Tag Archive for 'brooklyn'

I am made to return

ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn

I didn’t take very many photos on the trip to Puerto Rico. I didn’t want my camera to get wet and sandy, and most of our fun was had at the beach. I’m not sad, but I felt silly that I think about taking “vacation photos” but rarely keep the camera with me on regular days. Monday was sunny and gorgeous and so I walked the few miles to the Hoyt subway stop on my way up to Columbia (first I thought, I’ll walk to Atlantic, then Nevins, but I didn’t get on a train until Hoyt).

The Hoyt stop is right up against the downton Brooklyn Macy’s — where ESPO has painted this gorgeous “Love Letter To Brooklyn” mural on the parking garage. I had seen it quickly, on bike, and of course on the internet, but it was great to discover it all over again, especially on a day that I set out to pay attention to the place I live the way that I had to each new thing when in Puerto Rico.

A few more:

ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn
ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn

I also noticed this excellent address ironwork:

And realized that we really are getting a stadium:
we really are getting a stadum.


tall buildings

So Mount Prospect Park, which is right near me, is apparently the highest point in Brooklyn. Which is a silly thought because there are so many buildings in Brooklyn, which are clearly higher, and Mount Prospect Park is a park, which means it does not have tall building built on it (although, given NYC’s love of public private partnerships, that could change).

My real question though is this: If you accounted for elevation, would the ranking of the world’s tallest buildings (and structures, okay CN Tower, you can play too), change?

we will not be shushed

Last year, Sarah Zarrow and I had a great time at the Brooklyn Public Library’s 24-hour Read In. In an effort to stop the budget cuts that would shorten hours, close libraries, reduce services, and lay off librarians, the read-in was a public declaration of how important the library and reading are.

Saving the Library for Dummies
Man with bicycle on the plaza

Though most of those cuts were prevented (well, delayed, really), they are of course on the table again. Every time I go to the BPL’s website I get hit with this splash page image:
save the library

All of which is to say that the read-in will happen again this year. From 5pm Saturday (june 11th) until 5pm Sunday (june 12th) on the plaza outside the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch, folks with take turns reading aloud. Last year people read stories, poems, recipes, and lists from John Hodgeman’s The Areas of My Expertise. It was a great event–good to be out taking full advantage of the public space, seeing people come out of the park or the greenmarket and wander over to see what was going on, doing something so important with such a charming, wholesome event.

The Magpie Librarian makes a pretty great case for why this matters and why you should come.

So does this puppy:
puppies against cutting the library budget

December 31, 2010

I have all these excellent friends with excellent blogs that I read and marvel at–Lindsey and Kat and Hollis and Becky are all making stuff and writing about things and I love them for it. And then Naomi sends me new things that she’s writing and I’m amazed.

So, given that it’s the last day of 2010 (see the subject line) it’s time for show and tell, with a bit of resolve to have more focus (here and everywhere) in the new year.

ozzy and patrick
Ozzy and Patrick giving each other a good stare-down in my apartment
Hollis and Lindsey during an afternoon of knitting and in Prospect Park
My Girasole, which I’ve been knitting for months and will keep working on for a few more.
The shirt I made and wore as part of my jar-of-pickles halloween costume
My American Thanksgiving
Sara Bergen Franklin and her brother, whose family thanksgiving I went to this year.
Go moves
Our Go swatches from the MST festival
zach and jess and ozzy
Zach and Jess and Ozzy.
serious faces
Walking across the hudson with David H.
No Art
No Art on Franklin Ave.

Okay, that’s what I have for now. See you all later.


Knitting, East and West

my bicycles at valentino pier

This is a photo of my bike at Valentino Pier, in Red Hook, from a few weeks ago. When I parked to go to Baked to get brownies and coffee before sitting down to read on the pier, I got to park up against a yarn-bombed bike rack!

The rack next to that one was also yarn-wrapped, in a different pattern:


Red Hook is full of surprising and lovely things. Especially gardens.

As well as reading on the pier, I got in a bit of work on my Entomology shawl

which I put on hold for a while to knit some fingerless mitts as a sample-knit for Yarnia, my dear friend Lindsey’s yarn store in Portland Oregon. You can read my guest blog post about the mitten-knitting over the Yarnia blog, but here are a few photos:

Good Growing

A few weeks ago, I stumbled into a plot at the Crow Hill Community Garden. I showed up to dig and help out, got offered a plot, and had it filled with seeds and plants by the end of the day. (That was also the day that Ghana beat America in soccer, and I don’t normally care about sports, but that was spectacular).

This is what my plot looked like then:
garden plot
Collards around the outside, beans and cilantro and peas and some other seeds in the ground.

And this is what it looks like now:
My beans, getting all big and stuff.

peppers sprouting
Hot peppers, sprouting out of the ground.

green pepper
A green pepper, growing.
I bought some plants from the Natty Garden shop and put them in (I wasn’t going to rely just on things from seed this late in the season), and the green peppers are starting to produce fruit.

I’m calling the whole thing the pipe garden, because I excavated this piece of pipe when I was digging up the earth, and put in it in the garden, and planted these little flowers in it.
flower in a pipe

In addition to the Crown Hill Community Garden, the Little Franklin Garden is doing alright too. Last week, someone stole my tomato, which is unsurprising, but it would have made more sense to wait until it turned red. Why steal unripe produce? Anyhow, that same plant is growing another little tomato; growing just keeps chugging along.

new tomato

Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Awesome

I want to post this photo and say that this is the best thing I did this week–a Brooklyn Bridge Birthday Bike Ride (the bridge turned 127 on Monday) with the City Reliquary complete with cake and pop and a band and a dance party. Giving cake to tourists and locals walking across the bridge at 7pm on a weekday is really just a lovely thing to do. This is me giving a piece with a yellow flower to a girl in a dress with yellow flowers. When her mom came up a few moments later and saw her kid with a big piece of cake, she burst out laughing at her charming cake-manipulative daughter. But it was all part of the plan.

The reason that I can’t say this was the most awesome thing I did this week is because last night Naomi and I went to Jalopy for their Wednesday night free “Roots and Ruckus” show, and we saw the best thing I’ve ever seen. The Bill Murray Experience (silly name for an amazing group of musicians), fronted by the cutest lady who sings and plays the washboard and kazoo, just totally blew us away.

Here is a video!

bikes in the kitchen

bikes in the kitchen,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

Riding home through Williamsburg.

G’bye, Freddy’s

This is fun: at about 1:36 you can see my friend John and I cross the street (from bottom left corner to the bar), lock up my bike, and go inside. And then my bike gets to be front and centre for the rest of the little clip.

Freddy’s Bar - Last Days from tracy collins on Vimeo.

NYT article and slideshow about Freddy’s here.

Coop Haul

Inspired by Emily’s farmer’s market haul photos, (inspired, in turn, by Sweet Juniper), this is today’s Park Slope Food Coop haul

everything I bought

1 cucumber
bag of brussels sprouts
cream cheese
blue cheese
peccorino cheese
2 avocados
bag of baby carrots
2 packages of frozen ravioli
1 loaf amy’s bread
4 tomatoes
1 kiwi
4 limes
1 bunch kale
3 packages frozen peas
4 bottles of beer
2 leeks
6 eggs
bag of salad greens
bunch of mint
handful of basil
2 lemons
2 lightbulbs
current issue of the coop newspaper


bike lanes and good people

This is a good post from my friend Laurie about bike lanes. She rides in Toronto, but what she’s saying applies everywhere.

And what she’s saying is that drivers should be in favour of bike lanes. Especially the drivers that hate cyclists the most. Cyclists are not going to go away, but they will be less bothersome to drivers if there is a safe place for them to be on the road.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot (I drive in the city, as well as cycle), and the thing that slows cars down (which is what seems to make drivers the most angry) is unpredictability. It’s not cyclists specifically, it’s mostly double-parking! Double parked cars, delivery trucks, taxis…they force cars and cyclists to change lanes and zoom around them, which is what makes driving (and cycling) awful. And dangerous.

Every time I read blog comments on bike-related things I get all upset at the mean-spirited anti-cyclist sentiments. The anti-bikers actually need to support bicycle infrastructure to get what they want! And traffic needs to behave better so that things are safer, but also so driving is predictable and moves faster. Transportation Alternatives has been pushing the Biking Rules, shouldn’t AAA push good driving? It will make the streets better for everyone.

Only slightly related, here are some photos of the April 9th Critical Mass ride in Brooklyn. It was lovely: we went to eat ice cream and check out the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. About 20 cyclists at peak, about 20 cops (in a van, a few cars, and those half-car golf-cart things) following us for some unknown bureaucratic reason.

Brooklyn Thursday Evening

On Thursday, I took the S-Q combo of trains to Ditmas Park to hang out with the cluster of wonderful humans that live in a house (which might be against the rules), pick up my car, and settle Catan. I took my new camera (a Canon G11) for the ride–I’m so pleased with how it works in low light!

botanic garden
The shuttle stop by me is called Botanic Garden even though it’s not the closest stop to the Botanic Garden and it’s connected to the 2/3/4/5 Franklin Ave. I don’t know how things got named.

waiting feet
Yellow socks and the yellow lego-like subway stripe. I really like that if you look closely, is says “Amoreille” in dots in the top right.

on the train
This little girl was totally vamping for the camera.


Then we drank wine and played The Settlers of Catan. Jamie won.

Everyday I write the book. Er, blog?

This post from my dear friend Kirsten reminded me that last year I successfully participated in NaNoBloPoMo–and so even though it’s already the second I’ll give it a go this year as well. Hi Kirsten! (And Emily and Kurt with whom I participated last year, a slightly drunken pinky-swear sealing the deal).

Yesterday I woke up late, ate eggs AND waffles for breakfast with Zach, watched Crooklyn, and then drove up to Connecticut for a long-weekend (election!) holiday at the farm-mansion with Anna and Naf.

The night before was Halloween. Zach and I made matching Max-from-where-the-wild-things-are costumes (full disclosure: I am still wearing my grey sweatpants with the tail attached. I am a costume-obsessed 9-year-old this week) and then split up for the night. At my shindig Kelly was decked out as KW (with little stuffed owls tucked into her belt), so we had fun howling together.

kw and max
(photo by Tanveer)

A few weeks before that, the same group of wonderful people held Brooklyn Thanksgiving — a whole slew of people were actually going to be away during real thanksgiving, so we held it early. This photo comes from Emily:

thanksgiving spread

I tried to uphold the tradition of making waffles on thanksgiving, but Em’s waffle iron was mysteriously missing. So we had thanksgiving pancakes with corn salsa. Totally yum.

Brooklyn this week

Billboard update:

252 streetview

Google streetview updated some parts of Brooklyn, and captured the hemorrhoids billboard!

Etsy Update:

defend disserations!

I think that this shirt is awesome.

Actually, I think that’s it.

Unless you haven’t yet been acquainted with Regretsy, the making-fun-of-bad-crafts-for-sale blog that has captured the hearts and minds of the world. This sweater is a recent favourite.

Billboard Update

Cycling through the old neighbourhood yesterday, I took South Fourth Street and found this!
blank billboard

I wrote about my experience with this billboard before
–this is such a lovely sight.

Street Plants on Franklin Ave.

As a counterpoint to the cranky, here’s something wonderful I found on Franklin Avenue: Street Plans with a gate made from pieces of an air conditioner.
street plants

on coffee and neighbourhoods

There are a lot of empty storefronts in my neighbourhood, in what I think is a one-man gentrification scheme spearheaded by my landlord. In my estimation, he’s sitting on these spaces waiting for fancy coffee shops and boutique kitchenware stores to open up and attract more folks like Zach and I. I remember learning somewhere that landlords actually get tax breaks on vacant retail space, so there’s actually quite a bit of incentive for this sort of behaviour.

But nonetheless, across the street there’s been construction for a while on the soon-to-open Breukelen Coffee House (blogged about on I Love Franklin Avenue here). Exciting! Hooray! Now I don’t have to walk the full block to the Glass Shop when I need out of the house for some reading-and-coffee.

Except, maybe not so much.

There’s been a lot of discussion about this new cafe on the Crown Heights message board (excuse: I got sort of addicted to the message board after I fell down the stairs and couldn’t explore the neigbourhod on foot. Thanks, internet), including posts from the owners who describe the new cafe as such:

The Breukelen Coffee House is a holistic and organic coffee shop. Our intention is to serve organic whenever we can (we are aiming for 100% of the time- but it’s not always available and accessible).

We are proudly serving Stumptown Organic Coffee. And organic milks: almond, hazelnut, oat and hemp milk. Milk will not be available nor conventional sugar. We will only be serving non processed, all natural sweetners such as stevia, agave syrup and Manuka honey.

We’ll also have delicious organic smoothies!

Equally important are the holistic workshops we’ll be holding. They will focus on proper breath, proper hydration, eating with ‘life foods’, etc, etc.

Our motto is: Order anything from our menu without guilt! Holistic, healthy eating is what we do and where we pride ourselves.

Last but not least- we’ve heard your requests! We will adjust our weekend hours of operation to:

Mon-Fri 7:00AM-7:00PM
Sat 7:00AM-6:00PM
Sun 7:00AM-5:00PM

And here is a photograph of the space. It’s not my photo, but it could be, because this is pretty much what I see when I leave the front door of my apartment. It’s slightly unsettling to share a corner of the city with someone I don’t know who blogs about it all the time, with overly wide-eyed enthusiasm (look! a new bus shelter!), but that’s neither here nor there.
breukelen coffee house

So the discussion on the board is mostly “milk please,” for a few different reasons, mostly “I want it” and “you’ll lose customers.” In truth, I would like real milk (which could be bought from Ronnybrook at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market once a week, and be walked over to the store and support local economies and upstate farms), and it probably will push people over the also soon-to-open cafe run by Tony Fisher of Fisher’s Market (actually the cafe which started the thread on the message board), who does a good job of keeping me away from his store by talking too much about the number of hot girls in the shop over on his twitter account.

But really, this shop seems to be sending a big f-you to the neighbourhood, which is now mostly discount stores and roti shops and hair braiding. I would like more retail diversity, yes, but this just seems like it’s skipping over too many steps in a reasonable evolution, and ignoring a whole mess of people who really would just buy coffee and a brownie if they could. I think agave nectar and almond milk are good things (though I am much less fond of the reported hollistic health workshops–seriously, gag me with a spoon and then maybe buy me a beer), but to the exclusion of other things is to the exclusion of other people.

As David says, “white people are great, but they’re not the end-all be-all.”

I just want to say that I was really really wrong! I let my cynicism get in the way of generosity, and that’ not fair. The Breukelen Coffee Shop is actually a wonderful addition to the neighbourhood, it’s full of all sorts of people, and the owners are three incredibly great people. I’m sorry for being mean and suspicious! -Dory

the North Brooklyn Blogger’s Banquet

I sometimes think that it’s silly that I live in New York because I don’t really care about all the stuff that goes on. A really good day for me is about bike rides, coffee, and making and eating food with good people. It’s not even that I’m content to miss some world-famous DJ spinning in some club–I don’t even know that it’s happening and I’ve never heard of the dude.

It’s a good thing that I live here though, because there are lots of good people who want to make food and hang out and dance around the kitchen and debate the merits of zucchini versus summersquash while shelling peas and drinking bottles of Brooklyn Lager.

I appreciate it when these nights are informal and spontaneous, but a little while ago a group of very wonderful North Brooklyn friends and I started plotting and planning about something a little more structured. This group of friends includes photobloggers (Jake, Tanveer, and Joe), comicbloggers (Kenan), breadbloggers (Liz), food+bakingbloggers (Cate), and all-sorts-of-everything-bloggers (me and Emily)–so the logical conclusion was an over-blogged dinner party: The North Brooklyn Blogger’s Banqut (NB3)!

an annotated picture of salad

(photo courtesy of Tanveer Badal, annotations courtesy of me)

Inspired by Mark Bittman’s recent article about salads, I put together the watermelon-tomato-basil-goat feta salad pictured above. I picked up most of the ingredients on saturday at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket and the Park Slope Food Coop, and got the watermelon from Nam’s* on Sunday on my way up to Greenpoint (to Liz & Joe’s) for the event.

THEN: we shucked corn and shelled favabeans and snapped photos and danced around eachother in the kitchen and stirred and baked and put things in the oven and we used all the knives and bowls and cutting boards and we rearranged things in the fridge and took things out of the oven and we stirred and took more photos and peered in the the neighbours backyard and got caught in a rainstorm and drank rose and played with some puppies and made a mess and cleaned it up.

prepping in Liz and Joe's kitchen
Photo by Joe

And then we ate dinner.

And now we’re talking about doing it again before the end of the summer. The same principles will probably apply: no spectators. Well, no spectators at the event, only afterward. Read everyone’s takes on the evening!

watch out, tanveer!

*I don’t love Nam’s like the dude who writes I Love Franklin Avenue loves Nam’s–it’s too pricey and the produce isn’t particularly awesome or plentiful–but I’m glad that it’s there.

billboard blues

When I moved into the apartment on South Fourth Street, the billboard outside the kitchen window (target audience: BQE drivers) was for a Land Rover. I made the joke that in 15 years I’ll buy a Land Rover, and though I won’t remember living by the billboard, it will have made its impression on me. Then the billboard was for paint, and then insurance.

But then things started to go downhill. One morning the words outside the window were large, in yellow, and said “STOP CUTS TO DOWNSTATE MEDICAL AND OUR SUNY SCHOOLS.” The pictures were bad flash photos of doctors and 20-year-olds standing in a line. The billboard was still annoying, yes, but this one kind of amused me.

I started to talk about how this billboard was an indicator of the recession, getting less and less high-paying advertisers. Zach said I should submit it to Andrew Sullivan for BOTH his “The View From Your Window” and “The View from Your Recession” projects.

And then things got ugly:

got hemorrohids?

A “Got Hemrrhoids?” billboard with a butt as the “o” in “proctology.” I started keeping the curtains drawn.

But now that I’m leaving this apartment, the view has changed. Kurt sent me this cameraphone photo of the swtichover while I was in Vancouver:

on cbc radio or sirius sattelite radio 137

So maybe the economy is getting better along with the view?


Tomorrow is thanksgiving! My first American thanksgiving! I am going over to the lovely Emily’s house, and making savory waffles from the Rebar cookbook. (I made them once, about 4 years ago, and swore I’d never do it again, they were so time consuming…).

And yes, while I like to pretend that I don’t really understand how America works, I do know that waffles are not a traditional thanksgiving food.

But my favourite favourite thing about thanksgiving…Hand Turkeys!

Look at this photo, from the big brunch party here on south fourth street a few weeks ago:

comparing hands See how Jon and Rachel are comparing the size of their hands? This activity was either right before or right after Jon made his first Hand Turkey. It was a thrilling moment.

A quick google of “hand turkey” brings up these fine results:
lolcat hand turkey
That last one, of course, is from the often brilliant Toothpaste For Dinner.

Here are more pictures of the brunch party because this holiday is all about eating delicious things with people you like.
heater club