Vote, Vote, Vote, and Vote again, Food, Books, Five Boro Bike Tour, and more
New York's voters can be forgiven for not being able to keep up with all that is happening. Just when you thought you knew what congressional or senate district you live in, that changed this week after New York's highest court tossed out the Democrat-drawn lines over gerrymandering. It is likely now that there will be two primaries, one in June and another one in August, for the Congress and Senate races unless Albany lawmakers pass a bill to have just one, THE CITY reported.
How many times can NYC residents reasonably be expected to show up to vote in a year? Four or five? No wonder hardly anyone shows up.
In other political news:
State of the City: Mayor Eric Adams held his first State of the City address this week at the Kings Theater in Flatbush, likening himself to FDR.
Adams said he planned to focus on public safety and inequality as key to NYC recovering from the pandemic and to put money into homelessness, policing, and mental health. You can listen to the speech above. Mayor and council have to agree on a budget, which has ballooned to almost 100 billion, by July 1, when the city's fiscal year begins.
Firefighter Timothy Klein, 31, of Ladder 170 in Canarsie, died after being critically injured in the fire on Sunday, April 24, at 108-26 Avenue N.
“Timmy was on the board of The Fight for Firefighters Foundation. He was at every build; he was always up to help people," said FDNY Lieutenant John Vaeth. A wake for Klein is being held today at McManus Funeral Home in Brooklyn from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral is tomorrow.
There were many other fires this week, quite a few with injuries. On the last night of Passover, a fire left a family of eight homeless in Borough Park; four neighbors were hospitalized after Monday's fire at Sumner Houses. Even a giant pile of trash caught fire on Earth Day at the recycling facility in Sunset Park; the cause remains unclear.
- More test packs are coming home in backpacks weekly as COVID cases rise across the city. Some are intended for parents.
- NYT looks at the trauma city's kids are coping with as shootings take a toll in addition to the pandemic. At least 40 city kids have been shot so far this year.
Open Streets have returned. Below are the new blocks, along with some future opening dates. Other details and more locations here.
New Open Streets in Brooklyn this year
- Watkins Street: Street End to Belmont Avenue
- North 15 Street: Nassau Avenue to Banker Street
- South 1 Street: Berry Street to Wythe Avenue
- Buffalo Avenue: St Marks Avenue to Bergen Street (6/18)
- West 12 Street: Surf Avenue to Street End (5/21)
- Lewis Avenue: Fulton to Hancock Street (6/4)
- Graham Avenue: Scholes Street to Montrose Avenue (4/29)
- Chauncey Street: Howard Avenue to Saratoga Avenue (7/2)
- Benson Avenue: Bay 19 Street to 18th Avenue (7/11)
- Duffield St: Metrotech Center to Willoughby St (4/25)
Interborough Express: MTA is holding a public meeting online on May 19 at 6:00 pm about developing the freight line for passenger access to connect Brooklyn and Queens. You can submit questions here.
Five Borough Bike Tour is taking place this Sunday, May 1. Over 30,000 bicyclists are expected to participate this year. Here is where to cheer and what to avoid if you need to get out and about.
Buses : Several bus routes throughout the city will be affected by street closures throughout the day. Check “Current Service Status” at http://www.mta.info for updates.
Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (VNB): The Staten Island-bound lower level will be closed from 12:01 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. The Gowanus/Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) westbound approach (I-278 West) to the VNB will be closed from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The upper level of the bridge will remain open in both directions throughout the event.
Other closings at the VNB include:
• One Brooklyn-bound lane on the Lower Level from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• The Bay Street exit from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• The 92nd Street entrance ramp to the Staten Island-bound lower level from approximately 12:01 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• Belt Parkway entrance ramp to the Staten Island-bound Lower Level from approximately 12:01 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• The Lily Pond Avenue exit from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (HLC): The westbound Gowanus/Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) exit will be closed 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Traffic exiting the HLC Tunnel in Brooklyn will be diverted to Hamilton Avenue between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The Trinity Place exit in Manhattan will also be closed between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Development & Housing:
- Could changes be finally coming to the historic Bed Stuy Armory located at the corner of Jefferson Ave and Marcus Garvey Blvd? The feasibility study to repurpose the historic armory is finally underway, Patch reported. There is an online forum for neighbors to share their thoughts on the project and learn more about the armory's history, which first opened in 1894.
- Mayor proposes 1,400 shelter beds to move homeless people off the Streets, an investment of $171 million in homeless services to fund outreach efforts, and add temporary specialized shelters and drop-in centers, NYT reported this week.
- Today, there was a groundbreaking on Hanson Place Community Plaza, a 104-unit affordable housing and community complex in Fort Greene for Hanson Place Church Support Corporation, designed by MDG Design + Construction.
- Construction is complete on The Willoughby, a 34-story mixed-use tower at 196 Willoughby Street on Long Island University‘s Downtown Brooklyn campus. Designed by Perkins Eastman and developed by RXR Realty, the structure yields 476 residential units and academic and office spaces, an adjacent athletic field, and parking for 564 vehicles, YIMBY reports.
- Feast your eyes on this feature Architectural Digest did of decorator Jenna Chused's remodeled Fort Greene townhouse.
Art & Books:
- This week, Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl is happening after a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19, culminating in a celebration of Independent Bookstore Day on April 30. 21 bookstores across Brooklyn are participating, and those who visit five bookstores during the crawl will receive a coupon for 25% off a single purchase at one store during May. Publishers Weekly had a lovely piece on the first day of the crawl.
- Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition is opening four exhibitions at their space in Red Hook: The Elements, Earth Sky Sea, Art & Artists for Ukraine, and Watercolors. Open weekends 1 to 6 pm from 4/30 to 6/5; Opening reception Saturday, 4/ 30, 1 to 6 pm at 481 Van Brunt St.
- Shakespeare on Stratford: Shakespeare was performed on Stratford Road in Ditmas Park again last weekend by the Brave New World Repertory Theatre, Daily News featured.
With so many great spots opening or reopening this spring, it is hard for one to keep up. Here is my roundup of a few recent additions, including Café Fés in Kensington, Aromi in Carroll Gardens, Royal Rib House and Oddly Enough in Bed-Stuy, Laser Wolf, Ensenada, etc.
- Kensington: Café Fés at 709 Church Avenue. The short stretch between Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue is the most happening spot in Kensington and Ditmas Park, and yes, this is an excellent new addition. The Moroccan restaurant run by chef-owners Raduone and Fatima Eljaouhari opened two months ago and was just written up by Brooklyn Magazine.
- Ditmas Park: Nearby on Cortelyou Road, while Lea is undergoing renovations following a fire, Sweet Lea has opened across the street on the corner of Stratford Road, serving macaron ice cream sandwiches. Qathra Cafe down the block has, in the meantime, become Blue Bottle.
- Carroll Gardens: Aromi, a new Italian spot at 552 Court Street/9th Street is firing up with ten different wood-fired pizzas, the Infatuation shares.
- Brooklyn Heights: Pips, at 129 Atlantic Ave, has officially re-opened after many false starts throughout the pandemic.
- Pips is now a full restaurant by the folks behind Colonie and Gran Electrica, aiming to please you with coastal Italian fare.
- Bed-Stuy: Rodo Foods, a new West African takeout counter, opened at 420 Putnam Ave (corner of Tompkins Ave) last month. The short menu is heavy on salmon and includes joloff rice, sweet plantains, and akara—only open Friday-Sunday for now.
- Bed-Stuy: Royal Rib House at 303 Halsey Street celebrates its grand reopening. The restaurant, which serves barbecue classics, opened in the 1960s and closed its door in 2020 after 50 years in business. Grub Street has a lovely write-up.
- Bed-Stuy: Oddly Enough, a cocktail + small bites bar at 397 Tompkins Ave is open.
- Greenpoint: Greenpointers checked out the gyros and kebabs at Jewels Grill at 185 Norman Ave/Jewel Street.
- Williamsburg: Laser Wolf, an Israeli restaurant located on the rooftop of The Hoxton (97 Wythe Ave/North 10th Street), is having a much-anticipated opening on Sunday, May 1. Grilled meats, whole fish, and vegetables are the specialties, served with side dishes and pita.
- Williamsburg: Ensenada, a Mexican restaurant, has opened above Black Flamingo bar at 168 Borinquen Place/South 2nd Street.
- Williamsburg: Xolo, a Mexican restaurant upstairs during the day, is complemented by Bar Milagro downstairs at night, which both opened this month. The space at 29 Dunham Place/South Sixth Street is the creation of Jorge Boetto of Mesa Coyoacan and Zona Rosa, artist Gigi Boetto, and Willians Lopez, Eater reported.
- Prospect Park: Seventh Avenue bakery Winner's upcoming outpost at the Picnic House in Brooklyn's backyard will include wine, beer and cocktails on its menu, bringing booze to the northern half of Prospect Park for the first time, the Prospect Park Alliance confirmed to Patch.
Eater reporter Luke Fortney reviewed Penne pasta pizza at the Sicilian (229 PPW) in Windsor Terrace. “Does ravioli have a place on pizza?” He says, "it’s honestly not worth asking at this unhinged Windsor Terrace slice shop, which serves up “taco” pies around the clock and a better-than-you’d-think electronic playlist of Taylor Swift remixes." Still, he'll be back for more of its triangular slices topped with penne and buffalo chicken.
Cannabis Minor. Medgar Evers College holds a free outdoor cannabis education festival (+music) this Saturday, April 30, 10:30 - 5 pm on Crown Street between Bedford and Franklin Aves.
- Tomorrow, April 29, is Arbor Day. You can plant a tree at the Greenwood Cemetery between 2-5 pm.
- New York Restoration Project is giving away 2,000 native trees to be planted across the city. You can get yours on April 30, 2022, at Red Hook Farms or on May 14, 2022, by the Flatbush Library. You need to register to get serviceberry, river birch, hornbeam, hackberry, redbud, persimmon, Eastern red cedar, sweetbay magnolia, black gum, black cherry, or swamp white oak at the links above.
- You can always request a street tree to be planted - submit a request here.
Salon published a piece by Stephanie Golden on how "Running the Park Slope Food Coop newsletter taught me not to believe in conspiracy theories." Dare we wonder.
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