Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Brooklyn Real Estate Booming

Brooklyn Buildings Booming
Since 2011 finding an affordable dwelling in Brooklyn has become increasingly difficult. In neighborhoods like Clinton Hill and Red Hook prices have soared from $120 per buildable square to $212 in 2014.  In Williamsburg and Greenpoint we see the same kind of rise, from $107 to $209. Even in low income areas such as Bushwick, Crown Height and Bedford-Stuyvesant prices are almost doubled from $51 to $93 per square foot.

With such soaring prices developers are searching elsewhere in Brooklyn for more affordable projects. Some of the newbies to the building boom are Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush and Kensington.

“I always want to be more on the affordable side,” said developer Eli Karp. 

Karp was explaining why he was moving his work to some of Brooklyn’s budding, under-developed neighborhoods such as Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush.

“Most of the land I bought in Prospect Lefferts Gardens I bought for $40 to $65 per square foot,” he said, “whereas in Crown Heights, people are asking close to $100 or over.”

Making money on the development is not a sure thing, however. Lower priced areas are generally not in great demand, and it is not always known if that will change just because someone builds a new building.

“Are you going to be able to rent those units? Are people going to appreciate the value you’ve put in those projects?” Karp said.

Another problem for builders is opposition from neighborhood residents who may be unaccustomed to new building development.

“There are long-term residents in a lot of these marketplaces who may not completely embrace the new construction,” said David Maundrell, president of the brokerage firm Aptsandlofts.com.

Maundrell pointed out the case last summer of the Hudson Companies’ high-rise at 626 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. A community group had filed a lawsuit which had temporarily halted construction on the 23-story tower. Since the developer was in compliance with all the relevant zoning and construction laws, the suit was dismissed, but not before Hudson Companies incurred added expenses to their project.

“Some people have made fortunes,” on such projects, a Hudson Companies principal David Kramer explained. But, he said, “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BPL Announces Two Programs to Help Immigrants

Linda E. Johnson, CEO and President of the BPL
Last week the Brooklyn Public Library announced the launch of two new programs designed to help immigrants in Brooklyn attain US citizenship and to help them with any legal services they might need.

Prepare for Citizenship is a program which will offer a formal, 11-week course for ESOL learners. The course is being offered at the Kensington, Canarsie, Sunset Park and Flatbush branches of the BPL. The course will prepare students for the English and Civics parts of the Citizenship test, plus provide free legal assistance. Prepare for Citizenship is offered under the auspices of Catholic Migration Services (CMS) ad with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The second is the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Community Fellows program, which offers crucial legal assistance to poor immigrants throughout Brooklyn. Two Fellows will be welcomed to the BPL, while five other organizations throughout New York City will also receive two IJC Community Fellows this year. This program will officially begin later in November.

Together these two programs offer important support to Brooklyn residents in need of assistance with legal and/or citizenship issues.

"Brooklyn Public Library serves a diverse and multiethnic borough and is a critical resource for immigrant communities, which too often face barriers accessing information and assistance," said Linda E. Johnson, president & CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library.   
“There are nearly are nearly 700,000 immigrants in New York who are one step away from becoming U.S. Citizens, and many of them haven't done so because of cost, fear of a cumbersome process, or access to legal counsel,” said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “Our libraries have long acted as a safe and accessible hub for immigrants. By providing legal services, the Brooklyn Public Library is taking a smart and innovative approach that will benefit not just our immigrant communities, but our city as a whole.”

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kensington Artist Sharpens Look at Women’s Roles

Traci Talasco’s sandpaper kitchen installation starkly states her view of the social assumptions of women’s roles, and domestic duties.

“This is more of a political piece that has to do with these unrealistic expectations for women to be homemakers,” said the Kensington artist. “We’re juggling careers and home lives but there is still this unrealistic idea that women are going to be homemakers.”

Rub Me the Wrong Way is Traci Talasco's commentary on women's roles
Talasco explained that her use of sandpaper points out the contrast between the materials that are traditionally thought of as feminine, which are usually soft and warm, to the reality of the rough duties of domestic existence. She points out that over time the sandpaper will be worn away as people walk through and touch the installation, just as she hopes the struggle against women’s traditional roles will wear down those stereotypes.

“It illustrates in a funny way this idea of women being worn out — being worn down by these expectations,” she said. “But it also metaphorically represents this idea of wearing down these gender stereotypes that don’t make sense in 2014.”

Talasco is not only interested in political statements. The exhibition, called “Rub Me the Wrong Way,” is also a work of art, Talasco contends. Each and every visitor that leaves behind a fingerprint of shoe scuff will change the piece.

“It is also something, in the end, that I feel will be visually beautiful and funny,” she said.

Traci Talasco’s installation, “Rub Me the Wrong Way” is already open at the Brooklyn Arts Council Gallery at 55 Washington Street between Front and Water Streets in Dumbo. Call 718-625-0080 for more information.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Newly Renovated Loews Theater Set to Open in January

Ever since the intended restoration of the Loew’s Kings Theater in Flatbush was announced last year, excitement around the project has been growing. Known as one of only five “Wonder Theaters” in New York and New Jersey, the advancing restoration, due to conclude in January 2015, will bring the theater back to its glory days of 1929.
On the way to its former splendor: The Loew's Kings Theater-Photo courtesy of Matt Lambros

The theater has been closed and abandoned since 1977, but after a year of work it will be brought back to the look and feel of its “sumptuous interiors inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House.”
The 3,000-seat theater, Brooklyn’s largest, will become a cornerstone of Brooklyn culture, with more than 200 performances scheduled each year, “including music, dance, theater and comedy.”
A press release stated that:

"The Kings Theatre will serve as both a cultural and economic cornerstone for the Brooklyn community, presenting more than 200 performances annually—including music, dance, theatre, and comedy—providing a resource to foster and support creativity in the area, creating jobs and attracting thousands of visitors to the neighborhood."

Photographer Matt Lambros has been chronicling the progress of the re-birth of the Loew’s ever since his first, pre-renovations photograph he took in 2011. Lambros has been keeping a blog, After the Final Curtain, which not only covers the progress of the Kings Theater, but also reveals the state of other crumbling performance spaces. With the help of the Theater Historical Society of America Lambros will publish a book on the subject in early 2015.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kensington Library Pulls Misused iPads

It appears that a pilot program to make iPads available for Kensington Library patrons between the ages of 2-5 went south.  After two years of use and abuse, public library officials decided to scrub the iPads availability due to older kids and even some parents covertly used the hand-held computers to make on-line purchases, play violent video games, and visit porn sites.

The 18th Avenue branch equipped the iPads with age-appropriate applications designed to help children learn to read, and other educational functions. Unfortunately it happened all too often that older kids took the iPads away from the younger children, changed passwords, installed the apps that they wanted, and then played on the devices. One older child even took a picture of himself and set it as the background picture for the iPad.
Kensington Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

The last straw came when patrons saw inappropriate videos and nudity displayed on the iPads, prompting library officials to remove them from the library. Officials are now exploring other ways of using the computers.

“We’ve had the most success with iPads that are used as part of our programming, including literacy classes for adults and programs for children with special needs,” said Emma Woods, spokeswoman for the library.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hurtful Graffiti Found on Kensington Mailbox

After weeks of rising anti-semitism throughout the world;  reports of Hamas terrorists shooting rockets into Israeli civilian populations; and the use of women and children in Gaza as human shields; some anti-Muslim graffiti has turned up on a mailbox in the Kensington section of Brooklyn.

The graffiti consisted of the words “Allah is evil” and “Islam is barbaric,” spray painted on a mailbox on Ocean Parkway. There is some speculation that, although the neighborhood is composed of both Jewish and Muslim residents who usually live together in peace, the fact that the month of Ramadan coincided with the defensive battle Israel launched in Gaza to protect its civilian population could have caused the perpetrators to resort to this form of insulting speech.

The NYPD are investigating the incident, which resembles a similar event that occurred in November 2013 when the same exact words were seen on a mailbox and a Muni Meter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lincoln Center Local Live Coming to a Library Near You

Throughout the months of July, August and September residents of Brooklyn and Queens will be treated to special free music programming sponsored by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Education and the Brooklyn and Queens public libraries.

Broadway Pops International will bring musical theater to the Kensington Library on Autust 16 at 2pm
The variety of music will be wide, with 14 different offerings ranging in styles from opera to gospel to flamenco and American musical. The music will be presented in one-hour sessions which will also include discussions with questions and answers with the performing artists. These encounters allow the audience to engage in a more meaningful and enjoyable way with the music.

The first performance was on July 12 at the Queens Central Library. It was flamenco dance performed by Elementos de Flamenco. The last show of the series will be live streamed from the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center and will take place on September 27th. The encore performance will be viewable at five Brooklyn Public Library locations, including at the Kensington Library at 4207 18th Avenue. The Queens Public Library will also have 13 branches participating. For more information go to the Lincoln Center schedule.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Golden Farm Finally Caves and Gives Workers Contract

It was a hard-fought battle for the workers at Golden Farm Market and Deli, but finally, after two years, owner Sonny Kim agreed to give his employees contracts.

Workers Win Contract at Golden Farm Market/Deli
The Kensington, Brooklyn store owner had been trying to fight the workers demand for contracts by trying to get Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 338 decertified. He also had been trying to dissuade shoppers from boycotting and picketing the store. After two years of fighting Kim decided it would be in everyone’s best interest, including his own, to offer his workers contracts, and did so in late June.

Martin Gonzalez, one of the workers who now, for the first time, have a contract to work at Golden Farm said, “We the workers of Golden Farm thank you for all your help. Thank you for your time on the picket line. Above all, thank you for making this campaign a dream come true — a campaign that nobody stopped, only victory.”

Another worker added: “Hi, my name is Roberto and in the name of my co-workers from Golden Farm we greet you most sincerely and thank you very much — to every one of you — for the unconditional help. This victory is also yours. Thank you to everyone and God bless you.”

The contract signed by the workers and owner stipulates that each worker is entitled to paid sick days, holidays and vacation time. They also received small raises, the first time they have been paid beyond minimum wage. The contract also includes a “good cause” clause, which states that management must have, and provide, a reason to fire an employee. The contract also allows workers the rights to have active union representation.

This last bit about union representation was the last hurdle to overcome before Kim agreed to the contract.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sanitation Department Surprised When Shortage of Garbage Bins Leads to Overstuffed Trash Cans

The Sanitation Department seems to be stuck on the problem of illegal dumping of household and business trash in garbage bins around New York and especially in Brooklyn. In an effort to prevent the unsightly and unsanitary overflow of trash in bins, the Sanitation Department began to remove the bins from sidewalks back in 2011. And what has been the result? It doesn’t look too good.

Pails on the sidewalks are still stuffed with refuse from families and local businesses.

“They overflow quite frequently, then the garbage just spreads all around the neighborhood,” said Bridget Elder, 52, resident of Kensington.

Since the beginning of the experiment 95 bins have been taken away. In Brooklyn bins were removed from Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Kensington, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace.

Not Enough Bins, or Too Many?

Many residents believe that there is only one way to end the problem and clean up the area, and that is by increasing the number of garbage truck pick-ups. Although most trash bins are emptied once per day, it is clear the frequency of emptying the trash must increase.

“You used to see garbage cans all over the place,” said Kensington resident Robert Waugh. “Now, there’s a lot more garbage on the ground. This is just insane.”

The Sanitation Department has the power to add pick-ups, but removing the bins is cheaper, and that (non) solution also is less time consuming.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Smoke Bomb on School Bus Sends Students to Hospital Instead of School

Last week on Tuesday almost one dozen children were sent to the hospital after someone on their school bus set off a smoke bomb.

Smoke Bomb on School Bus Sends Children to Hospital
The bus was on its way to the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School in Kensington, carrying 40 children between the ages of 5 and 11. At about 7:20am the yellow school bus stopped at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Dorchester Road due to the heavy smoke in the bus. The bus still had about 12 more blocks to go before arriving at school.

Some of the children were transferred to the hospital as a precaution. All were released soon after it was clear that none of them were harmed.

Police believe that someone on the bus set off the device, which was a type of firework that is designed to release plumes of thick smoke. When such a device is exploded inside a closed, contained space, the police added, there is a danger that the smoke can cause breathing problems or other medical ailments.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bikes and Books Get Together at the BPL

In anticipation of the “Bike the Branches” bike tour, the Brooklyn Public Library is outfitting hundreds of adults and children with bike helmets. The annual tour features people riding either on their own or in groups to visit as many as 60 branches of the BPL. When they arrive at each branch riders, and anyone visiting the library, will be able to participate in activities geared to families. Those who arrive at the most library branches will be eligible for prizes.

One helmet giveaway already took place at the Kensington branch of the BPL last week. This week, on Tuesday, May 13, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, riders are invited to come to 10 Grand Army Plaza to be fitted for a free helmet, as long as supplies last.

Participants who sign up ahead of time can join in themed bike rides like the one touring some of Brooklyn’s most famous distilleries. Another ride visits famous literary locales, and another will be going to some of the borough’s most popular landmarks.

Tour day is May 17 beginning at 10am. Registration is online and costs $20 per adult and $10 per child under 17. Seniors over 65 also pay $10. There are group rates for families or groups with up to 10 members.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mohawk Tavern Changing Name to Something More PC

After  members of the Mohawk Nation complained about the name of a local bar, the owners of that bar have made the decision to change its name.

The bar, which opened up last week, was named quite innocently the Mohawk Tavern after the Mohawk River near Albany, New York, where two of the owners grew up.
Mohawk River
“There was some chatter on the blogs and some members of the Mohawk Nation who lived in the neighborhood were unhappy,” owner Brandon Lenihan said.

Located in Windsor Terrace at Prospect Avenue and Reeve Place, the bar will remain open, but will soon have a new name “in a day or two,” the owners announced. Lenihan added that no matter what the name of the bar will finally be, the public should be aware that they will be serving beers from New York State breweries as well as locally produced wine.

“I am really glad they dropped the name! My uncle was Mohawk — it is 2014, why are we using the name of another culture for a business? I am really relieved to hear about this change and I will be one of the first people to line up for a drink. Glad they did the right thing!” read one comment posted on the local Kensington BK blog, where the name change was first reported.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kensington Stables Protest Plan to Ban CP Horse-Drawn Carriages

Worried about what the future will be for retired horses if the carriages pulled by them are banned from Central Park; Walker Blankinship, who runs Kensington Stables near Prospect Park is protesting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans for the beloved tradition of horse-drawn carriage rental in Manhattan’s fabled park.

Are Horse and Carriage in Central Park Going to be Banned?
Not if Kensington Stables can help it.
Blankinship asserts that the unwanted horses will end up on the chopping block, slaughtered for meat, despite de Blasio’s reassurances that a loving home will be found for each and every one of the horses. De Blasio would like to see the carriages banned, as he, along with animal rights groups, see the custom as inhumane to horses.

The main group lobbying for a ban on the horse-drawn carriages is the New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) advocacy group. In a statement they claim that:

"The stable owner is putting forth a false choice by saying carriage horses shouldn't be banned because other forms of animal cruelty against horses exist. That's like saying you can't take in an abused dog found on your street corner because some other dog in a shelter somewhere else would have his spot taken. Those who want to adopt a horse want to specifically stop this unnecessary and inhumane practice of horses in dangerous midtown traffic. 
“NYCLASS has been working closely with animal protection groups including the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, to identify individuals who are committed to providing retired horses loving homes on private farms and in sanctuaries. 
“The interest has been overwhelming. More than that, though, NYCLASS board members have guaranteed a home for every retired horse. Not one of these horses will go to slaughter."

To get the ban passed however, de Blasio needs the approval of the City Council, which might not be so easy. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that most New Yorkers want to maintain the tried and true, not to mention romantic, tradition of Central Park horses, drivers, and carriages.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baby, Its Cold In Here!

This winter has certainly been a rough one, but if you live at 377 Ocean Parkway in Kensington, there was very little respite from the cold winter air, even in your home. That is because, despite literally thousands of complaints to the landlord over the years, very little, if anything was done to improve living conditions.

Last Wednesday, as yet another storm engulfed the New York area, the temperature in one tenant’s apartment in the building read a crisp 51 degrees. That is 5 degrees below the legal limit for a nighttime temperature. Tenants must bundle up in sweaters and blankets and gather around space heaters just to keep their tosies cozy.

“Landlords are required by law to provide heat to their tenants during the coldest months of the year,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, the commissioner of the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “If they fail to do so, HPD will use all of the enforcement tools at its disposal to hold the landlord accountable and get the heat restored.”

As if. The city has received an unbelievable 48,418 calls from tenants in Brooklyn during the three and a half months from October 1, 2013 to January 12, 2014. That’s an increase of 6.5 percent since the same time last year.

And nothing seems to help the tenants at 377 Ocean Pkwy. The owners of the four-story, brown brick building, 377 Realty Associates have not responded to 205 open violations of city codes, including mold, mice, broken boilers and peeling paint. City inspectors have slapped violations on the owner for lack of heat last winter, and a dearth of hot water in January this year. Even being featured on a segment on Time Warner Cable News NY1 did not get a response from the landlord.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Small Town Feel in this Brooklyn ‘Hood

Remy's (Formerly Hummus Garden)
Isolated somewhat by some hills and highways, the section of Windsor Heights close to the Fort Hamilton Parkway stop of the G train can have a village feel for residents and visitors. A short stroll down the main thoroughfare will reveal several local shops whose numbers have been steadily growing.

Take for instance the five-month-old kosher vegetarian restaurant called Remy’s. Opened by Avi and Julie Atiae not far from their own home in Kensington, they just began with a simple cafĂ© similar to the eatery Avi already runs in Moningside Heights. Things started to get a bit more interesting, however, after the couple hired Ori Guri, an Israeli-Yemeni chef who likes to do things creatively. Yes, there are falafel sandwiches on the menu alongside a choice of four types of hummus, but that is not why people will be coming from near and far to see what’s new here.

In the pint-sized kitchen Guri is concocting dishes with so much flavor that even the most dedicated carnivores: will fall in love with thick-crusted, buttery quiches that come with salad and thrice-cooked salted potatoes; will salivate over main-course salads overflowing with spinach, sliced dates, sumac-powdered onions accompanied by crispy pita chips and zaatar flavored olive oil; and will practically cry when they taste a generous serving of tilapia layered with garlic, stewed tomatoes and smooth-as-silk eggplant in a combination that Guri has named “fish moussaka.”

Remy’s is located at 3021 Fort Hamilton Parkway, at East Second Street, 718-686-1011.
(Previously named Hummus Garden) Stay-tuned for more visits to up and coming shops along the Parkway.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Donating Old Clothes? Bin There, Done That

The New York Department of Sanitation has been busier than usual removing what they believe are scam drop-off bins for donated clothing. Thirty-seven huge metal receptacles, which were illegally placed on the streets of New York, have already been removed over the past half a year. That figure represents a 23 percent surge in the number of bins removed since last year, when only 30 were taken away during the entire fiscal year.

A Legitimate and Legal Way to Donate Used Clothing
The large pink bins began to appear on New York sidewalks over a year ago in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. None of been spotted yet Manhattan. Their purpose is ostensibly to be an easy way for good citizens to donate no-longer-needed used clothing to charitable organizations; to help clothe the poor and raise funds for related organizations. Unfortunately, in the case of these bins, it is unclear in whose hands the clothing ends up.

“They are a scam and people need to be careful who they donate clothing to,” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm of Queens.  He is suspicious of the bins, believing that the clothing does not end up helping the poor.

“They’re eyesores and attract vermin,” he added.

In January the Sanitation Department warned the owners of one bin located on 18th Avenue near East Second Street in Kensington with a yellow sticker saying that the owners had 30 days to remove it from the street. During that time the bin began to overflow, leaving an unsightly mess of discarded clothing on the street next to the bin. Pedestrians and businesses were, to say the least, unhappy with the situation. Finally the bin was removed, taken apart, and recycled for its metal.

Not all the illegal bins have yet to be removed. Brooklyn has taken away the most, removing 24 since July 1. The Bronx took away eight, Staten Island removed four, and Queens, one.

Dromm is pushing for a law that will required all bins placed on private property to have a name and phone number clearly marked. It will also require the bin owners to list details about where the donations are going.

“There's a level of deception that may rise to criminality,” Dromm said.

There are legitimate methods of donating old clothing. The Sanitation Department has its own clothing drop-off charity. The bins for clothing heading for re-fashioNYC are found inside commercial and residential properties.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Move Over Tower of Babble: Here Comes Boombox Art

Reaching to the heavens is a work of installation art which is not only a feast for the eyes, but for the ears as well. “Got the Power” is a display of over 100 boomboxes arranged into a tower, with the accompanying sounds emanating from about a dozen radios within the structure playing songs and oral histories which are relevant to life in Brooklyn.

Created by BayetĂ© Ross Smith, an artist from Harlem, “Got the Power” is only the most recent of his creations. His first boombox piece was installed in Harlem. Later he erected similar sculptures in Minnesota, Alabama, and elsewhere. The radios play music which the locals have chosen. Ross Smith requests from the residents where his tower will reside for their favorite songs and stories, creating a soundtrack that is site-specific.

"The exhibit references the role boomboxes have played in urban communities and within popular culture, the resulting sculpture and soundscape is a symbol of pride, power, and autonomy," said Ross Smith.

For his Brooklyn boombox tower, which will be located at the BRIC Arts Theater at 647 Fulton Street, Ross Smith collected stories from talking with residents in cafes, at events and getting his own connections involved. He has participants in his latest project from Fort Green, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Kensington,
Bushwick and Sunset Park.
Babbling Boomboxes Speaks to Brooklynites

The tower will be on display from February 19 to April 27, 2014. Ross Smith is still in search of donated boomboxes, oral stories and songs about Brooklyn for his latest effort.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Albemarle Road Getting Safety Upgrade

Councilman Brad Lander
The stretch of Albermarle Road in the heart of Kensington is notoriously hazardous for drivers and pedestrians alike. That fact is about to change as the Department of Transportation responds to pressure from community leaders and Councilman Brad Lander to install safety measures to the stretch of road between Ocean Parkway and McDonald Avenue.

Over the coming months the DOT will be making driving lanes narrower to slow down drivers; “No Standing” signs will be put up to improve visibility; and two speed bumps will also be installed to slow down cars.

Lander says that it is commonplace for cars to drive too fast, making the area dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists as well as drivers. In just one year, 2013, there were 10 car crashes in that corridor. Earlier this month two cars collided at East 2nd Street.

“The community spoke out and Department of Transportation listened,” Lander said. “I am looking forward to walking the safer Albemarle Road next year,” he added.

The problem has been going on for so long and is so serious that residents voted to budget part of their tax money to fix the problem as part of Landers’ experimental Participatory Budgeting program.

“This has been a decade long fight. We look forward to the implementation of these devices in the springtime,” said Larry Jayson, president of the Albemarle Neighborhood Association.

“This is an important victory for residents in Kensington, who have come to Participatory Budgeting neighborhood assemblies for the last several years and noted Albemarle Road as an area that needs traffic calming measures,” said Rachael Fauss, Kensington resident and member of the Participatory Budgeting District Committee for District 39.

“With these new improvements, the community will be safer and know that its voice has been heard,” Fauss said.

Councilman Lander said that the “No Standing” signs are already in place. Residents will be able to hear more about the safety improvement plan from the DOT at a Community Board 12 meeting this month.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NYC Trading Cards Coming Soon

You may soon see NYC Trading Cards around Kensington. Brooklyn-based artist Alex Gardega has spent six years drawing cover art for the Ambassador Yellow Pages. Now, he's using those pictures of everything from the Brooklyn bridge and the Bronx Zoo to the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows and more to create trading cards.

As Gardega, 44, said,

“I’m one of these New Yorkphiles, for lack of a better term. I always love learning about New York things. Especially the ones you see all the time but don’t know anything about.”

Card by Alex Gardega

Each of his cards will have information on the back of it about the personality of the person or the information about the place. The cards will come in packs of five and will sell for $6 a pack. He's hoping to start with a limited run of 2000 cards and will take pre-orders through the site nyctradingcards.com.

Who will decide what qualifies as being from New York? Gardega plans to take on that task himself. As he said,

“Andy Warhol was from Pittsburgh, but you think of him as a New Yorker through and through. Even Dali was an eternal Spaniard but I think of him as a New Yorker, because he lived at the St. Regis forever.”