One of the project’s subjects with his portrait. Check out more of the progress on Sunday.
We’ve been following local artist Rusty Zimmerman’s Free Portrait Project for a while now, which involves him painting 200 portraits of his Crown Heights neighbors. It’s a cool project that he’s taking on to leave a physical document of the changing neighborhood and let people who might otherwise not be able to afford an oil painting of themselves get one. In a phone interview today, Zimmeran announced that he’s hit the halfway point with 100 paintings. Now he’s giving you the chance on Sunday to check out the progress, meet more of your neighbors and party with beer, music and some free ice cream too. (more…)
Roger That Community Garden is fighting for its life. Via FB.
Residents of Crown Heights have been fighting for years to save a community garden between Rogers Avenue and Park Place from turning into another real estate monstrosity. They now have some political backers in the form of Rep. Diana Richardson and New York State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, who have introduced legislation that would grant the Roger That Garden eminent domain to make it a park, and save it from development. It’s good to have political muscle, but it’s the voices of the people that politicians also needs to hear. You could email them, but it’s easy for anyone to ignore emails. What people can’t ignore, however, is a huge pile of letters arriving at their desks. Even if they all don’t get read, the group is hoping that the sheer size of the pile will likely grab the attention of state lawmakers.
So tomorrow night (Jan. 26) head down to the Two Saints bar to meet your fellow garden-lovers and have a letter-writing party. From 7-10pm grab some paper, a pen and a drink, and write an old-fashioned letter to state legislators, letting them know how much you’d rather have this garden than more condos in Crown Heights. (more…)
What it is: A cozy spot dedicated to art, food, drinks, and great live music in the heart of Crown Heights.
Why we love it: We come for the drinks and the tapas-style bar food, but stay for the nightly live music. Owned by a chef/ resterateur and a successful music promoter, this bar/ restaurant/ music venue is the best of all three worlds.
What to order: If you’re a seafood fan, order a heaping helping of mussels or a highly recommended serving of shrimp and grits. If you’re not a seafood fan, order any of their amazing tapas-style small plates. Be sure to check out their long list of beers and wines for a good pairing (or, if you’re like us, something cheap.)
Regular tip: Check their Facebook before you visit for a list of nightly live music acts.
Look! The Pulp & the Bean has even more Fall flavors than Starbucks!
We fought it as long as we could, but it is officially, undeniably autumn. And with closed-toed shoes and denim-covered limbs comes the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Look, I get it. They taste like caffeinated pie, complete with whipped cream and a stomach ache later. As Donald Trump would say, “They’re great!”
Another thing that the Donald thinks is great is the corporate takeover of Brooklyn. You know who I’m talking about. That venti grande adult-contemporary-pumping purveyor of Oprah-branded tea products. Crown Heights got its first Starbucks last year, nestled between a Capital One branch and a beloved local coffee house just outside of the Franklin Avenue station. People saw its opening a harbinger of gentrification gone off the rails, the Disney-fication of Brooklyn, but mostly a slap in the face to the already vibrant coffee scene in the area. Politics aside; Starbucks’ coffee is just not that good, you can do better. So, this fall if you find yourself in the vicinity of Franklin Avenue and in need of an an autumnal treat, we’ve compiled this handy list of 6 fall alternatives from Crown Heights coffee shops to make caffeinating great again! (more…)
Smile! Its the party of the year! Photos by Madelyn Owens
The West Indian American Day Parade is like no other in NYC. It’s family friendly, as evidenced by the troupes of adorable little kids with impressive drumming skills, or babies on fathers’ shoulders sporting their country’s flag with pride. This is not a 5th Avenue, Manhattan-style parade. The festivities pour outside of the police barriers onto the sidewalks crammed with vendors hawking jerk chicken, Shark & Bake, sorrel punch and roti. It climbs up the fronts of the stately buildings of Eastern Parkway; from old ladies waving Jamaican flags from the 3rd floor window, to shirtless bros dancing with proud beer bellies from the fire escape.
The centerpiece, of course, are the elaborate costumes that parade participants spend all year creating. Glitter, feathers, bold colors, the energy is matched only by the music (every float worth its salt has at least a drummer or three and a wall of amps). (more…)
With that said, we’ll get right to it with a latter-day saint of Crown Heights, Shannon Mustipher. With the help of her beverage savvy, Glady’s (788 Franklin Avenue) has become a neighborhood staple, nailing a combination of tiki kitsch and Caribbean authenticity. Mustipher’s business is booming, but for her, Crown Heights has always been about the people and the scenery. “Folks from the islands, new transplants from all walks of life – we all peacefully coexist. Then there’s the architecture, the greenery…I just love walking around and taking it all in.” (more…)
What it is: Retro drinkerie and neighborhood hangout on the border of Crown Heights and PLG, from the folks behind Hanson Dry.
Why we love it: It’s a locals bar that combines throwback decor—the owner and his wife’s WWII era family photos on the wall, an antique cash register behind the bar—with playful diversions such as pinball, a photo booth and a gigantic backyard that is just begging to be filled with drinkers. A place where you can be a sophisticated adult and a rowdy teen at the same time: cocktail in one hand, the other pulling the pinball plunger.
What to order: The mantra that guides their cocktail menu is classic simplicity, with drinks that boast no more than three main ingredients each. Order the signature “Branch Ofc” of Jameson, lime and bitters. Beer in frosted mugs—choose from IPA, Pilsner or Stout—also sound pretty damn good to us. They serve pressed sandwiches with Utz chips and Tate’s cookies, the perfect done-up bag lunch.
Regular tip: $4 cans of Schaefer are in stock as a nod to the Brooklyn Dodgers—and the nearby site of the old Ebbets Field—because Schaefer was the official beer sponsor of the team while they were still in BK.
Last month, we talked about Rusty Zimmerman’s Free Portrait Project, which involves him painting up to 200 oil portraits of his Crown Heights neighbors over one year. It’s a cool idea, because hey, who doesn’t want a fancy oil portrait of themselves done for free buy a noted professional painter? Whether you’re hoping to get a fancy picture or you just want to help people get theirs, you can give the project a boost on Friday at an art auction that benefits the effort. (more…)
There a number of advantages to living in Crown Heights: proximity to Covenhoven, Chavela’s, Glenda’s Restaurant and the Eastern Parkway pedestrian path. A smaller number of ugly condo projects than other hot Brooklyn neighborhoods. And now, a new perk: you might be able to get a free giant fancy portrait of yourself, painted by an actual skilled painter. It’ll look great in your living room for the next few months, before the rest of the people with money who think of Crown Heights as “the place with the riots” stop being afraid of it and start moving in. (more…)