Apr 29, 2007

Sakura Matsuri Festival - Botanical Garden

on Gallery, originally uploaded by Jon Cronin.

Today was the last day of the Sakura Matsuri. If you didn't get a chance to see the Japanese Festival of Light at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, you should put it on you calendar for next year. The garden was packed and the cherries were starting to bloom. It is probably better to see the cherries in full bloom next week-end -but- you will have missed the folk dances, samari swords and numerous other performances. I am glad to have made it this year and I look forward to you comments about the event? The tulips where amazing!

Apr 27, 2007

Top Rides at Astroland, Coney Island

originally uploaded by dubsyuhs.

As many people already know Astroland Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn will close at the end of this year. Astroland originally was a 'space-age' theme park. Today it is a magically journey back to the past. Our memories of childhood fairs are fulfilled among unsafe rides that injure our necks, all in the name of fun. Astroland turned 45 this April Fools day and on November 28, 2006 was sold to Thor Equities for $1.5 billion. According to the article in Newsday, they will continue to operate the Cyclone, the famous wooden roller coaster. People in the neighborhood welcome the change, while people that visit the park each summer are saddened.
Coney Island
will replace Astroland beginning 2011.

One of my favorite video sites Rocketboom shows us a beautiful tribute.

Here is a list of the Top Rides at Astroland. What is your favorite?

Apr 20, 2007

Best Brooklyn Jazz Spots

sound, originally uploaded by jaysk.

I was having tea with my wife the other day at Marquet and she ran into a guy whom she had met before and introduced me to him. His name was Carl Thompson and he was an older dude who seemed relaxed and cool. I asked him if he lived in the neighborhood and he told me that “he was the neighborhood”. He then proceeded to tell me about his custom bass making business. He told me that he just finished making a Bass for Lou Reed and that he has be making customized basses since 1974 at the rate of about ten or so every year. His site says he makes the Stradivarius of the electric bass guitar. He has made instruments for such greats as Anthony Jackson, Stanley Clarke, Les Claypool, and the Allman Brothers bassist, as well as created the first electric 6-string bass and the first piccolo bass. All of his instruments are custom order and completely unique, there is no assembly line. He has even made a 10 million dollar bass.

When I mentioned to Carl aka “The Jazz Cat” that there was no great jazz spots in the neighborhood, he told me that I was mistaken and that the best spot for jazz was Sunday’s 7-10pm at Downtown Atlantic, where you can see Carl Thompson and Friends play each and every Sunday!

Here is a list of some Top Jazz Spots in Brooklyn. If you have any other special spots please let us know in the comments section below.

Barbes (Park Slope)
Zebulon (Williamsburg)
Bar Tabac (Boerum Hill)
B.A.M. (Downtown Brooklyn)
Freddy’s Backroom (Boerum Hill)
Koze Lounge (Park Slope)
Sista’s Place (Bed Stuy)
Tea Lounge (Cobble Hill)
The Jazz Spot (Bed-Stuy)
Liberty Heights Tap Room (Red Hook)
Puppets Jazz Bar (Park Slope)
Night Light Cafe & Jazz Club (Sheepshead Bay)
Soft Spot (Williamsburg)
Art Land (Williamsburg)
Sugarcane (Caribbean Jazz)

Apr 18, 2007

Best Whale Watching in Brooklyn – In the Gowanus Canal?

gowanus, originally uploaded by f.trainer.

We thought that the Coney Island Aquarium was the top place to whale watch in Brooklyn - but we were wrong!

Yesterday there was a special visitor to the infamous Gowanus Canal. A juvenile minke whale was spotted off Pier 21 by John Quadrozzi. These whales are common along the Northeast coast but not often seen this far inland and probably weighs over 30,000 pounds. This isn’t the first time an unexpected visitor appeared in the canal, a few years back a young harp seal was named Gowanda was trapped in the canal and was rehabilitated by the Riverhead Foundation and later set free, but this whale appears to be in no immediate danger, except for a blast of polluted water.

The Gowanus Creek Canal is a canal in Brooklyn that borders the neighborhoods of Red Hook and South Brooklyn. There are five east-west bridge crossings over the canal. Once a leading national transportation hub, the canal's fate has mirrored the decline of shipping via water. A legacy of serious environmental problems has troubled the area from the time the canal was first built out of the local tidal wetlands and fresh water streams. In recent years, there has been a call once again for environmental cleanup. In addition, development pressures have brought speculation that the wetlands of the Gowanus should serve waterfront economic development needs which may not be compatible with environmental restoration.

There are numerous blogs that discuss the development of the area but the one that really stands out is The Gowanus Lounge. The area is home to many industrial businesses, artists and a growing residential base.

One of the best places to sit and enjoy the summer heat is the nearby Gowanus Yacht Club. This outdoor beer garden on Smith Street serves hot-dogs, hamburgers and good beer at great summer prices.

Apr 16, 2007

Best Brooklyn Bowling

dAve nov 2006 305, originally uploaded by ultravioletray.

This past week-end I went to visit my brother in Boston and I was treated to some candlepin bowling at an amazing place called the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. It got me thinking that the only time I have been bowling in New York was in Manhattan at Bowlmor Lanes and that is unacceptable as I am sure that there are some great places to bowl in Brooklyn. I put together a list of top places and I am going to visit each one to decide which the best is.

There are many forms of bowling, with the earliest dating back to ancient Egypt here are a few more.

Indoor Bocce at Floyd (Italian Lawn Bowling)
Outdoor Petanque on Smith Street and at Pit-Stop (French Bowling)

Where do you bowl?

Wild Brooklyn Parrots

brooklyn parrots in love, originally uploaded by anniebee.

Recent poaching of Brooklyn Parrots has forced Brooklyn Parrot expert Steve Baldwin to take down his location maps from his blog. There are two large flocks flying around Brooklyn, one in Green-Wood Cemetery and the other in Brooklyn College. There are also a bunch of smaller flocks scattered throughout the borough. To read more about the poaching go here, otherwise you can see them as you enter the cemetery and be sure to bring your camera!

Breaking news…… Brooklyn's Wild Parrots Directly Related to Dinosaurs click here to read more.

Jackie Robinson 60th Aniversary

Jackie Robinson became the first player in fifty-seven years to break the Baseball color line.

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) became the first African-American Major League Baseball player of the modern era in 1947. The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Robinson in 1962 and he was a member of six World Series teams. He earned six consecutive All-Star Game nominations and won several awards during his career. In 1947, Robinson won The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award and the first MLB Rookie of the Year Award Award. Two years later, he was awarded his first National League MVP Award. In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Jackie Robinson was also a forerunner of the Civil Rights Movement. He was a key figure in the establishment and growth of the Freedom Bank, an African-American owned and controlled entity, in the 1960s. He also wrote a syndicated newspaper column for a number of years, in which he was an outspoken supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. and, to a lesser degree, Malcolm X.

Apr 12, 2007

Top Fish Spots in Brooklyn

uploaded by Eric Gozar.

In honor of the death of the Brooklyn Fish King, who died today at the age of 86. I have put together a list of the top fish spots in Brooklyn.

April 12, 2007 -- Rubin Caslow, the chairman of the largest producer and distributor of smoked fish in the country, has died. He was 86.
Caslow, whose Acme Smoked Fish Corp. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, sells certified kosher smoked salmon, herring, whitefish and pickled lox, died Sunday at his home in Roslyn, L.I., his granddaughter, Emily Caslow, said yesterday.
Acme sells more than 7 million pounds of smoked fish around the country to such food-specialty emporiums as Zabar's, Balducci's, Barney Greengrass and Russ & Daughters, among others.

Brooklyn Fish Camp
Blue Ribbon Sushi Brooklyn
Park Slope ChipShop

The Atlantic ChipShop
The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak, & Oyster House (Hey wait a minute! This is in Seattle – Yes I have been there and it is awesome!)
Cube 63 Brooklyn (is Sushi considered a fish restaurant?)

Linberts Fish Chips
Mitchell Fish & Chips
Terras Fish & Chips

Island Fish & Meat Cuisine
S W Fish Fry Etc
Bouillabaisse 126

Nick's Lobster Fish Market,
Go Fish

Fish is difficult to categorize because everyone serves it but if you have a spot that can’t be beat let us know in the comments section below!

Social Responsibility Alert: We all need to eat less fish from the ocean and as a result my wife an I limit our fish intake to once a month.

Best Fish Market is Fish Tales and the new Fairway in Red Hook

Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball 2007

Brooklyn - Coney Island: Keyspan Park - Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese statue, originally uploaded by wallyg.

The Brooklyn Cyclones are a minor league baseball team in the short season single "A" New York - Penn League, affiliated with the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at KeySpan Park just off the boardwalk on Coney Island on West 19 Street and Mermaid Ave.

On July 20, 2006, the Cyclones and the Oneonta Tigers took part in the longest game in the history of the New York-Penn League, a 26-inning marathon which the Cyclones lost, 6-1. The game took 6 hours and 40 minutes to complete. The Cyclones scored their lone run in the first inning; Oneonta tied the game in the fourth and then did not score again until they scored five runs in the top of the 26th.

Their season begins June 19th and if you haven’t been to a game before it is one of the most interesting things to do on a hot summer day, watching the sunset over Coney Island and eating way to many hotdogs!

The Very First All-Star Game in 1858?

originally uploaded by Frank Lynch.

As we begin the 2007 baseball season I thought it would be interesting to tell you a little history about the very first All-Star Game in 1858. "But wait... I thought The first Major League All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago?" Read on!

"Every once in awhile there is a new and important find that becomes available to the collecting community and is exceptionally important to the development of the game of baseball. On June 23rd just such an item will come up for auction at the SCP Sotheby's live auction in New York City. The pieces are two hand scripted Official Scoring Reports that were used to score the match between the New York All Stars and the Brooklyn All Stars in 1858.

These Official Reports date from the second pivotal game of the very first All Star Game series held at the Fashion Race Course in Queens on August 17, 1858. The hand written Official Scorers Reports are enormously significant for two main reasons. First not only were the Fashion games the very first time ballplayers played in an All Star capacity but it was also the first series where patrons actually paid for the privilege of seeing a game of baseball. As such these gems represent the very awakening of the National Pastime as a business."

from: Baseball Almanac

On This Day in History: April 12 - Brooklyn Becomes a Village

South Street Seaport, originally uploaded by inanutshell.

BROOKLYN — The State of New York Legislature passed an act of incorporation on April 12, 1816, giving Brooklyn its first charter. In this act the village boundaries were set forth: “Beginning at the public landing south of Pierrepont’s distillery, formerly the property of Philip Livingston, thence running along the public road leading from said landing to its intersection with Red Hook Lane, then along Red Hook Lane to where it intersects the Jamaica Turnpike, thence a north-west course to the Wallabout Millpond, thence through the center of the millpond to the East River, and thence down the East River to the point of beginning.”

At the time the farms of Clover Hill, or the Indian name “Ihpetonga,” meaning a long sandy bank, (the original names for Brooklyn Heights) were famed the country over for their fine fruits and vegetables, which always found a ready sale in Manhattan. There were waving fields of grain, orchards of apple, peach and plum trees, huge vegetable gardens and berry patches.

Apr 2, 2007

5 Boro Bike Tour

Autumn Cycle, originally uploaded by moriza.

This week-end I put air in the tires of my bike and did my first official bike tour of the year. I drove around Brooklyn Heights, then down to Dumbo and then through Red Hook. I had a blast! The time has come to skip the taxis, buses and cars and bring out your bikes. There are many hazards driving a bike in this city but there is a day where bikes roam free. - The 5 Boro Bike Tour looks like a lot of fun of course comes through Brooklyn.

This year I am going to sign up!

Are you ready for the Tour? Stop by Grand Army Plaza (Brooklyn) for a free bike checkup with Five Borough Bicycle Club volunteer mechanics, and confer with NYC Department of Transportation experts about helmet safety.
Prospect Park Bike Clinic
Sat., April 14, 11:00-3:00