Thursday, April 30, 2009

Banya Bathhouse Record Release!

From the Brooklyn Paper:

An indie supergroup has found a bizarre, but fitting, venue to unveil its new record — a Russian bathhouse in Kensington.

The acclaimed Brooklyn-based act the Sway Machinery — which includes members from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Antibalas, the Arcade Fire and Balkan Beat Box — will play tunes from its gypsy-tinged experimental album, “Hidden Melodies Revealed,” at a May 2 bash at the Coney Island Avenue spa Banya. (read more)

From what I understand, Banya is the generic name for any Russian bath house, but ignorance of Russian culture and general mistrust of vaporized water found me unaware of the joint's existence prior to reading this article (although the non-descript storefront isn't helping.)

As far as unusual, potentially entertaining events taking place within the borders of the hood, I'd say this one rates pretty highly. For more information on times and ticketing, click here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sean Casey Fundraiser 05/08/09

The purpose of this endeavor is to aid unfortunate animals in the interest of a higher quality of life. We take in rescued, confiscated, neglected, injured, ill, unmanageable, or otherwise unwanted animals from private owners, zoos, shelters, and other public organizations. These animals are cared for, and/or rehabilitated to the best of our ability and means until which time they can be found healthy, happy homes - whether it be through adoption to qualified candidates or legally released into habitats suitable to the specific species in conjunction with licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Sean Casey Animal Rescue took in over 2000 animals in 2007 and again in 2008 from the NYC Shelter system, the most of any private rescue in New York . We plan to continue to serve the animals of this city but we need your help and support. Kindly consider a donation to SCAR.
The folks at Sean Casey do fine work but, as always, they need our help to do so. We hope everyone can make it out on May 8th. Good Luck, SCAR!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Daily News calls Kensington "Best-Value Neighborhood"

The accolades for our little section of Brooklyn continue to roll in. In the recurring "Best of Brooklyn" feature, the News manages to insult Park Slope and compliment Kensington in the same article.

From the NY Daily News:
Called K-Town by some, Kensington combines an urban feel with row-house living. The chess players on Ocean Parkway give the neighborhood a feel distinct from its more upscale neighbors Midwood and Windsor Terrace. You get a lot for your real-estate dollar here. The neighborhood also has its own watchdog. Two friends run to monitor growth and highlight such things as local authors, new restaurants and real-estate moves. Like any good blog, it doesn’t take itself too seriously while keeping an eye out for what’s what. (read more)
Thanks for the plug! We like to think that the best part of Kensington isn't the bang-for-your-buck real estate, but the wonderful people who walk the streets. Oh, and Shenanigans. Mostly the latter.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kensington Synth Wizard seen in the wild

Who hasn't seen this crazy neighborhood goodness?

Seeing this is the final nail in the coffin for winter. Well, that and the fact that it hit 90 degrees on Sunday.

Hope everyone made it outside this weekend. It was good to see so many bikes out in the hood.

Thanks to Evan for sending this in.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Woodstock in Prospect Park?

As we look through the archives of our many mysterious repositories of information, we came upon this item that we missed while on hiatus.

From the Daily News:
Prospect Park may host Woodstock's 40th anniversary

Coming soon to a backyard near you.

The summer of Love could be coming to Brooklyn if a promoter from the original Woodstock music festival has his way, the Daily News has learned. Michael Lang, who helped put on the famous upstate 1969 festival, is hoping to stage a massive Woodstock 40th anniversary concert in Prospect Park's Long Meadow this summer -- if he can find enough sponsors. (read more)
Well I'm no expert on large-scale festival concerts, but I'm willing to bet that this would create a mountain of garbage so high, even Tommy Chong couldn't see over it. Not to mention turning our beloved long meadow into a giant mud wrestling pit. I'm sure you recall that the last time someone tried to throw a Woodstock, a bunch of angsty teenagers tried to burn the place down because they were being overcharged for Evian. I'm not sure turning Prospect Park into a tire fire is a fair price to pay just to see the surviving members of the Byrds trundled onstage in wheelchairs and forced to wheeze into their mikes for 45 minutes.

Thanks to Matthew for sending this in.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

F Train to get an extra car?

According to, MTA officials are running overnight tests of 11-car F trains to analyze the feasibility of lengthening the train permanently.


Transit officials want to see how the longer train will be accommodated by signals and stations. If trains cannot be safely run closer together, capacity can be increased with the extra car.

The test was done without passengers for planning purposes. (read more + Video)

It will be a welcome change if it comes to pass, but probably won't do much in the long term to ease the rush hour crunch.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First 2009 meeting of the ANA

Gary via the Facebook Group writes:
The first meeting of the 2009 new year of the Albemarle Neighborhood Association will be held on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 (that's tomorrow! - Ed.) at the Flatbush & Shaare Torah jewish Center, 327 East 5th Street (corner Church Avenue). The meeting begins at 7pm sharp (ends 9pm sharp).

Assoication elections are on the list of things to be done; two of the executive board postions are vacant, and a third would like to be.

Nominations of anyone else wanting to run for office will be taken from the floor. Prior to that, contact the ANA president, Larry Jayson, at the Brooklyn Housing & Family Services (which he also runs) (718-435-7585) if you wish to run.

Events that took place during the winter, and future plans for the organization will be discussed.

Foodtown, as during the past year, will supply refreshments for the meeting.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend.
Thanks for the info, Gary.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

G&A Pizza exists, is for sale.

We came across this Craigslist posting today and were startled to discover that there's a pizza place called G&A here and that it's apparently available for purchase. Looking back a couple months to the Pizza iteration of Restaurant Wars, I see that only one person brought it up in the comments area. Congratulations, Alicia. Unfortunately we also have to inform you that your favorite pizza place isn't sticking around.

Anyway, if you don't feel like clicking, here's the essentials: G&A Pizza is on Fort Hamilton Pkwy, across the street from IHM. 60K gets you the joint and you're supposed to call a man named Eric about it. Don't be alarmed if he picks up the phone and just starts screaming uncontrollably, because apparently he doesn't believe in spaces or lower case letters and this habit might carry into his verbal communication as well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Village Voice dares name Denny's a dive

We're beginning to suspect someone at the Voice lives in Kensington. First it was Am-Thai, then Cafe Sim-Sim, and now they've gone so far as to write-up our very own local mainstay, Denny's (Steak-free) Steak Pub. In a recurring feature called Real Dives, the Voice actively seeks out and showcases the diveyist of dive bars around and sends folks in to survey the scene. According to the writer, a real dive bar "may be characterized by low prices, clientele over 60, trucker hats only on actual truckers, ...and a sense that the place is not trying to impress you, or anyone else, ever." Sounds like Denny's to me.
From The Village Voice:

Today's Dive: Denny's Steak Pub

Clientele: White men, over 40

What to drink: Stiff pours of Jameson, $4.50, two for one during happy hour

Said to us, as we left: "Run away, this place is nothing but trouble." (read more)

So three cheers for Denny's! Still scaring people away after all these years.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

(Even more) scenes from the Church Avenue fair

The good folks over at the Brooklyn Voice put together this montage of pictures and video clips taken on April 5th, during the Church Avenue street fair.

Interspersed with strange plugs for the online paper and accompanied by possibly the worst song I have ever heard in my life, the video is nonetheless a great montage of scenes from the fair for anyone who missed it. Thanks to the (Brooklyn) Voice for putting this together!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where the cool kids go

Rumor has it there's a hot new bar in the Kensington area called "Jerbar." Yelpers are talking about it but we haven't heard from any of you. I get the feeling like it has sort of a speakeasy vibe going. Maybe you need to know a password to get in. Have any readers been there? Let us know. We can't abide other people having fun and excluding us.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Local Author writes novel on F-Train

Commuting reeks. Yet amid conditions where I personally find it difficult to do much of anything other than sob into my neighbor's armpit, sufficiently determined people are able to create. Such a person is Kensington author Peter V. Brett, a man so hellbent on killing time between Church Avenue and Times Square every morning that he managed to churn out a 400 page fantasy novel. On a Smartphone.
From AM New York:

It was slow going at first as Brett became accustomed to writing on the portable device. The process started out as Brett jotting down notes and ideas so he wouldn’t forget them. Eventually, he was able to type faster and faster.

“It reached a point where I had gotten so used to it that I’d get on the subway and just put my headphones on and just get in the zone,” he says. “Epic fantasy books are so long that ... you have to break it up into tiny little chunks or else you’ll never finish. I just trained myself to have those chunks be at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day.” (read more)

Now, from time to time we all find ourselves in situations where we have to type something more substantial than "Be there in 5" or "the cat is on fire" into our phones. It's an arduous process and fraught with errors. I'm sure many of you agree that it's not something you'd want to do on a regular basis. At 250 words per page over 400 pages, Peter V. Brett has typed over 100,000 words into his phone. The sheer enormity alone is impressive enough, but to string these 100,000 words into a novel that has garnered a 4.5 star rating on Amazon is another story altogether.

Luckily for me, Peter's publisher has done the smart thing and released this book on the Kindle. We'll see if reading it on the train is as hard as writing it was.

MTA/DOT keep on keepin on

We've received a few emails this past week referencing these new bus shelters on lines that are on the chopping block. As most of you know, the B23 has been scheduled for termination with extreme prejudice, but that has not stopped the MTA from building shiny new structures for people to wait for soon-to-be-deceased busses in.

From The Times:

Two bus shelters on Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn — one at Ocean Parkway, the other at East Fifth Street — were replaced this week with shiny new steel-and-glass structures that can keep passengers on the B23 bus line dry on rainy days and unmussed on windy ones.

But the B23 is one of six bus lines in Brooklyn that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it will eliminate unless it gets a financial lifeline from the State Legislature.

Asked why new shelters were being installed along a line that could soon disappear, Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, noted that the proposed service changes were not definite. “But we will postpone any further installations on affected routes until the situation is clarified,” he said. (read more)
It seems a shame to waste that time and money on something that will soon be as useless as a bucket under a bull. Any proposals for what can be done with the shelters once the routes get the axe? I don't think we could fit a craps table in there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Scenes from the Church Avenue fair

Yesterday, as most of you probably noticed, was the Church Avenue fair. It was a perfect day for all of us to emerge from our caves and shake the shackles of winter with a little help from some corn. Once I got past the sheer lunacy of being charged $7 for a hot dog, I managed to snap a few pictures. Unfortunately only one of them came out. The other we got from an associate.

It was good to see everyone out and enjoying themselves. The fleetness of foot required to dodge all the kids throwing Nitro Snappers at your bare legs was outweighed by the deliciousness of the roast corn and the amusement derived from realizing that the King Kong ride is operated manually. Children climb aboard something that looks like a modern ride but, in the end, a burly Baltic gentleman just swings them back and forth, looking bored.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Well our bid seems to have fallen through so it looks like we're stuck here with the rest of you. We might as well make the best of it. Blerg...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bigger and better!

So we've finally managed to score that sweet brownstone on 3rd street. We're really happy about our new place and think we should adjust our blog here too... hopefully you'll come with us. Well, everyone but Chris. The folks at our new food co-op already told us he's not welcome. Maybe you can all come visit our new home. It's even got a ramp to accommodate strollers and organic grocery carts. We're psyched.