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.

No Christmas Tree for Grand Army Plaza


Image: http://eyefetch.com

Well, we’ve gone from a not-as-great Christmas tree last year, to NO Christmas tree at all this year! According to the Daily News, the city won’t put up the Christmas tree this year because they are short on cash. So how much green are we talking? A grand total of $3000 would have been needed. Officials blamed storm cleanup (including Hurricane Irene) for the lack of money.

This may be the first year since 1920 that there is NO tree at Grand Army Plaza. Daily News quoted Frank Dellatorre of Sunset Park: “There is a lot of fat in government that could be trimmed … They are crying about $3,000. Give me a break.” The office of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz says that next year, a “benefactor” will be sought to fund the Christmas tree.

Person Fatally Struck by N Train at Union Street

Gothamist reports a man was struck and killed by a southbound N train at the Union street stop this morning shortly after 5:00am. WABC 7 provided more details on this tragic news:

A witness told police the victim was pushed onto the tracks, and detectives were investigating that claim.

Morning service on the M, R, D and N trains were impacted by the ongoing investigation that left many unknowing commuters experiencing long delays and overcrowded trains. Bookistan writes:

My child – trying to get to school at the Union St. R train – reported police activity this a.m. – lots of police cars, and the R train was closed down for at least an hour.

Park Slope Message Board: Helicopters again this morning

Writing Workshop for Young Adults — What’s Your Teen Doing This Summer?

A Summer Writing Intensive

What is Reading-Based Writing?

The basic idea behind reading-based writing is that we read to write and write to read. Because these two disciplines are intertwined, we’re always thinking critically, not just when we’re “studying.” The course will improve students’ writing skills by teaching them how to:

• Comfortably read/write in different genres
• Organize concepts critically
• Develop an organic voice
• Present an effective argument
• Integrate revisions

How it Works

• Classes meet for 2 hours, once per week in July. Instructor will provide all reading materials.
• Students are expected to complete one reading assignment (a story; a poem; an essay) each week and be prepared to discuss it.
• Since the course is run as a workshop, all students will present individual work to be discussed by the class. Additionally, all students will offer written feedback to their peers.
• Instructor will provide individual student evaluations, which include a writing diagnosis.
• The cost of the course is $450.

Using a variety of writing genres, students will learn the techniques of reading-based writing. We will explore:
• Creative writing (fiction, poetry, spoken word)
• Personal narrative/memoir (college essay)
• The five paragraph essay (used on standardized tests like the SAT Writing Test)
• The analytic academic paper (high school, college, and beyond)

About the Instructor
Jill Di Donato holds a BA in English from Barnard College and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. She’s taught “University Writing” to undergrads at Columbia University, developed high school writing programs as a member of Columbia/Artist Teacher, served as a mentor in Columbia University’s Writing Pedagogy Development program for graduate/professional students, and
consulted for the NYC Board of Education on the Creative Curriculum. Her writing can be found in various literary journals and magazines.

EMAIL: jilldidonato@gmail.com PHONE: 917.655.8290
Brooklyn Heights & Park Slope Locations

See more opportunities and resources at Guide to Online Schools.

A Tree Falls in Park Slope

Whoa… Diane writes on the Park Slope Message Board:

“Wow! At 3 AM, my son looked out the window – 6th Ave bet.10-11th St. and witnessed this huge tree come crashing down…totally destroying a Honda. Thank goodness this happened in the middle of the night and so there were no cars or people walking around. This happened because the city is finally taking down the “eyesore” vacant buidling and were digging with a big piece of machinery right in front of building.”

“Apparently they severed the roots of the tree & last night it came tumbling down. I think the initial digging had something to do with disconnecting the pipes but I really don’t know exactly what they were doing. The fire dept. sawed off the limbs but the entire tree trunk was still there this morning blocking all traffic in both directions.”

Here’s an image that was also posted over at the Brooklyn Record:

treeImage028.jpg

LINK: A Tree Falls in Brooklyn [Park Slope Message Board]

Seriously. What are you doing in Park Slope??


A Bomb In Nation

Originally uploaded by drp.

kensingtonmom writes on the Park Slope Message Board:

Does this latest terrorist plot make anyone wonder if living here is such a hot idea?

I can’t help but think when we are ALWAYS the target if I should cash in on my mega profits made from my Park Slope coop … and flee to another city before they do get us again.

Paranoid? Realistic?

Is it really so much better here than say, Philadelphia? And what happens when they do finally get the subway…is it worth it?

You know it’s always in the back of your mind and now it’s on the Park Slope Message Board

West Nile Hysteria: Let’s Put it in Perspective


Close-up of the spraying device

Originally uploaded by Kyrion.

quijibo writes:

oh feck. how much duct tape are we gonna need for this?

the media along with the medical community feed the hysteria
people wish to have a sense of control
even when we don’t

i’d wish they’d stop spraying that crap on the streets
couldn’t we release an infestation of bats to eat all the squeeters?

and then of course we’d need monkeys in the trees
right above the double parked mcclaren’s
on 7th avenue

Counterpoint from Dr. Carnivore: “Bats are a major rabies vector, and rabies is much more deadly than West Nile!”
In all seriousness, Carnivore notes that the situation is made to sound worse than it is: “Don’t get me wrong- it’s important to know where cases develop and when. It’s just not much of a threat to most healthy people. West Nile can be a serious or even fatal illness in the very young, the very old, people with HIV and others with impaired immune systems. Most people who contract it get a flu-like syndrome, feel lousy and get over it.”

“It’s an important public health issue, but the media has raised the level of hysteria to the point where young healthy people without any symptoms come the the ER demanding to be tested for West Nile (which requires a spinal tap) because they have a mosquito bite.

More on bugs and disease in the Park Slope Message Boards

Due to availability of class airline tickets, everyone wants to get on flights to boston or even flights to paris. Even the orlando flights are selling more since they became cheap flights.

Murder in Prospect Park

Coming on the heels of an active discussion on the Park Slope Message Board regarding the safety of Propsect Park, a man was found stabbed to death in the park last weekend. flickr image by keith 61-year old William Oliver was found dead on a wooded trail in the infamous Vale of Cashmere section of Prospect Park.

The Vale of Cashmere (satellite image), long a gay cruising ground, has been the site of anti-gay violence in the past, most recently in 2005. While it’s not known if Mr Oliver was gay, the NYPD is currently looking into the possibility of a hate crime.

Read the New York Times story on the murder

Great advancements
are coming out of forensic science colleges
; crimes like this are being
solved much more rapidly these days.

Blizzard 2006: Cool or Uncool?


Blizzard 2006

Originally uploaded by martha1arlene.

Super Cool: 86%
So Not Cool: 16%

Click here to view current poll status (and comments) in the Prospect Heights Message Boards:

daniel: “Cool…except when you can’t get a taxi home to Brooklyn from the city. Bastard taxi drivers, one after the other, denied us a ride. One, after we were already in the cab, suggested that we take a subway instead. I caxlled 311 with their medallion numbers, but was told that they wouldn’t do anything unless I was willing to appear in court. Lame.”

nybt: “Who’s got the over/under on the number of days ’til the snow is gone?! Not consulting any weather info, i’m going with 4 days ’til bare sidewalks…”

VOTE: Prospect Heights Message Boards

How Did You Get There?


DSCF3235

Originally uploaded by Girlfromparkslope.

Oiseau writes in the Message Boards: “…I ended up riding over the Brooklyn Bridge with the cars. It was the only way to ride over that bridge, other wise you had to walk it.”

“I yelled at Marty to get some bike lane police, and then turned around because my derailer cable broke and Bicycle Station was open real early and fixed it quickly, amazingly, because I was about to give up…”

“Then I found some abandoned pregnant cat and couldn’t take it to the animal shelter, not that that is a good thing, but at least it’s warm, but with the traffic and all, I just gave it some food.”

“And you?”

Check out the Message Boards

No Ride? Enjoy a Strike Haiku


Strike Haiku

Originally uploaded by dragonflyajt.

And ponder the media…

The word “illegal” has been thrown around pretty loosely, and over and over again, at every opportunity, in the media.

And now, that sentiment is being echoed by the anti-strike crowd (by now, that crowd numbers approximately 99% of Brooklynites, MTA employees excluded).

One of the other “messages” that keeps surfacing in the local media is the claim that the international TWU had advised the NY branch NOT to strike. It would be nice to verify these claims, but like pretty much everybody else, we spent an extra 5 hours today negotiating traffic and logistic hassles brought on just in time for Christmas (at least UPS is still delivering).

Oh, hey… there are about 50,000 comments on this in the Prospect Heights and Park Slope message boards… let’s take a look:

IT’S ON – TWU STRIKES!! (Chaos ensues in more than 100 comments on the Prospect Heights Board)

WAR STORIES: How did you get there?? (Prospect Heights Board)

PRACTICAL! HELPFUL! Get a ride, offer a ride, right here on the message boards! (Prospect Heights Board)

I would TOTALLY start an illegal taxi service… if I had a car.

Will “Slugging” be the next NYC commuter trend? (PH Board)

Let’s discuss transit strike plans and then go completely off-topic into an argument about race and education (Park Slope Board)

Manhole Fire!


Fire From Manhole

Originally uploaded by MsAnthea.

MsAnthea writes: “A little over a week ago, there was an electical fire beneath the street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The fire eventually burst out of a manhole 5 houses down from me … I was without a phone for more than 24 hours, without DSL for over a week & my lights were flickering off & on as though the house were possessed…”

Food Co-Op Will Buy 100% of Electricity from Wind Farm

The Park Slope Food Co-op just announced that it be switching to 100% wind-generated electricity from New York and Pennsylvania. The co-op board voted 66-0 in favor of the switch.

This is the largest private purchase of wind power in Brooklyn to date, and the first purchase of wind by a food co-op in the Northeast, according to Community Energy, which markets “NewWind” electricity around the country.

General Coordinator Joe Holtz: “We want to do our part to lessen U. S. dependence on foreign oil, reduce our emissions of CO2 and harmful pollutants, and raise people’s awareness” which apparently will include encouraging co-op members to make the switch, too.

The 920,000-kilowatt-hour purchase saves 800,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, comparable to taking 58 cars off the road, according to Community Energy.

You can buy wind power, too. One route is to go though Con Edison. Purchasing “25% NewWind Energy®/ 75% Small-hydro” will set you back an additional 1/2 cent per kWh on all usage, according to this Community Energy page.

Discuss: Park Slope Message Boards

Leaning Tree Falls, Crushes Car

carcrushestree.JPGOnly the Blog Knows Brooklyn reports:

“Wednesday at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Berkeley Place (btw 6th and 7th Aves.), a London Plain tree fell on a red car that was parked on the street… The tree, like many trees on the block, had been leaning dangerously for a long time. The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, which has jurisdiction over all trees growing in the public right of way including trees along streets, had been notified about the problem by block residents…”

LINK: Tree Crushes Car [OTBKB]