Sunday, October 27, 2013

Art in the Hood: Bansky strikes in Sunset Park

The celebrated UK street artist who has been playing a hide and seek game with the NYPD Graffiti squad has hit our neighborhood. A crew from the Gothamist went down to take pictures. But why a truck? Don't we have enough empty walls in the nabe? Should we consider it an insult that he painted a truck which could drive away rather than a wall which would be more permanent? In any case, which so much negative stuff happening in the nabe these last few days it makes for a bit more lighthearted happening. The question is. Is thee above art or vandalism? I rather opine for the latter. Nothing artistic about the above. A third grader could have painted that. Common Bansky! If you're going to invade our neighborhood paint something more "artistic".

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Crime: More Murder In The Hood

Police respond in Sunset Park (NBC New York)

Sunset Park was in the news again and not in a good way. It seems the stories coming out of the neighborhood involve violence or murder lately and no ethnic group in the nabe has been left untouched. This time both the perp and the victims were Chinese. Gothamist has the best story on the incident so far. Something is up in the neighborhood. Maybe it's my perception but after a period of relative low crime there seems to be an uptick of  murder and tragedy. It seems to be a citywide problem but you tend to pay attention when it's in your back yard in streets and parts you are very familiar with. Something is up and perhaps we should investigate what's happening and why. Let's hope for better days ahead free of violence and mayhem and hope that stories coming out of neighborhood in the news have a more positive note.

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Openings: Tommy's Famous Cheesesteak and Pizza in Park Slope

Tommy's Cheesesteak and Pizza is a relatively new eatery just over the border in Park Slope and the newest addition to our cybermall in our website. Their page allows for ordering online and has links to their own website. The guy who owns the place is of course named Tommy and is originally from Philadelphia, thus the reason for the cheesesteaks. The place is set up more like an upscale pizzeria which fits the template for Park Slope. Tommy has a branch in Philadelphia and had another pizzeria in another part of Brooklyn before selling it and moving to his current location in Park Slope. It's located just off the corner of 9th street and 5th Avenue. Their specialty item is of course Cheesesteaks and they do good pizza too. It's an Italian owned and run place which may be bucking the trend with all these pizzerias run by non Italians that have proliferated in the city. Besides their regular pizzas and great cheesesteaks try their Grandma's pizza which is made with marinara sauce. It's worth the visit and nice to get out of Sunset Park every once in a while. You can see their full menu here. They do deliver so if you are in reasonable proximity you can order online or by phone. If you do stop in and try their stuff tell them you found out about it here and that I sent you....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Art in The Hood: UPROSE mural 25th street and 4th Avenue

This mural on the corner of 25th street and 4th Avenue done last year by the same crew from Groundswell that did the mural on 7th Avenue takes the whole side of the C Town supermarket located on the same corner. It's on the section of Sunset Park which real estate agents for marketing reasons have dubbed Greenwood Heights. It's a rather impressive mural to see and rather than being done by a professional crew it is even more impressive for the fact that it was done by volunteer students..

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Store of the Day: Frankel's, serving Sunset Park since 1890

Located on the corner of 40th street and 3rd Avenue Frankel's is probably the oldest business establishment in Sunset Park by far. I can't think of any long time resident in the nabe who isn't familiar with Frankel's and hasn't met it's current owner and family caretaker Marty Frankel. The business was founded in 1890 by Adolph Frankel. It was on the other side of third Avenue but moved to it's current location when the Gowanus Highway was built. The  store is ever changing with the times and fashions. When I first moved into the nabe in 1970 I was into cowboy boots and Frankel's was the only store in Brooklyn at the time that carried them. I still have a pair of lizard skin Dan Post boots that I bought from them. I visit the place often and I suspect that if I live another hundred years the place will still be there. Son Erik Frankel is based in Vietnam these days running factories and computer programming facilities among other things. If you've never been there it's worth the visit. It's like going back in time and you will step into an institution that is almost as old as the neighborhood. When you go there tell Marty I sent you..

The view from another blog: One More Folded Sunset: Frankel's

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Art in The Hood: Tacos El Bronco 44th and 4th Ave.

Commissioned by the restaurant of the same name located on the corner of 44th street and 4th Avenue this mural is Mexican themed as reflecting many of the residents of the area. You'll have to visit the location to see the mural in full. It seems the neighborhood is becoming a center of urban wall art..

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Coming: An Arch to Sunset Park and it's not McDonald's

Somehow I missed this story last April as I am sure so did many other Sunset Parkers. Sneaked under the radar by our wanna be comedian borough president. The arch is apparently a gift from the Communist Chinese government and we are taking it because apparently we can and it's free. Hey, you get what you pay for. The arch is at this time slated to be built between 64th and 65th street on 8th Avenue. There is the full story at The Brooklyn Paper. Be sure to read the comments section as they make for interesting reading. In the meantime, the Manhattan Chinatown is bitching and moaning that they don't have their own arch. Maybe all those Falun Gong people who protest Chicom oppression every weekend at 60th street will move up and protest under the arch. Now that would be ironic.. If anything it's a sign that this change to Sunset Park is becoming rather permanent. Chinatown is here to stay. We may find to our chagrin that the arch may become a tourist attraction. Someday we'll see a German tourist wearing socks with sandals in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt having his picture taken with the arch in the background. Oh well, there goes the nabe..

Monday, October 7, 2013

Making movies in the Hood: Person of Interest Season 3

New York City has become Hollywood East and a lot of stuff is being shot on the PASUBA (park slope, sunset, bay ridge) strip which runs along 4th and 5th avenues. This morning I stumbled on a crew shooting scenes for season 3 of a tv program entitled "A Person of Interest'. Not being a boob tube watcher I have no clue what it is. There have been quite a few films shot in Sunset and the adjoining neighborhoods. The last one I can think of off the top of my head was "Cop Out". And most people forget that epic with Travolta "Saturday Night Fever" was partially shot in Sunset Park as well. Anyway it's good to see the industry moving in. BTW, how many people know that there are film and television studios located on the other side of third avenue?

Food setups for the crew. They weren't offering passersby any :-(.

Loads of film equipment offloaded from the truck.

Film trucks and vans line up fifth Avenue near the main entrance to Greenwood Cemetery.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Art in the Hood: Mural Southwest Corner 32nd Street

Located on the Southwest corner of 32nd street and 4th Avenue this mural appears to have been painted sometime in 2012 by a guy whose tag is Vers. He has a website at VERSGRAFX.COM where he showcases his other work.. There are two other works on this intersection done by other artists. I will be posting those in the coming days.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

$2 million up for grabs for community use.

Mark the dates of the 16th, 22nd and 23rd on your calendars. Two million won't go far these days but if the money can be used to improve the nabe then it's a good thing. If we don't use it someone else will.

Here are my suggestions. Setting up a BID for 8th Avenue, it has become as economically important as 5th Avenue to the nabe and would help to control development on the Avenue in a positive direction. It would also limit the number of unsavory businesses on the Avenue.

How about some park benches for the 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue strips. I don't know about you but there are times when I wish I could find a spot to sit after walking for blocks. They have them on both 3rd avenues and 5th on the Bay Ridge side.

Expanding WIFI service beyond 5th Avenue to 4th and perhaps 8th Avenue.

Better traffic control to relieve the congestion on 8th and 5th Avenues. It makes for safer traffic when you don't have all those double parked cars everywhere and cars trying to go around them or cut into traffic etc. The tragedy this  last week on 5th may have been contributed to by the congestion. Maybe some of the money could go to a couple of NYPD cars to keep the avenues clear and traffic orderly and less dangerous for pedestrians.

How about some free language classes in English? This is an immigrant neighborhood and it would help people assimilate faster into the culture. I am tri-lingual. When we immigrated to America with my parents only my father spoke English (he had served in the US Army and spoke many languages). My mother learned her English at night classes that were being given for free at Erasmus High School in the ealry 60's (we lived near there at the time). 

Well, that's a few suggestions I have. Many out there can probably come up with more of them. Post them below or, go to the meetings..


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Changes on the wall...

A slight controversy arose at the painting of the Mural at Rite Aid on 4th and 63rd street. Apparently management at Rite Aid did not want any human faces on the wall (photos below) and asked that they be replaced by animals instead. The new version is the one that will remain. I managed to snap a picture of the wall before the changes so we can keep it for posterity. In any case, the walls are coming along just fine and will be a fine addition to the many points of interest in the neighborhood. Maybe it will entice our neighbors in Park Slope and Bay Ridge to venture across the frontiers of our neighborhoods to come take a look. Being as most people in this city according to one study I read, rarely venture outside a radius of 7 blocks from where they live. Part of the purpose of this blog is to cover the nabe from end to end as well as our neighbors who all have something to offer so we can appreciate the world around us beyond those seven blocks..

While speaking to who I think was the manager he told me they are considering doing the wall on the Rite Aid on 5th and 53rd street. I suggested they could use a more local theme such as the entrance gates at Green Wood Cemetery or the statue of Minerva (sister to the Statue of Liberty, maybe perhaps a scene from the Battle of Brooklyn which took place on Battle Hill where the Delaware regiment sacrificed themselves to prevent the British from capturing Washington. There are a lot of themes one could come up with which are relevant to the nabe and it's history and it would be Brooklyn themed.

As it looks now.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Changes: New Cafe coming to old Podlaise location.

No sooner did I write last month of the closing of Polish Delicatessen Podlaise that the location appears to have been rented and construction has begun at the location. From the city permits we can tell that it is going to be a Cafe. As if 8th Avenue needed yet another cafe. Somehow I don't think it's going to be a Starbucks. Fat chance of that happening. But we can always hope. Actually I think a Starbucks would do well on 8th Avenue, maybe even on 5th where there are a lot of store fronts up for rent. At least it shows the vibrancy of the local economy on the 8th Avenue strip. Stores don't stay closed for long. If there is one constant in the neighborhood it is change and it's happening at a fast pace..

Last Month.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Art in the Hood: Groundswell Mural on 7th Ave and 63rd street

I took this and the following shots a while ago and never got around to posting them. But since my post yesterday highlighting another mural on 4th Avenue I figured I would post these. This mural known as the Groundswell Mural is on the overpass on 7th Avenue and 63rd street. It was painted over two years ago and you can read all about it here with accompanying links to a slide show. There are other murals I have shot as well. I will have to dig up the pics or go back and reshoot them. Sunset Park has a lot of art on it's walls..

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Art in The Hood: Rite Aid on 4th gets a new paint job

One thing about Sunset Park is that it has a lot of murals and a new one is going up at the Rite Aid on 4th and 63rd street. The work is being done by urban artist "Angel VASE ONE Garcia and his assistant based out of the Czech Republic Dmitrij Proskin who goes by the tag Chemis. They still have a ways to go but it does seems as if the have quite a bit of it done already. Angel related to me that he has a contract to paint many of the Rite Aid Pharmacies' side wall and he has already completed a number of them. Maybe they will get to do the Rite Aid on 5th and 53rd. That would be nice. They both have websites you can visit where they showcase their work. you can catch Jorge at VASEONEUW.COM  and Chemis you can catch at CHEMISLAND.COM . The entire thing is being coordinated by a guy who goes by the tag The Royal King Bee (They all have tags) whose website is KINGBEEUW.COM. Maybe I should do a series on all the murals that you can find in Sunset Park. That should keep me busy for a while. Walls have become the new canvas of the urban landscape and neighborhoods the new museums. It will be interesting to see what the wall will look like when they are finished.

Jorge Garcia AKA VASE stands in front of the section he was working on.

Dmitrij Proskin AKA CHEMIS in front of the section he was working on.

Some shots of the work in progress..
Revised 10-4-2013


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