Brooklyn Food Conference This Saturday!

This coming Saturday a new event will be happening in Brooklyn called the Brooklyn Food Conference. I urge you to go to the website here to read about everything that is going on. From panels with Leonard Lopate of WNYC to chefs from local restaurants Rosewater and Applewood. Screenings, demos etc. ALL PERTAINING TO FOOD!

From the website:

About the Brooklyn Food Conference
Food issues hit home for all of Brooklyn–from school lunches, the rise in diabetes, and escalating food costs to immigration, farmers markets and local food challenges and delights, food touches us all. Come join us for a day of workshops, food demos, and a kids’ food fair. Lunch and dinner will be available for purchase. Dance following dinner. The conference will be FREE to all participants.

237 7th Avenue, Brooklyn
and also
at PS 321
180 7th Avenue, Brooklyn

Time: 9am to 7pm

P.S -
The BFC is waste free! To help lessen the BFC’s impact on the environment, don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle and cloth bag to the event. We will also be composting kitchen scraps. Click here to learn more about the BFC’s Zero Waste Challenge.

See you there!


Melanie Hope Greenberg Illustrations at Brooklyn Public Library

Going to Coney Island reminded me to remind you to check out Brooklyn based writer/illustrator of the fab book"Mermaids on Parade" Melanie Hope Greenberg's exhibit entitled "Ordinary into Extraordinary".

I've seen the exhibit and it's an interesting look at Melanie's creation process. Children's books just don't come out of nowhere you know! Melanie shares her initial inspirations,her sketches and story boards to the final product. The show includes original book illustrations from her other (7!) published books that portray life in neighborhoods in NYC through a child's eyes.

"Ordinary into Extraordinary" is open FREE to the public until June 13, 2009.

Where: Brooklyn Central Library - 10 Grand Army Plaza - Youth Wing
When: Mondays through Saturdays

Check out Melanie's blog here!


Sunday at Coney Island

Coney Island was a popular place to be over the past weekend. Lots of people out but I got away from the crowds and walked away from Coney and walked to the end of the boardwalk which ended up in the exclusive gated community of Sea Gate. Along the way I passed people doing the tango.Then the old Child's restaurant and it's remnants of Italianate grandeur.And past the remnants of Lola Star's Dreamland Roller disco on top of the remnants of Child's, I wonder if that if going to happen again this year?

Once I got to Sea Gate, there was nothing but a fence and a bulldozer and from what I could see some very large homes. Like I said I couldn't see it because that neighborhood as it's name implies is gated and not for people like me to enter uninvited. Maybe one day....

F.I.B then topped the day off with some food from Uzbekistan! Diagonally across the street from the Freak Bar on Surf Avenue is an extremely reasonably priced restaurant featuring "European/Asian" cuisine called Timurlan Restaurant. Call ahead and reserve a private tented table. They also have live (Russian language) music in a bigger room off to the side which was beginning as I left. Meats (lamb,veal,goat) and their (from what I observed other diners cosuming) meat dumplings are definitely the Uzbecki thing to eat but not FIB's. I noticed that their on line menu (which is only a minute portion of their actual one)says they serve lamb testicles on a skewer as well. Being not so adventurous and a non meat eater I can only vouch for the salmon shish-ka-bobs which were divine and their homemade bread which was warm, fluffy and highly addictive. It was also the first time I every had tarragon soda which was as screaming artificial green as and tasted like Jagermeister without the alcohol, the green tea with the jasmine flowers was much more to my liking and one of the best pots of tea in my memory. It's new finds like this that makes me feel lucky to live in Brooklyn.


Say "YES" to the Gowanus Canal Superfund!

We will hopefully be seeing a lot of this logo around the Gowanus and hopefully ALL of Brooklyn pretty soon.

We need to let the Mayor and other nay sayers know that there are people who support the EPA’s designation of the Gowanus District as a Superfund Site and believe that this is the most effective program to achieve a clean Gowanus in accordance with the highest environmental and safety standards.

Help get the word out!

1.Drag the image off the screen.
2.Print it.
3.Hang it in the window of your house or car.

If you wish to wear it on a T-shirt or on a bag click here and for a plainer cheaper version here.

And of course, please participate in the comment period here.

*Logo designed by Anna Martin.

Earth Day or His Community's Health ($$$) Means Nothing to Councilman Bill DeBlasio

SUPERFUND ME! A nice big hunk of Gowanus Raw Sewage!

Bill DeBlasio has finally publicly declared that he is against the EPA's nomination of the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site. No one is the community is surprised, I can't remember the last the man has been seen at a community meeting, oh yeah I can! He said his spiel about affordable housing (irregardless of the enviromental consequences) and left before listening to his community! While I haven't looked on his schedule I am sure Councilman Bill DeBlasio is probably doing some Earth Day photo op activities with children for a few minutes today. It's all smoke and mirrors, who cares about scientific data and longterm health when the Toll Brothers can surface clean the canal for less money and time.

For more info read the excellent blog Pardon Me For Asking's post "Councilman DeBlasio Advocating For Developers, Not For His Constituents" here and a scathing proclamation of disappointment from C.O.R.D here!


We are in the midst of the 60 day comment period for the public to have their say about whether the Gowanus should be cleaned up by the Federal Government (should be a no brainer) and I urge you to send your comments. Write down your experiences, send photos, make it personal, maybe the EPA will be more sympathetic than our non existent councilman has.

You can find the form here.


Fishing the Gowanus

I am reposting this from back in September as there has been some comments stemming from the Superfund meeting earlier this week about whether people actually catch fish in the canal. Here is your proof! While I do not advocate the use of the spearing fish Weah caught for use for bait, it just goes to show you, fish are swimming and people are fishing!

From 9/17/2008

Yesterday afternoon as I crossed the Carroll Street bridge I stopped to chat with this guy who was fishing for something in the canal. I was relieved to hear that he had no plans on eating these fish he said were called "spearing fish". These fish are also called Atlantic Silversides which according to Wikipedia are the most common fish in the Chesepaeake Bay. What he does is sell them on the fishing pier of Coney Island for bait at 2 dollars a bag. He was surprised that he was catching so few today as other times he said he can fill his whole bucket in an hour and he was particularly surprised because the tide was high after the rains on the canal. Weah has lived in the neighborhood since he was a child (he went to PS 32 at Union & Hoyt) we chatted about all the marine life and changes in the canal he has seen through the years. It's gotten a lot better but there is still way more toxic sludge, plastic and sewage than there really should be. Apparently they sell spearing fish in Chinatown for over two dollars a pound, hopefully they were not caught in the Gowanus!

Also! If your motorcycle needs a tuneup or fixing, Weah is a Motorcycle Technician. He can be contacted at Robertsreplicas(at)aol(dot)com.


Gowanus Canal Superfund Meeting Recap

It pretty much felt like the Gowanus Canal becoming a Superfund site was a done deal at this meeting. Walter Mugdan, Director of Emergency & Remedial Response Division of the Environmental Protection Agency gave a clear and coherent overview of just exactly the objective of this project is. It was SO refreshing to hear someone with an actually scientific background say that “there is no RATIONAL DEBATE” regarding the fact that this area needs to be cleaned up BEFORE (unlike the Toll’s plan) building. THANK YOU!!! According to their sampling there is a tremendous amount of coal tar beneath the sediment and when the tide goes out the coal tar comes up. Coal tar is just ONE of the contaminents down there. He said that this is a “high profile” site which means it will get a lot of attention and that overall on a contamination score with the minimum at 28.5 and the highest at 100, the Gowanus Canal scored a 50 and that was based on just ONE pathway or area that they tested.

Of course there was the usual money based opposition. A representative from Mayor Bloomberg’s office appeared and burst the feeling of “YES! finally some sense is being spoke here” and said that the Mayor was against the superfunding and that developers have invested 400 million dollars in doing the same clean up as the EPA. Boos ensued, at least from one part of the room. Buddy Scotto, was absolutely seething and told certain people who want the Superfund project to happen, something to the effect of “ you are all good talkers but you have no money and never will." Paid union reps praised the wonderful Toll Brothers and complained about that the Superfunds were “undermining the development “ and also complained about the “romanticization of the Gowanus Canal”. Hey, what’s wrong with a little romance?

One of the highlights of the evening was when a CB 6 Board Member asked if maybe if the canal was polluted because of “the artists and their cadmium paint” she also compared the word “Superfund site” with having a “sex offender” in your neighborhood. You know it would destroy your property values. Call me crazy but wouldn’t a clean canal improve your property values and perhaps provide a healthier environment for your children and grandchildren?

Anyway, there is a 60 day comment period and I urge anyone who has an opinion to send your thoughts and concerns by June 6th.
Submit your comments here.


REMINDER! Gowanus E.P.A. SuperFund Meeting this Tuesday Night

Public Information Forum with the U.S Environmetal Protection Agency Regarding the Gowanus Canal Nomination for Superfund
Tuesday April 14th
PS 32 317 Hoyt Street

If you have any interest at all in the clean up of the Gowanus Canal I URGE you to attend this meeting. There have been a lot of twists and turns regarding clean up and development. Residents tirelessly have dragged themselves to meetings, hearings, have sent comments regarding the rezoning of the canal for the past year. Last month the city gave approval for a spot rezoning to take place so that developers the Toll Brothers could build their condos between Carroll and 2nd Street on the banks of the canal. Any cleanup that was to be done on this site was in the hands of the developers, a frightening thought in this day and age of people being screwed by corporations and banks. There are members of the community such as Buddy and Debby Scotto, who supposedly want a clean canal but are now balking about this highly toxic site receiving Superfunds so that the Environmental Protection Agency can do a proper job before any building takes place. Now, any rational person would think that one would clean BEFORE building but NO! Scare tactics from the developers have quickly occurred. Today I received a press release from the Toll's "public policy consultant's claiming:
Superfund Designation is Wrong Way to Clean Up the Gowanus Canal With No Funding and the Promise of Lengthy Litigation, Federal Involvement Will Only Diminish Property Values, Stunt Development and Muddy the Waters" and a business on Smith Street had a stack of papers published anonymously (hmm i wonder just who it is?) pablum along the same lines. They are inviting people to come to the meeting with local real estate people and other scare tactics. The general theme is all about property values going down with no THOUGHT at ALL about just WHY the EPA feels that this area needs clean up or about health issues or the future.

Judging by the media blitz I am sure in addition to people being for or against this on their own terms, there will also be a ton of paid union guys talking about being willing to endanger their health for a job.

I would like to quote a long time member of F.R.O.G.G (Friends and Residents of the Gowanus Canal, a neighborhood group has tirelessly fought for the clean up of the canal through the correct channels:

"It would be a great loss to this community to pass up the financial help and expertise that the Superfund listing will bring to this area wide Gowanus Cleanup. It may be the only opportunity that will lead to the water complying with the Clean Water Act. (Nothing else could be better for our home values than this, nothing!Nothing else could be better for our health and well being, NOTHING! No amount of affordable housing could take the place of havinga clean waterway for our future! Having a clean waterway that supports planned developments is the only way to go.)

It would be a great loss to the community and the city as a whole if Toll and Buddy put their clout behind stopping this when,it looks like Toll Inc may not be in the financial position to build now anyway. The news on condo sales in the city is that values are to drop for another 4-5 years. With these kind of financial indicators, we should all take a step back. This may be the perfect timing to addressthe Gowanus Canal. The Pump tunnel work is to begin this spring. The Army Corp is part of that whole aeration process that will be put into place soon with much water quality testing going on during this process. The Army Corp has already done much study work--there is good science going on here--not the lopsided science that pops up in EIS's to support one opinion.



Sunday in Red Hook

There is something so majestic about the sky and the old warehouses in Red Hook. Must of been so different when it was a bustling port with thousands of men reporting to work everyday...Some more reminders of old New York, old street cars stored behind the Fairway of all places.Doors wide open and miraculously unvandalized! Is it because Lady Liberty is watching?


"Save Coney Island" Benefit Saturday at Southpaw

Just this in from Les Sans Cullotes.....

A benefit for the SAVE CONEY ISLAND group, fighting to protect the future of the peoples playground!

With live music from LES SANS CULOTTES, GATO LOCO, 357 LOVER


Red carpet! Raffles! Prizes! Drink specials and Good KARMA for life!
Learn more about the cause and sign the petition today, Click here.

Saturday, April 11th
$12 Adv/ $15 @ the door
8pm doors, 9pm show


Important Meeting Tuesday: EPA Is Concerned About the Gowanus!

Some great news regarding the Gowanus. As you have been reading in this blog for over a year, residents have had a tough loosing battle against the Toll Brothers wanting to build a huge condo on the fragile shores. A ray of hope has come and the EPA has decided that toxicity of the canal IS an issue and the Gowanus Canal has been nominated for Superfunds.There will be a meeting on Tuesday to find out more, infomation is below.

It's laughable how much money and profit clouds the thinking of those who think that building should be done, a quote in today's New York Post from one of those. (Thanks Buddy!)

"The sooner we get the listing under way, the sooner EPA can begin its work, so that one day the Gowanus Canal can be used again to benefit the people of Brooklyn," said the agency's acting regional administrator, George Pavlou.

But Carroll Gardens activist Buddy Scotto, leader of an at-times successful effort to clean up the canal for decades, said the EPA's decision stinks.

He said all the designation "would do is tie up development projects off the shore," such as a luxury condo and townhouse project planned by the Toll Brothers developers.

"There's no question the canal is clean enough now to support development," Scotto said.

"This is all political because someone has decided they don't want to see development near the canal, but it doesn't make sense. How can anyone try to kill these projects during such a poor economic climate?"

The project by Toll Brothers calls for 130 of the 577 units to be marketed to low- to middle-income households near Bond, Carroll and Second streets, and the rest would go for market rate.

Other developments planned for the area around the canal include a 68,000-square-foot Whole Foods superstore on Third Street.

Normally, polluters are required to pay for cleanups after completion of an EPA Superfund review, but in the case of the canal, much of the contamination occurred well over a century ago. In these situations, federal dollars are used to pay for a cleanup.

An important meeting will be held regarding this coming Tuesday at PS 32.

Below is the information about the informational meeting regarding the nomination of the Canal for Superfunds

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke Invite you to a
A Public Information Forum with US EPA Regarding the Gowanus Canal Nomination for Superfund.

Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 PM

PS 32 Auditorium 317 Hoyt Street (between Union & President Streets)

Bring Your Questions!

US Environmental Protection Agency Will explain how the Superfund program works
and nomination process.


First Ride of the Season on the Cyclone....

Opening weekend at Coney drew lots of people out with the great weather today. The Cyclone is all painted (and up to 8 bucks a ride!) and fresh. Sad to see Astroland closed and barricaded and the strip where Ruby's, Lola Starr, Shoot the Freak etc. all barracaded with "For Rent" signs, so stupid. What's open you ask? The kiddie park, the Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, The area around the Wonder Wheel, Nathan's, Cha Cha's, the strip of food joints across the way from Nathan's & Cha Cha's and various businesses on Surf Ave. Coney Island USA was not open yet. A shame to see the crowds with such limited places to go to. The beach of course is there and F.I.B took a nice walk down to the Brighton Beach end, handball courts all full. The Coney Island History Project was open this weekend and will be opened regularly starting Memorial Day promising lots of new exhibits this season and it's always free!

*Photo taken with my camera phone...still camera-less!


Opening Events at Coney Island this Sunday!

Astroland may be gone but Coney Island keeps on keepin' on. This Sunday, April 5th is the Cyclone Rollercoaster's opening day and ALSO open house at the fab Coney Island History Project located in the shadow of the Cyclone on Surf Avenue.

As per the invite:
Palm Sunday is the traditional season opener for Coney Island's rides and attractions. The Coney Island History Project's public exhibition center under the Cyclone roller coaster will host an open house on Sunday, April 5th from 12-3 pm to celebrate Coney Island's and the Cyclone's opening day of the 2009 season.

You're invited to view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past and preview selections from our 2009 exhibition season. Admission is free of charge.

Please stop by on April 5th and say hello to Charles Denson, CIHP executive director and author of Coney Island Lost and Found and Wild Ride: A Coney Island Roller Coaster Family; newly appointed "distinguished historian" Jimmy Prince of Major Market; staffers Amanda Deutch, Tricia Vita and Jeff Wilday; and special guests. Our guest of honor will be Brooklynite Howie Lipstein, who has ridden the Cyclone for 50 consecutive seasons and will be interviewed by Mr. Denson for the History Project's Oral History Archive.

The CIHP exhibition center will open for the 2009 season on Memorial Day Weekend with a new exhibition "Coney Island Icons." Located on Surf Avenue just east of West 10th Street, the center is open free of charge on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The centerpiece is an authentic Steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name. Visitors are invited to record a video interview and take a free souvenir photo of their visit.

Click here for a lot more info about recent happenings at Coney Island. There is a call for home movies of the Cyclone, info about just where the Astroland rocket has landed and so much more.