Thursday, March 05, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Red Boots

This morning, in my new red boots, I headed over to exercise class.
Since it was cancelled, I took photos instead.

A Moment In Time: The Magic Of Snow

Most of us are pretty darn sick of snow by now, but for some, it still is magical
I encountered this little cutie walking down Clinton Street with her father, and it was evident that she was absolutely delighted with the snow.

"Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future": A Panel Hosted By Historic Districts Council

"Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future"
March 18, 6:30 PM
ShapeShifter Lab
18 Whitwell Place

The Historic Districts Council, an advocacy organization for all of New York City’s historic neighborhoods, is launching its 2015 Annual Preservation Conference Series throughout the month of March. The focus of this year's conference is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law.

This year’s conference consists of three panels, one of which is entitled "Tomorrow’s Yesterdays: Historic Districts of the Future". It will take place in Gowanus and will, in part, focus on preservation of industrial buildings such as the ones that can be found in this mostly manufacturing neighborhood.

From HDC:
When Brooklyn Heights was designated the very first New York City historic district in 1965, the architectural styles found there exemplified the types of buildings that the Landmarks Preservation Commission saw as worthy of protection. While protecting classic Federals and grand rowhouses has never gone out of style, over the past 50 years, the question of what types of buildings can be landmarked has slowly been re-examined. 
Beginning in 1973 with the designation of the SoHo-Cast-Iron District, acceptance has slowly warmed to the potential diversity of historic districts, including with vernacular or industrial buildings. This panel will include a presentation of the evolution of historic districts by architectural historian Francis Morrone, before considering the issues of the present and future. The panelist, urban planner Paul Graziano, Gowanus advocate Marlene Donnelly and Ward Dennis, Columbia University professor and Brooklyn Community Board 1 member, will discuss potential historic districts, technological and bureaucratic strategies for looking ahead, and questions such as Can Gowanus ever be designated? and Is there a place for a historic district in suburban Queens?

Tickets for this panel are $20 and can be purchased here.

All information about the conference and other panels, click here.

Honoring Rev. Thomas Byles, Titanic Victim, At St. Paul's Church On Court Street in Cobble Hill

The Titanic
Father Thomas Roussel Davids Byles  (26 February 1870 – 15 April 1912)
On March 16, 2015 at 12 pm, a very special unveiling and dedication of a memorial plaque will take place in the lobby of St. Paul Church at the corner of Court and Congress Streets to honor Father Thomas Roussel Davids Byles.
Father Byles was the Rector of St Helen's Catholic Church in Ongar, Essex, England.  He left Ongar by train on April 10, 1912 to embark on board the Titanic at Southampton.  He was on route to  officiate at his youngest brother’s wedding in America.  The wedding, you guessed it, was going to take place at St. Paul's Church.

Father Byles is remembered as a hero for giving solace and comfort to his fellow passengers during the chaos that ensued after the Titanic struck an iceberg.  He is said to have helped the women and children load the lifeboats, but refused twice to take a place himself. According to witnesses, he continued to pray with those left behind and perished as the ship sank.

The ceremony at St. Paul's Church has been organized by Cady Crosby (14) and her brother Benjamin (11), who have created Titanic Heroes, a non-for profit organization dedicated to "spreading the true stories of Titanic heroism."

From Cady and Benjamin"
On April 14, 1912, the largest ocean liner at the time, the RMS Titanic, struck an iceberg and sank. There were 2,228 passengers on board - of these, 1,523 perished. Among those lost at sea was a Catholic priest, the Rev. Thomas Byles. Fr. Byles was leaving his parish in Essex, England to officiate the wedding of his brother William in New York. During his time on board, Rev. Byles offered Mass, and ministered to passengers on board. When the Titanic struck the fateful iceberg, Fr. Byles immediately rushed down to those in steerage (third class), who didn’t know what was going on. He brought many up to the deck, and when the order ‘Women and children first!’ was given, he
was instrumental in getting as many women and children into the lifeboats as possible. Fr. Byles was himself offered a seat in a lifeboat twice, since he was a priest, but he declined each time, choosing instead to remain with those on deck. He went down with the ship and his body was never recovered.

There is no doubt that Fr. Byles’ story is an incredible story of heroism. But many of us have never heard his story before. The goal of Titanic Heroes is to change that. Since 2012, Titanic Heroes has yearly donated a wreath in honor of Father Byles to be dropped by airplane over the site of the Titanic’s sinking. 

In addition, Titanic Heroes was instrumental in the placement of a plaque commemorating Fr. Byles at the Epping/Ongar Railway Station in England, which was the station that Fr. Byles departed
from over 100 years ago. We are pleased to announce that we have found the parish where Father Byles was to officiate his brother’s wedding: St. Paul’s in New York. We will be ceremoniously placing a plaque for Father Byles at this parish on March 16, 2015.

For more information on the event, click here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Carroll Gardens Knitters Heartbroken About Stolen Package Containing Hand-Made Hats Meant For Children With Cancer

(photo courtesy of  We Care Blankets)

Besides hosting a weekly 'Knit and Crochet Group' at Farmacy every Wednesday, Carroll Gardeners Rosalie Wysokowski and Harriet Libstag have been involved with We Care Blankets, a 501 (c)3 charity organization.   Based on Long Island,  the organizations mission is to provide a handcrafted blanket and/or hat to every child who is undergoing cancer treatment.
Harriet and Rosalie and their fellow neighborhood volunteers have been busily knitting. Their hand-made items have been delivered by We Care Blankets to local hospitals like Maimonides, Wyckoff, Lutheran and Brookdale.
Rosalie's friend Ruth, who lives in Florida, has been especially busy, contributing a large number of knit hats to the effort.  On January 28th, Ruth sent a package containing 80 hats to Rosalie's address here in Carroll Gardens via the United States Postal Service.  The hats were going to be forwarded to We Are Blankets with the items crafted by the ladies here in the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, Rosalie never received the package.  The USPS tracking number indicates that it was delivered on February 3rd, but no postman ever rang Rosalie's doorbell, nor did anyone sign for the package.  The post office has been of little help in finding it.  Rosalie suspects that USPS just left it on her stoop and that someone stole it.
"That person is probably selling the hats on some street corner," she told me.  "Ruth's work is just beautiful."
Harriet added: "Ruth puts so much time and effort into these hats. It breaks my heart for her and the children who will not be receiving such a lovely gift. My concern is how do we stop this from happening again. Since I live here I have had one package disappear and I am always worried when I order my very large supply of yarn."

Of course, all the hours spent lovingly knitting these hats can never be replaced, even if the yarn can.
But how about giving Harriet, Rosalie and their friend Ruth some encouraging words to let them know they rock?

A Wonderful Little Film About Esposito & Sons Pork Store On Court Street


Carroll Gardens resident Brinda Adhikari, likes"filming slice of life videos and music videos that illustrate the stories of every day people's lives." She recently filmed a wonderful 4 minute film about one of the oldest remaining family-owned businesses in Carroll Gardens, Esposito & Sons Pork Store.
She writes:

"I have been living in Brooklyn for 12 years and in Carroll Gardens for the last 8 and a half years, during which time, like many CG residents, I have had ample opportunity to experience the wonders of Esposito's Pork. I have always wanted to make a short film about those guys - and I finally did."

What a gem. Thanks so much for filming and sharing this with the rest of the community, Brinda.
Amidst all the news of store closings in the neighborhood, this is so hopeful.

Goldy + Mac Boutique Closes Its Cobble Hill Location

Yet another closing in the neighborhood.   Goldy + Mac, a small trendy women's clothing and
accessories boutique, recently vacated the storefront at 195 Court Street, which it had occupied since 2012.
Goldy + Mac's owners, Ashley Gold and Susan McInerney, operate two sister boutiques in Park Slope, one in Manhattan and one in Greenport.

Prior to Goldy + Mac, this retail space was the home of Bococa Café.  Does anyone remember it?

Reader 'Trumbully' pointed to an article in Crain's which states that the storefront at 195 Court Street has already been rented to Marine Layer, a national retailer based on the West Coast
From Crain's:
San Francisco-based Marine Layer, which makes men’s and women’s duds, joins other national outfits, most notably J.Crew and Rag and Bone, that have signed leases along the Cobble Hill stretch. It has inked a five-year lease for 1,600 square feet on the ground and lower floors at 195 Court St., between Wyckoff and Bergen streets. Currently, the retailer has only one New York City location, in Manhattan’s West Village. Marine Layer hopes to open in Brooklyn this spring.

“This is another example of a quality retail tenant choosing Court Street for their first Brooklyn location,” said George Danut of CPEX Real Estate, who represented the landlord, the Lily Jalinos Living Trust, along with colleague Ryan Condren. “J.Crew opened the gates to a new pool of tenants on Court Street.”

Not To Be Missed: Upcoming Concerts At St. Paul's Church On Carroll Street

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 199 Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens continues its spectacular music programing with two concerts in March. With its amazing acoustics and setting, these musical events at St.Paul's really should not be missed. Read on for information regarding the upcoming concerts.

20 years of performing, 60 concerts, 20 world premieres, 19 languages- these are some of the Cerddorion Vocal Ensembles accomplishments. Join them on Thursday March 5 @ 8pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and help them celebrate their 20th anniversary. They will be performing past work written expressly for them including music by Elliot Z Levine, David Lang, Paul Moravec and Robert Dennis and premiering works by Martha Sullivan, Joseph Prestamo and Christopher Ryan.

A chamber group of twenty-eight mixed voices, Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble is one of New York’s most highly regarded volunteer choral ensembles. They are known for their eclectic repertoire, encompassing music from the Renaissance to the contemporary

Tickets are $20 online $25 at the door Student/Senior tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door. For advance tickets please visit

Ensemble Companio, a chamber choir directed by Joseph Gregorio, is proud to announce its performance entitled ‘Love’s Faces’ at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in the Carroll Gardens on March 21st, 2015 at 8:00pm. The performance is sponsored and coordinated by the Brooklyn Sounds Concert Series.

‘Love’s Faces’ features works by Arcadelt, Passereau, Stainer, Duruflé, Lars-Erik Larsson, and a commission by Vince Peterson; arrangements of popular music by The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Randy Newman; and folk music from around the globe. Admission is $20 for the general public and $10 for students / seniors.

Founded in 2011, Ensemble Companio comprises 24 accomplished choral musicians and performs throughout the northeastern United States. Ensemble Companio was awarded the 2012 American Prize in choral performance (community division) for its vibrant sound and moving interpretations, and was invited to perform at the 2013 Fall Conference of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Ensemble Companio derives its name from a late Latin form of “companion,” whose etymological meaning is “one with whom one shares bread.” The name reflects the musicians’ belief that sharing in choral music is an essential, nourishing, and healing endeavor akin to the sharing of food. Ensemble Companio’s mission is to build bridges between people through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Rapisarda Closing Its Boutique On Court Street

Rapisarda, the Brazilian inspired women's clothing and gift boutique at 177 Court Street near Dean Street in Cobble Hill, is currently holding its final sale before closing the store.

Rapisarda has been doing business on Court Street for quite a number of years. The boutique was always a fun place to shop, though the prices were always a bit high.

It would appear as though shop owner Claudia Rapisarda still continue to sell jewelry, home decor items and beauty products in her online store .

Monday, March 02, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Borough Hall

While walking to the post office in Downtown Brooklyn, 
I took the time to take this photo of Borough Hall.

Mexican Eatery 'Mad Dog & Beans' On Smith Street Closes After Just One Year

The storefront at 276 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens seems to be cursed. The last two eateries that occupied the space, Bino and Arthur, opened and closed in rather quick succession.
Mad Dog & Beans, a casual-upscale Mexican restaurant, with a "theme based on the Mexican Revolution", seems to have continued this pattern.  After just over a year, the eatery has closed its doors.
Reader Demy just wrote in to say:
"Last Saturday night I headed to Mad Dog & Beans, the Mexican spot on Smith, for dinner. Had some great, authentically Mexican (not Tex-Mex) meals there. But a sign on the door said "Closed". No note, no explanation. Any idea if they're still in business?"

When I walked by yesterday, there were boxes stacked on the table closest to the door and the place looked as though it had been cleared out. It definitely seems defunct.

Mad Dog & Beans is just two doors down from Cubana Café, which also just closed recently.
Across the street, two storefronts sit empty after Savoia, the Italian eatery closed a while back.
Perhaps the long cold winter has kept people at home and away from restaurants, which may have contributed to these closings. What do you think?

What's Up With Cubana Café on Smith Street?

One can only hope that Cubana Café at 272 Smith Street here in Carroll Gardens is just undergoing a renovation and will re-open soon. But this small favorite Latin eatery has been closed for a while now newspapers have been obscuring the interior.

There is no mention of a closing on the restaurant's web site or on Yelp, but reader Nik Z. reports that Cubana has been taken off of Seamless and that the phone number is disconnected. Not a good sign by any means.

Cubana Café has been a go-to place for many years in the neighborhood. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is casual, unpretentious, the food wonderful and the mojitos even better.

If the café has closed for good, I will most definitely miss their mojitos, their chick pea salad, and most importantly, their grilled shrimp sandwich.

Does anyone have more info on this place?
Thanks to Ben U. for first alerting us to the closing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Poppy's Catering On DeGraw Street Turns Into Pop-Up Coffee Shop And Bakery this Week-End

photos courtesy of Poppy's Catering

Poppy's Catering opened its doors at 243 DeGraw Street between Clinton and Court Street in early 2013. Two years later, the business has grown and thrived in our neighborhood.

A few days ago, I received an email from owner Jamie Schmones Erickson, reporting that she has recently taken over a kitchen on Columbia Street, but has kept the DeGraw Street location.
Which is great news, because that allows Jamie to use the storefront as a bakery, and a pop-up coffee shop. "On Valentines day we opened for the first time selling coffee and baked goods and the response from the neighborhood was wonderful!" she writes.

And the pop-up returns this week-end:
"This Saturday, Saturday, February 28 from 9 am to 3 pm, we will be doing our second Pop Up with a new variety of baked goods, plus some sandwiches, salads and soup options. Plus some packaged goods like our granola and jarred preserved lemons."

So don't forget to stop by.

"Thanks For The Amazing Memories": Bocca Lupo Closes Its Doors In Cobble Hill

photo credit: Google Maps
photo credit: David S.

I am sorry to report that Bocca Lupo, the popular rustic Italian eatery and drinking spot at 391 Henry Street at the corner of Warren Street has recently closed its doors. It had been operating at this spot since 2006.

Reader David S. contacted PMFA to share the sad news. He sent the photo above of the closing notice that is currently hanging in Bocca Lupo's window.

He writes: "Heard they had been struggling. Sad to see it close. I was a fan."

Nine years for a restaurant these days seems to be a long run.  Obviously, Bocca Lupo did lots of things right.
Were you a fan? Will you miss it?

Ridgewood Savings Bank Will Host A Small Business Financial Workshop At Its Court Street Branch

photo courtesy of Google Maps
Ridgewood Savings Bank is offering a Small Business Financial Workshop at its Cobble Hill branch at 244 Court Street on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 from 5 pm to 7 pm.   Led by Ridgewood's Small Business Specialist Mark Stazzone, the workshop "is meant to help small business owners, entrepreneurs or anybody interested in learning the necessary steps to form a successful business."

Refreshments will be served.
Please rsvp by March 4th.

True to its dedication to community investment, Ridgewood Savings Bank has been a tremendously engaged partner in the past few years by partnering with neighborhood groups to provide various free educational classes. These classes range from Fraud Prevention classes at the Eileen Dugan Senior Citizens Center, to Teach Children to Save at the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. 
You can learn more about the bank's history here. It is actually a quite interesting read.