween celebrations in the comments.

Trick or Treat!

Hands down, parents in Brooklyn Heights know the two best places to be on Halloween are Garden Place and Grace Court Alley. (So do all the parent blogs, thanks for the shout out Mommy Poppins).  There, the kiddos can roam safely from one beautifully (or creepily) adorned stoop to the next. Peak trick or treating time is just before sundown but “the littles” are often out early, just after school dismissal.

Graves End Inn-Haunted Hotel

Now in its 19th year, the students of City Tech’s theater group, Theaterworks and the Entertainment Technology Department, are aiming to scare the pants off of you with their haunted house. Older kids and adults will be impressed by the theme-park level of design and production value. Enter if you dare!

Voorhees Theatre, 186 Jay Street (north of Tillary)
$5 for students (with ID) and group admission
$10 for general sales
Free to New York City College of Technology students with ID the day of the event


The Dumbo BID is offering a variety of activities starting with storefront trick or treating (4:00 – 7:00 pm) throughout the neighborhood (look for the pumpkin decal in shop windows). The annual costume parade, “March to the Arch” (4:30 pm) led by the Funkrust Brass Band with puppets from Great Small Works will wend its way from Brooklyn Roasting Company at 25 Jay Street to the Manhattan Bridge Arch. Immediately followed by the Archway Kids Party (5:00 – 7:00 pm) and a Pet Costume Soiree (7:00 – 10:00 pm) both in the Manhattan Bridge Archway.

4:00 pm – 10:00 pm


The Brooklyn Academy of Music invites families to start their night of trick-or-treating at their free outdoor Halloween block party.  The event promises a bouncy house, costume contest and more.

Brooklyn Academy of Music
Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Halloween 313 Presents AbraCadaver!

This year’s one-night-only, one-of-a-kind, all-ages theater spectacle (put together by an all volunteer cast of kooky and creepy Clinton Hill characters) is an invitation to take “an old-fashioned stroll down the Coney Island Boardwalk [to] explore the DARK side of magic—that place where the forces of GOOD and EVIL fight for your soul…but only one will win!”  Shows repeat every 30 minutes. The block will be closed off to cars. Spectators come from all corners of NYC, go early for the best viewing spots.

313 Clinton Avenue (bet. DeKalb & Lafayette Aves)
5:30 pm  – 9:00 pm

Cobble Hill Halloween Parade

Dress to impress and strut your stuff.

Cobble Hill Park
4:00 pm

Photo Credit: Smoking Nun

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Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park Tomorrow Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:51:02 +0000

Tomorrow (Saturday, October 29) Brooklyn Bridge Park will present its seventh 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 parade, games, crafts, face painting courtesy of CATS on Broadway (and meet cast members), and a chance to learn Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. It’s all free. There’s more information here.

The floating food forest Swale, which is docked on the north side of Pier 6, is inviting the public on board for tours during the Festival. Afterward, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Swale, in collaboration with Garden Kitchen Lab, will host “a public meal on the barge, consisting of teas, salads, and grilled vegetables.”

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Packer Pumpkin Patch Tomorrow Sat, 22 Oct 2016 17:57:21 +0000

Packer Collegiate Institute will hold its annual Pumpkin Patch event tomorrow, Sunday, October 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 170 Joralemon Street. According to the Eagle:

The street will be filled with bouncy rides, while the garden will be stocked with carnival games, treats and crafts. Inside, two spooky haunted houses will thrill youngsters, and artists will create monster makeovers.

Image: Clipart Panda.

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Author’s Night Celebrates Reading, Benefits Neighborhood School Mon, 17 Oct 2016 03:01:07 +0000

The P.S 8 PTA will hold it’s annual author’s night on Monday, October 24th from 7:00 – 10:00 pm at Superfine in Dumbo.  The organizers are calling this year a “truly babysitter-worthy event.”

The theme is “Gr8 Parenting” and features New York Times columnist Ron Lieber, author of the best-selling “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money,” and Newsweek science editor Paul Raeburn, author of  “The Game Theorist’s Guide To Parenting and “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked.”

P.S. 8 Dad, Andrew Perloff of The Dan Patrick Show is on deck to host and moderate. A panel of P.S. 8 authors/parents will share their stories as well.  Tickets are a suggested donation of $35 online and $40 at the door.  All proceeds from this event will support P.S. 8 and sponsor students in the school’s Readathon, ongoing through November 13th.

PS8 Author Night

The event is sponsored by Aden + Anais and Shalini’s Kitchen.

Image credit: Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0 Photographer, Kate Ter Haar

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum to Open Annex at BBP This Saturday Mon, 10 Oct 2016 00:47:11 +0000

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will open an annex, called SPARK, this Saturday, Oct. 15th, at One John St. in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The main branch is located in Crown Heights and has been a popular destination for families with young children throughout Brooklyn and beyond. The museum’s website describes the annex as an art and play space designed for children ages six months to six years. SPARK will feature an outpost of the museum’s popular Brooklyn Block Lab exhibit, and daily art and design workshops, music classes, birthday parties, and more.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the space was donated to BBP by Alloy Development and Monadnock Development, the partners behind the luxury building where the museum annex is housed, through a 5-year-lease that is eligible for five 5-year extensions. Alloy and Monadnock also provided the start-up money and paid about $350,000 to convert the site for SPARK’s use and furnish the space, which Alloy designed.

SPARK will be free on Thursday afternoons, and during warmer months, the museum will offer free activities on the outdoor plaza. There will be Friday morning play date sessions for new parents and caregivers with children ages 0 to 24 months. Among other offerings are semester-long early childhood classes open for registration. The museum’s educators will also partner with P.S. 307 in Vinegar Hill to develop teaching programs.

For more details about admission and hours, click here.


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Squadron, Community Groups Win One-Year Extension for Pop Up Pool Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:15:55 +0000

Brooklynites and park-goers rejoice! State Senator Daniel Squadron and the grass-roots group, Love Our Pool have won an extension for the Pop Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The pool will open for one more season as stakeholders continue to devise a plan for a permanent pool.

The Senator released a statement immediately following this morning’s Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation Board of Directors meeting.

“The push for active recreation is about building a park that is great locally and across Brooklyn. I’ve long believed that a pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park is a key part of that, which is why I secured the  pop-up pool five years ago and have worked with the community to secure a permanent pool. With the extension of the pop-up pool, and continued commitment to work towards a permanent pool, it’s great news that Brooklyn Bridge Park and the City now agree: Brooklyn Bridge Park should have a pool.”

“This is a huge victory for ‘Love Our Pool: Families United For A Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park,’ the community and park goers now and into the future. It shows that a community-driven effort, strong partnerships and a successful amenity can change minds and make a real difference. I appreciate that Brooklyn Bridge Park and the City have agreed on the importance of a pool, and thank ‘Love Our Pool,’ the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, my colleagues in government, former Assemblymember Millman, and the community for their ongoing efforts.”

In a separate statement to the blog Love Our Pool Co-Founder Suzanne Quint shared, “We are thrilled, and appreciative, that Brooklyn Bridge Park has agreed to extend the pop-up pool for Summer 2017, recognizing the value and joy it brings to families across Brooklyn.  We look forward to continued collaboration with the park and our elected officials to ensure that swimming is a permanent feature in our wonderful park in the years to come.”

Earlier this summer, Senator Squadron released 1,000 petition signatures and the results of a survey that demonstrated the community’s strong desire for the pool to remain open.  As previously reported, of the 189 visitors surveyed, 82% came from outside of the pool’s zip code, 60% said it is the only public pool they visit, 64% of respondents visit more than once a month and 80% sited the pool as the Park’s most important feature.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been edited to reflect the addition of a quote from Love Our Pool Co-Founder, Suzanne Quint.

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Pierrepont Playground Closed This Week Mon, 03 Oct 2016 18:18:49 +0000

We have this news from the Brooklyn Heights Association:

At the request of the BHA, the NYC Parks Department has begun a week-long repair of Pierrepont Playground beginnng today to make it a safer and more resilient recreational space.

The repairs include creating a more level rubberized surface where tree roots have pushed up, improving drainage, and strengthening the gate. Barring unforseen problems, the project is expected to be completed on Friday, October 7th. In the interim, Harry Chapin Playground at Middagh & Columbia Heights and the Adam Yauch Park at State & Columbia Place remain open for restless kids to use.

The BHA took action to have the playground repaired after local residents complained of noise and possible unsafe conditions from deteriorated equipment.

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Neighborhood Oktoberfest-Ivities Sat, 01 Oct 2016 00:54:24 +0000

The leaves are turning, a brisk chill is in the air.  Fall is finally here and that means Oktoberfest!

Saturday, October 1st
This Saturday, October 1st The Zion German Lutheran Church is holding its annual Oktoberfest dinner at 125 Henry Street. Doors open at 3.30 pm, dinner from 4 to 8 pm.

Thursday, October 6th – Saturday, October 8th
The Dumbo Improvement District is kicking off their first ever Oktoberfest and “transforming the Archway into a traditional German beer hall.”  The event runs Thursday October 6th 6:00-10:00 pm, Friday October 7th 6:00-10:00 pm and again on Saturday October 8th from 3:00-10:00 pm (with crafts from Creatively Wild from 3:00 – 5:00 pm.

It promises traditional foods including brats and pretzels, “virtual apple picking,” craft beers and activities for adults and kids alike.  Entertainment by Melina and the Oompahs and DJ Holzmeister a.k.a The Kaiser.  For full details check out the Dumbo BID website.

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District 13 Education Roundup Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:26:10 +0000

The school year is underway and the District 13 CEC is spreading the word about important meetings and events taking place this week.

Monday, September 26th
Participatory Budgeting
7:00pm – 8:30pm
PS 9 (80 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn)

Per the CEC website, this information session is an opportunity for collaborative brainstorming with electeds, school leaders and parents “on ways to spend funds that each Council Member has allocated to the Participatory Budgeting Process (several MILLION in capital funds) and submit ideas of your own.”  Past projects have funded improvements for neighborhood parks, schools and infrastructure.

Participatory BudgetingPlease note all ideas must be submitted by September 30th. District 33 residents may attend this meeting, submit ideas online at or email them to Councilmember Levin’s PB Coordinator, Benjamin Solotaire at  For additional information, follow D33 Participatory Budgeting on Facebook or visit Councilmember Levin’s Participatory Budgeting website.

Additionally, Councilmember Levin will be holding a D33 Assembly on Tuesday, September 27th at We Work, 195 Montague Street, 6:30 – 8:30pm.

Tuesday, September 27th
State of the District Address with Superintendent, Barbara Freeman
PS 56 (170 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn)

D13 State of the District Barbara Freeman

Superintendent Freeman will discuss district-wide accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year.

Wednesday, September 28th
D13 Middle School Fair
The Dock Street School
19 Dock Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The CEC invites parents to come and learn about the Middle School options available in District 13. Click for the D13 Middle School Directory.


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Atlantic Antic This Sunday Fri, 23 Sep 2016 03:00:11 +0000

The 42nd annual Atlantic Antic will be this Sunday, September 25 from noon to 6:00 p.m., rain or shine, on Atlantic Avenue between Hicks Street and 4th Avenue. There will be live and DJ’d music, food, vendors, activities for kids, and special deals from merchants along Atlantic. More information here.

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Pre-School Fair This Thursday Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:17:23 +0000

Thinking of applying to private pre-school for your little one? BECDA Schools, the Brooklyn Early Childhood Directors’ Association is holding an early education fair this Thursday, September 22nd.

Brooklyn School Fair


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Kite Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park Tomorrow Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:47:15 +0000

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., weather permitting, there will be a Kite Festival at the Harbor View Lawn on Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park. You may bring your own kite, or purchase one there. Admission is free. There is more information here. (Click on “Read full story” for link.)

Photo: C. Scales

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Montague Street BID Block Party Sunday Sept 18th Fri, 09 Sep 2016 04:42:36 +0000

On Sunday, September 18th Montague street between Court and Hicks will close to traffic from 12-5pm for the The Montague Street Business Improvement District (BID)’s Make It Montague block party.  The event promises larger than life games of Connect 4, Jenga and Cornhole, jugglers and vintage cars along with live entertainment, DJs, activities, giveaways, gifts with purchase, demos, complimentary food, drink, and ice cream.  PS8 will also have a welcome back to school and informational table.  The event is free and open to the public. Check the Montague Street BID website for a complete list of scheduled activities and participating vendors.

This year’s event also marks the launch of a new initiative, Montague Matters a month-long kindness campaign.  The goal: to collect backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies for children in need throughout District 13.  The program will run from September 18th through October 18th. Items can be placed in drop boxes located at local businesses.

In the event press release, District 13 Family Advocate Precious Jones-Walker shared, “District 13 has a diverse community of families – they come from townhouses, public housing and some live in shelters.  A backpack, lunch box, small calculator and other basic school supplies can help ensure that more of our kids succeed in school this year.”

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New Dock Street School Opens Wed, 07 Sep 2016 16:31:10 +0000

Your correspondent got notice Monday that at 1:00 p.m. yesterday there would be a ribbon cutting by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for the new Dock Street School, a public middle school (grades 6 through 8), drawing “a diverse student body from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill, Vinegar Hill and North Park Slope”, and including a Pre-K facility with space for 75 students. The school’s entrance is on Dock Street between Water and Front streets in DUMBO. Figuring it would work in nicely with my daily constitutional, I set out at 12:30, heading down the Promenade, then Squibb Hill, then Water Street to Dock.

I didn’t know what to expect, but imagined a short ceremony at the school’s entrance, so I showed up in my walking attire, t-shirt and cargo shorts (I need those extra pockets for my phone and camera). I arrived a few minutes before one, and no one was gathered outside, so I went in. There was a guard at a desk who cheerfully directed me upstairs. At the landing at the top of the staircase I was facing the school’s office, the rear wall of which displayed the sign in the photo above. I was greeted by a school administrator and told her I knew “STEM” meant “Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics” but didn’t know what “STEAM” meant. She said the “A” was for “Arts.” This is DUMBO; figures. Perhaps we have a mini Cooper Union here, though with no threat they’ll start charging tuition.

IMG_6332We were led from the landing outside the school office to the gymnasium, where we milled around waiting for various dignitaries to arrive. I regretted my tee and shorts, as everyone seemed well dressed, and the air conditioning was doing yeoman duty. Three students about to enter sixth grade at Dock Street were seated at the speakers’ table; they were interviewed by Mary Frost of the Eagle (photo above). Update: Here’s Mary’s story.


Among the speakers was City Council Member Steve Levin (photo above), who praised the various people and entities involved in making Dock Street School a reality, including the School Board and Chancellor Fariña, District 13 and Superintendent Barbara Freeman, the School Construction Authority and President and CEO Lorraine Grillo, and building developer and owner Two Trees Management and CEO Jed Walentas. To the left in the photo above is Dock Street’s Principal, Dr. Melissa Vaughan.

Mr. Walentas also spoke. As you may recall, there was considerable controversy over Two Trees’ proposal to build a high rise residential structure at the Dock Street site. He candidly acknowledged the crucial piece of advice he’d received from former City Council Member Ken Fisher: “Put a school in it.” Mr. Walentas said Dock Street School is “a model that shows how the City can leverage real estate values to create public benefits like building new schools, creating space for cultural institutions or updating infrastructure.” He said he hoped other developers would consider making space for schools in their buildings.


Dr. Vaughan called the three students to the podium. She said she hoped their experience at Dock Street would enable them to become “creators.” Each of them then said what they were anticipating as Dock Street students. One of the girls said she loves math, and looks forward to “making good grades.”

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This Week at Brooklyn Historical Society Mon, 05 Sep 2016 22:09:58 +0000

There are three events at Brooklyn Historical Society this week. Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 6) evening at 6:30, Renée Dinnerstein, author of Choice Time: How to Deepen Learning Through Inquiry and Play will discuss her book with Anna Allanbrook, principal of P.S. 146 Brooklyn New School, followed by Q&A with the audience. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to all; no RSVP necessary.

On Wednesday evening, September 7 at 6:30, Harvard history and law professor Annette Gordon Reed, author of “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination and The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, will, as part of BHS’s “Race and History” series, discuss “her groundbreaking research on Thomas Jefferson, the Hemings family, and slavery in America.” Admission is $10, or free for BHS or Green-Wood members; purchase or reserve tickets here.

On Thursday evening, September 8 at 7:00 BHS will, as part of its #LetsTalkFeminism series, host a panel discussion, “Are We There Yet? The Illusion of a Post-Sexist Society”, featuring a panel of distinguished writers on the subject, moderated by Teresa Younger, President and C.E.O. of the Ms. Foundation for Women. Admission is $10, or $5 for BHS or Green-Wood members; purchase tickets here.

There’s more information here about these and other forthcoming events at BHS.

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Mothers Who Lost Newborns in Daycare Deliver Paid Leave Petition to Trump and Clinton Headquarters Fri, 26 Aug 2016 03:17:16 +0000

Former Brooklyn Heights resident, Amber Scorah and Oklahoma native Ali Dodd have something unimaginable in common: their infant sons, Karl and Shepard, each died in day care within the first week of their returning to work.  The two women are from opposite ends of the country and the political spectrum but are bound by their shared grief. (Ali reached out to Amber via Twitter as soon as the news of Karl’s passing reached her). Together, they have become powerfully outspoken advocates for paid family leave.

This past Monday, at a press event organized by Paid Leave for the US (PL+US), Ali and Amber, together with Adrienne Kromer of Pennsylvania and Kathryn Martin of South Carolina, two mother’s who lost their infant daughters in the same way, made a pilgrimage to the Trump and Clinton campaign headquarters.  Their mission: deliver over 135,000 signatures from their petition which asks the candidates, if elected, to “take action for national paid family leave policy in their first 100 days in office.”

As reported by WPIX 11, the group first stopped at Trump campaign headqauarters.  There they were met by a junior member of the campaign staff but were not invited to the offices to discuss the issue.  They waited a half hour to no avail.

The reception at the Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn Heights was much warmer.  The mothers presented a box with the petition signatures to a campaign representative in view of the cameras.  They were invited upstairs to the offices where they met with a campaign policy director among others for at least 40 minutes.

In a statement made after their meeting with the Clinton staff, Amber said of Trump, “If he wants to make America great again the best way to do that is by investing in our children.”  Ali added, “We are not asking people to change their vote, we want whomever is elected to support paid family leave…We’re asking for a more pro-family policy whether it comes from the Right or the Left.”

Refinery29’s coverage offers in-depth Q&A interviews. But as the group was dispersing Amber shared, “This is a way for our sons to go on and do something important.”


Ali Dodd (left) and Amber Scorah (right) with her infant daughter, Sevi.


1) Sign the petition.

2) Share the petition via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, etc.

3) If you or your family have been impacted by “inadequate family leave” PL+US has asked that you share your story via their survey.

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Coming Events at Brooklyn Bridge Park Fri, 19 Aug 2016 22:08:00 +0000

Tomorrow (Saturday, August 20) from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. there will be a free Pier 5 Family Field Day, with potato, sack, and Hula Hoop races, parachute games, soccer skills lessons, and scrimmage games. More information here.

On Sunday afternoon, August 21 from 2:00 to 5:00 the Nantucket lightship (photo), docked at Pier 6, near the foot of Atlantic Avenue, will be open for free public tours. More information here. At 4:00 p.m. there will be a special treat for kids, as Brian Floca, author of Lightship, reads from and discusses his book. More information here.

Monday, August 22 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and there will be a day and evening long celebration at Pier 1, with guests from Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey on hand to provide fun, games, and entertainment. The kid-friendly band Ramblin’ Dan will provide music, and there will be a free ice cream social during the afternoon hosted by Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. During the evening, Bill Nye the Science Guy will host an interactive game in which participants can control lights on the One World Trade Center’s spire, while DJ Questlove will provide ambient music. More information here.

Saturday, August 27 is the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, and as part of the Battle Week observances, the Park’s weekly Wednesday Night Tour, this time led by Robert Furman, author of Brooklyn Heights: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of America’s First Suburb, will focus on the role of the East River in the early stages of the American Revolution. Tickets are $10, or free for Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy members; more information and purchase or reserve tickets here.

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Coming at Brooklyn Bridge Park Fri, 05 Aug 2016 15:48:20 +0000

Tomorrow (Saturday, August 6) from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Pebble Beach near the Main Street (DUMBO) entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Aeilushi Mistry will lead a performance of the Hindu lamp ceremony Aarti, in which lamps are set afloat to “bring peace and harmony to our shoreline.” More information here.

On Sunday, August 7 at the Pier 6 Lawns there will be a free Pier Kids event, featuring Private Picassos art and craft activities from 11:00 a.m. to noon, and music by Shira & Friends from noon until 1:00 p.m. More information here.

On Monday evening, August 8 at 7:00, at the Pier 1 Granite Prospect, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, in partnership with Greenlight Bookstore, will present poetry readings by members of The Conversation. The event is free; more information here.

For information about other events and activities coming up at the Park, see here.

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