Monthly Archives: September 2009

30 Days of Yoga for $30! ENDS THURSDAY

Move With Grace‘s 30 days of yoga for $30 deal expired Wednesday… but she’s willing to extend it ONE DAY ONLY FOR CHB READERS!  Readers must purchase the special online by 7pm, Thursday, October 1.

Today is the final day to sign up for the $30 for 30 days of Yoga!

After today new students can still try us out for for one month…now including ALL
classes on the schedule for $49 for 30days.

The Fall special for membership at the studio is $79/month for your first 3 months and then $89 for the remaining months. One may cancel after 6 months.

Click HERE for the yoga special!

Move With Grace
469 Myrtle Ave

Fort Greene Park Conservancy Wine Tasting Fundraiser!


On Monday, October 5, 2009, the Fort Greene Park Conservancy will hold their third annual Portfolio Wine Tasting Fundraiser from 6-10pm at the Irondale Center, 85 South Oxford Street, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

The event will feature VIP Wine Tasting Classes led by Brooklyn-area wine experts and General Admission Tastings of over 100 wines from around the world. Accompanying the wines will be a variety of appetizers created by Rick’s Picks, Plan B foods, as well as cheeses, charcuterie, hors d’oeuvres and fresh fruit and bread from Greene Grape Provisions. A local DJ will provide musical ambiance, with special surprises.

Admission to the event is through tax-deductible donations to the Conservancy. An $80 in advance/ $90 at the door donation includes general admission to the event from 8-10pm. A VIP donation of $150 features a wine tasting class from 6 to 7pm and priority access to the wines from 6 to 8pm as well as general admission to the tasting from 8 to 10pm.
To purchase tickets visit the Conservancy website.  Tickets are also available at The Greene Grape, 765 Fulton St., between South Oxford and South Portland Ave in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and at The Greene Grape Downtown, 55 Liberty St. at Nassau St. in the Financial District of Manhattan. We look forward to seeing you.

A New Bar for Fulton?

Recently, a reader tipped me off to a potential bar opening on Fulton next to Brooklyn Cares Vet:

Hi! I think there might be a new bar going in around 946 or 948 Fulton St at Cambridge Place (next to the Brooklyn Cares vet clinic). It’s under construction, but the door was open the other day and I saw what looked like a big long plywood counter going in. Do you know anything about it?

I walked past last week and only saw what looked like construction – but no one was around to ask.  Have the scoop?  This could be pretty cool, and a good way to link western Fulton (home to Olivino wine shop and bar and the new Just Taste It) with the eastern end (Outpost).  Maybe they’ll even be open when the post office is.  I know I usually feel like a stiff drink after leaving that place.


Back from the Wedding

Thanks, readers, for all of your messages of congratulations!  Just thought you might want to see Mr. and Mrs. Lesterhead as the features Vows couple in the Times.  Click here to check it out!

Flowers and cake were both amazing, and the fam loved Il Porto.  More photos to come.

Another recommendation outside the ‘hood: the Nu Hotel on Smith and Atlantic.  Most of our guests stayed there, the staff was amazing and the hotel is fun and unique.

Bear with me while I get back into the swing of things.

CHB Interviews: Theresa King, Myrtle El Photographer

1. Where in Brooklyn did you grow up? Tell us a little about the Brooklyn childhood experience.

Until I was seven years old, we lived in Bedford Stuyvesant as tenants in a brownstone. My father then took a position in Brighton Beach where we lived for many years and where I graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School. I then left Brighton and spent some years on Clinton Avenue, Franklin Avenue and Atlantic Avenue which was my last apartment in Brooklyn.

As a child and young adult, I recall the warmth of the different neighborhoods, the feeling of extended family, the variety of images, street games, schools, – the local candy stores where we were always made to feel welcome, the unique vistas from each neighborhood and most certainly the diversity of the population. Is there a Brooklynite of my generation who can ever forget the delicious smells from the local bakeries? Brooklyn is an awakening of the senses and a unique, diverse and special universe of its own and I am proud to have been raised there.

2. How was the El different from the subway? Did people prefer one or the other?

The elevated trains brought light, air and street life to those riding them. One was no longer on a subway under the ground where dark walls, fellow passengers and Ms. Subways and other ads were your only companions.  Indeed our subways take us quickly from one station to another while we read, doze, study, and often use the time in many productive ways.  We are still underground individuals waiting for our stop so that we can get out, go upstairs and see the light of day.

I found the El a different experience. Much like a painting or a poem simply looking out of the windows at the passing scenery – the small apartment buildings so close that you could see folks eating at the kitchen table, almost touch the oil cloth on the tables and linoleum on the floors and imagine yourself part of this unknown family.  Sometimes the profusion of television antennas on the roofs became a picture in itself. Then there were the distant views – office buildings large and small, and of course the people walking, the young girls and other family members looking out of a window for hours at a time. They always had a small pillow to lean on and I used to wonder, “what are they thinking, what are their dreams, who are they” – these strangers who live among us, but with the constant rumble of a train going past them. Do they even notice us as we notice them? Do they even hear the El anymore?  There are still some elevated portions of subway lines operating and I enjoy riding them. I still think of the people in those buildings and still think and visualize scenes and life around them.
As for preference, I can only guess. The dreamers and visualizes among us, I imagine still love the elevated trains that remain.
3. What do you remember about Clinton Hill and Fort Greene during the days of the El? Have you been back to Myrtle Avenue recently? If so, has anything remained the same?

I haven’t lived in Brooklyn since the 1970’s. I still recall lovely brownstones on Clinton Avenue, businesses on Myrtle Avenue, and the struggles, successes and kindness of the people who lived there.
In connection with the photo exhibit at the New York Transit Museum, Sunday, October 18, 2009, I will be leading a tour of my photographs in the exhibit. And on Saturday, November 7, 2009, I will lead another tour group of youngsters and their families down Myrtle Avenue. We will all take photographs and it certainly will be a learning experience for me as well as for the young photographers.

4. People were obviously very fond of the El.  Did anyone lobby to preserve it?
My recollection is that a small group did attempt to save it to no avail. I’ve done a bit of searching recently on the internet, but haven’t come up with anything in the archives. It would be wonderful if an interested reader of this article found some information and shared it with us.
5.  How does your Brooklyn background influence your artistic work?
Brooklyn is a feast for the eyes, an ever-changing place, a home to a multitude of ethnicities, and a profoundly unique and incredible borough of New York. I’ve yet to meet someone from Brooklyn without a strong opinion, a willingness to “step up” when asked as well as a sense of belonging to a community. Brooklyn is ENERGY. How could I not be influenced by this place where I was raised and lived in different neighborhoods, met many people of different backgrounds, religions and beliefs? It opened my eyes to settings, people, interactions, styles of architecture, cultural differences and so much more. My photography is a product of these sensory and personal experiences- from riding the El, the subways, the trolleys, to walking to school – from the beach at Brighton to the Botanical Gardens to the cheesecake at Juniors, and the Cyclone at Coney Island – From the music in Prospect Park during the summer to the street corner A cappella groups on so many street corners. I credit my native borough with creating who I am and wherever I am, I always manage to let people know that I AM FROM BROOKLYN.

Last Day of the Myrtle Avenue El

goodbye glance 10.3.69 lr

The New York Transit Museum will feature a very cool photography exhibit documenting the last day of the Myrtle Ave El – the elevated train that ran down Myrtle Avenue from 1888 – 1969.  Go far enough down Myrtle, near Bushwick, and you can still see the El’s structure, never fully taken down.  It’s crazy to imagine so many NYC streets beneath elevated trains!

The press release includes some wonderful historical facts about the line and the exhibit:

Opening in 1888, the Myrtle Avenue el ran from downtown Brooklyn to Queens, passing through Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Ridgewood, and Middle Village.  After eighty years, to the dismay of many passengers, the Myrtle Avenue el closed in 1969 and was demolished the following year. Yet, in the mid-20th century, the el’s wooden train cars and antiquated stations still held fond memories for riders who grew up in those neighborhoods.

THE LAST DAY OF THE MYRTLE AVENUE EL: Photographs by Theresa King is a photo essay shot in a single day forty years ago. The photographer recalls, “At midnight on October 3, 1969 over a thousand people eagerly awaited a train – not just any train, but the final train to run on Brooklyn’s Myrtle Avenue elevated line.  These people were taking the last ride on this historic elevated train.  As soon as they crammed on, the train rolled along from Brooklyn’s Jay Street station to the Metropolitan Avenue station in Queens.  At the end of this sad journey, some passengers took artifacts to remember this very special old timer and bid a fond farewell. The pictures were taken during this last day at various stations along the Myrtle Avenue el in Brooklyn.  During my childhood, I rode this train daily and loved the look of the station stops and the train itself.  When I realized the line was due for demolition, I wanted to document a part of Brooklyn’s past that would be no more.”

Myrtle Avenue—named for the myrtle trees that once grew in the area – has been a major roadway since the early 1800’s. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Knickerbocker Stage Coach Line ran omnibus service on the avenue. In April 1888 the Myrtle Avenue elevated train began operation from downtown Brooklyn to Grand Avenue Junction, where Pratt Institute had opened one year earlier. That September, the line was extended west to Sands Street, where passengers could transfer to a cable car to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. In 1889 it was extended east to Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick, and then to Metropolitan Avenue in Queens in 1906. When it first opened the neighborhoods along the western end of Myrtle Avenue – downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hill, were already densely populated. The Brooklyn Bridge had been completed five years earlier and omnibus lines and railroads served the area. Beyond Grand Avenue Junction, however, the area was still mostly rural, and much of eastern Myrtle Avenue developed along with the el.  Bushwick’s housing and industry boomed in the late 1880’s, as German immigrants opened successful large-scale breweries, and Ridgewood developed just after the line was extended there in the prosperous years before World War I.  But beginning in the 1930s, with the decline of business along Brooklyn’s once vibrant waterfront and the opening of what is today the G subway line, ridership on the Myrtle Avenue el began a decline that would culminate with the closing of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1966.

The exhibit features color and black and white photographs by Theresa King, along with historic photographs, archival material, and station signage from the New York Transit Museum collection.

New York Transit Museum
Located on the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn Heights
Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Admission: $5 Adults, $3 children (3-17) and Seniors (62+)
Seniors admitted free every Wednesday

Lunchtime With Tillie: Myrtle Thai

The Tillie Exotic Experimentation Express keeps on rollin’! And lucky me, I get to go along for the ride!
Hey there, Clinton Hillers, it’s Van, and that epicurean adventuress Tillie, with this week’s Lunchtime segment. For our latest neighborhood food stop, we decided to stroll on down to Myrtle Thai, located on Myrtle Avenue. (I didn’t really have to give any direction indicator there, did I?)

My own past with Myrtle Thai used to only consist of ordering pad Thai while I was hanging out across the street from it at Rope bar, back when Myrtle Thai was at its old location between Vanderbilt and Clinton. Tillie’s mom kind of changed my train of thought on the restaurant, though, with her serious Thai background. After college, she joined the Peace Corps and went to a village in Thailand for a couple of years. She still speaks Thai pretty good and makes some delicious dishes: not bad for a gal from Maine!

As I realized there was more to the menu than noodles with peanuts, I’ve grown to become appreciative of the wide variety Myrtle Thai has to offer. Probably now my favorite dishes are the red and green curries. And I always get chicken with the red and shrimp with the green: I don’t know, those options just work out for me, I guess!

Strolling by the new spot one particular day, I decided to stop in. And since I had Tillie with me, too, I figured she should come along as well! This was my first time going there for lunch and what really struck me was the menu: in particular, the price! The lunchtime deal is $5.95 for the entrée, a salad and a spring roll. In these days of joblessness, I don’t know how it could get much better than that!

We went in and were pointed to a seat by the window, which seemed to be the best spot in the new location for a high chair. This seemed to work well with Tillie as it appeared she was completely captivated by the people walking along the sidewalk. But I had to pull her back to attention: Didn’t she know she had Thai food to try?

Continue reading

CHB Mostly Off Until Monday


Lesterhead’s getting hitched on Saturday, so we’re taking a few days off. (Van will be here Friday for his latest with Tillie.)

For those of you who have emailed me info and announcements, I scheduled most of these last few weeks’ posts in advance and have not had time to update much new stuff.

We’ll be back on Monday, Sept. 28.  (Honeymooning in October!)

An Important Discussion about Shem Walker

In the CHB inbox:

Remember Shem Walker
Please join us for an important evening of conversation.
Shem Walker was shot and killed on July 11, 2009 in front of his house
at Lafayette Ave. near Classon Ave. by an NYPD undercover a cop.

Wednesday, September 23, 7pm
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
(At the corner of Lafayette Avenue & So. Oxford St., Brooklyn)

Program includes:
Shavone Walker, Shem Walker’s Daughter
Kirsten  Foy (Walker Family Spokesperson)
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (57AD)
One Hundred Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care
Question and Answer period included

Fort Greene Peace,   Families United for Racial and Economic Equality
(FUREE),    Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (57 AD)

For information email:
This is a free event open to all.
Thank you and peace,
Fort Greene Peace.

Green Space at Grand – Fulton-Putnam

The intersection of Grand, Fulton and Putnam creates a small triangle with a fenced in NYC Greenspace.  I saw a few flowers amongst the overgrowth recently, but does anyone keep it up?


Has anyone ever tried to program that little space, open up the fenced in area or put some benches out?  The sidewalk (which looks great – was it redone during the Fulton repaving?) is plenty wide enough for seating.  With all of the restaurants nearby (Kush, Michael Sllen, Brown Betty, Samantha’s Southern Cuisine), it might be a nice place to grab some food to go and sit outside.