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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“So Hebrew School, what did you do for Chanukah?”

Did you decorate your own Peeps this holiday season?

Did your day job have a Christmas tree? Can you still smell the pine?

Did you check out the lights in Dyker Heights?


Did you see the sunset on Boxing Day?


Have you ever played a version of dreydl involving sleeping wooden animals, where shin can win?

How about “Young Maccabees?”


Did you dress up in your special Santa fleece and act the fool?

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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

Cinco de Mayo in Sunset Park
May 5, 2008, 7:13 am
Filed under: brooklyn, events | Tags: , , , ,

Overheard at deli this morning:

“Oh, today’s Cinco de Mayo, isn’t it? Gotta get some Coronas.”
“What’s it celebrate?”
“When was that?”
“Eighteen something…”
“From who?”
“The Spanish.”

Well, not entirely, according to Hebrew School breaking news. Although Cinco de Mayo has broad-based appeal in the States as a day to celebrate Mexican culture– and by association its continued self-determination– the Mexican holiday is primarily observed in the state of Puebla as the day Mexicans began to rout French forces on May 5, 1862. Regardless, due to the popularity of the American holiday*, and perhaps the fact that a large number of the city’s Mexican-American residents have a Poblano heritage, throngs of happy and festive humanity abounded yesterday. (It also happened to be a ridiculously beautiful day.)

Traditional masked dancing occurs at the base of Sunset Park’s slope.

* Analogously, the process by which American culture subsumes and reshapes traditional holidays brought from other countries seems to hold true with Jewish holidays such as Chanukah and Passover. Interestingly, these are also holidays where we celebrate the victory over enemies, the stamping out of oppresion.

The pork, the park, the South (of Brooklyn)

Some images* and thoughts from the first weekend in 2008, which was a mild and beautiful one here in NYC.

First, I run into Yasmine Alwan in Park Slope. It’s been too long and it’s nice to see her.

Jill and I go to Two Boots in Brooklyn. I never realized until recently what Two Boots meant (the “boots” of Italy and Louisiana) though it’s apparent now in much of their imagery. Back in the day, I used to play here with Mike Mermin. Many happy memories. We eat oyster po’boys and steaks and share a pizza. We meet Tali Shmulovich and her 17-year-old brother John to see John’s guitar teacher’s band, a New Orleans-style mix of Dr. John-tinged blues and R&B.

Excellent musicianship abounds.

We dance.

The next morning (well, afternoon since it starts to get dark), Jill and I meet Yasmine in Prospect Heights for brunch. The area’s residents are infuriated by the large-scale ugly land development occurring here.

Jill helps me demo a new Hebrew School song which uses certain familiar liturgical lyrics (hint– the words can be sung to the tune of La Marseillaise or “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, though we won’t, and we’re not).

We take a walk in Sunset Park (i.e., the park which is the neighborhood’s namesake). It continually acquires more and more beauty for me.

Directly above: Is this fountain a reified imaginary personification of the park?

…or is this?

The weekend is finished appropriately with pork ribs.

Is the park pork, or is the pork the punctum of the park?

* I found my camera, thus keeping my word about the new year.

Another post about Sunset Park.