Category Archives: Brooklyn

First Snow 2015

They city always looks so fresh and new after a snowfall. That is, until the snow turns to slush and the white fades into the sooty shades of gray.  Last week I was fortunate enough to be home right after a snowfall in Brooklyn and was able to enjoy Prospect Park while the snow was still fresh, white and largely untouched.

This first snow may have only been an  inch or two, but it was worth the wander through the cold. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed the day.

Snow covered bridge

Snow covered bridge

Making paths

Making paths

The ducks found a small as yet unfrozen pond in the lake

The ducks found a small as yet unfrozen pond in the lake

Bridge and overlook

Bridge and overlook

The frozen lake

The frozen lake

Chilly waterfall

Chilly waterfall

Urban Farm, Winter Style

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get an off season visit to an urban farm in Brooklyn. My friend works at the Youth Farm at the High School for Public Service in Prospect Lefferts Garden. The farm is run by Green Guerrillas in conjunction with the high school. It is an educational production farm  that offers New Yorkers opportunities to increase their knowledge of the food system and build high level organic growing skills to share with their communities. The Youth Farm grows its produce and flowers on just one acre but it has made a big impact on the local community with a farmers market and CSA.

The Green House

The Green House

Given that much of the community has West Indian and Caribbean backgrounds, the farm grows some Caribbean produce to serve its shoppers at the Farmers markets.

Radicchio Growing through the Winter

Radicchio Growing through the Winter

The farm is quiet and mostly shut down for the winter, but there are still a few crops prospering. I got to eat some deliciously fresh green house micro greens, and I eagerly look forward to buying some next time around.

Mixed micro greens

Mixed micro greens

If you’re ever in New York, check out some of the urban farms throughout the city. There are lots of options and the farms all have different specialties. Its amazing to see how much can be produced from such small spaced.

For more information about the Youth Farm, check out their blog at http://hspsfarm.blogspot.com/p/about-farm.html

Beat It Brooklyn

Brooklyn can be a very interesting place to live. It has everything from artisan foods to avant garde art, nude beaches to topless pizza places, historical sites to  the latest trend. It is a borough that seems to have a bit everything and some things you didn’t know you wanted.

This past weekend, I had friend from out of town visiting, so we started with the obvious and went to brunch complete with  chicken and waffles, bloody Marys and cocktails. Afterwards, once we were fortified with liquor, we headed to a  more “Brooklynesque”event called “Beat It”. Beat It was described as “an interactive art installation where viewers are invited to take foam bats and let out their aggression on over-sized stuffed animals and giant pinatas.”

Beat It Poster

Beat It Poster

The event was thrown by Jo Firestone, a local figure most famous for hosting Punderdome, a monthly pun telling competition.

As in any organized society, there were rules to the engagement. Though, you’ll note that the poster for the event asks you to bring your own bat, but the rules prohibits use of your own bat or “hitting device”. No one brought their own “hitting devices” as far as I could see, so this miss communication didn’t have any ill effect.

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Them’s the Rules

After signing a waiver and questionnaire about what makes us mad, we were handed foam noodles and were invited in to beat various objects to our hearts content.

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I have to say there is something delightful about watching fully grown men and women take their aggression out teddy bears and pinatas. Feeling silly and giddy, we stopped to take some silly pictures with the props.

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Pinata Headed Friends

After we battled the toys to our hearts content, we headed to a shuffleboard bar for more cocktails and board games. I’d like to say that it was a unique Brooklyn day, but honestly things like this happen every day in my neighborhood. It may be weird, but I call it home.

Winter Farmer’s Market Blues

I stopped by the Green Market  at Grand Army Plaza this weekend and saw two things of note. The first was a crop of the largest carrots I’ve ever seen.

Those are some thick carrots

Those are some thick carrots

The second, was this sad scene of a cold farmers market worker all packed up and waiting to go home.

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Looks to me like winter’s here!

Books and Bronze

I did some local wandering this weekend to stop by the Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch and walked back home through the park.

I rarely read physical books anymore, but I am an avid ebook reader. The Brooklyn Public Library has a fantastic ebook lending system so I am a big supporter. Its no surprise that Brooklyn Public Library had the highest program attendance of any public library system in the United States in 2009. The Brooklyn Public Library is one of three separate and independent public library systems in New York City. It is a separate library system from the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. This is because the system was founded before the boroughs were all incorporated into NYC.

The central library, my favorite location, was originally built in 1912, but the design was too  expensive. With World War I and the Great Depression the construction stalled. The current building was designed by  Githens and Keally in the Art Deco Style and opened in 1940.

The Central Library Facade

The Central Library Facade

The building is shaped to look like an open book which is hard to see in this image, but its quite an effect. The entryway is detailed in bronze and was designed by C. Paul Jennewein and Thomas Hudson Jones.  It features fifteen different literary characters and luminaries, including Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, and Brooklyn’s own Walt Whitman. See if you can spot them.

The gilded gateway of the central Library

The gilded gateway of the central Library

A Dog’s Life

For the past five days, I’ve been house sitting and taking care of two cats and a dog. I absolutely love animals, especially dogs. From time to time, I get puppy fever and come really close to getting a new furry fried. But, its so hard to give a pet the attention he or she deserves when you live in the city. Caring for a dog for five days was supposed to be a good way to remind me of the level of responsibility and care they require.

Leon curled up for a nap

Leon curled up for a nap

One of the Curious Cats

One of the Curious Cats

Though the pets were a lot of work, it was an absolute delight to spend time, frolicking, walking, playing and snuggling. I don’t think that it cured me of puppy fever at all.

We were lucky enough to have beautiful fall weather this weekend, and I spent a lot of time with Leon out doors. One of my favorite things about watching Leon was that it gave me the opportunity and incentive to spend some real time exploring the back trails of Prospect Park. Prospect Park is a 585 acre park in Brooklyn which was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux after they completed the designs for Central Park. The park opened to the public on October 19, 1867.

Though I live only about a mile from the park, I rarely have the occasion to really explore anything but the main paths of the park. With Leon at my side I took off to explore areas of the park I’ve never before seen. The results were stunning.

Fall leaves reflected in the Lake

Fall leaves reflected in the Lake

Path to the Nethermead

Path to the Nethermead

Evening on the Long Meadow

Evening on the Long Meadow

The fall leaves were just coming into their peak and the sun was shining through clear skies. The lake in Prospect Park is the only lake in all of Brooklyn, and it is populated with all kinds of waterfowl like ducks and swans. There are lovely wooden bridges, overlooks, and places to sit on ponder while taking in the scenery. Leon particularly likes the benches.

Taking a rest on a bench

Taking a rest on a bench

Though my dog and cat duties are now officially over, I will definitely be going back on wanders through the park soon. There is so much more to see and explore, right in my backyard.

Beautiful evening path

Beautiful evening path

A very sleepy pup

A very sleepy pup

Jackhammer much?

Only in Park Slope do the construction workers get their coffee at Whole Foods while leaving their jackhammers abandoned in the street. Seriously. I went to Whole Foods for coffee this morning as per my weekend tradition. I noticed that the line at the cafe was unusually long with city construction workers.

After leaving, I spotted an abandoned street work site complete with unattended jackhammers.

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This is risky for a variety obvious reasons. Given that this is Brooklyn, it is also risky for a reason less obvious if you arent from the area. Brooklyn loves to upcycle. Rather than throw anything useful away, we put it out curbside for free taking. I’ve claimed all manner of useful things in this manner, from tomato cages to chairs to kitchen appliances.

Faces in my food

Earlier this summer I was eating some fancy ice cream (Steve’s Salty Caramel #34) and looked down to find a face staring back at me. Clearly I had to stop eating, because now my food had become a friendly little guy.

Smiling Salty Steve

Smiling Salty Steve

A week or so later I decided that friend or not, it was time to eat Steve. However, I found that upon opening the pint, Friendly Steve had turned into a much more grumpy version of himself.

Grumpy Steve

Grumpy Steve

This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen faces or other humanoid characteristics in my food. Who else has had this experience?

Carrot man from my garden

Carrot man from my garden

Pretzel dude

Pretzel dude

Coffee drip fox face

Coffee drip fox face