Evelyn and Everett Ortner’s Brownstone was just listed for sale

The Everett and Evelyn Ortner House

The Everett and Evelyn Ortner House; Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

The open house at 272 Berkeley Place at 2:00 pm this Sunday should draw a large crowd. This is the house where the late Evelyn and Everett Ortner hosted receptions and dinners in their elegant Victorian parlor floor, as part of their efforts to entice young couples to purchase brownstones in Park Slope and Brooklyn’s other historic neighborhoods (and to encourage bankers to mortgage these properties).

Link: 272 Berkeley Place #0

The Ortners also were responsible for having a significant portion of Park Slope declared one of New York City’s first Historic Districts. Thanks in large part to their unflagging efforts, Park Slope was transformed from a neighborhood in decline to the viable community that it is today.

The Ortner’s four-story brownstone, which is the building to the right of the large brick and granite mansion, has a three story extension. It would make a nice spacious one- or two-family home.

Thanks to JJC for the tip!

Recycling Tips from “Trash is for Tossers”

While we are all excited for flannel plaid jackets, pumpkin-spice everything, and that familiar smell of turning leaves in Prospect Park, the cool air of fall also ushers in some not-so-sustainable lifestyle choices. In the summer you might have gone out to eat and sat outside, but as the weather changes ordering in sounds better and better even with its superfluous packaging and utensils. Sure, you know it’s expensive and inefficient to take a cab, but sometimes it’s chilly and home is just too far away.

Bloomberg’s “Recycle Everything” campaign launched this past July in an effort to do exactly that. The hope is to double the recycling rate by 2017. Though it’s been going strong the past two months, it can be easier to remember the environment when you’re spending as much time as possible outdoors – making the upcoming “R” months more of a challenge.

To understand how to be better in greater detail, I spoke to Lauren Singer, an urban sustainability promoter, who runs a blog called Trash is for Tossers. The site features Singer’s tips and discoveries while she works for a zero-waste lifestyle as an active resident in a wasteful city. 

1. The “Recycle Everything” campaign focuses a lot on food composting and organic waste. How would I do that best in the city?

Composting in New York City could sound like an oxymoron, but in reality it’s not as daunting as you might think. It might not look like throwing your food scraps into a huge steaming pile of dirt and worms, but it turns into the same thing: Nutrient-rich, healthy compost.

The easiest way that I have found to compost in NYC would have to be the freezer method that can be found on my blog here. I collect all of my food scraps and put them into upcycled containers (like a plastic soil bag or a leftover paper bag) in the freezer, which prevents smell and keeps insects and mold away. Then I bring it to a GrowNYC Food Waste Drop-Off site once a week or so. NYC Recycles provides a list of what is acceptable to compost and drop-off locations throughout NYC here.

If you are one of those people lucky enough to have a yard in NYC, first off, I want to be you. Secondly, there are household sized composting bins available through NYC Recycles or at your local hardware store that you can use outdoors. Can’t get much easier than that! Except, well, if you like the idea of compost pickup which is rumored to be mandatory in NYC by 2016!

2. If my building only has one big bin for recycling, is it good enough to just toss all those items in there? Should I be separating further? And if so, where do I go with recyclable items that don’t fit the general categories? 

If your building has only one big bin for recycling I might question if they were actually recycling. I would definitely ask the building super if the recycling was hand separated and put into clear bags or containers that are labeled either “PAPER” or “METAL, GLASS & PLASTIC”. This is because NYC’s recyclables are collected in two separate streams: paper & cardboard in one and metal, glass, plastic, and food cartons in the other. So, technically, you should be dividing your recyclables like that.

If you are not sure what to recycle or how to recycle an item, a list can be found here. Also, for items that do not fit in the general categories or for items that you are not sure about, NYC Recycles has a “How do I get rid of…” page that lets you type in household objects to see how to dispose of them or if they can be recycled.

3. Plastic bags from grocery stores – obviously, we shouldn’t use them, but what about when we do? Do we recycle those? Do they just go in the plastics bin? 

My first suggestion is, although it might be difficult at first, refuse to take plastic bags and always bring your own reusable tote wherever you go. Plastic bags are a large percentage of New York City’s residential waste stream, almost 3 percent! If you have plastic bags in your home that you don’t want to throw out, you can recycle them. Under the New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Act, certain retail stores in NYC are mandated to accept plastic bags. You can often find these bins in the front area of your local grocery store. But again, first and foremost is refusing to even accept plastic bags. It took me a little while, but I am now in the habit of having a bag with me throughout the day.

4. I would like to do more than just make sure I’ve got a tote bag for groceries and different bins for different items. What about on a bigger scale? Are there any petitions someone could sign to support having more recycle containers around the city? 

Finding a petition should be easy so it can be accessible to everyone. I could not find any online petitions that specifically targeted having more recycling bins in NYC… hint for anyone that wants to start one! 

5. What are your thoughts on the “Recycle Everything” campaign? What measures are they taking that you personally endorse? 

The Recycle Everything ad campaign is a great first step towards decreasing the 11,000 tons of landfill waste that is generated each day in New York City and will help motivate people to recycle. According to City sources, the initiative will help to reach NYC’s goal of diverting 75% of solid waste from landfills by 2030 and will save taxpayers $600,000 each year.

However, I definitely believe it is better to prevent problems before they start than figure out how to solve them. While I think that recycling is a really great anecdote for our waste problem in NYC, I don’t think it is the solution. I believe the solution to NYC’s waste problem lies in making smart choices as a consumer and being conscious of your household and individual waste streams.

6. Do you have any tips specific to fall regarding sustainable urban living? How will this zero waste lifestyle change as the weather changes? 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the change of weather is fall clothing. Sweaters, jeans, scarves, the works. That to many could conjure thoughts of heavy shopping bags and low bank accounts. This isn’t the case for a Zero Waste gal! I get all of my clothing secondhand. NYC boasts some of the best secondhand stores in the world carrying every designer under the sun. It is baffling that people will spend so much money on designer or new clothing when spending a little more time at a consignment or thrift store gets you the same results for less: Less money, and less of an ecological footprint. So I suggest checking out your local secondhand stores to stock up on your fall and winter essentials or revisit your closet to rework some of the pieces you already have.

The second thing that I would suggest, as a self-proclaimed fall food addict, is to shop at your local farmers market. The apples, the cider, the pies, and pumpkin flavored everything. There, in my mind, is nothing better. (But don’t forget your reusable bags!)

The final thing that comes to mind is the weather. As it becomes cooler, walking and biking can become more leisurely and less, well, sweaty. There is nothing more sustainable than getting places on nothing but “natural ass” as my friend from Pedal Power NYC says. I suggest walking, biking, running, boarding, skating, etc., everywhere. Not only will you look good and feel good, you will be doing good.

So remember to compost your pumpkins this year, check out her blog to get more advice on zero-waste living, and stay tuned for other autumn updates. 

Bike Thief in Park Slope

ringrunner writes:

bike_thief_park_slopeI left my bike unlocked. It is gone but I got photos of the guy who took it. He spent 30 days in the big house.

 

 

mamacita writes:

PSA: Just stopped some punk kid from ripping off a bike. If you have yours parked on the street be sure to lock it up tight! I yelled at them and they ran away. Off 5th ave, not far from Barkley’s Center

Read more:
Lock Your Bikes [Brooklynian.com]

The Walk-In Cookbook is a Store That Sells Groceries by the Recipe

Q&A with Filip Nuytemans, co-owner of the Walk-In Cookbook

walk_in_cookbook

Q: How is this different from a regular grocery?
We’re a specialty food store that sells groceries by the recipe. You can buy pre-portioned ingredients and cook them at home. Each recipe comes with a detailed instruction card that shows how to cook the meal step by step. The gist is: walk in, cook out.
This encourages people to cook by making it easy. It also cuts down on waste. Take cilantro, for example. You don’t have to buy a bouquet of cilantro to cook one meal, then have the rest wilt and go bad in the next few days. We sell just the right amount so you can cook a meal without much preparation or thought.
Q: Why Park Slope?
People around here are into food, just like us. Parents can buy meals to cook with their kids. Kids can cook for their parents. Couples can cook for themselves. We wanted to make cooking exciting–kind of an event to look forward to.
Q: Will you do delivery?
Once our website is fully functional, we’ll offer a subscription service that delivers meals to your doorstep every week. For $60 dollars, you would get three meals for two people. We will also do delivery services outside the subscription service, and recipes for larger cooking parties.
Q: Will the menu change over time?
We are looking to keep our recipes fresh and creative, changing them seasonally, in observance of certain holidays, and so forth. Currently we offer three vegetarian dishes, but we’d like to offer more.

A Final Cheers to Jackie’s 5th Amendment

jackie's 5th amendment photo

After a day of hunting for my first apartment in Park Slope, my friend and I were rewarding ourselves with pizza and discussing how realtors make up names for neighborhoods to differentiate a few blocks when the area picks up in popularity. While listing various labels, a man chimed in that, “Back in the day, this whole place was just South Brooklyn”. For those of us who did not grow up in the area, we feel almost personally responsible for changes that have come about as Manhattan moves east, and attempt to show our commiseration with the local crowd. For those of us who did grow up here, we cannot really help our resentment, and we certainly don’t apologize for it.

The closing of Jackie’s 5th Amendment is its own personification of the battle between what we now view as ‘old New York’ and ‘new New York’. Whatever those are exactly.

It’s the sort of place where there are ‘regulars’ in the most literal of senses. People have been coming for years, and for them, this isn’t just the loss of their favorite drinking spot, it’s the loss of a Friday night hangout with friends – including the bartenders.

The joint is famous for attempting to secede from the neighborhood last year, as reported by Brooklyn Magazine. It is a quintessential dive bar, complete with a ten dollar bucket of six beers, an electric jukebox spouting anything from Johnny Cash to Nickelback, red lights shedding an eerie 80’s glow, and a glorious faded sign stating “No Smoking Behind the Bar”.

After chatting with the bartender, she confirmed that it was indeed set to close on September 14th, with a rumored open-bar night to celebrate the end of a family business providing cold brews since the 1950’s. Apparently the pharmacy next door, with a 20 year lease, will be taking over the space.

Sipping on my Budweiser, I was surrounded by an eclectic group of drinkers – ranging from some kids playing darts in the backroom to married couples sharing a beer and discussing what they could do to save the place to a group of older men tossing jokes back and forth.

This is not a new issue. Every day, old pubs are closing down and new spots with mixology menus are take over that sacred space. In comes the local organic grocery to demolish the shelves of canned preservatives! Derelict buildings are restored into apartments, and new schools are built as families move to affordable neighborhoods. Everything changes; that is how cities grow. Are these changes a bad thing? In this particular case, perhaps yes. In general, I suppose that’s a matter of personal opinion.

Regardless of how you may feel about this evolution, pop by on Saturday September 14th and join the crew in a final ‘cheers’ to good memories.

Meet Sydney Frumkin, Park Slope’s Most Famous Jewish Bullfighter, Ever

The famous bullfighter who came from Park Slope « Ephemeral New York

This matador is Sidney Frumkin, born in 1903 on Jackson Place off 16th Street near Seventh Avenue. It seems that at the age of 19, Frumkin took off for Mexico after a fight with his police officer father, and on a whim, he looked up a famous matador and asked him how to wave the red cape.

Under the name Sidney Franklin, Frumkin wowed the crowd in Mexico City in 1923–his first ever fight. Over time, he became one of the top matadors worldwide and had a number of famous fans, including Ernest Hemingway.

”No history of bullfighting that is ever written can be complete unless it gives him the space he is entitled to,” Hemingway wrote.

-via The famous bullfighter who came from Park Slope « Ephemeral New York.

Rotting Trees Dumped in the Lake in Prospect Park

ROTTEN TREE WITH TREE DEBRIS LEFT DUMPED IN LAKE

Anne-Katrin Titze writes:  “Not a healthy lakeside environment – The danger of becoming entangled in snagged fishing lines and barbed hooks has increased ten-fold for all wildlife, including egrets, herons, hawks, gulls, waterfowl, turtles, and other creatures large and small that inhabit the lake.”

“This is harming the wildlife habitat and clearly shows the lack of commitment of resources for years. The ongoing erosion and disrepair of the stone bank at many locations around the watercourse has weakened the trees.”

More of a write-up via Wood chucked — into lake! City turns Prospect Park waterway a lumber dumpster • The Brooklyn Paper:

“The city axed more than half a dozen tree houses in Prospect Park in an attempt to save a delicate lakeside ecosystem — but then tossed the lumber into the water, creating a whole new environmental no-no…”

Slow Zones Save Lives and Don’t Dump Traffic on Other Neighborhoods

slow zones in london

Streetsblog New York City highlights a The Brooklyn Paper’s “trademark neighbor-vs.-neighbor” story on the public workshop talking about the potential 20 mph zone in Park Slope. The y quoted “Greenwood Heights activists”  who apparently fear the Park Slope slow zone would dump unsafe traffic on Greenwood Heights. In fact, when London adopted 20 mph slow zones, traffic-related casualties went down, both in slow zones and immediately adjacent to the zones, adn there was no increase in casualties outside the slow zones (that is to say, no “casualty migration” that activists might fear).

-via Slow Zones Will Save Your Life, and Will NOT Dump Traffic in Your NIMBY Backyard » Brooklynian.

Park Slope Townhouse on Third Street Lists for $4 Million

This six-bedroom, limestone-fronted townhouse, built in 1909 by E. Carlson, is on the market for $4 million. That beats the $3.75 million asking price for the Park Slope townhouse put on the market by J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons. Compared with Lyons’ townhouse, this townhouse is one block closer to Prospect Park, and right around the corner from John Jay High School. In addition to six bedrooms, it’s got 3.5 baths, a 20-foot front, and an adaptable floor plan, according to Curbed. Thanks to an extensive renovation, there’s central air and a large media room in the basement, renovated kitchen, and two terraces.

Check out the photo gallery and floor plan: A Classy Park Slope Townhouse Sure to Spark Controversy – On the Market – Curbed NY.

Tea Lounge Censored Nipples on Artwork with Canvas Strips

Tea Lounge Breeders - Parents and Kids

So the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, a hangout where breast-feeding is a common site, has been censoring some artwork depicting nipples. They used canvas strips to cover the nipples, apparently due to concern and/or complaints that the art was inappropriate for children coming into the cafe.

Some customers were “puzzled and occasionally offended” by the nude paintings. But now, the canvas has been removed. What’s going on over there?

via Cafe’s Modesty Is Offensive to Some – WSJ.com which is hiding the article behind an evil paywall (sorry).