Author Archives: MJ

Daylight Mugging with a Knife

Some criminals are dumber than others. A woman was mugged in the middle of the day while getting her keys out to go into her home. The guy approached her with a knife, took her belongings and sped off in a van. The woman had the presence of mind to take down the thief’s license plate and vehicle description. Shortly after, a delivery guy walked by and the woman was able to use his phone to call the police. They caught they guy about 20 minutes later! A Brooklynian.com member reported the “cops said those kinds of robberies usually came in spurts.” A good way to protect yourself financially is  to carry only what you need that day. This way if you are mugged you won’t lose everything.

Key Food on 5th Ave. Allegedly Restricts Employees from Shopping at Store

Photo Source: Gothamist

The ownership at the Key Food on 5th Avenue reportedly does not allow their employees to shop at the store. It is normal for employees not to be allowed to shop during store hours, but in this case employees are restricted from shopping at the store all together. F’ed in Park Slope reported, “According to a cashier at Key Food on 5th Avenue, the employees are not allowed to shop in the store, like, not ever. The report continued by saying, “Apparently this has been the store’s policy for several generation of ownership.”

While neighborhood opinions of the store differ from person to person, this practice isn’t completely unusual. Jon commented on F’ed in Park Slope, “If my buddy in the meat dept. gives me 3 pounds of prime beef and labels it 2lbs of chicken, that might seem trivial but it adds up.” There are arguments on both sides of this issue. Make up your own mind and choose where you shop based on those decisions. That is what makes free enterprise so great.

Brooklyn College Students Have a Hard Time Finding Cheap Apartments

Photo Source: SchoolGuides.com

Brooklyn has grown to be a cultural and (to a lesser extent) academic hotspot. Students who attend Brooklyn College tend to live in Brooklyn while attending school, since Brooklyn provides most everything a college student needs — from mass transportation that easily gets students from their apartment to school, to neighborhood bars and restaurants to blow off steam. The only problem is the difficulty in finding living arrangements that won’t drain your wallet.

A college student reported on CollegeProwler that the off campus housing at Brooklyn College “is very expensive … I wish they had some sort of student discount or financial aid.” Some 23% of Brooklyn College students reported that high prices and/or limited choices kept them on campus. Other students have found that living a little further off campus provides more choices at lower costs; the neighborhoods may not be as safe, but the rent is cheap, and mass transportation brings them right to school. Whether a student chooses to live off campus in a student run building or a little farther off campus, having apartment insurance may protecting their personal property from theft, fire or other catastrophe. For example, replacing a stolen laptop out of pocket isn’t in every college student’s means, which is where an apartment insurance policy comes in handy. The average policy in Brooklyn i $17 a month.

Park Slope Entrepreneur Asks “What’d You Buy Today?” with Personal Finance Site, The Birdy


Photo Source: iDone This Blog

Park Slope resident Corey Maass, who has helped others get their startup businesses off the ground, has just launched a unique startup of his own: TheBirdy.com, a free App that tracks your spending to help you better manage your money on a day-to-day basis. The service sends an email once a day to its members asking, “What’d you buy today?” The Birdy members can respond to the daily email or choose to text-message their response. In turn, The Birdy provides them reports of how they are spending their money.

The Birdy came to be through Maass’ own poor spending habits. NYDailyNews.com reports Maass as saying, “The joke was that I was a third-generation shopaholic.” His efforts to curb his out of control spending habits using personal finance websites did not work because “they were way too complicated, boring and not informative.” TheBirdy.com aims at making money management incredibly easy for its members.

Fresh Market Emporium Caught Reselling Expired Costco Pies

Photo By: Tom Rupolo

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ records show The Fresh Emporium Supermarket was caught reselling expired Costco pumpkin pies. The agency is responsible for fostering “agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguard our food supply.” While laws against reselling food products are non-existent in New York, it is against the law to sell expired food products.

The Fresh Emporium was reported reselling pies purchased from Costco for two dollars more than the original retail price. DosLives.com reports a man identified as the store manager “made a mistake by removing the expiration date, but it was not intentional.” DosLives.com also reports previous complaints against the store, “the state agency revealed two complaints – one in 2008 about expired candy apples and another in 2009 that reported the store was adding chunks of fat to chicken to increase its weight.” A store manager named Jose said the store will not remove expiration dates from pies moving forward. If you have had any issues with this grocer, please share your experiences.

Voyeuristic Photographer Peeps in Park Slope Brownstone Windows

A Brooklyn-based photographer named Harlan Erskine was sent on assignment by Brooklyn Magazine to capture the essence of Brooklyn brownstone interiors from a voyeur’s point of view. The assignment was intended to pay “homage to the voyeuristic artwork of Shizuka Yokomizo” reports Henry Stewart of Brooklyn Magazine. Harlan went around Park Slope leaving a note that read:

“I am a Brooklyn-based photographer and would love to photograph the exterior of your home for a photo story referencing the work of Shizuka Yokomizo. In the acknowledgement to Shizuka’s ‘Distance’ piece, the essay places the same amount of emphasis on the design of the home as it does as the participation of the resident. Therefore, I would like to call on you in hopes that you might participate in this feature, to leave your lower level lights on from the hours of 10pm-11pm TONIGHT and arrange the apartment as you would like it to be seen. I would also encourage you to engage in the space or in front of the window if you too would like to be photographed.”

The images that were captured definitely embrace the essence of Yokomizo’s work. Visit Yokomizo’s website to learn more about her work.

Soup Bowl Open Again This Season


Image source: Here’s Park Slope

Park Slope’s favorite little soup shop that serves new renditions on old favorites is open again this year. The Soup Bowl is located at 321 Seventh Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets. Don’t count on getting a table as seating is very limited but most people grab a cup and go. During the summer months the location is an ice cream parlor, but come November the space is transitioned into a soup shop. A Brooklynian.com community member comments about the Soup Bowl’s soup in the winter months, “This stuff is so good and a perfect day for soup. The man is definitely a soup craftsman.”

The Soup Bowl menu constantly changes. You can go to The Soup Bowl website for their daily soup menu. Today’s menu is below.

Lobster Butternut Squash Bisque

Serious Split Pea

Turkey Chili

Chicken Pot Pie with Corn Bread Crust

Northern Bean Tomato

Smoked Ham and Diced Vegetables

Green Vegetables

Butternut Squash Potato

Porcini Shiitake

Sausage Chick Pea

Market Vegetable

Chicken Vegetable

New England Clam Chowder

5th Ave. Eyesore Getting a Facelift

5th Avenue in Park Slope has one last remnant of a time when the area was run down. The decrepit building on 5th Ave. between 6th and 7th streets is finally getting a facelift. HeresParkSlope.com reports, “the owner, Chiu-Kun Wu, realized that he could make a lot more money by fixing up the decrepit building than by letting it slowly rot.” Wu has already initiated the renovation process starting with the building being gutted. The building’s “ground-floor space is being prepped for a retail tenant” reports Brownstoner.com. The renovation of this property will bring another business to flourish in the area and finally get rid of 5th Avenue’s last decaying building.

A simple renovation may not be enough to bring this building back to life. Members of the local community have posted their goodbyes on Brooklynian.com. Mamacita wrote, “It already has a X marked on it.” She continued by commenting, “No amount of gutting alone can make a structurally unsound building ready for a simple prep-and-rent situation.” While the renovation process may take longer than anticipated, Park Slope residents can rejoice in the fact there will be one less decaying building in the neighborhood.

When to Rent and When to Buy

While the price of property has continued to decline, there are definitely deals to be had. Unfortunately, the correct decision to rent or to buy is not as clear as you might think. In neighborhoods like Park Slope, renting may be less expensive when you compare that to the mortgage on purchasing the same square footage. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in a rent stabilized apartment in a great part of town, it probably makes sense for you to continue renting (although these can be hard to come by).

Purchasing an apartment or condo is attractive to all of us. Being a homeowner is part of the American dream. It has been drilled into our heads that it’s another step in life that achieves a certain status in society. That may be true, but you need to make the best financial decision based on your circumstances. If you choose to live around the Upper East Side, you probably find yourself in a situation where your rent is far less than what a mortgage would be for the same space.

If you are serious about purchasing an apartment, you should hire an experienced appraiser to find out what the property is worth at today’s market value. This will give you a clearer picture of whether or not you can afford the mortgage versus the rent you are currently paying. You may find your rental situation is so good that the real estate market could not possibly provide the deal you currently have as a renter.

If this is the case, there are some steps you should take to protect yourself financially. Negotiate a long term lease agreement with your landlord. Lock in your rent amount as far in the future as you can (if you plan on staying in that location for a while). Invest in rental insurance in order to protect your belongings. This is critical to ensure you will stay financially whole if a catastrophe occurs. Rental insurance in NYC only costs between $15 and $30 a month. You may never need it, but if disaster strikes you will be glad you have it.

Fisherman VS Geese in Prospect Park

You may have noticed the 30 new signs skirting the Prospect Park shores explaining the fishing rules. This is due to the work of the Prospect Park Alliance. The alliance is in charge of restoring and maintaining Prospect Park for the public’s enjoyment. After birds were continually found injured or dead due to discarded fishing line and hooks, the alliance acted to enforce rules and educate the fishing community on best practices that would ensure safety for the park’s bird population. The NY Times reported Emily Lloyd, the alliance’s president, as commenting, “we don’t want wildlife to get hurt; we feel very strongly about that.” She continued to say, “we may not get perfect compliance, but over a year or two, I think you can accomplish a lot in changing people’s behavior.”

This is not an easy fix. Most of the fishing line and hooks that are left behind happen because lures or hooks get snagged in weeds or trees. Dan Mundy, vice president of environmental group Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers suggested, “Bait shops could put up signs.” He continued by saying, “Most fisherman believe in the environment and enjoy being out there. A lot of times I think it’s just something that goes unrecognized.” The Prospect Park Alliance has already started a program to educate the community on the importance of discarding harmful fishing line and lures.

Brooklyn Based Show “Bored to Death” Ends After 3 Seasons

Photo Source: Brooklyn Daily

Many of the shows with a Brooklyn setting are actually filmed on a California sound stage. HBO’s “Bored to Death” was filmed in the neighborhood and locals could tell. “Brooklyn looks more like Brooklyn than any West Coat soundstage does,” says Matt Flegnheimer from NYTimes.com. The show was filmed throughout the borough at places like Fort Greene, Brighton Beach and Park Slope. You can get a list of shooting locations on the show’s website. “Bored to Death” show was on air for 3 seasons before getting the ax at the end of December 2011.

The show’s creator, Jonathan Ames, invited fans to a Boerum Hill bar to celebrate the show while it was on air and mourn the fact that now it’s not. While fans loved that fact that Ames nailed the neighborhood culture they also “did not want the show’s local popularity to cause an influx of non-Brooklynites to the area” reported NYTimes.com.

Park Slope’s ‘Batman’ – Keeping the Streets Safe

Park Slope’s increase in crime has been met with a dedicated citizen. Thanks to Gotham’s Batman, women in the area feel a little safer getting home at night. Jay “Rocket” Ruiz is the caped crusader (without the cape and costume) that is responsible for getting over 30 women home safely at night. BrooklynEagle.com reports, “Ruiz began standing outside Park Slope subway stations holding a sign with his name, phone number and e-mail address.” Now ‘Batman’ is serving over 30 women in getting home safe.

The neighborhood is rallying around Ruiz to help keep the Slope streets safe. Ruiz keeps a regular conversation going on Brooklynian.com. Join the conversation and maybe join the bike patrol too!

Long Time Employee Let Go from Connecticut Muffin

According to a report on Brooklynian.com, Connecticut Muffin recently let go one of their most liked employees: Armando, who was an employee at Connecticut Muffin for 11 years! According to people posting on Brooklynian site, he was let go after he disagreed with some changes the café made. The posters say the changes have resulted in less than helpful employees and longer waits. Ashley Faye is a former employee of Connecticut Muffin and had this to say about the changes, “I am also a former employee of The Muff, I was also discarded along with Armando.” Faye continued to say, “The abrupt discharge truly upset him and he was absolutely not ready for it.”

Armando was a throwback to “great service with a smile.” The neighborhood is rallying to get in touch with Armando to help find him a position at another café that would be lucky to have him. Join the discussion at Brooklynian.com.

Reggae Rapper Matisyahu Shaved Beard

The man who brought us reggae/rap with an Orthodox Judaism message has shaved his signature beard. Matisyahu was known as much for his traditional beard as his hit songs like “King Without a Crown.” On Tuesday Matisyahu tweeted “No more Chassidic reggae superstar.” Matisyahu’s name at birth was Matthew Paul Miller. He changed his name at 19 after converting. “Sorry Folks, all you get is me … no alias.”

Many of Matisyahu’s longtime fans were confused over his faith after shaving his beard. Fans commented on Matisyahu’s Web site, “As a huge fan of your music and your personal voyage, I’m pretty confused right now.” The singer replied with a Tweet that said, “For all of those who are being awesome, you are awesome. For all those who are confused: today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday”

Coffee Watch: Noella Brew Bar Opens

Coffee lovers who stop in to one of the Slope’s bean roaster establishments have a new kid on the block (or one that has moved back). The former owner of Ozzie’s has opened a new coffee shop that promises to continue in Ozzie’s tradition – good coffee with a good conscience. Noella Brew Bar serves up organic coffee from Counter Culture and pastries from La Bagel Delight. For the more discerning taste, coffee can be made using the “pour-over” technique.

Located on 7th Avenue between Lincoln and Berkley, Noella Brew Bar will be competing against established cafes such as Café Regular Du Nord. Noella’s café provides great coffee with an unmistakable neighborhood ambiance, but only time will tell if Slope locals will choose higher end coffee with a price tag ($3 to $6 for a cup of “pour-over” joe) to match. Visit BlackBookMag.com for ratings and reviews of the newest additional to the Slope’s business community.