Friday, August 28, 2009


Korner Pizzeria is closed for vacation. When it reopens on Monday, September 7th, head there to enjoy spaghetti with red or white clam sauce, ziti with broccoli, baked ravioli, veal scaloppine, chicken francaise, shrimp oreganata, pizza, and much more.

Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Delivery hours: Monday to Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Korner Pizzeria
226 Church Avenue at E. 3rd Street
(718) 853-3755 or (718) 633-9828


Thursday, August 20, 2009


An additional $50 million in loans and $24 million in technical assistance and counseling programs is available from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Microloan Program. Accion USA, Inc., located in Manhattan, has been approved by the SBA as a microlender.

A microlender can lend up to $35,000 to a small business owner to use for working capital and to acquire materials, supplies, furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Details about the Microloan Program are on the SBA website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Village Voice food blogger Sarah DiGregorio loves the Bangladeshi restaurants in our neighborhood. She previously wrote about Gyro King, Jhinuk Restaurant, and Sugandha Restaurant.

Yesterday, she ate lunch from the steam table at Zaffran Party Hall & Restaurant, and she's looking forward to going back there for dinner. Her review includes tempting photos of some of the dishes.

Zaffran serves Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani cuisine. It also offers catering for all occasions.

Zaffran Party Hall & Restaurant
90 Church Avenue, near McDonald Avenue
(718) 686-6517

Open every from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Free delivery with $12.00 minimum order


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


NYC ICY's Italian-style gourmet cream ices and sherbets can help you survive this oppressive summer weather. Try an Icy in flavors like mango basil, lychee, cantaloupe, licorice, chocolate chocolate chip, and black raspberry. Or have a sherbet in flavors like hazelnut chip, mint chip, apricot ginger, cappuccino, and white chocolate.

905 Church Avenue, near Coney Island Avenue
(347) 789-1849


Monday, August 17, 2009


Take a look at the beautiful photos of Cafe Afsona's khachapuri (cheese bread) and shurpa (meat, potato, chickpea, and carrot soup)!

Cafe Afsona
416 Ditmas Avenue, between E. 4th and E. 5th streets
(718) 633-3006


Saturday, August 15, 2009


The City Council's Committee on Small Business will get back to work on the Small Business Survival Act either next month or in October. The bill will create "a small business lease program for establishing an environment for fair negotiations in the commercial lease renewal process in order to determine reasonable lease terms."

You can read the bill and see which City Council members are sponsoring it and also read the agenda and minutes of the hearing the committee held on June 29, 2009.

These are some of the statements in the 155 pages of Minutes:

Chairperson David Yassky: "The mom and pop stores on the commercial strips in our neighborhoods are the heart of the neighborhood. We cannot allow them to be pushed to the point of disappearance, which is what is happening now. The proposed legislation would represent a substantial departure from the current marketing for leasing space and involving city government in the process."

New York City's Department of Small Business Services spoke on behalf of the Bloomberg administration, which is against the legislation. The administration believes that it would cost New York City too much money for monitoring and enforcement.

Council Member Robert Jackson, who proposed the bill: "Nobody is suggesting that the city start regulating the rents. Many of the advocates here today will say that this is not commercial rent control. This is simply assisting them so they have a little bit more leverage because right now they're totally dependent upon the landlord of the building. The ironic thing is that the more successful these entrepreneurs are in building up their small business, the more valuable the landlord's property becomes and then the landlord can demand even higher rent. So what they're asking for is not for the city to institute rent control; they're asking for the city to stand on their side for a change and to help them with the negotiations that take place whenever their leases come up for renewal."

Mr. Jackson to Stephen Null, Founder, Coalition for Fair Business Rents: "Do you have any opinion as to what caused the landlords to stop bargaining in good faith with their tenants? You testified that for 40 years the landlords and tenants bargained in good faith successfully."

Mr. Null: "Three things happened. The first was that they allowed speculators to flip buildings and they allowed this to go on too long. What happens when somebody goes to buy a building to flip it, they don’t want to negotiate with the tenant. They would prefer to have the tenant out. The second thing was the franchises. Again, the landlord didn’t want to negotiate with the little mom and pop buy because he's going to negotiate a fair rent. He cannot compete against banks and franchises, even though they're going to go out of business. The last factor was the overall real estate speculation. Nobody wants an average profit. Everybody wants a fortune. So the poor little tenant who's negotiating and trying to get a reasonable lease, he's caught up with all this speculation and greed."

Sherri Donovan, Attorney, National Organization for Women: "Yes, this is a capitalist market but we have government to balance interests. Whenever there is a public interest, the government has the right to step in with reasonable regulation. This is so minimal. This is just sending them to an arbitrator process to negotiate. This is not established rent. This is not a percentage. This is not even a tax."

Mr. Yassky: "One concern I have about the bill is whether it would backfire. If you're a landlord and you know that a tenant is going to have the right to go to arbitration before renewal, you would not take a risk on a smaller tenant that you don’t know if they're going to stay in business. Maybe then whenever you have an empty store, you'll insist that it be Chase Bank or Rite Aid Drugs."

Luis Parra, president of the Latino Association of Tax Preparers: "Today, most people are speaking of small businesses like bodegas, Laundromats and other businesses. We have around 96,000 small businesses in the service sector like lawyers, accountants, tax professionals, doctors, dentists, engineers, real estate, day care providers, cleaning services, beauty salons, and others. This bill is going to protect these kinds of businesses along with the businesses we've heard of today. According to the New York State Department of Labor, this section of the professional businesses has 583,000 employees by April 30, 2009. That represents 30% of the total of the sector."

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Gyro King was reviewed in the "Incredibly Cheap Eats" column of the Village Voice yesterday. Reviewer Sarah DiGregorio enjoyed the lamb gyro!

Gyro King
473 McDonald Avenue
between Church Avenue and Avenue C
(718) 871-0002


Monday, August 10, 2009


Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, in conjunction with
Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project, will present a free Small Business Legal Clinic.

If you are a small business owner or are thinking about starting your own business, you can meet one-on-one with an attorney and learn more about the legal consequences of owning and operating a business in NYC.

Do you need help deciding whether or not to incorporate?

Do you have questions about contracts?

Intellectual property rights?

Are you planning to rent a storefront or renew your commercial lease?

Your questions will be answered by volunteers of the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project.

This event is open to the public and free of charge, however reservations are required as availability is limited.

Call (212) 382-6633 to make a reservation.

Brooklyn Public Library’s Business Library
280 Cadman Plaza West

2nd Floor Meeting Room

Brooklyn, New York 11201

The Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project, a program of the City Bar Justice Center, provides free quality legal assistance to low-income microentrepreneurs who reside in NYC and are interested in starting a small business or who already have an existing business.

BEDC's Mission

Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation seeks to create and expand economic opportunity throughout Brooklyn by implementing business and neighborhood development and planning activities to support and create sustainable jobs, industries and communities.

BEDC, a private, nonprofit organization, was established in 1979 to stimulate Brooklyn’s economy and create job opportunities for the borough and its residents. BEDC has evolved into a multi-service, business-consulting agency, serving more than 1,000 clients annually and offering comprehensive economic development services.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Free programs and services are offered to owners of small businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration, including financial assistance, business education and training, federal government contracting assistance, counseling, advocacy, and disaster assistance. The New York District Office provides a calendar of events for small business owners in the New York District.

The New York District Office is located at 26 Federal Plaza, Room 3100, New York, NY 10278. Phone: (212) 264-4354. Fax: (212) 264-4963. TDD: (212) 264-9147. For information about free programs and services, call the Marketing Division at (212) 264-9487.Office hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

In the most recent issue of the District Office's newsletter, an article discusses the short-term, no-interest loans of up to $35,000 that are available to small business owners who are experiencing immediate financial hardship.

Get a free subscription to the District Office's newsletter by putting a check mark in the box next to INSIDE THE NEW YORK DISTRICT OFFICE (and any other newsletters you would like to subscribe to), typing your first name, last name, and e-mail address at the bottom of the page, and clicking Subscribe. An e-mail will be sent to you asking you to confirm your subscription. Click on the link in the e-mail within forty-eight hours. Another e-mail will then be sent to you that confirms your subscription.

Free online training courses are available.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Attention, laptop computer users! An article in The Wall Street Journal ("No More Perks: Coffee Shops Pull the Plug on Laptop Users") reports that "Amid the economic downturn, there are fewer places in New York to plug in computers. A decade-old love affair between coffee shops and laptop-wielding customers is fading. In New York, the trend is accelerating among independents."

The Oak and The Iris Cafe, however, continues to provide its customers with a wi-fi connection. Free. For however long you sit there. (But charge your battery before you go.)
O and I's motto is "healthy, original, organic, polite, and cozy." The owners have created a warm, welcoming atmosphere. In addition to providing free wi-fi, they provide a play area for children, high chairs, a comfortable sofa, and a free meeting place for community events. They even have a suggestion box!

The cafe serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Among the many delicious menu choices are fresh-squeezed juices (apple and carrot, strawberry and orange), fresh fruit smoothies (strawberry and/or banana, pineapple and/or cantaloupe), and omelets made with your choice of a cheese or a vegetable and a meat (and served with toast and home fries or fruit salad).

Your taste buds will also be pleased by their panini (prosciutto and mozzarella, albacore tuna with Italian grilled artichokes, feta with black olive paste and hummus), salads (including grilled vegetable salad), homemade soups, entrees (such as grilled salmon fillet and peppered steak), latte, cappuccino, Italian iced coffee, tiramisu, and flan.

Enjoy your meal at one of the outdoor tables (if you can tolerate hot weather!).

Plans are underway for upgrading breakfast, baking pastry items on the premises daily, creating new sauces, and offering more dinner entrees.

Free delivery is available with a minimum order of $10.

O and I also offers a catering menu.

The Oak and The Iris Cafe
2826 Fort Hamilton Parkway (at the corner of E. 4th Street)
(718) 208-7713


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Brooklyn Public Library's Business Library is offering three free workshops for business owners during August and September. The workshops will be held at the Business Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West at Tillary Street from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Telephone: (718) 623-7000.

Business Survival Strategies
Tuesday, August 11th
Owners of retail stores, restaurants, and online businesses will learn how to price and promote their products and services.

Setting Up a Website for Online Sales
Tuesday, September 15th
Get the tools you need for using the latest technology to promote your business. This is part one of a two-part technology series.

Social Networking & Your Business
Tuesday, September 22nd Learn how Internet social networking strategies can help build your customer base.
This is part two of a two-part technology series.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen earned a glowing review in the Dining section of The Village Voice. The writer, Robert Sietsema, described the "elephantine bill of fare" as "130 dishes in 11 categories" with "1,000 choices in all." He called the duck herbal "one of the best things we'd tasted this year" and the mussel pancake "an opulent wonder."

Unfortunately, he characterized the street that Am-Thai Chili Basil is on as "a nowheresville stretch of Brooklyn's McDonald Avenue." He's wrong! On that one block between Albemarle Road and Caton Avenue, we have a dentist, a grocery store, an elementary school, a laundromat, a funeral home, a veterinarian, and more, plus apartment buildings that are home to the fine residents of Kensington.

Am-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen
359 McDonald Avenue
(718) 871-9115
(718) 854-5054


Monday, August 3, 2009


The Village Voice's food column, "fork in the road," praised two of Kensington's Bangladeshi restaurants and a grocery store in an August 6, 2008, review.

Writer Sarah DiGregorio says
about Jhinuk Restaurant: "A bitter gourd stew turned out to be good, as was a fish curry and the lamb biryani." Of Sugandha Restaurant, she writes "The best pick, though, is the beef bhuna, a dry-ish, spice-laden mix of stewed beef, cubed beef liver, onions and whole green chiles. Completely delicious."

Bangla Nagar Grocery
is described as "large and well-stocked" and "fun to wander through."

Jhinuk Restaurant, 478 McDonald Avenue, (718) 871-5355
Sugandha Restaurant, 483 McDonald Avenue, (718) 438-8773
Bangla Nagar Grocery, 87 Church Avenue, (718) 633-0144


Sunday, August 2, 2009


The total sales tax that you pay on taxable items purchased in New York City increased yesterday from 8.375% to 8.875%. Of that 8.875%, the amount that is for New York State sales tax is 4.375%.

The rest of the tax is for New York City sales tax, which increased yesterday by one-
half of one percent from 4% to 4.5%. That is an increase of 5 cents on each $10 you spend on taxable items. The last permanent increase in New York City sales tax was in 1974, when it was raised from 3% to 4%.

Also, if you buy one item of clothing in New York City that costs $110 or more, you'll now be charged sales tax.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Warning: When you see something you want at Bergament, buy it immediately! This department store's prices are so low that an item may be sold out by the time you go back.

Bergament Outlet has clothing and shoes for women and men, including nightgowns, t-shirts, blouses, shorts, jeans, casual and dress shoes, lingerie, undershirts, slacks, jewelry, purses, robes,

The vast range of merchandise in Bergament
Home Center includes hardware, housewares, cleaning supplies, kitchenware, kitchen appliances, rugs, desks, chairs, wardrobe closets, fans, towels, clothing, garbage cans, storage containers, bathroom supplies, clothing, furniture, luggage, paint, electrical and plumbing supplies, cleaning supplies, grooming supplies, yoga mats, bedding sets, sofas, beds, dining room sets, lamps, floor tiles, tools, mirrors, paper goods,

Bergament Kid's Clothing has items for infants through teens, including clothing, furniture, shoes, socks, belts, tights, strollers, cribs, bassinets, toys, school uniforms. Some of the brand names are Avirex, Nautica, Polo, Rocawear, French Toast, Fubu, Enyce, and Ecko.

Bergament Wireless sells electronics, televisions, cameras, DVD storage cases, computer accessories,

Free parking is provided.

3621 13th Avenue
Bergament Home Center: (718) 633-0264
Bergament Kid's Clothing: (718) 438-3111
Bergament Wireless: (347) 524-2251