Tuesday, May 16, 2023 – Brooklyn Eagle



BOERUM HILL — The annual Atlantic Avenue ArtWalk will be on display beginning this weekend and lasting through next week, a popular self-guided tour of an exciting range of artworks along a 1.5-mile stretch of the avenue, displayed in shops, galleries and eateries, as well as in the open spring air. Works range across a variety of styles, including photorealism, spiritual abstraction, indigenous art and more, expressed through watercolors, photographs, paintings, ceramics and collages, among others; special exhibitions will be held throughout the event, including a weekend Endangered Species conservation mini-festival at the YWCA featuring dance performances, storytelling and kids’ art workshops; and a large group exhibit at 535 Atlantic Avenue, a currently vacant storefront donated to the ArtWalk by Thor Equities.

The ArtWalk will run along Atlantic Avenue from Fourth Avenue to the waterfront from May 20 through May 28 from 12 to 6 p.m.; more information, exhibit details and event times can be found online on event organizer the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation’s website.

Featured works on display at the ArtWalk. Photo: AALDC.



PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hosting a free 90-minute guided tour of its seasonal displays and blooms this Thursday, designed for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers. The walk is leisurely, peaceful and wheelchair-accessible, and will feature opportunities to stop and interact with flora, as well as a hands-on activity that will allow participants to take home a memento of their visit; guests are invited to “reminisce about the scents and sights of the many special plants that we all enjoy.”

The tour will take place on Wednesday, May 18, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; it’s free, but space is limited, so pre-registration is required — to sign up, contact Garden representative Joanne D’Auria at [email protected].



BUSHWICK — The annual Sound Mind Music Festival for Mental Health, a free, all-day street festival in Bushwick, is set to rock out this Saturday, with the goal of starting conversations about and reducing the stigma around mental health issues. Catch full-length sets from folk artists Iron & Wine, Hiss Golden Messenger and Langhorne Slim, rapper/singer KAMAUU and indie-rock band Pom Pom Squad, alongside dance parties and DJ sets curated by nightclub House of Yes; the festival will also host panel discussions on mental health in the music industry and in marginalized communities, as well as holistic activities like yoga and mindfulness and breathwork sessions; food and drinks for hungry dancers will be curated by Smorgasburg.

Festivities will kick off at noon on Saturday, May 20, outside House of Yes, between Irving and Wyckoff avenues, and run into the evening. Free tickets, which include a complimentary month of e-therapy service BetterHelp, can be reserved online on Eventbrite; VIP tickets can also be bought for $150 and include merch and a premium viewing area, with proceeds going to support community mental health initiatives.



MIDWOOD — Eagle editor emeritus Ranaan Geberer offers a retrospective history in the Red Hook Star-Revue this week of a piece of Brooklyn history mostly lost to time — the annual Brooklyn Woodstock festival, begun by WFMU sound engineer Gil Shuster in 1988 as a fundraiser for AIDS research in memory of his brother Jonathan, hosted in his stately Midwood Victorian through 1994. Shuster’s band Kenny Young and the Eggplants played alongside underground acts like Yo La Tengo, Elliott Smith, King Missile (known for their notorious single “Detachable Penis,” a performance of which was personally witnessed by a younger Ranaan) and other Knitting Factory regulars from the home’s porch to a packed-full backyard — musical pioneers in a time before Brooklyn was officially cool.

With north Brooklyn not yet having been discovered by the city’s artistic scene, many who played the event recall being surprised by Midwood’s historic charm: Brooklyn bass player George Rush wrote, “I lived in pre-gentrified Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, and when I first went out there, I said, `Where the hell is this place?’ I was in the audience star-struck, and a few years later, I was friends with some of those guys.”



BAY RIDGE — Victoria Hofmo, president of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum, announced this year’s essay contest winners, in time for the celebration of Norway Independence Day. The winners, Sebastian Schultz Domingo and Clayton Tam, are both 5th-grade students in Ms. Perez’s English class at Lutheran Elementary School in Bay Ridge. Ms. Hofmo was pleased that eight students from this class took on the challenge of a very complex subject, Remembering Norwegian Resistance. The winners will be reading their essays at this year’s Viking Fest on May 20th and be part of this year’s Syttende Mai – Norwegian Day Parade on May 21, which kicks off at 1:30 pm. 

The winners, whose essays will be published in this year’s parade journal, each received a book about Norway’s most decorated war hero, Gunnar Sonste, titled “Report from #24,” a Wild Viking t-shirt and a pin from this year’s parade which reads Remembering Norwegian Resistance.

Victoria Hofmo, at right, presents a book as a prize to this year’s essay winners, who wrote about the Norwegian Resistance during World War II. Photo: Scandinavian East Coast Museum.



INDUSTRY CITY — “BROOKLYN IS THE BRAND” and a new store opens this Friday to celebrate the borough’s creative entrepreneurial spirit. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will present the grand opening this Friday, May 19, of The Brooklyn Made Store, representing the rich diversity of “Brooklyn,” as represented by products and brands that have been conceived and made here. The mission of the Brooklyn Made Store, according to the announcement of Friday’s event, “is to identify and promote designers, makers, and entrepreneurs, mostly from communities of color, who embody the essence of what it means to be Brooklyn, as represented through their unique products.” The Grand Opening party takes place at the Brooklyn Chamber’s home in Industry City, Building 5, starting at 5 p.m. No RSVP is needed.

The Brooklyn Made Store has sponsorship from Wells Fargo and endorsement from the Brooklyn Community Foundation.



BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Proposed renovations for three Brooklyn Heights houses — including restorations to historical appearances, are on the agenda for Community Board 2 Land Use Committee’s next meeting on Wednesday, May 17. The committee will hear presentations for Certificates of Appropriateness on work to be done on 158 Clinton Street, 1 Sidney Place and 30 College Place. Application for 158 Clinton St., near Aitken Place, is to replace non-historic front door and surround to match the 1940 historic door; scrape and remove all front façade paint and repoint the newly exposed brick; repair stucco brownstone base and refinish brownstone stoop; and, a new front façade window at the attic. The application for 1 Sidney Place is to replace the slate shingles on the mansard roof with synthetic slate shingles. The application for 30 College Place involves several projects, including the installation of a new full-width rooftop bulkhead addition repair and repainting of the existing cornice, replacement of the existing garage door and transom to match the 1941 historical photo; and, replacement of the front Juliet balcony door with double door to match the adjacent building.

Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting is a public meeting according to its agenda, and will immediately follow a public hearing on expansions to the parking lot on Schermerhorn St. between Hoyt and Smith Streets in Downtown Brooklyn. Both meetings are fully remote via Zoom.



GREENPOINT — A Greenpoint couple that own a six-unit apartment building filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the NYPD, seeking permission to clean out an apartment that police sealed last July after finding a long-time tenant deceased within it, reports Patch, alleging that the apartment is attracting vermin and emitting foul odors due to rotten food, hoarded possessions and corpse fluids. The deceased’s sister has not been able to take control over the estate owing to significant delays in the court system, meaning that the landlords need police permission to enter; the suit calls the cleanup efforts urgent, saying that tenants are deserting the building due to the terrible smell and bug infestations.

NYC’s courts have significant backlogs due to pandemic slowdowns, meaning that plaintiffs and defendants at all levels are waiting far longer for their cases to be heard than normal; lawmakers and judges have taken steps in recent months to address labor shortages and case overloads in the civil courts, criminal courts and housing courts.



CITYWIDE — The Landmarks Preservation Commission will be holding a public hearing next Tuesday to discuss proposed changes to rules for modifications of historic buildings, aiming to reduce inefficiency by streamlining approvals of changes that are generally rubber-stamped. These rules address modifications that are minor and cosmetic; examples include the installation of vinyl decals and glazing on windows, new HVAC and solar technologies, expanded features for signs and lighting fixtures, and relaxed procedures regarding tree pits on historic sidewalks; the commission also intends to establish clearer and more comprehensive rules on historic codes and historic grant applications, and to expedite the review process overall.

The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at the LPC’s conference room at 1 Centre Street in Manhattan and livestreamed via the LPC’s hearings webpage on the city’s website, where the public can sign up to speak at the hearing; comments can also be sent on the city’s NYC Rules webpage. Footage of the commission’s previous meeting, at which the proposed changes were introduced and explained, can be found on the LPC’s YouTube channel.



CIVIC CENTER — As NYC’s planned congestion toll system for entering Manhattan’s central business district clears the final hurdles before implementation, the MTA has released its final environmental impact report on the plan, including a long list of exemptions and fee reductions requested by various groups and individuals, reports StreetsBlog, ranging from the common-sense – emergency vehicles, buses, carpoolers and deliveries of essential goods – to the harder sells, such as carve-outs for residents of every county surrounding the city and various parts of every borough, and for a variety of professions, like pharmacists, judges, small business owners and teachers. Exemptions for artists and musicians, as well as one for “vehicles whose manufacturers participate in the ‘circular economy’”, received special scrutiny from StreetsBlog, which also noted that because the plan calls for a minimum of $1 billion in revenue from tolls every year, any exemptions granted to specific groups would lead to higher tolls on other drivers.

The release of the MTA’s report will now give federal officials a 30-day deadline to make a final decision on the plan’s approval, which is expected to be granted; vehicles could see tolls of up to $23 to enter Manhattan, with the money going to fund the transit system and other improvements.



NATIONWIDE — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman issued a reminder to hopeful travelers earlier this month warning of long processing times and service delays due to post-pandemic wanderlust and application backlogs at the national passport agency, advising vacationers to submit their applications as soon as possible, as wait times are expected to increase as summer approaches. Routine processing times are 10 to 13 weeks, while expedited service is seven to nine weeks; as renewing requires applicants to mail in their current passports, anyone renewing a passport will be without one for three to four months.

Help for emergency travel is available, Goldman’s office wrote in a press statement: “If you have urgent travel needs, my office and I are here to help. Once you are 2 weeks out from your trip and have not received your passport, reach out to our office. The sooner you reach out to us within that 2-week window the more likely our office is to be able to help.”

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