The Great PUPkin: October 30

October means Halloween time in the nabe, and it's time to start prepping for one of my favorite events in the city: The Great PUPkin. This will be the 12th annual dog costume contest, hosted by Fort Greene PUPS. The big event will be held October 30 from noon to 1pm, and I expect the competition to be fierce.

The official Westminster Dog Show photographers, Wild Coyote Studios, will be at the event to take dog portrait photography (in or out of costume). The suggested donation for a portrait is $25 (normally $475), and Wild Coyote Studios is donating all proceeds from donations to Fort Greene PUPS.

For more info on prizes, click here.

li'l panda!!!

Start planning, now.

Also in Fort Greene Park that day, the 11th Annual Halloween Festival in Fort Greene Park will offer face painting, hay rides, sack races, entertainment, pumpkins, a costume parade and more, FREE from 12-3pm.

Valentine Happenings

It's that time of year once again to show your special someone how much you care.  If you're going to participate in the holiday, here are some options for keeping it local: FULTON

Greene Grape and GG Provisions: Fondue tastings and wine tastings, Friday and Saturday

Aqualis Grill 773 Fulton Street (between S. Portland and S. Oxford) $55/person four course and champagne and/or wine included

Dajeh Restaurant and Wine Bar 919 Fulton Street (between Clinton & Waverly) Caribbean-Influenced, Wine-Paired Tasting Menu for Valentine’s Day. 5-course tasting menu $129 per couple. Each of the five courses is paired perfectly with a different wine in collaboration with Wine Consultant Veronique Fitzgerald, DWS. (the price without wine: $105.00 per couple).

Stonehome Wine Bar 87 Lafayette (between S. Elliott and S. Portland) 4 courses for $65 per person, with wine pairings add $40 per person. Seatings at 6, 7, 9 and 10pm For Reservations, call 718-624-9443

Cure Beauty Bar: Valentine Special:  Basic Mani/Pedi/ 1 Dozen roses/glass of sparkling wine - $90 or for couples $165 (which can be friends/Spouses/sibling etc.) Runs from Feb. 12th -14th. Must make a appointment and pre-pay by Feb. 11th 2010

Social Therapy Group What’s Love Got to Do With It? Prepare for Valentine’s Day by getting better at loving.  Explore where you are with love and friendship and create more intimacy in your all your relationships. Come to a social therapy group and work at making your Valentine’s Day more loving.  Come alone or bring your loved one –whether it’s your friend, your partner, your mother or lover.  We will help you get better at creating loving conversations. Saturday, February 13, 2010, 11am – 1pm.  Fee: $30/person or $50/couple or twosome.  Contact:  Ann Green, 718-797-3220 ext. 319 or


iCi: Brunch from 9am to 4pm and a $45 5-course-prix-fix Menu for Dinner from 5.30 to 11pm

Chez Oskar: $36 Prix Fix menu Sunday evening


Tamboril: $25 Prix Fix 5:30-11 on Saturday Jazz music at 7 and 9pm on Sunday

Chez Lola: $32 Prix Fix menu Sunday evening

Tree Disposal

Stuck with a tree in your apt and don't know what to do with it?  The Department of Sanitation will pick trees up at the curb Jan 4-15.  Remove tinsel, ornaments, etc! If you have the means to drag your tree to Fort Greene Park this Saturday or Sunday, you can partake in Mulchfest, where trees are mulched and recycled in the park.  If you have a yard yourself, you can take home a bag of fresh mulch!  It's a nice way to contribute to our local park.

More info from 311 here.

New Year's in the Nabe

Here's a (incomplete) Fulton-focused roundup of some of the parties and special offerings happening locally next weekend to ring in 2010: To Prep: Greene Grape: Free sparkling wine tastings [Dec 29 and 30, 5-7 pm)

Dec. 31: Stonehome Wine Bar: Prix Fix 4 courses for $55

Olivino Wine Bar (Fulton bt Vanderbilt and Clinton): Free glass of bubbly at midnight

“The Castle @ Fulton Street” Platinum New Year’s Eve Gala: 8:00pm December 31, 2009 93 Irving Place (corner of 1057 Fulton Street) Host: Wellington Sharpe Cost:  Single $45, Couples $80 Complimentary Champagne as the ball drops, Noise Makers, Party Hats

Music by D Exclusive…. Let’s Welcome 2010 with Gratefulness & Togetherness For tickets call 917-709-3462 or 917-743-1684 or 718-230-0011

Family Friendly: Pratt Steam Whistles (which I have still never seen!)

Know of more?  Add 'em in the comments.

Brooklyn Totes, Made in Clinton Hill

It's getting a little late for Xmas shopping, but I know some of you out there need to wrap things up (so to speak). Here's another suggestion- this adorable tote, made here in Clinton Hill by two local residents: artist Caroline Hwang and designer Bryn Smith.



Maybe we can convince them to make a"Spoon Me Clinton Hill" tote.

Two Local Craft Markets: Shop for Xmas This Wknd!

More holiday fun this weekend in Clinton Hill!  Check out these two local gift markets that just happen to be at two of my most favorite neighborhood buildings: 1. SALON DE ARTISTS, 313 CLINTON AVE

photo by Elizabeth Waugh

This is the last weekend for Janna Hyten's Salon de Artists, held at her home at 313 Clinton Avenue (aka the Halloween House).

This weekend's artists will be:

Wendy Krabbe    Collage Art and Poloroid Art
Janna Kennedy Handcrafted Nests as broaches, christmas ornaments, decor
Meg Prata  Sterling, brass jewelry with semi precious stones
Bob Bongard  Architectual pen drawings
Harvey Wilson  Water colors
Elizabeth Waugh Photography

Hours: Sat: 1-8 Sun: 10-6


Holiday Flyer

This building is my most favorite stop yearly on the SONYA stroll.  It's an intriguing labyrinth filled with artist studios and lots of great talent.  I had no idea the space had a name, so stay tuned in the New Year for more information.

Info: 124 Washington Ave between Myrtle and Park

Update: Hours are 12-7

There will be handmade goods including, jewelry, hand knits, bags, clothing, lighting, art, glass ornaments, and more. There will also be great holiday food and an art auction.

Five+ Local Gift Suggestions

It's been a crazed December in the CHB household, so I didn't have the time I would have liked to spend a day or two browsing all sorts of neighborhood shops to look for local stocking stuffers.  (Last year's guide is probably still relevant, if you want to check it out.) Here are a few quick picks for this year's shopping.  It is by no means complete or comprehensive.

1. Root Stock & Quade Aunt Sadie's Candles (one potential scent: Pine Tree in a Can): $23 Birdhouses (wooden or ceramic, various sizes): $32-52


2. Outpost Lounge A pound of coffee beans (specifically the RING OF FIRE house blend)for the holidays: $10/lb

And while you're there picking up some coffee beans, Outpost is offering $1 off all regular priced glasses of wine each day after 5pm as part of Shop Brooklyn! (until Dec 24)


3. Green in Brooklyn SodaStream Soda Makers: Jet Starter Kit: $110 / Penguin Starter Kit: $250 (This one's a bank-breaker, but how cool would it be to make your own soda!  They have plenty of inexpensive items, too, plus a killer selection of greeting cards.) sodastream seltzer starter kit

4. RePop Assorted vintage elf ornaments: $10-$12 (These make a wonderful tree trimming gift, and will remind people, hopefully fondly, of childhood Xmases.)


5.  Gnarley Vines Gnarly 2009 Everyday Super Value Six-Pack: $45.90 (That's less than $10 a bottle, folks!  Give them all to one loved one, or create six separate gifts!)


Bad with the wrapping?  Let the brand new Gradys Collective Market wrap it for you. Make an appointment ( Pricing is as follows:

$5.00 - per present General examples: CD’s, Novel Books, Jewelry, Box of Chocolates, iPod, Desktop Calendar, Watch, etc. For small presents, we offer custom designed & printed wrapping paper for an additional $2 per gift.. $7.00 - per present General examples: Shirt Size Boxes, Journals, Medium Sized Hard Bound Books, Small Board Games, Wall Calendars etc. +2.00 All odd shaped items (small, medium, and large), will incur an additional $2 fee per item. $9.00 - per present General examples: Large Clothes Boxes, Shoe Boxes, Medium Kitchen Appliances (blender, coffee maker, and so forth), Tabloid Calendars - 11X17, etc.


I really wanted to focus on Fulton this year to celebrate FAB, but with back to back holiday events this week I couldn't make it.  Look for a special Fulton shopping feature in 2010!

Coat Drive for Kids

This just in from Tish James' office.  A great program, and major props to Bridge Cleaners & Tailors who cleans all donations free of charge!  That's what I call holiday spirit. ***

Bridge Cleaners and Council Member Letitia James partner to collect coats for the needy - this holiday season and into the winter of 2010

(Brooklyn, Dec. 7, 2009) - This week, Bridge Cleaners & Tailors will kick off the National Cleaners Association’s annual “Coats for Kids” drive.  The mission of Coats for Kids is simple - anyone in need of a coat will have one.  Bridge Cleaners & Tailors, a premiere dry cleaner located in downtown Brooklyn is accepting gently used kid, adult and baby sized winter coats from December 7, 2009 – January 31, 2010.  This will start Coats for Kids 25th year of service.  Coats collected will be donated to the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Services.

“I collect coats for kids year-round and clean and repair them before they’re donated to agencies and schools for distribution.  I will also clean the garments of anyone who’s going on a job interview as part of a National Cleaners Association program,” said Victoria Aviles, owner of Bridge Cleaners & Tailors.

Donations will be accepted at Bridge Cleaners & Tailors located at 204 Livingston Street, along with other locations around Brooklyn, including the office of Council Member Letitia James - located at 67 Hanson Place at the corner of South Elliott Place.

Since the program began in 1984, Bridge Cleaners & Tailor’s has collected, cleaned free of charge, and distributed thousands of winter coats to men, women and children who would otherwise be without one.  This program receives invaluable support from collection, promotional, supporting and distribution partners, as well as individuals.

“The Coats for Kids drive is a program that I am honored to be involved with this winter.  I plan to clean out my own closet and donate coats, as well as to encourage the community to do the same as we start a brand new year.  Let’s keep one another warm during the cold weather season through our generosity,” said Council Member James.

For additional information, please call Richard Aviles at Bridge Cleaners & Tailors - (718) 625-1438, or visit

When:  December 7, 2009 through January 31, 2010 What:  “Coats for Kids” Drive with Bridge Cleaners Where:  District Office of Council Member Letitia James, 67 Hanson Place, ground floor (corner of South Elliott Place)

Holiday Events at Still Hip

If you have kids, you won't want to miss all of the family friendly fun going on at Still Hip at 283 Grand Ave.  There are events for parents, too! Santa visits the shop this weekend to kick off the holidays.

Here's all the info from Gabby at Still Hip:

SANTA Saturday, December 5 | 2-6pm | Sunday, December 6 | noon-4pm | $10 per photo This is it!!! Santa is coming this weekend!!! I am so excited!!! Can you tell from all the exclamation points??? Not only will Santa be here, but the back drop, created by our very own Cecile Dyer, is going to be incredible. Not only will the back drop be beautiful, but the photos, taken by professional mom-tographer Stephanie Powell will be AMAZING and only $10 a shot!!! Not only that, Santa will be giving away 200 goody bags full of great stuff from the whole neighborhood! hipBIZ: THE BASICS OF WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN Thursday, December 17 | 7pm | $10 pp Learn the fundamentals of writing a business plan from Liliana Blanco of BOC Women's Business Center. Bring your ideas and bring some friends. Call the store to reserve your spot 718.398.0008

GINGERBREAD FUN! Sunday, December 20 | 2-4pm | all ages How great would it be to have a super fabulous gingerbread house made by you and your little ones without having to mess up your house? Well we have the solution for you! Join us for this fun workshop with professional cake decorator Melanie Levander and go home ready for the big night! More details to come next week. E-mail to reserve a spot now as there is limited space

Xmas Tree Lots

A reader just emailed to ask me when Xmas trees would go on sale in the neighborhood.  The first lot is up on Myrtle Ave near Hall, and they usually have some of the lowest prices locally.  I expect more to pop up this weekend and next.  For slightly fancier (but more expensive) trees, look for the lot on Clinton at Lafayette, in front of the church. Merry Tree Buying!

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!