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Last Build Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2017 02:14:43 EST

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Armed with a new backer: Local pol declares newfound support for city’s revised armory scheme before Council

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:29:14 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperIt’s an armory armistice. A Crown Heights pol who for months opposed the city’s plan to redevelop the nabe’s Bedford-Union Armory announced newfound support for the scheme at a Tuesday Council hearing, after officials and developers agreed to axe luxury condos and include more affordable housing in the proposal to earn her endorsement. Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Crown Heights) declared her change of heart in front of her colleagues on a Council subcommittee, describing the revised plan for the military structure at 1579 Bedford Ave. as a historic victory for local residents before the legislators voted unanimously to approve it. “This is revolutionary in the sense we have not seen this level of affordable housing come to the Crown Heights community in decades,” she proclaimed at a meeting of the Council Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions. The new version of the scheme does not include 48 swanky condominiums, which the head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation told Council members on Nov. 14 were necessary to fund the plan’s proposed affordable housing and a new community center that developer BFC Partners is required to construct as part of the deal in exchange for a 99-year lease on the publicly owned armory. The city and developer also agreed to expand the project’s so-called affordable housing component from 166 to 250 units, and reduced the prices of those apartments — which originally ran as high as around $2,300 per month — to between approximately $640 and $1,280 per month. But BFC Partners will still be allowed to build 149 market-rate rentals on the site as part of the revised proposal. Following the subcommittee’s vote, members of the Council’s Committee on Land Use also unanimously approved the project. The scheme still faces a full Council vote scheduled for Nov. 30 — the final hurdle of a months-long public-approval process in which Community Board 9 and Borough President Adams opposed earlier iterations of the proposal — but members are all but certain to vote in line with Cumbo as the building sits in her district. Activists and critics of the city-backed redevelopment plan argued its inclusion of market-rate housing in any form was a giveaway to the developer, and slammed Cumbo for failing to abide by her 2017 re-election campaign promise to fight any proposal that did not include 100-percent affordable units. “Laurie Cumbo ran her whole election saying she would vote no unless it was 100-percent affordable, and then she comes back with a deal that’s not even close to that, and calls it revolutionary,” said Cea Weaver, who works for housing-advocacy group New York Communities for Change. “We needed much more.” Some pro-Cumbo fliers allegedly circulated during her primary campaign stated the councilwoman “stands against the Bedford-Union Armory project until 100 percent of units are made affordable.” But when this newspaper provided a digital copy of one leaflet to the pol’s spokeswoman, Kristia Beaubrun, she said she could not comment without knowing its source. Cumbo’s biggest Democratic primary challenger, who lost to the incumbent by less than 3,000 votes, expressed her frustration with the legislator for so quickly changing her tune on a project that she said still lacks in affordability. “I’m disappointed, though not surprised, that Cumbo flip-flopped again in her position on the armory. She promised she would only support a project that included 100-percent affordable housing in all her mailers during the campaign, yet just two months later is set to approve a project that still includes market-rate housing on public land,” said Ede Fox. “At a time when public trust of politicians is at an all-time low, we need elected officials that will represent the people, not say anything they have to in order to get elected.R[...]



Men in black: Thousands of Hasidic Jewish scholars gather for photo in Crown Heights, setting record, leader says

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:51:15 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

This picture is worth more than a thousand rabbis!

Some 5,600 ultra-Orthodox rabbis belonging to a Brooklyn-based religious organization met in Crown Heights on Sunday to pose for an annual class photo, setting the record for the largest gathering of the conservative Hasidic leaders ever, according to a rep for the faith-based group.

“It was the largest gathering of rabbis — period,” said Rabbi Motti Seligson, a spokesman for Chabad Lubavitch, which extols the values of Hasidism to followers and potential converts.

The picture, which Chabad officials promoted as a “Where’s Waldo of rabbis” in a press release, was taken outside of the organization’s world headquarters on Eastern Parkway between Brooklyn and Kingston avenues.

Only a few of the thousands of spiritual leaders, all of whom are men, are looking at the camera in the panoramic shot — many are gazing into their smart phones, some are talking amongst themselves, and others are distractedly glancing elsewhere.

But most of the rabbis wore an identical uniform of black suit and hat, and nearly all sported impressive, flowing beards.

The photo session was part of an annual conference that began last week and concluded on Monday, during which the conservative scholars attended dozens of workshops across the borough where they discussed issues both sacred and secular before returning to their communities to share the lessons they learned in Brooklyn, Seligson said.

Some rabbis who reside in parts of the United States and other countries recently hit by natural disasters — including hurricane-ravaged locales such as St. Martin, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — used the Kings County coming together as an opportunity to collect much-needed items for people back home, the spokesman said.

“A lot of them stocked up on supplies and sent things back home to help their communities recover,” Seligson said.

And the well-attended conference may sound like a tremendous boon for the borough’s hospitality industry, but local hoteliers didn’t benefit much from the event, according to the rabbi, who said most visiting attendees prefer to crash with friends, family, or members of the neighborhood’s greater Chabad community.

“Every year the local community in Crown Heights swings their arms wide open, and welcomes thousands of guests and graciously puts them up and takes care of all their hospitality needs,” Seligson said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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Not good enough: Local activists blast Feds’ decision to end Haitian immigrants’ protection status

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:35:02 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Alexandra SimonBrooklyn PaperThey’re in protected-status purgatory. Haitian immigrants living and working in Brooklyn under temporary protection from the federal government have 18 months before the measure allowing them to do so expires, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting secretary announced on Monday. News of the new termination deadline came two days before the measure would have expired, and two days after a group of Haitian-Americans marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to demand the Feds keep it in place — an effort that organizers said likely affected the government’s decree. “I definitely think that our demonstration made an impact, along with others around the country and the support from elected officials from all over calling for an extension,” said Ritha Pierre, the president of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York. Dozens of demonstrators joined local pols including Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D–Ditmas Park), Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush), Public Advocate Letitia James, and Comptroller Scott Stringer at the Nov. 18 Brooklyn-to-Manhattan march, according to Pierre, who said the crowd united around the need to extend and preserve the temporary protected status for Haitians who were allowed to immigrate to the United States after a hurricane devastated their home country in 2010. “We had a good amount of people and elected officials turn in out in support,” she said. “It was great to see that everyone was on the same page, because this is unjust and inhumane and something had to be done.” But the Feds’ decision — which prolongs Haitians’ temporary protected status until no later than July 2019 — is not a win for relocated people, the organizer said, because all it does is send some 60,000 immigrants in the U.S. scrambling to figure out another form of legal asylum or risk deportation. “This is not a victory because the only thing that can get done is provide people with more time to get their stuff together and exit the country,” she said. “We are hoping that within the 18 months there’s a change of mind, and that Congress will take some action.” Pierre, who admitted an 18-month extension is better than one lasting six months, said that the Haitians living locally since gaining protected status seven years ago still fear for their futures even though they have some time to come to terms with the latest ruling. “If this was shorter there would be much more hysteria,” she said. “There is still confusion and people don’t understand what it really means. People don’t really know how to react right now — it’s a mixed bag.” Opponents of the government’s decree protested it in Manhattan on Tuesday, demanding a solution that would allow those Haitian immigrants it affects to legally remain in the country. And this spring, the president of the Caribbean nation wrote to President Trump urging him to maintain the temporary protected status granted to his people — who, if forced to return to Haiti, could overwhelm the island as officials slowly rebuild its infrastructure, which is still damaged from the earthquake and last year’s Hurricane Matthew, Pierre said. “I have no confidence in the Haitian government whatsoever — this would overwhelm it and create a humanitarian crisis because Haiti is still recovering,” she said. “They can’t take care of hurricane and earthquake victims still living in tents, so there is no way they’re going to make provisions for incoming people.”Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260?8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.Comment on this story. [...]



A funny feeling: New talk show explores emotions

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Danielle Kogan

for Brooklyn Paper

(image)

They are happy to talk about sadness!

A pair of sisters will launch a new live talk show about emotions next week at Littlefield in Gowanus. Comedian Giulia Rozzi and her sister, therapist Elena Pellegrino, have wanted to work together for a long time, and the new monthly show “Feelings: A Talk Show with Guilia Rozzi,” premiering on Nov. 28, gives them the perfect opportunity to combine their forces and make people feel better through laughter.

“Being a therapist and a comedian are very similar — there’s a giving and receiving,” said Pellegrino, dubbed DJ Therap-E for the upcoming show. “What I hope this show becomes, let’s say for people who could never go to therapy, is a place to feel safe in a space.”

The night will mix elements of daytime talk and late night comedy shows, with interview segments, stand-up performers, and musical guests. Rozzi said that she has modeled her persona as the show’s host on the queen on daytime television.

“When it comes to hosting, I kind of see myself as a saucy Oprah,” said Rozzi, who lives in Boerum Hill. “Like an Oprah that tells dick jokes, smoking a joint after the show.”

Each monthly show will focus on a different emotion. The theme for the premiere event is “sadness,” which seemed appropriate, said Rozzi, because the cold weather and early darkness of November in Brooklyn often makes people feel down.

Among the guests for the opening show will be stand-up comedian Kenny DeForest, musician Jessica Rowboat, and an interview with ever-jovial musical artists Matt & Kim, who Rozzi hopes will share their secret to happiness.

In addition to laughs, the sisters say that they want guests to realize that it is okay to feel their emotions, and to feel better about themselves.

“I would love it if it’s the kind of thing that inspires people to be better to themselves and others. I just want to spread good vibes,” said Rozzi.

“Feelings: A Talk Show with Giulia Rozzi” at Littlefield (635 Sackett St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, www.littlefieldnyc.com]. Nov. 28 at 8:30 pm. $10 ($8 in advance).

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A man-woman duo of toughs beat up and stab a victim on a C train

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

88th Precinct

Fort Greene–Clinton Hill

Bloody ride

Cops cuffed two suspects for assaulting a guy on a Euclid Avenue-bound C train near the Fulton Street station on Nov. 18. The 42-year-old victim told police he hopped on the train near Greene Avenue at about 5 pm when he got into a fight with one of the suspects who punched him in the eye. The suspect also stabbed the victim twice in the stomach with a folding knife as the second suspect looked on, slapped the victim in the face, and scratched him with her fingernails, according to authorities.

Caught red handed

Cops cuffed a guy for breaking into a Carlton Avenue apartment on Nov. 15.

The 21-year-old suspect forced open the window near Flushing Avenue a little after midnight, according to authorities. Police caught him and found a plastic bag filled with marijuana in his pocket, officials said.

What a tool

A prowler broke into a guy’s truck parked on Clermont Avenue and stole a bunch of tools, according to authorities. The pilferer broke the lock on the vehicle parked between Willoughby and Myrtle avenues at about 9:15 am and swiped hammers, monkey wrenches, a set of nuts, channel locks, and a pump worth a total of $400, officials said.

Breaking and entering

A nogoodnik broke into a guy’s work truck parked on Carlton Avenue on Nov. 18, police said. The guy told police he was working inside a nearby building near Myrtle Avenue when the punks broke the lock on the van and fled with a dewalt saw and drills worth $679, according to authorities.

Jewel thief

A bandit broke into a woman’s Saint James Place apartment and swiped thousands in her jewelry, officials said.

The woman told police some looter broke into her apartment between Dekalb and Lafayette avenues and stole a white stone necklace, metal chain, and a white pendant key chain worth a total of $7,500, according to authorities.

— Julianne Cuba

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Brutes clock guy outside Garfield Place bar

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

Brooklyn Paper

78th Precinct

PArk Slope

Bar brawl

Some punks beat a man outside a Garfield Place watering hole on Nov. 10.

The victim told cops he was outside the bar near Fourth Avenue at 5:49 pm, when the fiends socked him the face. But when members of New York’s Finest arrived, the victim did not cooperate, refusing to describe the perps and to press charges, according to police, who have since closed the case.

Drunk in love

Police busted a man for driving drunk on Flatbush Avenue after he was spotted engaging in a “lewd act” with his passenger on Nov. 11.

A patrolman spotted the suspect engaging in the inappropriate act behind the wheel of his 2007 Nissan between Prospect Place and Seventh Avenue at 12:15 am, according to a report.

The office stopped the man and gave him a Breathalyzer test, which recorded his blood-alcohol content as .095, cops said.

Shutter snatch

A thief stole a man’s camera he ordered via Ebay after it was delivered to his Seventh Street apartment on Nov. 2, authorities said.

The man told police a delivery person dropped off the package at his home between Fourth and Fifth avenues at 6 pm, and that some goon stole it before he returned to collect the parcel containing the camera a few hours later.

Pedal pilfer

Some crook rode off with a man’s $730 bike he chained up on Fourth Street on Nov. 7.

The victim told officials he locked his bike to a pole between Fifth and Sixth avenues at 10 am, before heading into a nearby barber shop in search of a fresh new look.

But when he returned a few minutes later, the man discovered the thief snatched his high-end Trek bicycle, authorities said.

‘Special’ steal

A filcher nabbed a woman’s $600 bike she parked on Fifth Avenue on Nov. 5.

The victim told cops she used a U-lock to secure the Specialized-brand bicycle between St. Marks Place and Warren Street at 9 pm, and returned the next morning to find it was gone.

— Colin Mixson

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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Forgets to take his phone, when he returns, it’s gone

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

for Brooklyn Paper

76th Precinct

Carroll Gardens-Cobble Hill–Red Hook

Bathroom bandit

Some filcher swiped a guy’s phone he left in a Columbia Street restaurant on Nov. 20, police said.

The 32-year-old told police he left his silver iPhone in the eatery’s bathroom between Woodhull and Summit streets around 11 am and when he returned to get it, the device was gone.

The guy then tracked his pricey phone using an application, which showed it was near Avenue I and E. 28th Street, officials said.

Too quick

A worm took a woman’s bag in a Beard Street store on Nov. 19, cops said.

The punk grabbed the victim’s purse when she left it unattended for about 10 minutes inside the store near Halleck Street around 7 pm, authorities said, before running off with the bag containing her license, hospital-identification card, Metropolitan Transportation Authority card, and three credit cards.

Caught in the act

Cops cuffed a guy for trespassing on the city’s Lorraine Street apartment complex on Nov. 20.

Police banned the 51-year-old with four active warrants from the building near Columbia Street, but spotted him walking inside with burglar and graffiti tools in hand, authorities said.

Street snakes

A pair of goons attacked a guy while he was walking home from work on Clinton Street on Nov. 20, police said.

The victim told cops he was strolling between Bush and Centre streets around 4:30 am when the two ruffians approached him, punched him in the neck and face, and grabbed his wallet from his pants’ pocket. The man said his attackers looked to be about 23-years-old, authorities said.

Bad parking spot

A lout broke into a guy’s parked car on Kane Street and stole his laptop from inside on Nov. 18, police said.

The 29-year-old told police he parked his 2016 Jeep near Columbia Street, but the carjacker broke the passenger-side window before running off with the victim’s expensive Macbook Air, cops said.

— Julianne Cuba

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Visiting parent was cruel, stole host mom’s jewels

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

68th Precinct

Bay Ridge—Dyker Heights

Parent theft apparent

A lowlife parent stole $14,550 worth of a woman’s jewelry from her Fourth Avenue home when they were at the apartment for a birthday party for the woman’s 6-year-old son on Nov. 5, according to police. The victim reported to police on Nov. 17 that she had about ten people over to her home for the party between 79th and 80th streets. She didn’t know the parents before the soiree, she told police, and her jewelry box and bedroom door were unlocked — even though the latter was closed. When she opened the box to pick out jewelry to wear nearly two weeks later, she noticed the jewels were missing, she told police.

Phony friend

A no-goodnik stole his friend’s MacBook Pro — valued at $2,000 — from the back of his car on 90th Street after his friend gave him a ride to the train station on Oct. 31.

When the friend returned back home at 8:15 pm after he had dropped off his phony friend between Ridge Boulevard and Third Avenue around 4:30 pm, he realized his computer was missing from his bag in his trunk, he reported to police on Nov. 14.

Steal on wheels

A miscreant stole a man’s 2017 Nissan Pathfinder — along with his HP laptop inside, valued at $1,500 — from its 73rd Street parking spot on Nov. 17, the man told police.

The man parked the car between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Tenth Avenue around 3:20 am, and when he returned 20 minutes later, the car was already gone. Police are reviewing cameras in the area, according to the report.

Not-so-picture perfect

A lying lout stole a man’s brand-new Canon camera near the man’s 64th Street home on Nov. 9.

The man ordered the camera on Nov. 5, and the poser signed for the package at the home between 11th and 12th avenues four days later, just before 2 pm — a sneaky move the original purchaser discovered after he never received the package and then tracked it online to figure out what had happened.

— Julianne McShane

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Cultured canines: Kids read pup lit to pack of pooches at Park Slope bookstore

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:34:36 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

These tots are doggone adorable!

Park Slope youngsters shared story time with a pack of dogs on Nov. 17, which they read aloud to at a local bookstore during an annual event that organizers said was lit-erally one of the nabe’s most adorable yet.

“It was super cute,” said Mary Huhn, co-chair of Eighth Avenue elementary school PS 107’s parent-teacher association’s Beast Relief Committee, which organized the event at bookseller Powerhouse on Eighth.

Kids from three first-grade classes at the nearby school shared their favorite titles with Fido at the session, which provided a way for them to practice reading out loud in front of a judgement-free audience that, in this case, was comprised of specially trained therapy canines, according to Huhn.

And if the simple act of five and six-year-old tykes reading books about dogs — including “Hot Dog, Cold Dog” by Frann Preston-Gannon and “Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion — to dogs isn’t cute enough, some of the children spent days practicing for the event, the organizer said, a fact that should melt even the coldest heart.

“One of the classes brought their own books and rehearsed reading to dogs several days before the event,” Huhn said. “They were ready to read!”

The four-legged listeners included two dogs named Luna — a Staffordshire labrador mix and a rescue mutt — along with labradoodle Rookie, golden-doodle Josie, Spinone Italiano Cosi, and Fonzie, a German shepherd.

All of the loveable furballs are registered therapy pooches with a service organization that required them and their handlers to spend six weeks learning how to interact with kids — as well as oldsters and hospital patients — before being dispatched to bless clients with the gift of unconditional love, according to a group member.

“It’s to make sure they’re ready to bring smiles and comfort in the field — and that they’re on their best behavior,” said Nicole Gilpin, visit coordinator at the Good Dog Foundation.

And that training was on full display at the reading session, where both humans and animals were recognized for their good behavior, according to another attendee.

“They were equally well behaved,” said Renee Payne, the head of the training program at the Good Dog Foundation, who brought Fonzie to the event. “Everyone handled themselves very nicely.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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Chilling victory: Slope local out-slurps competitors to win ice-cream-eating contest in nabe

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Colin Mixson

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

He’s Mr. Ice guy!

A Park Slope man dominated an ice-cream-eating contest that a Fifth Avenue frosty-treat purveyor hosted on Saturday, scarfing down a whole pint in one minute and 41 seconds — a feat of ingestion that even a veteran scoop slurper said he could not match.

“I’ve eaten ice cream every day for the last 10 years, and I couldn’t do it that fast,” said Jonathan Bayer, the owner of Sky Ice at 63 Fifth Ave, who hosted the competition. “So when I saw that, I was amazed.”

This year’s champion, Dan Erdheim, upset the brief reign of Ditmas Park resident Patrick Garcia, who took home the title last year after edging out a more experienced — and intoxicated — competitive eater, Jo Rose.

Erdheim crushed both men in the second-annual brain-freeze-inducing battle, besting runner-up Garcia’s time of two minutes and 52 seconds by more than one minute — a chilling feat that wowed the contest’s spectators, according to the head honcho of the neighborhood’s business-advocacy group.

“You kind of feel cold for them,” said Mark Caserta, who dressed as an ice-cream cone for the event.

Erdheim emerged victorious because of his on-the-fly strategy for getting the confection out of its container and into his mouth, according to Bayer, who said that he craftily froze the Thai Tea-flavored cream served to competitors at a lower temperature than the treats he serves in-store, leaving the athletes to struggle with removing it without bending their spoons.

“That’s part of the challenge,” the shopkeeper said. “Getting the ice cream out — and then eating it.”

The winner — who earned the grand prize of a $100 Sky Ice gift certificate — relied on his head as much as his gut to out-slurp his competition, working around the edges of the container instead of plunging his utensil directly into its center, which allowed him to more easily extract chunks of the frozen sweet, Bayer said.

“It was a real-time strategy that he executed,” he said.

And the second cold-weather eating contest drew increased interest among locals and hungry athletes, according to the ice-cream maker, who said he is already looking forward to the next frozen-food face-off.

“It was amazing,” Bayer said. “Everyone had such a wonderful time. We had a bigger crowd than expected and, immediately after it was over, people were talking about next year.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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iSmacked: Lowlife punches man, steals iPhone he agreed to pay for, cops say

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Leah Lu

for Brooklyn Paper

(image)

This creep is a preying customer.

Some baddie slugged a man on a Gowanus street before running off with his iPhone, according to cops, who said the suspect met the victim after agreeing to purchase the device from him via social media.

The 24-year-old seller and the alleged thief struck their deal for the Apple product using the social network at 7:20 pm on Nov. 7, police said.

The pair then met in person on Union Street between Henry and Clinton streets, according to authorities, who said the duo subsequently traveled to President Street between Third and Fourth avenues, where the seller handed the iPhone to the suspect, who punched the guy before running off with the device towards Third Avenue.

The victim did not seek medical attention following the incident, cops said.

Authorities described the suspect as a 22-year-old man who is between 5-foot-10 and six-feet tall, 150 pounds, and was last seen wearing thick black glasses.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.

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Just dough it: Take a cookie workshop in Prospect Heights

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Leah Lu

for Brooklyn Paper

(image)

These cookies will be seriously in-your-face!

A recently opened cooking school in Prospect Heights will teach you to bake, design, and decorate delicious disks of dough this December. Cook Space, an industrial warehouse-turned-culinary studio, will host a “Christmas Cookie Workshop” on Dec. 2 that will lead students through the process of making mouth-watering homemade desserts that then can hand out as gifts to all their friends and neighbors, according to an organizer.

“Our Christmas cookie class will get you prepared for the holiday season,” said Nini Nguyen, Cook Space’s culinary director. “I designed this class with the classic holiday cookie tin that I use to make and give to people in mind.”

The hands-on workshop will teach students to make a wide variety of traditional sweets, including decorated iced sugar cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, pecan crescents, almond toffee, and peppermint bark. And students will walk away from the three-hour class with more than knowledge, said Nguyen.

“Students will leave with a cookie tin filled with the items they make that day,” she said.

The Cook Space Culinary Studio offers a series of classes designed to help beginning chefs develop confidence in the kitchen, along with workshops focused on specific types of cuisine, including Jewish comfort food, brunch menus, and ramen dishes. Most of the classes at Cook Space are designed for adults only, but the cookie workshop will welcome little ones to the kitchen, said its leader.

“This is a great class to take with your kids and a great way to start a tradition at home,” said Nguyen.

“Christmas Cookie Workshop” at Cook Space [603 Bergen St. between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues in Prospect Heights, (718) 230–8400, www.cookspacebrooklyn.com]. Dec. 2 at 11 am. $110.

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Last call: Beloved honky-tonk bar Hank’s Saloon to close next year

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperHank’s for the memories! The owner of Boerum Hill bar Hank’s Saloon will close the century-old watering hole next year because developers plan to raze the beloved Third Avenue pub in order to make way for what will likely be new residences, she announced on Nov. 15. “Alas my friends, it seems that time has come — the developer is ready to build, plans will be filed, and Hank’s Saloon will have to close at the end of next year,” proprietor Julie Ipcar said in a Facebook post. It’s not the first time that the prospect of development loomed over barkeeps at the historic establishment, which was originally a hangout for Native American ironworkers called Doray Tavern before becoming the honky-tonk dive that current patrons flock to for live music. In 2007, then-owners Emily Fisher and Rolf Grimsted wanted to build a seven-story condo building atop the bar between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, but their plan fell through when the local community board panned it. And in 2011, the liquor-slinging saloon was set to be auctioned off along with two nearby buildings after Fisher and Grimsted failed to pay their mortgage on it, again fueling fears it would be replaced with a residential complex. But a judge stopped the foreclosure auction days before the bar was scheduled to hit the block, and a new owner bought the trio of properties a year later, according to Ipcar, who said her current landlord has some big, mysterious plans in store. “We knew it was only a matter of time before we got the news that we would have to close Hank’s and move along,” she said. “But surprisingly enough, the new landlord was kind enough to let us remain open for the past five years, and keep that corner lit until he was ready to build.” Ipcar, who has a full year before she will permanently close the bar’s doors, said she plans to keep the good times rolling until its last day, however, and is cooking up some special celebrations for her longtime customers. “We’re thinking about throwing some private parties for the regulars and locals and community,” she said. The barkeep hopes to open another watering hole with the same name and atmosphere nearby, she said, but losing the historic haunt is a devastating blow to the nabe — and to its regulars who will be without their go-to spot to pull up a chair for a drink. “I’m more sad about the actual physical space than the idea of Hank’s the bar — there’s so much history there and it’s really such a meeting place,” Ipcar said. “It’s a local spot and I don’t know where everyone’s going to go, because there’s no place like it really around anymore.” Drink up at Hank’s Saloon (46 Third Ave. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, www.hankssaloon.com) Mon–Sat 11 am–4 am, Sun 12 pm–4 am.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Borough of dives: A guide to Brooklyn’s best no-frills watering holes

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperThe proprietor of Boerum Hill’s Hank’s Saloon announced she will close the beloved dive bar next year because the building’s owner is ready to redevelop the property. But those who do not want to wait in line to spend $16 on novelty prostitution-themed or other fancy cocktails in the borough can still find spots that offer little more than a cheap beer, a stool, and a moment of peace after a long day. Here’s a list of Brooklyn’s best, still-operating dives, where bartenders are almost guaranteed to know your name — and do a double-take if you ask for rosé. Boat Bar All draft and bottled beers, along with house liquors, are $3 until 8 pm at this Carroll Gardens watering hole, where they keep the lights real dim and the fireplace nice and toasty. [175 Smith St. between Wyckoff and Warren streets in Carroll Gardens, (718) 254–0607] Sun–Sat 5 pm–4 am. Farrell’s Bar and Grill Regulars of this classic Irish dive in Windsor Terrace will tell you how — back in the day — there were no stools, and women weren’t allowed past the front door. But these days, the bar is hip to both stools and women, and you’ll find both at the neighborhood staple, which is also a favorite among cops. [215 Prospect Park West between 16th Street and Windsor Place in Windsor Terrace, (718) 788–8779] Mon-Sat 10 am–4 am, Sun 12 pm–4 am. Gotham City Lounge There’s nothing like this comic-book-themed Bushwick hole-in-the-wall for getting drunk on pennies — its $3 beer-shot combo features Pabst Blue Ribbon and something that’s supposed to be whiskey. The bar, which is decorated with pages from graphic novels, isn’t much bigger than the bedroom of this reporter’s Sunset Park apartment, but its owners managed to pack a pool table and a Marvel versus Capcom arcade cabinet into the tiny space. [1293 Myrtle Ave. between Hart and Cedar streets in Bushwick, (718) 387–4182] Tue–Sun 6 pm–4 am. High Dive There are divier dives in Park Slope, but none of them give you free popcorn. And you can usually find a seat at the bar here, too, where you can also usually talk the bartender into switching out the $8 beer-shot combo’s whiskey for tequila — because cheap tequila is always better than cheap whiskey. [243 5th Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 788–0401, www.highdivebrooklyn.com] Mon–Fri 3 pm–4 am, Sat–Sun 1 pm–4 am. Montero’s Bar and Grill This Atlantic Avenue joint may have the world’s smallest pool table, and if you happen to go on a night when the owner is behind the bar, the place is something to see. It could be packed, but he’ll start telling a joke out of nowhere and the whole room will quiet to a hush. Also, a friend of this reporter caught Mike Myers of Austin Powers fame drinking here once. Groovy. [73 Atlantic Ave. between Hicks and Columbia streets in Brooklyn Heights, (646) 729–4129] Mon-Tue 4 pm-4 am, Wed–Sun 12 pm–4 am. PC’s Bar and Grill The no-frills Bay Ridge watering hole is a dive among dives, catering to an older, after-church crowd of day drinkers. Locals convene here on Wednesdays to play league pool on a billiards table that’s seen better days, and dart boards, golf, and bowling games round out the bar’s playthings. [7215 5th Ave. between 72nd and 73rd streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 491–2845] Sun–Sat 11 am–3 am. Sunny’s Bar The owner of the 127-year-old Red Hook institution recently raised more than $[...]



Another way to the waterfront: B’Heights biz leaders demand permanent crossing from Montague to Bridge park

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThey want a new bridge to Brooklyn Bridge Park! The city must build a permanent footbridge from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at Montague Street leading to the waterfront meadow below in order to serve pedestrians who want to shuffle between the commercial thoroughfare and park during the impending reconstruction of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway and beyond, said the leader of a local commerce-advocacy group. “It will increase visibility and foot traffic,” said Kate Chura, the head of the Montague Street Business Improvement District. “Time is ticking and the Department of Transportation needs to know that people want this bridge.” Transportation-agency officials are already laying the groundwork for a temporary crossing from the promenade to the green space after promising to do so at a 2016 meeting about their repairs to a 1.5-mile stretch of the expressway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street, according to a spokeswoman. Workers are currently exploring the bridge’s engineering feasibility and handicapped accessibility in addition to exactly where it would go and its price tag, she said. But the business advocates, who claim the promenade end of the shopping strip would be the perfect location for a crossing, are urging the city to make the structure permanent — especially if it is already putting in the work to build a short-term span, Chura said. “The time is now for them to be factoring in a bridge,” she said. “We have a window. If they don’t do it during design, then it’s not going to happen.” Park-goers can already reach the East River-facing lawn from Brooklyn Heights via a walkway on Joralemon Street and by traversing the zig-zagging Squibb Bridge, which runs from Squibb Playground in Columbia Heights to the green space and reopened in April after a nearly three-year closure. In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, locals could stroll across Montague Street via an iron span called the “Pennybridge,” which traversed a sloped section of the road when it ran to the waterfront land now occupied by Brooklyn Bridge Park. The city tore the crossing down in 1946 to make way for the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, however, and building a new, similar span that leads directly to the park would be the best route between the meadow and the heart of Brooklyn Heights, according to a local business owner, who claimed it would bring more visitors to spend money in the nabe. “We would like to see that being built in the near future to bring more of the right traffic to the neighborhood,” said Enrico Palazio, who runs the Key Food between Hicks and Henry streets. “Hopefully they could all shop in our businesses and make Montague as great as it once was.” But until the city figures out how the temporary footbridge will work — whether it would imitate the Squibb Bridge’s construction or require a steeper staircase — the prospect of a permanent span is nothing more than an idea, according to the transportation-department spokeswoman.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Far from heaven: Vandal sends church’s St. Francis statue crashing to the ground twice, police say

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Anthony Rotunno

Brooklyn Paper

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He’s no saint.

Cops are searching for a nogoodnik who they said snuck into the courtyard of a Cypress Hills church and knocked down a statue of Saint Francis of Assisi — twice.

The suspect first toppled the stone monument inside the garden of Blessed Sacrament Catholic church at 4:54 pm on Oct. 31, according to police, who said the effigy of the religious figure was returned to its place following the incident.

But the alleged vandal returned to the Euclid Avenue house of worship at 7:19 am on Nov. 11 and pushed the statue over again — this time breaking its base — before fleeing the scene, authorities said.

The suspect is a man approximately 20–25-years-old with long black hair, cops said.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.

Reach Deputy Editor Anthony Rotunno at arotunno@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303.
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Bard o’ blues: Songwriter performs tunes of letting go

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperShe’s feeling a little blues. A Greenpoint singer-songwriter with roots in country and folk music will headline the weekly blues night SlamJunk Blues at Freddy’s Bar on Nov. 28. Deborah Smith, who also plays acoustic guitar, will play selections from her latest album, “Hearing in the Bardo,” a collection of tunes about loss that leans more heavily on jazz and blues than her usual upbeat and folksy music, she said. “It’s a pretty serious departure from the music I’m used to performing,” said Smith. The album is also more personal than her other work, exploring the feelings of losing and letting go that she felt following the death of her father about nine years ago. The Tibetan word “bardo,” the liminal state after death but before the next life, perfectly exemplifies the intense feelings she experienced during that painful time, she said. “It kind of describes that period in our existence that drifts between physical manifestations, all the stuff feels really intense,” said Smith. “They are all songs I wrote surrounding the death of my father. While the material isn’t about that, the common thread of the music was written in a time period of feeling really intensely palpable. It’s a little more brave in terms of expressing true feelings, daring in terms of rhythmic structures, and a lot of that had to do with letting things go.” Smith will be joined on stage by her long-time musical collaborators, including Lucas Papaelias on electric guitar, Douglas Cox on drums, Liz Hanley on fiddle, and Colin Brown — whose organ trio will play at Freddy’s later that same night — on piano. It is sure to be a fun evening, said Smith, who just returned from a European tour. “It’s going to be great,” she said. “I’m very excited about the first show I’m performing back in Brooklyn after doing my first ever tour in France and Spain.” The SlamJunk Blues weekly blues night often features musicians who played with late Brooklyn blues greats Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings or Charles Bradley, said the evening’s progammer. “I choose from folks that are kind of in our family, in our community, people that come to shows,” said Billy Jackson, who lives in Crown Heights. But Smith is a perfect addition to the close-knit group of musicians who regularly perform at the Park Slope pub, he said. Her piano player, Brown, suggested that Jackson invite her to the show, and after listening to her music, Jackson had to agree. “The fact that she’s a total musician, it was kind of a no-brainer,” he said. “After review, I was like ‘hell yeah!’ ” Deborah Smith at Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Greenwood Heights, www.freddysbar.com). Nov. 28 at 8 pm. $5.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



Not helping kids is a good way to help kids

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 10:01:55 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Lenore Skenazyfor Brooklyn PaperHelicopter parents who hover over their kids are the most popular of punching bags. Remember the mom who sued her 4-year-old’s $19,000-a-year pre-school because the kid was spending time with the 2-year-olds, thus ruining her chances of getting into Harvard? You might figure I’d join the chorus of shame, since I founded Free-Range Kids, the movement dedicated to giving kids more freedom, and am now president of Let Grow, a new non-profit that aims to overthrow overprotection. And okay, you’d be right. Hard to resist a little shaming of that particular mom. She didn’t even realize that mixed-age play is the greatest thing for kids since the invention of the sippy cup. Her daughter lording over all those 2-year-olds could have learned everything she needed to rule Silicon Valley when she’s 28. But in general, beating up on moms and dads desperately trying to do the best by their kids is pointless and even kind of cruel, when in truth they have very little choice. Ours is a culture that forces parents to micromanage. Even if you’re a parent who wants your kids to walk to school on their own or play in the park till the streetlights come on, there are fewer and fewer kids out there for them to do this with. In my day — which shall go un-pinpointed — the majority of kids walked to school. Today it’s 13 percent, nationally. Here in New York, each morning the school playgrounds are full of parents dropping off kids whom a generation ago would have been mortified to be chaperoned. Meantime, we’ve all heard of parents who’ve been arrested for letting their kids go outside on their own. Once it is no longer the norm to let kids do anything unsupervised, it’s a vicious cycle. Parents helicopter because it’s hard (and sometimes illegal) not to. After I wrote about letting my 9-year-old ride the subway alone, I went on talk show after talk show, starting with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, defending my belief that kids can do some things — even some slightly confusing or scary things — on their own. Many disagreed. They still do. But we are living in the safest era in human history, according to Harvard’s Steven Pinker. (A professor that lady’s 4-year-old will never have!) New York’s murder rate for 2017 is on track to hit a historic low. So why supervise our offspring like we’re living in the end times? Kids need some independence — and even a little risk. A study on risky play published in Evolutionary Psychology found that kids “dose” themselves with the level of risk they can handle — for instance, by climbing ever higher on the monkey bars. The thrill they feel is their reward for being brave. The more kids tiptoe to beyond their comfort level, the braver they become. Facing your fears (as anyone in therapy can attest) has a sort of “anti-phobic effect.” Children deprived of the chance to face those fears because an adult is always standing by to “help” them can end up more anxious. What’s more, with constant adult assistance and intervention, they don’t even get to organize their own games, or solve their own spats. They never get lost and have to find their way home, scared but then triumphant. So all these coping skills get less developed. And it could be argued that this is why today’s college students are having a harder time than earlier generations getting along on their own. In just five years, 2011 to [...]



From green space to gallery: Williamsburg artist will install sculptures at beloved Bay Ridge meadow

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:10:21 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

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A walk in this park is about to get even better.

A Williamsburg-based artist created five sculptures that Department of Parks and Recreation officials will soon install at a favorite, coastal Bay Ridge park. The artworks, which recall seafaring vessels, are a tribute to those immigrants who journeyed to New York’s shore on the same waters that the pieces will stand over, according to their creator.

“The whole idea is that they are representing the need of people to escape, because we all need to escape,” said Eirini Linardaki. “It’s a need that’s essential to human life, to the human condition. And to me, it was symbolically connected to the immigration stories in the area.”

The artist will erect the sculptures in Owl’s Head Park late this year or early next, and they will remain in the green space for six months, according to a parks department rep.

Linardaki, who also lives and works on the Greek island of Crete, made the works with recycled objects — including plastic bottles, bags, drawers, chairs, and suitcases — that she said she found on the city’s streets and then cast in concrete.

The artist learned about the Bay Ridge green space after she organized a collaborative mural project between a group of kids enrolled at nearby Fort Hamilton High School and students from the Greek isle’s School of European Education of Heraklion, she said, which required the local teens to travel to Crete in 2016.

Linardaki made the sculptures at a friend’s Park Slope studio and is so-far self-funding the $5,000 project, the sculptor said, though she hopes to receive grants from local arts organizations to cover some its costs.

But Linardaki said creating the pieces is worth the effort even if she has to pay everything out of pocket.

“I think making art is a necessity,” she said.

Each of the five sculptures will weigh several-hundred pounds and will be anchored to the ground with spiral stakes, according to the chairwoman of Community Board 10’s Parks Committee, who said the massive works will draw art afficionados to Owl’s Head Park from Brooklyn and beyond.

“These projects are going to be great, and will attract people from all over the city,” said June Johnson.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260?2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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Fresh development: Full-size supermarket coming to site of old Dumbo parking lot

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:13:38 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

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Dumbo’s getting a one-stop grocery shop!

A Front Street parking garage will be transformed into the neighborhood’s first full-service food bazaar, a spokeswoman for the developer that owns the building announced on Thursday. And the conversion of the vehicle-storage space will finally bring a much-needed amenity to the waterfront community, said a local business advocate.

“I think this is incredible for the neighborhood,” said Alexandria Sica, head of the Dumbo Business Improvement District. “It doesn’t have a full service grocery store and this is going to be a game-changer.”

Dumbo Market — which will boast deli and butcher counters in addition to hawking fresh produce, seafood, and other basic kitchen supplies — will offer residents a slew of new pantry items to fill their carts with, according to Sica, who said locals currently just have two less-expansive grocers to choose from: the Adams Street specialty-foods store, Foragers, and the bodega-style shop, Peas and Pickles, on Washington Street.

“The market that they have planned is going to have delicious food and everything you need, so you won’t have to go elsewhere,” she said.

Honchos from the neighborhood-based real-estate company Two Trees filed plans with the Department of Buildings in February to refashion the Park Kwik garage on Front Street between Washington and Main streets into a one-floor supermarket to the tune of $2 million, according to city records.

The store will also include a bakery and sell fresh-cut flowers, according the developer’s spokeswoman, who said the builders plan to keep some of the current parking lot’s spaces in place for car-driving customers, though she could not specify exactly how many will remain.

The new grocer will be run by the family behind Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Harvest Market stores, according to the spokeswoman, who said it is set to open in early 2018.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Noah Hurowitz and Ross Barkan discuss the downfall of DNA Info and Gothamist

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Moses JeffersonBrooklyn PaperThe reporters at DNA Info are martyrs for the cause of organized labor who just wanted to have a say in how their business was run, and they do not regret their decision to unionize even though they knew doing so could mean they’d lose their jobs, former staffer Noah Hurowitz claimed on the latest edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio. “This was largely not about money or benefits, it was about a collective voice for the editorial employees that we didn’t feel was protected and respected,” Hurowitz told host and Brooklyn Paper editor-in-chief Vince DiMiceli. “Maybe if you listen to the troops in the trenches a little more, you’ll be more successful.” Of course, now that billionaire Joe Ricketts has closed the site, the fruits of such a collaboration will never see the light of day, and that’s too bad, according to freelance journalist Ross Barkan, whose Columbia Journalism Review piece on the closure likened it to the end of community journalism as we know it. He added on the show that the loss of Gothamist, which Ricketts purchased and combined with DNA Info less than a year ago, was the latest closure of a newspaper or website willing to take a stand on things, as opposed to just reporting the news. “Gawker and Gothamist were very up-front about their opinions and were very willing to go on crusades and write with a sense of righteousness,” he said. “Those places that really had value in New York City no longer exist, and that is a major loss as well.” A long-time listener and first-time caller then hijacked the show, wondering if the answer for community news is to get readers to pay subscriptions to help pay for the costs of doing business — something he said he was willing to do for a site like DNA Info or Gothamist. That opened the door to the question of whether aggregators like Facebook or Google should help pay for the news sites that grease their users wheels lest they run out of content. “Facebook is starting to understand that they are now in the news business,” Barkan said. “They’ve woken up to the reality that this isn’t just a place where people talk about their pet cat. It’s also the place where people get their news. My hope is Facebook understands it has an obligation to the news industry, and to be something of a news organization in itself. That means having editors curate news and the feed so you don’t see such a wild spread of misinformation.” In the end Barkan wondered if Facebook and Google will one day do something they’ve never done in the past: cut news organizations in on the action. “They need to stop being money-hungry capitalists for a second and consider the well being of democracies,” he said. “They are worth many, many billions of dollars. You can take a fraction of the revenue they take in and subsidize many news organizations. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg is more of an altruist than I think.” Hurowitz, though, had a different approach. “Get me in a room with Mark Zuckerberg and I will shake him upside down and I guarantee you’ll have enough money to run a website,” he joked. Comment on this story. [...]



Reversal on fortune: City backpedals on policy allowing luxury condos to fund affordable units in armory plan

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperIt’s quid pro no. The DeBlasio Administration will reconsider a policy that allows developers to build homes for the rich in order to fund housing for the poor after a Crown Heights pol vowed to kill a scheme to bring luxury condos along with so-called affordable apartments to her nabe’s publicly owned Bedford-Union Armory, said the head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday. “The mayor is seriously considering this policy on a citywide basis and whether it is appropriate in any circumstances for the city to be providing condos on city-owned property,” James Patchett said at a Council hearing on the project. The city is seeking approval from Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Crown Heights) and her colleagues to lease the early-20th-century military structure at 1579 Bedford Ave. to developer BFC partners in a 99-year agreement, which would require the real-estate company to erect a recreation center and affordable housing on the site. But to fund those amenities, the administration allowed the developer to include market-rate rentals and luxury condominiums in its redevelopment plan — a financial trade-off that the councilwoman and locals passionately oppose, which Patchett acknowledged at the hearing. “The thinking at the time was market-rate condos would be a way of developing proceeds to be able to pay for those needs,” Patchett said. “As Councilwoman Cumbo has indicated, and as we’ve heard from the community repeatedly, that is a significant concern and we take that very seriously.” The leaders of an alliance of community groups that object to the scheme staged rallies and circulated statements protesting the redevelopment proposal, and both Community Board 9 and Borough President Adams came out against it as part of the city-backed plan’s official public review process. And now the scheme faces its final major hurdle in City Hall, where Cumbo promised to lead her colleagues in a vote against it, a move that would all but send the project back to square one. She blasted the officials behind the proposal at Tuesday’s hearing, chiding them for not altering the plan despite months of public resistance to it. “For you to come today to this city Council … is really inappropriate to the people who have come here today who want to hear about a better project that is more reflective of the needs of the community,” she said. And following the Council session, Cumbo reiterated that she would not support selling city land in the form of expensive condominiums. “We will not permit the sale of public land at the Bedford-Union Armory. We made it clear that the proposal must not contain luxury condos,” she said. “This deal is far from done. I will continue to push the city to the furthest threshold during negotiations, in order to remove the condos from the plan and bring the best project home for the Crown Heights community.” But the swanky residences are not locals’ only point of contention with the redevelopment scheme. Opponents also object its so-called affordable housing, most of which they claim will still be too expensive for neighborhood residents, according to one critic, who said the city’s willingness to reevaluate the condos is just one of many concessions it needs to make. “Getting rid of the luxury condos is a fracti[...]



Five things to do in Brooklyn this week!

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.Brooklyn PaperFridayNov. 17Spice girlsCelebrate the season of cinnamon by taking in the “Pumpkin Spiced Musical,” a new comedy from local playwright and musician Ben Stiefel, about an advertising agency that tries to cash in on the pumpkin-spice craze. Before and after the show, the bar will serve some pumpkin-spiced alcoholic indulgences. The show continues on Saturday and Sunday. 6 pm at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House [9404 Fourth Ave. between 94th and 95th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 238–8899], www.hunterssteakhouse.net. $20. SaturdayNov. 18There is nothing like a DaneGlædelig jul! Get in the holiday spirit early at the Danish Christmas Fair! The annual Scandinavian celebration will feature a market of unique Danish designs, including knitwear, gift items, holiday ornaments, and Danish candy. Plus you can fill up on “æbleskiver” — a puffed apple pancake — sip some traditional hot glögg, and chow down on smørrebrød. 11 am–6 pm at The Danish Seamen’s Church [102 Willow St. between Clark and Pierrepont streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 875–0042, www.dskny.org]. Free. SundayNov. 19A Blum spot The studio of surreal portrait painter Jonathan Blum is usually only open “by appointment or by luck,” but you can improve your odds by dropping by during Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artists Open Studio Weekend, happening all over the neighborhoods on Saturday and Sunday and featuring more than 30 different artists. Noon–6 pm at Jonathan Blum Studio (285 Fifth Ave. between First and Second streets in Park Slope, www.artspswt.com). Free. MondayNov. 20Real musicLong-haired singer-guitarist Lukas Nelson — the son of country legend Willie Nelson — and his band Promise of the Real will bring a high-energy rock show to Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight. Look for members of Brooklyn band Lucius to back up some of the songs, just as they did on the album “Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.” 8 pm at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 486–5400, www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com]. $20. WednesdayNov. 22Diary productsThe night before Thanksgiving, get away from your relations and hear some stories about another weird family at “An Evening with David Sedaris.” The humorist will read from his latest book “Theft By Finding Diaries (1977–2002),” a collection that includes the true stories that inspired his famous essays, such as “The Santaland Diaries.” 7:30 pm at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636–4100, www.bam.org]. $57–$73.Comment on this story. [...]



Left behind: Caribbean film shows families torn apart by migration

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Alexandra SimonBrooklyn PaperShe tells a moving story. A collection of short films screening in Prospect Lefferts Gardens this week will showcase the sacrifices and troubles faced by Caribbean immigrants to the United States. The four films in “The Caribbean Migrant Experience,” at Bklyn Commons on Nov. 21, focus on the little-discussed effects of migration on Caribbean families, said the director of one of the shorts. “We need to start having honest conversations as to how our families were impacted by decisions to move for a better life,” said Meschida Phillip. “We have success stories — and then we have stories that carry so much hurt at the same time, and those are the stories we are not speaking about.” Many Caribbean families are torn apart when a parent travels abroad in search of more opportunities, leaving their children behind. In her documentary film “Scars of our Mother’s Dreams,” Philip examines that suffering by speaking with two women who have not seen their mothers in decades. “One of my subjects is a 29-year-old woman who hasn’t seen her mother in 22 years, and she is still waiting patiently for her even though now she doesn’t know what her mom feels like or smells like,” she said. For another woman in the film, the gap has been more than 40 years, and the separation left her with a lot of unhealed wounds, added Philip. “She has a lifetime of wondering and is seeking answers her parents didn’t provide and she doesn’t know how to go about searching for it,” she said. Philip, who was left behind in Grenada with her siblings while her mother lived in the United States, says that it took years for her to understand her mother’s choice. But a long-delayed discussion helped the two women to understand each other, said Philip. “When I sat down with my mother as an adult to discuss this, it was first time that I learned that my mom went for a vacation and ended up staying,” said Philip. “After that conversation, she was finally able to see what I was always speaking about from a different perspective.” A discussion will follow the screening, and Philip hopes her film will be a conversation starter for members of the Caribbean-American community. “It’s a very emotional subject people don’t like to talk about. We think everything is fine, but if we’re honest with ourselves, the conversation needs to happen because all of our lives have been impacted by migration,” said Philip. “The Caribbean Migrant Experience” at Bklyn Commons (495 Flatbush Ave. between Empire Boulevard and Lefferts Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. www.caribbeanfilm.org). Nov. 21 at 6 pm. $12.Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260?8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.Comment on this story. [...]



Decision looms: Judge will decide Pier 6 towers’ fate after litigants refuse to compromise during last arguments

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperIt’s in her hands. The fate of two polarizing towers set to rise at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park is now up to the judge that took over the seven-months-long case in August, who failed to broker a second closed-door deal between litigants on Tuesday before their last court appearance on Wednesday. Justice Carmen Victoria St. George listened intently as attorneys for civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association, who filed suit against the green space’s honchos last July, and the park and its developers went tit-for-tat before the bench, even giving them the gift of more time when she twice delayed what were supposed to be final arguments. And now that everything is on the table, all the litigants can do is sit and wait for her decision, according to the Heights Association’s lawyer. “We had a very full and fair opportunity to argue our position with Justice St. George and we look forward to getting her ruling,” said Richard Ziegler. The legal eagles first appeared in the judge’s courtroom on Nov. 2 — months after she took over the matter from Justice Lucy Billings, who said she had to pass it off because she was assigned to another case. Over the course of four days, attorneys representing park honchos and the developers who want to erect the 15 and 28-story towers at the foot of Atlantic Avenue repeated their arguments that the high-rises will generate revenue necessary for the cash-strapped green space to restore the timber piles that support Pier 6, which crustaceans are gnawing away. And across the aisle, the civic group’s lawyers reiterated their claims that the meadow’s coffers are flush with cash, that park officials violated their own terms for choosing the towers’ developers, and that the shorter high-rise — which would contain 100 units of so-called affordable housing — violates Brooklyn Bridge Park’s 2006 General Project Plan, an operating agreement that requires development parcels within the green space turn a profit. And St. George continued to push for a compromise even as the attorneys firmly stood their ground, more than once asking the developers’ lawyers why they couldn’t just scrap the tower with affordable housing during the last two days of arguments. “Why is tower B necessary? It’s still a question on my mind, and why I really spoke to you all about coming to an attempt to resolve the matter with just one big tower,” she said on Tuesday. But forgoing the shorter high-rise would not allow the development to bring in enough cash, according to a lawyer for the park. “Physically it could be done, but not economically,” said Hayley Stein. Meadow honchos applauded their attorneys performance following Wednesday’s session, saying they too await the final decision. “We’re pleased to have presented our case, and now look forward to the judge’s ruling,” said Eric Landau, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. There is no deadline for St. George to issue her ruling, which will be announced on the state’s court-system website. And construction on the towers proceeds in the meantime, as stipulated by Justice Billings’ July ruling that it could continue during the ongoing case.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718[...]



What a life! Boro native rings in 100th birthday with loved ones at B’Heights bash

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Leah Lu

for Brooklyn Paper

(image)

This longtime teacher just hit triple digits!

A crowd of more than 50 people crammed into Brooklyn Heights Italian standby Noodle Pudding on Nov. 12 to ring in a native daughter’s 100th birthday at a bash where celebrants young and old toasted centenarian Bertha Lowitt’s long and wholesome life of service, according to her daughter.

“It was just a wonderful experience that united relatives and friends from various circles,” said Susan Dowling, whose mother turned 100-years-old on Nov. 1. “We had a lovely time celebrating a person who is strong and incredible.”

Lowitt, who was born in Williamsburg and now resides in Brooklyn Heights, spent much of the past century serving her neighbors, Dowling said. She worked as a school secretary for years before becoming an educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in Manhattan, where she helped start the institution’s educational-resource program nearly 20 years ago, according to her daughter, who said her mother’s jobs at various learning facilities inspired her and her son to pursue their own paths as teachers.

“It’s always been vital in my family to give back to your community in any way you can — especially in Brooklyn, where we’ve grown up our whole lives,” said Dowling, who ended her 47-year career in education when she retired two years ago. “It’s important to teach your curriculum, but also to impart your understanding of the world and your desire to make it a better place for your students.”

And even though Lowitt no longer strolls the halls of schools or museums, she still finds ways to broaden her mind and those of people around her, according to her daughter.

“My mom is always reading. She still reads the New York Times from cover to cover, and is a member of the book club in our building,” Dowling said. “She’s always been dedicated to peace movements and working towards equality for people, and she brought me up like that, too. As one of my cousins wrote on Facebook, she’s always been an amazing role model to her family.”

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Sugar and spiked: PLG brewery unveils a sugarcane beer

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Alexandra SimonBrooklyn PaperHow sweet it is! A Caribbean juice bar in Prospect Lefferts Gardens recently expanded to become a brewery, and its latest endeavor is a beer made entirely from sugar. The owners of House of Juice and the new Island to Island Brewery created the Island Squared sugarcane beer because they wanted a flavor that reminds them of the islands, said one co-owner. “We wanted to launch this because we really wanted to something that was truly Caribbean in the same way we make beers and ciders back home,” said Danii Oliver. The high consumption of sugarcane in the region makes it an appropriate ingredient for a Caribbean brewery, said Oliver, and it also helps company stand out from other local beer producers. “Sugar cane is drunk all over the islands, and around the world,” she said. “We are a different kind of brewery and this is something we planned to do for the longest time.” In the usual brewing process, grains are cooked until they release sugars, and yeast ferments that sugar into alcohol. Island to Island skips the cooking process, pressing sugarcane in water and fermenting the result for three weeks. Oliver said that this process create a distinctive Caribbean flavor. “It actually doesn’t take three weeks but that’s how long we wanted it fermented,” she said. “We wanted it to have a nice strong taste, but still get sugarcane flavor with a nice quantity of alcohol by volume.” Visitors to the brewery’s taproom may be puzzled by the beer, but they are major fans of its peculiar taste, she said. “They are enthralled by it. People have been amazed and are really trying figure out how we have a sugarcane beer,” said Oliver. “They’re curious because there’s no grain in it, and shocked that something as enjoyable as sugarcane can even be made into a beer.” The House of Juice gained fermenting experience by creating kombucha, ginger beer, and apple cider before moving into alcoholic beverages. And more island-inspired ales are on the way, said Oliver, with flavors that include soursop, quenepas, and sorrel — all fruits and snacks commonly eaten in the Caribbean. Between its juices, smoothies, ciders, kombucha, and Caribbean-inspired beers, Island to Island hopes to appeal to all members of the Little Caribbean neighborhood, whether they drink alcohol or not, said Oliver. “It’s a mission of ours to get involved with our community and give them options when they go out to drink and have fun,” she said. Island to Island Brewery [642 Rogers Ave. between Parkside and Clarkson avenues in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, (646) 769–0490, www.islandtoislandbrewery.com]. Open Wed, Thu, 4–9 pm; Fri, 4 pm–midnight; Sat, noon–midnight; Sun, noon–10 pm.Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260?8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.Comment on this story. [...]



Moving statues: Show celebrates Rodin’s emotionally expressive sculptures

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperGo for the bronze! The Brooklyn Museum will honor the iconic sculptor of “The Thinker,” Auguste Rodin, on the centenary of his death with an exhibit featuring 58 of his signature bronze sculptures. “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze,” which opens on Nov. 17, features some of the French sculptor’s most expressive work and highlights his distinct aesthetic, according to its curator. “We wanted to really highlight Rodin and his significance as sort of the first modern sculptor,” said Lisa Small, who oversees the museum’s European art collection. “Taken in context, he was such a remarkable departure from his time with what he was doing with sculpture.” Rodin, born in Paris in 1840, drew upon history, mythology, and literature when crafting his sculptures. But he portrayed his subjects as flawed, wracked by guilt, anger, and other dark emotions — a stark contrast to other artists of his era, who favored idealized portrayals of serenely beautiful subjects, said Small. “He really focused on the idea of the body as this real container to make emotional and psychological states legible,” she said. The exhibit features figures from some of Rodin’s most monumental works, including a bust of French writer Victor Hugo and one of the condemned women from Rodin’s “Gates of Hell” sculpture, inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Another large piece, “Monument to the Burghers of Calais,” commemorates the agony of six men who volunteered to sacrifice themselves in order to free the French city of Calais from British control during the Hundred Years’ War. Rodin’s agonized depiction of the men exemplifies his willingness to eschew traditional notions of glory, said Small. “He produced six figures that are literally tortured by the internal decision that they’ve made — head in hands, clenched fists, dragging feet. It’s almost anti-heroism,” she said. The exhibit’s 58 figures were given to the museum in 1983 by the foundation of art collectors Iris and B. Gerald Cantor, who had amassed more than 700 works by Rodin. Some of the sculptures have rotated through the museum during the past three decades, but this is the first time they will all be exhibited together. Those who visit the exhibit should prepare to have an emotional response to the expressive figures, said Small. “The sculptures really capture bodies that are moving from within — moving in both sense of the word, in sense of motion and of emotion,” she said. “It’s hard to not respond to these sculptures viscerally.” “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum” (200 Eastern Parkway at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, www.brooklynmuseum.org). Open Nov. 17–April 22; Wed, Fri–Sun, 11 am–6 pm; Thu, 11 am–10 pm. Mon, Tue, closed. $16 suggested donation. Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.Comment on this story. [...]



Trolley-ho! Advocates of Brooklyn–Queens tram line reveal life-size streetcar model

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:51:28 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Bill ParryBrooklyn PaperIt’s the rail deal. Proponents of the mayor’s plan to build a $2.5-billion trolly line connecting Brooklyn and the outer borough of Queens unveiled on Monday a true-to-size model of the system’s streetcars in front of a crowd of city officials and other local leaders at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The reveal offered the group a glimpse of the future if the 14-mile Brooklyn Queens Connector is approved, according to a main supporter of the transit initiative. “Today we’re providing New Yorkers with their first real taste of what the BQX would look and feel like, and calling on the city to bring light-rail service to areas long underserved by reliable mass transit,” said Ya-Ting Liu, the executive director of advocacy group Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector. Backers of the project showcased a 46-foot Citadis 405 car, which workers constructed in France before shipping it to Kings County. The vessel contained 23 seats for would-be straphangers in addition to padded rails that fatigued commuters can lean on, according to a New York Post report. Mayor DeBlasio first announced the ambitious light-rail line — which would connect transit-starved nabes along the waterfront from Sunset Park to Queens and is still in its planning stages — last year. Borough President Adams, who said he supported the Brooklyn Queens Connector in principle after Hizzoner proposed it, echoed that stance at the streetcar unveiling, noting how the service would bring public transportation to areas that need it most, but that sorting the plan’s finer points will be key to getting it off the ground. “At my inauguration nearly four years ago, I laid out a vision for a new transportation link for Brooklyn’s waterfront, a line to connect historically underserved transit deserts. That vision is captured by the BQX proposal,” the beep said. “To be sure, there are key details that need resolution before this project can advance. I am confident that the city can work productively in a community-led process on issues such as route design, financing structure, and MTA fare integration.” But some transportation experts blasted the idea following its announcement, claiming proponents market the trolley as a service for low-income residents in transit-starved nabes, but that it will actually benefit wealthy property owners along its proposed routes — which traverse Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Downtown, and Red Hook — and could require banning traffic on certain streets and building new bridges. The pros also questioned the mayor’s claim that the tram will pay for itself via increased property taxes, arguing there would need to be a ton of new development in certain nabes in order for that to happen, and suggested the proposed funds for the project instead be invested in upgrading and expanding the city’s current transit system. The Brooklyn Queens Connector proposal still faces a lengthy public-approval process. If it gets the green light, construction could begin in 2019 with service scheduled to start in 2024.Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260?4538.Comment on this story. [...]



Tomb raiders: Celebrity D&D players stream live game from Williamsburg

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:57:02 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Bill RoundyBrooklyn PaperThis show is a critical hit! A party of celebrity nerds will raid a dungeon, battle monsters, and trigger deadly traps live on stage this weekend in Williamsburg. “Force Grey: Survive the Tomb,” happening at Villain on Nov. 18, will feature five veteran performers playing Dungeons & Dragons in front of a live audience — and though the action is purely verbal, the entertaining cast, led by voice actor Matt Mercer, will have audience members on the edge of the seats, said the organizer of the event. “I think the dynamic performances of the cast, and the vocal talents of Matt, will keep people entranced,” said Greg Tito, from Wizards of the Coast, the company that publishes Dungeons & Dragons. In addition to Mercer, the group features “True Blood” actors Joe Manganiello and Deborah Ann Woll, child-actor-turned-Williamsburg-mead-brewer Dylan Sprouse, Utkarsh Ambudkar, from “The Mindy Project,” and voice actress Marisha Ray, portraying an elite group of adventurers creeping their way through a deadly, trap-filled tomb. This weekend’s four-hour game, which will also be broadcast live, serves as a sort of season finale for the 18-part series “Force Grey: Lost City of Omu.” That adventure was recorded at two marathon game sessions in Los Angeles, said Tito, but the latest session moved to Brooklyn to accommodate the shooting schedule of the actors — and to take advantage of the neighborhood’s cachet, said the former Williamsburg resident. “Brooklyn is a cool place in general,” said Tito. The actors will play on a small stage, set up like a typical living room, with the audience on risers nearby. Video screens will capture details that might escape the audience, including dice rolls and an elaborate miniature dungeon created by Williamsburg model crafter Stefan Pokorny, who, said Tito “made it look as bad-ass as it can be.” Before the dungeon-crawl starts at 3 pm, audience members can check out game products, gawk at an elaborate model of a ruined jungle city, and examine sculptures of fantastic creatures mounted on the wall like hunting trophies. “It’ll be like walking into a D&D museum,” said Tito. The audience for Dungeons & Dragons games was once limited to those who could fit around a basement gaming table, but a collection of “actual play” podcasts and videos over the last few years has opened up the game to a whole new crowd, said Tito. “The fact that we can watch these expert performers for three to four hours, playing D&D, live and streamed to an audience of thousands — I’m still flabbergasted that we can do this,” he said. “Force Grey” at Villain (307 Kent Ave. at S. Third Street in Williamsburg, www.wizards.com/dnd). Nov. 18 at 2 pm. $30–$37.50.Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eQXfDvtu5lM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Comment on this story. [...]



Singing her praises: Dyker fixture and founder of Regina Opera Company dies at 86

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperLocal operatic trailblazer Marie Cantoni passed away on Oct. 28 at the age of 86. Cantoni founded the Regina Opera Company in 1970 with her neighbor, Nick Tierno, after she learned that Tierno’s brother sang opera as a tenor and had no place to perform. Cantoni went on to transform the company into a renowned local favorite, beloved by both Brooklynites and opera-lovers beyond the borough alike for its affordable pricing and professional productions — which gained acclaim even in their school-auditorium venues. Cantoni and Tierno began staging small concerts at the Regina Pacis Youth Center in Dyker Heights, staging their first full opera — Giuseppe Verdi’s three-act “La Traviata” — to piano accompaniment in 1971. But over time, the company grew to regularly draw crowds of around 300 people to classic productions like “Madame Butterfly,” “Marriage of Figaro,” and “Carmen.” The company even attracted now-famous singers to its stage before they got their professional starts: Dolora Zajick, who went on to become an acclaimed mezzo-soprano with the Metropolitan Opera, tested out her lungs with the Regina Opera in 1980, before it even featured a full orchestra. The company also became known for presenting operas in their original languages and projecting their own unofficial English translations above the stage for audiences to follow during the shows — a practice not commonly found outside of performances staged by the Metropolitan or New York City operas, according to Cantoni. And even when the company faced tough times and was on the verge of closing in the 1970s and ’80s, the heritage of the Dyker Heights neighborhood that Cantoni called home helped her and her performers sustain their success over time, she told this paper in 2010. “You do a show where you sing Italian opera in an Italian neighborhood — the people just come,” Cantoni said. Cantoni joined three older siblings when she was born at her Brooklyn home on 75th Street between 11th and 12th avenues in November 1930. She went on to attend PS 176 and New Utrecht High School. In 1957, she married her first-grade sweetheart, Matthew Cantoni, and soon gave birth to her daughter Linda in 1958. Her son Mark followed two years later. Cantoni stayed involved with the Regina Opera Company, directing it as a labor of love — for which she was never paid — until she retired a few years ago. Her daughter, Linda, began directing operas at the company in 1986, and now serves on the board of directors and as the executive vice president, secretary, and legal advisor. Marie Cantoni told the Brooklyn Paper that her love for opera began as a child, when she would listen to radio performances by the Metropolitan Opera with her mother. “Every Saturday morning, my mother and I would listen to ‘Live from the Met’ on the radio — this was in the 1930s,” she said. “My mother would translate the singing for us. I was 6- or 7-years-old, and I enjoyed the music. It was exciting, and could be touching.” And according to Cantoni’s daugh[...]



Violent brute victimizes woman on subway platform

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Paper

88th Precinct

Fort Greene–Clinton Hill

Subway slimeball

Some goon attacked a woman while she was waiting for a subway train at Lafayette Avenue on Nov. 7, police said. The woman told police she was waiting on the Church Avenue-bound G train platform near Classon Avenue when the ruffian stomped on her thigh, pulled her hair, and struck her in the face with a bag at about 5:15 pm, according to authorities.

Cashed out

A good-for-nothing swiped cash and a music player from a DeKalb Avenue bar on Nov. 6, police said. An employee at the nightclub near Clermont Avenue told police he locked it up at little after midnight, but about four hours later, some lout smashed the window to break in. The punk ran off with $250 in cash from the register and a music player, according to authorities.

Rock-ing out

A nogoodnik broke into an Adelphi Street eatery and stole two music players on Nov. 7, police said. A restaurant employee told police that he spotted shattered glass on the floor and checked the video footage, which showed the malefactor hurl a rock at the window of the restaurant between Willoughby and Myrtle avenues and then break in. The punk swiped two iPods worth a total of $350, according to authorities.

He see-zed them!

A filcher stole several pairs of pricey eyeglasses from a guy’s Willoughby Avenue apartment sometime between Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, police said. The homeowner told police he had been out of his home near Grand Avenue for those two days while contractors were doing work, and when he returned on Nov. 2, realized the sneak had removed his Louis Vuitton, MCM, Fendi, and Tom Ford eyewear from his dining room table, worth a total of $2,447, according to authorities.

Bye-cycle

A jerk swiped a guy’s bicycle parked on Fulton Street on Nov. 10, police said. The guy told police he had left his pricey Orrow bike chained up on the street near Hanson Place at about 8:30 pm but some nogoodnik rode off with it, according to authorities.

Purloined wheels

A scofflaw stole a woman’s moped that she had parked on Clinton Avenue while she was out of town for a few days starting on Nov. 8, police said. The woman parked her black Honda Ruckus between the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and Myrtle Avenue, and when she went to go get it on Nov. 10, it was gone, according to authorities.

— Julianne Cuba

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Pricey cellphone was real, thief’s money was fake

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Julianne McShane

Brooklyn Paper

68th Precinct

Bay Ridge—Dyker Heights

Phone and phony

A double-talking thief stole an iPhone X and handed the owner $1,400 in fake money before fleeing on 86th Street on Nov. 5, according to police.

The two men connected on Craigslist, where the gray phone was listed for sale, and agreed to meet between 11th and 12th avenues around 11 pm to finalize the sale. And when the iPhone owner handed the Apple product over to the thief, the perp gave him an envelope with a wad filled with $1,400 in fake $50 bills before fleeing in an unknown direction in a white vehicle.

Swindler’s wish

A crooked auto broker cheated a man out of $2,200 after their Nov. 2 phone conversation from the man’s 94th Street home.

When the pair spoke on the phone around noon — the man calling from his apartment between Marine Avenue and Shore Road — they agreed to meet up in person for the man to pick up the car after he wired the money. But the perp never showed up, alleged the victim in a Nov. 7 police report. The same broker has been named in numerous reports filed for similar incidents, police said.

Swiped, and ran

A quick-acting thief stole nearly $850 after picking up a wallet with two credit cards and $200 cash inside after a woman dropped it on 93rd Street on Nov. 9.

The lowlife began making charges using the two cards shortly after grabbing the billfold at the corner of Third Avenue before 7 pm. The following morning, the woman received a text message from her bank reporting the charges, and she reported it to the 68th Precinct just after 11 am.

Stolen and rollin’

A no-goodnik stole a man’s 2013 Honda Odyssey valued at $24,500 from its Colonial Road parking spot at some point between Nov. 7 and 8.

The man parked his car in his driveway behind his home between 88th and 89th streets at 7 pm on Nov 7. When he returned to the car the next morning just before 10 am, it was gone, according to the report. The car owner said he kept a spare valet key for the car inside the front glove compartment. Police are reviewing surveillance cameras in the area, according to the report.

— Julianne McShane

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A favor for fellow Americans: Local Muslim groups spearhead hurricane-relief drive for Puerto Ricans

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:43:41 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

By Alexandra Simon

Brooklyn Paper

(image)

It’s a color-blind care package.

Members of two Islamic faith-based associations on Friday announced a massive shipment of goods to Puerto Rican hurricane victims following a several-week donation drive that the groups’ leaders spearheaded in the Muslim community, which sprung to action to help its fellow citizens after the disasters, said an organizer.

“We are Muslim Americans and, like anyone else in this country, when the time of need comes we step up and help our citizens,” said Officer Adeel Rana, a member of the New York Police Department’s Muslim Officers Society. “As Muslims we can’t see a neighbor or friend suffering and just relax — we need to do something.”

Cops in the Muslim Officers Society partnered with honchos at the city’s Islamic Circle of North America — a faith-based charity — to conduct the drive, for which they enlisted the leaders of city mosques and other religious facilities to help them gather thousands of goods including canned foods, bottled water, and hygiene products.

Reps from each association revealed the results of the collection outside a Gowanus warehouse, which a generous do-gooder offered as a storage space for the items until organizers can get them to the island, according to Rana.

The cop said the police officers chose to work with the charitable group because its volunteers already sent donations to Puerto Ricans following hurricanes Irma and Maria, giving the authorities access to an in-place aid network.

“The Islamic circle has a national chapter that does a lot of relief efforts, and they already started doing work in Puerto Rico — sending containers of food and essential stuff — and we wanted to contribute,” Rana said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260?8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.

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Cold call: Podcaster talks to his haters at live show

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:37:43 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne McShaneBrooklyn PaperHe’s calling all haters! A Brooklyn filmmaker and podcaster who tackles hot-button social issues including racism and homophobia will confront one of his many online haters in a live discussion at Union Hall on Nov. 19, capping the five-day Brooklyn Podcast Festival. The live, in-person version of the podcast “Conversations with People Who Hate Me” will be a first for its host, who usually talks to his tormenters over the phone. “This will be high stakes because I’ve never met someone off the Internet,” said Dylan Marron. “It’s one thing to do a phone call, it’s quite another to do live.” Marron, who also plays the scientist Carlos in the fictional podcast “Welcome to Nightvale,” may be best known for his “Every Single Word” video series, in which he edits down popular films to only the words spoken by people of color (the video for the three-hour and 15-minute “Titanic” runs just 54 seconds). He called himself a “brown queer man who wears his mother’s pearl earrings,” when he launched the #queerselflove Twitter campaign, and he frequently receives Facebook messages calling him homophobic slurs, telling him to kill himself, or just calling him “a piece of s---.” The messages reached a peak following last year’s divisive election, Marron said. “Right after the election last year, I knew that I wanted to kind of facilitate conversations like these,” he said. “At first I was blocking everyone who sent me a message like that or left a comment like that, but then I was like, you know, there are people who are coming to my digital front door step. What if I don’t turn them away? What if I see this as an opportunity for conversation?” In each 30-minute episode, Marron is direct with his guests — usually asking directly if they really do hate him — but he tries to avoid shutting down those with different views. “The whole point of this conversation is dialogue, it’s not for me to ‘own them’ or ‘destroy them’ or any of these militaristic terms that we see on the Internet,” he said. “I think we have been fed this idea that we have to shout down people we have to disagree with, and I don’t agree with that.” Marron’s next project will be a digital interview series in which he talks to undocumented immigrants, which is sure to rouse more attacks from the “build the wall” crowd. But Marron is not trying to attract more vitriol, he said — he is just trying to show what can happen when people listen to each other. “Listening is actually not that hard, listening to people is crucial,” he said. “We can listen to people we disagree with. We don’t have to perform our disagreement with them.” The Brooklyn Podcast Festival, which runs Nov. 14–19, will feature 18 live shows, including comedy show “Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show,” politi[...]



Bad trip: Windsor Terrace residents suffer serious scuffs stumbling on unkempt sidewalk

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperThis walkway hits locals like a ton of bricks. Windsor Terrace residents are stumbling over bricks protruding from a Prospect Park West sidewalk that has deteriorated into a dangerous obstacle course particularly perilous to neighborhood elders, according to a resident. “A lot of people fall down and get hurt over here, and a lot of them are seniors, ” said Tom Prendergast. The sidewalk, which runs along Prospect Park West from Bartel Pritchard Square to 18th Street, was built on a foundation of dirt and sand, according to Prendergast, who said its bricks are displaced during rainstorms because water seeps below them. And locals continue to trip on the shifting, weather-prone walkway, some of whom suffer serious scuffs, the owner of a nearby drug store said. “I’ve been here for 14 years and have seen people of all ages trip and fall on their faces to the point they break their noses and need stitches,” said Sajid Patel, who owns Ballard Pharmacy on Prospect Park West between 16th Street and Windsor Place. Property owners whose lots border the precarious path are responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, and are liable for injuries that it causes, according to Department of Transportation codes. But some area proprietors who said they do their best to mend a loose brick here and there claimed the upkeep is never-ending, and demanded the city pitch in with a more permanent solution. “It’s not something you can repair. You fix one brick, and you have three more coming loose,” said Joseph Gallo, the owner of Prospect Park West butcher’s shop United Meat Market. “I would like to see the bricks removed — it’s the only way.” And Prendergast, the local, took the matter into his own hands in the meantime, marking unsafe spots along the path with spray paint in an attempt to prevent more injuries. He also relayed the problem to the neighborhood’s assemblyman, who said he set a meeting with transportation department reps and concerned residents for later this month in order to solve the sidewalk problem. “It’s a big, contentious issue that people have been trying to fix for years now,” said Assemblyman Robert Carroll (D–Windsor Terrace), who is hosting the session on Nov. 28 at 7:30 pm at Prospect Park West’s Holy Name of Jesus church. “I’m trying to get all the store owners and actors to this meeting with the DOT.”Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.Comment on this story. [...]



Run for glory: Athletes race to finish of .2-mile Williamsburg ‘marathon’

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThey are so — sorta — inspiring! Runners stampeded past the starting point seconds before sprinting across the finish line of a new “marathon” in Williamsburg on Nov. 12. And, not surprisingly, the .2-mile race passed in a euphoric blur, according to an athlete, who said his endorphins kicked in halfway through the competition and carried him to completion. “I would say the first .1 mile was really tough, but finishing the second .1 mile was a breeze after the adrenaline kicked in and I got that runner’s high. That’s what running .2 miles is all about,” said Clinton Hill resident James Coker. “This is probably my proudest achievement.” All of the competitors who paid $20 to participate in the first-ever “New York Sorta Marathon” at McCarren Park came in first place — except for two predetermined silver and bronze finishers whom the event’s founder asked to throw the race, Coker said, since every sporting event needs runners-up, too. But the Clinton Hill local, who placed third, said losing did not matter, because simply crossing the finish line was the real prize. “For me, it’s not about when you finished. It’s the fact that you finished,” Coker said. And taking the bronze medal was no easy feat, according to the athlete, who said he put months’ worth blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for the contest. “I try to run once a month. It’s important to have a regular regimen — 100, 200, 300 feet at a time,” he said. “Baby steps, you can’t just jump right in with serious distance racing.” Another short-distance runner said he was overcome with emotion after crossing a finish line he waited much of his life to reach. “I feel like I’ve been carbo-loading for the last 25 years, so, yeah, I trained,” said Will Nunziata, a self-proclaimed local celebrity from the outer borough of Queens. A “medical staff” watched runners from the sidelines, ready to offer bananas, space blankets and tiny cups of Gatorade to competitors — in addition to well wishes to anyone who got hurt, according to a woman who played nurse, who said she could not actually help injured runners because she has no training whatsoever. “I was a sorta nurse — I would only sorta be able to help them,” said Sharon Spell, who also traveled from Queens to the marathon. “But sometimes your presence is enough to inspire healing.” And congratulations for the third-place finisher continue to pour in, according to Coker, who said sharing his achievement with friends via social media made the effort he put in to the race worth it. “The real reason people run marathons is to brag about it on social media,” he said. “This took all the aspects of running a race without any of the work.”Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twi[...]



A cinematic return: Spike Lee debuts new boro-based series with gala premiere at Ft. Greene theater

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperIt was a bright night for a local film legend! Stars lit up the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Nov. 11 for the premiere of Spike Lee’s new Netflix television series, “She’s Gotta Have It,” which is based on the director’s beloved Brooklyn-set movie. And though the famous filmmaker no longer lives in his native Fort Greene, he wanted to celebrate his special night at the nabe’s esteemed arts hub, his wife said. “To be able to do it at such an iconic place as BAM was great,” said Tonya Lewis Lee, who is also an executive producer of the series. “It was such a beautiful space to do the premiere with a crowd from Brooklyn.” The 10-episode show stars actress DeWanda Wise as protagonist Nola Darling — also the titular character of Lee’s 1986 film — and tells the story of a young woman maintaining relationships with three lovers, a plot Lewis Lee said will appeal to many viewers. “As someone said to me that night, everybody can find a character to identify with in the show,” she said. The program’s director and stars lined the event’s red carpet, including Lee, Wise and Anthony Ramos — an alum of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” who portrays Mars Blackmon on the new show. Critics lauded Lee’s original movie as boundary-pushing for its dialogue about black female sexuality, and the new series’s executive producer said she looks forward to the conversations it will spark. “I can’t wait until it comes out. I can’t wait for people to see it, binge it, talk about it,” Lewis Lee said. And hosting a homecoming for Lee — who now lives in Manhattan but keeps Fort Greene offices for his production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks — was an honor, according to a Brooklyn Academy of Music honcho, who praised the director’s latest work for its creativity and focus on important local issues. “It was an honor to host the premiere of Spike Lee’s new work at BAM,” said Gina Duncan, the cultural space’s associate vice president of cinema. “Grappling with issues like black female sexuality and gentrification, the show builds on many of the themes presented in Lee’s early work.” “She’s Gotta Have It” debuts on Netflix on Thanksgiving day.Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.Comment on this story. [...]



A vice finds virtue: Biz group’s program recycles cigarettes strewn on Slope streets

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 09:11:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Colin MixsonBrooklyn PaperPark Slopers are putting your butts to work — to save the planet! Honchos of the nabe’s Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District installed special receptacles along the thoroughfare where puffing passersby can toss used cigarettes, which are then sent to a company that recycles the otherwise forgotten filth into functional goods, according to a street cleaner that works with the organization. “We do what we need to do by keeping the streets clean, and they’re doing what they need to do to save the environment,” said Paul Lotter, who works for Block by Block, which the business group employs to maintain neighborhood sidewalks. Lotter suggested installing the stogie-salvaging boxes to the commerce organization’s officials a few months ago, after discovering a New Jersey-based company that specializes in recycling unusual items, he said, and was surprised the business could put tar-stained tobacco filters to good use. “Three months ago, I didn’t think this was an option,” he said of the company, Terra Cycle. “It’s crazy — but amazing!” The enterprise advertises that its employees melt used cigarettes into a hard plastic that can then be refashioned into products such as pallets — structures that stabilize items being hoisted by a forklift or crane. But Terra Cycle doesn’t just salvage filthy filters — its workers also reprocess cigarettes’ packaging to create reusable plastic, and compost leftover ash and tobacco, according to Lotter. “They can make use out of a whole lot more than the cigarette butts,” he said. The cleaner charged staffers to identify prominent butt-tossing spots along Fifth Avenue, and they ultimately installed two receptacles — one outside two bars between 17th and 18th streets, and another near a smoke shop between St. Marks and Prospect places — on Nov. 9 as part of a pilot program, which Lotter hopes to expand along the street and introduce to other nabe’s business-advocacy groups if the bins catch on. “If this works here, there’s nothing stopping us for rolling it out with other BIDs,” he said. And most people appreciate any chance to help the environment, but even some smokers were put off by the idea of reusing somebody else’s cigarette, according to a self-proclaimed puffer. “It kind of sounds disgusting,” said Brittany Bergel, a Downtown resident who this newspaper spoke to while she strolled Fifth Avenue.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.Comment on this story. [...]



Heaven sent: Ft. Greene church leaders reveal plan to erect 13-story, ‘affordable’ housing complex

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.By Julianne CubaBrooklyn PaperThey’re building on a prayer. Faith leaders from a Fort Greene congregation on Nov. 9 revealed their plan to erect a new 13-story building of so-called affordable housing on S. Portland Avenue, which supports the church’s charitable work in the nabe, said a rep for the developer working with the house of worship. “They are not doing this to make money, they are providing housing for the neighborhood,” said Michael Rooney, a project manager with MDG Design and Construction. “The church knows, and I know, that God is in control of all things, and they’ve been praying about what’s best.” Leaders of the Hanson Place Seventh-day Adventist Church told locals they want to raze the organization’s old three-story community center at 142–150 S. Portland Ave. between Hanson and S. Elliott places — which currently houses a soup kitchen as well as youth-mentoring and women’s programs — to make way for a 135-foot residential building with a new ground-floor space for locals to gather and a below-ground medical facility. But because the area’s current zoning laws prohibit buildings from breaching nine stories, the city must first upzone a swath of land generally bounded by S. Portland Avenue, Hanson Place, and S. Elliot Place — which contains the development site and other lots — in order to allow construction of up-to-14-story high-rises. The change would also give developers a free pass to build commercial storefronts on the first floor of Hanson Place buildings within the re-zoned area, according to an attorney who specializes in zoning law. “It would allow them to have a ground floor bakery, restaurant, a retail store,” said Richard Lobel, who is representing the church. The new tower would offer 100 apartments through the city’s housing lottery that are divided into three income-based affordability tiers. Twenty-five units would be priced at 60 percent of the area’s median income — around $48,676 according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau — another 25 would be offered at 100 percent, and the last 50 would be at 130 percent. Potential renters making roughly $30,000 could apply for a $761-per-month studio at the lowest tier, while individuals making roughly $72,000 could move into a $1,807-per-month studio at the highest. Church officials also want to provide eight units of Section 8 housing — apartments for low-income people that are partially paid for with government-issued subsidies, according to Rooney. But a handful of locals demanded the clergy and developers go back to the drawing board, claiming most of the units are merely market-rate housing in sheep’s clothing. “It’s not affordable, you’re disguising the fact,” said Fort Greener Sandy Reiburn. Other residents applauded the proposal, however, citing the need for cheaper residenc[...]