Hebrew School

¡Basta Ya! Sunset Rise Up

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Today’s note from the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors (SPAN):

Sunset Park Community Members Speak Out Against Rezoning Plan and Unveil Community Plan

On Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, City Council will vote whether to rezone Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Join Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors as we read our statement against the rezoning in its current form and unveil our plan for our community.

The press conference will include local residents, activists, organizations, clergy and other concerned members working everyday to PROTECT and IMPROVE our neighborhood.

SPAN will provide FREE subway rides at the 36th st. & 4th ave Subway station from 11:15-11:45am. The City Council Hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm.

What: Sunset Park City Council Rezoning Vote

When: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 12pm-1pm (Please note the time change.)

Where: City Hall Steps (Please note the location change.)

Who: Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors & the Coalition to Protect Sunset Park


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“If there were f-ing rockets hitting Dizzy’s…”
January 4, 2009, 2:39 pm
Filed under: brooklyn | Tags: , , , , , ,

An as-it-happens alert from the Because-I’ve-Run-Out-of-Tears Department, from FIPS:

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn (FIPSNN) – 10th street resident Aaron Feldman announced plans this morning to wear his IDF T-Shirt to an 11am brunch at Dizzy’s. With Israeli ground troops entering Gaza and the current wave of violence entering it’s 9th day, local analysts predict that Feldman’s move in the largely Palestinian-supporting South Slope could be suicidal.

Feldman, a park slope Hipster and Heeb magazine subscriber, describes his move as one of disgust and defiance.

Read More…

Only Brooklyn knows the blog?
July 29, 2008, 9:59 pm
Filed under: blogs, brooklyn | Tags: , ,

It’s been official for quite some time, and the geotags are in: Brooklyn has the country’s bloggiest neighborhood, and likely would be the bloggiest city if in fact it was a city. The contributing factors, according to the reports, are the presence of higher education institutions, young people, decent internet connectivity, and that fly in the ointment, gentrification.

The blogs of Brooklyn are so numerous and multifarious in nature that it would be hard to make a sweeping statement about them. On one end, there are real estate advertising hubs like Brownstoner, which features graphics of gaudy highrises alongside articles about “hip” things to do in the neighborhoods of said megoliths. Just make sure you go to all those “hip” places before all that large-scale development cripples the neighborhood and its unique shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. (Newsflash: Unless some truly radical rebranding has gone on, Carroll Gardens isn’t among the neighborhoods taking the hardest hits from the subprime crisis.)

At the other end of the spectrum are blogs like Prospect: A Year in the Park, a photo chronicle of the park’s beauty interjected with commentary, and vanessamarie.net, the namesake’s perusal of food and place in Brooklyn, with some cat escapades along the way. Both of these blogs are DIY, homespun and yet professional, without a team of writers, and like most blogs in the world, are personal and have no advertising.

It’s in the squishy middle that the paradoxes of this sort of neighborhood blogging become conspicuous. IMBY, a fantastic blog which meticulously documents ongoing building development in that indeterminate area dubbed by tycoons as the “South Slope,” leaves no stone, permit notice, or stop-work order unturned when s/he spies so much as a pickup truck moving in. But does the title and spirit of the blog simply indicate a desire to live in a clean, quiet, sweet neigborhood that is desirable to Ninjalist or Curbed readers?

Then there’s my own neighborhood’s Best View in Brooklyn which, while keeping a swift pulse on neighborhood events, pulls no punches in highlighting alleged crimes in the area– substantiated or not. And if it’s unbridled snitching you want, turn no further than blog-cum-forum Brooklynian, which as of today displays complaints about cat food sold at a local bodega, a can of oil left next to a building (“what is the police stations [sic] number?”), an incompetent renovation company, and a “crazy painted tree house on Prospect Pl”:

“you know the one
its on prospect place between vanderbuilt and carlton. i was walking to the gym saturday when this older black dude with a thick west indian accent was just going off on this guy who was going into the main entrance of the building above the stoop. he just unleashed this crazed diatribe that went something like ” you fucking fagot you smell like shit ya jealous fagot mother fucker ‘ im assuming crazy screaming dude lives on the ground floor in the apartment with the year round christmas lights in the window. does he own the building? man i feel sorry for anyone who rents an apartment from this dude.”

Why have an earnest conversation with that annoying neighbor when you can complain about him anonymously on the internet, casting racially-overtoned aspersions and, with a self-satisfied air, calling on the vigilance of your “better” neighbors? And what ever happened to the time-tested approach of assembling a torch-bearing mob at an unsuspecting doorstep?

Such blogs, while more mundane and less commercial in their approach, seem to fuel the fire for Brooklyn’s large-scale developers, who would like nothing better than to run the presumed “riff raff” out of the area.

But then again, who’s to say that the most benign, wide-eyed post by the most angelic Brooklynite does not fuel this same fire? Though far from innocent, I’ve blogged substantially about the cool bars, delicious foods, and cultural events of my neighborhood. Am I lending my home creedence in a media environment still plagued (yes, still) by a digital divide?

If there’s any constant in the phenomenon of Brooklyn blogging, it’s this pervasive feeling of conflicted intentions. Whether we’re talking about the “bad apple” of a developed neighborhood, or the “diamond in the rough” of the under-developed one, the propagandas of gentrification and anti-gentrification play off of one another, leveraging allegations in a manner that somehow still has brokers popping champagne corks. The forces of the former highlight the charm they destroy, while the latter highlight the charm within the ostensible desolation, in a strangely critical moment of Brook-logosphere supernova.

While I paint a grim picture, I really have no real qualms about any of the bloggers I’ve mentioned. They simply write about what they see, projecting their aspirations outward in a society run roughshod. Blogs did not cause the affordable housing crisis– they are a response to it. And as long as the crisis continues, the best bloggers will continue to use their power to end it.

Hebrew School’s Brooklyn blog reader after the jump…

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No one quite gets the Jews hora-ing

…at Celebrate Brooklyn better than Golem, do they?

Golem played fantastically this past Sunday in Prospect Park, part of a JDub Celebrate Brooklyn that included Soulico, DeLeon, and Sway Machinery, with Michael Showalter hosting. Jon Langford of the Mekons sat in on guitar and vocals, and then the Hungry March Band sat in on everything else.

I Heart Hug New York Because…

…your local temple had a vodka tasting, and alternate-side parking was suspended for Shavuot.


And that you instead of doing either saw Isaac Hayes in Prospect Park.

Jews, Gentry
May 30, 2008, 6:01 pm
Filed under: brooklyn | Tags: ,

I write often about the community I live in because it will inevitably reach the light of day somehow in my music. Not because of choice or ideology, but because it’s simply where I am.

So there are a couple of houses across the street that have had for sale signs in front of them, one for maybe six months. That one finally changed its sign to “sold,” but I was indifferent.

Then in the corner store I overhear a conversation between two middle-aged men. Man 1 mentions that he noticed that Man 2’s house’s sign now says “sold.” Man 2 confirms this, and that the “last [he] heard” it was going for $750k.

“But it’s a shithole,” he says to Man 1. “It’s going to be another 150 after that,” he continues, adding that anyone who moves into this neighborhood will settle for a three-quarter-million-dollar shithole. People are buying. It doesn’t matter.

There didn’t seem too be any cynicism. Someone had just stated a fact.

The Jewish artists, all four of us or however many, are getting forced out of Sunset Park and I want my money back. I would like that money in cash shekels as a bulwark against the dollar. I will move somewhere where I might need to survive peak matzo.

But I probably won’t.


Your Sunset Park gentrification blog primer


Sunset Park 718 (new)

White People Move In, The World Ends

Hell No, No Condo!

Johnny’s Pizza vs. Papa John’s

Greenwood Cemetery

Just beyond the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot in Sunset Park…

…lies Greenwood Cemetery, resting place for Basquiat, Bernstein, Crazy Joe, and the Wizard, and a stunning visual display, often times more sumptuous than even the sweetest vistas of Prospect or Central Park.


A Double-crested Cormorant! (Pictures: Jill; Ornithology: Christopher)