Friday, July 31, 2009
On Saturday, enjoy the sounds of Fati & Charles, the wife and husband team that sings fun children's songs in Spanish. They will be singing at Coco Roco (392 5th Avenue), starting at 3:30 PM. They also use props like shaker eggs and animal-shaped sponges to help the kids participate in the songs. Check out their website and listen to clips of songs.
On Sunday, check out City Stomp at 4 PM in Slope Park (6th Avenue and 19th). Kevin, the creator of City Stomp, used to do Music Together of Greenwood Heights.
from the email:
Come see Kevin and Nick play City Stomp songs and other originals at Slope Park this Sunday at 4:00. The park is hosting a party for kids and we will be playing for about 40 minutes. The party goes from 3:00 to 6:00, so come out and play! Slope Park is located on 6th Avenue between 18th Street and 19th Street.
My guess about this poor, pretty pony is that it's one of the props used by the Methodist Dental Clinic. They have a Nemo or Flounder (I get them mixed up) with big, human-looking teeth to teach kids how to brush. Maybe this horse is the upgrade. Either way, what was she doing under this tree on a Thursday morning?
UPROSE has done some fantastic community work over the years, and under Executive Director Elizabeth Yeampierre's leadership, it's been even more active. Now UPROSE has a new tool with which to inform the public about Environmental Justice in Brooklyn, and especially in Sunset Park.
On Monday morning, UPROSE had a ribbon cutting for its new Hybrid Electric Bus in Sunset Park. As the pamphlet handed out at the ceremony indicates, the organization hopes to use the new hybrid bus to "promote sustainibility initiatives and education to fight air pollution, reduce negative impacts from road transport and improve air quality for all New Yorkers."
Various speakers echoed the need to improve air quality. Marty Markowitz gave an impassioned speech about NYC having an unacceptable level of asthma, especially in children. (He also sounded quite angry about our dependence on foreign oil, which leads me to believe that he has more than Brooklyn politics on his mind.) Some of the UPROSE young people presented and spoke about their hopes for the tours and the information they want to disseminate. See below for various photos and scenes from the event. You can contact UPROSE and sign up to take an Environmental Justice Tour at this email address: email@example.com.
Prior to the event, the UPROSE organizers put out a table full of watermelon, strawberries, mint iced tea, and various baked goodies. Within five minutes the entire table (except a few strawberries) was EMPTY. You would have thought there was a golden ticket in one of the treats the way people filled up their plates. The organizers were incredibly polite; I would have been snatching things off of people's plates. And that's why I'd be no good as a community organizer. Take people, don't hoard! I'd really like to know how many people put even a dime into the collection tin.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The ceremony was on Monday. I'll have a posting with more photos and information tomorrow AM. Visit www.uprose.org for more information about this bus and the Environmental Justice Tours UPROSE will be conducting.
The Official Press Release: July 20th, 2009
From The Brooklyn Eagle: This new vision for Sunset Park includes not only new businesses and job creation but improvements for the community. The section east of the industrial area will be rezoned in order to preserve the local residential community and to encourage the creation of more affordable housing.
(Notice the mention of the rezoning - sounds like a done deal, doesn't it?)
From Brownstoner (also includes the press release link): Specific initiatives include an $80 million overhaul of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, an $8.6 million modernization of the Bush Terminal and improvement of the freight rail service in the area. Another $37 million is slated to build the Bush Terminal Piers Park, which will add 22 acres of open space through the remediation of a former brownfield.
From the Community Newspaper Group (yournabe.com): The Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan would see the activation of 3.5 million square feet of previously fallow industrial space, the addition of 22 acres of parkland, and the creation of 2,000 industrial and construction jobs over the next two years, and a total of 11,000 jobs in all.
According to the Fork in the Road feature in The Village Voice, there are a couple of food vendors that are worth a visit. Check out the article for more info, but I have to say that the hot sauce and chick-pea stall sounds promising. Stop by Eagle Provisions for a beer and Laurentino's for a chocolate covered strawberry or pignoli to complete a pretty decent snack-time.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I know I complain a lot. Well, I don't think it's so often, but since those posts are usually the only ones that get feedback, it seems like I am more Harpy and less Freya (to mix my mythologies). So, here's an attempt to balance that out. On Monday (after a violent storm the night before), I walked through the park around 8 AM and noticed that the back half of the park was exceptionally cleaned up. Almost every trashcan had neatly tied bags next to it, and there was little garbage on the grass/walkways.
The trucks can't come by too often, of course, so the bags sat for a bit, but they were organized and neat and well-filled. Maybe we've all been conditioned to get warm fuzzies when what is supposed to be the norm actually occurs, but I was quite pleased.
So, well done Sunset Park Staff! We do appreciate a job well done, even if we don't thank you personally often enough.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This elephant is on 8th Avenue and 51st, in front of a pharmacy. It's a short ride, but it's only 25 cents as opposed to the usual 50 cents. It was broken for a while, so if you're unsure, ask in the pharmacy about its condition.
So on Sunday, with my sister driving out of her way to meet up for a very brief visit with her niece and nephew, we chose Ellis. I figured it's easy to get onto the BQE from there, it's a place I've been wanting to try, but haven't gotten around to, and I'd heard rumors about a changing table in one of the bathrooms (it's true!). Okay, I'll admit, I was also desperate to try one of the fry bread creations that I'd heard about when I gave up my invite for the opening to my favorite (and generous) photographer, Vanessa. (See what she had to say.)
It was empty when we arrived just past 11 AM. It remained empty the entire time we were there. We got two highchairs, a coloring book and crayons, and the entire side room (with NY1 - with no cable, I miss my NY1!) to ourselves. I ordered the Navajo Fry Bread Pizza (seen above), and it was amazing. Garlicky, rich pesto under cheese and sunflower seeds. Really, even if it had just been the pesto on the fry bread, I would have been happy. The fry bread was all I hoped for. If I were there on my own I probably would have ordered the Nutella fry bread as well. :)
My sister ordered the Navajo Fry Bread Breakfast Taco. I didn't get a chance to taste it, but she said it was really good. The beans didn't look refried to me, but actually, they were probably better whole. I may get this the next time.
My sister's traveling buddy ordered the two eggs over medium with sausage. The hash browns looked a little crispy, but he said they were actually amazing: crunchy on the outside and moist (is that the right word?) on the inside. He finished them. The three sausages were definitely not from the freezer section. My husband got the Breakfast Burrito with shrimp, and he enjoyed it very much.
I liked the space - gotta love a place with books and dart boards - and the bathrooms are definitely sized for Brooklyn not Manhattan. The changing table is in the left-hand bathroom. There's a tiny outdoor space, but it looks more like the smoking section at my high school in the 80's. (They don't have it anymore.) Maybe it looks more inviting at night.
Overall, our visit to Ellis made me want to return to try more dishes. According to Yelp, it's had some ups and downs with staffing and atmosphere. And it seems to be more of a bar than a restaurant (hence the website's EllisBar)...but I'm all about the food.
Have you been? What did you think? Wanna do brunch?
Monday, July 27, 2009
Anyone have other tidbits about the places that are seen here?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The 5th Avenue BID is sponsoring a pedestrian shopping paradise every Sunday through the summer. From 48th to 52nd will be closed on Sundays, so stop by starting at 11 AM to 6 PM for the Sunset Park BID Street Festival. Hope it helps the businesses.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Selfish. Destructive. Ugly. That's the behavior that leads to actions like this.
Ever since the walkways on the 44th side of the park were re-paved, they've been popular with the skateboarders. Last year, most of the kids were very good about halting their kickflips and so on when other park-goers passed through. It is, after all, a public walkway and not a skatepark.
This year, the group has gotten a lot bigger, and they don't stop for anyone. In fact, several times, I've seen and heard about skateboards spinning pretty darn close to adult knees and smaller beings' heads. When it's early, I've asked them to wait while I pass by, and they do. But when it's a large group, it becomes far too uncool to even acknowledge someone in my advanced state of whatever-the-opposite-of-cool is.
I guess using the entrance and a chunk of the walkway isn't enough excitement for our skateboarders (and possibly the relative newcomers - the rollerbladers by the concrete steps). They need more, they need to improvise ways to grind and whatever else they do for an adrenalin rush. Apparently, the City's skatepark over in Owl's Head isn't good enough (or maybe they aren't good enough). It's more fun to remove seating around a highly trafficked part of the park that's used by hundreds of people every hot day. The good news is, there is a finite supply of benches around the sprinklers, so it will have to end at some point. The bad news is, most of the shady spots are already gone, and we're playing a warped game of musical chairs every time we go to the sprinklers to cool off.
For the benefit of one or two commenters: I know, I know. This is a yuppie, destruction of Sunset Park attitude. Wanting to keep the park in a useable state for the majority of Park-goers is disrespectful of what Sunset Park is and how it's always been.
Please. Sorry: Puh-Lease.
Friday, July 24, 2009
If you're in the mood for sweets and want to take a walk to another block, consider arriving at 234 45th Street to buy cupcakes, brownies, cakes, and cookies. From Noon to 5 PM on Saturday all those treats will be available for purchase - at least that's what the sign seen above promises.
It's sponsored by the 45th Street Block Association, and proceeds will benefit the future block parties on this block between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The rain date is Sunday.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
If you're interested in finding out more about Fati & Charles, check out their website - abbasubi.com .
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
According to NBC:
Early this morning a black mini-van struck three pedestrians on 4th Avenue by 39th Street. One woman* was killed, and the two other pedestrians were taken to Lutheran Medical Center. The driver remained at the scene, so no charges were filed.
Walk carefully, drive carefully out there.
*It was a man, according to a commenter and other sources.
FoxNY has a short blurb. It states the driver has not been found; all other news sources say that the driver stayed and was questioned by police.
CBSTV has a lengthier article. It includes the group's destination: the 24 hour restaurant Los Tres Potrillos. Apparently, there are a lot of people out on 4th Avenue at 4:30 AM!
Several playgrounds between 3rd and 4th Avenues get a lot less traffic than their 5th, 6th, and 7th Avenued counterparts for one, long, obvious, loud and smelly reason: The Gowanus/BQE factor. Sure, strip clubs aren't supposed to be too close to playgrounds and schools (except in Sunset Park, apparently), but we can pump exhaust fumes into the lungs of playing children all we want.
Despite this, I ventured over to the 41st Street Playground that is just behind Charles O. Dewey on 4th Avenue to check out the mini-sprinkler and climbing options. Since it was 9:30 on a Saturday morning, the traffic was barely noticeable on the Expressway, and the playground was deserted.
This playground gets locked up at night, and the gates are pretty high. It was a little trashy, but the garbage was tame - no beer/rum bottles, no condoms, and no poop. There was a dead pigeon in the fenced off grass to the side of the sprinkler, but that was it.
The sprinkler is a mini-version of the big one in Sunset Park. The kids weren't particularly interested in running through it, just around it. Some older boys found it very easy to fill plastic bags to make the slides slickery, but thankfully they stuck to just one of the slides and performed their hijinks away from the smaller players.
All in all, it made for a very pleasant morning. The jungle gyms were shaded, and they are set up to allow toddlers to run around them instead of just back and forth. There are also some mini-benches/counters under the platforms which allow for pretend play or a rest. There are four toddler swings that also had shade. (I never knew why parents were so obsessed with shade until I had kids.) "Big kid" swings are not present here.
This playground is in the middle of the block, and the other parents I met there were friendly and actively watching the small children. A bonus is that the playground is adjacent to the ball field where the little league-esque baseball practice and games happen. I'm sure it will be fun to watch as a break from the playground.
The 50's and upper 40's also have playgrounds - including one directly across from Lutheran Medical Center - closer to the Expressway. If you're looking for smaller crowds or a new playground scene, give them a chance.
If you've enjoyed their shows over the last year, consider helping them out with a donation. Check out their site for more information and how to donate.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Ill Style & Peace will provide this Wednesday's entertainment at 10:30 AM in the Park. As far as I can tell, this show will include music, dance, puppets, and readings. It's geared towards ages 3 - 10. That's courtesy of the "Where to Go" calendar from The Brooklyn Paper.
Monday, July 20, 2009
from the informational email:
The meeting for the Sunset Park High School Task Force will be held tonight at 6 PM. CB 7 offices will host the meeting at 4201 4th Avenue (enter on 43rd Street).
The meeting will include updates on Sunset Park High School programs and funding.
We will be organizing work groups for the Student Orientation barbecue on Tuesday, August 18 and the SPHS ribbon-cutting event on Wednesday, September 16!
We also hope to have a presentation by Mauricio Trenard, the Sunset Park artist who designed the Public Art for Public Schools project in the SPHS lobby.
Sorry about the last minute notice. I thought I had pre-scheduled this...
Any idea what's happening with the Brooklyn Tiki Bar on 4th between 33rd and 34th? It's been closed for three days now with no explanation.
So, does anyone have information for this Tiki Bar goer? Are they closed for a vacation? Renovation? Citation? Some other -ation?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
from their email:
My name is Charles Mister and along with my wife, Fatima, we have produced a CD of songs for kids in Spanish called El Baile del Sombrero. My wife, who wrote the lyrics for the songs, is from Argentina and I wrote the music. We were inspired to take on this project by our children, Chloe (almost 4) and Kylen (2) who we sang to and danced with so much that we decided to take it a step further and make music for other kids as well. To learn more about us, hear our music, or see a video of us, please visit our website at abbasubi.com
Through the assistance of Maria Roca, we were put in contact with Felix Plaza at the Bibliobus and have set up a show on Wednesday July 22nd at the Bibliobus at 2:00 pm. We also are going to play in Sunset Park at the Farmer's Market on Saturday July 18th at 10:30 am. If you could list these events on your blog, I'd really appreciate it.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
1. TimeOutNY has a list of the "Best Cheap Dumplings in NYC" and Sunset's Wong Wong Noodle Shop is first on the list. Here's what they had to say about it:
Wong Wong Noodle Shop
While the whap-whap of hand-pulled wheat noodles dominates this soup shack, the place also fashions fat little purses of pork and scallions that dribble meaty juices with each bite ($3 for 12). 5410 Eighth Ave at 54th St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-633-5633).
Love the use of onomatopoeia, and I wish they made dumplings with just scallions and cabbage. But there are plenty of places on 8th where you can buy dumplings (veggie or otherwise) for 4 for a dollar or so. Several places that look like they don't sell anything (just a white booth with a see-through window) actually sell delicious stuff to take home a cook. It's inexpensive and usually quite good. Enjoy.
2. How did I miss this? Brokelyn also points out that this Sunday will be a 5th Avenue walking delight:
Sunday from 11 to 6, the Sunset Park BID is turning Fifth Avenue from 44th to 52nd Street into a pedestrian zone, which is great by us because that is a great drag for cheap stuff. Your starting point: a $5.45 Dominican breakfast at the International Restaurant, across the street from Sunset Park at 4408 5th Ave. between 44th & 45th Streets. Or grab a mango pastry from La Gran Via, a few blocks south at 4516 Fifth Ave. Either way, you’ll have to walk to Bay Ridge to work off the calories. http://www.brokelyn.com/brokelyn-approved-weekend-events-2/
Friday, July 17, 2009
from their email:
The songs are from our new CD called El Baile del Sombrero...There's a salsa about a rag doll, a story about a rabbit named Teo who forgets he likes carrots, and a song about Chloe's best friend, her manta. We will have hats, shakers, and sponges for the kids and adults to play with.
We are Brooklyn parents (Fati comes via Argentina) who love playing music and dancing and singing with kids. To see some more about us or hear some of our music go to abbasubi.com
We're playing at the Sunset Park Greenmarket this Saturday, July 18th at 10:30 am and then in Sunset Park at the Bibliobús near the 6th Avenue and 44th Street entrance on Wednesday, July 22nd at 2:00 pm.
See you there!
Thank you to sarahheiman on flickr for noticing and then taking a photo of this Shrek head on a stoop. The potted plants make the stoop pleasant enough, but Shrek adds a certain something, don't you think?
Thanks to Friends of Sunset Park and CityKids for sponsoring the event! This coming Wednesday at 10:30 AM will be III Style & Peace. More to come in a future posting.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Today at the park, around Noon, an ambulance (and fire truck!) was called for a little girl. Apparently, she fainted due to dehydration. It can happen much more quickly for kids than for adults. So, make good use of the water fountain (or water balloons - several kids were drinking from those) while at the playground and park.
On July 19th, Rev. Billy and his 40 member gospel choir will be hosting a BBQ (really a picnic due to that pesky and oft ignored No Barbeques rule in Sunset Park) to help gather signatures to get his name on the ballot for mayor. And it's also an opportunity to speak out.
from Gaylen, or the Rev. Billy Talen for Mayor campaign:
Not only will Billy be talking about what he would like to do for the neighborhoods in NYC, but we would love to hear from the people of Sunset Park. We'll have a megaphone for speakers and a table for literature, so I'd like to invite you to join us in raising awareness on the issues that you feel are most important to your neighborhood.
You can read more about Rev. Billy and his ideas at www.voterevbilly.org.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
One of the planks on the playground equipment was missing from (at least) Friday AM through Sunday PM. This photo was taken on Monday AM. The plank used to replace the missing faux wood plank is very real, very unsanded wood.
So, in addition to the glass in the sprinkler area (and tree wells and walkways), the dog poop scattered about, and the occasional needle on the ground - count splintery wood into the mix.
Shoes are your friends, even during the summer!
I was just over on 5th and 60th, but I guess I looked right when I should have looked left. You'd think, with all the restaurants opening up, that the economy was doing better than it feels like it's doing. Let's give the new Sliceria Pizzeria a look-see, shall we?
From the photos in the Serious Eats article and the website, this place looks like it should be on 8th Avenue next to Tbaar or Quickly bubble tea chains. But it's not. In fact, according to the website, it's a family-run pizza place that is bring back "the classic slice" the way it should be: "Simple, Fast, Fun & Delicious." You can order on-line (that's the simple and fast part, perhaps?), and they deliver. In the article from Serious Eats, the prices differ from the menu on-line. Maybe the promised $1 slices and $8 pies were promotional for the grand opening. (They are $2/2.25 and $12 on the menu.) Still, the baked ziti is very reasonable, and they have round and square slices. Maybe this will do away with the need to trek out to L&B for a true square.
They have something they have that I've never seen in a pizzeria before: the dessert pizza. Nutella and powdered sugar on a 12 inch pie? Anyone (or two) out there want to split one of those?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
In case you end up missing Jazz-Ma-Tazz on Wednesday due to nap-time or other life issues, or if you just want a day filled with lots of musical activities, check out Recess Monkey (get it? Rhesus monkey?) at the Sunset Park library. It starts at 1:15 PM, and it's described as "a fun concert of goofy original and educational songs for children." It's for the Pre-K set, but I'm sure slightly younger and older children would also enjoy it.
It's part of the Summer Reading program. Read more and sign up for the program here.
Sunset Park Library
5108 Fourth Avenue
718 567 2806
It all starts this Wednesday with Jazz-A-Ma-Tazz. Hayes Greenfield hosts "an interactive music education program that inspires participants to take risks, gain confidence, and experience a sense of personal achievement through the use of jazz and the art of improvisation." Sounds like a fantastic musical experience for the kids and those they bring to the show.
All the shows start at 10:30 AM, and they are well attended. (They are popular with the local day camps as well as care-givers and park-goers.) Get there early for a good seat.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Love this shot. Thanks to JamesWolberg for uploading it to the Best View in Brooklyn photo pool.
But there are quite a lot of people in Sunset Park who do knit. I've seen it in the park and on the train. All different ages and backgrounds and clothing preferences like to knit.
One reader wondered this:
I would be curious if anyone knew of a place in Sunset Park where you can buy yarn and knitting/crochet supplies.
Since I had no idea, I asked someone who knows a lot about yarn and crafting things from it. You can check out her etsy store - called Sloanester - here.
Here is what she told me:
I haven't really found any suppliers in S.P. Some cheap acrylic yarn in Party City but that's about it. There is a place in Park Slope that has supplies but I usually go to Brooklyn General in Brooklyn Heights or the Yarn Tree in Williamsburg because they have the largest supplies. Also, Lion Brand Studio on 15th St., Purl in Soho and Downtown Knits on Ave. A in Manhattan.
Well, if you're looking for something other than cheap acrylic yarn from Party City, there's not much else in the neighborhood. Or is there? Anyone know of places in Sunset, Borough Park, Bay Ridge, or even Dyker Heights? If so, share!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Last year's opening was not only beautiful but delicious. Be sure to get there early, and make sure to be assertive if you want fresh corn. Some Green Market attendees are very disrespectful of the produce. Many ears of corn have been tossed to the ground after not passing the "peel and check" test. The farmers get very irritated when people rip open the corn to check it. I can't blame them, but it is disappointing to get home and see some kernels missing from the top. If it's like last year, just ask one of the workers for corn from inside the truck. They have plenty.
According to an email from Yolanda Gonzalez, the seasonal EBT manager, we'll be seeing fish from Gill's Seafood this year. There are usually eggs and milk available as well, but you need to ask. You can read more here.
EBT, WIC and Farmer's Market Nutrition Program coupons are accepted. WIC participants who don't have FMNP should definitely ask for it. If you are denied, call 311 to report it. I heard about two instances last year where participants were told it was not meant for them. LIAR! Okay, I'll be generous. Misinformed employee. Eventually at least one of the women who was denied received the FMNP benefits.
from Yolanda Gonzalez' email (and the website linked to above):
Sunset Park Greenmarket:
Open since 2001 and set on a hill a stone’s throw from the upper New York Bay, this bustling market serves a predominantly Hispanic and Asian population with a bountiful variety of fresh local products including vegetables from two specialty Latino growers, Angel and Rodri-Mex Farms, not-to-be-missed peaches from Toigo Orchards, and an exciting new addition this year— fresh fish from Gill’s Seafood.
Location: Located on 4th Ave btw 59th & 60th Sts
Time: Open every Saturday, July-November, from 8am-3pm
EBT/Food Stamps Accepted. Many farmers also accept WIC & Senior FMNP Coupons.
Subway: N/R, to 59th Street
Bus: X27, X37
Seasonal EBT Market Manager
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In that spirit, if you're interested in joining the committee to keep the Sunset Park Playground clean, safe, and accessible - visit the Yahoo! group that has just started up. It's under the auspices of the Friends of Sunset Park, and its main goal is to improve the quality of play for our children.
This is the postponed date from June 20th.
SATURDAY, July 11, 2009
Line Up Starts: 10:00 a.m.
Parade Route: Starting at Sunset Park
(7th Avenue & 43rd Street)
Marching Down: To Baseball Field
41 Street & 3rd Avenue
Opening Ceremony: 10:30 a.m.
You are invited to participate in a good old fashion “Community Parade”
Everyone is invited to be part of the program.
We are asking all of our Neighbors along 7th Avenue and 41st Street to please join us by
Decorating the front of your building/windows/cars with balloons and steamers.
Get the family together, bring out your chairs and get ready to Scream, Shout and Wave to the Children in Uniforms as they march down to the field.
Lets make them feel special and proud that they are a part of a great program in a wonderful community that Loves and Supports them.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
El Pequeno Artista will have an open house for parents interested in our Montessori Preschool in Spanish starting this fall - possibly the first one in all of NYC!
Come and hear an overview of the program, meet the director and head teacher, and ask questions, etc. You will also have a chance to register then, if you haven't yet.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 5th.
Wednesday, July 8th ~ 6pm
El Pequeno Artista
249 20th St. @ 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
You can look up locations based on zip code at the official site, but here are the locations for our area:
MS 136 - 4004 4th Avenue
PS 169 - 4305 7th Avenue
The Sunset Park Pool serves breakfast and lunch.
PS172 - 825 4th Avenue
PS 24 - 427 38th Street
JHS 220 - 4812 9th Avenue
PS 1 - 309 47th Street
PS 314 - 330 59th Street
The link above even has PDFs of the menus. And not to worry, there are vegetarian options available daily (PB&J and Cheese Sandwiches) for those of us who avoid hamburgers and chicken filets. The breakfasts also always offer cold cereals and fruit along with milk.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Many bakeries on 4th and 5th Avenues have a stack of trays and tongs by the door. Grab one of each and head to the racks and racks of pink, yellow, crunchy delights that you see inside. Fill your tray with what you want (even if it's just one cookie), and then head to the cashier. You can order a nice cafe con leche (or whatever) to dunk the treats into. (thanks to veesvision for the photos above!)
Things are a little different on 8th Avenue. While places like Blue Sky have the cakes and buns behind a counter, others have displays out in the seating area and they are guarded by workers who will do the take care of putting what you want on a tray for you. It often takes some pointing and head shaking if you want a particular roll or bun, but you eventually get what you want. This way, only one person is handling the food - not a bad idea. They are quick, too. I've only waited in a line a couple of times, and that was around lunch-time.
Of course, if no one is standing by the display, use the method described above. In some cases, if you move in slow-motion, a worker will run out and apologize while taking the tray from your hands and finishing up your order.
Either way, it's the best 50 cents to a dollar you could spend on the Avenues. Happy eating!