Thursday, December 08, 2016

A Moment In Time: A Walk Around The Block

Mid-morning on Court Street

Sweet Gingerbread Houses(s) Reappear On Court Street In Time For Christmas

Of all Holiday traditions in Carroll Gardens, the sweetest by far was introduced a few years ago by local resident Gordon Hawkins.
Gordon created a wonderful little faux gingerbread house complete with decor, Santa and a lit Christmas tree. He puts it on display in front of his home at 351 Court Street, between Union and President Streets.
It is his way to spread holiday cheer and his "Christmas gift to the neighborhood kids...young and old."

The 2016 version actually includes a second house with an even larger Santa inside.
It couldn't be any cuter, so make sure that you walk past with the kids. Theywill be thrilled.

As always, thank you Gordon! Wouldn't be Christmas in Carroll Gardens without your display!

The Rent's Too Damn High! Prada Power Yoga To Close Smith Street Location At The End Of The Year



Despite some recent openings on Smith Street, there are still far too many vacant storefronts on this once vibrant commercial strip.  Soon there will be one more.
Prana Power Yoga has just sent out an email to its clients informing them that it will be closing two of of its locations, including the one at 229 Smith Street.
The popular studio opened at this location in 2011.
The reason, like most other closings around here?  The inability of a well established business to negotiate a fair rent increase with the landlord once the first rent contract runs out.
How can anyone grow a business other than a bank or a major change under these circumstances, one wonders?

Blow is the email sent out by Prana owners Taylor and Philippe.

Dear Yogis,
We are sad to announce that our Union Square and Brooklyn locations will be closing as of December 31, 2016.
Our leases on these two wonderful spaces have run out, and we are unable to renew them at levels that make sense for a yoga studio.
We have been blessed to have been able to serve you all these years. We thank you for your commitment, passion, and inspiration.
While it is not easy to let go of these spaces, we take comfort in the knowledge that our practice of yoga transcends the purely physical aspects of asana. Our goal with Prana was always to create something more than just a physical space.
With many thanks for all the sweat, strength, and soul you've put into your practice, we wish you joy, courage and inspiration for the years ahead.
Thank you all, and may peace be with you.

Reader Maisy, who forwarded us the email, commented:
"This news bums me out! Prana Power Yoga promotes a healthy lifestyle in the neighborhood + is a small business (even w/ multiple locations). Rents must be out of control on Smith Street yet there are so many vacancies.
I guess landlords would rather rent to community dividing massage parlors instead of community building business that promote a healthy lifestyle."

Local resident Kimberly wrote:
Incredibly sad to hear of another closure on Smith street of a wonderful yoga studio. Hoping this smith street trend turns around soon...

We can only hope.  This is a sad state of affairs. Some storefronts on Smith Street have been empty for months, even years.  That includes the former St. Clair diner at the corner of Atlantic Avenue , which closed in 2013 and the storefront at 209 Smith Street that once housed FAN and the Burger On Smith, which has been empty since 2014.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Shop P.S.58's Holiday Book Fair To Support Visiting Authors Program

After the very sad news that Book Court, the beloved independently owned bookstore in Cobble Hill, was closing its doors after 35 years, it is more important than ever to support events like the one that P.S. 58 will be hosting Thursday and Friday of this week.

This fundraiser will benefit the school's wonderful Visiting Authors Program, which gives "students in all grades get a chance to hear a published author or illustrator talk about their work."

The sale is open to the public, so stop on by, shop, and enrich a child's life through literature.
Come shop the PS58 Annual Holiday Book Sale
Thursday 12.8 and Friday 12.9, at pick up and drop off in the lobby.
1000s of brand new books at great prices. (Most hardcovers $6 / Paperbacks $3)
PS 58 is located at 330 Smith Street. The main entrance is on Carroll Street

Monday, December 05, 2016

When Santa Came To Visit! Annual Tree Lighting In Carroll Park A Great Success

Bruce McDonald of Friends of Carroll Park
Joan d'Amico of Court Street's Merchants Association
Senator Daniel Squadron, his son, and former Assemblywoman Joan Millman
It is all too easy to forget what the Holidays are all about, but the magic of the season was restored in Carroll Park this past Friday night as neighborhood children greeted Santa Claus during his annual stop in the neighborhood.  The look on their faces was priceless and it was wonderful to witness their delight.
It was all part of the Holiday Tree Lighting, which has become a beloved tradition here in Carroll Gardens.  It brings the community together for caroling and refreshments, and of course a chance to meet Santa. The event is organized every December by the Court Street Merchants Association with the help of Friends of Carroll Park.
The highlight for many little ones was a chance to greet Santa and his elves personally back in the park house to share cookies with him.
Doesn't get any better than that, does it?
Where you there?

Friday, December 02, 2016

Santa Claus Is Coming To Carroll Park Tonight. Don't Miss Him!

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Carroll Park has become a beloved tradition in the neighborhood. Organized by the Court Street Merchants Association with the help of Friends of Carroll Park, the gathering is a perfect way to get into the Holiday spirit.

Tonight at 6pm, bring the kids and friends for some caroling, refreshments, and most important, a chance to say hello to Santa Claus while he is in town.

This is also an opportunity to drop off some canned goods to help feed New York' neediest children. After all, it is the season of giving.

See you in the park tonight? I'll be the one with the camera...

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Friends Of Carroll Gardens Library Hosting Book Sale On December 10

Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library will be hosting a large Book Sale at our local branch at 396 Clinton Street on December 10, 2016 from 11am to 4 pm. Book donations are currently being accepted at the reception desk during regular library hours. (see here)

On the same day, the group also plans on unveiling a large painting that was created at the library by children with New York-based artist Maria de Los Angeles.

Friend of Carroll Gardens Library is an all-volunteer group, which supports our local library branch by fundraising to make it the center of the community. Please help them in their efforts.

Did you know that our wonderful library is one of over 2,500 world-wide that was built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie? Designed by William B. Tubby, it was built over 100 years ago and is still serving the neighborhood.
Carroll Gardens Library March 3, 1905
the inside of our library in 1905
historical photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Library

Shop Locally: F.A.D. Holiday Market Comes To St. Paul's On Court Street

photo credit: f,a.d.

Fashion, Art + Design, or simply f.a.d., is a roving indoor maker's market that pops up seasonally in various locations in South Brooklyn.  This December, f.a.d. will once again bring a Holiday market on three consecutive weekends the Basement of St. Paul's Church on 190 Court Street.
The Holiday Market dates are:
December 3 + 4
December 10 + 11
December 17 + 18
Opening hours from 11am to 6pm.
The event is free to the public.

From f.a.d.:
"This curated indie market will showcase over 45 independent artists, designers and makers every weekend, rotating vendors each week. Discover local handmade goods directly from the makers and one of a kind gifts for this holiday season. There will be jewelry, accessories, vintage finds, fashion, art and photography, home and kitchen items, bath and body essentials, and much more. Don’t miss out on this hip retail outpost. There will be something for everyone on your gift list."

In addition, there will be holiday craft workshops, amazing food and a holiday selfie photo booth
To see a complete of this week's exhibitors, click here and here is a list of activity and workshop schedule.
This holiday market is a perfect way to shop locally and to support or awesome Brooklyn artists and artisan community.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On This Rainy Day, Third Street In Gowanus Floods Once Again

Photo credit: Friends and Residents go Greater Gowanus

We just heard from a reader that there was quite a bit of flooding near the Third Street Bridge on this rainy afternoon. This was confirmed by Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG) which posted the photos above on its Facebook Page. Police had to actually close the street and tell everyone to turn around at about 2:30pm. They are now letting cars through again.

FROGG, whose mission it is to "work towards an eco-safe and healthy Gowanus Canal" writes :
"There has always been ponding on the south side of 3rd Street here, and cars would take the north side of the street to pass through, but since the large 700 unit Lightstone development has opened, the street drain just up the hill at 3rd & Bond fails to drain. Water now stands a good foot deep over that street drain when it rains preventing any drainage at this location which is now ponding like never before.
Clearly the area now needs new (or additional) infastructure to support new development, unfortunately, the tax payers will have to cover on that as the developers have been granted tax brakes that extend for more than 25 years."

It is interesting to note that Third Street is still the designated Hurricane evacuation route for people in Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, and for the people who live in Lightstone's  365 Bond Street, who will need to follow mandatory evacuation orders during a hurricane.  (Read about the evacuation route here)
Today's rain was steady, but not actually torrential, so one can imagine what it is like during a heavy downpour or a Hurricane like Sandy.

It's Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas In the Neighborhood

Our Brooklyn neighborhood is beautiful all year around, but the Holiday season sure adds a touch of magic, don't you think?  Just in the past few days,  Christmas tree vendors have taken their usual spots on Court Street and Smith Street and local stores have begun to decorate their windows.
It is difficult to not get into the spirit, even if the temperatures are still rather mild for the season.

Perhaps this year, we can all make an effort to buy and to dine locally in order to support our local, family-owned  businesses.  Without them, the neighborhood would just not be the same.