Thursday, August 31, 2006

One of my favorite topics... neckface

When we first moved to the city about two years ago we began to notice grafitti in the east village with the tag neckface. It was usually a strange cartoonish looking monster character, something like the sand worms from beetlejuice. But until recently I had forgotten about neckface. In my new hood, there is a large neckface piece that is visible from the York Street F station (Jay & Front Street). That links to a clearer picture and here is another:

So, my interest was renewed and I decided to do a search online.

According to wikipedia, one of my favorite sources, neckface is a trained artist from California who lived in brooklyn for some time. neckface's identity is unknown, however he granted one interview to Dana Goodyear at The New Yorker on the condition he would remain anonymous.

I also came across some of his grafitti on flickr. There are also a lot of articles on neckface and his graffitti - this blog post in Curbed talks about a famous neckpiece tag in Chelsea.

But if you start to look at his work, it's really disturbing and dark. I found his MySpace page as well - it may be a fake - but it's something I plan to look into further. At first I was quick to think about adding him as a friend (I really do love MySpace) but he's kinda creepy. I think I'll watch from a far.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

PS 8

I am really hoping to stay in Brooklyn after we have kids and send them to public school. I grew up in Manhattan and went to an amazing private school, but then moved to Connecticut to go to public school. I think both have their advantages and disadvantages. Spence taught be a lot about discipline, study habits and teamwork. When I left after 7th grade, I felt like I would never make friends again. It was such a close knit environment there, especially since it was all girls and we were just beginning grow up. There were less than 500 girls in the entire school, K-12, which made for small classrooms and full accessibility to teachers.

When I moved to Connecticut, I went to one of the best public schools. But it was very opposite from what I was used to in New York. It was co-ed for one and the high school had thousands of students. I wasn't used to learning in a co-ed environment. People came to class late and didn't do their homework, which was very strange to me. It was easy to let your standards sink... not study as hard, let your grades slip, be late, skip class. But who is to say that wouldn't have happened anyway at Spence? I think the difference is that there wouldn't have been tolerance for the behavior.

But I've been reading a lot about the local school, PS 8, and it seems to be taking a turn for the better in part thanks to the growth of the community in Dumbo. Private school is nearing the same as a college education, which is too much for most parents to afford twice! Hopefully PS8 will continue in the right direction. I can't wait to get involved.

desperate dogs in Brooklyn

WABC is reporting on some disturbing and disgusting news from Prospect Heights about a half dozen dogs who were neglected and mistreated. Some poor little kids looked over a fence and saw dogs canibalizing each other. Neighbors reported a stench.

Thank God this wasn't in my neighborhood. I always see these types of stories on the news where people mistreat their animals, but usually it's some scary cat lady hoarding like 30 cats in one nasty apartment. I don't understand how people can do this to their pets?

One thing about dumbo is that it's really animal friendly. Everyone has a dog or two. There are english and french bulldogs, labs, daschunds, chiwawas and mutts everywhere. But somehow the sidewalks are so much cleaner because people genuinely care about their environment and clean up properly. Some day we'll get a dog but for now we love our two cats.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Area for improvement: sushi in Dumbo

You could say Dumbo has a little bit of everything, but one thing it lacks is consistently good sushi. DumboNYC inspired me to blog on sushi, one of my favorite topics.

Miso Sushi is the only sushi in Dumbo and the first time we ate there it was really good. Maybe it was the excitement of eating after a long day of moving. We were psyched.

But the last few times we've ordered from Miso it just hasn't been so great. We absolutely did NOT get sick, but it just tasted off or the consistency wasn't quite right. It's hard when you really love sushi and have gotten used to really excellent sushi (hint: Sushi of Gari East). I guess I'll have to go to manhattan when I get a craving or to Park Slope for Blue Ribbon, whose SOHO counterpart is fantastic. At the SOHO location they often have artic char. Ask for it Hakozushi or box style with the chive oil. It's amazing.

Cube 63 in Brooklyn is medicore compared to its sister restaurant on the LES. But some of the rolls are imaginative, but don't waste your money on omasake. Save your money for Gari "chef's choice" and make sure they give you a few pieces of sushi called snapper salad.

My hood circa 1926

DumboNYC has a great post up about a collection of photographs from the New York Public Library. There is a great picture of Washington Street looking down to the water that was taken in 1926, which is juxtaposed with a recent picture. Definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Feeling like fall...

This weekend it is starting to feel like fall. It's been gray here since late last week and rainy. But for the first time since, the Jahova's temperature clock has dipped below 20 degrees C. It's only 68 and it feels great. I know in January I will be wishing for the hot days of summer but that's what's great about the Northeast - seasons. Nothing like pumpkins, red & yellow leaves and halloween.

Another bridge in Brooklyn

I love, you can find great photos on a given topic like this one of the Verazzano Bridge from the Brooklyn side.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

SUVs Banned on Brooklyn Bridge

That's right, cars over 3 tons are not allowed on the bridge. That includes Navigators, Escalades, Chevy Surburbans, Dodge Durangos, GMC Yukons, Hummers, Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Mercedes M Class 320 and 500s, Toyota Land Cruisers, Sequoias and Ford Expeditions. There are always police cars on the bridge but they don't seem to be stopping any of the SUVs crossing the bridge.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rainy, Cloudy

It's gray and raining in Brooklyn today. Manhattan too. It's a perfect day to stay in bed and watch movies. But of course, I dragged myself to work after reminding myself that there would be a better day - sometime in December - to call out sick when it's snowing. Tomorrow is also my last summer friday at work so it's kind of like friday today.

Last night, me and my husbund and our two good friends went for dinner at Alma. Next time I go I'll have to take some photos cause the view is amazing. We went a bit late so the sun was setting and the lights were shining from the financial district. It was breezy and cool - perfect. Oh I should have mentioned they have rooftop seating and it's tented. The food is really good, although not as good as El Parador in my old neighborhood, Murray Hill. That place is hands-down the best authentic mexican I have ever had.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Living in the walled city

The best part about DUMBO is that so much of its history has been perserved.

I was just reading on a Web site that "the first urban street improvement project occurred in DUMBO in 1819 and is one of the earliest examples of formal surveying and mapping of roads and the addition of sidewalks. In reference to the mammoth warehouses erected along the entirety of the Brooklyn waterfront, Brooklyn received the nickname the walled city."

If you walk through DUMBO you can still see the names of the factories on some of the building. The name Gair is a popular one: Robert Gair Company, Gair Building No. 6, Gair Building. A New York Times article offers interesting background on the guy, who was a Scottish-born immigrant who created an empire out of making cardboard. He built his factories next to the water since it was a good location near the ships. In 1981, David Walentas purchased most of the Gair properties for $12 million. I live in Gair building No. 7.

Some of the manufacturers in DUMBO included: Tubal Cain Iron Works, Sweeney Metal Works, Yuban Coffee and Spices, and the Robert Gair Bottle Cap and Cardboard Box Manufacturing buildings.

One of my favorite weekends this summer

This year we were in DUMBO for July 4th. It was super hot - gross hot - but it was totally worth it.
The view of the fireworks was amazing! People started to gather in the park early to get their spot on the grass, while others like me and my family strolled through the hood to the street fair -- chalk on the sidewalk, a jumpy castle, pony rides, DJs spinning and beer. What else could you ask for?

Look at that sunset. Being in Brooklyn makes you appreciate the Manahattan skyline so much more.

This is me trying to be artsy. But the flowers were too pretty not to take a photo. This was in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

How all bars should be

The 68 Jay St. Bar is the kind of bar everyone wants in their neighborhood. It's relaxed, casual and small. The lady who owns it (Karen, I think) is super cool. She plays great music from her book of CDs, remembers what you like to drink and serves up Goldfish crackers as snacks with your beer. People are allowed to bring their dogs inside too and she'll bring over a bowl of water.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summer Photos in the Hood

I love how the streets in Brooklyn Heights are named after fun things like pineapple. According to (1939) WPA Guide to New York City there is a fun story behind the naming of Cranberry, Pineapple, Orange, Poplar and Willow Streets.

"In the decade before the Civil War these streets bore the names of prominent local families. This fact aroused the ire of a Miss Middagh, a determined member of the Brooklyn aristocracy, who vented her dislike of some of her neighbors by tearing down the street signs bearing their names and substituting placards with botanical titles. When the original signs were replaced by the city authorities, she again changed them. This continued until an aldermanic resolution accepted her signs as official. A Heights street retains, however, Miss Middagh's own family name."

Here's another nice shot. This is the bridge and water taxi from the pier in DUMBO. The east river actually looks nice from this spot. I always see people jet skiing, but that's kinda gross. Apparently in the fall there is some race from South Street Seaport over to DUMBO. So not signing up for that one but would certainly watch from the pier.

Abundance of Good Italian in Brooklyn

talian food can be delicious. It's the kind of food that makes you feel good, has lots of flavor and can bring people together over a meal. I love cooking Italian food for me and my husband. In Brooklyn, there is no shortage of Italian food -- really good and well priced Italian food.

Some of our initial favorites: Al Di La, Noodle Pudding, Aurora and Grimaldi's

Just remember to bring cash cause many places in Brooklyn don't take credit/debit cards.

Hello Again

I have decided to a blog focused on my new favorite place, Brooklyn. We moved to DUMBO last May after my weddding. I love it.

It's quiet, clean, has culture and all the essentials - and a starbucks. It's exploding with babies and dogs. Lots of French Bulldogs. The parks are goregous and the restaurants serve great food for much less than you'd find in Manhattan. The people are friendly and I love the architecture, which for the most part has been preserved.

There's nothing like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a nice day. It's beautiful and calming, even among the hundreds of people walking, running, biking and taking photos. I also can't wait to do the walk in the snow. It would be equally beautiful I think.

Anyway, this is just my initial post... more to come!