Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weird Item of the Week

The Brooklyn Eagle has this blurb about The Sleep Inn on 49th between 2nd and 3rd. It's really nothing more than an ad. I have no problem with that; keep newspapers in business, I say. However, I'm not too sure about the details that are omitted. And I'm also not sure I'd want to use that whirlpool.

from the Brooklyn Eagle:

The Sleep Inn, at 247 49th St. in Sunset Park, offers many amenities in all of their rooms. Among these are: flat-screen/plasma TVs, multiple phone lines and pillow-top mattresses. In some rooms, available upon request, the Sleep Inn offers an in-bath whirlpool. Pictured here are a room with a king-sized bed, a flat-screen TV, desk area and work space, and the complimentary breakfast buffet.

More helpful are the two "reviews" I found.

Anyone want to go check the place out?

Daily News Article, Commenters, and 3rd Avenue

Yesterday's Daily News has an article that continues the titillating debate concerning the porn shops and peep shows (and Peyton's Playpen?) down on 3rd and 2nd Avenues. Brownstoner had its own blurb about the article yesterday, and of course that brought out the commenters club attempting to be clever.

Most of the comments were just having some goofy Friday fun with the topic. Others sympathized with Sunset Park's residents. And then there were several people who reacted as though the concerned citizens in SP were prudes or just idiots. The comments show ignorance of the area and its residents.

Among the misinformed statements were these:

exposing kids to things they shouldnt see? from the storefront, it just says 'midland video', as generic as any store. i doubt they have xxx material facing the sidewalk.

The photo Brownstoner happened to have in its archives is just one example of the score or so of shops. Besides, the shops are not all that the kids shouldn't see. The shops influence the sex trade on the streets, and some of the prostitutes are still out and about when children are going to school. Even more disturbing and sad is when you see a pimp abusing a woman right on the Avenue. There are several schools located between 4th and 3rd Avenue, and there are several playgrounds that look out onto 3rd Avenue. The remains of the night can also be found on the sidewalks.

another commenter:

Nobody walks on Third Avenue unless they work in those industrial buildings. They've been there for years and years with no complaints. I imagine they used to 'service' sailors off the piers there. As the piers are gone, there's still a large constituency of factory workers and what not near by.

Did you even read the article, or were you in such a hurry to get in on the frenzy of giggles that you skipped that step? Your romantic notions of who was "serviced" needs a little tweaking.

here is a taste of what you missed in the article:

A lawsuit over the city's sex industry dragged on for eight years before finally going to trial - allowing a glut of porn shops and peep shows to open in Sunset Park.

Residents charged in the suit the shops contribute to prostitution and keep the neighborhood from improving.

But the shops aren't breaking any laws because a city effort to regulate them has been tied up in court since 2001. The case went to trial in Manhattan Supreme Court this month.

In that time, the number of sex shops in Sunset Park has grown from a handful to about 25.

Apparently there WERE complaints years ago. Apparently more shops have been opening. Apparently Sunset Park gets to receive the fun times that more touristy and chic areas don't want. And guess what? People DO live on 3rd Avenue. And the numbered streets between 3rd and 4th DO have houses...not factories. That's close enough to be bothered by the activities these shops encourage. Also, your picture of a factory worker these days is probably far off the reality.

and another:

Generally speaking when I think about moving to a neighborhood, I go visit it first, so that I know if it's full of porn stores or not before deciding to move in.

Thanks for the advice, but most of the people who want the porn stores out have lived in Sunset Park longer than the influx of the high volume of stores. You also assume a certain monetary ability of choice in domicile. But I'm sure your comments will be helpful to many of the new-ish Park Slopers who complain about children and their parents, the Coop, and dog poop. They should have taken a look around the neighborhood too, I suppose.

Ugh. Sorry about the mini-rant. I have nothing against porn, but it irks me when people need to blab about something they obviously have no connection to and know very little about. Personally, I have nothing against pornography - if it involves consenting adults. But acting like it's not connected to less "innocent" pursuits that negatively affect quality of life and a place that many, many people call home is ridiculous.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Well-Deserved Kudos for a Sunset Park Honoree

The Brooklyn Eagle has its spotlight on Amy LaTorres-Rios, the director of after-school and summer school programs at the Center for Family Life. Ms. LaTorres-Rios was honored as the Brooklyn recipient of the 11th Annual PASEsetter Awards.

from The Brooklyn Eagle:

MILAGROS “AMY” LATORRES-RIOS has lived a life that defines what it means to receive from your community when in need and give back to others when able. As a 12-year-old she was invited by Center for Family Life (CFL) founder Sister Geraldine Tobia to join the Sunset Park community center, and she never left.

It goes on to highlight her community oriented career with the CFL. The article also gives details about the programs with which she works. Check out the entire article here.

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School Info Night in Sunset Park

If you know of families that have a current 5th grade student, pass this information along. Sunset Park could definitely use another option for its students, and many families in the area have probably not heard about this school's upcoming opening. You need a ticket to attend this FREE event. As of today there were 107 tickets available. Those who do not have ready access to the internet can call (718)289-3174. Also, 5th grade families can register and apply with the assistance of their school's guidance counselor.

The Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is hosting its...

Family Information Night
Wednesday February 25th
at Community Board 7 in Sunset Park

Due to limited space, please only plan on attending this event if a member of your family is a current 5th grade student in district 15.

From the email:

Dear Friends of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School,

Our sixth family information night will take place on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Community Board 7 in Sunset Park For details and to register for this free event click here or go to This will be our next to last admissions event before the lottery on April 7th and a great opportunity to find out more about the school.

Please look for our next newsletter in February.

Warm regards,

Daniel Kikuji Rubenstein
Executive Director/Co-founder
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Serving grades six through twelve, Brooklyn Prospect will pair students with excellent teachers in a college preparatory environment using the International Baccalaureate program. We will prepare students for success as global citizens and help students develop the love of learning that provides the foundation for personal and professional success.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quick! Help the Kittens on 4th between 63rd and 64th!

Happy Update!

A neighbor, local photographer Carla Licavoli, saw the plea on the SPP group's site and rescued the kittens.

They are at Hope Vet on Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond. They are up for adoption! Call Hope Vet at 718 852 4219 if you'd like to adopt on of the three grey kittens.

It may be too late, but this is from a neighbor:

I was walking down 4th Avenue and saw a plastic box with three kittens
in it. The super could only indicate that they were left to be taken by
whoever. I called animal control and they said that I would have to
take them to my home before they could come to pick them up. I am not
able to bring stray animals into my home because of our newborn.
PLEASE, if anyone can help to rescue them. They are on the west side of
4th Ave between 63rd & 64th Street.

More Horrific Construction Choices

I don't understand the choices. But then, I rent, and the economics of renovation/construction elude me. Is this simply the cheapest and fastest choice? When I saw this house gutted a few weeks ago, I supposed that the whole thing was coming down. Sad enough, considering the amount of good wood going into their dumpster. But now, I see that the blond-brick aesthetic is proliferating. Oh dear.We see this sort of bottom bricked stuff popping up all over the place. And it's been happening for a while. It's been done on brownstones, red brick, and now, apparently, wood frames. Can someone enlighten me as to what the logic is?

Happy New Year from Hello Kitty

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sunset's Graffiti Goes Unpunished

Or, if not unpunished, less punished. The Daily News had an article published yesterday that cites various graffiti-related statistics around Brooklyn and NYC as a whole.

Comparing 2007 to 2008 in Sunset Park, complaints about graffiti went up by almost 10%, but arrests decreased by 15%. Construction sites and stores are popular tag sites around here, as they are everywhere. For sale signs, mail boxes, playground equipment, rock borders around the park, and even trees have also been victims of recent graffiti. Even store sandwich boards have been tagged with gang graffiti - which means it's happening during open/daylight hours.

Juxtapose those numbers with stats from the City (complaints and arrests went up by 10%), or with the numbers for north Brooklyn (complaints up 20% and arrests up over 24%), and we have to wonder why our vandals aren't as sought after as the northern folk.

Keep dialing 311 to complain about graffiti. The squeaky wheel gets the grease - or the power hose or paint, in this case.

from the New York Daily News article:

“They should be doing better. We need to have some arrests so that we have an example and to show that we won’t tolerate it,” said Renee Giordano, executive director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District.

Keep dialing 311 to complain about graffiti. The squeaky wheel gets the grease - or the power hose or paint, in this case.

Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors Wants Your Input

Do you want to join SPAN or learn more about getting involved in this neighborhood advocacy group? They are looking for input regarding convenient meeting times for an upcoming orientation/informational meeting as well as regular meetings.

Email suggestions or questions directly to Amina at

Metropolis Writer's Thoughts About Infrastructure

Karrie Jacobs blogged about her latest Metropolis column, and she used two photos of Sunset Park's piece of the Gowanus Expressway to illustrate her words. Her argument seems to be re-cycle and re-use instead of re-do. The empty space UNDER the Gowanus could be used for something else. But who wants to hang out under the Gowanus? Have you seen what drips down from there? Her photo of what's under the Gowanus looks a heck of a lot cleaner and more usable than the metered parking that's under most of it now. Still, if something could be done to make it more habitable, it would begin to repair the gash that separates SP from the water.

Plenty of Condos Available in Sunset Park

With a new condo building going up on 6th Avenue and 46th, you have to wonder what is happening with the many buildings whose condos have been languishing for months, nay, years. The 7th Avenue condo building is one example, and that now has rental signs in the windows. Here are two 8th Avenue examples.

The sign above for a rental Co-Do is for the corner building on 8th and 48th. As you can see below, the units come with a balcony, and 3 bedrooms are rare finds these days. However, calling the number gets a sudden disconnect when you ask about the price. Was it my accent?

The building shown below is still receiving some finishing touches. The sign on the balcony is still optimistic; these condos are for sale. They are on the same 8th Avenue block as the Co-Do building. Will a couple of doors down make a difference in sales? I haven't called this number. Perhaps their phone connection is more solid.

Let me know what happens if you call to inquire about rentals or sales.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So You Want to Rent in Sunset Park?

Just passing along some information from a lovely family that wants to rent out the third floor. I haven't seen the space myself, but the photos are lovely, and the view is fantastic. You get to enjoy the greenery of the park in the summer, and you can just about make out Manhattan in the winter.

Here's their craigslist posting.

- Top floor of an owner occupied brownstone opposite Sunset Park (44th Street).
- Use as a 2 or 3 bedroom.
- New kitchen & bathroom
- Hardwood floors and brownstone details still in place
- Owner pays heat, hot water and cooking gas
- Renter pays electric
- $1950

Email them through craigslist.

What's Old is New Again - at least for an hour or two

Despite the poor economy and several empty store fronts along 5th Avenue, some places are opening up. The recent change over at the corner of 45th Street and 5th Avenue was revealing.

This space housed many different music oriented shops. Back in the 90's is was La Pachanga, home of all things musical. After that it was Tu Mundo Musical. This latest music/gift store closed just a little while ago, and the space was rented out again pretty quickly. The flashy, colorful sign was removed to make way for the new guard, and during the change over we were able to catch a glimpse of its past.

I know not everyone finds these kinds of "discoveries" as exciting as I do. In fact, probably few people do. It's pretty cool, though, to catch a peek at hidden treasures like this pastel insurance sign. I was very pleased that I happened by before the new, less exciting and very serious looking awnings were put up. I almost missed seeing the old signage.

Here's the shiny, new awning. Sterile and plain, I say. At least the Signal Boutique next door still has some personality. When did it change over from Francia? Or is it just a different name/look? Anyone know?

Tonight's CB 7 Meeting Has a Stop Sign on the Agenda

And really, that's all you need to know. The folks at Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights want a three-way stop sign at the intersection of 6th Avenue and 23rd Street. That issue will be on the agenda at tonight's CB 7 Transportation Committee meeting.

The meetings are at 6:30 PM, at 4201 4th Avenue (entrance on 43rd Street).

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year Costumes on 8th Avenue

These guys were stopping in at various shops on 8th Avenue this evening. I caught them switching costumes. And the costumes were fantastic!

Year of the Ox Celebration on 8th Avenue

February 1st will be filled with fire crackers, lion dances, and a marching parade on 8th Avenue. The Year of the Ox, or the year 4707, begins today - January 26th, but the celebrations continue all week.

The Brooklyn Chinese-American Association is sponsoring a New Year's celebration on February 1st on 8th Avenue and 50th Street. The festivities begin at 11 AM with a fire cracker display, a Lion Dance and Kung Fu demonstration, as well as other cultural performances. At 1 PM the Lion Dance and Marching Parade begin. It starts out at 50th Street and continues to 60th Street.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and we can all enjoy the fun.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tabla Rasa: What is Chine Collé?

Indeed, what IS Chine Collé?

If you need the answer, and if you'd like to watch fine art in action, Tabla Rasa Gallery has the perfect opportunity on Wednesday, January 28th from 6 PM - 8 PM. This event is free of charge. Visiting the gallery is also always free of charge.

A master at Chine Collé, Kathleen Hayek will take you through the process. You'll also get a peek at the Nobis Solo exhibition that ends on February 7th. Hayek's Spanish Moss pieces (the accompanying image is Spanish Moss III) are part of the Nobis Solo exhibit.

Tabla Rasa Gallery is located at 224 48th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). Take the R to 45th, pick up something to eat at Isabela's (on 4th), and head over to the gallery.

Check out their website for more information, or call 718-833-9100. You can also email them at

New Facade of Wood

This pair of store fronts at 4604 and 4606 8th Avenue have something going on. These guys were putting up two by four (or something similar - I didn't measure it) siding up. My guess, considering the similar treatment the facade at Mai Thai received, is we're going to see some new eatery.

I have to admit, what they're doing is an easy and quick way to make a store front look fresh and different. They're probably done by now (this was taken on Friday), so we'll see what kind of result their work produced.

What You See in Sunset Park: Checkered Cab

This was on 8th Avenue and 50th Street. It's just cool.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Weathered Picket Fence

I like it. Granted, this picket fence is attached to plywood. And this picket fence looks like it has been through a few lives. But this picket fence has character. And a sturdy lock.

Light Industry: Branden Joseph on Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe

Tuesday's presentation with Branden Joseph is entitled "The Roh and the Cooked: Structural Film, Actionism, Paracinema." On Tuesday the 27th, the show begins at 7:30 PM, and it costs $7 at the door. Light Industry is at 55 33rd Street, on the third floor.

Actionism sounds kind of like what Obama is asking from everyone, right? No more complain-ism, bemoan-ism, or big idea-ism without we're in for the real deal. That makes this that much more relevant.

An associate professor at Columbia, Joseph's most recent publication is Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (Zone Books, 2008). I'll bet some copies are at this presentation.

Here's the run down from the calendar:

Branden W. Joseph will discuss the travels of Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant throughout Europe in the early 1970s. Their itinerary, and the transformations in Conrad’s work upon his return to the United States, sheds light on the particular “crisis” of experimental cinema at the time and the manner in which it was (temporarily) overcome. Revising current understandings of the notion of there being “two avant-gardes” (as Peter Wollen famously put it), an examination of Conrad’s development and his interactions with Malcolm Le Grice, Wilhelm and Birgit Hein, and Otto Muehl will outline another line of avant-garde development. Drawn from Conrad’s personal archives and other research, this talk covers material that is not included in the author’s recent book, Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage. The talk will be preceded by a screening of relevant films: Kurt Kren, Mama und Papa (1964); Malcolm Le Grice, Little Dog for Roger (1967); Wilhelm and Birgit Hein, Roh Film
; Annabel Nicholson, Slides (1970); and Tony Conrad, 4-X Attack (1973), Curried 7302 (1973), and 7302 Creole (1973).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Movie Night for the Kids at El Pequeno Artista

The weekly children's movie night at El Pequeno Artista has something different today. Castle in the Sky will begin at 5:15 PM. The cost is $6 per person, and each child gets a juice box. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own dinner or snacks to enjoy during the movie. EPA is located at 249 20th Street (just off 5th Avenue). Call 718 965 1406 for more information.

the official description:

The magic touch of master animator Hayao Miyazaki is visible from start to finish in "Castle In The Sky" an imaginative tale full of mystery and adventure. The... high-flying journey begins when Pazu, a mining apprentice, finds a young girl wearing a glowing pendant and floating down from the sky. Together, they discover both are searching for the legendary floating castle, Laputa, and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around her neck. Their quest won't be easy, however. There are air pirates, secret agents, and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth and from each other. With spectacular animation, a fabulous musical score, and the voice talents of Anna Paquin (Sheeta), James Van Der Beek (Pazu), and Cloris Leachman (Dola), "Castle In The Sky" is an animated masterpiece you'll never forget!

Recreation Center Murals

I know I've seen these countless times, but I had the opportunity to really look on Monday. Once you are in the entry rotunda, just look up and to your right or left. I suggest starting with the left.

It shows a bucolic Sunset Park at what looks like different stages in its history. And even though the stages in history all appear at the same time, and even though the compositions rearrange geographic reality just a bit, it's still lovely. The kids at the local district 15 schools helped on these.

To the right, another mural shows picnics, swimmers, a playground, and a baseball game with dozens of on-lookers. Again, not quite a reflection of reality, but still much better than blank walls.

Just wanted to share.

TONY Suggests Sunset Park Restaurants for the Year of the OX

In just a few days, Chinese New Year - this year will be the Year of the Ox - celebrations will begin. Even though Brooklyn's Chinatown has some small celebrations, the best way to celebrate on 8th Avenue will be to eat.

Time Out NY highlights a few places around Sunset's Chinatown. Lucky Eight, on 8th and 52nd, is touted for its live fish tank...pick out your dinner! Don't bother clicking the TONY link in the article. It takes you to some Manhattan restaurant. Sheesh.

Speaking of Manhattan, its Nyonya is mentioned, but we have a Nyonya too. It's had ups and downs, but it's pretty good overall.

Of course Pacificana's dim sum is mentioned. I love this place. If you're planning on going, choose off hours and leave time for a wait. Especially for the next week or so!

Hong Kong Supermarket on 8th and 60th isn't mentioned, but I'm sure you can pick up just about anything you want for the Year of the Ox there.

With that in mind, check out the article from TONY: Time Out NY Article.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rally Against Sex as a Business

The Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors held a rally and march, apparently to protest and draw attention to the liquor license application of Peyton's Playpen. CB 7 voted no, which they probably would have anyway (see second link below). Peyton's Playpen is place down on 2nd and 39th with a big sign that reads All Nude.

David Galarza, one of the most active members of SPAN, headed up the rally. One of the issue's supporters, and a life-long resident of Sunset, Trinity Lutheran Church's Reverend Sam Cruz, told the Brooklyn Eagle that he doesn't remember these stores from his early years, and he thinks it began to build up when Guiliani "cleaned up" Times Square. I'm not sure about those claims, but he does point out something I'm quite sure is true about the many sex/video shops in working class Sunset Park: "You don't see them doing this in Bay Ridge, and they wouldn't allow it in Park Slope."

Read the article in the Brooklyn Eagle here.

Also check out last week's post about this same issue.

And this one from October about related issues.

And this one from even before that about more related stuff.

New Childcare Cooperative in Sunset Park

There is a new option for child care in Brooklyn, and it comes from Sunset Park!

Beyond Care is supported by the Center for Family Life. It is the third cooperative business that comes out of the Center. The other two are Si Se Puede! We Can Do It! - a cooperative of cleaners, and We Can Fix It! - a cooperative providing home repair services. See below for more information about the Child Care Cooperative.

BeyondCare has 22 members with experience as babysitters, nannies, camp counselors, and afterschool program employees. All are mothers themselves, committed to providing safe, engaging care that goes beyond basic to help children thrive.

As a cooperative business, BeyondCare offers living wage jobs in a safe and healthy environment, as well as social supports and educational opportunities for its members. BeyondCare members have completed eight weeks of training in:

Child Development
Safety in the home
CPR (NY Fire Department course)
Health and Nutrition (Cornell University Cooperative Extension course)

BeyondCare offers competitive rates for full and part-time child care, as well as group child care for meetings and parties. Unlike many child care agencies, 100% of the fee charged goes to the person who does the work. BeyondCare members work for themselves and are motivated not only by their love of children and need to earn a living, but also by a commitment to fairness in wages and treatment.

Through our Adult Employment Services, Center for Family Life continues to provide training and support for BeyondCare members and helps them connect to educational opportunities, including ESL classes.

Where's Mike Mulligan When You Need Him?

I know it's not a steam shovel, but this sight reminded me of a story I loved when I was little. You know, the one about the outdated steam shovel digging for its life? This photo makes me think of what the steam shovel would have looked like without Mike Mulligan urging it on to victory.

This is actually a front loader (or something like that) at 765 43rd Street. Not too much progress at this location. Tearing down a building always works much better than building one in its place.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What You See in Sunset Park: Cat on a Cold, Snowy Lid

I didn't even notice the cat until I had already stopped to take a shot of the cans. It's quite a collection of recycling bins. City bins, no less. The cinder blocks accompanying them are also tagged with a variety of colors. Forget street art, here's front patio art.

Norwegian and Levantine Dance Party in Bay Ridge

It's free! There will be food! You get to watch performances! You get to dance! What could be better? Perhaps an early dinner at Tanoreen? Well, that's up to you.

Especially if you attended one of the two dance classes offered in the last two weeks, make sure to attend the party where you can show off your new-found skills.

The party is this Saturday - January 24th from 7-9 PM at the Salaam Arabic Lutheran Church (345 Ovington). Take the R train to Bay Ridge Avenue, or the B37 on 3rd Avenue.

Check out the flyer for information about the sponsors.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunset Prices Appreciated in 2008

It's not news to many of us, but Sunset is on the short list of areas with house prices that went up recently. Brownstoner has the link that "proves" it here. The three neighborhoods highlighted positively are Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Sunset.

Inauguration Celebration Alternative: Light Industry has "Landscape Suicide"

So if you don't feel like partying like it's ten years after 1999 tonight, you can check out James Benning's Landscape Suicide at Light Industry. It sounds like a mix of documentary and "America's Most Wanted" recreated scenes about two separate murders California and Wisconsin. I'm sure it will be an uplifting evening. But if it's not, at least you get to check out NY Magazine's hotspot of the week.

See the calendar at Light Industry's website for more information.

Tickets are now $7 at Light Industry's door; the show starts at 7:30 PM.

Light Industry
55 33rd Street, 3rd Floor.

Sunset Park in the Snow

Three separate snows on Monday kept Sunset Park looking pristine all day long.

How lovely was it? Well, two serious-looking photographers hopped out of a car to snap the image of the promenade in the snow. Standing in the middle of the street, they appeared to be competing for most professional stance while shooting. I didn't get a shot of them, and I didn't take one of the promenade, but it's nice to know that Sunset Park is a photog's destination.

Lots of kids (and adults) were using the gentle slopes down to 5th Avenue for sledding. Anyone get shots of that?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quilting for a Cause

Sunset Park Quilters met on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to work on a project for a local group home. The group has been putting together beautiful pillows to bring to the home.

Every Monday, the workroom is filled with sewing machines, colorful and patterned fabric squares, thread, and busy hands. Some people were cutting material, some were hand-sewing, and some were at the machines. It was a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

If you want to join the group to help with this project, stop by the second floor "yellow" room between 9 AM and 1 PM any Monday (it's possible the first half of February may not have meetings).

You can also call the Sunset Park Recreation Center at 718 965 6533.

MLK Service Day: Canned Food Drive to Benefit Center for Family Life

In commemoration of the call to service in honor of Dr. King's Federal Holiday, the Sunset Park Parents group is holding a Canned Food Drive to benefit the Food Pantry at the Center for Family Life. Today!

From Noon to 2 PM (maybe later), stop by the Sunset Park Recreation Center to drop off non-perishable items.

This is a small operation, so don't look for balloons and bake sales. Chances are it will be a person or two with boxes/bags to haul away the items. There will most likely be a sign and a child or two hanging around as well.

Suggested items include: Rice, pasta, tuna fish, beans (dry or canned), sauces, baby formula, canned vegetables and fruits, cereals, oatmeal, peanut butter (although maybe now isn't the best time...).

Enjoy your day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Folk Feet on Fifth: Lebanese and Palestinian Debke Dance Class

This series, with the Young Dancers in Repertory, is free thanks to several sponsors. (See the flyer for a long list.) This dance class will feature Ramzi Ed-libi, Jad Lebbos, and Sheren Attal - as well as live percussion. That's always a good thing.

Thursday, January 22nd's dance class will be Lebanese and Palestinian Debke Dance. It is from 7-8:30 PM at the Salaam Arabic Lutheran Church located at 345 Ovington Avenue. Take the R to Bay Ridge Avenue or the B37 on 3rd Avenue.

Two days later is the Dance Party that lets you put your learned skills to work.

To register, or to obtain more information, call 347-702-7155.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Artistic Waterfront Attention

Here's another article touting Sunset's art spaces. It compares Sunset Park to Dumbo and Soho (again). A major difference in the neighborhoods, however, is that Sunset "emerged" a long time ago. It may not be what some consider "artsy," but it's also not what DUMBO was before the condominiums moved in. (And yes, while DUMBO was pretty sleepy, especially during off-hours, people WERE living there already!)

Here's an sampling of the article from

Still, if this were only about artists, it would be a nice story, but nothing particularly new. This project has loftier goals, of which the artists are only a small part (albeit an integral one), to establish a sustainable district around intelligent redevelopment that considers the needs of residents, workers, artists and businesses. The kind of considerations required to transform not just buildings, but the ideas of community as well.

Not the ideas of THE community, the ideas of community. Let's not misread it and agitate ourselves. However, new residents (even part-timers) affect their surroundings. It will be interesting to see how things develop - or don't.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Restaurant Violations Belie More Than Food Conditions

Warning: Severe Stream of Consciousness Ahead.

Occasionally I visit the NYC Department of Health and Hygiene's site for restaurant inspections. Usually it's before contemplating a visit to an establishment that's new, at least to me. On these visits, I inevitably peruse the other restaurants around our neighborhood (although a search with 11220 can bring up restaurants on Smith Street - go figure), and that can be quite enlightening. And disturbing.

I ran across Lai Lai Gourmet's inspection on January 8th of this year. It earned 103 violation points, well above the 28 points required for compliance. The first violation listed (and the list is long) is "food service operation occurring in room used as living or sleeping quarters." I don't know why, but this violation bothers me more than evidence of roaches or mice. Maybe not more than the hand-washing facility or soap not provided, but it comes really close. The previous inspection was way back in 2007, so I suppose Lai Lai Gourmet slipped a little in its quest for perfection.

What I picture, which may be quite far from reality, is rumpled sheets on mattresses in the corners of a room used to chop/prep food. Or maybe a busy kitchenette in the corner of a room used by several restaurant workers as a crash pad. So romantic, I know. (And no, I don't mean that sincerely.) I picture that because I was lucky enough to get "lost" on the way to the restroom in another restaurant on 8th Avenue, and it DOES have a rumpled mattress in the corner of a room with a make-shift chopping table a few feet away. At least it did several years ago.

Kind as it is of a restaurant owner to provide sleeping/living quarters within easy distance to a job, it also reminds us that situations that we may only see on Law and Order episodes about indentured servants and unsavory work situations are, in fact, very close to home. Most people are aware of the stunningly similar to sweatshop conditions down on 6th and 8th Avenues, as well as closer to the water. But what self-respecting New Yorker wants to think about abuses that might interfere with their take-out/delivery/night out activities. Food is sacred.

And that's where my mind goes when it sees violations on the NYC DOH website.

Other local establishments that had very high violation points as of today were:

D&F Restaurant on 50th and 8th Avenue with 76 violation points, McDonald's on 5th Avenue and 51st Street with 62 violation points, and Noodle Station on 8th Avenue and 52nd Street with 48 violation points. That one surprised me. Probably because it's not seafood (several seafood places on 8th had points in the 40's).

You can search for your favorite restaurant here: On-Line Inspection Site

Friday, January 16, 2009

Show Some Love for Your Neighborhood - Apply for CB 7

February 14th is more than St. Valentine's Day this year. It's also the deadline to apply for Brooklyn Community Boards. Attend board meetings once a month, and put in time and effort on committees (where most of the work gets done) for little recognition and no pay! Yeah!

Seriously, though, if you are interested in community issues and want to affect positive change, this just might be your way in. Check it out here, and maybe one day you'll be running for president and your opponent's running mate can poke fun at your community organizing experience. Who knows?

Here's the information about membership on a CB:

Community Boards are local representative bodies. There are 18 throughout Brooklyn . Each Board consists of up to 50 unsalaried members appointed by the Borough President, with half nominated by the City Council Members who represent the community district. Board members are selected by the Borough Presidents from among active, involved people of each community, with an effort made to assure that every neighborhood is represented. Board members must reside, work or have some other significant interest in the community

Ever Wonder Which No Parking Signs are Legit?

Here's a comprehensive investigation and report about those official looking (or not so much) No Parking signs we see around. Really, I'm Not Sayin' did a fantastic job.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Firehouse is Now Open

It was obvious from the truck flashing its lights and backing into the station, but now The Brooklyn Eagle has made it official. Our new firehouse is up and running. Welcome (back) to Engine 201/Ladder 114/Battalion 40. What is their nickname? Anyone know?

CEC 15 to hold Proposed School Presentation and Q&A

A new high school for District 15 isn't all that is in the works. There is a meeting coming up for a proposed new school for Districts 13/15. Check it out and have questions answered. Questions like these:

* Who will attend?
* Is it Pre-K, Elementary, K-8?
* Does it require rezoning?
* Will D13/15 educators participate in the planning of the school?

English/Spanish interpretation is offered; for translation to another language, call (718-935-4267).

Free Childcare is offered. Also call (718) 935-4267 for more information.

: Thursday, January 22, 7 PM - 9 PM

Where: Middle School 136/821 at 4004 4th Avenue (between 40th and 41st Streets)

What: Community Education Councils (CEC) 13 & 15 will hold a very important meeting with the School Construction Authority and other decision makers regarding the Proposed New School for Districts 13 and 15 (on the current site of P.S. 133, located at Baltic Street and 4thAvenues)

Who: All principals, elected officials, concerned parents, and community partners are urged to attend, with questions and input.

For further information please call Romaine Smith @ 718-935-4267.

Any Ideas for New School Locations in Sunset Park?

For the full article, click on the following link from The Brooklyn Heights Courier:

The School Construction Authority and city Department of Education (DOE) “rely heavily” on local residents for tips about possible [new school] locations, Kenrick Ou, SCA’s director of real estate, explained at a recent meeting of District 15’s Community Education Council (CEC).

“A lot of the challenge is the size of the property,” Ou said. “We would need 40,000 square feet,” he explained. “That’s very difficult to find.”

The SCA and DOE are looking to build new schools in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Bay Ridge, Park Slope and Sunset Park.

“Sunset Park has been a very challenging neighborhood for us to site in,” Ou explained.

The SCA can be reached at 718-472-8000.

CB 7 Wants Sex Shops Reined In

An email from Community Board 7 explains why a petition campaign is returning now. It has to do with a loophole in NYC's sex shop legislation closing. Apparently, the local sex shops have said that there are no longer complaints about them, so their negative impact on the area must be gone.

While the shops may have a point, it could also be resident fatigue considering that this legislation has been languishing for eight years. How many 311 calls does one make with no change?

I don't have anything against sex shops in general; there are quite a few around the City that serve the community in many ways. However, several of the shops on 3rd Avenue have been magnets for unsavory behavior that has directly impacted residents living in the area.

See the text of the CB 7 letter below. If you want a copy of the petition in English or Spanish, write bestviewinbrooklyn (at) yahoo (dot) com, and I will send them to you.

January 12, 2009

Dear Friend:

Last week we received a phone call from the New York City Law Department informing us that the industry lawsuits against the City’s sex shop legislation is finally moving forward after eight years. If the City prevails, a loophole in the law will be closed and this will have a positive impact on our community.

However, the Law Department informed us that part of the industry’s strategy is to claim that these businesses are no longer a problem because communities no longer complain about them.

We informed the Law Department that this remains a high priority for our entire community and vowed to make sure our community’s opinions are heard. As it has been four years since our last petition effort on this issue, we believe this is an appropriate time to once again raise our voices in unison.

We therefore ask your assistance in collecting petition signatures to close the loophole in the law which allows these businesses to proliferate in Sunset Park.

This is an urgent matter as these lawsuits will soon be before a judge. We urge you to return original petitions to our office as quickly as possible.


Randolph Peers Jeremy Laufer
Chairman District Manager

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunset Park in Winter

Sunset Park in Winter, originally uploaded by mysteryship.

Gorgeous any time of year.

How We Know Sunset Park is Tame (parking-wise, that is)

Parking issues are often a touchy subject. Is double-parking "allowed" during alternate side times? Are parking spaces ever saved? If someone blocks you in, how long do you honk the horn before taking extreme action like calling a tow-truck? Is that extreme?

Well, in more parking strapped areas like Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and so on, the little scenario I saw today would probably never have happened. And despite many claims to the contrary, this event shows that Sunset Park is not as grizzly as some say.

The City's "Strongest" came along, and after dumping the trash from two metal cans decided that they just weren't strong enough to put the can back on the sidewalk. It was quite strange, really, he carefully placed (instead of tossing) the can in the middle of the space you see in the photo below.

This looks very similar to when someone decides he has a private parking space and reserves it by putting a can/cone/body in the space to hold it. Well, no person was attending this can since the sanitation worker was long gone, yet no one came to take the space. Not unusual since it was around 8:30 AM and people tend to leave this block for work, and it's not an alternate side day today. However, as time went by....

...still no one came to take the space! This second photo was close to 10 AM, and the spaces on the block are scarce now. What does this tell me? Well, for one, the resident to whom this belongs didn't move it, nor did a friendly neighbor (who me?) move it. But more importantly, it tells me that Sunset Park residents, at least close-by, aren't hard-core parkers. We'll see how long this space lasts. I'll bet that the closer it gets to 11:30 (alternate side time for the next block up), the less chance this space has for survival.

*Around 11 AM a pro-active neighbor moved the can to the sidewalk. Well done!

Such excitement around here this morning!

Folk Feet on Fifth: Put on Your Dancing Shoes in Northern Bay Ridge

Folk Dancing! It's one of the best ways to keep warm in frigid weather. And it's FREE! You know I love free events. This free event is thanks to many sponsors. See the flyer for a long list.

Tomorrow evening, try out a Norwegian Folkdance Class with Paul Busse and the Norwegian Folkdancers Society. It's from 7-8:30 PM at the Salaam Arabic Lutheran Church. The church is on 345 Ovington Avenue (between 3rd and 4th Avenues). The closest train is the R train to Bay Ridge Avenue. For those unfamiliar with Bay Ridge numbers versus names, Ovington is basically 70th Street from 4th Avenue to the water. Bay Ridge Avenue is 69th Street. You can also take the threatened B37 bus on 3rd Avenue, if you prefer.

Upcoming events include January 22nd's Lebanese and Palestinian Debke Dance Class from 7-8:30 PM and January 24th's Norwegian and Levantine Dance/Hafla from 7-9 PM.

To register, or to obtain more information, call 347-702-7155.

Thanks to the Friends of Sunset Park for forwarding this!

Stop Sign Petition for 23rd Street

I'm a big fan of stop signs. Even though Brooklyn is known for the rolling stop - or just blowing through a stop sign - at least it's a deterrent. It's going on two years of the latest attempt to get a stop sign on the 6th Avenue edges of Sunset Park (41st and 44th Streets). The last "traffic study" yielded disappointing results that "did not warrant" any traffic calming measures. I think they came to check out the intersections at about 3 AM.

Now, the Greenwood Heights folks are trying to get a traffic study to start the process of getting a three-way stop sign put in on 23rd Street and 6th Avenue. Here's the link to the petition, and the body of the petition is below. After you've signed that one, go ahead and add your e-signature to the 6th Avenue and 41st/44th Street petition!

The petition

Re: Installation of 3-way stop signs at the intersection of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

We the undersigned request that Brooklyn Community Board #7 (CB7), and related agencies and elected officials, advocate on behalf of the residents in CB7's district, including Greenwood Heights, South park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park, for the installation of 3-way stop signs at the intersection of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).

While there is currently a stop sign located on the south west corner of the intersection on 23rd Street, recent new construction of 716-718 23rd Street, a four-story building on the corner of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue (diminishing the sight lines along 6th Avenue), along with an increase in pedestrian and car traffic in the area, has created hazardous conditions for both pedestrians, cyclists and drivers passing through that intersection.

Several car related accidents have occurred in the past 12-18 months and we are calling for the immediate remediation of the unsafe conditions at this intersection.

We are recommending the installation of a 3-way stop sign system to the DOT:

>One sign on the western approach towards 6th Avenue on 23rd Street

>One sign on the southern approach towards 23rd Street on 6th Avenue

>One sign on the northern approach towards 23rd Street on 6th Avenue

We respectfully request the DOT complete an new traffic study of the intersection at the soonest available time period and make this intersection safe for the residents of the neighborhood and all communities within CB7.

Blue Sky on 5th Avenue

The incredibly blue sky makes the buildings look crisp, just like the air tunneling down 5th Avenue. If there was ever a reason to interrupt your walk down 5th Avenue with a visit to Gran Via for a cafe con leche and some donuts...this weather would be it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sunset Park is the IT Girl for a Day (or two)

Not only does Sunset Park get to be the number two biggest sale in Brooklyn, according to Brownstoner, but we also get mentions all over the crazy world of news bits. In an earlier post, I mentioned New York Magazine's article (which prompted this blip of attention) and Curbed's highlight of the article.

Now, Brownstoner also picked it up! Woohoo! That in addition to a shockingly expensive three-family house that sold on 8th Avenue makes it two mentions in one day. Please take a look at the photo of the house. (It's NOT the brownstone.) $1.8 million? What?

OLPH on the List of Threatened Schools

The NYT and have stories about the Catholic School troubles around the City. I'm sure most news sources have stories, but those were the first two that I found.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help looks so solid standing there on 5th Avenue. It's hard to believe that it is in danger of being shut down. It will be quite a blow to the area if the school shuts down.

Our Lady of Angels in Bay Ridge is also on the Brooklyn list.

Sunset Park has a Colony of Handpicked Artists

Sunset Park is highlighted for its art spaces in New York Magazine. The article has a dramatic photo that makes Industry City look like DUMBO - but without the bridge in the background. Sunset Park is compared to 1970's Soho, and the artist tenants are handpicked, according to Lise Soskolne, an artist who works for the Industry City landlord.

Personally, I think that's a little creepy. Is it legal? I mean, can you handpick your tenants based on how politically active they are? Or if you manage to do it, can you-should you-make that public? Perhaps I'm misreading the article. It ends basically dismissing the chances of SP becoming a Soho or DUMBO. Phew! Anyway, here it is for your perusal: NYM article about Artists.

Curbed also has a take-down of the article. Here you go.

And Now for Something Completely Different

This has nothing to do with Sunset Park, and it may not be as hysterical as I think it is right now. But I spent the weekend with a lovable, but whiny toddler with an inability to hold in any food or drink, clogged sinuses, a queasy husband, and a healthy newborn. This video was exactly what I needed to get back in gear. Seriously, it will make you laugh. Well, unless you have couth.

Very funny, slightly naughty video of children (but perhaps not really for them).

It's on YouTube, but this is from a blog called Momcierge.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Light Industry: Canada on Tuesday; NYC and Mediterranean on Wednesday

Light Industry will have two presentations this week. Both shows are at 7:30 PM - that's a change! Also, it's now more pricey to check out the shows...$7 at the door. I guess they figure they've got people hooked. What hasn't changed is the location: 55 33rd Street, on the third floor. Check out their link above to read more about each show.

Tuesday evening will be Christina Battle's Canadian experience. As described by the artist:

“17 hours of darkness (reflections on this place I call home)” brings together a collection of works by contemporary Canadian artists exploring the dark and nagging anxieties associated with the Canadian landscape. An investigation of my own obsession with Canada’s natural climate, artists represented attempt to navigate the darkness that envelops our days for so many hours of the year. As we brace for another long winter I wonder how this obsession has shaped our collective memory and in turn impacts the Canadian experience...oh, and of course, there’s some hockey in there too.

Wednesday evening will feature Jem Cohen's informal presentation of stuff he has collected. The image above is from Jem Cohen. As described by the artist:

In my closets, cabinets, and storage rooms there are stacks of films. Some eventually become parts of finished projects, some were shown here and there in live music collaborations, some never make it beyond the apartment wall. An informal evening of mostly 16mm rarities and sketches; a few things never previously projected and at least one never previously seen, the journey more than the destination.

Free Trial Classes at El Pequeno Artista this Week

It may be too late to get in on the free trial classes, but it can't hurt to try! El Pequeno Artista's trial classes include Spanish Immersion, Cooking, Move it!, Percussion, Ven a Jugar Playgroup, Ballet...and the age ranges are from two years old to five and a half years old. Two of the classes, Move it! and Ballet have trial classes next week. Check out their web site for more information and photos, or see the information from the email below:


Our winter term begins Tuesday January 20th, but before that we will offer free trial classes to new families between the 12th and 17th. Please note the trial schedule does not match the regular winter schedule published on our website, so take note of the hours and days below.

IMPORTANT: Reservations are a MUST. If you would like to attend a trial class, please respond with:

1. the name of the class you'd like to try
2. your name and best number to reach you in case of a last-minute change
3. your child's name and age



Monday 1/12 4pm.
2 1/2 ~ 5 yrs

Tuesday 1/13 9am.
2 ~ 4 yrs

Tuesday 1/13 4:30pm
4 yrs and up

COOKING ($8 material fee required)
Wednesday 1/14 4pm.
3 ~ 5 1/2 yrs

Saturday 1/24 (not 1/17) 11:15am
2 ~ 4 yrs

Saturday 1/24 (not 1/17) 12:30pm
4 ~ 6 yrs

NOTE: Due to previous artistic engagements, Move it and Ballet will have the trial the week after (1/24) and will begin on 1/31!

249 20th St. @ 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
T: 718.965.1406

Caravan on 8th Avenue

The photo isn't the best, but you can check this out yourself on 8th Avenue. This window has a lovely collection of horse and cart items. It's in the 40's.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Variety on 4th Avenue

This little row of buildings on 4th Avenue at 38th Street shows that Sunset Park doesn't need to conform to any one style. While commenters on Brownstoner might stage a protest if you add gold paint to your cornice in Park Slope, here you can choose colors and styles to your heart's content. The white building actually has half-circle over-the-window decorations. None of these is particularly bizarre, but next to each other, they make for a funky bunch.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It Has Been A Pleasure to Serve You

Real trees to celebrate Christmas are so much more pleasant and aromatic than the fake ones. It's just so sad that trees have to be dead for the pleasure. This juxtaposition is a bittersweet image of the post-Christmas revelry. Hopefully this tree will end up at Mulchfest today. It's from 10 AM to 2 PM. Drop-off sites are Sunset Park and Green-Wood Cemetery; Chipping sites include Owl's Head Park.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pummelos on 55th and 8th

Have an extra six bucks? Try one of these.

They are in several places, but these are at the grocer on 55th Street and 8th Avenue. They are on the 55th Street side.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunset's Professional Graffiti Gets Gowanus Treatment

Gowanus Lounge has a short slide show here. It shows several examples of business gate graffiti and other colorful examples of Sunset art. It avoids the more common examples of gang graffiti and music store graffiti, and that's a good thing. They've been seen too many times. Sunset isn't known for its creativity in the graffiti area, yet there are quite a few "official" murals that have lasted a while.

72nd Precinct Shows a Rise in Murders in 2008

The Brooklyn Eagle has a run-down of Brooklyn's murder statistics, and the 72nd Precinct gets the last word. Literally.

The 68th Precinct (our friendly neighbors to the south) was one of three precincts in NYC that had zero murders last year. The 72nd Precinct had seven, four more than 2007. The three most well known are the February Tacos 2004 murder, the May murder of a Windsor Terrace Dry Cleaners Owner, and the September murder of an EMT.

Here's some of the basic information from the article:

Patrol Borough Brooklyn South reported a 35.2 percent rise in murders in 2008 to 92 compared to 68 in 2007, while Patrol Brooklyn North recorded a lower murder rate, 114 compared to 141 in 2007, according to the NYPD CompStat figures as of Dec. 28, 2008.

In the 75th Precinct in East New York murders were down by half, with 16 reported compared to 33 in 2007. In Brownsville’s 73rd Precinct there were 29 murders, one more than in 2007. The 71st Precinct in Crown Heights reported a rise to 16 murders from 2007’s 11.

The 72nd Precinct covering Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace reported a rise to seven murders, compared with three in 2007.

Check Out the Progress of PowerGen's Sunset Park Plant

If you're curious about what's going on concerning Astoria Generating Company's South Pier Improvement Project (it's in Sunset Park despite the Queens-leaning name), now's your chance. Need a refresher? Read this. Or, if you prefer, this.

from an email forwarded by a SPAN member:

We are pleased to update you on our progress to advance Astoria Generating Company’s South Pier Improvement Project. Our objective is to increase the supply of electricity while decreasing emissions from our facilities in Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

This document will also be available for review on our website and at:
• Community Board 7, 4201 4th Avenue,
• NYC Public Library, 5108 4th Avenue in Sunset Park,
• NYC Public Library, 7 Wolcott Street in Red Hook,

Additional information on the proposed project is available on the South Pier Improvement Project website at or call the hotline 1-888-398-USPG (8774). We look forward to your participation at the next meeting.


David Perri
Sr. Project Manager

Wildfire Rides Again in Sunset Park

I can't help it. Whenever I pass by this little buggy I start hearing Michael Murphey's "Wildfire." You know, "She ran calling Wildfire..." It's a depressing song, but there's nothing but warm, fuzzy feelings about this vehicle. I've never actually seen it moving; it just seems to move from one side of the street to another. And the inside isn't really warm and fuzzy. The seats are actually covered in plastic. Still, it's an excellent car.

If you want to hear Murphey's "Wildfire," go here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wall-E is the Friday Movie at El Pequeno Artista (again)

The last Friday Movie was cancelled due to snow, so here's your chance to see Wall-E at El Pequeno Artista.

from the email:

Our December presentation got canceled due to the snowstorm.
So, here it is THIS Friday:


on a big screen, old fashion projector

Friday 5:15 pm
$6 / person

Juice box included for children
Bring your own snacks and eat while you watch!
249 20th St. @ 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
T: 718.965.1406

Reminder: Christmas Tree Mulchtime

Now that Three Kings Day has passed, it's time to take the tree down. Does that seem late? My parents always put the tree up on the 24th or maybe the 23rd and leave it up through the 6th of January. Lately they've been altering that schedule, but that's how I remember it. Personally, until the kids are old enough to enjoy the tree and NOT destroy/eat the ornaments and branches, I'll do without.

But for those that did enjoy the scents and sights of a freshly (or within several weeks) cut tree in your home this season, here's your chance to make its life worth just a little more. Mulchfest is here! It's this coming Saturday and Sunday (January 10th and 11th) from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Sunset Park is a drop off only location for Mulchfest, but if you want to watch them chip up your tree or pick up some mulch for yourself, Owl's Head Park is the closest location. Green-Wood Cemetery also has a drop off only location. Check out the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation site for more information.

Rapid Realty Gets Media Savvy

Doing a segment on the "up-and-coming" Sunset Park neighborhood?
A neighbor (who is almost as nosy as I am, but much more quick these days) spotted the RR van and its occupants on Monday. I wonder if the results of their filming will show up on the website? Unfortunately, most of the Rapid Realty signs on Sunset's commercial spaces have been up far longer than "rapid" would seem to promise.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Three Kings Day and Cakes

Happy Three Kings Day!

I think the Three Kings Day tradition is so much more pleasant than the insanity that surrounds Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve for those of us who do the real candle on the tree thing). It makes sense, right? Celebrate the event in a solemn, reverent manner (or just eat a lot and sing songs while trying not to burn your hand on a dripping candle), ten exchange gifts that same day that the Three Wise Men showed up with their myrrh, gold, and frankincense. Besides, then you can still take advantage of all the great post-holiday sales. It's genius!

Today I fully intend to find a King Cake somewhere. I haven't ordered one; I haven't baked one; I haven't planned my search route yet. The photo at the top of this post is what I'm after. That's what I've seen most often around here. The photo just below is what I wish I could find. It's just so pretty, and it looks like it tastes like those yummy buns from 8th Avenue, but with a little less squish to it.

The cake shown last is what I saw in Spain. In fact, I grabbed the photo from this blog that describes the events occurring right about the time I type this out. Well, maybe two hours from now or so. If there is one thing the Spanish have down, it's their holidays. Semana Santa is CRAZY, especially in the south.