Adieu, Dear Readers

Or, in Brooklynese, "So long, youse guys!"

Are we, as a society, completely programmed to feel when the calendar flips, changes are afoot? In my little chunk of Windsor Terrace, that truly has been the case. Blogging for me has always about self-expression, an outlet. Lately, however, some of my other long-term-goal outlets have come to fruition. That is, my outlets have exceeded my inputs.

What I mean to say is, I am retiring Icky.

More personally, I simply need the time and focus for other pursuits. As the second half of my life (the cozy, quiet, gloriously boring part) begins and the first half ends, I find myself making some changes, and needing time to get some of those geriatric pursuits pursued. (Namely, there's a run-down house in the mountains that my partner and I happen to own, and the old pile needs my attention.)

Have I run out of things to say? Perhaps. Probably more accurately, my mind is elsewhere, and these days I am more enamored of shingle styles, cedar stain, spruce trees, and a new pump for the well. (I'm not kidding.)

I truly have had a lovely time, learned much from my elders, and I am a much better educated New Yorker for my blogging experience. I hope readers will remember the good stuff. (And ignore the bad stuff.) My passion for Brooklyn history and the old days is well covered in other blogs - especially at http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/index.html - and I hope you'll visit them often. All the posts will remain here. I (humbly) think there is a good deal of Brooklyn history reporting in the archive.

As always, please keep up with my list of favorites over on the right of this page. For your Windsor Terrace fix, I heartily recommend my WT neighbor, http://brooklynometry.blogspot.com/. Amarilla does an excellent job and chronicles the neighborhood in a interesting and fun way.

And really, dear readers, sometimes there are signs. Check out the photo Brooklynometry posted today!

Go into the light, Icky.



photo courtesy of brooklynometry

Sunday Superheros, Brooklyn Edition

Sometimes, a blogger is given an item so funny it absolutely needs to be posted, however inappropriate. In that spirit, Ladies and Gentlemen, we present the Defender of the Slope, the Brownstone Avenger, the South Brooklyn Babe of the year ... Superhero SmartMom. (Click to enlarge the image ... it's worth it.)





the editor of the image is anonymous at their request

MulchFest 2008 at Prospect Park

Holiday Tree Recycling is January 5 & 6 from 10am to 2pm in Propsect Park. Bring your holiday tree to Prospect Park and they'll turn it into mulch for healthy ground cover. Watch your tree go into the chipper and take home some mulch for your yard or garden if ya like. (Plus enjoy hot chocolate - Saturday at Third Street, and Sunday at Park Circle.)

Please remove all decorations from the trees. Mulch will be available at the Third Street entrance through the end of February, and there will be additional supplies at the Wollman Rink for people who want to pick up mulch by car. Co-sponsored by the Park Slope Civic Council and Ocean on the Park organization.

Get on down there and mulch - Third Street & Prospect Park West, and the Park Circle entrance to the Park (intersection of Prospect Park Southwest and Parkside Avenue). Or Volunteer - Help assist people bringing their trees in for recycling, remove ornaments and distribute mulch. Call (718) 965-8960 for details

Don't forget the last few weeks of the Grand Army Plaza Lights, through January 14 - More than 250,000 energy efficient and color-changing LED lights illuminate the tree underneath the Sailors and Soldiers’ Memorial Arch, and the Bailey Fountain at Grand Army Plaza. The festive holiday lighting had been made possible by the Office of the Mayor and the NYC Parks & Recreation Department.





christmas on montague photo courtesy of ystrickler's photostream at flickr.com

Motorola Memories - Jan 2, 2008

From both local and faraway readers, requests for neighborhood photos pass through the Icky Inbox frequently. I don't have the fortitude to carry a camera around (shameful for a blogger, really); but I do have a cell phone. Welcome then to a new Icky feature - Motorola Memories. And don't you think my crappy cell camera adds a charming old-world quality of the neighborhood?






Prospect Park West at the corner of the Circle, and the corner of Windsor Place

Park Slope Hypocrisy Night - Free Samples!

The People's Republic of Park Slope is known for nothing if not for handcrafted liberal chic. Fire up the ol' search engine and you will find the stuff of New Slope legend ... the faux hippy co-op, yellow umbrellas, the Snowflake "buy local" campaign.

For all the pontificating about the glories of buying local, most Slopers doesn't seem too concerned when it comes right down to brass tax. Seems most won't put their Amex cards where their pie holes are. But really, dear readers, what is life without a B&N discount card and a Half-Caf Caramel Macchiato? I mean honestly, I can live without anything but luxury.



One only need look at the lighted signs of Seventh Avenue to see how much Slopers are willing to sacrifice convenience for "buying local." Park Slope ably supports a Starbucks-down-the-street-from-a-Starbucks, a Rite-Aid, and a Barnes & Noble that has been elevated to the level of Community Center. Deep Slope Doyenne Louise Crawford's own blog bemoans the loss of independent Seventh Avenue Books and hails the bailing out of her beloved Community Bookstore while regularly plugging events (and merchandise) at Barnes & Noble.

Poor Smartmom. Chummy-Wummy Tiny Bookstore didn't have Smartmom's book. That's okay. Smartmom loves Corporate Monster. Corporate Monster is a big monster. Corporate Monster holds author readings to lull Smartmom into submission with a faux sense of local color. Smartmom is easily lulled.



By all accounts, Park Slope's buy-local "Snowflake Night" bombed big, and reeked of do-gooder posturing and public relations. But let's not blame the neighbors completely - the merchants' offers were a joke. Multiple offers for a free dessert, a craft demonstration, or 10% to 15% off are not exactly going to tempt someone out into the freezing rain. Hell, 15% off Park Slope boutique prices wouldn't even bring it down to normal retail.

Even though I don't really need a handmade organic-wool doggy hat, a cruelty-free faux-silk meditiation pillow, or a peacock blue yoga mat made by actual peacocks - thanks for asking. It's the thought that counts.

Clearly, Park Slope doesn't want an ugly sort of horror-movie retail beast like Walmart, but a happy Pete's Dragon sort of beast like B&N is perfectly okay - at the expense of local businesses or not. Here's a tip - If you don't want to lose your small local businesses, start a campaign to locally boycott the chains; not a stupid event in which the hardware store serves hot chocolate until ten.

Or wouldn't that be cute enough? I guess "The Snowflake Boycott" is not very catchy.

Of course, this is not to say that there are not Parksiders practicing what they preach. But it seems for the most part, to paraphrase Kander and Ebb, "If you can fake it there, you can fake it anywhere."



park slope starbucks photo courtesy of lab2112's photostream at flickr.com
twilight photo courtesy of greenbk's photostream at flickr.com

Icky Reflections on 2007

As we approach the New Year (and our Half-a-Birthday), I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the ickiest stories of 2007. Many thanks to new friends, and the BK and NYC blogging community. As I am fond of saying, I love 'em for calling 'em like they see 'em. Ergo, I have listed the links to my fellow bloggers here, rather than links to my own stories. If you'd like to see the story, just follow the links through. Happy New Year, Brooklyn!

In the "Easily Irritated" department, I was pleasantly surprised when the New York Times linked to my Impassioned Open Letter to the Brooklyn Bead Emporium. See you in Hell, bead girl.

Speaking of irritating, the big story of the year was undoubtedly my healthy dislike of the Brooklyn Paper (Smartmom's column in particular). Funny how the cheap stuff sells, eh? Ah, well. I'm sure the Brooklyn Paper is familiar with that theory. Poor Smartmom. Smartmom is lucky that Rag Man likes poodle-poo-clucky-duck writing, isn't Smartmom? My Brooklyn Paper rant (and tons of responses, some from the Rag Man himself) was linked to by McBrooklyn in Icky Really, Really, Really Doesn't Like the Brooklyn Paper, and the Icky "Windsor Terrace Eleven" was reported many places, including the eminent Gowanus Lounge.



A frequent point of consternation here in Windsor Terrace is the half-a-neighborhood that was torn down to build the Prospect Expressway. Back in October, I found some old pictures of families that were displaced, and went on a total History Detectives thing. New York Magazine helped me out by wondering, "What would this fifties family think if they knew that the home they vacated to make room for the Prospect Expressway is now the site of a dumpy unused park? That's a shondah."



As readers know, there is a serious fondness for Brooklyn history here at Icky. Being of theatre-folk stock, the fate of the Flatbush Kings theatre prompted a research bender for a story about "The Subway Circuit," which as Curbed mentioned, "isn't something that is going to go wrong tonight with some signals to screw up the 4 Train." It's an old tale about how Broadway used to come to Brooklyn. The Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman" on Flatbush? We gotcha covered. Fugeddaboutit.

A great deal of scholarly fun went into a story concerning Neighborhood Name Rage and how fussy we are about our Brooklyn monikers. What did I find? That most of Park Slope used to be Prospect Heights, there really was a Greenwood Heights back in the day, and that Sunset Park was originally Bay Ridge. This post was much linked to, including Brownstoner discussion boards, and on NYC's very own Real Estate Bible, Curbed.



Puns are rife here at Icky, and among all the year's scholarly stories, my personal favorite recalled the "Shameful and Dirty" past of some of our venerated Brooklyn cultural institutions ... Edwardian era murder, adultry, elephant crap, and classic processional arcitecture, in Murder, Manure, McKim, Mead, & White.



Happy New Year, Brooklyn!

brooklyn museum photo courtesy of apium's photostream at flickr.com
prospect heights high school photo courtesy of brooklyn public library, brooklyn collection
deprisco family photo courtesy of brooklyn public library, brooklyn collection

Good Deeds Done

Prospect Park and the Prospect Park Alliance provide Brooklynites with a wonderful gift all year long. However, community minded good news is especially good to hear at the holidays. Just before Christmas, 29 new members were inducted into the Prospect Park Youth Council, after completing a three month training course.

In addition, eight former members (now attending college) were inducted into the Alumni Program. The event was held at Prospect Park's historic Picnic House, with many of the members’ family and friends in attendance.



Prospect Park Youth Council Director, Orvil Minott (center front, kneeling) and Youth Council members.

The Prospect Park Youth Council is a youth empowerment leadership program that addresses the needs of both Brooklyn's youth and the Park. Teens interested in learning more about the Prospect Park Youth Council can call the Youth Programs Manager at (718) 854-4901, or stop by the Park’s Youth Resource Center at Bowling Green Cottage at Prospect Park Parade Ground on the corner of Caton and Coney Island Avenues. The Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 3 - 7 p.m.

In partnership with the City of New York and the community, the Prospect Park Alliance restores, develops, and operates Prospect Park for the enjoyment of all by caring for the natural environment, preserving historic design, and serving the public through facilities and programs. Prospect Park’s 585 acres of meadows, waterfalls, forest, lakes, and athletic facilities comprise a masterwork of urban green space.

photo courtesy of prospect park alliance

City Swat Teams, Busy Swat Teams

Ah, the Holidays. Today was, morning to late afternoon, the second (and final) big shopping day of the Icky Holiday Season. Making an assumption that Retail Rage is better kept far from home, I skipped Windsor Terrace and Park Slope and hit the Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Atlantic for most of the day. My little old driver was sluggish and slow, but for the B67, that was quite apropos.

Down Seventh Avenue to Flatbush (or, "The New Seventh Avenue"), I am always interested in the state of the "Leaf Wall" at the corner of Flatbush and 7th Ave. The progression usually goes like this - Pretty leaves painted on the wall, graffiti, pretty leaves painted on the wall, graffiti. You get the idea. However, as of today, some sort of art installation has sprouted. Couldn't tell if it is photos or clippings, but either way, a Park Slope Wall of Ephemera is growing on the side of the Billiard Parlor building.





Further down the Avenue and further down my shopping list, fate dealt me a weird coda. For years, I have always wondered about a shop on Flatbush near 5th Avenue called, "The Silver Button." (Its distinguisinhing feature being its doorhandles ... giant silver buttons.) It is a sort of ghetto-chic place, expensive but in a weird strip, in an awful location ... with tons of people going in and out all the time. Odd. Being an avid Conspiracy Theorist, I decided something shady must be going on. If only today ... something shady was going on. Or maybe Bruce Ratner had them evicted. The Marshals showed up in an unmarked car, went inside, ousted everyone in the shop, and secured the door. Bye bye, Silver Button.





It is great fun being a Conspiracy Theorist. Mostly because it provides you with an arsenal of wacky things to say at parties, and certainly, there is a Conspiracy Theory for every occasion. However, dear readers, being a Conspiracy Theorist also tends to make you paranoid. Ergo, I did *not* ask the nice Marshals why they were buttoning up the Silver Button. Probably the best determination, especially considering what happened to Miss Heather this afternoon ...

"It must have been slow at the good ol’ 94th Precinct today. That’s the only reason I can conjure up as to why they saw fit to throw some holiday cheer my direction by detaining me and demanding identification. Was I trespassing? No. Was I loitering? No. Was I dressed in a manner that would be construed as menacing? After demanding to know why I merited their attention - at least three times - I was told “someone reported a suspicious person was in the area taking pictures”. Is taking pictures against the law? Not as far as I know. But the line of questioning the (male) police officer posited to me would certainly suggest it is ..."

As readers might know, Miss H is the Proprietress of one of my favorite blogs, and graces our Brooklyn bandwidth with a great deal of terrific photos and commentary daily. Please visit Miss H over at New York Shitty to hear the conclusion of the story, and to her credit, you'll see some great snaps of area halls that are totally decked.

Bits of Bytes

Thought it might be fun to bring some favorite bits from Icky comments this past week to the Front Page. (Predictably, Icky commenters get right to the point.)




On Our Issues with the Brooklyn Bead Emporium ... "Ah, that bloody bead shop!"

On This Very Blog (and Beer, Evidently) ... "It's all negative and I don't really get the pint."

On Standing in the Rain ... "If you stuck around maybe they would've given you one of those yellow umbrellas..."

On Criticism ... "Screw 'em all."

On Icky vs. Smartmom ... "takes a lot of energy to dis at this level. sniffle-piffle-wiffle. too funny"

Also On Icky vs. Smartmom ... "You're the anti-Smartmom."

On Smartmom ... "Who's smartmom?"

South Brooklyn Will Funk You Up

Lots of totally happening Brooklyn holiday happenings happening in the Borough of Kings this holiday season. Ain't it cool when they're free? Ain't it even cooler when they are free and funky folksy? I'm staying in town for the holidays. Are you staying in town? Check this stuff out ...



Brooklyn's most winning bar, Union Hall, combines Edwardian atmosphere, Sherlock Holmes' library, a fireplace, a music venue, tons of space, bocce, food, and folksy fun into a confection that is served nightly on Union Street just above 5th Ave. The now famous "Union Hall Spelling and Grammar Bee" returns for the holidays on Thursday, December 20 beginning at 8pm. The Holiday Edition is hosted by David Witt. No cover charge. Totally into the scene? Return on Friday, December 21, at 8pm for Dress-Up Karaoke, hosted by Dick Swizzle. Come dressed, perform as your favorite rock star, and win a present! No cover charge. (And happy birthday, Jim!) http://unionhallny.com/



In an exhibit at Prospect Park, "The Quilter's Kitchen" is rockin' the quilt ... Showing off the diverse styles, techniques, patterns, and fabrics they use to tell a story through the traditional art of quilting, Dec. 1 - 30 at the Audubon Center (in the Boathouse) at Prospect Park, Weekends & holidays, 12 - 4 p.m.Curated in partnership with the Brooklyn Quilters Guild. (The Boathouse sports a little café counter with nosh and bevs ... could make for a nice Winter outing!) No admission charge, and cool quilts. And might I add, these ain't your grandma's quilts. http://www.prospectpark.org/



"Giambotta" by Jody Leight

beat the devil/union hall photo courtesy of nevbrown's photostream at flickr.com
boathouse photo courtesy of lab2112's photostream at flickr.com
quilter's kitchen photo courtesy of prospect park alliance.com

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And by the way, this is the Google ad that appeared on this page while I was writing the post. Curious. Maybe it's the combination of Christmas, karaoke, and quilting.