Monthly Archives: December 2008

Changes on Fulton

On Sunday, I discovered that Fulton Street is back to accommodating two-way traffic (after having to take an A/C shuttle bus).  FINALLY.

The Times offered an interesting article on the state of the street’s BID last week as well.  Many seem to think it’s not needed, but you can’t deny the success it’s had on Myrtle Avenue.  Yet, a BID requires local businesses to pay into a community fund to help pay for street improvements.  After a few years of street construction and hard times, people aren’t feeling so hip to spending more.

(I hope this post is coherent! I’m on vacation in Dubai and it’s only 2:30 am EST.)

CHB Holiday Schedule

CHB will be operating on a light schedule until Tuesday, January 6, 2009. I hesitate to step completely away from the laptop, in case something interesting happens.  Regardless, I probably won’t be posting daily.

Stay tuned for new features and a new design in 09!

One last thing — can anyone recommend a good Xmas Eve church service in the neighborhood?

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hankuuah, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year.

finally, it snows!

More on the Explosion

Many of you have probably walked by the explosion scene by now, but in case you haven’t, here it is:

CO2 explosion on washington ave at lafayette

No wonder it was so loud!  The sidewalk was completely shattered from below!

Thanks to all the readers who responded, especially in the immediate aftermath.  Many of you have expressed your frustration at not being able to find any news about this, so I’m glad I was able to at least create a space to share information.

Reader David also noted that here may have been two additional explosions on Classon at Myrtle-Willoughby yesterday (via Gothamist Labs).

Is this a common occurence?  The blast was loud and frightening on Friday night.  The authorities seemed to know in advance that it would happen — firetrucks were lining Washington immediately afterwards.  But still.  Someone walking past could have been seriously injured.  It doesn’t seem fair that there was no communication with the neighborhood from ConEd, etc, aside from the residents whose homes had to be searched before and after the blast.

Explosion on Washington?

I was just sitting on the couch reading when what sounded like an explosion rocked the area.  From my window, I can see firetrucks and cops lining Washington Ave at Lafayette, some smoke near the intersection, and people with flashlights walking around.

It was definitely NOT thunder.

Anyone have info?

Clinton Hill Convent to Close

You may have noticed the fortress-like building on Willoughby Avenue near the Clinton Hill-Bed Stuy border and wondered what it was.  It’s been a convent for nearly 150 years, and is now closing.

The NY Times offered an interesting profile on it recently, including a photo slide show.  Sadly, the building isn’t landmarked so there’s no telling what will happen to it.  It’s also sad to think about the remaining women there being split up.  I wish them well in their new homes.

This just in from the Society for Clinton Hill:

As you will see in the information below, the Sisters of Mercy Convent is soon to be closed and the property sold and possibly demolished. This property is one of 5 recommended for Individual Landmark status in our 2007 Cultural Resource Survey, which was submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in August 2007 and recommends an expansion of our landmark district. Our report is still under review by LPC and we are now asking LPC to address our request as soon as possible. In just the year and a half since we submitted our report, there have been losses to the fabric of our unique architectural community, including some of those especially unique properties which are recommended for consideration as “Individual Landmarks.” The loss of this intact nineteenth-century religious complex to yet more “luxury condos” would be a sad thing for our neighborhood on many levels. We would much prefer to see this historic religious compound preserved and put to adaptive re-use.

We hope you will help us save the Sisters of Mercy Convent!

The Sisters of Mercy Convent is located in Clinton Hill at 237
Willoughby Avenue between Classon Avenue and Taafe Place. The buildings
represent an intact nineteenth-century convent complex. The motherhouse
on the property was designed by Brooklyn resident Patrick C. Keely, the
most important Catholic-church architect in America in the mid-nineteenth century.

The Sisters of Mercy first came to Brooklyn in 1855 and moved into the
Willoughby Avenue building in November 1862. A substantial addition, St.
Francis of Assisium Female Orphan Asylum, was built in 1883.  By 1891
there were 510 girls in residence.  Many were taught at St. Francis
Industrial School at Kent and Willoughby Avenues.

Now with dwindling numbers and an estimated $20 million in needed repairs, the
convent is closing. This complex is an important part of Clinton Hill and Brooklyn’s history. Religious institutions across the city are being demolished and with their loss, neighborhoods
are losing significant community anchors. The Sisters of Mercy Convent should not be demolished and can be adapted into any number of uses including housing, educational facilities, retail, office, medical and/or community facilities, including affordable housing.

The petition is sponsored by the Society for Clinton Hill and our friends, the
Historic Districts Council.

Please use the link below to sign our on-line petition to LPC.

Neighborhood Christmas Caroling, TOMORROW

Christmas Caroling in Clinton Hill

Friday, December 19, 6:30 pm

Community Garden (DeKalb/Hall)

Join a 40-year tradition of song and celebration…bring family, friends and neighbors to share in the season, sing to the residents of our neighborhood, and share cookies and hot chocolate.  The route is not long, the spirit will be high, and the joy of song will go right into your heart.  Bring an instrument if you play.

Call Marge Othrow 718-789-1619 with questions or to volunteer with arrangements.

Tonight on Grand

Infrequent Seams Series
::A twice-monthly series of edgy, creative music, co-curated by James Ilgenfritz and Julianne Carney
$8 Suggested (but we’re flexible!)
8 PM – 11 PM

First & Third Thursdays

December 18
Nate Wooley / Dan Levin
A Mown Lawn: Jacob Wick / Judith Berkson / Curtis Hasselbring / Josh Sinton / Jessie Marino

*We’re taking January off, so this is your last chance to visit Le Grand Dakar on Thursdays until February!

Some really fabulous musicians this month…stop by to support local music!


I’ve been meaning to do a feature like this for the last few years, but now it’s more important than ever to shop locally!  I spent a few hours last weekend browsing local shops in search of unique (and inexpensive) finds perfect for rounding out the gift list. The criteria?   Inexpensive and purchased in the neighborhood.

Here they are:

1. Owa African Market, 434 Myrtle Ave:
Wooden Giraffe (made in Kenya), $10

Giraffes are a favorite animal of mine, and are one of several wood carved items available here.  Great for a bookshelf or side table!

2. Associated, 367 Waverly Ave:
Popsicle Molds, $1.99


I’ve been looking for popsicle molds for months now and was pleasantly surprised to find these at Associated!  Great for those with a do-it-yourself attitude and people excited to make a healthier alternative to store-bought pops. Take this gift to the next level by including some popsicle recipes(NOTE: THESE ARE NOT DISHWASHER SAFE.  Don’t make the same mistake I did and end up with a dishwasher full of melted plastic sticks.)

3. Root Stock & Quade, 471 Myrtle Ave:
Paperwhite Bulbs, $1.75/ea or 5 for $8

paperwhites at root stock and quade

Just place these in a glass vase filled with stones and water, and watch them sprout!  A great gift for an apartment-dweller with limited space.

4. Green Planet, 969 Fulton St:
Yogi Tea, $3.99

The boxes are lovely and the variety is large.  Buy a few for a stressed-out friend and make a zen gift basket!

5. J. Love Gift Shop, 485 Myrtle Ave:
Plastic Dinosaurs, $3.99

A fun idea for both kids and your hipster boyfriend alike.  Small plastic replicas of Jurassic animals will liven up any corporate office workstation!

6. Tessan Boutique, 280 DeKalb Ave:
Gold Chain Necklace w/ Red Beads, $22

necklace at tessan

There’s a whole table of reasonable jewelry to choose from, but this one stuck out to me!

7. Kulcha Lion, 926 Fulton St:
Clinton Hill Chill T-shirt, $20

You’ll pay a 100% markup by getting one at this Fulton retail shop (as opposed to the guys selling them on the street), but they sell a few other cool BK t-shirts, too.

8. Karen’s Body Beautiful, 436 Myrtle Ave:
Homemade Soaps, 3 for $15

These chunky soaps come in a variety of yummy flavors (including milkshake and jasmine lily).  Plus, they’re all made on site in the store’s open kitchen!

9. Pratt Store, 550 Myrtle Ave:
I Love Pratt Mug, $7.99

Show your love for a local institution and let the recipient show off some creative cred.

10. bodega, 971 Fulton St:
Botanica candles, $1.79

Yes, they’re ubiquitous with bodegas and NYC, but that’s part of their charm.

BONUS ITEM(S): Greene Grape Provisions, 753 Fulton St:
Fort Greene Park Conservancy Greeting Cards, $3/ea

My plan was to keep the list exclusively to Clinton Hill proper, but the folks at Provisions in Fort Greene let me know that they’re selling totes, paperweights and git cards with local historic scenes (BAM, the park, etc.)  All proceeds from sales of these items go to support Fort Greene Park (yes, 100% of sales price!).  Also check out their retro temporary tattoos, great for stocking stuffers, and gift baskets.

Finally, when you spend $15 and mention Clinton Hill Blog, receive a free holiday gift wine box: