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Jan. 10th, 2008

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

Jan. 6th, 2008

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

Jan. 3rd, 2008

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
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Jan. 1st, 2008

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
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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
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Dec. 28th, 2007

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

Dec. 26th, 2007

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
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Dec. 19th, 2007

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.
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Dec. 17th, 2007

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?"


Dec. 15th, 2007

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


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.

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An Early Holiday Gift

Every so often, as Found In Brooklyn and I were just discussing, a blog receives a critical anon comment, usually along the "I am a total jackass" lines. Okay, more than every-so-often. And just like a Christmas present from the Universe, I received a list of snarky questions today, posted by a reader who declines to leave his or her name (and who evidently doesn't believe in question marks). In the spirit of fair representation, I've left the commenter's misspellings and syntax errors in tact. Enjoy!

"first time I read your blog. What do you really have to say."

This is not a Sunday morning news program, jackass, nor is it a public service or a newspaper. It is not paid for by advertisers, there are no commercial breaks, and your public funds do not support it. It's mine. I get to say what I want. Some people like it. Some people don't. Evidently you don't. Why are you reading it? I don't read things I don't like. I would suggest the same for you.

"IT's all negative and I don't really get the pint."

Actually, it is not all negative, but I would agree that you don't get the point. As for a "pint," I would recommend Farrell's on Prospect Park West. You can get a pint there.

"Plus wtf do you care what lanuage people speak, or really any of your other myriad annoyances."

The post you are referring to concerned a bus ride though Park Slope. If you do not understand the humor and irony of a bus full of nannys and post-toddlers practicing their French aboard a Park Slope bus, once again - Yes. You do not get the point.

And in closing, I would submit - "What exactly is it that *you* have to say, Anon?" Perhaps you should start a blog, creating your own platform on which you can pontificate. It is a great deal of fun, and I enthusiastically recommend it!

Dec. 13th, 2007

No Good Bead Goes Unpunished

My crafty pal Miss V and I made some hot and heavy plans to head over to Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill to gather some crafty provisions. This being the busy NYC holiday season, we planned several days in advance. Deciding we'd spend way-too-much, we made grand plans - buy some super fancy findings, and then eat in a nice cafe afterward.

Overtures were made. I was promised a fancy funky bead shop over yonder on Smith. Taking the weather into account, we put on our hoods and put up our umbrellas. We laughed at the sleet. We scoffed at the rain. Actually, we took the F train over ... so, mercifully, there wasn't that much freezing rain involved - until we arrived at the "Brooklyn Beads Boutique" at Smith and Douglass.

Dear Brooklyn Beads Boutique - Your website says you open at 12 noon. The sign on your door says you open at 12 noon. I am quite sure that the latte, the chai tea, the scone, the drycleaning, the shoe polish, the herbal digestion supplement, or whatever, was of the utmost importance. I'm sure it was worth leaving your customers - who made a special trip - quite literally, out in the rain. Your pink "Will Return Shortly" post-it is not cute and folksy. In fact, when standing in the freezing rain, it is rage-inducing. Yes, we know you returned at 12:20 (not "shortly" in my book). By then we had called a car service. We piled in our chariot bound for Manhattan as you, Brown Coat, unlocked the front door at precisely 12:21.

So much for buying local.

beads photo courtesy of mollycakes' photostream at flickr.com

Random and Sundries

News From the Avenya

The Icky Inbox had some loose ends dangling, and there are a couple of things I wanted to bring to the Front Page, so I thought it time for a rare-and-unusual casual Windsor Terrace news update. Happy update!

I had a few messages asking if I could post the "rather nasty" email(s) I received about the "Windsor Terrace Eleven." Alas, I decided against it. Said emails go into detail about the senders' opinions of some of the blogs I listed as favorites. As I am not in the business of passing along insults about friends, I deleted it.

In the Fun Department, one commenter dubbed Icky "The Anti Smartmom," while another refered to the-blog-in-question and I as "Arch Enemies." I should totally have t-shirts made.

I've been having a terrific time corresponding with a blog that chronicles Windsor Terrace back-in-the-day. Really interesting to compare stories about what the Terrace is like today, and what it was like years ago. I encourage all WT diehards to check out the blog "Container Diaries," in the links list to the right.

Lots of new commerce on the Avenya, just in time for the holidays. Prospect Park West is sporting more than a few new businesses - "The Other Lady" has opened the new pet food and provisions store, DUB Pies has opened and seems to be off to a good start, the new Tailoress next door has been up and running for quite some time, the "For Rent" signs have come down at the old pet store, and something is possibly brewing at the old Universal Video Store.

Finally, Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. We gather here today to celebrate the short life of Enzo's. Curiously, since August and after much fanfare, the brick oven joint never opened. Looks like Enzo is swimming with the fishes. Cue the violin music.

gowanus canal photo courtesy of wallyg's photostream at flickr.com

Dec. 12th, 2007

Holidays on the Avenue

The corner stores are sold out of flour, the fabulous/kitchy over-the-top decorations are up on Windsor Place, I received a rather nasty email about my "Windsor Terrace Eleven," and mostly proudly, Icky was dubbed "The Anti-Smartmom" by a commenter ... it *must* be Christmas!

The Christmas Tree lot at Holy Name Field

Commerce as Good Cheer at Sondra's

Holy Name, Anchoring the Avenue

As the Man Says, "Up on the housetop ..."
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Dec. 11th, 2007

Art Park

Some great shots from the lighting-of-the-lights at Grand Army Plaza (would that Bartel Pritchard Square got some of that attention) from our friends at the Prospect Park Alliance. Beautiful lights and beautiful photos, all the same! Happy holidays, Parksiders.

Dec. 10th, 2007

An Icky Photo Exclusive - The 8th Ave Condos

A little church on Eighth Avenue in Park Slope sold its 50x100 foot churchyard, one of the only never-ever built sites in Park Slope. (!) The plot, purchased by New York Property Fund, will soon sport ten condos. Opposed to a glass-and-steel box, the church chose their buyers purposely for their desire to build "in the character of the neighborhood." While the loss of a churchyard is a terrible shame, it is nice to have some assurance that 8th Ave's newest mini-manses will sport more qualilty than the recent rash of South Slope Stucco Shacks.

Only further construction will tell, but if the buyer's other properties (mostly restorations and four-wall retrofits) are any indication, this project looks awfully good. A quality building "in the character of the neighborhood" a block from Prospect Park a few feet from the subway in mid-slope sounds like just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps this will start a trend - new buildings that are actually nice to look at.

I had occasion to grab a view of the site a few weeks ago, and may I say, it is nice to see a local developer living up to their word. Everything in order, gates closed when they should be, permits in place, a spotless construction site, after hours permits in place (although I'm told they haven't really used them much), and special attention being paid to the 1888 building next door - the church building is nicely and properly shored-up and reinforced.

Dec. 9th, 2007

The Windsor Terrace Eleven

Smartmom doesn't like all of the kids of the block. Some of the kids are mean. Some of the kids are way too funky for Smartmom. Smartmom used to be funky, but one day, she misplaced her funk on the way to the co-op. Icky bets Smartmom's funk is on display at the Old Stone House.

Let's face it, "If it's too loud, you're too old." Or maybe in this case, "if it's too funky, you're too clunky." Here then, dear readers, is a list of the Brooklyn Blogs (quite eminent in my estimation), that did not make The Baroness' list of "The Park Slope 100."

http://testofwill.blogspot.com/ - Stunning Brooklyn photos from Will Femia ... really gorgeous funky stuff.
http://abrooklynlife.com/ - Funk, facts, and fabulous fun from across Brooklyn and Downtown.
http://foundinbrooklyn.blogspot.com/ - Funky fotos and found stuff from Carroll Gardens and Gowanus.
http://greenpointers.blogspot.com/ - Yo, GP! BK funky fest, from our neighbors to the North.
http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/ - Excellent blog concerning NYC eating itself alive. Vintage Funk.
http://brooklynometry.blogspot.com/ - My funky friend Brooklynometry, also chronicling Windsor Terrace.
http://snakeoilemporium.typepad.com/ - The Rev's profane and wildly cool funk from Williamsburg.
http://sidewalkphotography.blogspot.com/ - Gorgeous foto blog dedicated to our funky streets, Brooklyn and abroad.
http://www.bedstuyblog.com/ - The always thorough (and always funky) chronicler of all things Bed Stuy.

And, our Bloggers Emeritus, who no one could fail to mention -

http://www.newyorkshitty.com/ - The funkiest of all. The mother of funk. Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss H.
http://britinbrooklyn.blogspot.com/ - BK, as seen through Brit's bike-propelled, superhero lens. Super cool snaps!
http://gowanuslounge.blogspot.com/ - The compendium. The BK source. The Living End.

Happy holidays, my stalwart Brooklyn blogging compatriots. You do the community a great service by continuing to chronicle our neighborhoods in your own words, through your own eyes, calling 'em like you see 'em. I take great pride in being in your company.

(I guess this means I've broken my promise to "no longer make fun of third-person columns bejeweled with cutsey-poo misnomers." Ah, well. All in the name of community-mided entertainment.)

Dec. 8th, 2007

Come On In and Set a Spell

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Dec. 3rd, 2007

The Big Breakup

The Brooklyn Paper, as I have aggressively pointed out, has a talent for self-promotion, or better put, "for making non-news sound like news." (Certainly, we don't want to deny talent.) Just minutes after our post yesterday, the Icky inbox received a comment form a rather familiar IP address (written with typical arrogance) listing the lusty conquests of the Brooklyn Paper. (Again, it's always nice to know folks are watching.) It was a veritable feast of link porn - boldly, baldly and badly detailing all those who frequently link to the Brooklyn Paper.

Suffice it to say, the comment will not be published. Yes, Virginia, good friends and blogs-that-are-more-news-centered-than-mine link to the BP, but I assure you, I personally will not be linking to the BP or Smartmom's Shill Shack anytime soon.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I've had my fun. I officially declare my spat with the Brooklyn Paper "boring." I will no longer post pictures of hotdogs and associate them with the BP. I will no longer make fun of third-person columns bejeweled with cutsey-poo misnomers. Hell, Icky won't even line Cool Cat's litter box with the BP anymore, will Icky?

We're through BP. Don't feel bad. It isn't you. It's me. Besides, this long-distance relationship thing was getting inconvenient ... having to walk all the way down to Park Slope to find your paper. It's okay. I know my neighborhood is a little too real for you. I read The Courier anyway.


Crazy Holidays, Crazy Tales, Crazy Crafts

Happy crazy New York City holidays!

So many things to see in our fair borough of Brooklyn, so much to get done, and so much to do! Most of the Icky holiday time is being spent hand-crafting and addressing creative pursuits. For more on that, and tons of great Brooklyn-based gift ideas, check out the post below. It's a compendium of handmade gift ideas, all crafted here in Brooklyn.

Adding to the crazy, "The Sad, Sad Saga of Icky and the Brooklyn Paper" continues on its path to near-operatic (or Beckett-like?) proportions. You might recall my Rather Opinionated Post concerning my poor opinion of The Brooklyn Paper. As the sordid tale wears on, it seems Editor Mr. K and AdMan Mr. Ross have decided to fight snark with snark - I am not only back on the hot-links mailing list, but I am now receiving "breaking news" updates, and emails from Mr. K himself. No matter, dear readers. The year is 2007, and the amazing Icky Spam Filter has been set to its task. God speed, Spam Filter.

In local Windsor Terrace news, a Blog-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named seems to be posting on the exact same topics I have written on in the past, which is really irritating. C'est la vie. All in the family, I suppose. Grrrr. However, I am excited to add ... my neighbor Oppendonnell wrote to say that Dub Pies on Prospect Park West is open, and was handing out free samples today! (Mmmm. Pies.)

Otherwise, Happy December, New Yorkers! I'm looking forward to being back full time once the holidays wind down, and in the time being, please rely on these fine blogs for your Brooklyn news, trivia, candid photos, entertainment, and general good times -


photo of hot links courtesy of holy land brand
spam hot links populating my inbox courtesy of the brooklyn paper

Nov. 27th, 2007

Handcrafted Brooklyn for the Holidays!

New Yorkers need gifts, and Brooklyn's got talent.

It's always a busy season for us here, so over the next few weeks we'll be dedicating our posting time to compiling a list of Brooklyn potters, weavers, knitters, photographers, and all manner of local pros who are ready-willing-and-able to supply one-of-a-kind handmade gifts.

Sure, ya gotcher Seventh Avenue and Montague Street for shoping; but Mamma is tired of pillows, and Daddy has grown weary of sweaters. We betcha you can find something completely original - and affordable - via our local Brooklyn artists.

We'll be adding and reposting each week thru the holidays. If you're a Brooklyn artist, leave a comment with your info and we'll add you to the list. Artists and Bloggers are more than welcome (and encouraged) to link or copy over other sites.



ADK creates custom handmade scarves & knitwear in luxury and natural fibers - chunky and fluffy alpaca, silk, mohair, merino, highland, and totally luxe blends. Custom orders can be ready in four days. Besides the fluffy pieces, there's a super heavy double sided man-scarf in the shop right now that looks like it may be suitable for the Arctic.

http://adkknits.etsy.com/ or adkknits@gmail.com


Alex Richman

This year purchase hand-crafted personal New York City scenic holiday cards for your loved ones and friends. Alex's (stunning) original photographs are hand-mounted onto premium felt finish card stock and come with a matching envelope. (And he's an awesome blogger too.) 8 for $20 or $2.50 each. Send a little bit of New York this year!

http://alexrichmanphotography.com or http://sidewalkphotography.blogspot.com


Alyssa Ettinger

All of Alyssa's ornaments, tumblers, vases, bowls and demitasse cups are hand-made. Fired in different firings, sizes and colors will vary slightly. That's the cool part - no two pieces are identical. That's art, baby. Special orders are always welcome, and priced accordingly. Turn around time is about two weeks.

http://alyssaettinger.etsy.com/ or alyssaettinger.com



Jill picks up a new trick every week, it seems. She sews and knits small accessories and home items, cooks up natural home and beauty items, and designs cool tee shirts and paper goods. She's got a wallet up in the shop that my little sister might actually kill for. Cool stuff.



Nicole Block

Nicole is a stationery and event designer. Among other talents, she just came out with her own line of Christmas cards. Stop by her Etsy shop for some awfully cool cards, or stop by www.nic-events.net for custom stationery, invitation, or event design.

http://dearnic.etsy.com or http://www.nic-events.net


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Nov. 21st, 2007

Terrace to the Slope and Beyond, via Gowanus

Happy T-Day everyone! With a long hall pass from my school gig, I decided to combine biz with touring, and run all of my errands aboard the MTA Brooklyn buses - a sort of neighborhoods tour. From Windsor Terrace, round about here and there, and to downtown, my chariots were the B69, B75, and B67.

The B69 is relatively pleasant and got me to my errands, but for touring options, the B75 wins hands down. Starting at Greenwood Cemetery, heading down Prospect Park West, Ninth Street and Smith, this sweet ride offers a way-cool tour of Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, Gowanus (my favorite part of the trip), and Cobble Hill.

After being ferried back to Windsor Terrace by the Sweet 75, it was time to commence the second leg of the journey ... the B67 into deep Park Slope, Lincoln and 7th Ave. (I know, sounds daunting - especially with the rep the B67 has.) Suffice it to say, the notoriously-missing-and-late B67, combined with prime-Slope after school kids and nannies ... well, it was a mess. A hot, crowded, snotty, French-speaking mess. I got off ten blocks shy of my Windsor Place stop, and walked. Curiosities and fun facts follow.

1. Why are all these kids little elementary post-todds? Where are the older ones? Burning cars, I guess.
2. Why are they all speaking French? Kids & nannies included. All speaking French. WTF?
3. I saw the yellow umbrellas. They seem small. They are indeed yellow.
4. Why is the Minerva building so incredibly ugly, and who the hell would live there?

It looks like some Alias-themed high security industrial complex. Ah well, no accounting for taste. (Or French.)

(smith street and b69photos courtesy of eisenvater's photostream at flickr.com)
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Nov. 20th, 2007

Talking Sweet to the Spinster

Don't get out those skates just yet! The Prospect Park Alliance writes to let us know that the opening of the rink at Propspect Park will be delayed. Due to weather conditions which have not been kind to ice making, the opening of Wollman Rink is delayed. Fear not, slushpuppies ... you can check out http://www.prospectpark.org/ for additional icy updates.

Living History Geeks unite! Lack of snow aside, you can experience Winter on a Flatbush farm at the always excellent (and always quaint) Lefferts Historic House. Get ready for winter as they did in the 19th century farming village of Flatbush. Kids can learn how to make candles, start a patchwork quilt, and prepare old-fashioned food. Visit with the Spinster as she spins flax into thread, and enjoy Dutch treats made from an 18th century Lefferts family recipe.

There’s even a special appearance by St. Nicholas on horseback (!!!) on Sunday at 3 p.m. What more could you want? Check it out Friday, Saturday or Sunday, Nov 23, 24, 25 from 1pm to 4pm each day. Admission to the historic house is free, but you may have to talk sweet to the Spinster.

The Historic House is located at the Children's Corner, just below the Carousel and Zoo, inside the Park’s entrance at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard. For more information on Prospect Park events, programs, membership and volunteering at the Park, take a trip to http://www.prospectpark.org/.

(lefferts house & flax photos courtesy of wallyg's photostream at flickr.com)

Nov. 19th, 2007

Brooklyn Blizzard

(Perhaps wishful thinking will help.)

The provinces received their first dusting, and we are jealous. Put aside those city-slicker thoughts of slogging-through-slush and stoop-shoveling, and help us conjure the white-stuff via these excellent Brooklyn shorts, from Kitch to Kids. (The artistic and hypnotic Greenpoint entry is a personal favorite!)

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Nov. 18th, 2007

He's Just Not That Into You

Holiday week greetings and happy Media Monday at Icky!

I recently received a comment from no less than the editor of The Brooklyn Paper, a Mr. Gersh Kuntzman. The comment was public, as was my intended response. As that response turned into more of a story, I thought I would bring it here, to "The Front Page," (as Ben Hecht or Charles MacArthur might say).

First things first - Mr. K of the Brooklyn Papers asks, "What's the beef? I never really get anything specific, just vague, inchoate anger towards us. Why?" Here then is a list, from previous posts, of things I do not like about the Brooklyn Paper (plus a few freebies).

- I do not like your paper's pseudo-suburban, faux-hip(py) agenda.
- I do not like pieces written in third person featuring cutesy-pie names.
- I do not like your self-appointed title and puff-line, "Brooklyn's Real Paper."
- I do not like stories that I have seen elsewhere turning up in your paper.
- I do not like that nary a BP staffer even lives in Brooklyn.
- I do not like your writers and editors inserting sleights on other papers into stories.
- I do not like your ignorance of some neighborhoods while you chase the hot ones.

That should clear things up. I realize that this could turn into a pot-kettle-black issue. However, here's the difference: The Brooklyn Paper is purportedly a newspaper. I am purportedly a blog, one puny little person's opinions.

You have an agenda, Brooklyn Paper. And that agenda is no less specific than the agenda of this blog. It's just different. Only you have advertisers and a particular population to please (a pseudo-suburban one, by the look of a recent award). Perhaps that is the appeal of place-blogs (good ones) - the blogs have no constituency to kowtow to ... they call it like they see it, period.

Seem as if it comes down to this, Brooklyn Paper: I don't like you. And that is okey-doke in these United States of America. (I don't like creamed corn or Charo either.) You're perfectly welcome to complain about this blog on your platform just as I complain about you here, and just as del Monte is welcome to dispute my opinion of their corn. Smartmom isn't for everyone. Not everyone likes your paper. I think it sucks. Other people think it sucks. Some people think Andrew Lloyd Webber sucks. Some people think this blog sucks. Big deal.

Although, I have to say - I am surprised that such an important media outlet would bother with puny little us and our puny little blogs. Then again, your paper gets an awful lot of play on the Brooklyn blogs (both friend and foe), and we get a lot of traffic.

As I have absolutely no doubt you've told Smartmom, "Any publicity is good publicity." How about a little blog plugging in the Brooklyn Paper? We've certainly done our duty on this end. Maybe a critical piece on the more incendiary Brooklyn blogs?

No? I thought not.

(newspapers photo coutesy of bondidwhat's photostream at flickr.com)



Mr. K sends a response, stating, "If you're going to abuse, at least get your facts straight." He goes on to mention that "EVERY reporter at The Brooklyn Paper lives in Brooklyn." However, I did not say "reporter." I said "staffer." Perhaps a particular staffer I am aware of has moved from Staten Island to Brooklyn, another has fled Jersey, and freelancers don't count. Mr. K also charges that we "willfully misunderstood what winning a "Newspaper of the Year" award from the Suburban Newspaper Association means." (Don't really care about that - it's just easy to make fun of.) And of course, he urges Icky readers "to judge for themselves what you get from a 'real' newspaper by visiting ..." Sorry, Mr. K. I've brought enough attention to your paper for the day. But good to see you on the Blog Beat at 9:30 on a Sunday evening.



"Funny post. Great reaction. Yep, the BP's getting kinda annoying. Especially when it's wet on my stoop. Then it becomes property of the Dept. of Sanitation. The old Post writer's got that Murdoch envy again, as the PS Courier and related papers are owned by News Corp. itself. And yeah, columns written in the third person unless they're talking about infants suck."

"I like the Brooklyn Paper. Where else are you going to get such local newspaper coverage? I agree that BP doesn't cover certain neighborhoods well at all, especially if there aren't a lot of upwardly mobile folk. I didn't like how BP tried to pander to Wal-Mart a couple years ago, trying to get some more of that full page ad moola (I worked for many years in the newspaper industry and it was awfully obvious what Gersh was doing). But with those exceptions, I think they are a very valuable asset to Brooklyn."

"It's Greenpoint, bitch! You're being too hard on Gersh. I know for a fact he had a reporter in the Garden Spot. He (or she) quit after waiting 8 months to get paid. $30 a story."

"The Brooklyn Paper is a weekly. Did you ever notice that a serious news story will appear in the (daily) Brooklyn Eagle (www.brooklyneagle.com) and then a few days later a bastardized version of it comes out in the Brooklyn paper, only with a sensational headline?"

"Time Magazine is a weekly. Did you ever notice that a serious news story will appear in the (daily) New York Times (www.nytimes.com) and then a few days later a bastardized version of it comes out in Time Magazine, only with a sensational headline?" "The New York Post is a daily. Did you ever notice that a serious news story will appear online (news.yahoo.com) and then the next day a bastardized version of it comes out in the Post, only with a sensational headline?' And by the way... 'How about a little blog plugging in the Brooklyn Paper?' Perhaps you should scroll to the bottom of this week's Hot Link email newsletter."

BLOGOTORIAL NOTE - Excellent comments from all (we seriously did post all comments received). On the topic of scrolling to the "the bottom of this week's Hot Link email newsletter," our readers might recall ... I no longer receive it. =)
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Nov. 16th, 2007

Friday Final: Windsor Terrace Color


Nov. 15th, 2007

Commisarial Intrigue

The recent new-businesses announced in Windsor Terrace came like a heap of early Christmas presents. Perhaps that's not the case. Of the businesses that started hanging shingles in August, none have opened.

Most folks got their first peek at Enzo's - our rumored new brick oven pizza joint - back in late Summer. Faux rock or not, there was much rejoicing. They never opened. The interior looks near-done, if not done. Inspection problems? Permits? The (now legend) molded cement sign and facade recently got poked and prodded - accompanied by weird sanding marks, scorching, and paint drips.

The much-bemoaned closing of our local pet store came with the news of owner (and colorful neighborhood character) Jackie's death. Good news followed. The other-lady was going to open a new store down the street. A sign went up in the new space! Then, a rather angry message appeared in the old space. And of course, they never opened.

The old Western Union space has fared a little better, with the big yellow sign coming down quickly, a tailor already open and pastry & meatpie shop planned. The tailor(ess) zipped open in a flash, and it's a cute little shop. There's always a nice dress in the window. There was a burst of work on the DUB Pies side, but not much activity lately. (Though we really can't complain - it's only been a few weeks.)

In meat pie trivia, few of us can anticipate such a shop without seriously flahing back to the plot of Sweeney Todd. (Wouldn't THAT be a great addition to the neighborhood?!) Inserting the word "Brooklyn" into Sondheim's lyrics has provided hours of enjoyment. Meanwhile, we're keeping that to ourselves ... DUB Pies has surely heard all the Sweeney Todd jokes they care to.

Still, I'm putting all my wishing chips in the meat pie column. If you can't get excited about meat pies, what can you get excited about?

pasties photo courtesy of andrew d miller's photostream at flickr.com


A MINOR LATE EDITION UPDATE - Something is happening over at the old Universal Video space, although the guys working on clearing it out could not tell me what. Seems like they are clearing out the retail space for a new tenant ... and it seems like someone forgot to leave the key to the basement hatch.

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Nov. 14th, 2007

Dream Home

Every Gotham renter has his or her own individual non-negotiables when it comes to renting a New York City habitat - closet space, shopping nearby, ceiling height, hell ... working plumbing. (The list significantly expands and contracts, directly proportional to how much we can afford per month in rent.)

Most New Yorkers can offer some great apartment horror stories. My particular tale involves an apartment with no insulation, no front door, electricity that frequently went out, a broken boiler, and the apartment on the other side of the wall operating as a flophouse. (And this apartment was obtained though a broker.) It was also a three-avenue walk to the R train, or a eleven block walk to the F.

I quickly realized that one of my particulars (besides basic dignity) is "close to transportation." I think this Windsor Terrace home qualifies ...

Nov. 12th, 2007

The Stately Homes of Park Slope

At the dawn of the twentieth century, servants were a must-have in any respectable Brooklyn brownstone. Perhaps little has changed.

In Brooklyn Eagle classifieds from the early 1900s (even examining several months), the majority of the homes wanting maids, cooks, and "girls" carry a Park Slope or Prospect Heights address ... Bergen, Prospect, Sterling, Lincoln, Dean, etc ... and there are dozens of 'em every day.

Turning to the ads of today, it looks as if little has changed. In current Park Slope real estate listings, remnants of days-gone-by servitude are still used as inducements for potential buyers. A recent Corcoran listing touts a pre-war "two bedroom plus maid's room." Orrichio-Anderson pontificates that a "formal dining room and maid's room represents the ultimate in gracious urban living."

One only has to glance at (but never quote) the Park Slope Parents group, fire up a search engine, or visit ISawYourNanny to bear witness to the large number of domestics working in Park Slope mini-manses nowadays, carrying on the traditions of their Edwardian predecessors.

The working class needs jobs, the gentry needs doing for, and that is all perfectly okey-doke; but let's not fool ourselves into thinking there isn't a gentry - it is just differently defined. No, the class system is not dead in South Brooklyn, and Mrs. Astor's 400 has become the Park Slope 100.

Although an entire neighborhood cannot be defined by a sweeping generalization, perhaps some of our leafy, liberal brownstone blocks do not fully realize that the glory days of rich-folks-with-household-staff are in current revival.

8th ave brownstones courtesy of wallyg's photostream at flickr.com
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We Were Expecting That Delivery Yesterday


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