Sunday, May 30, 2010


From Realty Bites
Graffiti Removal Program at no cost to property owners:

A new law recently went into effect (Local Law 65-2009) that fast tracks removing graffiti on buildings in New York City, and makes it easier for business owners and residents to get it removed.

HOW the GRAFFITI-FREE PROCESS works: The new law went into effect on April 7, 2010, and the Administration has been focused on smoothing out technical issues that might arise as the 35-day notices are sent in to city government. The highlights of the law are:
  • If you’re the owner or authorized representative of a property, you can request free removal of graffiti on your building by filling out a Forever Graffiti Free form here. (Forms are also written in Spanish and Chinese).
  • If you see graffiti on someone else’s property, call 311 to report it.
  • If graffiti is observed on your building and you do not already have a Forever Graffiti Free form or waiver in the City’s system, you’ll receive a “Notice of Intent to Clean” from the Department of Sanitation.
This notice will explain that you have three options:
  • You can inform the City that you want to clean the graffiti yourself. Call 311.
  • You can inform the City that you consent to the markings identified as graffiti on your building, for whatever reason. Call 311.
  • If you don’t take either of those two steps, the City will route your property for cleaning after 35 days.
A few things to note:
  • The City of New York will send the “Notice of Intent to Clean” to all addresses on file for the property, checking all City databases (DOF, HPD).
  • Property owners or representatives can request a 15-day extension, if they need more time to make up their minds.
  • If you already have a waiver or Forever Graffiti Free form on file, you don’t need to fill another one out as long as you own the property.
Here are more detailed FAQs.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Kensington just got another representative on Community Board 12!

Maggie Tobin announced today that she's been appointed to CB12. Maggie is an active member of the Kensington community. She's a co-founder of KARMA, the founder of West Kensington Action Group, and a member of Dahill Neighborhood Association. KARMA extends its heartfelt congratulations to Maggie.

Community boards advise elected officials and government agencies on issues that affect the social welfare of the district they cover. They process the complaints that we make to them as well as our requests for municipal services. They're responsible for important aspects of our lives and our well-being.

CB12's committees are
  • Civic & Consumer Affairs
  • Education, Library & Cultural Affairs
  • Environmental Protection, Sanitation & Sewers
  • Executive
  • Fire, Safety & Police
  • Health & Social Services
  • Housing & Buildings
  • Legislation
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Transportation & Franchises
  • Youth & Community Development
Please attend the community board's meetings so that Kensington's voice will be heard loud and clear. Speak out to them so they can speak out for us.

Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month from September through June. The meetings are open to the public. They're held at 5910 13th Avenue, between 59th and 60th streets, three blocks from the 56th Street stop on the B16 bus.

For additional information, see CB12's website.

It's your community. Be involved!

Friday, May 28, 2010


The 66th Precinct sends e-mail notifications to interested residents about community meetings, community events, criminal activity, crime prevention, traffic concerns, and other information that might affect us. Three options are available for signing up to receive these notifications:
  • Send your name, address, and e-mail address via e-mail to
  • Mail your name, address, and e-mail address to the precinct: 66th Precinct, 5822 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11204.
  • Go to the precinct house and give your name, address, and e-mail address to any member of the precinct (5822 16th Avenue, between 58th and 59th streets).
It's your community. Be involved!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The schedule of summer events arranged by Friends of Greenwood Playground for neighborhood children is now posted on its website. (They're also posted on the calendar at the top of this blog.) Summer programming begins on June 10th and ends on September 1st. All of the events are free of charge.

Check the Friends' website before you go to an event, in case a change had to be made.

Friends of Greenwood Playground organizes and sponsors programming for children and adults that works cross-culturally and brings neighbors together.

The entrance to Greenwood Playground is on E. 5th Street, between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Greenwood Avenue.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Posted on a Chowhound discussion board:
New Taco Stand in Kensington!

Right in front of Walgreens (RIP Silver Rod) on Church at McDonald. Run by a very friendly, English speaking couple. They say they're open Tuesday - Sunday, 2 - 9pm.

I had a chorizo taco, and a cecina taco, $2 each. Both not the best I ever had but generally moist, and just really good. I overheard after the fact that they have lengua, though it's not listed as a choice. They do not have cabeza. But I can't be blamed for asking! Tortillas were nicely grilled, plenty of onion and cilantro, with lime and cucumber on the side. Tasty red and green salsa on hand.

Brought home three good tamales too ($1.25 each), rojo pollo, mole pollo and dulce for desert! Shared with my wife. We both thought they were way tastier and more moist than some of those coming out of local stores.

I look forward to tearing through the surprisingly extensive menu including tortas, huaraches and tostadas. It's certainly a great addition to the neighborhood. If you find yourself anywhere near here I implore you to give it a try. I believe they deserve to be around for a while!


Albemarle Neighborhood Association Meeting
Thursday, May 27th, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Last month, the leaders of Kensington's diverse institutions and organizations got together to get to know each other and determine what their common issues and concerns are. At tomorrow night's ANA meeting, the three ANA board members who participated in that meeting will talk about what happened there and plans for the future, including the working groups that were recently formed.

Foodtown and ANA will provide refreshments after the meeting.

The meeting will be held at Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center at 327 East 5th Street on the corner of Church Avenue. Enter the building through the ramp entrance and either walk down one flight of stairs or take the elevator to the lower level.

It's your community. Be involved!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


During my visit last week to the recently-opened Kensington Pharmacy, I was impressed with head pharmacist Ruben Safir's willingness to share his knowledge. After reading an interview with him on the pharmacy's new web page, I'm impressed for two more reasons. The first is Ruben's appreciation of our neighborhood:
"Kensington is one of the truly great neighborhoods of Brooklyn. If New York City is the great experiment of freedom and ethnic tolerance, the mosaic of civilization, Kensington is the positive results of that experiment in full bloom. It is one of the most diverse communities in Brooklyn, and none of the groups really lose their identity in the mix."
The second is that his customers' needs get top priority:
"We are awaiting our medicaid approval but we are taking in those prescriptions at our own costs. Hopefully we will be able to recoup those costs later down the road when we get medicaid approval, but regardless we are currently absorbing those costs."
Ruben will be offering a diabetes clinic this week. Contact him for the day and time.

Kensington Pharmacy
309 Church Avenue, between E. 3rd and E. 4th streets, in the back of MF Discount
Phone: (347) 533-6619
Fax: (347) 533-6618
Website (changed as of July 2010):



Community Board 12 will meet tonight from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 5910 13th Avenue, between 59th and 60th streets, just three blocks from the 56th Street stop on the B16 bus. Community Board meetings are open to the public.

It's your community. Be involved!


The public review process (officially called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) has begun for Culver Estates, the affordable housing project proposed for 37th Street between 12th and 14th avenues. The steps in the six-month-long process are described on the website of the New York City Department of City Planning. They are: (1) Community Board Review, (2) Borough President Review, (3) City Planning Commission Review, (4) City Council Review, and (5) Mayoral Review.

The project is now at step 1, the Community Board Review. The public is welcome to attend all meetings of the Community Board or its committees where the building application will be discussed or acted on. The Community Board will publish notice of the time, place, and subject of the hearing in The City Record for the five days right before the hearing and on the day of the hearing. A notice will also be in the Comprehensive City Planning Calendar distributed not less than five days before the hearing.

If the Community Board doesn't act within the sixty-day time limit or if it waives its right to act, the application moves on to step 2, the Borough President Review.

It's your community. Be involved!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


P.S. 130 PTA Flea Market
Saturday, May 22nd, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The P.S. 130 PTA will hold its Second Annual “Great Finds" Flea Market this Saturday. Admission is free.

Vendor tables cost $15.00 each (cash only). To rent a table, call (718) 686-1940. The sale of food and beverages is not permitted.

P.S. 130 Cafeteria, 70 Ocean Parkway, near Fort Hamilton Parkway

Monday, May 17, 2010


I went into the recently-opened Kensington Pharmacy today to see what it sells and ended up getting a medical education from pharmacist Ruben Safir. I also learned how cheaply over-the-counter products can be sold.

For people with dietary restrictions for religious or health reasons, Ruben carries kosher vitamins and other products, including prescriptions and over-the-counter supplies. They contain no gluten, lactose, artificial color, artificial flavor, animal derivatives, sugar, starch, gelatin, or yeast.

He sells hearing aid batteries and reading glasses, does blood pressure screening for free, and has free prescription pick-up and delivery
every day of the week.
Kensington Pharmacy
309 Church Avenue, between E. 3rd and E. 4th streets, in the back of MF Discount
Phone: (347) 533-6619
Fax: (347) 533-6618


Sunday, May 16, 2010


Bangladesh Mela
Sunday, May 16th, 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

music, food, clothing, jewelry

"Mela" is Sanskrit for "a gathering" or "a meet."

McDonald Avenue
between Church Avenue and Albemarle Road


P.S. 230 School Fair
Sunday, June 6th, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

1 Albemarle Road, between McDonald Avenue and Dahill Road

Saturday, May 15, 2010


from our New York City Councilmember, Brad Lander:

The small, independently-owned businesses that line our commercial avenues are - as we so often say - a key part of what make our neighborhoods, well, real neighborhoods. We are lucky to live in a place where we can walk to do so much of our weekly shopping, where we are likely to see neighbors, where we know the proprietors, where we have a choice to support local businesses instead of only global chains. Whether its 5th Ave, Court Street, Church Avenue, Prospect Park West, 7th Ave, Smith Street, Columbia Street, or Fort Hamilton Parkway, so many of you have talked with me about the importance of working to help strengthen and support small businesses.

Unfortunately, our small businesses face big challenges. Real estate, energy, and other costs have skyrocketed in recent years. Too many of us these days are doing more of our shopping online. And the economic downturn has been especially hard on those businesses without deep pockets or cash reserves.

Government can't solve all of these problems, but we should do all we can to provide a level playing field. So I've been troubled when I've asked small business owners their biggest problem - and they've indicated it was agency inspectors who seemed bent on levying fines in order to raise revenue for the City, rather than attending to public health or safety, much less to help make our small businesses better and stronger.

So, I was proud this week when the City Council passed the "Small Business Owners Bill of Rights," an important first step towards ensuring that small businesses in the city are able to survive and thrive in these difficult economic times. The new legislation requires inspectors, upon entering a business, to give owners a written bill of rights, that lets them know how they can contest a claim (which they will soon be able to do online) or make a complaint, and sets a standard for fair and consistent enforcement.

The idea of a small business owner's bill of rights was one of 14 recommendations that were proposed by the Regulatory Review Panel, a joint task force between the City Council and the Mayor's office that reviewed City regulations and their impact on small businesses. Many local businesses and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce weighed in as part of the Panel's efforts. Find out more here.

The other recommendations include:

-Giving small businesses the opportunity to resolve some low-risk violations before fines are levied
-Providing the opportunity to settle or contest any violations without having to go to court
-Implementing customer service training for agency inspectors
-Expanding programs for immigrant small business owners
-Enhancing 311 to better assist small businesses
-Helping business owners avoid violations in the first place

I am working to make sure we continue to make progress on these and the other recommendations - and also to address some of the other problems small businesses face, like the rising costs of real estate and energy. The Bill of Rights is just a first step, as there is much more to do, but I believe it is a good one.

Closer to home, you can also check out the online presence of some of our neighborhood merchant associations, join their e-mail lists, and learn about events and opportunities to support the neighborhood businesses we treasure. We've also listed some other local business-related websites.

Park Slope 5th Avenue BID

Kensington Area Resident/Merchant Alliance

Court Street Merchants Association

Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association

Park Slope Chamber of Commerce

Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn

Borough President Marty Markowitz "I Shop Brooklyn" website

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

Serving the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope,
Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, and Kensington

456 5th Avenue, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215 * (718) 499-1090

Friday, May 14, 2010


As of yesterday morning, a bike path running from Prospect Circle to the intersection of Fort Hamilton Parkway and McDonald Avenue is officially "open for business." The aqua-colored line on the lower left side of the diagram shows its route.

The overpass over the Prospect Expressway that leads to Fort Hamilton Parkway now has
a left lane for cars and a right lane for bikes, with a concrete barrier between them. Fort Hamilton Parkway also has a car lane on the left and a bike lane on the right.

As of this afternoon, some cyclists are still riding on the sidewalk, and a car that was traveling in the bike lane abruptly crossed in front of a car in the left lane to go to the gas station. Whether you're a driver, a cyclist, or a pedestrian, please be careful!


"It's official: the city has stopped picking up garbage."

An article in reports that "A Sanitation official admitted this week that it ended regular pick-ups of public trash cans along commercial strips last July — instead only picking up the trash when trucks making residential runs drive by. Now, pick-ups that occurred “as often as two or three times a day, seven days a week,” said Ignazio Terranova, are only happening once or twice a week."


Small Business Legal Clinic
Tuesday, June 15th, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Owners of small businesses and those thinking of starting one can meet one-on-one with an attorney to learn about the legal consequences of owning and operating a business in New York City. If you have questions about incorporation, contracts, intellectual property rights, or renting a storefront or renewing a commercial lease, volunteers from the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project can help you.

Register for an appointment for a free individual consultation by filling out the form here or by calling (718) 368-6790.

The clinic will be held at Brooklyn Public Library’s Business Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The 66th Precinct Community Council will meet tomorrow instead of next Thursday. The council normally meets on the third Thursday of the month, from September through June. The meeting will be held at 5910 13th Avenue, between 59th and 60th streets, and will run from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. All residents of the community are invited to attend to discuss their concerns about crime and the policing of our neighborhood.

The precinct's CompStat crime statistics for the week of 4/26/2010 through 5/2/2010 are online at


a drawing of the proposed housing

The City Planning Department certified
the proposed Culver Estates housing project on 37th Street between 12th and 14th avenues on Monday. A six-month public review process will now take place, after which the city must approve the plan.

Culver Estates would include
seventeen buildings with four condos each, and each unit would have four or five bedrooms. The housing is intended for moderate-income families (those earning 100% of the area median income or below).

The land, last used as a right-of-way for the Culver El, a discontinued elevated railway, is owned by the city and will be sold to Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO), a not-for-profit organization that develops and provides affordable housing in Borough Park and Kensington.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The store that's being renovated at 215 Church Avenue now has a sign on it that says "Soho Cafe & Grill Opening Soon." It's between E. 2nd and E. 3rd streets next to Rich Frog Toys and is the former location of Astro Cleaners.

More news as it comes in!


Green-Wood Cemetery’s 12th Annual Memorial Day Concert
Monday, May 31st, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Green-Wood Cemetery's 12th Annual Memorial Day Concert will feature the ISO (InterSchool Orchestras of New York) Symphonic Band playing select compositions by Fred Ebb, Leonard Bernstein, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and Paul Jabara, who are all buried in
Green-Wood Cemetery.

Bring a folding chair or a blanket to sit on. Bring a picnic lunch or purchase cookout food, snacks, and drinks.

The concert will take place by the Gothic Arch, located inside the cemetery's main entrance at 5th Avenue and 25th Street.

Reserve your free tickets at

Monday, May 10, 2010


On April 14th, the Small Business Survival Act was introduced again in the New York City Council and was referred again to the Committee on Small Business. The bill (Int. 0154-2010) would establish a small business lease program that would create an environment for fair negotiations between landlords and commercial tenants during the lease renewal process. The ultimate goal is lease terms that both the landlord and the tenant consider reasonable. Our Councilmember, Brad Lander, is one of the sponsors of the bill.

For background information on the Small Business Survival Act, type "small business survival act" in the Search box on this blog.



The Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center created a Facebook page yesterday. The congregation was organized in 1921, and its building was completed in 1924.

A bazaar and flea market will be held at the Center on May 23rd.

The Albemarle Neighborhood Association holds its meetings at the Center from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month during September, October, November, March, April, May, and June. The meetings are open to the public.

Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center
327 E. 5th Street, corner of Church Avenue
(718) 871-5200

Calendar of upcoming events:

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Notes from the March 23rd Community Board 12 meeting:

Lauren Luft, a representative of the Metropolitan Jewish Health Center (16th Avenue at 62nd Street), announced a new community day service facility for people with chronic illnesses.

A resident reported that conditions in the emergency room of Maimonides Medical Center (10th Avenue at 49th Street) are unacceptable.

Tracey Mantrone of Brooklyn Public Library's
Mapleton Branch (60th Street at 17th Avenue) asked people to protest the city's cuts in library budgets.

Residents of a block on E. 2nd Street who have a complaint about music being played loud at all hours by a neighbor were referred to officers from the 66th Precinct who were at the meeting.

CB12 board member Abu Khalquzzaman proposed that a monument be erected on Church Avenue in memory of the millions of Bangladeshi martyrs and that Church and McDonald avenues be renamed Bangladeshi Town.

A resident spoke against summonses being issued to residents by the Department of Sanitation
during snowstorms when the department hasn't collected the trash. He also asked what procedure to follow to become a board member. He was referred to the Borough President's office.

A rabbi thanked board chairperson Alan Dubrow for arranging a meeting with the Fire and Police departments about the Passover bread burning plans, an event conducted for the past forty-four years. Precinct commander John Sprague said he would increase car and foot patrols at that time.

The current Executive Committee was renominated and reelected.


Representatives of neighborhood institutions and organizations participated last week in a meeting of Kensington community leaders that was hosted by our New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and our New York State Assemblymember Jim Brennan.

The purpose of the meeting was to gather together the diverse institutions and organizations in our neighborhood and have them work together on the issues and concerns that we have in common. This was the first time, to the knowledge of those gathered, that such a diverse group of Kensingtonians had sat down together.

Some of the institutions and organizations represented were P.S. 230 and P.S. 179 and their PTAs, the 66th Police Precinct, Community Board 12,
Kensington Area Resident/Merchant Alliance, Albemarle Neighborhood Association, Dahill Neighborhood Association, Sandwip Educational and Cultural Society USA, West Kensington Action Group, Bangladesh Muslim Center, Council of Neighborhood Organizations, Kensington Action Force, and several mosques.

We were each asked to learn enough about one other person present so that we could introduce that person to the others.

Suggestions generated by the meeting include creating a community center that would promote intergroup relations and provide a place for young people to gather, an intercultural outdoor event, assistance to local small businesses, creation of green space, and addressing safety issues in the schools and in the neighborhood. Precinct Commander John Sprague offered to hold a meeting to discuss gangs and teach parents how to recognize if their children are gang members.

We're all looking forward to meeting again and moving ahead together on our common goals.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Sicilian Salad at Connie's Cafe: baked eggplant, strips of fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, romaine lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. Delicious!

Connie has applied to the city for a permit for outdoor seating. Let's hope that the powers-that-be grant it!

Connie's Cafe
424 Church Avenue, corner of E. 5th Street
(718) 633-3557
Open daily from 6:00 a.m. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.



Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, and the East 4th Street Community Garden was bustling with activity.


Saturday, May 15th, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Story & Play

Join the Friends of Greenwood Playground at the last play group of the "winter" season.

Kids: Play with neighborhood friends, hear great stories, and play with new toys! Recommended ages: 5 and under.

Adults: Enjoy the singing, dancing, and storytelling and get exclusive information about all of the great summer programming in the works for Greenwood Playground! In between the singing and stories, the Friends will be brainstorming about how to make the playground even more fun than it already is. If you loved the flea market and want to see more fun events at Greenwood, stop by and share your ideas.

This program will be held in the meeting room of the Windsor Terrace Library, 160 E. 5th Street, corner of Fort Hamilton Parkway. Enter on E. 5th Street.
Find out more about Friends of Greenwood Playground from their website or Facebook group.


Wednesday, May 12th, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Healthcare Reform for Employers

Management Roundtable Series
Human Resources Network Forum

Diane Pfadenhauer, SPHR, Esq.
, President
Employment Practices Advisors, Inc.

Tuohy Hall, Alumni Room
245 Clinton Avenue, between DeKalb and Willoughby avenues

Light refreshments will be served.

For information, contact John Keenan (718) 940-5731.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Tonight, newsletters were placed under car windshield wipers or rolled up and stuck in the fences and gates of private residences. The New York City law against flier distribution says that placing unsolicited fliers, circulars, notices, handbills, leaflets, pamphlets, booklets, brochures, newsletters, cards, or any other written material on cars, fences, or any other private property is illegal. The fine for violating the law is up to $75 per item. You can report it--anonymously, if you want to--by calling 311.

FAIR AT P.S. 230

Sunday, June 6th, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

P.S. 230 will hold its annual fair, a fund raiser for the school fund. All proceeds, after expenses, will be used for basics as well as such extras as the upcoming 5th grade trip to the New York Philharmonic. The school is located at 1 Albemarle Road, between McDonald Avenue and Dahill Road.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Bazaar and Flea Market
Sunday, May 23rd, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Sisterhood of the Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center will hold its annual Spring Bazaar and Flea Market featuring new and gently-used merchandise. They'll be selling housewares, jewelry, toys, appliances, and more at bargain prices. Admission is free.

327 E. 5th Street at the corner of Church Avenue
(718) 871-5200