Saturday, August 21, 2021

Great Summer Reading


After your kids have splashed around in a pool, gone on hikes and finished with camps they may just want to chill at home with a great book.  Check out Kensington Library’s Grab & Go Kit program.  Every Monday throughout the summer the library has been distributing books to those who want.  All you need to do is come by on Tuesday and get one of the Grab & Go Projects.

The projects include STEM activities, craft activities for all ages and more.

For those who would rather not go into an actual library but like the idea of reading programs there is something else incredibly cool. It’s called an outside “whispering library.” Launched by the Brooklyn Public Library, this purely audio experience is being initiated at 10 branches throughout the borough.  Outside the library there will be hidden speakers which will play poetry, music, tell history stories, excerpts from podcasts, literature and more, up to five times a day.  Vice President of Arts and Culture, László Jakab Orsós explained the reasoning behind this:

"A library is more than just a building, it is the repository of our accumulated knowledge and memory. Imagine walking by one of our branches before the building opens for service and you hear a poem or a segment of a historical speech—we hope that a whispering library will make you smile and inspire you."

As Mason said last year, “Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are.”

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Summer Fun in Brooklyn!


Summer is meant to be fun.  Last year we didn’t quite have that because of the coronavirus pandemic.  While the virus is definitely far from over, somehow we have found a way to deal with it and let people get back to leisure activities in a safe way.

Roosevelt Island has opened its outdoor pool.  Getting outdoors and cooling down is always a great idea in the summer.  But this ‘Pop-Up Pool Party’ in Manhattan Park offers so much more.  It is framed by the spectacular skyline, is in a 8.5 acre waterfront area. The project was created in conjunction with K&Co. and Pliskin Architecture designers and Corcoran New Development, alongside Melissa Dadourian a local artist who created the mural for this year, creating a geometric pattern, completely changing the feel of the pool deck, intensifying the color.

According to an announcement from the  Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy more than 500 events are planned this year, that started mid-April and will continue until September 25. 

For those who want to be a bit more active there is an 18-hole mini golf course in North Williamsburg riverfront.  But it comes with some education as well.  Players will get to learn about climate change, types of infrastructure, animal housing, energy and emissions.  This is because every hole has a different theme including: Down the drain, Whale Fall Feast, Big Oyster and more.

C’mon what are you waiting for?  Get out there and have fun!!! It’s summer and it won’t be here forever.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Well, not quite the wild side, but for sure the beautiful side.  How we’ve missed the fun and activities of a Brooklyn summer.  Take a virtual walk here at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, a virtual one through the video if you can’t get there in person.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Tying the Knot: From Church to Cheap and Cheerful

Weddings have become so exorbitantly expensive. In a study by The Knot in 2017, it was found that the average Manhattan wedding left little change from $77,000.  In COVID times this decreased to $19,000.

While one may hope that coronavirus has been a lesson in the unnecessary expenditure, predictions for 2021 are

a)      There will be a hike in the number of weddings taking place

b)      It will be “the year of the after party” (for those who had to have a corona wedding)

c)       More people will turn to wedding planners as they won’t want to deal with the stress

d)      Contact-free and bartender-free mixology: cocktails will now be in a bottle for each person

e)      More outdoor weddings

For those who want a wonderful wedding but still want to keep the price down, there are some venues that could hit the mark. Take for example, the Sweet Hearts chapel – a new wedding space – based on Vegas-style wedding but right in New York, like an A-Z wedding.  Developed for “efficiency” during COVID-19, the couple just needs to fork out $650.  With that they will receive: one hour in the chapel (which has its own dressing area and bathroom), a ceremony, the ceremony leader – ordained ULC Ms. Guinta (they can choose to bring their own wedding officiant), chairs for up to 10 guests (think intimate) and a honeymoon bag which includes: eatery recommendations, T-shirts and Ring Pops.  If they want to pay another $500 they can hire photographer Edward Winter.

Even before coronavirus though, people were going small on their weddings without skimping on quality.  For example, on September 4, 2016 the wedding ceremony of Julie Williams and Mathieu Zarbatany took place. They invited 95 guests to a Brooklyn cocktail bar/event hall at Kinfolk 19. Close to their house, Julie and her mom walked down to the DJ playing ‘That’s How Strong My Love is.’

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Take in a Furry Friend


Now that we are getting out of lockdown, it might be time to adopt a furry friend. Although it was found that dog adoption was up (in some places the figures had doubled), living with an animal in regular times can have an extremely positive psychological impact on everyone.

Back in the day, Sigmund Freud spoke of how beneficial his dog Jofi – who later became his therapy companion – had been.  More recently a study published by the International Journal of Psychiatry undertaken on dog, cat and non-pet owners, evaluated mood and feelings of isolation during lockdown.  It found that:

Contrary to expectations, cat owners were found to be less mindful than non-owners and pet interactions did not account for levels of loneliness or levels of mindfulness. In line with our expectations, however, stress and depression positively predicted loneliness, while mindfulness and being a dog owner were protective against it. Insights from qualitative responses suggest that this might be due to the fact that dogs encourage a routine which involves getting out of the house and walking, which itself offers opportunities to socialise with other people doing the same thing…. These findings add to the emerging literature on mental well-being during a lockdown and the unique role that pets play in their owners’ experiences.

So for any locals considering this option, Advocat Rescue has some lovely cats looking for homes. There is also Foster Dogs Incorporated with canine options for those who prefer dogs.  As the weather heats up what better safe and healthy activity to engage in than dog walking?  In Brooklyn there are many wonderful parks and gardens for a nice stroll which even offer activities.  Children enjoy the  Albemarle Playground and Di Gilio and for those wanting to bring their newfound furry friends there is Parade Ground. 

Getting out and about in the fresh air is very good at all times.  Having a pal accompanying you makes it even better!

Monday, May 3, 2021

Reopening Entertainment!


Thankfully there is some good news in the entertainment world, after a long hiatus caused by the pandemic and lockdowns.  Now, Coney Island’s Deno’s Wonder Wheel will be opening, having been shut for a very long year-and-a-half.  While obviously not in full capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, there is definitely cause for celebration at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park. Park owner and operator DJ Vourderis explained:

"Coney Island has always been a place where people have come to find comfort. To remember what it feels like to smile. We need that now more than ever. We’re following the guidance best way we can, things change all the time but hand sanitizing is always a good idea, they’re everywhere in the park. Entrances, exits, in between.”

In addition, Gotham Comedy Club

Was delighted to host comedian and Brooklyn native Jerry Seinfeld in Chelsea, bringing cheer to an audience – in real life – for the first time in over a year.  With tables spaced six feet apart and plastic sheets used to separate performers from the audience, it may have looked different but the atmosphere did not suffer.  One member of the audience reported:

“I’ve seen Jerry here before. He showed up as a surprise guest, so it was kind of nice. And he had new jokes, which were amazing as expected. He’s still as funny as ever."

Monday, March 22, 2021

Goodbye Generic Fashion, Hello Personalized Fare!


While there have been huge losses in fashion retail around the world vis-à-vis brick and mortar stores, there have been some interesting successes in this area. Up to a third of all NYC businesses  broke down or substantially declined during the pandemic.  But in their stead, customized unique boutique shops have been gaining popularity. The question is, how?  One reason is that they are small businesses owned by individuals rather than large corporations that have way more overheads. Another reason is the bohemian character, akin to the area.

One local example of this is Page Sargisson Jewelry which opened its doors in Brooklyn on Hoyt Street and Atlantic Avenue after Thanksgiving. It’s popular in the area because it’s “playful and fresh…handcrafted…sustainably-made using recycled gold and silver,” and thus offers locals something different. 

Then there is home interior designer Michele Varian who “embraces chubby design [through] a new of kind of more [which she presents as] more in  minimal design – chunky, blobby and wabi-sabi.”  It has a very personal touch too as the seller is (as in similar cases like this) the creator as well. She moved from SoHo just before the pandemic to  Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Heights which she believed saved her due to the high rentals in SoHo.   She found that people are now choosing to “shop in places that distinguished their tastes as artful.”

And with the lower rents in the area, this has allowed for Blue Marble to lease the place on Broadway and 97th Street that used to be home to Earth Café. Offering organic ice cream with primarily locally-sourced ingredients, Jennie Dundas, co-owner explained:

“I’m not going to lie, this venture was made possible by the pandemic and the lower rents that resulted from it. The rents have always been a barrier to entry for us in Manhattan. I live around the corner from the new shop and when I saw this opportunity open up, this gorgeous location, I thought, we’ve just got to do this, because I want our neighborhood to feel loved and to have joy. I’ve been here throughout the whole pandemic, and it’s been a challenging time. I want to invest in my neighborhood.”