Monthly Archives: August 2009

Night Out Against Crime on Grand

In the CHB inbox:

Disturbed by the savage beating of Pratt Student Eddy Sanchez several weeks ago, our neighborhood has come together and decided to have a “Night Out Against Crime” on Thursday September 3rd from 7:30pm –8:15pm at the location this happened, the corner of Lexington and Grand in Clinton Hill.

Councilwoman Leticia James will be there and we plan on having a candle vigil and a moment of silence.

We hope that the you can write about this and encourage Pratt students and locals to attend this gathering.
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Laura Benko
CLEXY Block Association
We are residents of Classon, Lexington and Quincy in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

I encourage you all to attend.  I will do my best to be there.

Brooklyn Cares Vet: NOT Closed

I happened to walk past Brooklyn Cares Vet on both Saturday and Sunday and noticed the gates were down.  I was worried that they had already closed shop!


Not to worry, though.  I checked the website at home and Dr. Mann, the clinic’s vet, got married this weekend and was off.  The clinic will reopen on Tuesday, Sept 1.

Lunchtime With Tillie: General Greene

If only I’d gone for the burger…

Hey everyone! It’s the lord of lamenting, the ruler of regretting, the head of hindsight is 20/20 Van, alongside the highness of high-chair fun, the doyenne of dad-doubting and the guru of great-time-having Tillie, here to tell you about our different experiences at The General Greene, located on the corner of Clermont and Dekalb.

Before I go further, though, let me just make this clear: I am a huge fan of GG and could eat dinner there every night of the week. On some of their dinner-time dishes, it gets kind of hard for me to share with Tillie’s mom sometimes because I want the whole plate to myself. But I manage to overcome my selfishness for the good of the team!

That being said, I had never gone there for lunch because it was hard for me to find something on the menu I thought I would really enjoy. It seems there’s always some ingredient that didn’t fall under my taste-o-meter, and I’d hate to ask for that aioli or pickle to be held because I trust the place to know what they’re putting together — my pickiness be darned.

Anyway, whenever Tillie and I walked by the place, we noticed it was full of people, baby and adult alike, so I thought, “Man, what am I missing?” I said to Tillie, “You know that place on the corner of Clermont where your mom and I take you for dinner sometimes? You know, that place we’re always raving about the steak and macaroni and cheese and collard greens? Well, that’s where we’re going for lunch! I’m going to give it a go!”

I didn’t get an answer back, so I figured it was good by her!

On our way to the restaurant, I stopped and picked up a newspaper. A little LWT fact for you: I always bring a paper when T and I go out, just hoping for that one day when I’ll be able to glance at the headlines to catch up on some current events.

We got to the restaurant and the place was pretty empty, which I was shocked about because usually from the sidewalk view, it’s jam-packed; I guess we caught it at the proverbial calm before the storm. We were greeted warmly and I was asked if I needed a high chair. The waitress grabbed one for us, and while I was setting Tillie up, she wheeled the stroller off to the side, which was most appreciated. I hooked Tillie’s little stuffed elephant up to the high chair, then took my seat.

A funny thing happened then: Tillie was content playing with the toy! I thought I was grasping at straws placing it in front of her, but that – combined with her being totally into the waitresses and other people walking around the restaurant – allowed me to actually get some newspaper reading in! I was pretty stunned and almost too distracted to read because I was starting to feel a little ignored. I felt like I was bothering her when I was trying to get her attention!

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Expanded Summer Streets Comes to Myrtle Avenue

myrtle ave, clinton hill

Last summer, the DOT initiated an exciting new program that shut down a major Manhattan thoroughfare to automobiles, creating safe street space for people to walk, bike and play.

Through September, 14 street locales will play host to a Summer Streets event, including an event right here in Clinton Hill!

Move About Myrtle will be held Sunday September 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. on Myrtle Avenue between Clinton Avenue and Emerson Place,  and is sponsored by Myrtle Ave Partnership.

Pretty great, especially since September is one of the most beautiful months in the city.

So far, there are several really creative activities planned, including a roller rink in the street!

Here’s a block-by-block summary of the activities planned for September 6th:

The Brooklyn Urban Arts Market returns! This annual open-air market anchored by live music, DIY fashion, and local creative culture. Rock out with youth band School of Rock All Stars at noon, or dance to the old-school jams of DJs Soul Summit at 3pm. A temporary roller rink will bring some additional throw back flavor to this year’s events. Get your trendy back-to-school shopping done too. Brought to you by MARP, Rebel Music Management, BAM, Deutsche Bank.

Celebrate local farmers, local restaurants and local food initiatives with your neighbors on Myrtle between Hall and Ryerson, a block dedicated entirely to a delicious topic: food.

12pm -3pm CSA Potluck Picnics -With blankets and home-cooked food in tow, the Fort Greene CSA will be taking over a plot of the food block each week to host potluck picnics open to all. The first potluck will be an eat-in to raise awareness and take action for real food in our schools, and initiative championed by Slow Food USA.

12pm 2pm Teen Iron Chefs – Every Sunday, a small crew of local teens will be hosting interactive cooking demonstrations with seasonal, locally grown produce donated by Greenmarket farmers.

4pm 6pm Local Chef Cooking Demonstrations-Chefs from newly-opened Myrtle restaurant SanSouci will showcase their tasty Caribbean fare.

All day: Raised Garden Bed Construction – Local food activist Tree Williams from LiveSip will host an all day interactive event constructing and planting a mobile raised bed garden to be donated at the end of the day.

Washington Hall
Brought to you by local yoga and dance studio Move with Grace , this block will feature free yoga, dance, and themed dance parties on each of the four Sundays. The first Sunday includes:

11am Mom and Me Yoga Bring your mat!
1pm African Dance with drummers s Bring your rhythm!
4pm Caribbean Celebration Bring your flag!

Waverly Clinton
For kids (and the inner child in all of us), this block will be devoted to good old-fashioned fun! Street games (think: four square), hula hoops, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk will be on hand for open use throughout the day.

1pm-3pm Hoopdancing Class– Join Fitnotic trainer Sheryl Wilson, CPT, for a free beginners’ class in hoopdancing – the latest fitness craze sweeping NYC! Class is appropriate for children and adults of all ages. In addition to hoopdancing instruction, Fitnotic specializes in prenatal, postnatal and mommy & me group fitness classes and personal training programs. Learn a few tricks and get a great workout!

Merchant Specials + Promotions

Five Spot is hosting an eating competition (food category still TBD) and music throughout the day outside the restaurant to celebrate their 13th Anniversary (Myrtle at Washington)

Enjoy free smoothie samples at Karrot (Myrtle between Clinton and Waverly)

Come to Green in BKLYN to recycle your batteries and cell phones (Myrtle between Clinton and Waverly)

Learn how to make your own pesto at Anima (Myrtle between Washington and Waverly) is providing a treats and a pet pool so that your animal friends can enjoy themselves too (Myrtle at Washington)

Myrtle Windows Gallery – New Works

4pm-8pm Opening Reception at Pillow Cafe (Myrtle between Ryerson and Grand?
Celebrate the opening of the fourth Myrtle Windows Gallery installation, which brings the works of local artists to storefront windows on Myrtle between Hall and Clinton. This exhibition is curated by Kennis Baptiste of The Rising Arts Gallery, and includes photography, paintings and multi-media works.

Interested in helping out? Myrtle Avenue Partnership need  a small army of volunteers to make this happen, and they’re lucky to have partnered with NY Cares for all four events. If you’re interested in helping out give Meredith a shout at

See you there!  (Well, not on the 27th, which is the day after my wedding!)

CHB Interviews: Alex Sniderman


I recently sat down in Tillie’s with Clinton Hill resident Alex Sniderman, member of The Nu-Sonics, to talk about Wayne Kramer, the neighborhood and being a musician in NYC.

A: So, what can I tell you first?

G: Well, I definitely want to hear the MC5/Wayne Kramer story.

A: Everybody wants to hear that one. I grew up mostly in Tennessee, outside Nashville and, this is all ancient history now, but there used to be a record store called Tower Records—remember that? They had a magazine, Tower Pulse, and I had a band at the time called the Tone Def White Boys. We were sort of flailing around, trying to get shows and do things. A friend of mine volunteered to play drums and he was not really a drummer, but he was having some success as a singer-songwriter. Through a weird series of coincidences, he had a really great gig at the hip spot at the time in Nashville on a Friday night. His opening band bailed and he didn’t have anybody.

Anyway, we read in Tower Pulse that Wayne Kramer from the MC5 had moved to Nashville and we thought that was kind of weird.

We were rehearsing for this gig and we were terribly nervous because there was going to be a crowd there and it’s a small town. My feeling was that if you suck…

G: …You have to start over?

A: Yeah. So, we were all just totally nervous and rehearsing like crazy. The more we rehearsed, the worse we got. And so, to break the tension, we started joking, “we should call Wayne Kramer and get him to be our guitar player. Haha, wouldn’t that be a laugh?” We kept goading each other and finally I said, “I’m calling information and if he’s listed, you have to call him,” pointing to the bass player, Josh. I called and he was in there, so Josh had to call him. He called him up and he (Wayne Kramer) thought the name was hilarious. It was the Tone Def White boys, D-E-F, which was kind of a mistake because everyone thought we were a rap group…

G: Or mistook you for something like Def Leopard?

A: Right, that too. He thought that the band name was hilarious and thought that we were spunky and we just happened to have this good gig on a Friday night in a nice club, and there was a little story in the paper about us, so I think that may have convinced him. “We’ll put you on the guest list!,” like that’s going to impress him—I’m sure he’d never been on a guest list before.

So, it was a big laugh and we didn’t expect anything from it. Secretly, of course, maybe. I don’t even know if I’d ever heard the MC5 at that point.

The time came to do the gig and I remember standing upstairs in the dressing room and being like, “this is it. I’m going to have to move after this gig.” We came down and from the first note it was just magical. We all felt it. There was this synergy and it was very palpable with the audience. Everybody went crazy. I stood up on stage and felt like, “this is where I’m supposed to be and everything makes sense.” I was totally overwhelmed by the fact that we were any good, much less the fact that we were stomping and cheering.

I had forgotten all about our little phone call earlier in the week, but Josh was like, “is there a Wayne Kramer in the audience?” And a guy at the bar raised his hand! We went over to talk to him and he was like, “you guys were great. Who wrote those songs? We have to make a record!”
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Homebuying for Hipsters: TONIGHT

Are you a hipster looking to buy real estate?  A hipster broker from Corcoran (is that possible?) will tell you how at local watering hole Rope:

Home Buying for Hipsters

ROPE (415 Myrtle bet. Vanderbilt/Clinton)

G to Clinton/Washington, C to Clinton/Washington

Tuesday, August 25th




Featuring the old crew:

Eve Levine, residential real estate broker, The Corcoran Group

Matt Rogers, real estate attorney

Rob Slifer, residential mortgage specialist, Professional Advantage Financial Group

AND, to answer renovation questions:

Darrick Borowski, architect, Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

Take advantage of the 2009 prices, historically low interest rates and first-time homebuyer tax credit…get in the game!

Tish James Wants to Name Hoyt-Schermerhorn Station after Michael Jackson

Thanks to neighbor Kath for sending me this story via the HuffPost:

NEW YORK — A New York City lawmaker wants to see Michael Jackson honored at a subway station where the star made the music video for “Bad.”

Councilwoman Letitia James wants a plaque placed at Brooklyn’s Hoyt-Schermerhorn station – or to have “Jackson” added to the station’s name.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Kevin Ortiz said Monday it’s unlikely. James, undeterred, plans a petition drive.


I know that station is not in our neighborhood, but many of us use it every day on the way to and from work.  I was just asking my fiance where he thought Bad was filmed last time we saw it on TV.

Clinton Hill Day

the crowd

On Saturday, I checked out Clinton Hill Day.  CHC invited me to hang with his family for some BBQ, dinner and dancing, and I was not disappointed.  The PS11 playground was full of people reminiscing, reuniting and celebrating.  A DJ spun crowd-pleasing jams and kids played in bouncy castles.  It was the kind of vibe that brought me to this neighborhood, and I wish I had experienced this kind of community gathering growing up.

late-nite chicken

Since I don’t have any family in the city, it was awesome to be “adopted” for the day.  Next year, bring a grill and come on out.

Here‘s one explanation why block parties like this are so important in communities!