Sunday, June 30, 2013


Yoga in Green-wood Cemetery
Saturday, July 13th, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, August 10th, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Barrie Raffel will lead an hour of active, gentle, outdoor yoga in quiet, scenic Green-wood Cemetery, focusing on breath and natural alignment for the individual. Ms. Raffel is a registered yoga teacher who has been teaching yoga since 1997.

Bring a mat, water, and a washcloth or small towel with you. Wear comfortable clothing. After the session, tea, coffee, and light snacks will be served.

Cost: $20 for a member of Green-Wood; $25 for a non-member.

To learn more about these sessions, see

Meeting place: the main arches at 25th Street and 5th Avenue.




Vinyl Club
at Sycamore
Monday, July 1st, 8:00 p.m. to midnight

Bring vinyl records to Sycamore Bar to spin. Bring any kind of music you want to deejay on the big sound system. Spinning is free.

Vinyl Club, since 2008. 
Hosted by Becca.

e-mail: mondaynightvinylclub @

Sycamore Bar and Flowershop
1118 Cortelyou Road between E. 11th Street and Argyle Road, Brooklyn
phone: (347) 240-5850

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Russian Homemade Cuisine, chosen two years ago as one of NYC's 9 Best Russian Restaurants, is gone.

505 Church Avenue joins the ranks of empty stores on the block between E. 5th Street and Ocean Parkway. The six storefronts at 501 to 511 Church Avenue have a new owner, 501 Church Funding LLC. We do know that a nursery school will move into 511, where the shoe repair shop was.

What types of businesses will 501 Church LLC decide to rent to? What will they base their decisions on? How will they know what we want? Can we help them decide?

It's a shame to lose Russian Homemade Cuisine. Most of what they made was sold to restaurants and stores, many of which are in this area. Individuals could also place an order for blini (thin pancakes) by the pound, take them home, and fill them with anything and everything. The blini were light as a feather. 

The workers in that narrow shop usually kept the door open and the screen door closed--probably to let the heat out--making it easy for neighbors to peek in and watch them work their blini-making magic.

The block is still occupied by Polonez Tours Service, Lejla's Salon, Blue Lake Halal Meat Market, and Parkway Pharmacy. Also gone, besides Russian Homemade Cuisine, are El Gavilan (not missed by its immediate neighbors), Old Brick Cafe, and the shoe repair shop.

Friday, June 28, 2013


From the office of City Councilmember Brad Lander

Brooklyn Residents Demand Safety Improvements
at Ocean Parkway & Church Avenue
Following Pedestrian Death

The community provided funding one year ago through
Council Member Lander’s “participatory budgeting” process for a safety upgrade
at the long-dangerous intersection, but the money has gone unspent
as New York State DOT has refused to approve the plan

Monday’s death of neighborhood resident Ngozi Agbim, 73,
shows need for immediate action

BROOKLYN, NY – With cars whizzing by this morning, Kensington residents, transportation advocates, and City Council Member Brad Lander called on the New York State Department of Transportation to sign-off on safety improvements at the dangerous Church Avenue - Ocean Parkway intersection. 

One year ago, residents voted in Council Member Lander’s “participatory budgeting” election to allocate $200,000 to safety upgrades at the notorious intersection – but that money has gone unspent because the New York State Department of Transportation has not approved a plan from the New York City DOT that would make it safer to cross.

The death earlier this week of Ngozi Agbim, 73, who was hit and killed by a semi truck at the intersection on Monday, has left the neighborhood sad and angry.

“We just do not understand how is it that a God fearing and loving mother would die in such a manner walking back from a church service,” said Eugene Agbimson, Brother-in-Law of Ngozi Agbim.  “This is very difficult, but it is also very rewarding. It allows me to reflect on her life, her dedication to the service of God and her lifelong committed to the less privilege.   Her death like her life is now a beacon – a rallying point for change.” (Read his full remarks here). 

“We have been working to fix that intersection—which we all know is dangerous—for years,” said Council Member Lander. “The community felt so strongly that this was voted a top priority in last year’s budget. We are heartbroken about Monday’s tragedy, which took the life of our neighbor, Ngozi Agbim. We must act now to do all we can to prevent future tragedies. We are calling on New York State DOT to approve our plan.”

“It has saddened me that someone died in this tragic accident,” said nearby resident Arlette F. Mathis. “My family and I cross that intersection daily. We fear crossing, because even with the signage, drivers speed onto the Prospect Expressway and seldom yield to pedestrians. Something like this should never happen again.”

The holdup isn’t money – residents had the chance last year to vote on funding for local projects and seized it – prioritizing $200,000 to improve safety at dangerous Church and Ocean.  Council Member Lander brought the innovative program, called “participatory budgeting,” to New York in 2011. It has since spread to 10 City Council districts around the city.

“We voted for this money,” said life-long Kensington resident Julie Bero. “We should be able to cross this intersection safely and New York State Department of Transportation should make it a priority.”

With the funding available, New York City DOT proposed building a pedestrian refuge island between northbound and southbound traffic at the intersection, to give pedestrians a safe space when crossing the nine-lane street.  New York State DOT rejected the proposal, and instead proposed eliminating the crosswalk entirely, even though it is an important connection between bus lines, schools, and neighborhoods. Without the crosswalk, residents would have to walk a block out of their way and wait for three crossing signals instead of one. Cars would speed by even faster. And many pedestrians would certainly still cross there anyway, far more exposed to speed, danger, and future tragedies.

“New York State DOT’s proposal is unacceptable,” said Council Member Lander.  “It would make this intersection even more dangerous. Our neighborhood is not a highway.”

Residents are joining Lander to gather petition signatures and press for a safety solution. The petition, which was launched today, can also be signed here:

“Ten years ago a Manhattan woman was electrocuted while walking down an East Village street,” said Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives. “The relevant agencies sprang into action, fixing power infrastructure to prevent needless loss of life. The state has as known for years that this intersection is just as deadly to pedestrians as a manhole cover charged with stray voltage, but yet that have done nothing.”

The intersection has long been a subject of concern. There were 36 pedestrian and cyclist injuries and four fatalities there between 1995 and 2008, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat.

In March of this year, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign released a report, finding that pedestrian injuries and deaths are far too common on Ocean Parkway in general.  “From 2008-2011, six pedestrians were killed along Ocean Parkway, making it the most deadly road for pedestrians in Brooklyn,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “The New York State Department of Transportation must work with local residents to immediately implement measures that improve the walking environment."

“This is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame,” Lander concluded. “The NYPD is conducting an investigation to determine what happened. We appreciate the increased attention of the NYPD Crash Investigation Squad to deadly crashes. But we’ve long known this intersection is dangerous. After a tragedy like this, we must come together. In the memory of Ngozi Agbim, we must work together to make this intersection safe for pedestrians and drivers alike,” Lander concluded.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Brooklyn Residents to Demand Ocean Parkway Safety Plan Following Pedestrian Death

City Councilmember Brad Lander provided funding one year ago for a safety upgrade at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway, but New York State Department of Transportation has sat on its hands.

Monday’s death of neighborhood resident Ngozi Agbim, 73, reinforces the need for immediate action


Neighborhood residents and City Council Member will launch a petition, demand a safety plan, and send a message to NYS DOT:

"Our neighborhood is not a highway!"

Friday, June 28th, 8:00 a.m.

 at the corner of Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway

City Councilmember Brad Lander
Ryan Lynch, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Kensington neighborhood residents

This is about saving lives!


The Israeli dance classes at Flatbush Jewish Center will be on a break for three weeks until after Tisha B'Av. They won't meet on these Sundays: June 30th, July 7th, and July 14th. They'll resume on Sunday, July 21st, at 7:00 p.m.

Time: The class for beginners will start at 7:00 p.m., followed by an open session from 7:45 to 10:00.

Fee: The classes are free for current members of the Flatbush Jewish Center. They cost $10 per person for non-members.

Flatbush Jewish Center is on the southeast corner of Church Avenue at E. 5th Street. The entrance is on E. 5th. 

Contact information
phone: (347) IFD-6323 
e-mail: israelidanceteacher


Sidewalk Sales
Friday, June 28th, through
Sunday, June 30th, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sidewalk Sales are back this year--tomorrow and all weekend--along Church Avenue, between Coney Island and Flatbush avenues.

Stop by the Church Avenue stores and get the necessities for summertime survival:
  • colorful dresses on sale at Jump Style II, (1711 Church Avenue,
  • sandals for men, women, and kids at Bobby's Department Store,
  • affordable beach supplies at 99 Cent City (1694 Church Avenue, and
  • fans and air conditioners at Crown Electronics, 1915 Church Avenue.

Downtown Natural, 1701 Church Avenue, serves up fresh and delicious made-to-order juices. And visit Lark for its popular and refreshing Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches and People's Pops.

Church Avenue BID
884 Flatbush Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11226

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


"'Starchitects' of Yore": A Trolley Tour
Saturday, July 13th, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The stars of the new trolley tour, "'Starchitects' of Yore," were big names in architecture during the 1800s. Their names and reputations live on in their work. David Bates Douglass designed Green-wood Cemetery; Richard Upjohn &amp Son, Warren & Wetmore, and Stanford White built structures in it.

Some other stars for whom Green-wood Cemetery is "home" include James Renwick Jr. (St. Patrick’s Cathedral), James Bogardus and Daniel D. Badger (cast-iron pioneers), Montrose Morris and George Chappell (best of “Brownstone Brooklyn” architecture), John McComb Jr. (New York City Hall), Jacob Wrey Mould (Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain plaza), Grosvenor Atterbury (Forest Hills Gardens), John Kellum (Tweed Courthouse), and Gamaliel King (Brooklyn Borough Hall).

Ruth Edebohls is the expert guide for this tour.

Cost: This trolley tour costs $15 for members of the Green-Wood Historic Fund and the Brooklyn Historical Society and $20 for others.

Reservations are recommended. If the trolley tour is not sold out in advance, walk-ups will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more or to make reservations online, call (718) 210-3080 or visit

Meet at Green-Wood Cemetery's main gate at 500 25th Street at 5th Avenue, Brooklyn. Take the R train to the 25th Street stop, then walk up the hill one block and into the Cemetery.

Free parking is available.


Art Show Opening Reception
Friday, June 28th, 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The works of Richard Kanter of Long Island will hang on Steeplechase's art wall from June 28th through July 25th. Richard is a member of imagekind, on whose website appear three galleries displaying his art: SPARKS (SPirited Action Release and Kindness), DigitalNature (photos shot with a digital camera), and CosmicEnergy (oil pastels).

While browsing the site, I came across several pieces that would be perfect for my walls. My absolute favorite is "Forest." Or is "Feather on the Breath of God"? Maybe it's "Northern Lights." Anyway, visit the site and go to the opening reception and pick out your favorites.

Open Hours:
Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

Free Wi-Fi.

Steeplechase Coffee
3013 Fort Hamilton Parkway, between East 2nd and East 3rd streets
Windsor Terrace, near the Kensington border (347) 799-2640



UPDATE: Israeli dancing will take a break for three weeks until after Tisha B'Av. It won't meet on these Sundays: June 30th, July 7th, and July 14th. It will resume on Sunday, July 21st, at 7:00 p.m. 

Monday night's Israeli dance classes at the Flatbush Jewish Center are migrating to Sunday nights, as of this Sunday, June 30th.

Time: The beginners class begins at 7:00 p.m. The open session runs from 7:45 to 10:00.

Fee: The classes are free for people who are already members of the Flatbush Jewish Center and $10 per person for non-members. That's a bargain!

Contact information
phone: (347) IFD-6323
e-mail: israelidanceteacher

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Statement issued by
City Councilmember Brad Lander

Fatal Crash at Church and Ocean

I was truly heartbroken to hear about the fatal crash at Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue, near the entrance to the Prospect Expressway, that took the life of Ngozi Agbim this morning. I have been working with many community advocates to fix that intersection—which we all know to be dangerous—for years. But we are too late to prevent today’s tragedy.

We need to push forward more strongly to improve safety there. Last spring, in the first year of my participatory budgeting program, over 600 neighbors voted to allocate $200,000 to make repairs and safety improvements at that pedestrian crossing. City Department of Transportation and State Department of Transportation are currently working together to put that money to use on a plan that would improve safety at that corner.

I will be convening a meeting with the NYC DOT and the local stakeholders who crafted this project to discuss the status of the proposal, and then we’ll report back on what we’ve learned. This intersection is a top priority and I will continue to urge both the City and State DOT to come to a resolution on changes that will enhance safety and help prevent tragedies like what we saw today.

While pedestrian and traffic fatalities are down in recent years, we have a long way to go, and every death is a wrenching loss. My office is committed to working for street safety improvements, better enforcement, and improved crash investigations -- from Hicks Street to 4th Avenue to Ocean Parkway -- until the day when we reduce traffic deaths to zero.


Statement issued by
New York State Assemblymember Jim Brennan

Press Release
 June 25, 2013

Assembly Member Jim Brennan Calls On City, State
Transportation Agencies and NYPD To Provide Full Report on
 Ocean Parkway Traffic Death and Commit TO Safety Improvement
On Monday June 24th, Ngozi Agbim, was struck and fatally killed by a tractor trailer at the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue.  Ms. Agbim was 73 years old and lived on Buckingham Road.  The intersection has long been viewed as dangerous.

Following Ms. Agbim’s tragic death, Assembly Member Jim Brennan (D-Bklyn) has sent letters to NYC Department of Transportation Commissioners Janette Sadik-Khan and Joan McDonald, along with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, asking that they conduct a full investigation into the accident.
Moreover, Assembly Member Jim Brennan requests that a survey be conducted at the intersection in question so that operational guidelines for traffic enforcement purposes can be generated so that tragedies like this one can be prevented.  Letters were sent to DOT and NYPD to this effect.  The letters also ask for a commitment to public safety.


A Heat Advisory is in effect until 6:00 tonight. An Air Quality Health Advisory is in effect until 11:00 tonight.

The heat is dangerous to the health of humans and animals. Don't do anything strenuous. At highest risk are people who don't have air conditioning, folks who are older, and people who have chronic health conditions.

The cooling centers are open again today. See for information on the ones closest to Kensington and Windsor Terrace and for heat survival tips.

Take care of yourselves.

Monday, June 24, 2013


An 18-wheel tractor-trailer snagged a Buckingham Road resident as she was crossing the notoriously dangerous intersection of Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue at about 9:40 this morning.

Seventy-three-year-old Ngozi Agbim, pounded on the truck to alert the driver to her situation, but he didn't hear her. She fell. The truck's wheels ran over her and killed her. Rest in peace, Ms. Agbim.

The New York Post reports that she "was crossing outside of the crosswalk."

According to the Daily News, Ms. Agbim had been walking east on Church (in the direction of Coney Island Avenue) and the driver had been traveling west on Church (in the direction of McDonald Avenue).

But a  neighbor wrote on Kensington's Facebook page that witnesses told her Ms. Agbim and the truck were both headed west on Church--toward McDonald, with CIA behind them. Ms. Agbim was walking on the north side of Church when she entered the crosswalk. The driver turned right onto the north-bound side of Ocean Parkway to go toward Park Circle, and the truck snagged her.

We, the residents of City Council District 39, Brad Lander's district, voted during the first year of Brad's participatory budgeting project to allocate $200,000 to remedy the pedestrian hazards at this intersection. That was in March 2012. To date, no improvements have been made. This update is the most recent on Brad's website: "March 2013: NYCDOT has submitted study to NYSDOT and is awaiting a response."

People who live, work, walk, bicycle, or drive on Ocean Parkway and the Prospect Expressway should contact Brad (phone: (718) 499-1090) and tell him about the latest fatality, that this project is taking too long, and that we need a remedy fast.





June 24, 2013, 8:16 a.m.
"The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for New York City today until 6PM tomorrow. These conditions are dangerous to health. Avoid strenuous activity. People without air conditioning, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk. Cooling centers will be open.

For locations, hours, and more information on avoiding heat illness, visit or call 311."

Animals are also in danger. Do not leave them alone in a car--not even with the windows open. Do not walk them on hot asphalt, which can burn their paw pads.

Hot Weather Tips for animals

12:19 p.m.
"The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for New York City until 11:00 PM. Active children, adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. For more information visit"

Before you go to a cooling center, call it to confirm the times it opens and closes.

Some cooling centers:

Phone:(718) 686-9707
Contact:Barbara Delamadrid, Ianthee Williams
Hours*:M 10-6; Tu 10-6; W 1-8; Th 1-6; F 1-6; Sa 10-5
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
Wheelchair Accessible:NO

Phone:(718) 435-9431
Contact:Gladys Russo, William Lewnes
Hours*:M 10-6; Tu 1-8; W 10-6; Th 1-8; F 10-6;Sa 10-5
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
Wheelchair Accessible:NO

Phone:(718) 941-6700
Contact:Joanne Biswakarma
Hours*:M - F 8-4
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
ExtendedHours:Hours may be extended during a heat emergency
Wheelchair Accessible:YES
Phone:(718) 435-3804
Contact:Judy Liff
Hours*:M - F 9-4:30
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
ExtendedHours:Hours may be extended during a heat emergency
Wheelchair Accessible:YES

Phone:(718) 434-8670
Contact:Aron Heineman
Hours*:M - F 8-4
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
Wheelchair Accessible:YES

Phone:(718) 499-9574
Contact:Carla Zecca
Hours*:M - F 8-4
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
ExtendedHours:Hours may be extended during a heat emergency
Wheelchair Accessible:YES
Phone:(718) 832-3726
Contact:Denise Johnson
Hours*:M - F 8-4
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
ExtendedHours:Hours may be extended during a heat emergency
Wheelchair Accessible:YES
Phone:(718) 230-2407
Contact:John McClelland
Hours*:M 9-6; Tu 9-9; W 9-9; Th 9-9; F 10-6; Sa 10-6; Su 1-5
Please check this website daily. Cooling centers may change hours of operation.
Wheelchair Accessible:YES