07/11/14 11:23am
Citizen Bridge would span Buttermilk Channel and allow pedestrian passage for one day between Red Hook and Governors Island. Image: Nancy Nowacek

Citizen Bridge would span Buttermilk Channel and allow pedestrian passage for one day between Red Hook and Governors Island. Image: Nancy Nowacek

At one point in time, you could walk from Brooklyn to Governors Island. During low tide, as one story by Walt Whitman goes, Revolutionary War-era farmers would walk their cows across a sandbar to graze on the island. If they were too late in walking back, and the tide rolled in, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle further reported in August of 1900, the water would affect the cattle’s “lacteal processes,” and result in sour milk. Which is one of the most tantalizing explanations for how this tidal straight, long since dredged for cargo ships, came to be known as Buttermilk Channel.

Artist Nancy Nowacek discovered this story after moving to Columbia Street a few years ago. From the back windows of her apartment, she could see Buttermilk Channel and Governors Island, and it struck her that the island seemed terribly close. In fact, it’s only roughly 1,200 feet away, the equivalent of four city blocks. “You think about that as a New Yorker, “ says Nowacek, “and you think, ‘That’s nothing.’”

She soon found herself imagining ways to reconnect the island to Brooklyn. It had been attempted before—Robert Moses once proposed a superhighway bridge connecting the Belt Parkway to Lower Manhattan via Governors Island, and the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava envisioned a futuristic gondola. But both these ideas seemed out of scale to Nowacek, too capital- and labor-intensive to bridge such a small distance. So, said Nowacek, “The question became ‘Could it be possible to reconnect Brooklyn to Governors Island by hand, with the most minimal means necessary, without large, industrial infrastructure?’” For the past two years, she’s been answering that question, and has already developed working prototypes, one of which she’ll unveil at City of Water Day on Governors Island tomorrow. (more…)

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07/10/14 1:26pm
Gentrification and transgender rights will be at the forefront of Bushwick Pride, during its annual demonstration this Saturday. Photo: Make the Road

Gentrification and transgender rights will be causes célèbre for the local LGBTQ community of color during Bushwick Pride this Saturday. Photo: Make the Road

For Julián Padilla, an organizer of Bushwick Pride, the line that divides the North Brooklyn neighborhood’s LGBTQ community is clearly defined.

“On the one hand, you have a lot of black and Latino LGBTQ people who created communities that were thriving, despite racism, capitalism, homophobia and transphobia, and now there are a lot of people who are LGBTQ but are white and/or are coming from higher economic incomes, who are claiming that they have begun sort of like a newer, friendlier gay Bushwick,” he says. “But it’s only newer and friendlier for those people who are moving in and not being pushed out.”

In short, gentrification is further marginalizing members of an already marginalized minority. “There’s a lot of tension there,” Padilla says. The fact that people are trying to position the neighborhood as “now” having a LGBTQ community when in actuality, one has existed there for decades is going over about as well as it would with any established population set upon by self-proclaimed pioneers.

Given the nature of the divide, it would be naïve to think that Bushwick’s two LGBTQ communities could become cohesive in a day, but Saturday’s Bushwick Pride march and celebration will perhaps serve as a chance to  unify the two factions behind a common cause—better health care for trans individuals through the repeal of a bill passed by the New York State Legislature in 1998 that removed transgender-related health care from Medicaid coverage. The theme of this year’s gathering is “Trans Healthcare Now!,” with trans being an umbrella term encompassing transgender, gender queer, gender non-conforming, two-spirit and third-gender individuals. [To brush up on your LGBTQ lexicon, see here.] (more…)

07/10/14 1:00pm

wallwithfoamWhen we wrote about Makeshift Society, a new co-working space that opened on Hope Street in Williamsburg back in May, we mentioned  that Bryan Boyer, founder of that space,  wanted it to be more of a collaborative community for creatives than a glorified coffice, and that they’d be adding new projects over time. Time for an update–with foam.

Elisa Werbler and Lucy Knops, two designers doing summer residencies at Makeshift, are currently working on a permanent installation for the space, a clear wall filled with foam. They’re looking for foam. In a statement about this project, titled, The Foam Agency, Werbler and Knops outlined all the wonderful properties of the material:

Traditionally, insulation foam has worked hard to prevent drafts and keep moisture out of walls. Artists and designers have adopted the material as a tool for expressing ideas because of its low cost and high flexibility. From beautifully articulated hand crafted models to full-scale architectural mock-ups, rigid foam has become an integral part of the making process. The installation at Makeshift Society celebrates all of the wonderful properties of rigid insulation foam.

foamIf you’re thinking, “Why do they need MY foam, can’t they just buy it?” the answer is that part of the whole project is to make sure that this is foam that has gone through a transformation. Werbler and Knops want to fill the wall with scraps that speak to a wide array of other projects, and pasts, not new, pristine, storyless foam. So there you have it.

Have some foam? Here’s how to donate and enshrine it at the Makeshift Society.

07/10/14 9:00am

As far as Brooklyn neighborhoods go, Brooklyn Heights is tiny, a wedge bordered by Cadman Plaza and its busy series of parks, walkways, and municipal buildings to the east, the Brooklyn Bridge to the north, Atlantic Avenue to the south, and the East River to the west. It’s just about 15 blocks tall and five blocks wide. The role it plays in Brooklyn’s history, and in the popular imagination, looms much larger. Its lovely, tree-lined streets and spectacular homes have been the setting for television series and movies as varied as The Patty Duke Show, The Cosby Show, and Moonstruck.

Montague_map

Presented By Douglas Elliman.

The only way to truly understand Brooklyn is to walk its streets, see its homes, meet its people, and understand its ebb and flow. Never before has looking for a home in Brooklyn been this exciting.

Stop by Elliman’s Brooklyn Heights office located at 156 Montague St.

Created By BlankSlate

Over the years Brooklyn Heights has been home to more than its fair share of artists and writers, including Salvador Dali, Richard Wright, H.P. Lovecraft, and Truman Capote. Bob Dylan paid tribute to the neighborhood’s then-bohemian character when he wrote “Tangled Up in Blue” in 1975, singing, “I lived with them on Montague Street / in a basement down the stairs. / There was music in the cafés at night / And revolution in the air.” (more…)

07/09/14 2:00pm
A Roquette-catered wedding at The Foundery in Long Island City. Photo: Roquette

A scene from a Roquette-catered wedding at The Foundery in Long Island City. Photo: Roquette

Holly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red Hook, New York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.  Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well.

Dear Holly,

My partner and I own a small restaurant and catering business in Red Hook.

In many ways since Sandy we are starting over again, almost from the beginning!

We are looking at what we do, and why, and we realize there are many things we could improve upon and do better for ourselves and our customers.

One area we are examining is the pricing of our catering services.

We know to factor in cost of product, and our time, but what we aren’t including is the more intangible value added factors: creativity / design/ skill….

People come to us because we will create a unique and special event, beautifully designed and curated.  So how do we define, and then quantify and price the thing that people are really hiring us for???

I know what we do is special and distinct, but because it is so personal, it becomes hard to honestly value and price ourselves appropriately.  Because of the extra creative effort and time we expend to accomplish this, we often end up overextending ourselves, and feeling frustrated and unappreciated.

It’s a gray area that a lot of creative people struggle with, so we’ve never found a “formula” per se to use. We’d love your advice about how to approach pricing so that it’s not just a made up number that changes regularly depending on our confidence level, and who the customer is!

(more…)

07/09/14 10:00am
By Brooklyn

Of all the ways to celebrate Bastille Day this week, By Brooklyn’s Third Annual French Bulldog Party is probably the cutest. Photo: By Brooklyn

The dog days of summer have officially arrived, and no, we’re not talking about By Brooklyn’s annual celebration of Brooklyn’s most popular pooch—the French bulldog. We’re talking about the stretch between the Fourth of July and Labor Day when the temperatures heat up and there seems to be no end to the events vying for attention on our social calendars. This weekend alone will play host to Bushwick Pride’s ninth annual parade and party for equality;  City of Water Day, a celebration of NYC’s waterways which offers free boat tours on ferries, schooners, tall ships and tug boats; and the annual petanque tournament on Smith Street in honor of Bastille Day. Le Fooding is back in New York this weekend, landing at Rockaway Beach for a series of picnics on the boardwalk (we have two tickets to give away to their Friday afternoon event). And, tonight the New York Philharmonic plays in Prospect Park, followed by fireworks, for free. That’s all to say, there’s lot to do this week in our amazing city, and here are seven more events worth putting on your radar. (more…)

07/09/14 8:58am
Parisian chef Bertrand Grebaut working a Le Fooding event. Photo: Francesca Signori

Parisian chef Bertrand Grebaut works a Le Fooding event. Photo: Francesca Signori

Le Fooding has been all over the world leaving a trail of full stomachs and broken hearts in Milan, Paris and Los Angeles. 

 Le Fooding, a playful group of French food provacateurs, returns to New York this weekend, throwing a series of beachy picnics with summery soundtracks at Rockaway Beach on Friday Saturday and Sunday. A portion of the proceeds will go to Graybeards, to help fund further Sandy recovery. We chatted with Anna Polonsky, Le Fooding U.S. co-founder, to ask her what to expect this year. We also have to tickets to give away for the Friday afternoon picnic, enter here.

Tell us, what exactly is Le Fooding?
Le Fooding (the combination of food + feeling) is a 14-year-old French movement, magazine and cultural resource that has taken over New York City for the past six years. Often qualified as the alternative to the Michelin guide, we are dedicated to curating culture through edgy media and unique events, by bringing together delicious cuisine, music, and art. Friends of Le Fooding have included David Chang , LCD Soundsystem , Danny Bowien and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Le Fooding has been all over the world leaving a trail of full stomachs and broken hearts in Milan, Paris and Los Angeles.
(more…)
07/08/14 9:32am
You don't have to hug it, but New York Restoration Project and NYC Parks would like you at least look after a tree. Photo: MillionTreesNYC

You don’t have to hug it, but New York Restoration Project and NYC Parks would like you to at least start looking after a tree. Photo: MillionTreesNYC

It turns out that getting a tree to grow in Brooklyn is harder than Betty Smith would have us believe. Late last month, when WNYC editor Matthew Schuerman questioned whether or not anyone would notice if a tree died in this city, we took his query to be more the rhetorical kind; its aim being to draw attention to a nagging problem New York Restoration Project and NYC Parks are facing with their joint MillionTreesNYC initiative. They are still on track to plant a million trees across the city by 2015 through the reforestation project, but, as Schuerman points out, getting a million trees into the ground versus keeping them there are two entirely different things. (more…)

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07/07/14 12:00pm

Sponsored By New York Aquarium.

The New York Aquarium is building a world-class shark exhibit set to open in 2016.

Created By BlankSlate

Every day, we hear about all the cool stuff Brooklyn has to offer. You know what it doesn’t have enough of, though? Sharks.

Fortunately, there’s something we Brooklynites can do to rectify this situation. By donating to the ongoing renovation of the New York Aquarium, you will be helping to bring to Brooklyn a massive shark exhibit called Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The plans for the exhibit call for a jaw-dropping, 500,000-gallon tank that will allow visitors to watch several species of sharks and rays. How cool is that?

The transformation of the aquarium won’t be confined to the interior. Outside, a gorgeous, ocean-inspired art installation will wrap the building in a “shimmer wall” made up of tens of thousands of reflective tiles that ripple with the wind like waves on the sea.

You can help make this vision a reality by donating a personalized tile on the virtual version of the shimmer wall on the New York Aquarium website. With your donation, you will be joining your Brooklyn neighbors in helping to bring the aquarium to the next level. More importantly, you will be doing your part to bring sharks to Brooklyn — finally.

07/07/14 10:14am
Serious hushpuppies at Landhaus (Photo by Brendan Spiegel)

Serious hushpuppies at Landhaus. Photo: Brendan Spiegel

Is there any more amazingly American dish than crab rangoon? And please do not try to say that crab rangoon is from China. It involves imitation crab meet and LOTS of cream cheese stuffed inside deep-fried dough. Yeah, this one was definitely dreamed up in the good ‘old US of A, then pawned off as “ethnic.” But even this delectable dish wasn’t fattily American enough for the good folks at Landhaus, whose new version of crab rangoon comes stuffed with classic southern pimiento cheese.

That snack is an excellent introduction to what they have on store at Landhaus at The Woods, a recently revamped snack bar in the backyard of Williamsburg watering hole, The Woods, now featuring a full menu and frozen drinks. Their delightfully deep-fried creations are custom-crafted for those of us who wish July 4th could come 365 times a year.

The Landhaus team has popped up a couple times around Brooklyn, formerly at a temporary Park Slope sandwich shop, and before that gaining a following at Smorgasburg for having the audacity to serve bacon on a stick and not bothering to weigh it down with veggies, bread, or any other false pretense for enjoying a fatty slab of bacon on its own. (more…)

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