Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Der Pioneer Bringing Strudel to Ditmas Park

If strudel is your thing, then you are about to have a reason to rejoice. Any day now Der Pioneer is set to open at 737 Church Avenue. This restaurant/bakery is the brainchild of German pastry chef Björn Böttcher, and savory pastry chef Greg Barbiero.

Böttcher, who is originally from Hamburg, has been living in Kensington for 14 years. Barbiero makes his home in Bay Ridge.

Štrůdl. by Che
The pair met in 2010 when they were working at the same restaurant, Ciano NYC. Since then they have worked at different restaurants, but have continued to stay in touch and discuss their dream of opening a specialty bake shop-restaurant together. Finally, their dream is becoming reality.
They plan to keep the store open seven days a week, from 7am to 6pm.

Barbiero will do breakfast, brunch, and the lunch menu. He hopes to put sandwiches, soups, salads, quiches, burgers and other traditional American cuisine up for sale. Böttcher will take charge of the bakery items, all of which will be made by him in the shop.

What can we expect to see from the bakery? Traditional offerings will include: oatmeal cookies, brownies, muffins and scones. On the more exotic side we are looking forward French macaroons, German-style apple strudel, stollen (a German classic: like panettone bread with dried fruits and nuts inside), house-made bon-bons, and franz bröchen, which translates literally to a "French roll."

How does the pair feel about their new adventure? Of course, they are thrilled, saying that when you work for other people “you're learning a lot, but you're being taken advantage of," Barbiero said, mentioning 16 hour days and working during holidays. "This is our thing."

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lander Expands Hours to Assist Bangladeshi Residents of Kensington

In order to accommodate the growing community of Bangladeshi immigrants to Kensington, Councilman Brad Lander has expanded his office hours.

The announcement was made at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the councilman’s new office located at 486 McDonald Avenue, on October 21st, right after Friday prayers, called jumah, which take place at local mosques.

In addition to the expanded hours, Lander has appointed a community liaison, Ruby Abdul, a Bengali speaker, to assist with the community.
Brad Lander
“I’m very excited to expand my office’s availability to serve as a resource for the Bangladeshi community in Kensington and to finally offer Bengali assistance,” Lander (D-Park Slope-Kensington-Borough Park) said. “The Bangladeshi community is an essential part of the broader community in Kensington, but one with its own particular needs. I’m excited to have Ruby work together with so many of Kensington’s leaders to serve this incredibly special neighborhood as best we can.”

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Brooklyn Democratic Club Empowers Muslim Voters

The Muslim Democratic Club of New York is the vehicle through which many Muslim New Yorkers are getting their voices heard.

The goal of the club is to educate and motivate Muslim voters to support causes important to them and candidates that will fight for their issues. Murad Awawdeh is the president of the MDCNY, which boasts a few hundred dues paying members all over New York, but mostly in Queens and Brooklyn. Although most of the members are Arab or South Asian, there are also members hailing from Africa and Asia, with a smattering of whites, too.

This year the club is focusing its energies on the 44th and 46th Districts in Brooklyn. In the 44th District, which consists of Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, and Kensington, the club is endorsing Robert “Bobby” Carroll. In the 46th District, Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, they are behind Pamela Harris in the Primary scheduled for September 13th. The MDCNY will support these candidates with phone calls, canvasing, and especially targeting Muslim neighborhoods in those Districts, working to get Muslims to come out and vote in the primary.
“We are trying to engage and integrate as many people (Muslims) into this democratic process as possible. That they not only come out and vote but they understand what they are voting for. So they understand what a City Councilman does, what a Mayor does, what a Public Advocate does,” said Awawdeh.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Eleven New Yorkers Heading for Rio for Summer Olympics

You might think more New Yorkers would qualify as Olympic athletes, considering the intense training we get every day just by living here. Running for the train, jumping over pot holes, throwing groceries in the cart at the crowded supermarket, could almost be their own Olympic sports.

Nevertheless, there are eleven enormously talented (and hard-working) young people from the Big Apple that are off to join in the festivities and competition that has been a dream come true for them.

The athletes will participate in five popular events: basketball, fencing, gymnastics, swimming, and track and field. Here is a sample of just three of our eleven stars:

Carmelo Anthony is a star basketball player. This is his fourth visit to the Olympics, and he already has two gold medals at home. Here in New York he spends his spare time as the franchise player of the New York Knicks.

Tina Charles is also a basketball hero. Here at home she is the center for the New York Liberty women’s basketball team. She also took home the gold once before, four years ago. She is a native of Queens where she played high school basketball.

Miles Chamley-Watson is a swordsmen of amazing prowess. He was born in London, but that hasn’t stopped him from representing the USA in fencing for the second time. He proved his determination by being the first US fencer to win a gold medal at the 2013 world championships.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Co-work Space Opens on Church Avenue

Flatbush Jewish Center
As co-working spaces, or hubs, continue to grow in popularity, we see them popping up in some more unusual places. For instance, right here in Windsor Terrace-Kensington, one such business is open. Called “Space at the Center,” located at 327 East 5th Street, in the Flatbush Jewish Center, several different options are available for those seeking a comfortable place to work.

Included in the rental fees are Wi-Fi, private offices or shared spaces with comfortable chairs and roomy desks. The space is entirely wheelchair accessible with an elevator to the second floor where the hub is located.

Space at the Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Friday from 9am to 1pm on Fridays. Clients can rent space on a daily basis, or at reduced rates for 10 days/month and 20 days/month. One day costs $25; 10 days for $200; and 20 days for $300.

For more information call: 718-871-5200 or email:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Expect Express Trains Next Year on F Train Line

The MTA is recommending that beginning next year half of the F trains running through central Brooklyn run as express trains during the busiest times of day.

The express line would run between the Jay Street MetroTech station in Downtown Brooklyn and the Church Avenue station in Kensington. The express line will stop once at 7th Avenue in Park Slope during morning and evening rush hours. The other half of the trains will continue to make all the stops between Jay Street and Church Avenue.

If the recommendation is accepted it would be implemented by the fall of 2017.

The recommendation was made in a feasibility study released this week by the MTA and made at “the request of F train riders and elected officials in Brooklyn.”

The study was able to precisely quantify the benefit of introducing the express line. The researchers found that each express passenger would save on average 3-4 minutes on their commute, while those taking the local would lose 1.3 minutes. Multiplying by the expected number of passengers yields a “net travel time benefit of 27,000 minutes.”

"F express trains would be slightly more crowded than current F trains," the MTA said, "although still within NYC Transit's loading guidelines, while the F locals would be less crowded. There would also be increased stair crowding at a couple of local stations due to larger PM exit surges per train."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

State Senators Gather to Push for Passage of Anti-Bullying Law

A group of activists, including State Senator Kevin Parker and State Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud, joined together to persuade state lawmakers to pass the E-Impersonation Prevention Act (S5871-A), which would impose harsher sentences on those who engage in cyber-bullying.

The Act will enlarge the definition of cyber-bullying, and will make what is now a misdemeanor into a felony charge. The maximum sentence for those found guilty will be up to seven years in prison.
Parker, who sponsored the bill, said,
“Momentum is building. But, we all need to make a major push so this much needed legislation becomes law. Cyberbullies operating in the shadows must be unmasked, unplugged and punished. They are ruining reputations and ruining lives. They need to be stopped.”
Parker would like to see the bill cleared out of committee and head to a full Senate vote soon.
Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal introduced a sister bill in the state Assembly.
“The E-Impersonation Prevention Act will help victims of internet-based impersonation get the justice they deserve by making it easier for law enforcement to secure convictions,” she said.
The proposed law makes it a felony to act under “false pretenses.” It will be felonious to impersonate someone online in order to hurt, threaten, intimidate of defraud someone. The law is going after predators who take on the identity of their victim and then post online untrue, hurtful, scandalous or inflammatory information in their victim’s name.
“The E-Impersonation Prevention Act is a proactive way to deter cyber-bullying,” said
Assemblywoman Persaud said,
“Cyber-bullying is a form of violence that affects over fifty-percent of our teen and adolescent population in New   York. These criminals are often identified but never appropriately punished because of antiquated or non-existent laws. It is time that we increase and enforce the penalties for these harmful acts. As a society we will no longer allow these digital bullies to ruin the lives of others without fear of a just penalty.”

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Brooklyn and Queens: Defining the Border

If you've always been confused as to the precise location of the dividing line between the two boroughs lies (Brooklyn and Queens), then you’re not alone. Many people have posed the same question.  Indeed, Brownstoner Queens did recently in Queens.Brownstoner.  He asked, “what actually divides Queens and Brooklyn?” It’s not like there’s a huge wall or border patrol that marks a line between the two boroughs.”  In fact, Brownstoner points out:   “The Queens-Brooklyn border issue has been confounding the two boroughs, especially residents of Ridgewood and Bushwick, for hundreds of years.”

One way of possibly doing it is looking at different institutions and seeing what their address is.  For example, we know that Dry Harbor Nursing Home in Middle Village is definitely in Queens, while Park Slope CrossFit is in Gowanus and thus in the Brooklyn borough.

But other than going through each actual physical location, is there another way of figuring this apparently age-old question out?

Well, an official line was more-or-less documented back in 2005.  A claim was made by Brownstoner back then which attested to this fact:  “the border runs down Eldert Lane in Jamaica; the west side is Brooklyn and east is Queens.”  A Quora response posited that “the line starts at the East River, continues down Newtown Creek, Cypress Ave, Wyckoff Ave, through Highland Park, and into Jamaica Bay.

Google Maps was then approached and the boundary was confirmed.  So that’s probably it then.  Borough distinction made.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Street Sweeper Takes Police on Wild Car Chase Through Brooklyn

After police were called to the scene where Roman Protas was observed throwing objects at a statue of Jesus, the New York Department of Sanitation
 A compact streetsweeper.
Photo by 
Ponchitos at English Wikipedia
worker climbed into his street sweeper and “floored it!”

The police followed Protas from St. Francis De Chantal Roman Catholic Church in Borough Park, where the chase began at 8:30am, for several blocks, until they finally caught up with him.
“We observed this individual in full DSNY uniform, fleeing the scene in a street sweeper — a Department of Sanitation machine,” a police spokesman said.
Charges were brought against Protas for the chase: reckless endangerment, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, reckless driving, and going through a red light. For his actions against the church’s statue of Jesus: criminal tampering and reckless endangerment of property. In addition, when the police apprehended Protas they found prescription drugs on his person for which he had no prescription. For that offense he has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

A DSNY spokeswoman said that Protas is a sanitation worker who has worked at the department since October 2004. He is now suspended from his job at the Brooklyn South 12 garage until the NYPD complete their investigation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Russ & Daughters to Anchor Food Court in Navy Yard

The grand grandfather of appetizing, Russ & Daughters, will have the honor of being the anchor restaurant in the newly developed Building 77 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The ground floors of this space is undergoing transformation into a community space housing an ambitious food court, and Russ & Daughters will be its heart.

Photo by Jeffrey Bary
Russ & Daughters was established in 1914. Over the 102 years of its existence on the Lower East Side it became famous for its signature smoked fish, caviar, bagels, bialys and other baked goods. Today the restaurant is owned by Niki Russ Federman and Josh Tupper, fourth generation descendants of the original owners.

The new store in the Navy Yard will be Russ & Daughters’ first venture into the wild ‘burbs of Brooklyn. The store will fill 14,000 square feet with a food manufacturing center as well as a retail outlet and a bagel restaurant. The store is also planning on running baking workshops.

“When we visited [the site] for the first time, we were amazed by the spectacular and vast space,” commented Russ Tupper. “Building 77 will open up this previously hidden gem to the public. The excitement that will be generated from the intersection of food production and enjoyment in Building 77 will help solidify the Navy Yard’s place as a vibrant and unique location in New York to work and visit.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nargis Café Makes it to Top 100 of Brooklyn Restaurants

Azərbaycanca: Salyan çörəyi. Photo by Dronqqo

The popular Nargis Café has caught the attention of not just the critics at the New York Times and the Village Voice, but the people voted favorably on Yelp, hurling it into the prestigious top 100 places to eat in Brooklyn.

The Nargis Café has been serving Uzbek food since 2007 at the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Kathleen Place in Sheepshead Bay. Yelp discovered the top 100 restaurants by searching Brooklyn restaurants who obtained the highest star ratings over the past year. The Nargis Café turned out to be one of the most well-liked and popular of Brooklyn’s restaurants.

A glance at Yelp shows a large number of glowing five-star reviews. Here is one such praise for the eatery:

A wonderful restaurant in the heart of Russian Brooklyn that I somehow never thought to try. Several people talked it up in the last few years, so on a recent weekend I guided the parents and the gf over for some Uzbek comfort food. Buzzing with families and friends at 2 pm on Sunday, they were still able to get us a table within minutes.

Another Yelper loved that it is “Cheap.” And has a “Great blend of spices in meat.”