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.