Yum! Ample Hills Creamery Cookbook is Here

 

Ample Hills Creamery Cookbook

Co-authors Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna included Ample Hills’ famous salt crack caramel recipe in the new cookbook, which can be yours for $25.00. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

YESTERDAY WAS PUBLICATION DAY for the new Ample Hills Creamery cookbook, and copies were stacked up on the counter at the popular premium ice cream store on the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Bergen Street, in Prospect Heights.

Proprietor Brian Smith, right,  was on hand in a front booth to inscribe copies. He confirmed to Brooklyn Artisan thatAmpleHillsBrianSmith the company’s new location in Gowanus is scheduled to open by late June. Ice cream will be made right on site as at the Prospect Heights location.

“Our business is more than an ice cream store, really,” Smith said. “It’s a neighborhood hangout.” The Prospect Heights store has a toddler play area, just visible over Smith’s shoulder.

The familiar Ample Hills ice cream carts will be back out in their locations near playgounds and parks this summer also. Smith co-founded the business with his wife and cookbook co-author,  Jackie Cuscuna.

 

 

Kickstarting Brooklyn

Sogoal Zaghardi produces gorgeous, artful and sometimes irreverent cookies and is seeking to expand her Sogi's Bakeshop with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

Just one of the many Brooklyn projects raising funds on Kickstarter:
Sogoal Zolghadri produces artful and sometimes irreverent cookies
at her Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop.

THE MOST RECENT CREDIT CRUNCH began in 2008 and  reportedly ended this summer. Remember those images of Lehman Brothers staff tossed to the sidewalk with their little boxes of belongings? In the months following, credit dried up and small businesses were starved for the financing needed for growth and hiring, laying the basis for a long grueling recession. But also within those same months—in April 2009—a small startup launched in Manhattan that has become the go-to funder for creative projects: Kickstarter was born. In the four years since its founding, Kickstarter has gone viral and raised pledges of more than $870 million in crowd-sourced funds from more than 5 million backers. (Like any good Internet company, it posts its stats online.)

The premise of Kickstarter is that entrepreneurs, artists, designers, musicians or filmmakers with ideas bigger than their bank accounts can launch a campaign on the Kickstarter site, set funding goals (which can grow over time) and deadlines, provide incentives to investors for various funding levels, and generally plead their case to gain followers (think Facebook “likes” with dollar bills attached). The ideas flourish or languish, gaining financing or not in a mysterious financial Darwinism. Some projects blow past their target budgets by tens of thousands of dollars, while others fizzle out despite their merit.

Given the power of Kickstarter for small creative inventors, makers and producers, Brooklyn Artisan will be covering it as a financial and manufacturing beat, highlighting the notable, successful, hopeful, and even the occasional noble-yet-doomed project. As well, we will provide advice, tips, strategies and tactics to aid in successful campaigns.

Brooklyn is certainly well represented, with more than 2,000 projects currently raising funds, more than double the number of projects coming out of London, for example. To look for promising projects or to make sure your investments stay in borough, Kickstarter provides city-based discovery.

The Brooklyn Brief commuter bag by Owen & Fred of Greenpoint comes with a handy inspirational
quote screen-printed on the inside.

Today, we’re highlighting two projects. The first, by Greenpoint-based Owen & Fred, is a series of bags (above) that is tantalizingly near to reaching the $45,000 campaign goal. The bags are promised to be durable, sustainable, meticulously detailed and U.S. made. One nice touch is the inspirational quotes screen-printed on the inside, for your eyes only.

Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop (picture at top of post) set less ambitious goals: raise $6,500 to buy supplies and a bigger mixer to aid the creation of the hand-painted cookies that have already attracted the attention of Martha Stewart Weddings and are popular on Etsy. Happily, baker Sogoal Zolghadri has raised the money and then some.

It can be a lot of work and planning to produce a campaign that meets or surpasses its goal. Kickstarter itself provides some basic tools and information to get you started. But who knows—next time there is a big shakeup in the financial world, those staffers might be seen shlepping their belongings in one of your Brooklyn-produced duffel bags.

Moving Parts: Brooklyn Furnishings Design at The Factory Floor

SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE: Otherwise, it’s hard to categorize the ingenious designs of Brooklyn makers at The Factory Floor in Industry City in the recent two-weekend show. But starting small, Brooklyn Artisan will do our best, for the record.

Small batch, small scale, big thinking at bhold design: Product development under the eye of Susan Taing, founder, takes certain characteristics from the MakerBot desktop 3D printer used to produce prototypes in the bhold lab. Double-walled thermal saki cups, for instance, with little fingerholds on one side.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, b-hold can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, bhold labs can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles. (Photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/dfs)

Or—our favorite, above—colorful little two-tone, two-piece objects that separate: the outer C-shape that hangs on the restaurant table and holds your bag or helmet by its handle or chin strap; and the inner part that emerges to wind and store your earbuds tangle free. You can work with the bhold labs on your own designs; contact susan@bholddesign.com. Or like us, you can just stand at a design show and play with the appealing objects fitting them together and taking them apart over and over again as minutes tick by. 

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don't tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint.

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don’t tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Small detail, big advantage: Cambium Studio is a Brooklyn-based woodworking furniture and design company founded by Mark Righter. From its Greenpoint location, Cambium will create custom designs for clients, and on its website offers a portfolio of pieces of its own design.

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio's founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio’s founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

What caught our eye at The Factory Floor was deceptively simple but elegant shelving for display of favorite small objects—a place to put the candles, the Japanese vase, the framed photo—that can be adjusted as the array of objects changes. How?

The framework is hung from a secure cleat on the wall, but individual shelves operate on a sliding dovetail joint. The shelves, using bamboo, are beautiful finished and the sliding function gives you an excellent excuse to pat them and fiddle with them for the pleasure of touch.

Then there’s the MidCentury-looking coffee table with lift up hinged covers on its four storage compartments. Three of the covers are in a 60s’s orange and one is in bamboo strip laminate. Fittingly it is named Mod Quad by Wonk, its maker.

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

Other combinations of finishes to suit individual clients are possible, Wonk’s website says.  In fact, since each piece is custom-made for you, you are confronted with swatches and urged to pick from them. Takeaway notion? Wonk if you love finishes.

The laminate frame holds the cushions in place; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Pratt grad’s design: The laminate frame holds the cushions; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Along with others, Pratt Institute was a co-sponsor of the design show at The Factory Floor.  At the Pratt Industrial Design booth—Pratt Institute is, by the way, based in Brooklyn—Brooklyn Artisan was engaged by a very clean-lined yet comfortable loveseat. The foam cushions made it quite sittable. And as its Pratt graduate designer demonstrated, the cushions can be flipped to your choice of color contrasts.

More coverage from the recent Brooklyn design show at The Factory Floor in Industry City, Sunset Park, is to come in the next few days. For Brooklyn Artisan’s prior coverage, follow these links:

Overview by Bruce A. Campbell

Alexandra Ferguson: Done is Better

Sleeping on The Factory Floor

The Art of Sleeping on The Factory Floor

Materia Designs's centerpiece was made of reclaimed chestnut.

Materia Designs’s centerpiece was made of reclaimed chestnut.

AT THE BROOKLYN DESIGN SHOW LAST WEEKEND this beautiful bed was practically a show-stopper for Brooklyn Artisan: We wanted to kick off our boots and lie right down in the calm surround of the Materia Designs booth. Manners prevailed, however, so remaining upright, we talked with owner/designer and craftsman Matthew Enser of Materia Designs.

The accents of black metal wrapping the bedposts made of reclaimed chestnut added a touch of elegance to the spare design with its handsomely mortised lattice headboard. The booth also showed good-looking three legged lamps, a sweet rocking horse, some chairs, an eye-catching striped storage bench, and more. A beautiful complement were the graphic textiles selected and/or designed by Megan Sommerville, Matthew’s partner. The confident metal zippers on the reading pillows came off looking industrially chic rather than scratchy or snaggy.

So…Kerhonkson?, we asked (thinking, Bless you!). Right outside of Kingston, he said, a little ways up the Hudson. Not Brooklyn?, we pushed. “Oh, Materia Designs used to be in Brooklyn,” Matthew assured us, “we love Brooklyn.” Before Brooklyn Artisan could probe about whether cost was a factor in the move, Ensner explained: “We were driving up that way, and—well, we fell in love with a big barn.” Enough said.

More Brooklyn Artisan coverage of the recent show: Alexandra Ferguson profile and The Factory Floor: Meet the Makers, overview by Bruce A. Campbell.  The Factory Floor is part of artisan-friendly Industry City within the Bush Terminal complex in Sunset City, Brooklyn.

Chalk It Up: A Romantic Notion for Autumn

Seen outside of Poppy at 217 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool).

Seen outside of Poppy at 217 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool).

13 Ways of Looking at Some Fallen Leaves

The artists' collective gallery at 440 Sixth Avenue has a friendly, neighborhood feel.

The artists’-collective gallery at 440 Sixth Avenue has a friendly, neighborhood feel. (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

ROMANS BELIEVED IN GENIUS LOCI, the spirit of a place, and religious cults often sacrificed to their local genius or guardian spirit. Photographer Tom Bovo, whose current exhibit at the 440 Gallery is titled Genius Loci (described by the gallery as “portraying the spirit of autumnal locales”) notices the way each block or avenue of his native Brooklyn derives much of its visual aspect from the collection of plants growing there, the shapes and colors of the leaves and the patterns they make.

This haunting image does not depend on the typical blazing colors of fall .maple leaves

The power of this image does not depend on the blazing colors of typical fall maple leaves

Bovo’s view is not sentimental, and the 13 leaf photographs in this show are not about physicial perfection or Vermont Life-like brilliant colors. The prints of his digital photos are scaled up from the actual size—the images are larger-than-leaf, in other words —and they’re both technically interesting and visually compelling.

He had to work out how to photograph the rapidly drying and curling leaves.  Eventually he put the leaf (or leaves) between two panes of glass propped in a window and then “placed a sheet of white paper onto the back of the glass sandwich to diffuse the light” coming from behind them, the gallery notes explain. Some of the images are of torn, browning, imperfect leaves.

Three of the smaller images sold right away.

Three of the smaller images sold right away.

Tom Bovo studied painting and printmaking with a notable faculty at Columbia University and his own work has been show in galleries across the US, including the Rush Arts Gallery in New York and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.

The show is in place at the 440 Gallery until December 1.

SPECIAL KIDS EVENT AT THE GALLERY: On Sunday, November 10, gallery member Vicki Behm will hold a workshop for children 4 to 12 years old to look at Bovo’s photographs and then to draw their own images from actual leaves. What time? Ah, 4:40 in the afternoon, of course.

‘Done Is Better Than Perfect’ Proves It’s a Winner’s Slogan

Alexandra Ferguson started small on etsy.com but now it's her full-time career.

Alexandra Ferguson started small on etsy.com but now it’s her full-time career. She has more ideas in the pipeline and at least one already in production.  (Photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

INSPIRED BY  Bruce Campbell’s report, yesterday another Brooklyn Artisan team visited the design show at The Factory Floor (Industry City, 241 37th Street in Sunset Park, just across from Costco), and there encountered Alexandra Ferguson, about whom we’d written earlier. Hers  would easily win a “Cheeriest Booth” award, with its colorful pillows enticingly arranged. You could almost hear the mental clicks of recognition as visitors to the show read them, nudged their companions, pointing out favorites to each other.

As Alexandra has recounted in her blog, she started her business in 2009 just about on a whim and a dime, posting on etsy.com a few pillows she’d made and expected to give friends as surprises. Business plan? Nada. Capitalization? Ditto. “Done is Better Than Perfect” was her slogan.

Sales were great, so she added more designs—sticking to environmentally friendly materials, of course—and her business grew and grew until it became her full-time livelihood. She moved it out of her apartment and into Mom’s garage in Westchester.

Alexandra Ferguson: The Business has taken another great leap upward, Alexandra (the person) says. Last summer she had four people working for her, but now to keep up with fall and holiday demand, she has added nine more employees. Her office and production space? Right here in Industry City. She moved it back to Brooklyn in July of this year. There are new product ideas, too. A makeup case, for instance.

Brooklyn Artisan had to ask: Where did she get her mantra? From Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In, Alexandra said. And yes, we couldn’t resist; we told the story of originating the “Done is better than perfect” saying at Redbook magazine in 1979. You can read that backstory here.

Until we were starting Brooklyn Artisan, we had no idea the quote had gone viral. Cool.

Anne Mollegen Smith is editor and publisher of brookyn-artisan.net, and is a former editor-in-chief of Redbook, Working Woman, McCall’s, and the Art of Simple Living. 

The Factory Floor: Meet Makers This Weekend

FURNITURE TAKES THE STAGE at The Factory Floor in Industry City in Sunset Park. The ground-floor venue is a former industrial space newly converted to showcase local design work. Sponsored by Industry City, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, The Pratt Center for Community Development and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Factory Floor is presenting primarily Brooklyn furniture makers, designers and builders. Last weekend’s show coincided with the Sunday opening of the Coming Together: Surviving Sandy art exhibit in the adjacent building. If you are interested in the art and craft of design, this is the weekend to make it out to 241 37th Street, Sunset Park, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Bring the kids, Construction Kids has set aside an area where they can build their own objets d’art.

Here are a few highlights from Brooklyn Artisan’s visit:

Annie Evelyn at New Colony Furniture takes hard materials and makes soft seats. Really.

DSC00376

Diverse objects, from seats and shelves to vases and trivets at Souda’s space.

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Funny and quirky pillow commentary from Alexandra Ferguson.

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Beautiful maple stools and a passel of refrigerator magnets made from the leftover bits by Bower.

DSC00371

Abrupt Farewell from 3rd Ward

Apparently that WAS the wolf at the door, and someone let him in. Several blogs and the New York Observer have reported that following a brief frenzy of fundraising that most thought was just crying “wolf,” 3rd Ward has shut down abruptly. Members who have based their businesses there must scramble to get their inventory and gear and find new locations on the shortest of notice. Industry City, anyone? 

UPDATE: In an email yesterday, 3rd Ward notified members that they must remove their stuff by day’s end October 11, and there will be no membership refunds. Gothamist reports: “Even 3rd Ward’s instructors were kept in the dark, many armed with lesson plans they’ll never use—and compensation they’re worried they’ll never see.” Nigel Shamash, an agent for the building itself, not 3rd Ward, is also scrambling to provide spaces for ousted 3rd Ward members.

Naturally there’s a website: SAVE3RDWARD.com.   It is intended for the community, not for the 3rd Ward sponsors or administration, as businesses using the site figure out what to do. Some would like to retain studio space in the building, at least in the short term.

Chalk a Menu Idea for Your House

Chalkboard from Fleishers

(Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

OF COURSE THE WEATHER TURNED FREAKISHLY WARM a few days after this sign was put out by Fleishers, the artisanal butcher on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope that specializes in grass fed, organic meats. But a timely menu suggestion has been made. Dust off the trusty stew pot or set out to acquire one, for chilly days will soon be here.

Top Off Your Style like Bogey or Sinatra. Or Walter White.

Founded in 1895 but not locally. It's a chain with more than two dozen stores in the US and two in Canada.

Founded in 1895 but not locally. There are more than two dozen stores in the US and two in Canada. (Large photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

WHAT COLOR WAS BOGEY’S FEDORA? Bogart in fedoraTough question. Brown? Gray? I’ve always envisioned Humphrey Bogart wearing a brown fedora in any of his fedora-wearing good-guy movies like Casablanca. The movie was released in black-and-white, but in the scandalously colorized version from the ‘80s his suit is muddy brown, Ingrid Bergman’s silky dress is muddy yellow, and so is Bogey’s pocket square. The characters’ faces are muddy pink. Except Sam, the piano player. So that’s no help.

If anyone knows, it would be the Goorin Bros.

Goorin Bros. is pronounced like Gorn, that sluggish green lizard man that Captain Kirk battles to the death in Star Trek, the original series. The Brooklyn store at 195 Fifth Avenue isn’t like the team cap wall at your local Modell’s sporting goods, or the cheapo hat pile at the open-air bodega up the avenue, the place where you can buy an emergency stocking cap or a cheapo stingy-brim Justin Timberlake knockoff fedora resting in a pile on a folding table, all colors and patterns, in all sizes from small, medium, large, and X-large. This is a real hat shop, with expansive plate-glass windows with Goorin Bros. Est. 1895 in gold-leaf lettering, and shelves inside brimming (Get it? Brimming?) with hats. Though the store has just opened for the day, it’s already brimming (Again! Hah!) with customers. In front, helping a couple, assistant shopkeeper Nicky Culter, wears a Homestead Grays baseball cap sideways while showing a customer straw boaters, perfect for the summer season. In back, near the cash register, shopkeeper Alex Mroz finishes ringing up three others. He wears a Mahi Mahi, a light brown straw fedora that goes with his sharp suit.

”Why do you keep your hat on indoors?” I ask him straight off. It’s an insulting question, but my dad used to slap my head when I wore my baseball cap at the dinner table.

“This is a hat store. People expect it,” Mroz says. “Or I just tell people I’m religious.” After all, Goorin Bros. does carry black fedoras for the Hasidic set.

While baseball caps are always fashionable, felt hats began dying off in the late 60s as men grew their hair longer and stopped slathering it with Brylcreem. But lately real hats have begun a resurgence. You see bowlers, fedoras, even the occasional boater on the streets of Brooklyn or in the subways or buses. Like everything, you want to point to television; personally, I attribute it to Mad Men. And Justin Timberlake.

“There are a lot of cultural emotions going on. Not only Mad Men, but Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey,” Mroz says. “It’s partly the neighborhood,” he adds. People here have so much style.”

I tell him that I’m looking for a brown Bogey fedora, vintage Casablanca or The Big Sleep. He says they don’t have any in brown, but offers a gray fedora, the type Bogey wears when he plays the villain, like The Roaring Twenties. I try one on, but I need a double-breasted suit and a gat (that’s 30’s gangster-speak for a revolver) to pull it off.

Mroz thinks I might be interested in something with a narrower brim, a “stingy brim” measuring between an inch and an inch and three-quarters. After all, they have a wide selection. Again, I think Timberlake.

“You can just imagine Sinatra wearing one, hanging at the Sands with Dino and Sammy,” he says. “Sinatra is one of our hat heroes.” And no doubt: There’s a picture of Sinatra, with a feather stuck in his hat band. Which reminds Mroz: “We have a Feather Bar, where you can customize you hat to make a unique statement,” he says.

You get this guy talking about hats and there’s no stopping him. “This is a genuine panama hat, woven in Ecuador,” he turns to the display on a middle table and searches for my size and fits it on my head. Nah. I’m not the cigar smoking type.

I discover a stack on the shelf. “Now this looks like one Buster Keaton wore in his movies,” I say.

“It’s called The Buster. Keaton used to make his own hats.” Talk about small-batch artisanal. Except for the band, The Buster is barely discernable from the one Harold Lloyd wore while hanging off a clock in Safety Last.

“It’s a classic men’s summer hat—men wore them with the bands in their school colors,” he explains. And there’s a framed photo of a crowd of young men, apparently well dressed college men, though all you can really see is the tops of their straw boaters.

Goorin’s is not just about men’s hats: There are women’s in all shapes and sizes, the types that gals would wear in the Easter Parade on the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, when a photographer would snap them and they’d find themselves in the rotogravure. There are cloches and pillboxes, though nothing outrageously weird that Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice wore to Wills and Kate’s wedding.

Still, it’s a store where guys are happy to shop. There are top hats like Lincoln wore, though his measured a foot and a half high. Here they’re around half that height. And plenty of flat caps, which started as aristocracy wear, when the landed gentry would ride off with their shotguns and dogs chasing some poor fox. It usually ended badly for the fox. Within a few years they were co-opted by the city’s lower classes, like cabbies and newsies. Maybe flat caps should be renamed “The foxes revenge.”

Mroz shows me one last hat, a dark, wide-brimmed porkpie. “In Breaking Bad, Walter White wears one to be intimidating when he’s trying to collect money,” he says. I put it on and just look goofy. “You have to wear it with gusto,” he says.

No matter whether I have gusto or not, the prices are pretty reasonable. The lowest is $21, and handmades start at $79.

Handmade? That’s why I ordered a handcrafted brown fedora, just like Bogey wore in Casablanca. It’ll probably go great with my blue jeans, running shoes, and my Steely Dan t-shirt.

Executive Editor Phil Scott is the author of seven books and numerous magazine articles on travel, aviation, science, humor and brain health. He is teaching a journalism class at John Jay High School in Brooklyn.

Chalking the World and a Stilton Cheese?

Don Stitt ChalksignTRAVEL THE WORLD AND THE SEVEN SEAS, EVERYBODY’S LOOKING FOR SOMETHING: Today it might be a cheese or a chalk sign that makes you laugh in spite of yourself!  After this, the Eurythmics’ song may never sound the same. (Photo thanks to Don Stitt)

Brooklyn’s Newest Greenmarket Opens Outside Barclays Center

BasrclaysGreenmarketTomatoes BarclaysGreenmarketwholerow BarcleysGreenmarketCorn GrowNYCBoothSign BarclaysGreenmarketKaleTODAY WAS LAUNCH DAY FOR THE NEW BARCLAYS CENTER GREENMARKET,  in cooperation with GrowNYC. The market’s regular hours are 8 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays now through November. (Food stamps are accepted, even incentivized, at GrowNYC partner-markets.) Brooklyn Artisan braved today’s extreme heat to browse the farmstands and talk with the vendors, but didn’t stick it out for the mid-morning food demonstration of corn salads.

The inflatable critter now marks the corner by the new greenmarket.

The giant rodent sits at the corner next to the greenmarket.

The new greenmarket is at the crossroads of Atlantic and Flatbush (look for the huge inflated rat), just outside Atlantic Terminal, so commuters-special shopping is definitely an option. Because of the heat, most stands closed early today, around 3 or 3:30, but they had opened bright and early, definitely ready to serve customers by 8. The familiar truck farm offerings included a few surprises such as nicely cleaned fish presented in well-iced cases (Hint: A sprinkling of salt on the ice makes it hold up better in the heat, the folks from Suffolk County’s American Seafood told us. If you’re planning to pick up some of their fish next week, though, best bring a cool pack and insulated bag to get it home.)

John D. Madura Farms had the biggest spread, from corn to carrots to kale plus potatoes (see photos above), radishes, and plenty more, grown at Pine Island in the Black Dirt Region of Orange County, NY. Staffing the booth was John D.’s young son Skuyler, who spoke with pride of the community-supported agriculture part of the family business.

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Need goodies for a morning staff meeting? Ah, ask James.

The Body & Soul Vegan Bakery booth offered yummy-looking fancy breads and gluten-free items, many made with locally grown ingredients. James, behind the counter, was more than ready to explain the options and thought special orders could be arranged for pick up by particular customers. Body & Soul is long-established at the Union Square Market Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where a dozen reviewers on a food site gave top marks to this year-round regular. (BTW, job shopping today too? Check on the bakery’s Brooklyn-based food prep and production jobs at indeed.com.)

Matt stood ready to explain Applestate Hilltop Family Farm's  varieties of pure honeys

Matt was our guide to Applestate’s pure honey varietals.

Matt in the Applestate Hilltop Family Farm booth knows his bees, or at least their honeys, the way a vintner knows grapes. He was ready to share his expertise — the sweetest honey came from the clover-fed bees, he said, whereas the wild-flower nourished bees produced a more nuanced flavor. The pure-honey complexities are interesting. (As he talked, Brooklyn Artisan imagined friends-and-family brunches built around honey-tastings.) The Applestate Hilltop aviary is in Calicoon, Sullivan County, NY.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Brooklyn artisanal without pickles! Rick’s Picks of Dutchess County has been producing hand-packed and all natural pickles “since 2004″ and today was pushing Rick’s Picks’ Hotties – referring not to the smiling gentlemen in the booth, but to their crenelated cucumber and julienned veggies bottled with special hot (“but not searingly so,” one New York Times writer judged) pickling spices. Rick’s Picks pickles come in sweet flavors (4 choices), savory (6 choices), spicy (3 — hotties, mean beans, and smokras) and several special proprietary blends. Gift packs can be ordered from Rick’s Pics and you can even get low-sodium pickles from them. 

Rick's Picks' artisanal pickle vendors sport shirts that don't permit taking themselves too seriously.

Rick’s Picks’ artisanal pickle vendors sport shirts that don’t permit taking themselves too seriously.

GrowNYC’s handy credit-card sized fold-out of greenmarkets and farm produce outlets that take EBT credit lists nearly 50 in the Heartland (Brooklyn), and another 100 in Outer Brooklyn locations. Photographs: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.

What’s Your Business Mantra? And When To Commit to It

“Ready, Aim, Fire” or “Done is Better Than Perfect”?
Business and career coach Bill Jones first appeared on motivational posters in the 1920s and 30s.

Here’s the conventional wisdom, but does it still apply? (Business and career coach Bill Jones first appeared on motivational posters in the 1920s and 30s.)

WHY DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT, says the Etsy Blog title for the June 20, 2013 entry by Alexandra Ferguson. And then the art shows a cute cushion with the message, Ready, Fire, Aim.  As the originator of “‘Done’ is better than ‘perfect’”  (explained in an addendum to an earlier post to this blog), I like to think that in today’s conditions these mottos make more sense than they did in Bill Jones’s day.

Ms. Ferguson observes that many businesses get stuck in “paralysis by analysis” rather than going forward. Her own story is a case example that encourages leaping from the daydream stage into production and selling – in her case, selling her handmade cushions on etsy.com. Her first offering of message pillows she’d already made cost $1.60 in listing fees, a very low capital requirement to enter a business! No lease. No significant inventory. No staff. No equipment beyond what she’d needed for gift-cushion making as a hobby. Her launch served as a market test — and a commitment test. Was this really a business she could stay in? DUMBO-based etsy.com made it not only cheap and easy to get her product to market, but the market itself is global.

Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea help other artisan-entrepreneurs test themselves in the food business by providing venues and some basic disciplines. The Brooklyn Botanic’s celebration of hot chiles is another. Ample Hills Creamery founder Brian Smith took his unusual ice cream flavors to market via ice cream trucks and kiosks before committing to that first lease in Prospect Heights. Brooklyn’s growing network of co-working spaces and commercial kitchens keep equipment and production space costs thinkably low. Share-and-learn facilities like 3rd Ward  in Williamsburg can graduate their biggest successes to Industry City in Sunset Park.

Brooklyn Artisan Executive Editor Basia Hellwig reports in “Start Ups Aren’t for Sissies” on some entrepreneurial thrills and chills. Her stories provide mental preparation. BA Executive Editor Joy Makon’s look inside Alchemy Creamery gives another window into what’s involved. BA Executive Editor Phil Scott and Contributor Bruce A. Campbell have reported on Brooklyn’s Makerbot, pioneer of 3D printers. There’s venture capital out there to back some winners.

Tomorrow, Brooklyn’s first food and drink trade show, Brooklyn Eats, presents a new opportunity. It is sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and a host of corporations like commercial Citibank, Fairway, Whole Foods, National Grid, Verizon, and Acumen Capital Partners LLC and Jamestown Properties, as well as the Daily News and Edible Brooklyn as media partners.

The bright line between artisan and entrepreneur shines when the Alexandra Fergusons and the Brian Smiths of the world realize they’re not just creating cute cushions or unique premium ice cream flavors, they’re creating businesses. Should they move beyond bootstrapping? How much bigger can small-batch get before small-batch loses its edge? Sounds like it’s time for a serious, stage-two business plan. That’s when a trade show like Brooklyn Eats or a presentation to a venture capital fund really starts to make sense. It’s only been a very few years since Makerbot stepped up, after all, and it’s now valued at $403 million. Who’s next?

Brooklyn Artisan Editor & Publisher Anne Mollegen Smith was editor-in-chief of Working Woman magazine when its circulation grew to 950,000.

Be an Operator, Not a Hustler…and Other Tips for Business Success

BUSINESS OWNERS SHANE WELCH, FOUNDER OF SIXPOINT BREWERY in Red Hook, Matthew Tilden, founder of SCRATCHbread in Bed-Stuy and Charlie Sahadi, proprietor of Sahadi Importing Co. in Brooklyn Heights, showed their business scars and shared some hard-earned wisdom at a recent Brooklyn Public Library conversation, “Fantastic Food,” led by photographer Randy Duchaine, whose “Created in Brooklyn” exhibition of portraits inspired the series:

If the adjoining property comes up for sale, buy it.—Charlie Sahadi
Sahadi remembered this advice from his father when two buildings on Atlantic Avenue came up for sale in 1977 for what seemed, at the time, an impossibly astronomical price. “Owning your property is a very big plus. Landlords want to become your partner without doing the work. We scrimped and bought the buildings. Now when I look back at the price, of course, I feel as if we stole the property.”

“You have to innovate—adapt and change with the times,” says Charlie Sahadi (above). “Sahadi’s is an ingredients store, but then we opened a deli to show off what you can make with these ingredients.” Photograph © 2013 by Randy Duchaine

“You have to innovate—adapt and change with the times,” says Charlie Sahadi (above).
“Sahadi’s is an ingredients store, but then we opened a deli to show off what you can
make with all these ingredients.” Photograph by RandyDuchaine.com

When a cohort of producers grows up in a neighborhood, that’s good. —Shane Welch
“We all root for each other. If there’s only one place in a neighborhood, it might be hard to get people to come to you. But now in Red Hook you have roving bands of food tourists who make a day of it and stop at three or four places.” (Similarly, Sahadi talked about Trader Joe’s opening up near his store, which far from being a competitive threat, is introducing a whole new set of customers to Sahadi’s, he says, and helping make “downtown Brooklyn a foodie paradise.”)

“We knew Brooklyn would grasp what we were doing with beer,” says Shane Welch, front, with his Sixpoint Brewery crew. “And the mineral profile of the water here is virtually perfect for brewing.” Photograph © 2013 by Randy Duchaine

“We knew Brooklyn would grasp what we were doing with beer,” says Shane Welch, front, with his Sixpoint Brewery crew. “And the mineral profile of the water here is virtually perfect for brewing.” Photograph by RandyDuchaine.com

Don’t take yourself too seriously, but do serious work.—Matt Tilden
“Be humble. Work hard, focus on community betterment and sharing knowledge. A brand is a living breathing thing; for us, it’s a statement about food.”

Make the transition from hustler to operator—a perspective Tilden remembers Welch sharing with him over dinner one night.
Welch explains: “Everyone starts out hard-scrabble, hustling. But as you and the business grow and mature, you legitimize. Operators figure out how to get things done the right way. It can be poisonous if you remain a hustler. Say you do building without permits and then someone gets hurt. That could be the end of your business.”

Matt Tilden, founder of SCRATCHbread: “Brooklyn is approachable sophistication. It’s a family culture with an edge. I relate to raw and rustic.” Photograph © 2013 by Randy Duchaine

Matt Tilden, founder of SCRATCHbread: “Brooklyn is approachable sophistication.
It’s a family culture with an edge. I relate to raw and rustic.” Photograph by RandyDuchaine.com

Give people a good product, at a fair price, with good customer service.—Charlie Sahadi 
When Sahadi says, “Our customers become our friends,” you believe him if you’ve ever stepped inside his store. “Shopping with us has to be a pleasurable experience. We’re part of our customers’ lives. Otherwise, we’d just be another store on Atlantic Avenue.”

Can’t the City Make It Easier?

This is one they all could agree on. Regulations are one of the biggest threats to New York City small businesses, they said. You have to be on top of them, and there are hundreds of them—city, state, federal—and they seem to change almost hourly. Dept. of Agriculture, NYC Dept. of Health, Landmarks Preservation, Dept. of Buildings, the list goes on.

Yes, of course these owners value their customers’ safety and health. But can’t it be easier? A 2008 update to the NYC building code complicated everyone’s lives enormously, they report. Sahadi’s first planned a store renovation in 1999; they got all the approvals, but then decided to postpone construction when they bought a big warehouse in Sunset Park. By the time they were ready to build, the 2008 revision was in effect. “It drove us a little crazy to get all the right permitting,” says Sahadi, “especially since our buildings also come under the Landmark Preservation Commission.” He credits his son, Ron, and his daughter Christine with managing the project and getting it done.

A sole proprietor can find it overwhelming to manage the contracting, building and running back and forth to city offices for permitting while keeping the business going—not to mention staying on top of the regulatory changes. Shane Welch finds himself dealing with the Dept. of Homeland Security now, since the Tax and Trade Bureau, which governs the excise tax on beer, was swallowed up in it. Day-to-day, it’s a little like being nibbled to death by ducks. For instance, SCRATCHbread got a ticket recently because its benches were three feet further out than they were supposed to be—one of hundreds of details a business must keep track of. “Now don’t you think the inspector could simply have pointed it out?” Matt Tilden wondered. “I’d have been happy to move them.”

The “Created in Brooklyn” exhibit is on display at Brooklyn Public Library until August 31. The conversations continue in June and July, on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8 pm: June 26, Design Crafts; July 10, Urban Adventures; July 17, Art & Music.

Start-ups Aren’t for Sissies

Created in Brooklyn: Food and Drink Entrepreneurs Talk Shop 
Sharing their business stories: from left, Matthew Tilden of SCRATCHbread, Shane Welch of Brooklyn Brewery and Charlie Sahadi of Sahadi's

Sharing their business stories: from left, Matthew Tilden of SCRATCHbread, Shane Welch
of Sixpoint Brewery and Charlie Sahadi of specialty food retailer Sahadi’s.

ANY BUDDING ARTISANS IN THE AUDIENCE at a recent Brooklyn Public Library panel, “Fantastic Food,” would come away both sobered and heartened. Three business owners—Shane Welch, founder of Sixpoint Brewery, Matthew Tilden, founder of SCRATCHbread and Charlie Sahadi, proprietor of Sahadi Importing Co.—all shared disaster stories and cautionary tales but there they were, smiling happily about the businesses they ran, unanimous that they’d go through it all again in an instant.

The June 19th event was the first in a series of conversations the library has organized around an exhibition of portraits by photographer Randy Duchaine called “Created in Brooklyn,” which will be on display until August 31.

Photographer Randy Duchaine led the conversation.

Photographer Randy Duchaine, whose portraits inspired the conversation series.

Duchaine, who led the conversation, has evocatively captured dozens of Brooklyn makers and creators who “come here to live their dreams, express themselves, start a business and contribute to society through their talents,” as he puts it. “They represent…a sense of independence and the ability to stand on their own two feet and proudly say, ‘This is what it means to be an American in Brooklyn!’”

The lively interchange was followed—lucky us—by samples of the businesses’ artisanal breads, beers and Mediterranean appetizers. Here are some of the start-up war stories they shared:

Shane Welch, Sixpoint Brewery  “It’s hard to secure a commercial lease with no assets, no credit, no money. So we had to hard-scrabble it.” In 2004, he and a partner found an 800-square-foot garage to rent in Red Hook, not exactly ideal for a brewery and full of old equipment. “It was a junkyard really.” They cleaned it out and bought a couple of used tanks for a few hundred dollars at auction—one had been a dairy tank and another was rusted out. That one came with its own craft brew karma. It turned out it had been used originally by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in California and had probably literally worked its way to the East coast, being handed from hopeful brewer to brewer. “I have a background in chemistry so we made a solution that no living organism could survive. We emptied them, scrubbed them out, sanitized them, bleached them.”

Bright Side: Sixpoint just closed on the purchase of property next door and is establishing power cred in the red hot world of craft beer. It is on the brink of a big expansion, planning to build a new brewing facility to suit this time.

Charlie Sahadi, Sahadi Importing  “I was 23 when my father died suddenly. I’d been working in the business, but my father’s approach was, ‘Let me worry about the business, you take care of the customers.’ So when he died, I had no idea how to do certain things. ‘Where do we get the feta?’ I asked his partner. ‘I don’t know.’ ‘How about the olives?’ My father had been the dominant partner so all the details went with him.” Luckily, Sahadi was able to get in touch with a bookkeeper his father had used in the past, to come in and temp. She knew exactly where they bought the feta and a lot more besides, and her “temp” job has lasted 25 years.

Bright Side: Sahadi Importing has become an institution on Atlantic Avenue and is celebrating its 65th year in business. “You wake up and every day’s a challenge, but that’s what I love.” The store went through a recent renovation and expansion, overseen by his daughter Christine and son, Ron. Charlie Sahadi has justly earned the title of the Ambassador of Atlantic Avenue.

Matt Tilden, SCRATCHbread: “I was working as a chef 115 hours a week and wanted out. I kept thinking, I really don’t want to work somewhere where a pan gets thrown across the room because someone made a mistake. I answered an ad: ‘We have wood oven, you make bread’ and began moonlighting as a baker. I traded bread for rent; for a while I lived out of my car. Four years later, I wanted my own place. We raised a little money from selling at markets and Kickstarter. With no capital there are so many adjustments you have to make. You can’t always do things the way you would with proper funding. I got a friend to deposit money temporarily in my account so I could get approval for a lease. I staffed with interns, lots of interns.”

Bright Side: Everyone’s on payroll now. After doing a wholesale business with restaurateurs like the Union Square Hospitality Group of Danny Meyers, SCRATCHbread has refocused on its retail presence in Bed-Stuy. “We are all about being a conscious owner. Eating healthy is hard, I know that. When you put something in your body, it’s fuel. We like giving people good nourishment, caring for people. We play good music, focus on hospitality, something I’ve always admired about Danny Meyer.”

More, later, on some of the business tips they shared—and one thing they all agreed on. Plus a few of Randy Duchaine’s photographs.

Mark your calendar for the next conversations in Brooklyn Public Library’s “Created in Brooklyn” conversation series led by photographer Randy Duchaine. Held Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8 pm in June and July: Design Crafts, June 26, Urban Adventures, July 10 and Art & Music, July 17.

Photographs by Basia Hellwig

Correction: An earlier version gave an incorrect date for the Design Crafts “Created in Brooklyn” event. It takes place on June 26.

3-D Printer Pioneer MakerBot Acquired for $403 Million

MAKERBOT, DEVELOPER OF A POPULAR 3-D PRINTER, today announced that it is merging with Stratasys in a deal worth $403 million. The Brooklyn-born and -based MakerBot recently moved into a 50,000 square foot space in Sunset Park. Not bad for a four-year-old startup.

Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot, at last summer's Maker Faire in Queens.

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, at last summer’s Maker Faire in Queens.

Notes to Self (With a Nod to Bill Jones)

One might quibble about how "objective" the pep-talk is, but the Bill Jones motivational posters have clear messages.

One might quibble about how “objective” the pep talk is, but the Bill Jones motivational posters have clear messages.

 OFF MY MIND AND ONTO MY DESKTOP: One can relish the relief of listing tasks to be done tomorrow in order to  stop worrying about them tonight. Whether it’s on a piece of paper, in a file on the computer, or on a whiteboard in the corner, it’s good to leave the list at work when the day’s over. If it’s in an app on a mobile, best not to check it until tomorrow.

Off my desk and onto yours: Delegating has at least two forms. One is giving away the task and putting it completely out of mind, knowing the results will be apparent without further effort on your part. The other is assigning the task and expecting to follow up to be sure it gets done, to praise or nudge or redirect. In the second case, the task hasn’t really been given away, it’s just been transformed from one kind of task to another.

Off my list and out of my mind: It’s worth remembering that one form of prioritizing is not letting a task get onto one’s personal to-do list in the first place. If the list has gotten too long anyway, then decide which things not to do. Let go of them, at least for now. That keeps the list from being overwhelming.

‘Bill Jones’ Rules for White House, State, IRS (Wall Street, We Wish!) and Your Business Too

Bill Jones Higher Post, Broader ViewREMOVE THE DOUBT — THAT’S ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING HEADS MUST ROLL when certain types of screw-ups occur. So after the IRS’s targeting of  Tea Party groups to search out 501 (c) 4 violations made such big news, the acting head of the agency had his “resignation asked for and accepted.” Could he have survived in the job if he’d broken the findings  to the President himself simultaneously with firing the hands-on people involved? Maybe.

And maybe even if he couldn’t get out in front of the news, but had acted quickly to remove those most responsible. That’s what Hillary Clinton and her management cadre at the State Department did after the tragic news from Benghazi broke; when she “accepted responsibility” for inadequate security at the Benghazi post, it was clear she was speaking in code — it happened in her agency and she was handling it: The faulty decision-makers were already on the way out the door .

We’re still waiting to see what the fallout will be after what looks like excessive phone monitoring of the AP in an effort to find the recent big leaker.

Even more, we’re still waiting for Wall Street and banking to “accept responsibility” and clean up after the financial crisis, the “liar’s loan” mortgage mess and the wrongly foreclosed housing.

In a small-business context, when a client’s order has been screwed up, it’s up to you to ‘fess up, clean up, sometimes even pay up, and show what action you’re taking to be sure it never happens again. A change of employees, a new procedure, or taking over that dawn delivery route yourself — whatever will “remove the doubt.” That’s a business fundamental.

Brooklyn Aerodrome: Taking to the Skies of North Brooklyn

Forget Area 51, this is North Brooklyn's mystery aircraft, built from Kit 145.

Forget Area 51, this is North Brooklyn’s mystery aircraft, built from Brooklyn Aerodrome’s Kit 145 ($250.).

BROOKLYN HARDLY SEEMS THE PLACE TO TAKE FLYING LESSONS, given the utter and complete dearth of airports in the borough. But that hasn’t stopped computer scientist Breck Baldwin and schoolteacher Andrew Woodbridge from starting the Brooklyn Aerodrome Flight School. It offers training, clocks hours of flight time and then issues pilot licenses – to middle-schoolers.

The program began in 2010 with 15 students. Most of the curriculum is online, and the textbook can be bought online for $30. In complete and utter contrast with No Child Left Behind, the law of the land in which students study for nothing but the exam, the new Brooklyn Aerodrome Flight School actually teaches real-world applications for science and technology in a context that interests these students: making and flying planes. Brooklyn Aerodrome showed at last fall’s World Maker Faire in Queens and got a lot of attention, including from Wired Magazine. But a failed Kickstarter campaign in the first quarter of this year was a setback. Despite that they’re still up and running; for more info go to brooklynaerodrome.com.

Okay, there’s no functional Brooklyn airport, which goes to say no full-size airplanes either. So the kids go to the other most logical site, Brooklyn’s own McCarren Park in Williamsburg, and fly their own easy-to-build model called Flack, for Flying Hack. “It’s an electric-powered remote-control airplane built out of recycled trash,” Baldwin says. “Kids can build one in three to four hours.”

“It’s about aeronautics, that’s the core of it,” says Baldwin. “But the whole thing is trying to get kids to think about math, science and engineering  and make it fun and play—not sit in a room and be lectured, but to go outside and do it.” In other words it’s not rote book learning, but real-world, hands-on knowledge and experience.

“Solving workbook math problems is not how the world works, but students might have to do a lot of math to get something to work,” Baldwin adds, the “something” being their airplanes.  The program is not ignoring the liberal arts either: the students write reports, too, technical ones, not a “My Favorite Superhero Is…” essay.

And what do the kids get out of it? Not only math and science (and lots of fun), but they learn how general aviation really works, along with its rules and regulations. That last part may not be glamorous but it is essential, Baldwin says: “It makes it more real, adds depth to it, but it also provides structure. You have to have permission to enter the ‘runway,’ then you have to get permission to take off, and then the next plane goes.

“There’s a lot of necessary structure to flying,” Baldwin says, before he pauses and adds, “Imagine 30 kids with powered airplanes.”

Executive Editor Phil Scott has clocked some air time himself, not only in airplanes but also a replica of a Wright Brothers glider at Kitty Hawk, N.C.,.

Bill Jones to Jeffrey Krusinki: What were you thinking (with)?

Bill Jones Life Too Short Groping

As has widely been reported, less than two weeks ago Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, was arrested and charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in a suburban parking lot in Virginia.

The fictional Bill Jones was the voice of career advice in the 1920s and 30s posters put out by a British printing company. Though the advice here was meant in another context, it’s not hard to imagine what Bill Jones would have thought about sexual assault or harassment, or derailing one’s career in this way.

Rhetorical Rhinos and Flights of Inspiration

A GREAT GRAPHIC, BUT A DOUBTFUL METAPHOR. Unlike the rhetorical rhinoceros in the closet. this rhino in the bush probably isn’t going to be just stared down successfully. Arming yourself with appropriate resources seems like a much better idea. “Facing troubles” is Step One; “turning worry into effective action” would be Step Two. And thanks to Bill Jones, here  — still in “Out of Africa” mode — is inspiration for making the effort. Bill Jones It Can't Be Done Means

Getting Your Message Across?

sayitwithsnapIT’S A 140 CHARACTER WORLD NOW, and what used to be called a magazine article is now “long-form journalism.” But this Mather poster advocates not only brevity but “snap.” Brooklyn Artisan long ago offered thoughts on quotability, but here snap means directness, too.

Some examples of this are in the Brooklyn Artisan photo pool. A favorite:ChalkWoodlandURhungry

Staying Motivated in a “401 k World”

v26-1FIRST IT WAS TOM FRIEDMAN writing in the New York Times two days ago about  the 401 k world where pension responsibility is thrust back on the individual worker, instead of custodial employers, unions, the Social Security Administration. Next came the Matthew Yglesias piece in Slate yesterday, “It’s a 401 k World and It Sucks.”

It’s hard for the small-business owner and artisanal producer – who’s very often the supply-buyer, the marketer, the Flea Market hawker, the copywriter and the chalkboard artist , and sometimes also holding down a day job too– to stay motivated in a such a low-payoff world. Too often there’s no über-corporation to put matching funds into one’s artisanal retirement account. But wait!

Let Bill Jones keep you pumped! Out of the pages of history comes a bunch of illustrated sayings of this fictional Brit, in inspirational posters put out by a printing company called Parker-Holladay. We’ve pulled some together from various archives, and mixed in others from sources like the Chicago-based Mather Company and the WPA, and will be posting them from time to time to fuel your creativity – and/or your staff.we-can-do-it

Because of the eras in which they were created, most are addressed to men, but it’s out of this tradition that WWII’s Rosie the Riveter came to celebrate and motivate the women who were serving the country. For the collector, poster historian and art director Steven Heller looks to the Reinhard Brown Gallery. (And just in case the artisanal chili-pepper face cream business never takes off, you might want to take out the thumbtacks and stash your dad’s Milton Glaser poster of Dylan with the psychedelic hair (1966) and even your Shepard Fairey Obama “Hope” poster into sturdy archival tubes.) Bill Jones Size of the Fight in the Dog

Chalk-worthy Announcements on 5th Avenue

Seen at 184 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, HiHo Batik sharing its news from a recent issue of New York Magazine. This is a batik shop with a DIY spin.

Seen at 184 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, news from a recent issue of New York Magazine.

The flip side of the HiHo Batik sign at 184 Fifth Avenue.

The flip side of the HiHo Batik sign.

THE HIHO BATIK STOREFRONT invites craft wannabes for a DIY session with a difference–in this case, the D stands for Dye. And its recent designation as a Best Thing about New York by New York Magazine is definitely something to chalk about. The crafts and storytelling session announcement for ages 2 to 4 sounds right on target this part of town (Park Slope).

The Best of Brooklyn is outdoors this weekend, April 20 & 21

“What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms,” Kobayashi Issa.
CherryWatch Blossom Status Map for those of you who really want to know what's in bloom at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, is updated every weekday during the season. (Photograph, taken on Thursday by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

A cloudy Thursday at the Garden. (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)
CherryWatch Blossom Status Map is for those of us who really want to know what’s in bloom at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and is updated every weekday during the season.

content_borough_hall_skyscraper_croppedTake a Walk • Downtown Brooklyn Partnership recommends a self-guided Architectural Walking Tour that hits eleven gems from DUMBO to the Barclays Center. Two highlights: 1) near Borough Hall stop to admire the circa 1901 Beaux-Arts style Temple Bar Building; 2) at 365 Jay Street, view the Old Brooklyn Fire Headquarters, described by the NYC Landmarks Commission as one of the city’s best and most striking architectural compositions. With regular stops for snacks, drinks or lunch along the route, this can make an interesting day of discovery. Brooklyn Artisan suggests a start with Juliana’s in DUMBO, an iced coffee from Betty Bakery, and a pop into Ample Hills Creamery to end.

hotSauceExpoCapsaicin Alert • 1st annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo. With a claim that hot sauce production is one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S., the Hot Sauce Expo promises to have spicy food vendors, live music, fire breathers, eating challenges and contests and lots of tasting opps both local and beyond. Hot Sauce vendors include PuckerButt Pepper Company, Fort Mill, SC; NW Elixirs, Portland, OR; Evil Seed Sauce Company, Jacksonville, FL; lots more. East River State Park, Williamsburg. Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm.

Babydoll lambs with mom Ginger—how cute is this? (Photograph, Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)

How cute is this? At the Zoo, newborn Babydoll lambs pose with mom Ginger. (Photograph, Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)

Saturday
Business_Fair_2013

• If you need a reason to go to the park, the Prospect Park Fair, at the Bandshell could be it. Enjoy a great spring day and check out the activities and programs featuring a pop-up Audubon Center, tennis demonstrations, food trucks, and volunteering info. Specials from local businesses include The Great Googa Mooga, Brooklyn Cyclones, New York Guitar Academy, and several others. Sponsored by the Prospect Park Alliance. 11am-3pm.

• Before or after the Prospect Park Fair, you might want to stop by the Prospect Park Zoo and meet Kings County’s cutest duo, two babydoll lambs named Arthur and Brooklyn. Brother and sister, born in March to Ginger, may just unseat baby walrus Mitik as the sweetest faces in the borough.

wyckoff-garden• Maypoles, horse shoes, hydroponic gardens • Wyckoff Farmhouse, NYC’s oldest house, holds a Spring Fling: A Celebration of Spring’s Traditions. English country and contra dances led by renowned caller Tom Amesse, folklore tales by storyteller Robin Bady, carnival games, crafts, and more. Sustainable Flatbush (see Sunday, below) will demonstrate the solar hydroponic garden system being installed on premises, while the the house itself will also be on tour. Flatbush. 1pm-6pm.

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On Church Avenue: Magpies poptarts won’t ruin anyone’s appetite.

Sunday

Meet the neighbors • While shopping at the Church Avenue Street Fair, grab a bite at the Pop-Up Picnic Plaza that includes $1 specials from neighborhood eateries Lark, Am-thai, Shayna’s and more. Belly dancing demos, on-site animal adoptions, a children’s concert, make-up and hair styling discounts, and Magpies homemade poptarts are all part of the fun. Prospect Park South. 12pm-6pm.

sustFlatFor a greener thumb • Grassroots organization Sustainable Flatbush and community-owned Flatbush Food Coop have paired up to sponsor a Spring Plant Swap. Trade perennials and other plants, meet and learn from other gardeners, get help starting your garden. At the Flatbush Food Coop, Ditmas Park. 12pm-3pm.

Earth Day at Brooklyn’s largest park • The Brooklyn Dance Ensemble performs Earth Dances at the Salt Marsh Nature Center. As a perfect backdrop to today’s celebration, these 530 acres of grassland and salt marsh are considered a birdwatcher’s paradise. In NYC, the Salt Marsh Nature Center is protected as a Forever Wild Preserve. In addition to the dance performance, Roman “Red Hawk” Perez will perform Native American drumming and narratives. Marine Park. 2pm.

Familiar turf • Zip through the borough courtesy of the Brooklyn Brewery Mash:

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for Saturday, April 13

Third Street, Park Slope. (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Wednesday on Third Street in the Slope. (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Earth Day is officially on Monday, April 22, but in Brooklyn,
the festivities begin this Saturday:
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Citi Bike (finally) at the Yard.
(Photograph, Streetsblog.org)

Brooklyn Navy Yard by Bike The Yard is a national leader for sustainable urban industrial parks, so it seems quite natural that biking would be a smart way to check out the goings on there. Citi Bike, the new(ish) network of bike-share stations, has several locations at the Yard, including BLDG 92 and riders are finally getting the chance to take the bikes out for a spin. There are two opportunities on Saturday at the Yard to get out and pedal:

♦ A two-hour bicycle tour of the Yard’s sustainability features that includes NYC’s first building-mounted wind turbines, historic structures brought back to life, and a new green manufacturing center. 12pm-2pm.

 Brooklyn Skillshare presents a class on Urban Cycling Skills with topics such as biking rules, the best way to lock a bike, how to plot a route, and ends with an hour-long group ride up the Kent Avenue Greenway and back. Recycle-A-Bicycle and Transportation Alternatives are among the groups that will be attending. 2pm-4pm.

Spruce up the route Columbia Street Greenway Cleanup, sponsored by Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. As part of the 14-mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, the Columbia Street Connector aims to add important pedestrian and recreational green space in Red Hook. All ages are invited to pitch in—tools and gloves will be provided—to make the area a little nicer. Red Hook. 10am-12pm.

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A fruity Serviceberry tree can be yours.

Get & plant a free tree 200 trees will be given away by the Pratt Area Community Council, New York Restoration Project and milliontreesNYC. The tree must be planted within the five boroughs, and placed in the ground, not a container. Register online to reserve a Serviceberry, American Hornbeam, American Persimmon or Bald Cypress. Planting and care instructions will be provided. First-come, first-served until supplies run out. Bed-Stuy. 11am-1pm.

GREEN TIP: Get 20% off Seeds of Change seed packets plus make a donation of 20% of your purchase price to New York Restoration Project (NYRP) with code 20NYRP20.

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Pedal away for a smoothie!
(Photograph, Habana Outpost)

Earth Day Expo at Habana Outpost, a solar-powered restaurant and marketplace. This sounds like it’s chock-full of eco-friendly fun and an easy way to learn about sustainable living. Make a smoothie using alternative energy from the Human Powered Bike Blender, participate in a plastic cap mural art project, and talk to local businesses and eco-organizations that are part of the afternoon Expo. Fort Greene. 12pm-4pm.

Earth Day Celebration at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College. At 2pm, the environmental performance group Bash the Trash will perform Tales of Anansi, a musical storytelling of folk tales from West Africa and the Caribbean. The musical instruments used are inspired by traditional African designs but made from recycled and reused materials. Following this performance, Bash the Trash will show everyone how to make musical instruments from found and recycled materials. Other interactive family activities with demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on activities will be part of the festivities. Flatbush. 2pm-4pm.

I participated in the first Earth Day.

The first Earth Day poster by Walt Kelly.

Joy Makon participated in the first Earth Day as a high school student. Joy curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Sargent’s Watercolors: How Does He DO That?

The Venice series: La Dogana was painted 102 years ago, using opaque and transparent watercolor, with wax resist on paper. At the Brooklyn Museum now until July 28. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)

From the Venice series: La Dogana was painted 102 years ago, using opaque and transparent watercolor, with wax resist on paper. At the Brooklyn Museum now until July 28. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)

OUR BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S SHOW OF NEARLY 100 WATERCOLORS BY JOHN SINGER SARGENT, created jointly with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts — pooling art from both collections and wisdom from both museums’ curators and conservators — is every bit as good as you’ve probably read and heard by now. Good coverage is on the museum site and in Judith Dobrzynski’s piece in the New York Times, which tells how the successful society-portrait painter’s mid-life crisis sent him on the road to the Middle East and around Europe, watercolor kit in hand. When he was finally persuaded to show this work, he did not expect the flurry of acclaim his watercolors received here — at least until the art world’s fickle attention shifted to Cubism and abstract painting following the game-changing 1913 Armory Show.

A highpoint for me: Standing by Sargent’s actual painting and watching the accompanying wall-mounted video of someone knowledgeably copying it. As the hand filled in paint with brushstrokes this way and that, I stood rapt, lost in the delicious fantasy that I could do that — that in fact, I was doing that; that was my hand holding the brush. I invite you to share my fantasy anytime (and several times) between now and July 28. My advice is start early and go often — this is a once-in-a-generation show. You can also catch up with it in Boston October 13 to next January 20, and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston sometime after that.

The Bedouins shows the intensity of Sargent's more-accomplished techniques from 1905-1906. (Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

The Bedouins shows the intensity of Sargent’s more-accomplished techniques from 1905-1906. (Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for April 6 and 7

A short list of weekend openings and events
John Singer Sargent, Villa di Marlia, Lucca: A Fountain, 1910. Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper. The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund. At Brooklyn Museum, now.

John Singer Sargent, Villa di Marlia, Lucca: A Fountain, 1910. Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper. The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund. At Brooklyn Museum, now.

S A T U R D A Y
caption here

Maker + Materials: tree house architect Romero. (Photograph, Caroline Voagen Nelson)

A Tree House grows in Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Wood from reclaimed trees felled by Hurricane Sandy is showing up in many uses and locations. Reclaim NYC, with designs implemented out of Sandy debris, will be exhibiting at NYCxDesign in May. Opening Saturday, tree house architect Roderick Romero is constructing a new site-specific installation using trees downed by Sandy. This promises to be part artwork, part open-air classroom, and will certainly be fun to view and walk through.

New exhibition, “That Perfectly Arranged Mouth,” paintings by Katharine Colona Hopkins. At 440 Gallery, Park Slope.

Inaugural exhibition, Next Generation, by Park Slope artist Lori Nelson. At Ground Floor Gallery, Park Slope. 6pm-10pm.

Inaugural exhibition, “Next Generation,” by Park Slope artist Lori Nelson.
At Ground Floor Gallery, Park Slope. 6pm-10pm.

GO: New exhibition, “John Singer Sargent Watercolors,” plus Target First Saturday. Brooklyn Museum.

Great for kids: Spring Seed Celebration & Swap, an annual celebration of making things grow. At Old Stone House and Washington Park. Park Slope. 10am-4pm.

Lumpia Shack’s return to Smorg

Lumpia Shack’s back @ Smorg

Return of Smorgasburg! Over 100 vendors in a new location in Williamsburg, at East River State Park. 11am-6pm.

Smorg vendors I’m seeking out: Brooklyn Piggies, Bolivian Llama Party, ISH Premium Horseradish, Lumpia Shack…let us know what you recommend.

Jazz Healing Force of The Universe. Saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett does two sets at Sistas’ Place Coffee House, Bed Stuy. 9pm and 10:30pm. Part of the month-long Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival presented by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium. For the 14th year, this longest running grassroots festival features more than 500 artists performing in 50 venues throughout Brooklyn.

S U N D A Y
smorgDUMBO

Whether at Smorgasburg, above, or at a Food Truck Rally, food always seems to taste better al fresco.

The food trucks return to the Park with a Food Truck Rally at Grand Army Plaza. Every first and third Sunday of the month will give everyone the chance to dine in style at Mike’n’Willie’s, Milk Truck, Rickshaw Dumplings, plus a dozen more vendors. Afterwards, you could run or walk it off around the Park’s 3.35 mile loop. Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. 11am-5pm.

Return of Smorgasburg! Over 75 vendors are back at the historic Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO. 11am-6pm.

Recycle easily and safely: Spring NYC SAFE (solvents, automotive, flammable, electronics) disposal event. Here’s a one-stop way to get rid of potentially harmful household products. Depending on the product, materials collected will either be recycled, blended for fuel, or sent to licensed hazardous waste treatment facilities for safe disposal. Prospect Park, corner of Parkside Avenue and Prospect Park SW. 10am-4pm.

fifthTasteW E D N E S D A Y, April 10

Purchase tickets soon for A Taste of Fifth at the Grand Prospect Hall. We’re liking that $20 of your $45 ticket will go to a non-profit Fifth Avenue BID member of your choice. This is a chance to try some of the most talked about food and drink from places you never seem to get to, such as Fleisher’s, Campo Di Fiori, Leske’s Bakery, Pork Slope, lots more. The Grand Prospect Hall has to be one of the more ornate party places in the area—can you name a film it appeared in? Park Slope. 6:30pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Spring Sunshine, Not a Moment Too Soon

SandboxSunshineOH, BoyinSandboxTHE JOY OF A BOY (or two) in the sun-warmed sandbox after a long, wet and wintry early spring.

Chalk Talk, resumed….

SEEN ON FIFTH AVENUE: When you rise from hibernation, feeling like–well, like a bear, here’s the cure. CoffeeTimeBear

Joy’s Hurry Up Spring for the last week of March

Out like a lamb? The Parks Department just removed a diseased Linden from the front sidewalk, and a new tree is on order. The squirrels have been feasting on emerging flower shoots in my Brooklyn Backyard and they seem quite pleased with their handiwork (grrrr). Spring’s warmth and flowers can’t get here soon enough so I’ve been living vicariously through other sources that I’m sharing in this week’s post:

Sturman_Saraswati 1Cherry blossoms soon

Artist Sally Mara Sturman’s new illustration for YogaCity NYC captures the beauty of spring. Recently, Sturman left the familiarity of Brooklyn for a few weeks in sunnier, warmer California—the influence is showing in her newest watercolors. Now back home, she also custom paints ceramic pieces and works at Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarkets in NYC. Find Sally’s work at her Etsy Shop.

FigTreesOnTable_thumbThree stores on the to-visit list

1 • Ditmas Park   Many creative types work several gigs at once; so does Sycamore. A bar, a flowershop, and an event space in one location seems to work for everyone and keeps the space active all day. Stems Architectural Florist hangs there everyday and offers flowers as well as plants—a recent post states that cuttings for fig trees from Flatbush Fig Farm are available for purchase. How Brooklyn is that? Check the site for scheduled music and brew events.

saipua2 • Red Hook   Saipua, a family-owned business focusing on small-batch olive oil soap and seasonal flowers and plants is definitely a do-what-you-love enterprise for all involved. Founder Susan Ryhanen retired from 30 years of teaching and started tinkering in her basement with handmade olive oil soap—Saipua on Van Dyke Street is the storefront result of her love of flowers and soap. Daughter Sarah is a co-owner of the shop and creates breathtaking floral arrangements. On Saturday, March 30, Saipua will have a houseplant sale, offering unusual varieties of ferns, begonias, succulents and free growing advice. Profits will go to The Farm at Worlds End, the flower farm that Sarah runs upstate, to fund the purchase of a tractor.

zuzu3 • Park Slope   Long time Slopers, as well as newcomers, know that a visit to Zuzu’s Petals is always a blast of color and fragrance. Owner Fonda is the ultimate flowergirl with helpful plant advice and recommendations. What I respect most about Zuzu’s Petals is the dedication of this local business to the neighborhood, along with the beautiful dog that’s always there to greet customers. It’s the ideal example of shopping small in the neighborhood. And you know what the name means?

Two sites of note
heritagePhoto

1 • Brooklyn Visual Heritage is an online compilation of several picture collections from Pratt, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum and The Brooklyn Public Library. A keyword search for spring turned up plenty of images of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ralph Branca. This image took a little more effort to find; it’s from the 1952 Brooklyn Eagle and is captioned “girl in a garden with magnolia at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.” Explore to find fun, retro, relevant images of familiar Brooklyn places.

The-Backyard-Parables-revised-cover2 • A Way to Garden.com is author, editor Margaret Roach’s site for “horticultural how-to and woo-woo.” Roach’s weekly newsletter links to tidbits and resources that gardeners at any level will find useful, entertaining and attractive. I learned this week about alternatives to planting impatiens in a shade garden; a mildew-type fungus affected plants in 35 states last year. Roach’s writing is humorous yet straight-forward—she answers questions promptly and provides knowledgeable resources on a lot of different topics. Other sites may get a quick browse depending on my interest, but this one gets read.

april.pansies
Here’s Hoping…

By the time this posts, maybe we will be able to stash the winter coats away. Here’s a reminder, however, that April weather can be fickle:
Pansies, from my Brooklyn Backyard, April 8, 2003.

Happy Holidays.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for March 21 through March 24

This weekend starts early on Thursday and it’s also the last day for Dine-In Brooklyn.
Winslow Homer, The Unruly Calf, circa 1875. Graphite and white opaque watercolor on blue-gray wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, part of Fine Lines: American Drawings. See below.

Winslow Homer, The Unruly Calf, circa 1875. Graphite and white opaque watercolor on blue-
gray wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, part of Fine Lines: American Drawings. See below.

Three reasons to go out on Thursday, March 21

steamboat1 • Brooklyn Museum stays open until 10pm on Thursdays so that visitors can linger in the galleries and take advantage of special evening programs. Several new exhibits have opened in the past few weeks including Fine Lines: American Drawings and the spectacular Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui. At 7:30, a Drawing Workshop for all ages will explore the drawing process and help budding artists develop professional techniques.

2 • The March edition of Steamboat, the comedy series, at Greenlight Bookstore gets down to funny business with comedian and author Bob Powers hosting some of the city’s best humor writers. Tonight’s roster includes multi-tasking Brooklynite Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking With Men: A Memoir, and Dave Bry, author of Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples with a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time. Fort Greene. 7:30pm.

haggadah-04

A different take on a traditional Hagaddah.

3 • Brooklyn by the Book: The Bronfman Hagaddah. In time for Passover, author Edgar M. Bronfman and illustrator Jan Aronson will speak with Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim about this contemporary retelling of the Exodus story. With its underlying message of human rights and freedom, The Bronfman Hagaddah brings together readings from diverse sources such as abolitionist Frederick Douglas to Ralph Waldo Emerson and poet Marge Piercy. At 6:30 there will be a kosher-wine tasting by Slope Cellars, food from Brooklyn-based Gefilteria (read more about them, below) and a book sale by Community Bookstore. Discussion begins at 7:30. Park Slope.

Three things to do involving seams, screams and Bob Ross

storefront21 • Saturday & Sunday Learn to Sew a Vintage-Style Men’s Shirt at Brooklyn General Store. This two-day intensive, for those with intermediate sewing skills, will cover techniques including felled seams, a lined back yoke and sleeve plackets. Instructor Heather Love is a Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist. Her Etsy shop hellomello handspun features her knit-based crafts and materials. North Red Hook is the home of Brooklyn General Store, the former Frank’s Department Store, and is an updated and welcome throwback to the era when Union Street used to be a thriving shopping block for food and goods. 9am-6pm.

lunaPark2 • Sunday Season Opener at Luna Park. Normally I might wait until warmer weather arrives to get excited about Coney Island, but this year’s opener has significance after all the rebuilding and restoration after Hurricane Sandy. The 86-year-old Cyclone is back in full operation, along with the Soaring Eagle and Steeplechase, a spinning disk called the Zenobio, and the Human Slingshot. As is the tradition, Marty Markowitz will christen the Cyclone by smashing a bottle of egg cream on her bow. Coney Island. 12pm-10pm.

PaintingTakedown3 • Sunday 1st annual Painting Takedown, a charity event to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. You remember Bob Ross, right? Twenty Brooklyn artists will be asked to throw away all taste and aesthetics by creating a painting à la Bob Ross. Audience members can bid and buy the finished canvases, while the painters will receive prizes for crowd favorites. Expect drinks from SixPoint Brewery, lots of chili, and goofy bad art. At former-feather-factory-now-arts-center The Active Space, Bushwick. 6pm-9pm.

caption and credit for Vermatzah goes here see item below

Eco-Kosher Vermatzah connects modern ecology with Jewish dietary laws and ethical standards.

Three purveyors of note for Passover and beyond

1 • Way Outer Brooklyn Vermatzah, small-batch, wood-fired matzah from Naga Bakehouse, Vermont. Locally-sourced wheat and farro go into the hand-shaped rounds produced by this eco-kosher baker. Albeit not kosher for Passover, this matzah is produced with care. With each order, the company attaches a small bag of wheat seeds to give home growers and cooks a chance to farm in their own homes. Order by Thursday for mail delivery for a seder, or revisit after the holiday.

carpInBathtub2 • Gefilte fish is a Jewish food that does not have any religious symbolism, but is a part of traditional Eastern European cuisine, especially at holidays. My grandmother used to purchase live carp and whitefish and keep them swimming in the bathtub until it was time to cook and grind the fish for the quenelle-shaped pieces. My mother resorted to jars of prepared gefilte fish that contained an unappealing aspic-sort of jelly and a couple of slices of limp carrot. No wonder we resorted to massive amounts of horseradish, jarred of course, to make it palatable. Forward to 2012, and three Brooklyn entrepreneurs open Gefilteria to specialize in artisanal gefilte fish with freshness, sustainability and flavor added to the traditional food. The founders describe themselves as “a trio of New York foodies, reimagining Old World Jewish food by adapting Ashkenazi classics to the values and tastes of a new generation.” Fish as well as several styles of horseradish are kosher for Passover and can be purchased at local retailers and online, but hurry, as supplies are sure to be snapped up.

caption credit goes here

(Photograph, Katie Sokoler/Gothamist)

3 • We can still go stand in line at Zabars or Russ & Daughters on a Sunday morning for a novy fix, but the neighborhood appetizing store, stocked with smoked and cured fish and dairy products, has largely faded away. Enter caterer Peter Shelsky in 2012, and he’s returned appetizing back to Brooklyn with Shelsky’s Smoked Fish in Carroll Gardens. Shelsky’s extensive kosher-style Passover menu offers tempting dishes such as Grandma Yetta’s savory gefilte fish, house-pickled herring in cream sauce, fresh apple horseradish sauce, vegetarian matzah ball soup, strawberry rhubarb matzah crumble, and homemade matzah. Beyond Passover, there’s always the sandwich menu; try the Brooklyn Native: eastern Gaspé salmon, smoked whitefish salad, pickled herring, sour pickle all piled on a bialy.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for March 15 through March 18

CSA Signups • Maker Opportunities Big and Small • Art and Literary Openings

heartwalk-1Now on location in DUMBO: Heartwalk, a 30-foot art installation made from Sandy-salvaged wood. Situ Studio, a DUMBO-based design studio was commissioned to create this piece for the Times Square Alliance and the Design Trust for Public Space where the Heart was installed in Times Square. Boardwalk boards from Long Beach, NY; Sea Girt, NJ; Atlantic City, NJ were repurposed for the installation. Through April 30, DUMBO visitors are encouraged to interact with the piece and tweet/instagram photos to #DUMBOHeartwalk@DUMBOBID.

Art and Literary Happenings
Elizabeth Welsh. Quilt, circa 1825–40. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society

Elizabeth Welsh, Quilt, circa 1825–40.
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society

Friday, March 15 Workt by Hand: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts at Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Until the late twentieth century, much of quiltmaking was thought of as a craft, and makers were often anonymous. This exhibit of 35 quilt masterpieces will explore the way quilts have been seen and understood as both an art form and a craft. Traditionally, quilts have been displayed horizontally to represent the beds for which they were originally designed. Workt by Hand displays some quilts vertically—in the manner of a painting or print—to encourage viewers to think of them as art objects. Opening Friday. On display through September 15.

Friday, March 15 Currency, juried solo exhibition by Denis Beaubois at New York Art Residency & Studio Foundation. Currency asks us to consider: How much is an hour of your time worth and what is the worth of each dollar you make? This exhibit examines thoughts about economy and labor, the value of a work of art, the worth of one day’s work, all on a global scale. Sydney, Australia-based artist Denis Beaubois will talk at 7pm. Sunset Park. 6pm-8pm.

Saturday, March 16 Gotham: Writers in the City at the Brooklyn Public Library. Novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander discusses his latest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, with WNYC’s Leonard Lopate. Grand Army Plaza. 4pm.

CSA signups happening now

The Vernal Equinox is on Wednesday at 7:02am. Balancing eggs on end: urban myth? Better to eat locally-sourced eggs—you could sign up now and get them through a Community Supported Agriculture group. CSAs work something like a magazine subscription in that members buy shares at the beginning of the season and receive regular deliveries of produce directly from the farmer. Now is the time that many CSAs are signing up customers for spring and summer shares. Just Food is a useful site listing all the CSAs in Brooklyn, and there are a lot. Here’s a short list of a few; check the site to locate more.

partnerstrace

Monday, meet New Paltz-based
Partners Trace during Huckleberry
Bar’s CSA Happy Hour.

< • Partners Trace CSA at Huckleberry Bar, Williamsburg. New Paltz, NY based Partners Trace offers produce and flowers with an under-two-hour travel distance to Brooklyn. On Monday, March 18 from 5pm-7pm, Huckleberry Bar will host a CSA Happy Hour for signups and information.

iliamnaIliamna Fish Company, a family-owned fishing cooperative on the Bering Sea in Bristol Bay, Alaska, offers shares in their wild red salmon harvests. The sockeye salmon from Iliamna contains the highest Omega-3 oil content and naturally occurring anti-oxidants of any Pacific salmon species. Customers include Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Applewood, and Dean & DeLuca. Shares will be available in late summer with pickup location in Brooklyn.

beetBrooklyn Beet CSA, serving Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn. Season starts June 3 for 26 weeks.

Clinton Hill CSA, for Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. Check out their informative newsletter The Beet.

For Makers and DIYers

craftCampSaturday, March 16 Brooklyn Craft Camp. This is a day-long DIY chance to craft your heart out, socialize and have fun. This may not start you on the road to Etsy-ville, but it sounds like a swell way to spend a Saturday learning some new techniques with like-minded craft lovers. The day will consist of four classes (with four finished projects); a chance to meet and work with craft-focused authors, bloggers and designers; and tastes of local food and drink. Brooklyn Craft Camp was founded by Brett Bara, a lifelong crafter turned DIY professional. Sponsors include West Elm, Purl Soho, Juice Box, The Crochet Dude, Vogue Knitting Live. Classes are filling up, so registration asap is advised. Greenpoint. 10am-7pm.

Sunday, March 17 Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Class: Easter/Spring Equinox Edition, part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy. The Academy offers a fascinating series of classes that reflect an interest in taxidermy, animal and insect anatomy, fine art techniques and arcane subjects. This 3-hour workshop will have you working with Rhinoceros beetles (thankfully they are provided), to make a shadowbox diorama. The class is taught by a former insect preparator from the American Museum of Natural History, and may cause you to see nature’s tiny giants in a whole new way. At Observatory, Gowanus. 1pm-4pm.

Gyroid, by Bathsheba, an example of 3D Printing by Shapeways.

Gyroid, by Bathsheba, an example of 3D Printing by Shapeways.

Monday, March 18 The Future of 3D Manufacturing—Brooklyn Style: an evening of panel discussions and demonstrations hosted by Brooklyn Futurist Meetup. This energetic, well-attended Meetup will be joined by Brooklyn Tech and Volumetric Society Meetups for a lively session with all-star 3D enthusiasts. Robert Steiner, from MakerBot will speak and demonstrate a MakerBot. D-Shape, Shapeways and Make editor Brian Jepson are among other participants. The event is wait-listed, but you can attend by following the instructions on the site. At Brooklyn Law School, Moot Court Room, Downtown Brooklyn. 7pm-9:30pm.

letteringLDBASunday, April 28 Lettering class at L’Ecole Des Beaux Arts. Classes at LDBA fill up and sell out almost immediately, so consider this a heads up if you’re interested in attending any future sessions. This 90 minute class, for 6 students only, will provide instruction and materials to learn classic hand-rendered lettering and font techniques to produce cards and envelopes. LDBA is a hardware, housewares and artist supply store and site founded by artist Sara Moffat. “We provide tools, techniques and materials to allow people to excel in their medium,” says Sara. Other unique classes are offered for all age groups, and include Knot Tying (a hot topic, apparently), Make Your Own Bow and Arrows, Picasso and Kandinsky Study for ages 5 and up, and all seem to fill up right away. Williamsburg.

October 1, 2012 (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

October 1, 2012 (Photograph,
Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

A post-Sandy update

Monday, March 18 Nathan’s Coney Island location on the Boardwalk is scheduled to reopen. And next weekend, as part of Coney Island’s opening weekend celebrations, the first qualifier round of the 2013 July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest will be held. There’s nothing slow-food or artisan about these dogs, but what’s better than enjoying one by the Atlantic’s surf? Nathan’s main location on Surf Avenue is still being repaired and will reopen Memorial Day Weekend.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Happy 32 Sol ♥

Shoptalk for Artisans

Start-up selling savvy, restaurant license bootcamp, legal advice for trademarking

March 13 (tonight!), 8–10 pm
Learn How to Sell Your Product
Are you ready to share that artisanal product that your friends are raving about with the wider world? Wondering how to sell it? Edible Brooklyn and Brooklyn Brewery are presenting a workshop with a panel of successful artisans who’ve already done it. Hear from the folks behind such companies as Saucy by Nature, Salty Road and Sweet Deliverance NYC, who will share stories and how-tos. Tickets $5; doors open at 7:30. At Brooklyn Brewery, Williamsburg.

March 19, 2–5 pm
Restaurant Management Bootcamp
For budding restaurateurs, this seminar  from New York Business Solutions, a city agency program, will fill you in on all the rules and regs for employing staff and getting the licenses and permits for operating a restaurant in NYC, including how to use the new online licensing system Business Express—and avoid fines! Registration required for this free seminar. At 9 Bond Street, 5th floor.

March 26, 10 am–12:30 pm
Fare Trade NYC Trademark Workshop
Trademarking your brand can be confusing and expensive. And yet after all the work you’ve put into your business, you want to protect what’s yours, right? Fare Trade NYC, a community of food entrepreneurs who share information and pool resources, is hosting a half-day course to fill the gap between generic online trademark services and costly trademark attorneys. Fare Trade NYC has partnered with attorney Jason Foscolo, whose practice focuses on food businesses, to cover everything from different types of trademarks, doing a trademark search, the application process, troubleshooting and more. Fare Trade NYC’s intention is to leave you ready to file your application at the end of the workshop; Foscolo will be also available to answer follow-up questions from seminar attendees as you work through your trademark registration. Registration required; $200 (Fare Trade members), $250 (nonmembers). At 61 Local, 61 Bergen St.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for March 7 through March 10

Events sell out fast…sign up, buy tickets, reserve…don’t miss out.
Brooklyn Arts Council, Larry Racioppo, Silver Mermaid, 2002 C-print, 20" x 24")

Larry Racioppo, Silver Mermaid, 2002 C-print. Thursday evening opening reception for Sea Drift, a new show at Brooklyn Arts Council. Part of Armory Arts Week, see below.

Local and Beyond: food, gardens, environment
windflower farm caption

An early-season scene from Windflower Farm.

Thursday Park Slope CSA membership orientation for the 2013 season. Learn about the benefits of membership in a Community Supported Agriculture partnership. The Park Slope CSA’s deadline for the 2013 season is April 19, and you can sign up for full or part shares of deliveries by Farmer Ted from Windflower Farm, along with eggs and meat from Lewis Waite Farm and Hot Bread Kitchen. Distribution is at the Garden of Union, a community garden on Union Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Park Slope. Learn more this evening, along with a cooking demonstration and refreshments at the Old Stone House, Park Slope. 6pm-8pm.

TheFuture_hc_nospineFriday Former Vice President Al Gore will discuss his latest book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. This new book is billed as a frank, visionary, and ultimately hopeful investigation of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come, written by a man who has looked ahead before and been proven all too right. Ticket purchase guarantees an autographed copy of the book. At powerHouse Arena, DUMBO. 6pm-8pm.

makingBklynBloomSaturday 32nd Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom sponsored by Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Slow Food NYC’s Urban Harvest program. This is a free day-long event at BBG featuring hands-on workshops, exhibits and speakers taught by community gardeners, BBG staff and greening experts. Gardening for a Resilient City is this year’s topic: to explore our local resources to rebuild a more verdant, sustainable Brooklyn in response to recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy. Workshops include: Upcycled Treasure: Tree Guards to Greenhouses; Using Stormwater in the Garden; The Global Gardener: Growing Food from Around the World; Brooklyn Urban Gardener Volunteer Program. Exhibits and Activities include: Therapeutic Horticulture; School Gardening; exhibits from local greening organizations. Dr. Vandana Shiva, global environmental activist, author and founder of Navdanya will present the keynote address Cultivating Resilience: Diversity, Democracy, Community. Advanced registration is requested for many events. 10am-4pm.

snailofApproval

iCi caption

Fort Greene’s iCi received Snail recognition in 2012.

Related: Slow Food NYC Snail of Approval, a website/directory of restaurants, bars, food and beverage artisans that have been awarded the SFNYC Snail of Approval. To be considered for this distinction, establishments must meet standards that contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food we eat and drink in New York City. 2013 recent awardees from Brooklyn include Red Hook-based Waterfront Wines & Spirits and Uncouth Vermouth. Previous-year awardees include Ted & Honey, One Girl Cookies, Lot2 and many more.

Saturday Bread & Brew: A Celebration of Dutch Foodways in Breukelen at Wyckoff House Museum. Tour NYC’s oldest house and learn about brood and bier, important foods in the Dutch-colonial diet. Brooklyn Brewery’s beers will be available to sip; taste bread (including beer bread) that has been baked using traditional colonial methods on an outdoor fire pit. Reservations requested. East Flatbush. 4pm-6:30pm.

Bunnycutlet Gallery exhibit Printmouse. Alexandria Kwan, KVDZV, silkscreen

Alexandria Kwan, KVDZV, silkscreen. Printmouse exhibit at Bunnycutlet Gallery, part of Williamsburg After Hours.

Armory Arts Week in Brooklyn

The Armory Show is an international contemporary and modern art fair held every March, not in an armory, but on Piers 92 & 94 in Outer Brooklyn. The Show has expanded to include arts events and exhibitions throughout all of NYC during Armory Arts Week, where neighborhood arts scenes are highlighted. Below, here’s a small selection of what’s happening in Brooklyn. Check the website for the complete list of events.

Thursday First Thursday Gallery Walk, DUMBO.
This newly-retooled website (check out the DUMBO Decoder) has tons of gallery events as well as other info for the area:

A.I.R. Gallery, the first all female cooperative gallery in the U.S., opens this evening with 40/40: A Double Vision. Celebrating 40 years of advocating for women in the visual arts, this exhibition celebrates the past, present and future of A.I.R. Gallery. 6pm-9pm.

Brooklyn Arts Council, Sea Drift, a group exhibition featuring the work of seven Brooklyn-based artists, presents a meeting of mythic ideas and realities regarding the waters surrounding Brooklyn. Opening reception, 6pm-8pm.

Related: Happy hour in DUMBO drink deals from ReBar, Superfine, Gran Electrica, more…

willAfterHours

Intentionally conspicuous Williamsburg, really?

Saturday Armory Arts Week—Brooklyn Night
Full listing for all Brooklyn Night events is on the website.

Williamsburg After Hours. 23 galleries will intentionally make themselves conspicuous with light, music and video installations that will be visible in doorways, sidewalks and adjacent buildings, along with performance art in the streets. 7pm-10pm.

Brooklyn Metal Works spoon-making workshop class caption here

Brooklyn Metal Works holds  spoon-making workshops in their studios. On Saturday, they are a part of Brooklyn Creates.

Brooklyn Creates is one part of this day devoted to Design and Glass. Begin with a visit to the Museum of Art & Design, one of Brooklyn Artisan’s favorite spots, for a screening of Toledo Workshop Revisited. Follow with an opening reception at Heller Gallery of glass artist Amber Cowan’s Reconstructions. End the day back in Brooklyn with Brooklyn Creates, an evening showcase of farm-to-table food and homemade brews, served in hand-crafted glass and metal tableware. Sponsored by Landhaus, Bitter & Esters, Brooklyn Glass and Brooklyn Metal Works.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the beginning of March

Biodynamic wine…and cheese…and beer, always beer • food shopping renewals • talks about dinners and sports books • the original New Orleans Jazz Band
Themed merch at Brooklyn Museum's store. (Photograph by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

Themed merch display at Brooklyn Museum’s store. (Photograph by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

Supermarket News

fairwayFriday, March 1 Fairway Red Hook re-opening! “We love this neighborhood,” says Fairway’s website. The feeling is quite mutual…and we can all celebrate starting at 8am as this foundation of the Red Hook community opens for business after four months of renovations and restoration after Sandy. Of course Marty is going to show up, along with performances by Brooklyn Dodger Symphony Band and an appearance by Brooklyn-based Miss America, Mallory Hytes Hagan. Fairway has partnered with Restore Red Hook to continue supporting those hit by Sandy—the small businesses, residents, employees—and will match donations up to $20,000. PLUS: Red Hook Lobster Pound and Red Hook Winery will reopen on Friday too.

We Were Heard Windsor Terrace Green Beans. Back in June 2012, Key Food, the only viable, non-bodega supermarket in Windsor Terrace, suddenly closed, leaving residents without a full-service place to shop for food. Worse, the landlord then leased the space to pharmacy-giant Walgreens creating a dearth of local food shopping choices, along with potentially jeopardizing business at two well-liked local pharmacies. Both the landlord and Walgreens representatives refused to discuss the neighborhood’s desire to include a grocery store in any of the plans.

Summer, 2012 protest. (Photograph, DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht)

Summer, 2012 protest. (Photograph, DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht)

This story is being tagged co-working, grassroots, citizen advocacy, sustainable markets, neighborhood-supported small business.

While the Windsor Terrace Key Food was bona fide awful to many, it was still important to this community of 12,000—enough, so that neighbors banded together to form Green Beans Not Walgreens, a grassroots resistance organization with the message that any Walgreens would be boycotted unless a sustainable fresh food market was worked into the plans. Citizen advocates, community leaders and local elected officials were initially rebuffed by corporate Walgreens, but pressure intensified to get the message heard. On February 21, the community received more positive news from Walgreen officials and Key Food corporate representatives that a hybrid space would be developed to include a “state-of-the-art” Key Food as part of the Prospect Avenue space. Next up: many residents have the means to shop at more upscale food businesses (Fairway, Union Market, Park Slope Food Coop, Fresh Direct, Trader Joe’s, an impending Whole Foods, even Costco) so Key Food will need to earn its reputation to be taken seriously. In this neighborhood that values shopping locally, especially the Prospect Park West shopping strip, there is still a lot of concern that small-town friendly Ballard Pharmacy and Oak Park Pharmacy will be priced out of business by the Walgreens pharmacy. The fight continues on.

globes

What a difference it makes to the neighborhood when a shop owner cares about their place!

Elsewhere…

< Friday, March 1 Open House/Cocktail Party at Windsor Place Antiques & Ephemera. Owner Rebecca Rubel is a Brooklyn Flea regular and has had an Etsy store since 2009. Her first brick-and-mortar shop is located on a corner site that was for decades an eyesore of a legal office, but now showcases her love of maps, especially large school maps, globes, and all other sorts of well-loved stuff, displayed in eye-catching, clever groupings. Windsor Terrace. 6pm-8pm.

preservationJazz

Rolling Stone calls Brooklyn Bowl “…one of the most incredible places on Earth.”

Friday, March 1 Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at Brooklyn Bowl. Don’t miss the one-and-only from New Orleans. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, dating to 1961, has a mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. PHJB Creative director Ben Jaffe is the son of the original founders, Allan and Sandra Jaffe, and has spearheaded programs such as the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund. Sound familiar? At Brooklyn Bowl’s performance space, in the former Hecla Iron Works (circa 1882), you’ll hear great music, enjoy food from Blue Ribbon, and can even get in a round of bowling at one of the 16 LEED-certified lanes. Advanced tickets for PHJB are sold out, but limited admission for $20 will be available at the box office at 6pm for the 8pm show. Williamsburg.

DinnerLoveStorySaturday, March 2 Dinner, A Love Story, a cookbook tasting event at powerHouse in Park Slope. Melissa Vaughan (The New Brooklyn Cookbook) moderates this sampling of dishes from Jenny Rosenstrach’s Dinner, A Love Story. Jenny notes that she’s kept a diary of every single thing she’s eaten for dinner since 1998; Dinner A Love Story is her website devoted to helping parents figure out how to get family dinner on the table. Park Slope. 4pm-5pm.

Pouring at Littlefield.

Pouring at Littlefield on Saturday.

Saturday, March 2 Urban Brew Fest and Craft Beer Festival at Littlefield. More than 50 craft and specialty brewers will be pouring at Littlefield’s sustainably-renovated warehouse. Food and music will keep you on your toes. Advanced ticket purchase recommended. Gowanus. 12pm-9pm.
Suggested reading: New York’s Ale Awakening: How a Cocktail City Learned to Love Beer

Saturday, March 2 Intro to Cheese Making at 3rd Ward. This class will demystify the steps of cheese making from milk to cream to curd and will teach you how to make creme fraiche, cultured butter, mascarpone and cream cheese. You’ll also take home a cheese-draining basket, and recipes using the freshly-made products and other creamery ideas. Williamsburg. 1:30pm-4:30pm.

catSunday, March 3 Community Bookstore and PS 321 host Writers Series #2: Influential contemporary books about sports. A discussion by sports journalists (and PS 321 parents): Steve Busfield, sports editor of Guardian US; Howie Rumberg, sportswriter at The Associated Press; Ralph Russo, national college football writer at The Associated Press. Moderated by Ezra Goldstein, co-owner of Community Bookstore (and originator of the unofficial Brooklyn Artisan mascot cat chalkboard). This event is geared toward adults, although children are welcome. At Community Bookstore, Park Slope. 2pm.

(Photograph from Jenny & François Selections.)

Domaine Binner Winery, Alsace. (Photographs from Jenny & François Selections.)

Natural Winemakers’ Week,
February 28-March 6

Organic, natural and biodynamic winemakers from France, Italy and Oregon will be in NYC for a week of wine dinners, classes and tastings. Here’s what’s featured in Brooklyn:
Saturday, March 2 Natural Wine 101 at Brooklyn Wine Exchange. Louis/Dressner Selections will introduce some of their favorite producers of small, family-owned wineries. Cobble Hill. 4pm.
Tuesday, March 5 Ides Bar at Wythe Hotel will throw a party featuring all the winemakers, 20 wines by the glass, a DJ, and a great view of Outer Brooklyn’s skyline. If you need an excuse to visit this cool hotel, this could be it. Williamsburg. 8pm-12am.

Loup Blanc Winery, Bize-Minervois.

Loup Blanc Winery, Bize-Minervois.

Wednesday, March 6 stop by Fermented Grapes for a free wine tasting with winemaker Loup Blanc. Prospect Heights.
Wednesday, March 6 winemaker dinner at The Farm on Adderley. Four course dinner paired with wines from Les Chemins de Bassac from Languedoc, France, and Pogiosecco from Tuscany, Italy. Reservations essential—the wine dinners hosted in the back room at The Farm are rumored to be delicious and a lot of fun. Ditmas Park. 8pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

The Town’s Biggest Cigar Booster Since Fiorello LaGuardia?

Cigar entrepreneur David Diamante, creator of the Brooklyn Cigar Lounge a few blocks from the Barclays Center, is a fifth generation Ft. Greene resident. (Photo-illustration for Brooklyn Artisan by Mollie Ann Smith)

Cigar entrepreneur David Diamante, creator of the Brooklyn Cigar Lounge just a few blocks (some say “crawling distance”) from the Barclays Center, is a fifth generation Ft. Greene resident. (Photo-illustration for Brooklyn Artisan by Mollie Ann Smith)

Cigar in hand: Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in his famously messy office.

Cigars and the City: Three-term NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in his cluttered office. A Republican, the former congressman (6 terms) was mayor from 1934-1945, and during a newspaper strike, famously went on the radio to read the Sunday comics. Only five feet tall, and sometimes called “The Little Flower,” he had a personality larger than life. He defeated the Tammany Hall political machine, united the transit system, built parks and public housing, reorganized the police and – an advocate of employment on the basis of merit – overcame the patronage system.

ON A RECENT FRIDAY NIGHT IN FORT GREENE, I sat in a leather lounge chair with David Diamante in his comfy Brooklyn Cigar Lounge and got a few pointers on rolling cigars. Diamante’s traveled to Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic to master the fine art of rolling. “It’s one of those things that you need to know the nuts and bolts to talk about it from an educated perspective,” he explains. And here’s what I learned:

1. Shred the tobacco into a uniform size. Spread it on a clean, flat surface, lightly mist it with filtered water.

2. After removing the center vein of the binder leaf, lay that on the same clean, flat surface, and sprinkle the shredded tobacco on it.

3. Wrap the binder leaf around the shredded tobacco and check it for consistent density. With thumb and index finger, squeeze it at one end and work your way to the other.

4. Spread a light coat of a binder such as bermacol, tragacanth, guar gum or egg white along one edge of the binder leaf, and ever so gently press against the rest of the cigar.

5. Trim off the excess leaf.

6. Roll the wrapper leaf around the binder leaf and seal it with bermacol, Tragacanth, Guar Gum or egg white, just like the binder leaf.

7. Overlap the ends of the wrapper leaf.

Using the Cigar Former

Place the cigar inside a former of the same size, which retains the cigar’s shape while its tobacco dries. (The former is made by nailing wooden strips onto a board. The former is  covered with a top and clamped down.) Wait for about 30 minutes, unclamp the top of the former, turn the cigars over, reclamp the top for another 30 minutes. Then place the former inside an oven just hot enough to warm the former, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. When the cigar is dry, trim the ends. Store the finished cigar inside a humidor for a few weeks.

Diamante's Brooklyn Cigar Lounge on Oxford Street in Ft. Greene

You’ll have no trouble spotting Diamante’s Brooklyn Cigar Lounge on Oxford Street.

Diamante, who imports his own special blends for the lounge,  is not giving away trade secrets here. Rolling takes hours of practice, and seriously, where are you going to find good leaf tobacco in Brooklyn? It’s really better to just head over to Brooklyn Cigar Lounge and talk about the process with David — he’s the tall, skinny, well-dressed guy with dreadlocks down to his back pockets—while toking on one of his selection. As for the lounge, it’s in a restored brownstone at 108 Oxford Street, Brooklyn, 11217. (Call 646 MADURO, for Brooklynites who prefer dialing letters to numbers, or 646 462-3876, for out-of-boroughers.)

Executive Editor Phil Scott has previously written for Brooklyn Artisan about canning, shaving, glider-flying, and other manly pursuits.

In Kandahar, No Pantyhose with Combat Boots

HALF OF THE AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN will be coming home this year, the President says. But the other 34,000 will still be there next year. Knowing that folks at home support them matters. After my two trips to Afghanistan, some Brooklyn Artisan readers have contacted me in the apparent belief that I’m some sort of expert on what US troops need while they’re still over there. Well, personally, I forgot my dental floss, and my shampoo and deodorant were wrestled to the ground, beaten, and confiscated at the airport. As for the people in uniform, I quizzed a couple of recently-returned Brooklyn warriors about the soldiers’ needs, and here are their answers.

While some infantry troops wear ankle high nylons as an extra, inner layer of protection against blisters, The Rumor Doctor reports, "no servicemember will admit to wearing pantyhose."

While some infantry troops wear ankle high nylons as an extra, inner layer of protection against blisters, The Rumor Doctor reports, “no servicemember will admit to wearing pantyhose.”

Good things to send:
Movies (DVDs! VHS is obsolete, and BetaMax tapes are only found in museums)
Gamebooks
New magazines—especially sports magazines
Individual tissue packets
Disposable razors
Body wash
Lotion (that’s some seriously dry climate over there)
Oh, and female soldiers like body sprays. Maybe some of the males like it too. Since no one’s shooting at me, I’m not going to judge.

Now for some of the weirder stuff they’ve received:
Pantyhose
Gardening gloves
A Chubb pack of socks
And an Unrated American Pie sent in a church care package. (Sheesh! Keep it clean, churchgoers!)

So maybe keep these items off your list, along with pornography and booze. Afghans just aren’t into that stuff, and even if we don’t agree with them we’re supposed to respect their culture.

Here’s the address to send it to:

Public Affairs Officer
451 AEW/PA
APO AE 09347

To quote M*A*S*H, That is all.

Executive Editor Phil Scott is the author of seven books and numerous magazine pieces.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for February 19—25

The American Revolution through gardening, get close to stinky cheese, monumental artwork at Brooklyn Museum and it’s NYC Beer Week in Kings County.
caption will go here

The Old Stone House, portrayed in this historic rendering, is the perfect backdrop for a talk by
Andrea Wulf, author of The Founding Gardeners. See first item, below.

Thursday The Founding Gardeners, a talk and reception with design historian Andrea Wulf. Celebrate President’s Day with a fundraiser talk and wine reception for The Old Stone House. Our founding fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Bartram, Madison) were as passionate about gardening, agriculture and botany, as in their belief in liberty for the nation they were creating. Author Andrea Wulf will reveal their unique ideologies as the gardeners, plantsmen and farmers of the American Revolution. The Old Stone House, with its colonial heritage and habitat gardens, is the ideal setting and beneficiary for this evening. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Park Slope. 7pm-9pm.

caption here

“It’s a pungent job but
someone has to do it,” says
Stinky Bklyn. (Photograph
by Morgan Ione Yeager.)

Thursday Affinage: the Sophisticated Art of Aging Cheese, a workshop with Christopher Killoran, shown left, of Stinky Bklyn, in conjunction with The Horticultural Society of NY (“The Hort”). Affinage is the process of washing, innoculating and injecting young cheeses with the molds, bacterias, cultures and enzymes that will allow the cheese to reach maturity and become delicious. This evening’s event will discuss the whole process, all while learning how to use, serve and enjoy cheese. The Hort is dedicated to urban gardeners, with the aim to grow a green community that values horticulture and the benefits gained to the environment, neighborhoods and lives. Advanced registration advised. Outer Brooklyn. 6:30pm.

caption here

El Anatsui, Conspirators, 1997. Composed of individual strips of wood, this piece can be
arranged differently each time it is installed, reflecting the artist’s desire for his work
to remain dynamic. At Brooklyn Museum, see below. (Photograph by Andrew McAllister,
courtesy of the Akron Art Museum.)

Thursday Curator Tour, Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, Brooklyn Museum. Curator Kevin Dumouchelle will lead a free tour of this fascinating exhibit of wall and floor sculptures and installations. Ghanaian artist Anatsui converts found materials, often bottle caps, into colorful, textured hangings and site-specific sculptures. Prospect Heights. 6pm.

nycbg-centerimageFriday Opening Night Bash, New York City Beer Week. Rare and exotic beers from over 30 breweries will be poured at Galapagos Art Space. Sponsored by New York City Brewers Guild. DUMBO. 7pm-10pm. Through March 3, NYC Beer Week will bring together 12 NYC craft breweries, nationally and internationally renowned breweries, over 250 NYC beer destinations, celebrity chefs, and restaurants for the “beer spectacle” of the year. All Beer Week events in BKLYN and Outer BKLYN are listed on the site. Here’s a few other events that caught our attention for this weekend:

caption Robert Buchan

Beer Week tap takeover at Banter.
(Photograph by Robert Buchan.)

 Friday Banter, Williamsburg. New York tap takeover, with 24 craft beers on tap featuring rarities from New York’s finest brewers.

Saturday Fermented NY Craft Beer Crawl of Williamsburg, tour by Urban Oyster Tours.

Sunday The Owl Farm, Park Slope. Celebrating wheat beers: Berlinerweisses, Wheatwines, Weizenbocks, Goses and more.

montague street caption

A Montague Street view from The
Brooklyn Historical Society archives.

Saturday Big Onion Walking Tour of Historic Brooklyn Heights. Sponsored along with Brooklyn Historical Society, this two-hour tour will explore NYC’s first Landmark District. The walk starts at Borough Hall by Cadman Plaza, and ends with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Brooklyn Historical Society building. Along the way are sites associated with Gypsy Rose Lee, WEB DuBois, and others. Brooklyn Heights. 1pm.

61LocalSaturday 2 Year Anniversary Bash at 61 Local, a public house featuring locally crafted food, drink and the people who make it. Celebrate with special soda shandies from Brooklyn Soda Works, a raffle for a knife crafted by Joel Bukiewicz, Cut Brooklyn, with all proceeds of the evening to benefit BK Farmyards. At 8pm there will be a documentary screening that highlights the collaboration with these producers. Cobble Hill. Begins at 5pm.

Coney Island new: the shake was messy but great at newly-opened Tom's back in October 2012, pre-Sandy, but there's all that darn whipped cream! Read what my colleague Bruce Campbell had to say about Tom's Prospect Heights Egg Cream. (photograph, Brooklyn Artisan photo pool)

Coney Island new: the shake was messy but great at newly-opened Tom’s back in pre-Sandy October, but there’s all that darn whipped cream! Read what my colleague Bruce Campbell had to say about Tom’s Prospect Heights Egg Cream. (Photograph, Brooklyn Artisan photo pool.)

Saturday and Sunday Ice Skating in BKLYN: If you’re missing the Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park, closed due to construction, try an afternoon of ice skating en plein air at Coney Island at the Abe Stark Rink. Until March 24, the rink is open weekends from 12:30pm-3:30pm. Skate rental is available. Hydrate and refuel at Tom’s, a branch of the venerable Prospect Heights eatery.

Sunday Oscar Party at Pine Box Rock Shop, a bartender/musician-owned vegan bar and performance space. Cast your ballot and enjoy champagne specials and free popcorn during the awards show. Pine Box promises awesome prizes to those whose ballots match the actual winners. Bushwick. 7pm.

9781118062975_cover.inddMonday Sandy Benefit Concert with jazz guitarist, singer, raconteur John Pizzarelli. Tonight’s fundraiser at powerHouse Arena will feature music and talk from one of the connoisseurs of The Great American Songbook. Pizzarelli will sign copies of his new memoir, World on A String. As the son of jazz-legend Bucky Pizzarelli, as the opening act for Frank Sinatra’s last tour, to performing with Paul McCartney in 2012—Pizzarelli has a lot of material to work with. DUMBO. 7pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for February 15, 16, 17

Just call it fun and make something! Like Lego Gadgets. At the Makery Pop Up, students explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) competencies using traditional design tools in addition to advanced digital fabrication tools. See Saturday for details.

Just call it fun and make something—like these Lego Gadgets!
At the Makery Pop Up (see Saturday, below), all ages have a chance to make cool things using
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) competencies that make use of
traditional design tools and advanced digital fabrication methods.

On this Maritime Sunday, witness the struggles of the Thomas D. Witte tug as it manages a barge into place on the lamentable Newtown Creek. That’s the City’s “Newtown Creek Dock”, tenanted by the mill of the titanic SimsMetal operation.http://newtownpentacle.com/

Could this be the most polluted body of water in the United States?

About that border between Brooklyn and Queens…

Friday Obscura Society: “Up the Creek” a talk with historian Mitch Waxman. Is Newtown Creek, running along the border between Brooklyn and Queens, the most polluted body of water in the United States? Mitch Waxman will lead you through an evening of discussion featuring his research and photographs of this 3.8 mile-long waterway that was named to the Superfund list by the Federal EPA. The NYTimes recently named Mitch as “Your Guide to a Tour of Decay” in part for his passion of documenting the obscure and forgotten area that was once one of the nation’s great manufacturing centers. Part of the Atlas Obscura Speakers series at Observatory, Gowanus. 7pm-9pm.

The Makery's instructors are part of HTINK.*

The Makery’s instructors are part of HTINK.*

Great parent/child activity

Saturday The Makery Pop Up on Bergen Street. Call it a portable digital playground, a 21st century shop class, or Dad’s garage workshop (if dad was an MIT grad). The Makery aims to be a venue where all ages can become Makers using cool, new technologies. Today’s event will have Makers building a Drawing Robot using simple circuits, soldering, 3D design and printing. Through April 30 this pop up space will have weekend and some weeknight sessions offering topics such as DIY Cell Phone Projector and Intro to Soldering, all led by instructors with engineering backgrounds. *Instructors and The Makery team are part of HTINK (pronouced tink) an educational services cooperative focused on spreading technical learning and creative problem solving skills to as many people as possible. BOCOCA.

tedXStream this entire event live

Saturday TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat.” This year’s conference has a theme that rings loud and clear to us: to explore and bolster sustainable ways of eating and producing food. An interesting mix of speakers include Gary Hirshberg, chairman, Stonyfield Farm, Anna Lappé, founding principal, Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund, Bill Yosses, Executive Pastry Chef, The White House, along with film clips and music performances. The disappointing news is that tickets sold out awhile ago, but the entire event is available for livestreaming from 10:30am-6:00pm.

Base Design’s branding for NYCxDesign.

Base Design’s branding for NYCxDesign.

Citywide design event just announced
40,000

NYCxDESIGN, a 12-day citywide event to showcase and promote design of all disciplines, chaired by City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn. “We have more designers in New York City than any other U.S. city, but we do a terrible job promoting them in their totality,” she told the NYTimes. The idea behind NYCxDESIGN, planned by Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, is to make design visible to people who don’t normally think about it. Many types of programs are planned, including exhibitions, installations, trade shows, talks, launches and open studios. All will be culled from design disciplines of graphic, product, architecture, fashion, digital, urban, furniture, plus design thinkers and educators. The BKLYN Designs 2013 exhibition of contemporary furnishings and home accessories at St. Ann’s Warehouse, DUMBO will be an official event of NYCxDESIGN. Check the website to see how you can participate as well as attend events. May 10 thorough May 21.

Portlandia is just Brooklyn spelled differently.

They like their artisanal stuff as much as we do.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

My Tasty – Though Hasty – Valentine Comes with a Love Poem (and a Dash of Chagrin)

Chocolove Belgian Chocolate Bars (Oops, Not Made in Brooklyn)SOME YEARS I JUST CAN’T BE THE VALENTINE GIVER I’D LIKE TO BE. Flu, deadlines, house guests, or no excuses, it just happens. So this year, on the way home from the Q train, I’m skidding into Natural Land on Flatbush Avenue to pick up some chocolate I’ve been eyeing from time to time. The flavors sound good and there’s a little notice on the outside of each package: “love poem inside,” it says, and sports an embossed heart-shaped seal as well as a cute little ersatz postmark and flavor-naming stamp. Definitely an effort has been made here, though not as classy as Mast Brothers’ paper wrapping. Still, I think how the oversized, artisanal-style Chocolove bar will look on Sweet Lover’s pillow tonight, Valentine’s Eve. Um mmm, good. Very intentional looking, getting a slight jump on The Day.

Mae West’s husky voice comes to my mind’s ear: “Too much of a good thing is…wonderful.” Full of devotion and other emotion, I buy three. I wonder if each flavor has its own love poem or are they all the same.

Only as I am setting out the chocolate bars on Sweetie Pie’s pillow right under the reading light do I discover the shocking truth! These chocolates were not made in Brooklyn. Boulder, Colorado–whoa, that’s Wa-a-ay Outer Brooklyn. How can a founding team blogger of Brooklyn Artisan have made such a mistake? It may not even be fair-trade cocoa!

If the love poetry is to be read aloud, best to peel open rather than tearing it.

If the love poem is to be shared aloud, best peel rather than rip it open.

Desperately, I turn over each bar: It is the same story.  “Belgian chocolate made from Javanese and African beans,” the Hazelnuts in Milk Chocolate bar confesses. Dark Chocolate bar murmurs, “African cocoa beans.” Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate hisses, “Dark semisweet chocolate with roasted coffee bean bits”– no hint of country of origin from this one, no naming of the transport (sailboat or otherwise), no high-minded bearded brothers.

My Sugar Love discovers me thus, with a lapful of rogue chocolate. He is happy! He tears open Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate and the outside wrapper falls aside. He offers me a row of squares. I find it is delicious, and he agrees. Crunching this guilty pleasure, I rescue the torn wrapper. It is a little hard to read “Sonet VI” [sic] by Robert Louis Stevenson, but we manage.

“O strange chance more sorrowful than sweet,” the poet wrote, but my minor misadventure has turned out just the opposite: There are worse things than crunchy chocolate crumbs in the bed.

(Photographs by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Chalk-o-late Time! Meet the Beers Family!

A timely reminder might save some embarrassment.

A timely reminder might save some embarrassment.

The general invitation is good, very friendly. (Photographs by Brooklyn ARtisan Photo Pool)

The general invitation is good, very friendly. (Photographs: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUDDIT!!  There’s a newsboy aspect to the chalkboard easels calling out info and reminders as we make our way home from the workday, and a smile-worthy sign strikes an especially welcoming note.

Sweets for Your Sweetie

HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE CHOCOLATE-Y WAYS.

Brooklyn bakers and chocolate makers are busy dreaming up all sorts of delights for Valentine’s Day. Here’s just a sampling.

Nunu-chocolates-salt-caramels

Nunu-heart-lollipopNunu Chocolates will package its salt caramels (above) in a heart-shaped box (6 pieces/$14, 12/$24). They are  hand-dipped in dark chocolate with a dusting of fleur de sel on top—I personally find them irresistible any time of year. Or how about giving all your beloveds a heart-shaped dark chocolate lollipop for just $2 a pop?
529 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill
917-776-7102

Mast Brothers Chocolate will have Valentine’s truffles and bon bons in its case.

Mast-Bros-Counter

250-MastBrothersValentinesCakeAnd they’re baking an over-the-top Valentine’s Day treat: a chocolate caramel layered cake with King’s County Distillery bourbon, buttercream filling and shaved chocolate on top. Call to reserve your cake; it is available for store pick-up only.
111 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg
718-388-2644

val-heart-cookiesBetty Bakery has hearts galore to choose from: a floral-embossed Victorian Heart—an orange-coffee cookie dipped in white chocolate, a Linzer Heart— sandwiched with raspberry jam, of course, and an Iced Sable Heart—hand-decorated in shades of pink, red and white ($3.95). But wait, there are small heart cookies by the pound ($32) and heart cakes, as well: the Romantic Quilled Heart Cake is an iced chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream, the Giddy Heart Cake is a yellow butter cake with fudgy chocolate ganache, iced in red rolled fondant …All this is making me feel a bit giddy myself. How about a chocolate dipped strawberry ($1.95) as a palate cleanser?
448 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
718-246-2402

FanyBrownieRobicellisRobicelli’s is offering a special dozen cupcakes in Valentine’s Day flavors—Strawberry Champagne, The Eve (walnut cake with pomegranate cheesecake buttercream), The Ebinger (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate), Creme Brulée—with a personalized card, ribbon wrapping and delivery ($50).Or how about a 4-pack or 12-pack of Robicelli’s Fany Brownies—named after Fany Gerson, aka La Newyorkina, whose kitchen and expensive equipment to make her Mexican ice pops were destroyed by Sandy. Robicelli’s dark chocolate brownie base is “spiked with Mexican cinnamon, swirled with sweet sexy cajeta.” A portion of the profits will go to La Newyorkina. Order cupcakes and brownies by 2 pm Tuesday, February 12, for hand delivery.
Bay Ridge, 917-509-6048
info@robicellis.com

The Owl’s Head / Wine Bar in Bay Ridge is hosting a pop-up dessert event with Robicelli’s on Valentine’s Day. You’ll need to make reservations— call 718-680-2436—for one of two limited reserved seatings: 7 pm  and 9:45 pm. An advance reservation for two people includes three shared Robicelli’s dessert courses and 4 oz drink pairings for each person for $75 (not including tax and tip). Just look at this menu…

First Course: Pear MascarponeTheOwlsHeadWineBar
Mascarpone panna cotta, roasted pear compote, spiced pear chip
Served with: German Gilabert Zero Dosage Cava Brut Nature 2011

Second Course: The Noah
Apple galette, goat cheese mousse, roasted candied bacon, bourbon brown sugar sauce
Served with: Niepoort 2001 Colheita Port

Third Course: Car Bomb
Jameson whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream & Guinness stout opera cake, Guinness beer nut praline
Served with: Sixpoint 3beans über-porter

No reservations, no problem. Walk-ins are always welcome for drinks and bites. There should even be some desserts available à la carte. Lovers and lonelyhearts, go have some fun!

The Owl’s Head / Wine Bar
479 74th Street, Bay Ridge
718-680-2436

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the 2nd weekend of February

caption will go here Aric Snee

Under construction: UrbanGlass’s renovation and expansion in the
1918 Strand Theater on Fulton Street is as fascinating as their exhibits.
Above, A Fuller Translation, by Aric Snee, M.F.A., Alfred University, blown glass.

Thursday Feb. 7 Opening reception for UrbanGlass M.F.A. Exhibition Competition, a juried show of recent M.F.A. graduates from glass programs across the country. Four emerging glass artists, Alli Hoag, Benjamin Johnson, Jessi A. Moore and Aric Snee, are showing work at gallery space 111 Front Street in DUMBO. Tonight’s reception is from 6pm-9pm, and the show runs through March 1. At the conclusion of this exhibition, one of the four will be selected for a solo exhibition at the UrbanGlass gallery. Founded in 1977, UrbanGlass is dedicated to aspiring and established artists wishing to create with glass as a creative medium. Their permanent home is undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion as part of a multi-million dollar investment in the 1918-built Strand Theater by the City of New York and the Borough of Brooklyn. The finished building, a LEED Silver facility, will be a cornerstone of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Meanwhile, classes, studio space and other programming is being offered in temporary space in the Gowanus area.

Deadline alerts
Art House co-founders Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library. (photograph, Blue Window Creative)

Art House co-founders Steven Peterman
and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library.
(photograph, Blue Window Creative)

The Brooklyn Art Library first came on the scene for The Sketchbook Project, a library of over 18,000 artists’ books on display in a storefront exhibition space in Williamsburg. The Sketchbook Project was created by Art House, an independent company that organizes global, collaborative art projects that anyone can participate in. Most projects include a digital component, as Art House strives to combine hands-on art making with new technology. Current project stats indicate that over 52,000 artists from 128 countries have participated in an Art House project; 5,771 sketchbooks are archived in the Digital Library, and 37 worldwide projects have been organized. Several projects are open for participation now: Five Minutes | Buildings, with a sign-up deadline of Thursday, February 7, asks participants to take five minutes to draw the tallest building in your town. Other intriguing projects you can participate in: Memoir Project (500 handwritten books), The Meal 2013 (documenting a global snack on February 22), and The Print Exchange (a print swap), along with the original Sketchbook Project.

hello_etsy_2013

Etsy: “We hope to show
that business does not have
to be brutal to be successful
and fulfilling.”

This event will sell out fast. Hello Etsy at Pratt: Reimagine the Marketplace, March 22-24 at Pratt Brooklyn. This is an annual conference of creativity and ideas as only the entrepreneurs of Etsy can present. The aims of this event are to explore new methods of production, new patterns of consumption, and more lasting and purposeful ways of working. Etsy’s take on building the creative economy of the future as connected, human-scaled and joyful will be discussed. Over 14 high-profile speakers include Chris Anderson, 3DRobotics and WIRED, Rachel Chong, Catchafire, Chad Dickerson, Etsy, along with workshops. Register now.

BOOKMARK THISShout out to redesigned site downtownbrooklyn.comby Smart Ass Design.The events page is a snap tonavigate, colorful, clear.This month, there’s even a drawing to win a ticket to flya friend to Brooklyn.

BOOKMARK THIS:
A shout out to
redesigned site
downtownbrooklyn.com
.
The events page is
a snap to navigate,

colorful and clear.
This month, there’s
even a chance to win
a ticket
to fly a friend
to
Brooklyn.

JumpStart NYC 13.0 is a three-month educational program to help unemployed or underemployed professionals explore opportunities at small entrepreneurial companies. Applications for the next session, starting on March 4 is due by February 11. The backstory: I attended the premiere session of JumpStartNYC in 2010 at SUNY’s Levin Institute. As a traditional-media print art director, I knew that my career choices were becoming limited and less interesting. JumpStart NYC provided me with incentive to explore work in alternative media with entrepreneurial companies. Starting with a five-day intensive boot camp, my sessions included lectures from Wharton and Harvard professors; next came a 10-week consultancy at a start up that provided video-collaboration business services. Regular networking events with peers, mentors and local businesses led me to Apple, where I continue to work while pursuing other media projects, such as Brooklyn Artisan. Sponsored by the NYC Economic Development Corporation and SUNY Levin Institute. Companies wishing to participate as consultancy project sponsors can get information on the Levin site. The program is free and limited to New York City residents.

caption goes here

Back to fun

Be an online cookbook judge: This is a new event to me but sounds like fun: The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. Every day for the next week or so, the colorful site Food52 is hosting an NCAA-style competition to determine the best among 16 cookbooks published in the past year. Expert judges include Kurt Andersen, Studio 260, Wylie Dufresne, wd-50, and actor and cookbook author Stanley Tucci. Books in the  competition include A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories, by April Bloomfield, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book, by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey and Paolo Lucchesi, Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, and Japanese Farm Food, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Four rounds of judging lead to a final, and you get to weigh in along the way.

sandwichMaking me hungry: The Brooklyn Sandwich Society, a farm-to-table restaurant with seasonal sandwiches and an attractive website peppered with ephemera and hunger-inducing menu descriptions: The Clermont, roasted maitake mushroom, black ledge blue, lacinato kale, parsley aioli on ciabatta, The Grand, pan-fried squid, baby bok choy, cilantro, hot & sour glaze on ciabatta, and Celeriac Soup with crispy oxtail and chive oil. That’s just some of the lunch menu. House-made soda too. From a chef-and-designer team that started out as the Brooklyn Edible Social Club, but has morphed into a true brick-and-mortar place. Fort Greene.

browniesSweet tooth or Valentine’s idea: Help Red Hook-based Fany Gerson of My Sweet Mexico and La Newyorkina get back on her business feet—knocked out from under her by Sandy—by purchasing Fany Brownies from Robicelli’s. Robicelli’s once shared a kitchen with Fany and her paletas (Mexican-style frozen ice pops) and they have pledged to donate a chunk of profits from online sales of these brownies—swirled with Mexican cinnamon and cajeta—through the end of February. Other BKLYN-based food purveyers have signed on to help out too:  Brooklyn Cured, Liddabit Sweets, Whimsy & Spice, see the site for more. Friends indeed.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

A Fish Narrative — from Rhode Island Boat to BrooklynTable

The Boat: ""Captain James Haitz caught your fish on the F/V James and Matthew, an otter trawler docked out of the Port of Galilee, Rhode Island. Captain Haitz has collaborated with scientists at Cornell’s Cooperative Extension Marine Program to modifiy his trawling gear to reduce his bycatch," Mermaid's Garden's email to members explains. "In his area, the yellowtail stock was recently declared rebuilt."

Step One, The Boat: “Captain James Haitz caught your fish on the F/V James & Matthew, an otter trawler docked out of the Port of Galilee, Rhode Island,” Mermaid’s Garden advised Brooklyn members. “Captain Haitz has collaborated with scientists at Cornell’s Cooperative Extension Marine Program to modify his trawling gear to reduce his bycatch.” (Photo via Mermaid’s Garden)

POOLING OUR FISH, we call it, when Mediterraneanista heads over to Brooklyn, picks up her fish from the Mermaid’s Garden drop at the Palo Santo restaurant on Union Street, and brings it along to Brooklyn Artisan HQ in the North Slope. This week the Mermaid’s Garden Community Supported Fishery offering was yellowtail flounder.

From Bianca Piccillo, marine biologist and CSF co-founder, we’d learned about yellowtail: “Like many of our local species, the story of Limanda ferruginea was until recently a grim one. Yellowtail are managed in three geographic sectors: Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and Southern New England/Mid- Atlantic. Starting in the 1930’s fishing pressure on yellowtail picked up (as winter flounder stocks declined).

Step Two: The Recipe: The print-out from the FB page is beautifully formatted, easy to follow.

Step Two: The Recipe: The print-out from the FB page is carefully formatted, easy to follow.

“By the 1990’s all three yellowtail stocks had collapsed,” Mermaid’s Garden’s report said. “Rebuilding plans for the three stocks of yellowtail were implemented in 2004 and 2006. The Southern New England/ Mid-Atlantic stock was recently declared rebuilt!”

So our fish are strictly legit. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

And these particular flounder have personality: “Like summer flounder, yellowtail are fast growing and mature early,” we learned. “Unlike summer flounder, yellowtail are right-eyed flounders: As they mature their left eye migrates to the right side of its body. After this migration yellowtail settle near the sea floor.”

Step Three: Salt and pepper, then into the dip and bread-and-flour mix, and right into the saute pan.

Step Three: Season it, then into the dip and bread-and-flour mix, and right into the saute pan.

Okay, next question: How to cook it? Bianca had warned us, “Yellowtail is relatively delicate, so cook it carefully lest you end up with mush.” Uh-oh. Then the good news: “Mark has added two new recipes for flounder to our repertoire – a braised recipe and a crispy pan-fried preparation.” Mark Usewicz is Mermaid’s Garden’s co-founder, and a Paris-trained chef. His recipes are in the Notes section of Mermaid’s Garden’s Facebook page.

The Final Step: Onto the table for all to enjoy!

The Final Step: Ready to serve!

Time to meet the fish. Since they are cleaned, fileted, ready to cook, we don’t have that worrisome look-you-in-the-eye moment. Our family chef quickly blesses the fish with salt and pepper. The egg-and-milk dip is ready, flour and fine bread crumbs mixed.

Small-batch production: Sautéed two by two with a little oil and butter and then transferred to a warmed tray until all are done. Arranged on the platter, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges, and –ta da! –ready to serve! A treat worth sharing.

(Photographs from Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

 

Grounded! A Chalkward Moment at 200 Fifth

200 Fifth Chalkboard FlatSO THE BIG BAD WOLF CAME DOWN THE AVENUE and outside 200 Fifth he smelled something really good, so he huffed and he puffed and he … blew over the chalkboard easel. After Superstorm Sandy, this hardly qualifies as a weather disaster, but on a gusty night, our favorite form of outdoor advertising may have to play indoors . (Photo by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the beginning of February

A mixed-bag of talks, rides, exhibits and Valentines for the shortest, but often sweetest, month.
caption tk see below

1922 meets 2013 with an amazing view at Jane’s Carousel. See Friday, Feb. 1.

begraciousThursday, Jan. 31 Artists’ Responses to Sandy, a panel discussion on relief efforts presented at School of Visual Arts. Five panelists will showcase work and discuss the impact the storm has had on the wider community as well as the art world: John Mattiuzzi, video artist; Jessica Rionero and Chelsea Marino, BeGracious.org; Kathy Shorr, The Summer in the City Project; Dena Muller, New York Foundation for the Arts. At SVA’s Amphitheater in Outer Brooklyn, Manhattan. 7pm-9pm.

janes_carousel-9

The Carousel was originally installed in Idora Park in
Youngstown, Ohio. Restoration began in 1984, and
the magnificent Carousel opened to the public in 2011.

Friday, Feb. 1 February Celebration at Jane’s Carousel. If you need an excuse for a treat this month, go for a two-for-one ride ($2) on Jane’s Carousel. Damage from you-know-who has been repaired, and the restored merry-go-round is in full splendor and ready for play—and it’s heated too. Made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, this carousel has 48 exquisitely carved horses and two chariots along with original scenic panels. The carousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is housed in a see-through minimalist pavilion designed in 2011 by Atelier Jean Nouvel. Brooklyn Bridge Park. DUMBO.

caption tk not as scary as it looks

Bees in the city: maybe not as scary as this looks. (Photograph from HoneybeeLives.)

Saturday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 3 Organic Beekeeping Workshop, led by HoneybeeLives beekeeper/bee doctor Chris Harp, and beekeeper Grai Rice. This is a hands-on one- or two-day workshop to learn about Chris and Grai’s gentle approach to organic beekeeping. Saturday: Plan a new hive this spring by learning about bee communities and instincts, as well as beekeeper responsibilities. Sunday: How to care for bees through hive design, health and disease management, seasonal concerns. Pre-registration advised. The Commons, Boerum Hill. 10am-6pm each day.

caption tk

Part of Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, this Kachina looks ready to party.

Saturday, Feb. 2 Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum. If you’ve attended in the past, you know that from 5pm until 11pm, happy crowds of families, neighborhood types, and fun-seekers descend upon the museum (admission is free) to partake in programs of art and entertainment. The Dance Party, alas, has been put on hold, but there’s still plenty to explore. This month’s First Saturday is themed African Innovations and includes music, dance, hands-on activities, and a fashion showcase/performance by New York-based designers with music by Ethiopian DJ Sirak.

Melissa Godoy Nieto Myrtle ave caption tkSaturday, Feb. 2 A Patchwork Story: Myrtle Windows Gallery. Opening this evening, A Patchwork Story is on view in eight storefronts along Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Over nine artists (Melissa Godoy Nieto’s work is at left) have contributed works to this month-long, curated exhibit that draws inspiration from African American quilts as part of personal identity and cultural heritage. Part of Black Artstory Month on Myrtle, in honor of Black History Month. Reception at Sans Souci Restaurant. 6:30pm-9pm.

Sesame Letterpress caption tk

Sesame Letterpress will pass
along their love of letterpress
on a Vandercook at Etsy Labs.

hearts_lg-300x224Monday, Feb. 3 Etsy Hands-On: Letterpress Valentines, a printing workshop from font-loving Sesame Letterpress. Here’s a chance to get an introduction to letterpress printing using the Etsy Labs’s Vandercook press. After learning about the process and printing a Valentine’s Day card, students will get to personalize their work using colored pencils, ephemera, and other collage materials. The typography class at my college, Tyler School of Art, included a semester’s worth of handset type printed on a Vandercook. Pre-digital, totally bespoke—it was hard work but a lot of fun. DUMBO. 5pm-8pm.

Tuesday, Feb. 4 How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs. Brooklyn-based online marketplace UncommonGoods is sponsoring a panel discussion about the whys and ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices in your business. Guests can present their designs and ideas for feedback by emailing in advance—or tweet #howtomakeitUG. Following the talk, there will be a networking happy hour (free Brooklyn Brewery beer) to mingle and meet panelists Tiffany Threadgould, chief design junkie at TerraCycle, Rebecca Krauss, EcoBizNYC, and Yuka Yoneda, editor of inhabitat.com. At Powerhouse Arena, DUMBO. 6:30pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Desktop 3D Replicators? Wow,This Is the 21st Century

“STEP INTO THE 3D PHOTOBOOTH AND IMMORTALIZE YOURSELF!”, the MakerBot store on Mulberry Street in Outer Brooklyn/Manhattan says on its website. That sounds like “Beam me up, Scotty” come true, with a dash of  The Immortals. The reality is a little bit different, but still pretty cool. This is not a clone machine, but a copier. A 3D copier.

Retailing for $2200 and up, The Replicator could make lots of models or household objects for you.

Retailing for $2200 and up, The Replicator could make lots of models or household objects for you.

If you want to make a photocopy of something as large as your house or as tiny as a penny, just use a Xerox copier. Take a picture of your house, or just toss the penny on the copier’s glass, and hit Copy. Or Start. That’s the way it’s been done since, well, before I was born. If you want a 3D copy, that presents a problem—or it did until recently. Brooklyn’s Madagascar Institute—a place that teaches mostly shop classes like welding and operating power tools, and also some crafty stuff like sewing—actually offers a class on 3D copying, using, in Star Trekian parlance, a Replicator.

3D printing is harder to master than your average 2D Xerox—at least according to people who’ve never tried to operate a worn office copier—which is why the Institute holds three-hour-long classes taught by Colin Butgereit. Butgereit, who’s been a member of Madagascar Institute for more than a year now, also works for MakerBot Industries, which manufactures the MakerBot Replicator.

“I provide people with the knowledge to generate the files so that the printer can essentially make or build the object,” he says. “It’s a three-hour class, and you can do a fair amount of printing in three hours. The bigger it is, the longer it will take, so we stick with the smaller stuff.”

He usually has four students a class, which works out to one printer per person.

Let’s talk quality. Say I want a copy of my right hand. The printer’s output will be “pretty close to an exact replica,” Butgereit says. “You’re still going to see that it’s for the most part printed; you’re going to see lines, you might get some polygons or different shapes that you would never see on a hand because it’s been computer generated. It also depends on the software—with high-end stuff it could almost look exactly like it.”

Okay, but what about scars? I have a great one on my right index finger dating back to my sophomore year in college, when I was helping a guy work on his ancient, oil-soaked car engine. The wrench broke, I shoved my hand into the dirt-caked starter mount, and after a trip to the ER I ended up with an inch-long scar full of stitches and black grease. Oh, yeah, I stuck my thumb in a table saw. And also, my, um, wrinkles? (I’m, uh, older, so they should be self-explanatory.) “Only if it’s a sort of geographic,” he says. “If it stood out, either from convex or concave form, that’s where you might see it. So far as color it will never show up.” So no black grease, but you’ll see stitches and veins.

For the home hobbyist or designer, this Solidoodle makes up to 6x6x6" objects and sells for around $500.

For the home hobbyist or designer, this Solidoodle makes up to 6x6x6″ objects and sells for around $500.

What about size? The penny, no problem. But the house? He has an answer to that one.

“Fly all the way around your house until you’ve taken enough photos so you could see every part of your house,” he explains. “When you have that, download the Autodesk application [Autodesk manufactures CAD software] on your computer or iPad, and process it and email it to Autodesk. They will essentially send you back another email of the image compiled from the data.” Load it into the Replicator and voila. As for the house’s square footage, “Technically it could be to size,” he says, “but I’m guessing there’s no 3D printer to handle a house. You’ll have to scale it down.”

If you’re interested in the 3D printing class at Madagascar Institute, go to eventbrite.com. The class runs $65.

Executive Editor Phil Scott writes about science, travel and aviation. 

>For a glimpse of the future, where you don’t worry about losing your keys, you just print up a new set before you leave the house, or don’t keep a toolbox, you just print what gadget you need when you need it, and instead of putting it away, you just toss the used one into the materials recycler.

Amazing 3D Printer – YouTube.

Help for Businesses Still Struggling to Rebuild After Sandy

New NYC grants program, and a deadline for SBA loan applications

The NYC Department of Small Business Services has announced a new $1 million grant program for small businesses hit by Hurricane Sandy. Funded by Barclays, Citi and UBS, the program will award grants of up to $5,000 for businesses to make physical repairs or replace damaged equipment. “Small Business Assistance Grants will now be available to help businesses that may not qualify for the [city’s emergency] loan [fund],” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. To apply for a grant, call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/nycbusiness.

Meanwhile, this Monday, January 28, is the deadline for NY businesses to apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan. (That’s also the filing deadline for FEMA disaster assistance for individuals.)

The SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance offers businesses low-interest physical disaster loans up to $2 million to cover repair or replacement of uninsured or under-insured property, equipment, inventory and fixtures and economic injury loans to meet expenses like rent that the business would normally have have been able to cover. Less well known is that the SBA also offers assistance to individuals: Renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc. damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition. You can apply for the SBA loans online at sba.gov/disaster, or by calling 800-659-2955. Or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for assistance.

Even if you’re missing some information that’s needed on the application form, be sure to send in the application by the deadline, recommends attorney Yisroel Schulman, founder of nonprofit New York Legal Assistance Group, who answered questions about SBA and FEMA applications on The Brian Lehrer Show this week. If the application is rejected for missing info you can always appeal, but the initial application must be in by the deadline.

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