Walt’s Words: “Election Day, November, 1884”

The Cyclone, Coney IslandAs Ample Hills Creamery oft reminds us, Walt Whitman wrote admiringly about our Kings County homeland. The words below, however, are Whitman speaking of the country as a whole and what makes “America’s choosing day” so quintessentially American: “the swordless conflict” to be resolved at the ballot box. 

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

 

A small footnote: 1884 is the year that Coney Island started building its roller coasters, a perhaps-too-perfect political symbol. 

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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

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: Need a fix for the winter doldrums?

Get out of your comfort zone with a challenging class that uses new materials, techniques and ideas. Here’s some of our favorite classes, coming up right now:
IMG_0816

What better time than cold, grey January to cocoon with warm, soft
yarn?
I’m thinking that it’s time to take a class to learn a challenging stitch
or two, handle some new wool and see what others are working on.

HANDS ON

Entrelac Knitting at Argyle Yarn Shop
This is one of several classes offered at this new Windsor Terrace yarn shop that make complicated-looking techniques easier to learn. During the two-hour class, up to six students will learn to knit a scarf using Entrelac technique. The final result resembles a basket-weave type of texture, accomplished by using only knit and purl stitches. 10% discount toward yarn and needles is offered on the day of the class. Sunday, January 20. 1pm-3:30pm.

knit

A knitting knobby, aka spool knitter, may appeal to young children learning to knit.

Parent & Child Knitting at Brooklyn General Store
Knitting is a wonderful skill to learn and share and should be started young! My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was seven, and I went crazy knowing that I could save up a few quarters and go to Woolworth’s, buy a huge skein of Coats and Clark knitting worsted in colors that striated all over the color wheel, and knit me up a scarf in a week or so. I later moved on to knitting skirts and vests out of all kinds of acrylic fluff—this was the 60s, you know—and watch out when I learned to make fringe! Grandmother taught me Continental-style knitting, but I found the English style easier, and to this day I knit English style and it has never cramped my technique. When I came across the Parent & Child Knitting class at Brooklyn General Store, I totally approved. This 3-week class is designed to encourage creative interaction between parent and child (age 7 and up). Together you’ll learn basic knitting skills including how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, and decipher simple instructions. Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill. Sundays, beginning January 13, 5pm-6:30pm.

Ronimainworkshop

Screenprinting, once abandoned by art schools and artists as unhealthy with its use of solvents and oil-based inks, is having a resurgence. Master printer Roni Henning (pictured in green tee) tells all at her open-studio workshops in Bay Ridge.

Screenprinting with master print artisan Roni Henning
Learn to create water-based screenprints and monoprints using non-toxic techniques pioneered by printmaker Roni Henning. Screenprinting has personal, professional and commercial applications that will be explored at open-studio workshops. Using hand and digital methods, Roni will cover basics for those unfamiliar with screen printing, along with demonstrations of more complex techniques. Roni, a reknown artist and author, collaborates with artists to create fine art editions (Romare Bearden, Andy Warhol, Red Grooms, and Alice Neel are on her resume). Bay Ridge. Sessions scheduled twice a month. Contact Roni through her website to sign up.

NYC Resistor teaches students to“Fire the Lazzzzor!”

NYC Resistor teaches students to
“Fire the Lazzzzor!” safely and creatively.

Laser Design and Rapid Prototype at NYC Resistor
Using an Epilog 35 Watt Laser, learn basic rapid prototype techniques, safety and design skills, and make a piece during this three hour class. Class fees include lab time for laser cutting, Q&A, and working with design software like Inkscape, Illustrator or Corel Draw. Scrap materials for experimenting with are provided, and additional materials such as laserable acrylic can be purchased to use. This hands-on class will go step-by-step from initial idea to pressing the “go” button on the laser. NYC Resistor is a hacker collective that meets regularly to share knowledge, hack on projects and build community. Founding member George Shammas’s bio states that he breaks things to fix them. Good to know. Boerum Hill. Sunday, January 20, 2pm-5pm.

joineryPro Picture Frames on the Table Saw at Makeville
Artisanal shop class? Makeville Studio, a hands-on lab for craft, building, art and invention is offering a chance to safely master table saw techniques and learn to make professional quality hardwood picture frames. Learn to make accurate and repeatable miter cuts and keys, set up and use a dado set, apply quick and easy finishes, cut mat boards and mount the finished frame. Gowanus. Three sessions on Mondays, starting January 14, 7pm-10pm.

NEED TO KNOW

Intellectual Property for the Fine Arts at 3rd Ward
Sooner or later, every artisan, business owner, author and maker confronts the need to control ownership of what they have created. The financial implications can be huge, and most of us are ill-prepared to deal with protecting our rights when it comes to our creativity. An evening spent learning about Intellectual Property at 3rd Ward will be a few hours well spent. Entertainment and intellectual property lawyer Kelly Kocinski Trager will discuss when and how to use copyrights, trademarks and patents; how to protect yourself and your creations; and Q&A on pertinent facts. Williamsburg. Thursday, January 17. 7pm-10pm.

Intro to Google Analytics at Gowanus Print Lab
If only someone would tell us about the stuff we need to know so that our blog gets more exposure. 21-year-old Rutgers Graduate Ian Jennings is presenting this three-hour lecture, and sounds ideal. His course will discuss: What’s the difference between a visit and a pageview? • Who’s visiting your site? • Who’s coming back? • What kind of device are they using? • How can I get more traffic from search engines? • What about Facebook, Twitter, and all those other social networks? • How do I sell more stuff? • What other tools exist? Thank you Gowanus Print Lab for recognizing that some of us need clarification in this area. Gowanus. Wednesday, January 23, 7pm-10pm.

5-dollar-lincoln$5 Fridays at Brooklyn Central
Brooklyn Central, a new art and photography education center in DUMBO, offers 90-minute classes for $5 on Fridays. It’s part of BKC’s philosophy to keep things simple with motivated instructors and short sessions that will help you learn something new, build on your creativity, and expand your goals. Seems like a painless way to pick up some photo basics like “Dealing with Low Light Situations,” “Color,” “Capturing Motion,” “The Lowdown on Lenses,” and “Photoshop Basics.” DUMBO. Fridays, check website for times and dates.

BLDG 92's Ted & Honey café.

BLDG 92’s Ted & Honey café.

CAUSE YOU’RE HUNGRY TO LEARN

The Pearl Harbor Sandwich: Cuisine at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Brooklyn Artisan is often found hanging around the Brooklyn Navy Yard because it’s such a fascinating mix of old and new, with history to discover and history in the making. This talk and tasting, in conjunction with Brooklyn Historical Society, will explore the Yard’s past and present using food as the central theme. Discover the modern grocery store that is soon going to replace Yard mansions, and get access to one of the largest rooftop gardens in the U.S. Where do the Yard’s artists go for snacks today? (Hint: it may be BLDG 92’s Ted & Honey café.) Led by historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman, who is Artist in Residence at BLDG 92. Vinegar Hill. Thursday, February 28, 7pm.

Current soda flavors from Brooklyn Soda Works include spiced plum, hibiscus + cinnamon + ginger,  apple + ginger.

Learn about current flavors produced at Brooklyn Soda Works like apple & ginger.

Create Your Own Handmade Soda at Brooklyn Soda Works
Small batch soda masters Caroline Mak and Antonio Ramos, founders of Brooklyn Soda Works, will be demonstrating their special science-based techniques—Ramos is a chemist—to create home-brewed soda. Tour their test kitchen and get a hands-on demo in pairing interesting flavor combinations, and then hand craft your own soda. Book this class through SideTour, an online marketplace of classes and events. Bushwick/Bed Stuy location. Thursday, January 24. 7pm-9pm.

LEARNING COLLECTIVES & MEETUPS

3rd WardBrooklyn BraineryBrooklyn SkillshareFixers Collective NYCChurch of Craft at the Etsy LabsBrooklyn Tech Meetup
jellyweekWorldwide Jellyweek: A Jelly is a casual working event that takes place in a home, a café, a coworking space or an office to allow people to collaborate on a project for a day. Worldwide #Jellyweek  2013, January 14-20, will offer several opportunities in Brooklyn to collaborate: • Coworking Jelly Day, Friday, January 18 at Brooklyn BraineryJellyweek 2012 days at Bitmap.

2todoNOTEPlease mention Brooklyn Artisan if you decide to sign up for a class.

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

Fresh Fish, Smoked Fish—Any Way You Like It

Day Two  12 Tastes of Brooklyn
Wouldn’t this make a perfect tile in the subway station at Sheepshead Bay, home to Brooklyn’s own 50-boat fishing fleet? But no, the mosaic is by an unknown Roman artist, 3rd to 5th century A.D. Found in Tunisia, it now resides in Brooklyn Museum.


Wouldn’t this make a perfect tile in the subway station at Sheepshead Bay, home to Brooklyn’s
own 50-boat fishing fleet? But no, the mosaic is by an unknown Roman artist, 3rd to
5th century A.D. Found in Tunisia, it now resides in Brooklyn Museum. (Photo courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

dec7THE FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES is an Italian Christmas Eve celebration with as many interpretations as there are families and regions of Italy—and Brooklyn. If you want to create your own feast, you have a treat in store: Mermaid’s Garden, Brooklyn’s first CSF, or Community Supported Fishery, is opening its holiday store to the public. (CSF members—including some Brooklyn Artisan folks—sign up for a weekly drop of delicious sustainable fish and seafood, much of it caught in local waters.) The holiday store will have live Montauk lobsters, Montauk Pearl and wild Maine Belon oysters, fish fillets, clams, squid and more. How about Siberian sturgeon caviar?! The online store is open from Saturday, December 8 to Monday, December 17. Pickup will be at four Brooklyn spots on Saturday, December 22.

For full details about the fish (and fishermen), how to buy, and addresses for pickup, go to the Mermaid’s Garden website.  And on the Mermaid’s Garden Facebook page, you’ll find wonderful recipes from co-owner and chef Mark Usewitz.

If you’d rather someone else do the cooking, Chef Saul Bolton will be serving a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Dec. 24 at his Michelin-starred Saul Restaurant in Cobble Hill, as he has for the last eight years—and for the first time this year, he tells us, at his new Italian restaurant, Red Gravy, in Brooklyn Heights. Call 718-935-9842 for more information on menus and for reservations.

mackerel-squid-bensonhurst

Mackerel and squid at a Bensonhurst fish market, where you could also find sardines and eel,
popular choices for the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Don’t forget, too, that Brooklyn is known as the smoked fish capital of America. Acme Smoked Fish has been at the center of that world since the early 1900s when Harry Brownstein, an emigrant from Russia, took a job as a “wagon jobber,” picking up hot fish from smokehouses with his horse-drawn wagon and hand-delivering them to small grocery and appetizing stores. Eventually he got his own smokehouse, which four generations later has grown into a Brooklyn institution that smokes, cures, slices, packs and ships 7 million pounds of fish a year.

Acme Smoked Fish and their more recent brand, Blue Hill Bay, are both for sale at the company's Fish Friday.

Acme Smoked Fish and Blue Hill Bay smoked seafood are both available at wholesale prices at the company’s Fish Friday.

The fish, which except for the sturgeon is certified kosher, is sold all around the city (Zabar’s, Costco)—and well beyond. But for a real feel for where it comes from—and great bargains—get yourself out to the Greenpoint plant on a Friday morning between 8 and 1, the only time sales are open directly to the public. A room just off the plant floor is filled with racks of smoked whitefish, boxes of brook trout, smoked salmon laid out on the table—all perfect for holiday entertaining.

Mermaid’s Garden
info@mermaidsgardennyc.com 

Saul Restaurant
140 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
718-935-9842

Acme Smoked Fish Corporation
25-56 Gem Street, Greenpoint
718-383-8585

Photographs by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Mrs Eaves, by Zuzana Licko, Emigre, 1996.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn, November 29, 30, December 1, 2

The presents come early and often at Prospect Park Zoo on Saturday and Sunday. (photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS)

Twelve reasons to keep it local this weekend.

Thursday: The Brooklyn Cheese CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) begins this Thursday and runs for 6 weeks until January 3, 2013. On Thursdays, Cricket Creek Farm, a small, grass-based dairy from Williamstown, MA, will distribute their cheese at Picada y Vino in Park Slope. Regular shares of 2 lbs and half shares of 1 lb per week are available. Four cheeses made from raw and pasteurized cow’s milk are featured, and described on Cricket Creek Farm’s lovely website.

Thursday through Sunday: Holiday Art Sale at 440 Gallery. This artist-run collective offers affordable, original works of art, as well as reproductions, during their 2nd annual holiday sale. Prices range from $4.40 to $440. Ask about Philomena Marano’s $25 prints to benefit Coney Island relief funds. Park Slope. Thursday and Friday, 4pm-7pm. Saturday and Sunday, 11am-7pm.

Friday: Winter Art Sale at Trestle Gallery. A one-night-only reception of paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media from 46 artists. Proceeds benefit the participating artists as well as Trestle Gallery and Brooklyn Art Space programs for emerging and mid-career artists and curators. Gowanus. 8pm-10pm.

Saturday and Sunday: Presents to the Animals, Prospect Park Zoo. To a meerkat, mealworms are artisanal; otters consider capelin (smelt) and eggs a delicacy. Starting this weekend through December 30, watch Hamadryas baboons, Pallas’s cats, red pandas, mongoose, and other zoo critters have the most delightful and comical time tearing into gift-wrapped bags and boxes of treats. The Zoo provides these presents as a form of enrichment to keep the animals’ minds and bodies healthy and active. All I know is that last year we split our sides laughing. 11am and 3:30pm. [Read more…]

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