Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Moment In Time: At Dumonet On Smith Street Last Night

Dumonet's owner/chef Jean-Louis with former owner/chef Tony Romano

I spent the most pleasurable evening at the brand new Dumonet Brooklyn on Smith Street last night.  The French restaurant opened in the former Red Rose restaurant, which the Romano family operated at this location for 34 years.

New owners Jean-Louis and Karen Dumonet have re-imagined the space, but the old familiar wood bar is still exactly as it was and the restaurant has a wonderful familiarity about it.
Best of all, Tony Romano walked in last night and took his seat at his usual table, chatting with customers, just as he always did. His retirement to Florida lasted exactly four days before he returned to Brooklyn.
It was a perfect Carroll Gardens moment, a perfect mixture of the neighborhoods past and present.

Dumonet is now open  at 315 Smith street and the food is absolutely delicious.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Old Signage

So many old signs have disappeared in the neighborhood in the past few years.
Glad that Sam's sign is still swinging above the Italian eatery when I walk down Court Street.

Grand Opening Of El Puente Pop-Up Bar On Court Street NYC's First Non-Profit Bar

It is unclear what happened to the popular August Laura cocktail bar that seemed to thrive at 387 Court Street, but it appears to have  been replaced by a pop-up bar named El Puente.
On a Facebook event page the new establishment writes:
"In an exciting new collaboration this holiday season, Coup, NYC’s first non-profit bar conceived by Ravi Derossi, Sother Teague & Max Green, has teamed up with Mario Seijo Rivera (former partner at La Factoria in Puerto Rico) & Ivan Torres Lespier to bring you El Puente Pop-Up. “The Bridge” aims to reintroduce both Puerto Rican and NYC cultures through a unique yet simplistic cocktail experience. Raising awareness of Puerto Rico’s humanitarian situation they will be collecting goods like batteries (AA-AAA-C-D), adult diapers, water filters, towel’s (not white please), medical supplies, canned goods, dry goods, etc. simultaneously.
The grand opening takes place today at 4pm!  Boogaloo Pete will be on decks playing those salsa tunes!..
Organizations to which you can donate $$$:"

The grand opening takes place today at 4pm!

Good-Bye To Sheila's Café and Bakery On Court Street

This must be the quickest closing in Carroll Gardens yet. Sheila's, a Café, Bakery, and restaurant opened its doors at 412 Court Street in May 2017.  Its last day in operation was December 10.
From their web page:
"Dear regulars and guests,
Sheila’s last service will be on Sunday, December 10th, ending at 3:30pm after which time we will be permanently closing. Having Sheila’s here in Carroll Gardens and in this space has been both the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime. On behalf of Molly, my father, and our small but mighty crew: Renie, Moonui, Brian, Allee, Finn, Jed, Joe, James, led by Chef Steven in the kitchen, we thank you for your patronage, support, and for sharing your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch times with us this past year. We are honored to have served you."

While it was open, Sheila was committed to serving sustainable, fair-trade coffee as well as using seasonal, local, greenmarket ingredients for their food offerings. According to its owner, their "model combined "a higher hourly wage with a revenue-sharing system and is a more equitable and sustainable way of doing business which compensates all members of our team, both front, and back-of-house, without exception."

Whether that model did not work out as planned, or Sheila did not attract enough customers, or both, the place will be missed.
The space was formerly occupied by Dover and before that, by Vinzee's, an ice cream parlor and hamburger joint. For those who can remember further back, it was the Magical Fountain and a laundromat.

What would do well here, do you think?

Les Enfants Terribles: A Stylish Boerum Hill Haircut Bar "For Everyone"

Les Enfants Terribles, owners Matthew Previtera and Benoit Peyrouse
Les Enfants Terribles, a small stylish haircut bar at 85 Bergen Street opened in Boerum Hill this past July but has already settled quite nicely into the community.  On a recent Thursday morning, as I was meeting owners Matthew Previtera and Benoit Peyrouse for the first time, a steady stream of clients stopped by to make appointments and neighbors waved 'hello' while passing by.

This is exactly the kind of feel Previtera and Peyrouse were hoping to achieve: a  classy, old-time neighborhood barber shop where one can get a great haircut in an unpretentious, relaxed atmosphere.
Previtera and Peyrouse, the 'incorrigible children', who both previously worked at Persons Of Interest, had been looking for a commercial space in the neighborhood for a while, when they came across the small space next to Van Leeuwen's on Bergen Street. Previously occupied by a dry cleaner, the two spent weeks renovating and reconfiguring the storefront. The transformation is quite successful. The level of detail and the welcoming atmosphere is what makes Les Enfants Terrible a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

The hair bar is open 7 days a week. You can make an appointment by calling 347 763 2124, or by visiting its web site

*In case you were wondering, the two enfants terribles, were both born in 1982, hence the "since" reference.

85 Bergen Street before it became Les Enfants Terribles
(photo credit: Benoit Peyrouse)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gastropub 'Strong Place' Quietly Closes On Court Street

I am sure some of you already noticed that Strong Place, the pub and raw bar at 270 Court Street in Cobble Hill closed its doors recently.  I must admit that the closing escaped me, so that I was a bit taken aback when I walked by earlier this week to find the establishment totally cleared out.
Strong Place, which shared the space with juice bar Nectar,  opened at this location in 2009, so it did have a relatively long run. I am sure it will be missed by many in the neighborhood.
Strangely, neither Strong Place's web site nor its Facebook page mentions that the establishment is no longer in operation. Yelp, however, reports that it is now closed.

Who remembers Shakespeare's Sister, which occupied this storefront for almost 15 years prior to the pub? It was a café and gift store that sold lovely items like jewelry, paper goods and natural beauty products.

What kind of business would you like to see open in this space?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Picture Of The Day: First Snow

Snowy day in Carroll Park, Brooklyn.
How majestic the old elm trees look under a white layer.

A Brooklyn Christmas Tree Without This Ornament? Fuggetaboutit!

A Brooklyn Christmas tree without a fire escape ornament?
It was designed by my Brooklyn-born daughter, Celina.
Available at the Tenement Museum Shop on the Lower East Side,
or online here.
All proceed go towards the Tenement Museum.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Orange Berries And Brick Rowhouses

Spotted on Third Place in Carroll Gardens.
Something bout the color of the berries and the brick caught my eye.

Soloist Collective: Park Slope, Carroll Gardens And Gowanus "Solopreneurs" Connect And Empower Each Other

(photo above:

Have you heard of Soloist Collective yet? It is a community that aims to empower skilled independent professionals to "master their craft, grow their business and lead life on their own terms." Whether you are a caterer, an artist, a therapist, a career coach or an artisan, Soloist Collective empowers you by connecting you to others for advice, referrals, bartering, friendships, and all sort of other key services that support independent work.

This past summer, a Park Slope Chapter of Soloist Collective was formed, which includes members from Gowanus and Carroll Gardens. It now includes more than 100 members, the largest in New York City.

The chapter would like to extend an invitation to other soloists to join them at their final meeting of 2017, next Wednesday, December 13 at 9am, at Bond Collective at Gowanus68 3rd Streetso other freelancers can learn more "about the somewhat hidden but growing local business community, and how why we've decided to go it independently, but not alone."

From Soloist Collective:
"Our chapter meetings typically last about an hour. Soloists take time to introduce themselves to the group and to make asks from the community, and then one member speaks about an issue they're an expert on that has value to the community. We see everyone from fitness professionals, lawyers, health coaches, real estate agents, to music teachers and interior decorators, and others exchanging cards and making plans to deepen their connections and support one another’s businesses."

Bagels and coffee provided.  Care to join me to check it out?

Community Board 6 Invites To Holiday Get Together at Royal Palms In Gowanus

The members of Community Board 6  are extending an invitation to a Holiday get-together on Monday December 18th, 2017 from 6:30 to 9pm at the The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, 514 Union Street in Gowanus. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet those who represent us year round on issues small and large pertaining to our community.  It may also inspire some to become a member in 2018.

From CB6:
"Drop by for an evening of revelry with CB6 board and committee members as we celebrate the holiday season with our neighbors!
Free, Open to all (21+), Cash bar, Food available for purchase
Robert's Rules of Order will be suspended."

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Picture Of The Day: Carroll Gardens' Famous Pig

It is starting to look a lot like Christmas here in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
At Esposito & Sons, one of the last remaining Italian neighborhood' stores, their iconic pig is standing guard, surrounded by greenery and festive lights.

Santa To Attend Carroll Park's Annual Tree Lighting This Friday

We all know that Santa is a busy guy this time of year. Yet, he is taking time out to attend the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Carroll Park.
The decorated tree is already standing in the Court Street border, but lighting it in the company of all the little ones in the neighborhood is magical.
So, on Friday December 8th at 6 pm, come to sing carols, have some refreshments, and say hello to the bearded man in the red suit.

Don't forget to bring some canned food to contribute to Friends of Carroll Park's food drive to help feed New York's hungry.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

PS 58 Hosting Its Very First Holiday Market This Saturday


Are you in the middle of shopping for Holiday gifts? May I suggest staying offline and shopping locally?  Over twenty amazing vendors will be present at the first annual Holiday Market at PS58 on Saturday, December 9th, 2017.
So, no need to go far. Just come to our neighborhood public school for all the gifts you need.

From PS58:
"Join us this Saturday, December 9th from 10-4pm for the First Annual PS58 Holiday Market! You will not want to miss this exciting event filled with amazing booths from local artisans and merchants. We are partnering with Brooklyn Strategist to provide game tables for the kids in the cafeteria from 12-3pm. Bring friends ... we will see you there!"

Monday, December 04, 2017

A Moment In Time: Bagels And Christmas Trees

Choosing a tree on Smith Street.
Photo taken Sunday afternoon.

For Paul Manafort, A 'Stop Work Order' On His Carroll Gardens Property Obviously Doesn't Mean STOP


photo above showing construction crew working at 377 Union Street was taken by a PMFA reader on Tuesday, December 5 at 2pm.

Over the week-end, PMFA received an email from a local resident pointing out that Paul J. Manafort's brownstone building at 377 Union Street between Smith and Hoyt Streets had received a Stop Work order from the NYC Department Of Buildings.
The order was prominently displayed to the front door of the property on Sunday afternoon, when we walked by with our camera to check ourselves.
That however, does not seem to have stopped work. According to the resident, construction workers "have been working at night. The Sheriff drove up and they shut lights off. Sheriff drove away, they resumed work. Lights on at night for weeks. Sadly, this charade goes on every weekend. And at night."
In effect several 311 calls about after-hour work have been logged on the D.o.B. website for this address since October.
A newly installed padlock on the front gate is obviously meant to discourage further visits by D.O.B. 
Paul J. Manafort is, of course, the veteran Republican strategist and Donald Trump's former presidential campaign manager.   PMFA first reported on his investment property at 377 Union Street in February 2017, after irked neighbors had complained about its unkempt condition.  What began as a blog story of a neglected brownstone led to a look at ownership and public records related to finances.
Pardon Me For Asking's investigation disclosed that Manafort had taken out mortgages way beyond the value of the property, which raised some interesting questions.
The press got hold of the story, dug deeper, and now 377 Union Street and its shady financing is included in an indictment of Manafort handed down by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Construction crews have been working on the brownstone since the news of its ownership became public.  The latest stop-work order was issued in late November, 2017.
Obviously, Manafort has bigger legal trouble than a reprimand from the Department of Buildings, but ignoring it demonstrates that he doesn't play by the rules which apply to us all.