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. 

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.

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

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 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 January 25, 26, 27

Paulette Tavormina: Natura Morta. Lemons and Pomegranates, after J.V.H., 2010. Robert Mann Gallery

Paulette Tavormina Natura Morta. Lemons and Pomegranates, after J.V.H., 2010.
From her solo exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery.

Too beautiful to pass by: Paulette Tavormina Natura Morta, a solo exhibition of photographs at Robert Mann Gallery. In the manner of Irving Penn and Edward Weston, Tavormina’s work depicts intensely personal images that recall old-master still-life paintings depicting edible objects. Her bio notes that she is an avid collector of butterflies and insects, shells, dried flowers and ceramics, and has worked as a food stylist in Hollywood. Outer Brooklyn—Chelsea, Manhattan. through March 9.

The Reuben is one of over ten typical sandwiches offered daily at Court Street Grocers.

Friday dinners and daily Reubens.

Friday: The next in a series of Friday Night Dinner at Court Street Grocers. According to Serious Eats, this larder-cum-sandwich place is run by “three dudes [who] just want to sell all the seriously good stuff they can find across the country.” And present a monthly BYOB dinner in their side dining room. Friday’s menu of five courses features ingredients such as octopus with caesar vinaigrette, crispy chicken skin and maytag blue cheese, bone marrow and bbq sunchokes. Court Street Grocers’s Red Hook annex was severely damaged by Sandy and owners Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross are depending on crowdsourced fund-raising through Smallknot to help restore. Carroll Gardens. Reserve—two seatings at 7pm and 9:30pm are sure to fill up fast.

BBG will celebrate the full moon tonight.

BBG will celebrate Saturday’s full moon with giant puppets and stilt dancers.

Saturday: Winter Cheese Party at The JakeWalk. Under the auspices of Stinky Bklyn, brush up on your knowledge of cheese pairings with wine, beer and cocktails during the cold days of January. After this week’s bitter temps, The JakeWalk’s comfy neighborhood vibe will keep things upbeat and toasty. Carroll Gardens. 1pm.

great for families Saturday and Sunday: Illuminated at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A series of winter pop-up events done Swedish-style. Featured on Saturday: a handstand class for adults, where lack of coordination is a plus (sign up begins at 10:30am for noon class). Moonlight Lantern Walk with giant puppets and stilt dancers celebrating the full moon at the Cherry Esplanade (6pm-8pm). On Sunday, the Mitten Lounge becomes a clubhouse for 9- to 15-year-olds complete with human pyramids, crafts, an acrobatic mandala and a flashlight tour. (12pm-5pm)

libraryCommons

Beyond research and reading: the new co-working
facility is structured for multi-media use.

bpl_logoAnother reason to keep your library card active: More exciting than the discussions about branding and the new logo is the opening of the Information Commons space at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. The Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons, located on the first floor, consists of public meeting rooms, a training lab and an open workspace. The workspace is equipped with ten iMacs and two HP design stations for general public use; each is equipped with Adobe CS6 Creative Suite, Audacity, Pro Tools, Office, Final Cut Pro X, and more creative and production software. One of seven meeting rooms—that can be reserved online—doubles as an amateur recording studio for audio and video projects. The room offers a video DSLR camera, microphones, and an iMac editing workstation. It’s wonderful that the Library is encouraging multi-media creativity, as well as being a local workstation source in case your Mac has a kernel panic or otherwise misbehaves.

elbowroom_facebook

Deceptively small-looking
portions are probably spot-on.

But it’s worth it: I have to thank fellow bloggers at Brooklyn Based for turning me on to a topic that is only slightly less talked about than Michelle’s bangs: Elbow Room’s mac and cheese menu. Located at the Barclays Center, the diet-wrecking selections start with Chef Luis Ulloa’s excellent mac-and-cheese base and add creative toppings. Poutine Mac (short rib gravy, yukon french fries, fresh cheese curds), Brats and Beer (Esposito’s sausage, Bronx Brewery Ale, caramelized onion), Mushroom Mac (crimini mushroom, spinach, Vermont gruyère, crispy shallots) are tempting…even if Lobster Macaroni Salad is more commonplace now. Elbow Room is open during Barclays Center events and to the public during non-event times. To do: bank the points, slip on the Fuel Band, promise to repent and report back. Prospect Heights.

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

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