Category Archives: MARP

Move About Myrtle Returns!

Car-free Sundays are returning to Myrtle Avenue starting this weekend, as part of the DOT’s Weekend Walks program.  Each of the four Sunday events will feature programming, art, fitness, activities for kids and more.

The Myrtle Minutes blog has all the details for this Sunday, which will include mural-making with Ellie Balk (yay!), food prep classes, free yoga.  Come on out and enjoy streets as public space, hang out with neighbors, enjoy free stuff.

Food Access on Myrtle Avenue

Another great program from MARP!  Here’s the press release:

Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project Receives
Community Experience Partnership Grant to Fund Food Access Initiative
Weekly Thursday Farm Stand Kicks Off on July 8th from 4-7pm in Front of Ingersoll Community Center

FORT GREENE and CLINTON HILL, BROOKLYN, June 29, 2010—The Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC (MARP) received a three-year grant through the ‘Community Experience Partnership’ to support and expand its Food Access Initiative. The $210,000 grant over 3 years will support projects under MARP’s new Myrtle Eats Fresh program, which aims to engage community members of all ages in activities to improve access to healthy, affordable food on Myrtle Avenue, and in the surrounding neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Projects include a community-run farm stand, creating and expanding community gardens on public housing grounds, a community chef program, and the formation of a hyper-local food policy task force.

The Community Experience Partnership (CEP), a national initiative, aims to support projects that specifically engage the talents and energy of older adults for the benefit of their communities. In New York City, The Atlantic Philanthropies is partnering with the New York Community Trust and United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH) to develop new program models that engage older adults to increase access to healthy food in low-income communities.  “Over the last few years, older adults in Ingersoll and Whitman Houses have emerged as natural leaders in local efforts to get more fresh food in the neighborhood. We are thrilled to be able to support this trend by establishing community-based projects that address the serious need for more fresh food options on Myrtle Avenue,” commented Michael Blaise Backer, Executive Director of MARP.

With the CEP grant, MARP has hired Kassy Nystrom, formerly of GrowNYC, to manage and expand programs under its food access initiative, which started with seed funding from the Brooklyn Community Foundation in 2008 with the founding of the Fort Greene CSA, and grew to include the creation of the Ingersoll Garden of Eden in 2009. Myrtle Eats Fresh will expand that community garden, built in collaboration with Ingersoll residents, and start new gardens at both Whitman and Farragut in the following years.  A community-run farm stand will be held every Thursday in front of the Ingersoll Community Center (177 Myrtle Avenue) from 4pm-7pm from July 8th through October 28th, and will be staffed by three youth and two elders from the neighborhood. MARP has also launched a ‘Community Chef’ program, whereby several residents who have a passion for healthy cooking have been trained as certified Community Chefs and will now conduct cooking demonstrations at neighborhood events. In fall 2010, MARP will begin the process of forming a neighborhood ‘Healthy Food Task Force’, bringing together representatives from interested organizations and other groups to help synergize efforts around improving food access in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Make Music New York Comes to Clinton Hill!

Make Music New York is a live, free musical celebration across the city that takes place each June 21 — the longest day of the year. Today, hundreds of public spaces throughout the five boroughs — sidewalks, parks, community gardens, and more — become impromptu stages for over 1,000 free concerts.


Eleven participating venues are located on Myrtle Avenue!

PARTICIPATING BUSINESSES in Make Music New York:
Anima Italian Bistro
458 Myrtle Avenue Anthony Cedras Global soul and R&B 1:00pm-8:00pm
Brooklyn Junior 150 Clinton Avenue
-PEMG, a community based program focused on teaching young people about Hip Hop from a cultural and Indie perspective. -Jesse Goldman (http://www.myspace.com/Jessesamgoldman), Experimental / Swing / Americana 2:30-5:00 pm.
Castro’s Mexican Cuisine 511 Myrtle Avenue
5:30p-10pm -DJ Fuerte
Chez Lola 387 Myrtle Avenue
7:30p to 10:30 pm Sedric Choukroroun Brazilian Jazz Trio Shukroon, Smith & and Monaco are a joyous trio, playing their own blend of Samba-Jazz-Pop: acoustic harp-guitar, saxophones-flute and percussion
Chez Oskar 211 DeKalb Avenue
7:30p to 10:30pm The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn consists of: Billy Nemec-guitar/lead vocals, Chris Pistorino-bass/vocals, David Langlois-washboard percussion/vocals, Sam Hoyt-Trumpet/vocals
The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, an early jazz, swing, and blues band, composed of acoustic guitar/vocals, upright bass, homemade washboard percussion, trumpet and saxophone, plays its’ repertoire of witty songs from 1920′s and 30′s, along with its’ augmented original tunes and often bawdy lyrics sung in catchy 4 part vocal harmony.
Fort Greene SNAP 324 Myrtle Avenue
-Anisa Fujah from 3 to 5 (Jazz) -Soulfolk Experience 5 to 6 (also jazz) -Jesse Goldman from 6 to 7 (experimental jazz)
Gnarly Vines 350 Myrtle Avenue
-Carolyn Leonhart and Jay Leonhart (daughter and dad)—vocals and bass (jazz, soul, standards) 1:30pm-3:00pm and Claire “Raji” Rodriguez folk, indie, pop 5p-6p
Green in BKLYN 432 Myrtle Avenue
Carolyn Leonhart and Jay Leonhart (daughter and dad)—vocals and bass (jazz, soul, standards) 12p-1:15p and Claire “Raji” Rodriguez folk, indie, pop 4p-5p
Los Pollitos III 499 Myrtle Avenue
-5:30pm to 9pm Edwin Vasquez Band, Live Latin band
Move with Grace Yoga, Dance & Pilates Studio 469 Myrtle Avenue
-Nucomme – rock/soul artist 8pm -Cavalier – Hip Hop/Soul artist 8:30pm -The Outabodies – Hip Hop/Jazz/Rock artists 9pm
Sans Souci Restaurant 330 Myrtle Avenue Metric Man aka The Freedom Fighter (reggae) 1pm-9pm
Fort Greene Park (Myrtle Avenue entrance)
All day Upright piano (Sing For Hope): all day (on-site)
12p-1pm WATCH High School
2p-3:00p JHS 185 Drumline [note: I wish this was after work! Damn.]
3:00pm-4:00pm Ronald Edmonds Middle School 113 Choir
6p-7p Maracatu New York (Brazilian Percussion)

Bird Town

On Saturday, I checked out the birdhouse-making event that was part of Myrtle Avenue Bird Town.  It was awesome!  The artists were on site constructing bird houses and feeders, and when I arrived around 11:30, the tables were packed with kids.

That didn’t stop me, though, from sitting down myself to paint a house.  And a handful of adults followed once I started.

birdhouses

While there, I got to see some of the actual bird houses that are a part of the installation.

This (above) is a bat house!  Awesome.

Bird Town on Myrtle Avenue

(image from MARP’s blog)

Now this is an awesome public art project- an eclectic collection of bird houses! The houses appear at Myrtle and Carlton (apparently that little traffic triangle is called Person Square Triangle), and at Myrtle and St. Edwards at the entrance to the park.  Plus, the artists will be doing an interactive workshop during the SONYA stroll next weekend!  Rad.

Here is the info from MARP (long, but worthwhile):

The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership and the New York City Parks Public Art Program present Myrtle Avenue Bird Town, a temporary installation by artists Daniel Goers and Jennifer Wong. From May 1st through December 2010, dozens of playful birdhouses will live in trees at the Person Square Triangle (Myrtle and Carlton Avenues) and the northwest corner of Fort Greene Park (Myrtle and St. Edwards). An opening reception for the installation will take place on Thursday, May 6th at Sans Souci Restaurant (330 Myrtle Avenue) from 6-8pm, and an open workshop with artists will take place on Saturday, May 15th from 10am-4pm.

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Clinton Hill Dog Run?

Neighbors with dogs have been interested in a full-time dog run for awhile now to cater to those who cannot make off-leash hours (or who have playful dogs who thrive with more exercise off-leash).  It looks like the Myrtle Ave Brooklyn Partnership is organizing a community meeting around the idea of adding a dog run under the BQE.  I’m in favor- the space there is underused, so why not be creative about its potential? Props to MARP for their forward thinking.

Here’s the info I have from the group:

Please forward this email to any dog owners in the area who might be interested in discussing this and sharing their ideas.  This should be a quick meeting to gauge interest in this idea.  If the community displays to MARP that we like this idea, they will likely back this plan and help it become a reality.  So please spread the word and route your evening dog walk over to clinton ave & the BQE to find out what the buzz is about.

Community Meeting w/ Clinton Hill Dog Run & MARP
RE: Potential BQE ‘All-Weather Dog Run’
on Tuesday 4/27 7PM
@ Clinton Ave underneath the BQE
BYO Dog!

Designing the Myrtle Ave Pedestrian Plaza Gallery

As we’ve reported before, the service road on Hall Street near Bergen Bagel has been selected by the NYC Department of Transportation as a public plaza site.  While the city gears up to build out a permanent plaza, Myrtle Ave Brooklyn Partnership will host a pop-up workshop displaying the ideas submitted for the project so far.  There will be an opening reception on Friday night from 5-8, and gallery hours this weekend.

It’s a really cool way to get involved in an urban planning project that will actually come to life right here in our neighborhood.

Here’s more info:

You are invited to view and comment on submissions received through our open call for ideas, along with best practices collected by our staff, at the upcoming “Designing the Myrtle Pedestrian Plaza – Pop Up Exhibition and Workshop” from February 5th – 13th.  Please come by to view and comment on the submissions, and contribute your own ideas on sustainable design elements, amenities (seating, public art, etc.), and programming for the Pedestrian Plaza that will be built on the Myrtle Avenue service road between Emerson and Grand.     Feel free to forward our invite (below) to your own email lists, friends, neighbors, etc.

CHB Interviews: M. Blaise Backer

In honor of MARP’s 10th Anniversary, CHB spoke with their director – M. Blaise Backer – about the organization’s history, his job and how we can get involved as neighbors.

1. You’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project. How was the organization started?  Could you also explain the difference between MARP and the BID?
MARP, our non-profit local development corporation, was actually born out of an economic development committee at Fort Greene SNAP, another local non-profit located on Myrtle Avenue. It was decided back in the last 1990’s that the committee should spin off into its own organization given the critical need to focus on Myrtle Avenue’s economic development. A number of key local stakeholders, including representatives from Fort Greene SNAP, JPMorgan Chase, Pratt, St. Joseph’s, LIU, and local merchants, residents, and funders came together to found the organization, form the initial board of directors, and incorporate in 1999. They hired MARP’s first executive director, Jennifer Gerend, shortly thereafter. In 2002, MARP sponsored the formation of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Business Improvement District, in cooperation with a steering committee made up of Myrtle merchants and property owners, and it began operations in April of 2005. Together MARP and the BID use the umbrella name Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership to represent many of the initiatives, campaigns, and events that are a product of both organizations’ operating budgets and boards.

2. What’s your professional background? How long have you been heading MARP?
I have a graduate degree in Urban Planning from NYU Wagner, and an undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Virginia. I’ve been at MARP since the fall of 2002, and became its executive director in June of 2004.

3. Do you live in the neighborhood?   If yes, is it great to spend all of your time in the area, or do you miss commuting to a different neighborhood?
Yes, I’ve lived in Fort Greene for 8 years, and walk to work every morning. It’s great to have such an easy commute, as I’m not much of a morning person, but I definitely do less leisure reading without a subway commute. It’s helpful to be able to walk most of Myrtle Avenue every morning and evening as part of my commute in order to monitor the physical condition of the streetscape and to have casual interactions with the avenue’s small business owners.

4. What is a typical day like on the job?
This is a truly difficult question to answer, and I’m rarely able to capture the essence of a typical workday. My job entails everything from managing the organization’s finances and contracts, writing grants and fundraising, collaborating on the day-to-day aspects of various organization programs with my colleagues, corresponding with MARP’s board and with city agencies and elected officials, and responding to calls and emails from various local constituents. I have days where I’m outside using my hands by helping the Ingersoll residents to build planting beds for the community garden, other days where I’m helping to negotiate a lease between a new merchant and a property owner, and others where I barely leave my desk as I deal with some of the administrative requirements of running a small non-profit.

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Myrtle Windows Being Painted for the Holidays!

Artists are beginning to paint their windows on Myrtle Ave storefronts.  Local artist and friend of CHB Ellie Balk will be painting on Sunday and invited readers to stop by:

“HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS”

Please join me at Karen’s Body Beautiful (MYRTLE-BTWN WAVERLY/CLINTON) this SATURDAY/SUNDAY as I create a “Stained Glass” Map on the front window for the MARP Myrtle Ave. Windows Project.

• Holiday windows will be on display through the end of December and all visitors and shoppers will be able to vote via text message for their favorite storefront design from Monday, November 23rd until Sunday, December 13th (winners will be announced shortly afterward).

The Project from Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project (MARP):  “We hope that this unique program will help to drive visitors to the avenue to view your works, and to support our merchants (the majority of whom are local, independent, small business owners) during this holiday season by shopping locally.”

Ellie painted the beautiful mural on the side of Tillie’s!