Monthly Archives: June 2009

From the Other Local Blogs

No need to repeat info when it’s been covered in other places already – let’s see what else is going on in the hood:

Grocery Store for Wallabout

The long-empty space at the ground level of the Chocolate Factory rental building is finally being filled!


The store, which will take up both the front retail space and the side space where Kiki’s doggie day care and boarding used to be, appears to be a grocery store.

They also have a very basic website set up.

I wonder what the prices will be like.  It would still be a hike for many of us, but still closer than a trip to Fairway.  I bet the building tenants are psyched.

Fresh Fanatic
corner of Washington and Park

Obama Comes to Clinton Hill

A few readers sent in photos of a new deli opening on Myrtle between Vanderbilt and Clinton named after the leader of our country:


I wonder how many places like this have opened up around the country (and world), and if Obama feels weird seeing them.  At least it’ll be open 24 hours!  (More than I can say for most places in the neighborhood.)  No word on whether Hope will be available.

In related news, I shook President Clinton’s hand last week at a conference where I was speaking.  I have long been a fan of Bill, and I was thrilled to have the experience.  However, I couldn’t help but think that it would have been much cooler to shake Obama’s hand.

CHB Twitter Account: RIP

I noticed recently that I could not log in to the CHB Twitter account from my phone, and assumed I was just using a crappy app.  However, it seems that our account was suspended due to “suspicious activity.”  Twitter has not responded to my query yet (which I submitted a week ago) – the status is “in process.”  Apologies!

Did anyone see ay funny spam posts on it that might signal a suspension?

Lunchtime with Tillie: Kinara's

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, will it make a sound?

Why is the sky blue?

Why did the chicken really cross the road?

Great mysteries and thought-provoking questions, all. Well, I’d like to add another one to the list:

Why is Indian food restaurant Kinara’s practically a ghost town at lunch?

Hey again, everyone, it’s Van and Tillie of Lunchtime With Tillie fame, here to reflect on another one of our daytime dining excursions, this time to Kinara’s on Myrtle Avenue.

On this day, in particular, Tillie and I had been sitting inside all morning napping and playing, but kind of hesitant to go out because it was one of those weird is-it-or-isn’t-it-going-to-rain days we’ve been having lately. And something about me is that I’m not really one of those throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of dads when it comes down to the weather. I guess that comes from being told as a kid that if you go outside and get caught in the rain without an umbrella or with your hair wet, you can catch pneumonia. My beliefs aren’t that extreme any more, but I still try to be careful!

Anyway, we caught a break with the sun coming out right around lunchtime, so I decided to pack Tillie up and head down Myrtle to one of my favorite Indian food spots, Kinara’s. Aside from the food there, which I personally love, the restaurant has another very appealing aspect to me, especially in the nonworking era:

Everything on the menu is 50 percent off from noon to 4! Yes, you read that right: Everything!

I remember when the restaurant first came to the neighborhood by way of Park Slope. I had eaten at the original there with friends and enjoyed it. When one opened here, there was a chalkboard announcing the half-off-the-menu deal, which I thought was going to just be a grand-opening special. But here we are, a couple of years later, and it’s still going strong!

When Tillie and I got there this day, there was only one other couple in the place that looked to be wrapping things up. Tillie and I rolled up to our usual spot, I took my seat and was promptly handed a menu, which I promptly handed to Tillie! I had no need for it since I get the same thing every time: lamb rogan josh (lamb chunks and tomatoes cooked in a cardamom sauce) and nan. Sometimes, I throw in samosas for an appetizer, but I didn’t feel extra-gluttonous that day! The menu was put to better use by Tillie, and since we’ve been there a couple of times, the waiter knew she liked to play with it and didn’t bother trying to get it back.


There was only so much Tillie could do on her own with the menu while I waited for my food, so I grabbed it and played a little peek-a-boo with her, which she got a kick out of as evidenced by her shrieks of excitement. I get a little worried about that sometimes — you know, possibly disturbing others — but really, when that couple left we had the whole place to ourselves, so it was party time in Kinara’s!

My food arrived — the rogan josh, nan and a bowl of jasmine rice — but what about Tillie? She ate before we left, so I knew she was good there, but I couldn’t leave her to her own devices, while I wolfed down my personal feast. So I managed to still keep the peek-a-boo game going and also give her water from a straw, which is something her mom does with her when we’re all out. It’s just as it sounds, water from a straw, but she really gets a kick out of it, and who am I to judge what makes an 8-month-old happy?

In between games and enjoying my dish (with the lamb practically melting in my mouth, it was so tender), we got to bill time. My tab for all the food I ate, plus a coke, was $9 without the tip. It was worth every penny, even if it would’ve been full-priced!


Now, I know Indian food might be kind of heavy for some in the day, but you don’t have to eat like I do. The appetizer selection is pretty big and you can grab a couple of those, if you’d like. Or, here’s an idea: Go out there with a couple of other parents and kids, and get a few tiny dishes to share. There’s plenty of space in the restaurant. Plus, I hear curry-flavored food can help a child develop a palate for different spices, which is next on the agenda for Tillie. I think she’s ready to move past the water and straw!

CUNY Grad School of Journalism Profiles Madiba

The CUNY Grad School of Journalism has just launched a special online neighborhood report called Brookyn Bridge Cultures.  The purpose?  Exploring the rich cultures and populations of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods, as well as spotlighting immigrant communities and their contributions. to the borough.

The site offers a very nice profile of Fort Greene’s Madiba, including the establishment’s history and interviews with the owner about South Africa and the restaurants’ most popular dishes.

Photo from the NYC News Service, CUNY

Madiba, (photo from the NYC News Service, CUNY)

The full report is available online here!

Helping the Victims on Myrtle Avenue

Several people have been asking about how to help out the Myrtle Avenue victims.  The Local has a list of upcoming events and ways to donate here.

Here’s an event that sounds especially nice, and will provide a place for everyone to come together:

Let’s Lend a Heart & Helping Hand
To 491 & 493 Myrtle Avenue

SUNDAY, June, 28 2009
5PM – 7PM
Chez Lola
387 Myrtle Avenue (by Vanderbilt)
Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Chez Lola will be hosting a fundraiser for the tenants of 491 and 493 Myrtle Avenue.

If you have services to provide, clothes to spare, furniture that is collecting dust, come on by to Chez Lola on Sunday and let us know. Please do not bring it. We can take down your contact info and approximate location and help coordinate the transfer of goods. You can also go online to as of Thursday (June 25, 2009) to post any services/materials you’d like to provide.

The Office of Council Member James will be assisting Chez Lola in these activities, and will be on-hand at this Sunday’s event.

Chez Lola will be serving light food and refreshments.

Please bring your check book, wallet, donating spirit and helpful hand to give our neighbors get their lives back together!

Please make checks/money orders out to Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project.

Specify “491 & 493 Myrtle emergency fund” in the memo field. MARP has offered to temporarily hold your donations until they can be disbursed to the affected tenants.

For more information concerning the event and fundraising, please call at 718-858-1484 and ask for Edit.

CHB Interviews: Alexis Gutierrez

As promised, children’s librarian Alexis Gutierrez of the CH library branch answered some questions for CHB about our local branch and how to get involved:

When did the CH branch first open?
1974. (For more branch history and trivia, click here )

Is there any remodeling planned for the near future?

Clinton Hill is certainly due for a renovation– we would love more space and central air, just to name a few things!  However, due to the current economic situation, all construction and physical branch improvement projects have been pushed back by a few years. Just last year, Clinton Hill was one of the next libraries in line for a renovation, but unfortunately the renovation was pushed back to 2013.

How long have you been working at the CH Branch?
Since February 2008
Have you worked at other branches?  If so, what sets the CH branch apart?
I’ve only worked at this branch. But from visiting many of BPL’s other 59 locations, it’s clear to see it is definitely one of the smaller and busier branches! A few of the things that make CH special are our bookdrop for returning books (only a few libraries have them anymore) and our book donation bins. They are a simple free pile, no strings attached– sometimes you can find some real treasures there!

What is the best part about being a children’s librarian?
I really love sharing stories with younger kids and talking about what to read next with older kids! Kids always see special little things in the books that I don’t right away. It’s also nice to find the perfect book for a child who doesn’t see themselves as liking reading that much, and watch as they actually enjoy it.

What kinds of events does the CH branch hold, and how can we find out about them?
The branch offers programs for kids, teens, and adults. For adults, we have things like movies, book discussions, author visits, and general interest presentations. For teens, we have visiting artists and performers from time to time. And for kids, we have storytimes, visiting artists and performers, arts and crafts programs, and games. To find out about them, visit and select “Clinton Hill”– you’ll see a list of everything going on. You can also pick up a monthly calendar of events at the branch.

Anything fun going on this summer?

Yes! Summer Reading ’09: Be Creative! starts June 4th. Summer Reading is a great way to connect with others who like to read, while reading what you want at your own pace. Fun activities are happening in libraries all summer long and everyone, from babies to adults, can sign up. And it’s free! For a list of Summer Reading events and booklists for all ages, visit Register at any BPL location beginning June 4th.

What is the best way to volunteer or otherwise help the branch?
Right now, as you have heard, is a really critical time for the library. We face massive budget cuts that could cut our public service hours down to 25 hours a week, which means the library won’t be open mornings, after 6pm, or weekends. Please, if you can, write to your city council member and the Mayor letting them know you do not support this funding cut. Let your friends and family know what’s could happen to all of Brooklyn Public Library’s 60 locations if this cut goes through.

What is your favorite aspect of the neighborhood?

The G train– just kidding!  I like how people here really value books, stories, history, education, culture, and their library. I meet interesting people all the time. I moved to Brooklyn from Indiana two years ago and worked in the library there, and noticed right away that people read more here.  And of course I like the tree-lined streets.

If you were a favorite flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Coffee– sweet and caffeinated!

Robin, if people have questions about the library, would you send them my way or pass along our phone number– 398-8713 ext. 5? I am finishing up 3 classes for my Masters in Library Science right now and probably can’t check the blog for comments as much as usual, but would still like to help with reader’s questions if there are any. Thanks! -Alexis

Tish James and Office to Facilitate Donations

Leticia James and her office will facilitate donations to those who lost their home yesterday in the building collapse.  Especially in need is a teenage girl named Caitlyn who now needs clothing for her high school graduation.  From the Team Tish blog:

“The building had a list of violations on it, including an unrepaired crack running along the side. The collapse damaged a residential building next store, leaving those residents without a home. A young woman, Caitlyn, who is graduating from public school this Thursday was a victim of the collapse, and now needs attire appropriate for her graduation. If you are interested in helping her, please make-out your donation to “Jose Nunez”. All checks can be brought or mailed to PS 157 at 850 Kent Avenue [Principal Torres]. If you can donate clothing to Caitlyn, or wish to donate to any victim, please email us at where we may be able to facilitate such a donation. We will expand on this situation as more details come forth.”