Thursday, May 29, 2008

FAULTY MACHINE


According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Vino Fossella and his lawyers are going to court to fight the drunk driving charges. In two separate breathalyzer machine readings, Vino's alcohol intake was twice Virginia’s legal limit. But
The congressman's case contends that the machine was faulty due to its age.
Ironically, that's the same defense his divorce lawyers are using to legitimize his infidelity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NO FRILLS



I've never really found Mad TV to be terribly funny (except when my friend Paul was on it!) but in light of the recent decisions by American Airlines, I thought I'd post this video.

MARIEKE GABOURY


Today I want to give a shout out to Marieke Gaboury because she's faaaa-bulous!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

HAPPY DINING


Restaurants in LA have to display their inspection grade. "A" is great, "B" is usually okay, "C" is only if every restaurant is closed will I eat there, and "D" is no thanks, I'll gnaw on my arm.

Here in NYC you have to do a little sleuthing. I was looking at restaurant inspections NYC Every Block and came upon a few spots here in the Ridge.

Gino's. I love Gino's. They had 5 violations during an inspection this month.
  1. Non-food contact surface improperly constructed
    1. okay not so bad.
  2. Improper use of utensil
    1. Eh, depends on what they were using it for.
  3. Inadequate garbage handling
    1. Who hasn't mishandled garbage?
  4. Not vermin-proof
    1. Uh oh.
  5. Mice
    1. Eek
In Gino's defense, there has been a ton of construction next door, and who wouldn't want to eat at Gino's?

But Hunter's Steak and Ale House -- hoo boy. I've never eaten there and am not sure I ever will. Ten violations from the May 12th inspection.
Inadequate lighting - bulb
hardly constitutes a violation. However --
  1. Improper thawing
  2. Improper use of pesticide
  3. Not vermin-proof
  4. Flying insects
  5. Roaches
  6. No Food Protection Certificate
That may keep me away. At least until the next inspection.

Happy dining.

THE RIDGE - MOST KID FRIENDLY NABE


Who knew the Ridge is the most kid friendly neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Evidently the Citizens' Committee for Children knows. According to their latest report, kids here in the Ridge enjoy
83 kids per acre of parkland - the most green space per child in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, in East Flatbush, families are faced with 2,497 kids per park acre, and in Borough Park it's even worse, with a whopping 2,658 kids per acre, both among the highest concentrations in the city.



Photo courtesy Phillip Leith-Tetrault

MEMORIAL DAY


So there we were, the wife, the daughter, and myself, enjoying the oldest Memorial Day parade, when we saw Richard Mr. Cranky Martin. He had his dog on the mechanical pony and an American Flag behind the dog. Martin then declared, "Ten dollars a picture."

And me without a camera or ten dollars.

Thankfully the Rover has an old picture of the spectacle - sans American Flag.

God bless the USA.



Photo pilfered from the Rover

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AMERICAN AIRLINES ENTERS MY HALL OF F*CK YOU!


Screw charging for a second checked bag, American Airlines has just announced it will start charging $15.00 for the first checked bag!

American is also going to cut back its fleet, along with Delta and United.

The reason? Oil prices.

I know I may be wrong on this and many people may disagree with me, but I lay the blame on our current and worst President ever. Oil companies are recording record profits, but the general public is getting screwed royally.

So now it's going to cost more money to fly and everyone is going to try and carry on their luggage. It'll be like flying in an overcrowded utility closet.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

CHINA DOLLS


What's not to love about two smart, talented, and beautiful women? Nothing!

I escaped the Ridge today and went to Liberty State Park for Chinese Culture Day 2008. While my wife and daughter watched an extremely unfunny clown, I wandered the marketplace and ran into Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan. They were there signing copies of their book China Dolls. The two couldn't have been more pleasant. Eh, "pleasant" sounds so bland. Fetching? Sounds too vomity. (Yeah, I know I made that word up). Groovy? nah, too '60's.

Divine. That's what they were. Divine.

Michelle is a writer, an on-air sports reporter for NY1 and loves cheeseburgers.

Blossom is an attorney, a Yale graduate and has a fondness for salt-and-vinegar potato chips.

You see? What's not to love?

Anyway, I bought their book and can't wait to read it. Although I find it a bit odd that they signed it
Mark - you're in violation of the restraining order. Michelle and Blossom.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CHOC OH LOT!


The dog and I walk by Choc Oh Lot Plus every day. For over a year Choc Oh Lot Plus has been the winner of the Ugliest Sign Award. It looks like it got beat up in a street fight.

But tonight we walked by and Choc Oh Delight, they have a new sign!

Again, I didn't have my camera and this is a pretty lame post without a picture. So hie thee down to 79th and 5th and check it out. And get some truffles while you're at it.

For those of you who can't make it down there, I'll have a photo soon.

AL SAFA UPDATE #2


Al Safa is now open!

I didn't have my camera tonight, so until I get a picture, imagine it without the paper in the windows.

The place looks very nice. Clean. A tad spartan. But I'm sure they'll get things in teh wall soon.

This weekend I plan to try the grub.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

LIVING ON THE FRINGE


The posts from me have been few and far between lately. One of my shows has been accepted into the NYC Fringe Festival and I have been busy with paperwork and logistics. Oy.

I'll have a website for the show up and running in a few weeks, but you can go here to get a taste of the show.

I'll be back in blogging mode soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

BAY RIDGE JOURNAL


A Bay Ridge blog that has really stepped it up in the past few months is Bay Ridge Journal. Concentrating mostly on Preservation issues and the fate of the Green Church, the Journal goes beyond banging pots and is a very proactive and informative blog.

Bookmark it, read it, then do something!

And you have to love someone who lists Blue Velvet, Paris Texas, and Moby Dick in their favorites lists.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

AS A SIDE NOTE


An anagram for Vito Fossella is "a fit love loss."


Photo Courtesy The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

NOW WILL SOMEONE BELIEVE ME?


I apologize if this post sounds a little snarky but right now I'm brimming with a healthy dose of "I told you so."

Back in January I wrote about the over-development of Bay Ridge and what, if anything, was being done about the infrastructure - and in particular - our overcrowded school system.
It feels as if developers are coming in here with no regard for the community, for the aesthetics of the community, or for the community's infrastructure. We're being lied to and trampled on. I think the Green Church is a culmination of a lot of issues.

If The Ridge adds -- or what it feels like to me -- if The Ridge has thrust upon them fifty condos in place of the Church and a seven-story condo complex in place of a funeral home, who's going to come in and build new schools? Our schools are already overcrowded -

P.S. 170 Lexington School - overcrowded, so four classes are housed in trailers

P.S. 104 Fort Hamilton School - Unfortunately, the school grapples with overcrowding. Kindergarten classes, unable to fit into the main school, take place in a district building five blocks away. And middle school classrooms are too cramped to hold comfortably the 30 or so kids in each class.

P.S. 185 Walter Kassenbrock School - The school is overcrowded, with more than 700 children in a building designed for 500.
I repeated part of that article again in March when there was chatter about our schools.

I even brought it to the attention of one of our local preservationists, suggesting that information be used as leverage for why the Green Church should not be torn down and turned into condos. But I was told by the preservationist that our school system was not overcrowded.

Well lo and behold, look what Comptroller William C. Thompson has dragged in.
In a 114-page report to be issued on Friday, William C. Thompson Jr., the city comptroller, derided the school system’s capital planning process as “broken,” concluding, “There are far too many neighborhoods with overcrowded schools and no hope of relief for at least several more years.”

Mr. Thompson said in the report that the city’s School Construction Authority did not sufficiently account for new residential construction projects when it estimated how many seats would be needed in which school districts.
Brooklyn 12 News reported tonight that Bay Ridge schools are at 103% capacity and it's projected that in seven years, enrollment will increase by 20%!

123%!?

Do we really want to send our kids to schools that will be at 123% capacity?

This battle with developers is not just about preserving old buildings. It is about the quality of life in our town and about who is going to be held accountable for providing the much needed infrastructure if we continue to let developers come in here and have their way.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

LOVE CHILD


For the love of god, what is going on with NY politicians?

Vito Fossella, who was picked up the other night for drunk driving, issued a statement today that he had an affair with the woman who sprung him from the pokey.
I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a three-year-old daughter.
WHAT!? Hello bombshell. Vito, you got some 'splainin to do.

Vito got married in 1990, so a 3-year old daughter -- yep -- that happened while he was married. In fact, Vino "attended a confirmation ceremony for his oldest child at St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church." Wow.

Another political career down the toilet.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UK WHINGER


Today is the UK Whinger's birthday. In celebration of my good friend's birthday, here's a photo of the very first appearance of the UK Whinger, in the June 1944 Science and Mechanics magazine. The episode, "Someone Stole Me Bloody Rocket," proved so popular that the Whinger spun off to his own comic book, TV show, and several films.

Happy Birthday, UK Whinger.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DEMONS CHECK OUT


Our own Matt Lysiak has written a fantastic article today in the Daily News
Preacher says he casts out demons from Bay Ridge hotel
As we all know, the Gregory Hotel - or Gory Hotel - has been the site of a recent murder and a few suspicious suicides.

The Gory Hotel is currently the meeting place for the nondenominational Calvary Praise and All You Can Eat Buffet Worship Center.

I love this quote
"Demons are real and very dangerous. I know because I've experienced it," said Michael Casale.
That's because you are a demon!

Look at this guy. He's got demon written all over him. He couldn't have used his non-demonic look for the picture? Man he's creepy.


Photo courtesy DeCrescenzo for News

ODORS


I received this comment recently regarding forming a new preservation group in the Ridge
I suggest we use Mark's blog as a starting off point, from which we can get names of people who would meet as an exploratory effort, exchange ideas and discuss this further.
I think it's a great idea. Those of you who are interested please email me and we'll take it from there.

I was trying to think up a catchy name for the group. I came up with Over-Development Of the Ridge Stinks -- ODORS.

But somehow that really doesn't have the weight and dignity we're looking for. I'll go back to the drawing board.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

AL SAFA UPDATE





Al Safa, the new restaurant going into the old Mazza Plaza, has their new swanky sign up. A note on the door says they will open soon. I can't wait to try it.

FOSSELLA INTOXICATED


Vito Fossella was busted last night for drunk driving.
Steve Harrison, a Democrat campaigning to unseat Fossella, said he should resign.

"Driving while intoxicated is a very serious crime," he said. "I hope this isn't true. If it is, he should seriously consider leaving Congress."
Steve, committing perjury or killing someone is a good reason to leave Congress. Getting a DUI isn't.

Fossella getting an IUD is weird.

BLVD OF CONDOS














So this morning I'm standing outside of our synagogue on the corner of 81st and 4th and I overhear three women talking about how the synagogue is going to be torn down. Oh really?

I did a little investigative work and discovered that there has been talk for about 5 years to tear it down and put up condos. But talk could become a reality as inspectors are coming in today to do some preliminary work. Next week the synagogue board is having a meeting to discuss selling the building. It was a surprise to us, since we're members. When we asked if anything had been sent out to the members, we were told that letters only went out to board members. Oy.

Why not consider the synagogue for adaptive re-use?













Then I learned (and I also learned it's old news but I haven't really seen anything in the papers about it) that the Lutheran Church next door might be sold and torn down to make way for condos.

Of course there's the infamous Green Church, which will be torn and turned into condos.

And another church is up for sale at 6701 4th Avenue, to be torn down to make way for -- all together now -- condos.

Don't forget the condos going up where the old funeral home was at 76th and 4th and the luxury condos at 10002 4th street.

So what the hell is anybody doing about all of this? Is it okay that developers are coming in and tearing down churches, synagogues, and anything else they can get their hands on to build condos? What is the Bay Ridge Community Council doing about it? What is the secretive Bay Ridge Conservancy doing about it? (Try googling Bay Ridge Conservancy and see if you can come up with a website or a contact number. I couldn't. If you can please leave a comment with the link).

UPDATE: Here's the link. Thank you Anon!

Has all of the preservation energy been on the Green Church and not on the community? Will a group of preservationists bang pots outside the synagogue after it's too late to do anything?

You know how to get people involved? Spread the rumor that a cellphone tower will be placed on top of the new condo building. Hell, why not on all of them. That's what I'm starting here and now. Cellphone towers will be going up on every new condo building in Bay Ridge.

I think I'm going to start my own preservation group and call it Over-Development or Respect, or ODOR.

So here's how I envision life here in Heathenville a few years from now:

4th Avenue will be renamed the Blvd of Condos, only no one from here will be able to afford the condos because of the mortgage crisis. All of the condos will be owned by millionaires from Dubai, who got priced out of Manhattan by billionaires from Dubai.

No one will go to a religious service because there won't be any more churches, etc. We'll all have to park our cars in Staten Island because no one thought about what the impact would be on parking by adding condo building after condo building and not addressing infrastructure.

The toll to get into Staten Island by then will be about $48.00, so we'll all just leave our cars there.

We'll have to take the Staten Island Ferry into Manhattan, and since there will be no grocery stores in the Ridge, we'll pick up some food in Manhattan. But the cost of food in Manhattan will be too much so we'll take the subway into Brooklyn. But food prices overall will be so high we'll only be able to afford a loaf of bread and we'll pray fiercely that it's free scoop day at Ben and Jerry's, only it will never be free scoop day again because God will not answer our prayers because we've all stopped worshipping him.

Since we're a NORC, none of us will want to deal with the subway stairs so we'll take the B63 bus, which is the slowest bus in all of Brooklyn. It'll get us home by the following morning, just in time for us to home school our kids, because no one thought about what the impact would be on our already overcrowded schools by adding condo building after condo building.

So all in all it'll be some sweet living here in the Ridge.

Rover has more about the monopoly.