Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From a reader: Our local CB description from the "About" section. Do you think it represents the mix we have here in Kensington?

About Community Board 12 Brooklyn
Community Board 12 Neighborhoods: Borough Park, Mapleton, Kensington, Ocean Parkway, and Midwood Borough Park is a formidable Jewish melting pot of immigrants from Israel, Russia and Europe, plus members of more than 20 Hasidic sects, such as the Satmar, Bobov and Belz. The air is filled with a babel of English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and various Eastern European languages. This is no accident -- Borough Park is reputed to have the highest concentration of Orthodox Jews outside Israel. The focus here, where four or more children per family is the norm rather than the exception, is on family life. Numerous hat and wig shops reflect the Orthodox requirement that Jewish men and their wives cover their heads. In the weeks before Passover you can watch a centuries-old matzoh baking tradition being carried out at the Shmura Matzoh Bakery (36th Street, end of 13th Avenue). There is even a small hotel, the Park House Hotel (1206 48th Street), that caters to the orthodox visitor. If you want to feel the pace of the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, visit Borough Park early on a Friday afternoon. During this pre-Sabbath rush hour, bearded men in black coats wait in line to buy foot-long challahs. Women with seven or eight children in tow rush to finish their food shopping. From the start of the Sabbath on Friday evening until its completion on Saturday evening, this community does not drive, turn on electricity, carry or use money, or conduct business. What does all this mean for the visitor to Borough Park? Don't even think of coming here on Friday night or Saturday, because nothing is open. On Sunday, on the other hand, welcome to discount paradise, where you'll find everything from clothing to electronics to jewelry to stuff you didn't know you needed but end up buying because the price is right. Come early, because parking along 13th Avenue between 39th and 54th streets -- that's where the majority of stores are located -- is difficult. And don't forget to put money in the meter: Sunday is very much a normal business day in Borough Park. Even the post office, the Blythebourne Station is open on Sunday -- which is good to know if you don't want to trek to the main post office. Borough Park is also host to the small neighborhood of Kensington, which extends along Ocean Parkway from Caton Avenue to Avenue H and was originally part of the Dutch township of Flatbush.
Meetings: Fourth Tuesday of the month, 7:30 pm 5901 13th Avenue, 3rd floor