Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Greenest Block in Brooklyn Announced in NYC

The Greenest Block in Brooklyn is a contest held by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. More than 20 years old, the competition measures the green-ness of all Brooklyn streets, and this year's winner was Stuyvesant Avenue. Nestled between Bainbridge and Chauncey, this block does not appear to be dramatically more green than any of its neighbors.

Nina Browne, community program manager at the botanic gardens, runs the contest and trains the judges each year. In a visit to Stuyvesant Ave. for the New York Times, Browne explained that a winning block's title comes from more than just its vegetation level; it comes from its citizen participation.

"It boils down to people more than plants," she says. "It's where you get that tangible sense of love. Which block felt the most unified? Where is that sense of community really most palpable? That's urban resilience right there."

"It's really about people power," she added. "It's a testament to what people can do, despite not having dirt to dig in."

Stuyvesant Ave. block captain Serge Vatel explained that the communal goal is "to set the bar for the entire Stuyvesant Heights."

"It's our lobby," he added. "It's the gateway to our neighborhood-- the first block people see on their way to work in the morning. It's like a watermark for our neighborhood: It tells everyone, new and old, 'This is our standard of leaving.'"

Monday, July 24, 2017

Newfound Love: Naomi Campbell and Louis C. Camilleri



In recent celebrity news, Naomi Campbell has been secretly dating Louis C. Camilleri, the Maltese-Egyptian CEO of tobacco company Philip Morris International and director of Ferrari. Worth over $192 million, the 62-year-old business mogul apparently shares a love for Formula One with the 47-year-old supermodel, who also attended the grand prix races.  

Though both are generally rather close-mouthed about their personal lives, the pair has become a bit more public about their relationship over the last few weeks. 

A source revealed that “Naomi and Louis have been secretly dating for weeks,” according to The Sun. “They’re all over each other when they’re out. Naomi likes to keep her relationships private and it is early days, but there’s a real spark between them. Their close friends are aware they’re dating.”
Until now, the lovebirds have managed to avoid public scrutiny by meeting secretly via private jet. They have also rendezvoused at various locations throughout Europe, and have been spotted dining in some of London’s restaurants.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Island Escape at Trendy Brooklyn Bar



If the Brooklyn heat is getting you down, you don’t need to look far for an island respite. A Tropical Bar called the Diamond Reef is making a splash in NYC with an outdoor Island-themed patio complete with tiki torches, fairy lights and cocktails. Opened by the owners of cocktail lounge Attaboy in March, this downplayed venue is easy to go to and easy to like. 


Island getaway
Decorated with tropical print wallpaper, wood panels, glass bricks and teal accents, the bar sets a true contrast to its surroundings: the Bedford-Stuyvesant industrial zone. Background music, patio furniture and a wide selection of craft beers successfully provide an immediate getaway without much effort.



All mixed up
Throughout the day the Diamond Reef offers a fun family experience with space for children to run around, while at night the pace winds down to compliment the Reef’s famous drinks, which include the frozen slushy ‘Penichillin’, the ‘Booze and Juice’ and the ‘Spicy Flamingo’. The crowd is mixed, a healthy combo of hipsters and suits all there to enjoy the summer-y atmosphere.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dome Park Entering Phase II of Planned Upgrade

Infamously known as one of “Brooklyn’s worst basketball courts,” the court, located in Dome Playground between Kensington and Williamsburg, is about to lose its negative title.

As Phase II of the park’s renovations gets underway, both the basketball and handball courts on the eastern side of the park are getting complete makeovers.

The Parks Department timeline expects the work to be done by April 2018. The park’s eastern side is near the intersection of Dahill and Courtelyou Roads.

The decrepit nature of the basketball court was first revealed citywide when Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo biked around town for two weeks in 2015 checking out the state of Brooklyn’s courts. Ranking them best to worst, Dome Park’s courts came in number 143 out of 172 total courts in the borough, known for its rapid gentrification and general improvement of facilities.

"This triangular-shaped park has a full court and two half courts, all filled with bad paint and worse cracks," wrote Woo in his article.

Phase II, which is also the last phase of the renovations, also includes the addition of accessible ramps, an adult fitness zone, a rebuilt park entrance, new benches, better lighting, improved gardens, and an easy to reach water fountain.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dog Run Coming to Prospect Park

Border Collie Enjoying Freedom to Run
After years of discussions and requests by neighborhood dog-owners, it looks like Kensington will be finally getting a dog run in Prospect Park.

Activists and members of the Kensington Dog Run Association were pleased to hear that their dreams will soon be a reality after only a few more hurdles to overcome.

"There’s really no areas for dogs to run around and be off leash," Sal Garro, president of the association, said. "We’ve got off leash hours at PP, and those are pretty limited and a lot of people can’t make it to those."

Garro said that his organization is happy with the design for the run, which has two areas, one for smaller dogs, and another for larger. Dog owners will also be supplied with benches to watch their pets run free.

"The designs are incredible," Garro said. "They’re exactly what we wanted. I feel like they really listened to us when we first sat down. They clearly saw our vision."

The run was designed by the Prospect Park Alliance, and will be funded by money which will come through a partnership between two districts; that of Councilmen Mathieu Eugene and Brad Lander

The borough of Brooklyn, through the office of Borough President Aric Adams, will also chip in.
Before the actual construction can commence the project will need to be approved by Community Board 14’s Community Environment Committee, which will be meeting on April 19 at 7pm to vote on the issue. If the vote is in favor, dogs and their owners can expect to see a dog run in Prospect Park within about two years.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

No Horsing Around: Kensington Stables Looking for Highest Bidder

Good news for horse lovers. The historic Kensington Stables, the last horse stable next to Prospect Park, still has a good chance to remain a stable despite the hard times it has fallen on.

First opened in 1930, the stable is for sale as part of a bankruptcy process by owner Walker Blankinship. He is looking to sell off the property in order to pay off debts accrued by his father, who passed away.

The property is being auctioned by Marc Yaverbaum, whose services were retained by Blankinship’s mother, Edna. The original date for the auction had been set for February 21st, but has since been postponed. The hope is that the extra time will allow for a greater possibility that a buyer will come along who will commit to maintaining the property as a horse stable.

Windsor Terrace Councilman Brad Lander has been lobbying on behalf of a stable on the site, stating that:

 “…the community strongly supports the preservation of a horse stable at this location, and that bidders should be clear about this expectation. I would not support a rezoning of this property that did not commit to preservation of a horse stables," Lander wrote.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rents Rising at Ridiculous Rates on Bedford Avenue


Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of LWYang
According to an annual real estate report published by CPEX Real Estate, rents on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn have skyrocketed faster than any other retail corridor in all of Brooklyn. In the past ten years shops on Bedford Avenue have experience rent hikes averaging 477 percent.

The CPEX report states that the going rate for retail space on Bedford between North 3rd Street and North 8th Street is over $300 per square foot. CPEX is a brokerage that focuses on commercial business. The area in question now is home to Whole Foods, Apple, Equinox and WeWork, among others. The extreme rental rise has rendered that 5 block stretch the single most desired, and expensive, shopping area in Brooklyn, says the report.

Not far away on Bedford Avenue, just a few blocks south between Metropolitan Avenue and South 5th Street, rents are now up to $149 per square foot. Ten years ago the cost to rent was about $40.
Ryan Condren, a managing director at CPEX who helped create the report explained that the north section of Bedford is “way more prime.”

"The train obviously allowed it to be what it is. The retail has only gotten stronger and stronger," he said, referring to the L train stop on Bedford and North 7th Street.

Condren says the trend is going to continue, since people will "go far out of their way to go to Apple or to that Whole Foods. All of a sudden, other retailers want to be there because they'll feed off of that."

The report goes on to point out other areas that are on the brink of a rent cost explosion. He said to look for rapid growth on: Fulton and Lafayette in Fort Greene, Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights, Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue in Flatbush, Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick and Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park.