Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The daffodils KARMA and WKAG (West Kensington Action Group) planted last October are in bloom! Enjoy them when you're shopping on Church Avenue.

Monday, March 29, 2010


A resident of our neighborhood sent us this e-mail: "I love the Indian (Bangladeshi) restaurant, Basmati. They are extremely accommodating and will make up anything you want, wraps, special rice dishes. They now serve brown rice as well as wheat garlic naans."

Basmati serves Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi cuisine and offers several vegetarian dishes. The lunch special (
$5.99), served from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., includes any three items from the hot food table (biryani items count as two).

Basmati's hours are listed at http://www.whereyoueat.com/Basmati-832.htm. Its three-page menu is further down on that page.

Basmati accepts all major credit cards.
Free delivery.
Catering available.

221 Church Avenue, between E. 2nd and E. 3rd streets
(718) 972-9111


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Kensington's City Councilmember, Brad Lander, and Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito are the co-chairs of the new Progressive Caucus within the New York City Council. Brad's statement follows.

On the heels of the passage of historic health care legislation in Congress, I am pleased to report that yesterday eleven of my colleagues and I announced the formation of the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council. The Progressive Caucus will push for a more just, more equal city that offers genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers.

I am honored to be serving as co-chair of the Caucus, along with Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito (Manhattan/Bronx). Other members of the Caucus include Annabel Palma from the Bronx; Letitia James and Jumaane Williams from Brooklyn; Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez, and Ydanis Rodriguez from Manhattan; Danny Dromm, Julissa Ferreras, and Jimmy Van Bramer from Queens; and Debi Rose from Staten Island.

Check out our OpEd at TheNation.com on why we are creating the Progressive Caucus here, and The New York Times article about the Caucus here. In our TheNation.com OpEd, we write:

The divide between Wall Street and the rest of New York predates the economic downturn. While the economy was booming … the Bloomberg administration's economic development policy focused on real estate development, subsidizing mega-deals to create luxury housing for the wealthiest and retail malls with mostly low-wage jobs.

Today, as we struggle with continued foreclosures, an anemic economy and the large deficits facing the city and state, we hear constant calls for fiscal austerity--to balance the budget on the backs of those most in need, slashing child care and senior centers, laying off teachers and pushing families into homelessness by eliminating subsidies.

We disagree. We believe that New Yorkers want a more just, more equal city. We believe that as we work our way out of this crisis, New York City can and must plan a recovery that looks to narrow the growing economic divide.

The Progressive Caucus is already getting right to work, focusing on several key issues facing the city, including:

Pushing for passage of the Paid Sick Days Bill: This legislation, which is being introduced in the City Council today, would cover the more than 1 million working New Yorkers who don't currently receive a single paid sick day from their employers. Right now, too many working families are forced to choose between their health and their livelihood - a choice no one should have to make. It also puts the public's health at risk when restaurant and service workers are forced to come to work when they are sick.

We need standards that reflect the realities of working families in New York, and this bill offers a modest solution: it would grant at least 5 annual paid days off to all employees (9 for larger businesses), when either they or a family members is sick. And whether someone works at a restaurant, retail store, day care center or office, they would be able to earn and use these days when necessary, so they won't be penalized on the rare occasions they need to stay home to get healthy.

Addressing the Section 8 Voucher Crisis: Late last year, as the result of the Bloomberg Administration issuing more Section 8 housing vouchers than they had resources for, thousands of families were told that their new vouchers had been revoked. Many of these formerly homeless families had already begun the process of moving to new homes, and suddenly found themselves at risk of homelessness again. In addition, the New York City Housing Authority has recently indicated that the crisis could grow, potentially placing thousands of families at risk.

The Progressive Caucus is taking a stand for these families - working with affordable housing groups, legal services lawyers, and Speaker Christine Quinn - to develop creative solutions and insist that the City step up to address the looming crisis.

These are just a couple of the issues that the Progressive Caucus plans to start working on. We'll also be grappling with how to address the large budget deficits facing city and state - without balancing the budget on the backs of those most in need - and making sure that our economic development policy is focused on creating quality jobs for those who need them most.

Our goal over the next several years is to take a stand to combat inequality head-on, building on what other cities have done, to help create a new economy that offers good jobs, thriving communities, and a healthy environment for all. And we'll do it by involving New Yorkers across lines of race, class, and neighborhood in conversation and action about the direction of our city.

We hope you'll join us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Wednesday, March 31, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Free Workshop:
Successful Women Entrepreneurs Panel
for Small Business Owners and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Celebrate Women’s History Month by networking with and hearing from a diverse group of women business owners and professionals who will discuss their extensive business experiences and life lessons.

Introduction: Pravina Raghavan, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration

Moderator: Michele Smith, Associate at Exec|Comm Communications consultant and former entrepreneur

  • Vera Moore, President & CEO of Vera Moore Cosmetics, will share her experience in getting this successful line distributed in Duane Reade stores.
  • Veronica Rose, President, Aurora Electric, a veteran entrepreneur, will share her experiences about government contracting.
  • Elisa Balabram, author of Ask Others, Trust Yourself: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Key to Success, will talk about her book and about women asking for advice.
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
25 Thornton Street, Brooklyn
(between Flushing Avenue and Broadway)

G train to Flushing Avenue station
M/J trains to Broadway and Flushing Avenue station

Registration is required, as seating is limited.
Call (718) 797.0187 or e-mail .

The New York State Small Business Development Center (NYS/SBDC) program is a free program supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

New York State Small Business Development Center http://www.nyssbdc.org
U.S. Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Do you use Coney Island Avenue, between Parkside Avenue and Cortelyou Road, for shopping or other purposes? If you do, please fill out the short online survey. The Pratt Center for Community Development wants to know how Coney Island Avenue and its businesses can better serve the needs of people in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


"Sector B: The Business of Brooklyn" is a weekly TV show that helps small business owners connect with tools and institutions that can assist them in marketing their companies, managing their employees, and dealing with problems that can arise while building or sustaining a business.

The program features studio interviews as well as videos shot on location throughout Brooklyn. Randy Peers, the host and the Executive Director of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, interviews respected business and government leaders on topics relevant to the Brooklyn business community and discusses the many resources available to support businesses and entrepreneurs.

The show airs on cable's BCAT TV Network (Brooklyn Community Access Television). You can watch it on Time Warner Cable channel 56, Cablevision channel 69, RCN channel 84, and Verizon channel 44. New episodes are shown on the third Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. They are repeated on Tuesday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Episodes are also viewable online. Click on the "Sector B: The Business of Brooklyn" link on the left-hand side of the page.

A video highlighting the struggles of immigrant-owned small businesses in South Brooklyn is viewable here.

The Business of Brooklyn has a page on Facebook that "supports the content presented on the TV show Sector B: The Business of Brooklyn on Brooklyn Independent Television, and also provides additional resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the borough."


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


KARMA received this e-mail from New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The portions of it that aren't relevant to Kensington have been omitted.

March 2, 2010

Dear New Yorker,

This past month, during my State of the City address, I laid out a new plan to help strengthen our economy, create more jobs and get us moving on the path to full recovery.

Included in this plan are a number of practical steps to help small business owners across the five boroughs. Specifically, our proposals will:

* Improve the City's inspection process - New York City has thousands of rules and regulations for small businesses that protect public safety and the rights of consumers. But one of the biggest problems we hear from small business owners is that these rules are enforced in a way that's unfair and inconsistent. That's why we're taking steps today to make the inspection process fairer for business owners. First, we'll educate businesses about their responsibilities. Second, we'll improve the way we train inspectors, putting a new level of focus on consistent enforcement. Finally, we'll introduce new legislation sponsored by Council Member Karen Koslowitz creating a Business Owner's Bill of Rights. This bill of rights will list the rules that inspectors have to follow and the steps that business owners can take if they feel they've been treated unfairly.

* Help small businesses get the loans that they need - Small businesses owners who've been turned down for loans will now get a second chance through our "Second Look" Program. Created in partnership with the New York Bankers Association, this new program will give business owners a second shot at securing the financing that they need. We'll also convene a summit with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce where participants from banking and small business can work to develop and propose ways to get credit flowing to small

* Provide training and support to minority- and women-owned businesses - This year we'll partner with the City's Small Business Commissioner, Robert Walsh, to launch a new executive management program for minority- and women-owned businesses. Individuals participating in this program will receive training and support in a number of critical areas to help them to successfully grow their business. This same program has already shown great results in Massachusetts, where three out of four participants increased their sales and were able to hire new employees.

* Provide tax relief for mom-and-pop retail stores - Last year we created a new tax credit to eliminate the double taxation on small unincorporated businesses and freelancers. This year we'll extend that same kind of relief to another group that's currently struggling - small mom and pop retailers. Together with Council Members Joel Rivera and Inez Dickens, we'll work with Albany to create a new tax credit exempting mom and pop stores from the City's corporate tax. About 19,000 small retailers will be eligible, saving them up to $3,400 a year.

If we're going to come out of this recession stronger than we were before, we need to continue doing everything that we can to help support the home-grown businesses that are so vital to our City's recovery. With this new plan we can help small businesses grow, create new jobs and set the stage for our long-term growth and recovery.

If you'd like to watch my speech online and share any comments or questions you have about these proposals, please click on the following link: http://council.nyc.gov/html/soc/main.shtml.

Christine C. Quinn
New York City Council