Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Open Mike at Mug Cafe a Success

The Mug Cafe on 58th street and 4th Avenue held the first of it's open mike events to pretty good success. Another one will be held in two weeks and as word gets around we can expect greater participation by local artists and residents who want to see the local talent. Stay tuned to these pages for further future events..

Friday, April 11, 2014

Open Mike this Coming Monday at Mug Cafe April 14th

This Monday Mug Cafe is holding the first and one hopes the first of many art events. The open mike event is to take place starting at 7 PM and everyone in the neighborhood is invited to stop by and join. It's a great excuse to visit a great coffee shop and hopefully a neighborhood hangout for people to congregate.

New Buddhist Temple on 7th Avenue

A new Buddhist temple with a Chinese facade over an old Sunset Park apartment building has appeared on 7th Avenue and 45th street. More evidence of the changing nature of that section of the neighborhood as Churches give way to an increasing number of  Oriental places of worship..

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Art in the Hood: Sunset Park Artists and the SOHO of Brooklyn's Short Lived Life

     It was hoped that when Bush Terminal was bought by some developers and renamed Industry City a few years back that Sunset Park would evolve into a center of the arts for Brooklyn and New York City. But starting late last year some disturbing stories began to appear in the news. In particular some articles in the New York Times. As someone who walks every corner of the neighborhood and what I call the PASUBA (Park Slope, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge) corridor on either side of 4th Avenue, I have seen the slow wave of gentrification creeping along southward towards Bay Ridge that began when Real Estate agents renamed the norther part of the neighborhood south of 17th street Greenwood Heights so they could rent apartments and sell houses at a higher price. As this wave of hipsters begins to move south with it come higher real estate prices and higher rents driving out long time local residents that now find it difficult to survive  in the gentrified areas.  There are two aspects to this encroachment. On the one hand one is seeing more upscale restaurants and bars appearing along 4th and 5th Avenues. On the other hand, artists who settled here because of the cheaper rents are now finding themselves priced out of the market. The moving in of the Brooklyn Nets as a tenant at Industry City certainly didn't help matters. The result is that a diaspora of artists has begun and is accelerating out of the neighborhood. The most recent article published last week in the Times confirrms this. As does this piece on another blog..

    There were high hopes that with all the artists moving into Sunset Park we would become a center of creativity and a magnet for other aspects of the arts, such as music etc.. All is not lost however, as there are still some artists remaining. At least those who can afford the higher rents. There are other warehouses on the other side of third avenue that could well become artists spaces. perhaps someone with an inventive mind could perhaps firgure out a way to get some city money to subsidize rents for artists spaces. Why not? We waste money on a lot of useless stuff in this country and city and putting it into art has at least some long term gain. If there is one constant in Sunset Park as most residents know, it is change. And more often than not, it's not for the better.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Store of The Day: Sunset Ridge Deli

Sunset Ridge Deli has had for some time one of the more stand out signs on 5th Avenue. The iconic art deco sign with it's contrasting colors is hard to miss when you pass by it on the Avenue. In recent times the store has changed management when one of the  partners bought out the others. It has one of the most intensive menus that I have seen. They recently renovated the interior as well as upgraded their menu. They recently launched a website as well which I was given the honor to design. You can also find them on our cybermall on our website sunset-park.com . Check them out and if you drop by the place tell them you saw them here. And they do deliver throughout Sunset Park and part of Bay Ridge as well..

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Closings: Home Hardware / Ambro Supply

Anbro Supply and Home Hardware located on the corner of 41st street and 8th Avenue has permanently closed it's door and the property has been sold. The store was already established when I moved into the neighborhood in 1970. The family owned store was the last decent full service Hardware store along 8th Avenue and a go to place when you needed anything from keys being made to shovels. Another sign that change as well as memories of the past are quickly disappearing. It is not known what the new owners of the property will do on that corner. Soon every last vestige on 8th Avenue that is not Chinese will disappear.. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Art in the Hood: Bees for Sunset Park

Someone recently pointed me to the iron fence that surrounds the D train station at 9th avenue and 39th street. I had not noticed before then that that the gate and the fence had a bee motif and that the gates had been made to look like honeycombs riddled with Bees. The installation apparently dates back to 2012 and the station attendants weren't even aware that it was there. The artist Christopher Russel has some fine pictures of it at his website. Most users of the train probably haven't noticed it either as the rush to the station to catch the train. The New York Times did a writeup on the gates when they were put up. If you haven't seen them or were unaware they were there you can visit the station and take a look. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Store of the Day: The Mug Cafe, it's not Starbucks, it's better..

For a long time I have complained about the fact there is no Starbucks in Sunset Park. One was going to come here five years ago or so and then Starbucks went into a recession mode and scrapped it's plans to open one here. Enter The Mug Cafe located on 4th Avenue between 58th and 59th streets. The place offers free internet and is open from 6AM to 10PM Monday through Saturday and Sundays until 4PM. The hours are equivalent to the Starbucks in Bay ridge on 75th street. For a road warrior like me who needs to do stuff on my laptop and access to wifi it fits the bill rather nicely. The price also happens to be right, $1 for a cup of Colombian coffee and reasonably priced pastries to go along with it. AND they also serve pizza. This is no hole in the wall either. The place is nicely laid out and spacious with plenty of tables and outlets to plug your laptop in so you can keep your battery charged while working, just like that "other place". So, if you're looking for an alternative to that "other" place that won't break your wallet and even serves pizza besides the traditional fare, this is the place to go. If we don't patronize our local businesses they won't last. So if you're in the neighborhood I urge you all to try it out. Oh, and did I also mention they make deli sandwiches as well. How cool is that? Try getting a deli sandwich at that "other" place. They also have  joined the cybermall on our website. If you want to check out their menu, by all means drop in and check it out. If you drop in on the place and patronize it, please tell them you saw it here and I sent you..

Year of the Horse Celebrations Scheduled for 8th Avenue Tomorrow .

Tomorrow is the scheduled day for Chinese New Year celebrations along 8th Ave. As it has been for quite a few years now the four hour celebration will probably start on time and finish a bit late. It is a great photographic opportunity if you haven't been to one of these celebrations. You should show up a bit early. The Avenue is usually clogged with people by the start time at 11AM. There will be many featured speakers on the stand setup at the corner of 50th street and 8th Avenue. Mostly local and city celebrations. Expect our new Mayor De Blasio to show up along with our Borough president and all those vote hunting politicians whom we seem to elect and re-elect with boring frequency even though they don't do much for the neighborhood at all. Definitely bring your camera. Expect Lion Dancers and a variety show by school children as well as martial arts demonstrations at the event. It is one opf the more colorful and memorable events of the neighborhood. And as I mentioned before. BRING YOUR CAMERA!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New York City's first 2014 pedestrain fatality takes place in Sunset Park

The streetsblog reports that the first fatal pedestrian accident took place in Sunset Park yesterday at the corner of 7th Avenue and 65th street. Xiaoci Hu, 75 was killed while crossing the intersection. You can read more details at their blog here. 

99 Favor Taste Restaurant, Hot Pot and More

Nestled in the middle  of the street on 61st street between 8th and 7th avenues is the relatively new Hot Spot where the locals have found a new food hangout. 99 Favor Taste opened it's doors in April 2012 but  because of it's location I had no clue they were there until I stumbled upon it. The  place offers traditional Chinese Hot Pot cuisine which has been evolving into Asian fusion Hot Pot a soup broth based cuisine and form of eating which originated in China thousands of years ago. The interior of the place is decked out a bit more upscale than most of the restaurants in the neighborhood and makes for a very pleasant eating environment to enjoy food. Besides Hot Pot they also serve what was described to me as Korean fusion BBQ. I haven't been able to find reviews of the place as yet in New York Magazine's website or the Village Voice. Their radar hasn't picked it up as yet. In my recently frequent visits the place is always crowded especially towards the evening having become a favorite spot of many locals especially the younger set. It has become so popular in fact, that the owners will soon be opening up another  location on the Lower East side of Manhattan in a couple of months, The place is probably indicative of the new wave of upscale places that are starting to dot the neighborhood, especially as our Chinatown becomes a more settled and permanent a fixture of Brooklyn. To see their menu and more pictures visit their page on our cyber mall. If you do drop in by all means tell them that we sent you there..

The nicely extravagant interior decoration reminds one of an eatery on a starship.

A Google image search turned up this shot of their opening in April 2012.


New Belacan Malaysian, Better than the old Belacan

One of the new businesses we have included in our cyber mall is the New Belacan Restaurant located on 8th Avenue between 59th and 60th streets. They  used to have a location on 7th avenue before they moved to their current  location. They have since added Japaneese Sushi to their menu and it's made fresh right on the spot. My favorite dish of theirs has always been Bat Thai which I used to take out when they were in their old location. I've tried their sushi as well and I can tell you  it's quite good. I've always had a preference for California roll, but the owner had me try some other varieties and they were just as tasty. The place is cozy and  always has people in there and is very popular with the locals. They also do take out and deliveries if you are in their catchment area. To look at their menu visit their page on our cyber mall. If you drop in and see one of the owners Sean tell him you saw it here on our blog.

New York Magazine profile
Village Voice

Back Blogging

After a hiatus of over a month we are back blogging. Last month was an extremely busy month for our website and have put a number of new businesses in our cyber mall. I am slowly recovering from a bad cold that seems to persist. It seems that everyone in Brooklyn is getting the flu or a bad cold. Nonetheless, traffic on our blog has remained fairly steady and we are looking forward to a better year this year than last. We seem to have been getting a lot of hits from a profile of Sunset Park in New York Magazine. It appears that there is an uptick in interest in our nabe.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all those who stumble on this blog the best of New Years and a great 2014..

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Track crime in Sunset Park or any other neighborhood.

There is a nifty website where you can track reported crime in your neighborhood and not just the major ones that don't make the news. It is interesting to see the patterns of reported crime in the neighborhood. My only objection is that they track the crimes in the Greenwood Heights section as a separate neighborhood even though it is technically still part of Sunset Park. To check out the latest crime statistics for the neighborhood simply click on the link to the SPOTCRIME.COM website. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Green dot scam confidence game going around the nabe

The Sunset Park BID posted a Notice on their Facebook Page about a scam that is apparently going around Brooklyn. I assume similar scams are being perpetrated across the country. 

I am reposting it here so that it gets a wider audience..

Please be aware of a scam that is making a comeback.

NEW YORK – Con Edison is warning customers not to fall for a scam in which a caller says the customer must make a payment by purchasing a Green Dot Money Pak to avoid having utility service turned off.

These callers are not from Con Edison and Con Edison does not authorize payments of electric or gas bills by pre-paid debit cards such as the Green Dot Money Pak. While many retail stores accept the Green Dot Money Pak for payment, Con Edison does not.

The company has received reports from hundreds of customers who were contacted by the scammers. The scammer tells the customer the company will turn off service unless the customer makes a bill payment by purchasing a Green Dot pre-paid card.

The scammers sometimes even tell the customer about a store near the customer's home that sells Green Dot cards. The scammer instructs the customer to pay cash to put money on the card and to then provide the number on the card to the person who called.

Once the customer provides the Green Dot card number, the scammer steals the money on the card by transferring the money to a pre-paid card and cashing that card at an automated-teller machine.

There have even been reports of these scammers making a Con Edison phone number show up on the customer's caller ID.

Be alert if anyone asks you by telephone to arrange for pre-paid debit cards of any kind as payment for your bill, or to send money to an out-of-state address. Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, over the telephone, unless you are certain you are speaking to a Con Edison representative.

In addition, Con Edison warns customers against imposters coming to their home and claiming to be from the company. Any Con Edison employee arriving at your home or business to read your meter will have a visible photo identification badge.

Feel free to ask or check for identification before allowing anyone into your home or business. If you feel the person at your door may be an imposter, you can call 1-800-75CONED (1-800-752-6633) to check.

Anyone who feels they may have been a target of an imposter or Green Dot scam should call their local police department. They may also call Con Edison.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bar of the Day: Irish Haven

The Irish Haven Bar on the corner of 4th Avenue and 58th is one of the few bars left that date back to when the neighborhood area had an Irish population. How long that will last we don't know. As long as the bar makes money it will still be there. Gone are some bars that were part of the history and folklore of Sunset Park. The Tollgate bar which dated back to the depression on 39th street and 8th closed back in the mid 1990's. The Rainbow Cafe on 5th and 39th also closed a few years back. Still there are a few bars left from that bygone era and this is one of them. 

Closings: Papa's Pizza & Grill

Papa's Pizza and Grill on 4th Avenue and 44th street fell victim to changing demographics and changes in food tastes in the neighborhood. The pizzeria had been struggling for sometime and it was only a matter of time before it closed. The increasing Mexican population around it is more in tune with their own ethnic food and don't frequent pizzerias as often. With more Mexican places and Delis opening all around offering more fast food choices the pickings were slim. It remains to be seen what will replace it. 4th Avenue is a difficult location to start an eatery. It doesn't get anywhere near the foot traffic that 5th Avenue does. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Openings: Guias Y Angeles

Guias Y Angeles is a new Botanica type store that opened on 4th Avenue between 34th and 35th streets. The place is different in the sense that the store got a complete renovation and the interior is clean and almost seems upscale in comparison to other Botanicas in the neighborhood. If you are one of the local residents that frequents these types of businesses the place is worth a visit. The store carries a wide array of statues, rosaries and other paraphernalia. Drop them a visit and tell them you saw it on the blog.. 

The same location in another time as a bodega. The opening of a newer bodega down the blog must have provided stiff competition and resulted in its' closing.

Weekend: Farmer's Market in Sunset Park Last Day Next Week

Every neighborhood has a Farmers Market. Ours occurs on weekends on the corner of 60th street and 4th Avenue. It has been on for several years and it seems to still be going strong. Next Saturday November, 16  is the last day for this season that it will be open. The market is open from June until mid November every year. You can get more information at their website Here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Art in the Hood: Rite Aid Mural on 4th Becomes New Local Landmark

The mural on the Rite Aid store at 63rd street and 4th Avenue is well on it's way to becoming a new local landmark. The completed mural depicts scenes of Brooklyn but none of the neighborhood. The manager had told me that they were discussing doing a mural  on the Rite Aid on 5th and hopefully that will include scenes of the neighborhood such as the gate at Greenwood Cemetery or Battle Hill where an important engagement of the Battle of Brooklyn took place. Whatever turns out the mural on 4th is a nice piece of  mural art which has evolved from graffiti.  As time goes on and more people in the neighborhood become aware of it the more it will become known. Below are links to our previous postings on the mural since it's inception. Of note is also the fact that this Rite Aid becomes one of the few pharmacies in Brooklyn that is now open 24 hours..

Related Link: Changes on the wall...

More photos below..