Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

At the Robert Guskind Memorial Gathering: Heartfelt Thanks and Fellowship

April 6th, 2009 · 18 Comments

The Memorial Gathering Saturday at the Brooklyn Lyceum was a heartfelt opportunity for Bob Guskind’s friends (and family) to meet each other, share memories, and contribute to their understanding of a man who made a huge impression on Brooklyn in just a few years. Fellow bloggers and activists cited him as a mentor and an inspiration.

Here’s the extraordinary video produced by Steve Duke of Blue Barn Pictures, which opened up the event:

Robert Guskind 1958-2009 from Blue Barn Pictures, Inc. on Vimeo.

About 100 people attended; besides friends and family, speakers included State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and a representative of State Senator Daniel Squadron’s office. (Squadron did stop by.) Thanks to all who helped and made donations.

Photographers, notably Chris Kreussling (photo above and below) and Meg Groome (photo at bottom), have posted photos from the event Saturday on Flickr.

Pardon Me for Asking’s Katia Kelly wrote: “So many of his fellow bloggers attended. Some knew him personally, some had only corresponded with him. All feel his absence keenly… and Bob was the perfect host, posting tirelessly, finding Brooklyn’s beauty in the most decaying places and delighting in its many quirks.”

“Through all the wonderful tributes, a portrait of Bob emerged: that of a highly intelligent, talented and giving man, who may have had to battle his inner self just a bit more than the rest of us.”

Lost City’s Brooks of Sheffield wrote, “I have never experienced a more genuine outpouring of sincere feeling that what was expressed for three straight hours today—some of the sentiments expressed by people who had—amazingly, considering their words—never met Bob in person…. Everyone spoke eloquently and from the heart.”

OTBKB’s Louise Crawford wrote, “It’s amazing how one man managed to connect so many people, have an impact on so many neighborhoods and civic activists, and produce such a huge output of skilled urban reporting.”

Crawford also reported extensively on comments made by many of those speaking. “With his emphasis on Coney Island and the Gowanus, strange cats and stray pit bulls something connects all of it,” Brenda Becker said. “Bob could see beauty in that which was broken. And he could see what could be in it again. How a polluted canal could be Venice. A street couch could be absurdist theater. A broken, miserable Coney Island  could be turned into something great and not a greed-driven non-entity.”

Mark Farre, Bob’s oldest friend at the gathering (they met at Georgetown University), echoed Becker’s words: “Bob liked to find what was broken in beauty and what was beautiful in ugliness. This was a tension that followed him all his life. In that way, he was a poet as much as he was journalist, a mystic, and an artist.”

He further said of Bob,  “An abundant soul, no one had a larger heart, laugh, body, voice, appetite and huge hole which he sought to fill with huge experience.”

Chris Kreussling spoke about recovery, complex, and highly individual, and community, a source of both connection and betrayal. “I only knew Bob from Gowanus Lounge. But from what I could see through that lens, I believe that Bob was choosing life, that he didn’t want to do it alone,” he wrote. “I wish we’d had more time.” 

GL contributor Vaduzuvunt wrote, “I was dreading the whole thing, because… well, no one wants to go to the final memorial of the life of someone they cared about. But, went I did and must say it was the most wonderful send off (for lack of a better term) one could have.”

A post today from Norman Oder (Atlantic Yards Report) was a homage to a GL Analysis. (Aaron Short wrote about the void in local news coverage.) Miss Heather dedicated a post on newyorkshitty to Bob, observing, “The sad reality is re-zoning, tax bennies, and easy credit have done little to benefit my neighborhood.”


 

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Bob Guskind Honored in New York State Legislature

April 2nd, 2009 · 4 Comments

(Thanks to the Cobble Hill Blog)

Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Joan Millman sponsored a resolution to honor the life and work of Gowanus Lounge founder Bob Guskind. (The memorial gathering is Saturday.)

Resolution 1131 passed in both houses on Tuesday. The video shows Squadron speaking on the resolution. Among the quotes: “He took this new form of communication and really took it to a new level. He was able to take community concerns, describe them, and distill them, and distribute them in ways that never could’ve happened without him. We’re going to miss him sorely.”

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Robert Guskind Memorial Gathering: Saturday, April 4

March 27th, 2009 · 12 Comments

A memorial gathering to honor the memory of Robert Guskind will be held from 2 pm to 5 pm Saturday, April 4 at the Brooklyn Lyceum, 4th Avenue between Union and President Streets in Park Slope.

Please RSVP if you can, since that helps with planning for refreshments. (There is an opportunity to sign up to speak.)

Update on timing: please try to arrive around 2 pm, not before then, since we’ll still be setting up. There will be an opportunity to get seats and get refreshments before the program starts. Also, the program will probably not last until 5 pm, so there will be an opportunity for those attending to talk informally.

If you’d like to make donations in Bob’s memory, four charities have been designated.


Thanks to the many people volunteering their time and donating goods and services. Thanks to Juventino Avila at Get Fresh Table and Market in Park Slope and Rafael Soler of the Red Hook Vendors for generously donating food.
Thanks to Eric Richmond of the Brooklyn Lyceum for generously donating the space. 
[Updated April 1]

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Donations in Memory of Robert Guskind

March 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Bob was passionate about many things, but the following four organizations were very close to his heart. In lieu of flowers at the memorial gathering April 4 (please RSVP if you can), please feel free to contribute to these causes in Bob’s name. 

EMPTY CAGES COLLECTIVE 

MISSION: The Empty Cages Collective (ECC) is a New York-based animal and environmental advocacy organization. ECC aims to cultivate a culture where animals are recognized as fellow sentient beings worthy of respectful and compassionate treatment. Through advocacy, education, hands-on rescue and assistance, the ECC envisions a world free of animal exploitation, abuse, and ecologically destructive behavior. 

Donation Link

Amazon Wish List

SEAN CASEY ANIMAL RESCUE     

MISSION: The purpose of this endeavor is to aid unfortunate animals in the interest of a higher quality of life. We take in rescued, confiscated, neglected, injured, ill, unmanageable, or otherwise unwanted animals from private owners, zoos, shelters, and other public organizations. These animals are cared for, and/or rehabilitated to the best of our ability and means until which time they can be found healthy, happy homes – whether it be through adoption to qualified candidates or legally released into habitats suitable to the specific species in conjunction with licensed wildlife rehabilitators. 

Donation Link: (Please put “Bob Guskind Memorial Fund” in the description)

 
CONEY ISLAND HISTORY PROJECT                   

MISSION: The Coney Island History Project, founded in 2004, is a not-for-profit organization that aims to increase awareness of Coney Island’s legendary and colorful past and to encourage appreciation of the Coney Island neighborhood of today. Our mission is to record, archive and share oral history interviews; provide access to historical artifacts and documentary material through educational exhibits, events and a website; and honor community leaders and amusement pioneers through our Coney Island Hall of Fame. Emphasizing community involvement, the History Project teaches young people the techniques of oral history and develops programs in conjunction with local schools, museums, and other organizations. 

Donation Link (The Bob Guskind Memorial Fund is at the bottom of the member and support page) 

 
GREENPOINT REFORMED CHURCH’S FOOD PANTRY/SOUP KITCHEN 

It is with thanksgiving that the Greenpoint congregation has grown, both in numbers and in depth of spirituality. This year, we’re starting a food pantry and free dinner program, developing programs to encourage the arts and will be holding a teach-in on affordable housing. Our goal is to grow into a self-funded congregation by 2010.

Donation Link

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In Memoriam, Robert Guskind

March 11th, 2009 · 58 Comments

In Memoriam, Robert Guskind

Bob

Photo credit: Hugh Crawford

Gowanus Lounge and its large community of readers, admirers and friends mourn the loss of founder and editor Robert “Bob” Guskind. Dubbed by some “Brooklyn’s Blogfather,” Bob was a talented journalist, author, photographer and editor whose deep interest in urban issues took root, right out of college, at National Journal. Bob’s abundant journalistic gifts flourished throughout the 1980s and 90s at National Journal, the Washington Post and other periodicals, and were reincarnated, in this decade, through the “revolutionary” (his word) form of blogging — where his own “personal newspaper,” which he started almost exactly three years ago, quickly stood out for the quality and seeming ubiquitousness of its coverage.

(Memorial gathering is April 4.)

Bob was found dead in his apartment in Park Slope by his wife, Olivia Kissin, on Wednesday, March 4. (An autopsy report is awaited; he had previously survived several severe health problems, and well over a decade ago had struggled with addiction.) He was 50. Bob had experienced a rough several months, and was struggling on several fronts in both his personal and professional life. In addition to working through some painful emotional challenges, he had recently been laid off, for economic reasons, from his full-time job as Brooklyn editor at Curbed, as well as from a side job he had considered secure.

Although both his demeanor and posts had grown somewhat darker and more erratic in the past few months, just before his death Bob had taken several positive steps toward navigating through these difficult straits and positioning himself for a long-term recovery. He had just signed a lease on a new apartment in Sunset Park so as to downsize his expenses, was considering offers for freelance work (including from Curbed), was seeking a business partner to help generate some income from his sizable readership at Gowanus Lounge, and had also completed his application for unemployment insurance — income that would have carried him through several months in which, among other things, he hoped to resume work on a memoir.

Bob left no farewell note, and, on March 2, the last day he maintained contact with friends, he kept an evening therapy appointment. Coincidentally, his Gowanus Lounge site went offline at the same time, as a result of technical problems, as it often had in the past — he did not intend for it to go dark.

Praise from the blogosphere

An outpouring of praise and memorials erupted in the Brooklyn blogosphere soon after word of Bob’s death emerged, first via a video tribute posted by Miss Heather in which Bob, upon inspecting an abandoned house on the Northside of Williamsburg on the afternoon of Sunday, March 1, encountered the former occupants, and eagerly took down their story.

“In person, he was pure Brooklyn, gruff, funny and kind,” wrote blogger Brenda Becker in this tribute. “Bob was a generous mentor to others in the fractious Brooklyn blogosphere, and used his own forum to advocate passionately and tirelessly for Brooklyn: his eponymous Gowanus, of course, but also all of brownstone Brooklyn and most especially, his beloved Coney Island. His blog was a quirky mix of personal passions as well; on any given day, it might feature a rare punk-rock video, a photographer’s strange glimpse of urban street life, or the hilariously existential ‘Street Couch of the Day.’” (Street Couch links here and here.)

“He was a genuinely engaging soul, a keen observer and an expert listener,” reflected Dave Kenny. “He had strong opinions on many subjects, but I always got the sense that he was willing to view things from many angles and even had empathy with people he disagreed with. Empathy. I think that’s the trait I will most remember him for.”

“Bob offered inspiration to and support for many bloggers, photographers and creative types. He brought so many people together, and supported so many good projects, important issues, and talented individuals,” commented photographer Nathan Kensinger, who specializes in exploring abandoned industrial sites. “To me, he was a friend, a collaborator, and the single greatest supporter of my photography in New York. He helped me start my own photo website, wrote a generous story on Curbed or The Gowanus Lounge about almost every photo essay I shot over the last 3 years, reviewed my film screenings, and happily sponsored the Red Hook Film Festival this past summer.”

“Coney Island is in desperate straits. No one cares as much or could give it as much in depth coverage as Bob did,” commented Tricia Vita of the Coney Island History Project. “I’m sad and afraid that many of the large and small stories that Bob would have covered will go unreported this season.”

“We were his faithful readers, his web compatriots, his audience, his collaborators, and his neighbors, in our real and virtual lives,” wrote David Weiner in the Huffington Post. “We were touched by him, learned from him, and grew with him. Yet most of us would never have recognized him if he were sitting across from us on the train or behind us at the movies…. The site, like so many local blogs, somehow used the very medium that is in many ways driving us apart, to bring us closer.”

Blogger Flatbush Gardener (Chris Kreussling) has compiled a comprehensive list of responses in the blogosphere.

Personal and professional background

Bob Guskind was born on October 19, 1958, and grew up in Clifton, New Jersey. Along with his sister Sharon, he was raised by his single mother and beloved grandparents after their father, a truck driver, left the family when Bob was 5. In 1976 Bob was accepted at Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and graduated in 1980, close to the top of his class (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).

He immediately was hired by Neal Peirce, one of the founders and then a senior editor of National Journal, in Washington, D.C., and continued writing for the magazine and working with Peirce on his syndicated columns for the Washington Post Writers Group over several years. Bob’s articles for Journal covered such topics as politics and regionalism, the policies of America’s mayors, public housing, prisons, and the role of casinos and stadiums in economic development. He covered several Democratic and Republican conventions and even undertook several foreign assignments. With co-writer Jerry Hagstrom, Bob initiated a multi-year series, unique in the nation, tracking the consultants hired by candidates for major offices and the television advertising they placed.

The initial story on political consultants in the run-up to the 1984 election was cited in the New York Times as the first study that demonstrated conclusively that every serious Senate and gubernatorial candidate in the nation had hired a pollster and media consultant. At a time before C-SPAN and DVDs, when officials in Washington had no way of seeing political TV commercials being shown in races around the country unless they traveled or were invited to the filmmakers’ studios, Hagstrom and Guskind began analyzing the content of commercials for National Journal readers and in each election cycle analyzing the performance of the pollsters and filmmakers. Hagstrom continues analyzing the performance of the consultants in each election cycle to this day.

During these years, Bob also worked with Peirce on many articles on the nation’s neighborhood movement and developed the appreciation for neighborhoods that influenced much of his later work. With Peirce, and on commission from the Bruner Foundation, Bob coauthored Breakthroughs: Re-creating the American City (Rutgers, 1993). The book tracked a range of urban success stories ranging from resuscitation campaigns in ravaged New York City and Lincoln, Neb., neighborhoods to the major transit reconstruction of Boston’s Southwest Corridor. He also wrote occasional articles for the Washington Post.

Descent and reemergence

After struggling and finally succumbing for several peripatetic years in the 1990s to addiction, during which he nonetheless continued writing prolifically (he had produced several pieces of a memoir “based on his travels and experiences as a reporter and formerly disreputable dope fiend,” according to his bio on the website Underground Voices, which has collected 29 of his harrowing, acidly funny, creative non-fiction stories), Bob reemerged at the new millennium, and worked as the writer, photographer and editor for the weekly newsletter of the New Community Corporation in Newark, NJ, the largest and most comprehensive community development organization in the United States. This job, with its boots-on-the-ground coverage, and all-purpose, DIY skill requirements, was the before-last piece in the puzzle that would eventually coalesce into Gowanus Lounge.

The last piece in that puzzle came through a chance post-9/11 chat room meeting with a young WNYC staffer named Olivia Kissin. Olivia had just bought a small Park Slope apartment, and as their relationship grew, Bob eventually moved in, and began discovering Brooklyn through and with her. His longtime friends saw this new love as fundamental to both his recovery and to his personal and professional rebirth. Olivia often accompanied Bob on his long walks and drives through the Brooklyn streets, parks and boardwalk that would become the muse and lifeblood of Gowanus Lounge. In August 2007 the two were married at the Queens Museum.

“The world saw a journalist, but he and I — we played like children together,” Kissin reminisced. “Funny voices, silly stories. His creativity poured out of him when we played. It was the play, the fun between us, that he loved, that I loved, that held us together. He was very comfortable sharing his serious side with the world, but with me he was a cuddly man, who gave the best hugs in the world, who made me laugh.”

The quintessential community blogger

Gowanus Lounge was named not after a neighborhood Bob liked to prowl, but — in a sign of Bob’s strong sense of Brooklyn’s past — after a now-departed bar on Union Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. With Gowanus Lounge, which he founded in April 2006, Bob aimed “to cover, through words and pictures, whatever moves me, with a particular focus on New York City as it is today and is becoming. The focus will be Brooklyn — and particularly Gowanus, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Williamsburg and Dumbo…”.

What moved him was clear: “I am not a fan of what is happening in our communities, and particularly of the looming Manhattanization of Brooklyn and of the ongoing Theme Parkization of Manhattan.”

Bob regularly broke neighborhood stories that wound up in daily newspapers like the New York Post, leading him to sometimes grouse publicly (and not without reason) that he did not receive attribution. He was a stalwart, however, on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and Brooklyn community television, and was regularly cited by the New York Times’s City Room blog and New York Magazine’s Daily Intel.

He spoke prominently at the annual Brooklyn Blogfest, offering sage counsel to other bloggers and encouraging newcomers, and was a spokesperson for the Brooklyn blogging wave, suggesting in the New York Times that a critical mass of issues had led to an increase in the number of neighborhood blogs.

Most of all, as Brenda Becker described it, Bob used his platform fiercely as “a Fool-Killer and Weasel-Slayer, the two occupations I have come to respect most in this age of untrammeled greed and comatose consciences.”

“Bob was one of those people who could be wry and warm at the same time,” wrote Dave Kenny of Dope on the Slope. “His engaging approach to neighborhood oriented blogging was enormously influential to a number of Brooklyn-based bloggers. A discussion I had with him after one of the blogfests about creating an actual social network of bloggers that met face to face led to the creation of the Brooklyn Blogade.”

He worked extremely hard, posting perhaps a dozen blog items a day for Curbed, his paid job, and easily another dozen — often many more — on Gowanus Lounge, his labor of love. He even kept posting on GL during his honeymoon in Hawaii.

During one appearance on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, Bob responded to veteran journalist and author Pete Hamill’s disparaging comments about blogging. Bob comes on at about 32:00 in the WNYC audio. (Link to the entire program available here)

“Bloggers post stories precisely because blogs lack newsroom hierarchies and editorial priorities that may have nothing to do with the news. We constantly hear from both reporters and from community activists about good, solid stories in Brooklyn that are killed by editors or that are discouraged in the first place….

“The fact is that there are countless stories in Brooklyn, from environmental issues in Williamsburg and the demolition of historic structures to neighborhood development fights and illegal construction, that wouldn’t get any coverage without blogs.”

Skewering the real estate boom

Bob took particular delight in chronicling the efforts of overambitious real estate developers and architects as they transformed neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint. “Greenpoint to Get Another Hot Karl,” he wrote once in describing the work of architect Karl Fischer. Bob played a key part in VBS.TV’s “Toxic – Brooklyn”. At 2:28 of Part 2 in the series he discusses development in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Bob first appears on camera, describing the numerous environmental issues in north Brooklyn: “I’d wonder about any property in this neighborhood.” Later in the segment he describes how he dubbed the site of Karl Fischer’s Warehouse 11 condominium complex “The Roebling Oil Field.”

On a recent trip to Coney Island, Bob encountered a butcher named Jimmy Prince, and interviewed him on camera, in a very moving segment, about Prince’s imminent retirement after 50 years in the neighborhood, and his lament about the impact of development on “the people’s paradise.” Bob’s coverage eventually made it into the major media.

He wrote with particular passion about the fate of Coney Island, posting in January:

“We stood on Stillwell Avenue, freezing, with Mr. Sitt’s big empty lot on our left and the vacant Beer Island on our right and wiped tears from our eyes, not because of the cold but because of fond memories and a sense of hopelessness and despair that those in charge of this process aren’t up to the challenge of keeping it on life support while the economy works itself out.

“What a sad, sad thing for a place that has suffered so much. We urge the city to negotiate hard with Mr. Sitt. We hope all parties sit down and come up with a realistic five-year plan to keep Coney going. We hope that Mr. Sitt shows that he has a shred of human decency in his body and that ‘Joey Coney Island’ helps save it instead of being the guy that pulls the trigger and inflicts the final fatal wound.”

At Curbed, Bob channeled his energy and curiosity into a somewhat different framework. Curbed founder Lockhart Steele reflected, “Looking through the email archives, the subject headers of his emails capture his fascinations perfectly: ‘Greenpoint getting Fingered too?’; ‘Ugliest building in Brooklyn?’; ‘Scarano’s latest!’ In response to a reader email titled ‘Williamsburg Toilet,’ he dashed off the note, ‘Pulling this together as we speak.’ And of course, he was.”

Though Atlantic Yards was not his focus, Bob wrote forcefully about Brooklyn’s most controversial development. In a GL Analysis published last December, on the day of the project’s five-year anniversary, he observed, “A quarter century from now, when the planners analyze what went wrong in Brooklyn in the early 2000s, they will have a lot to say (and none of it good) about the chain of events that started on December 10, 2003, when developer Bruce Ratner, flanked by a beaming Marty Markowitz and other public officials announced a magnificent plan called Atlantic Yards.”

At the end of the month, he presciently predicted that “Developer Bruce Ratner will have difficulty obtaining financing for a nearly $1 billion Gehry arena and the arena will either be scrapped or a new version from an off-the-rack firm for $500 million will be built.”

Less than ten days later, word emerged that the developer was trying to drastically scale back the arena’s cost.

A volcanic mind, a volcanic heart

As will be universally attested by those who knew, wrote to or read him, Bob was generous, huge-hearted, compassionate, loving, kind, loyal to his friends, and perhaps most of all, unsparingly honest. As many others have already testified, he was also a first-class reporter — and one of the few who could not only successfully make the transition from print to blog, but also manage, in so doing, to honor and elevate the fundamentally civic act of journalism.

Most of all, Bob was a brilliant and versatile writer, gifted with a volcanic mind that matched (but could never tame) a volcanic heart. It is possible that this mountain range was a bit too vertiginous for safe travel. At the end of his very first post on Gowanus Lounge, he wrote, “If I were to spend time with a writing psychiatrist, he or she would likely tell me that I have several personalities and that they are not well integrated,” adding, “I don’t take myself as seriously as all this might make it sound.”

When circumstances in his personal life, last September, made it all but impossible for him to function to his high standards, Bob closed down Gowanus Lounge for a few weeks to work through the challenges that were tormenting him. The degree of reaction from his readership did cheer him, and with support from his friends, he was eventually able to relaunch the site, bringing in several new contributors to share the load.

“We quickly became friends and shared our life stories, our troubles and our mutual love of music and Brooklyn,” reflected E. C. Stephens, who enthusiastically signed on. “Soon he spoke of needing a coeditor and we began running the site in the past few months together. His friendship will be missed, but I think the biggest loss goes to the Brooklyn community he loved.”

Unbeknownst to all but a few, Bob had survived cancer, a heart attack, and several other harrowing experiences earlier in life, and had battled tooth and nail with the personal demons that throughout his life threatened to pull him down. Only his most intimate friends could appreciate the extent of his courage, and his love, in continuing to grow, to work, to exist, despite it all. He was cherished more deeply than he could perhaps feel.

Besides his wife Olivia, Bob is survived by his mother Sally Guskind, of Clifton, New Jersey, his sister Sharon Vitale, brother-in-law Chris Vitale, niece Shawna and nephews Eric and Travis Vitale, all of Butler, New Jersey, as well as his mother-in-law, Suzanne Kissin, and his aunt Hanna by marriage, both of Queens, all of whom loved him deeply and miss him beyond measure.

It is our hope — and, we believe, would have been his as well — that this site should stay open, as a testament to a man who had a far more profound effect upon others than he ever realized, and to the issues (and the city, borough and communities) that he loved so much, and so well.

We invite you to post your tributes, thoughts and comments below; we would like to keep a record of them. Meanwhile, please stay tuned for announcements regarding the memorial being planned for Bob.

Bob pic #2 (bottom)

Photo credit: Miss Heather

(Written by Marc Farre, with the assistance of Norman Oder, Heather Letzkus and Neal Peirce, and the approval of Bob’s family.)

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Gowanus Lounge Update & Bob Guskind Memorial

March 8th, 2009 · 60 Comments

With great sadness, a few of Bob’s friends, who were given access to his site, will try to update Gowanus Lounge with:

1) An obituary and other links

2) An announcement of a memorial gathering (April 4)

Meanwhile, comments and questions are welcomed. They will be moderated. Please give us time.

For a current list of links and tributes, go to Flatbush Gardener.

(The date on the post has been updated so it stays at the top of the page.)

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Street Couch Series: Pleather Before Snow

March 3rd, 2009 · 4 Comments

Before the snow there was his mangificent pleather spsecimen on the streets of north Brooklyn. It brought us great joy.

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GL Music – Sydney Wayser

March 3rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

Sydney Wayser

Most people just describe Brooklyn’s Sydney Wayser as indie or indie-pop. That mainly tells you what she doesn’t sound like (mainstream music). So let’s try to describe her music for you. Sydney’s main instrument is piano and her band consists of electric guitar, upright bass, drums and toys (toy piano, toy xylophone and some others). Her songs combine elements of classical, show music, rock and
chanson française (Sydney’s father is French and she spent some time in Paris growing up). But the most impressive instrument in Sydney’s band is her voice. Extremely expressive and perhaps a touch breathy, it is the hook that ultimately pulls you into her music. Sydney’s been on our radar for a while now, so we made it over to The Living Room last Saturday night to see her roll out the songs from her new album, “The Colorful” (although the album is not due out until later this month, songs from it have been posted on Sydney’s MySpace). Among the stand outs played before the appreciative crowd on Saturday were “La Di Da,” “Bells,” and a rousing version “Drive In Not Drive Through” (which sounds like it should have the title 1953). Sydney will be playing at The Rockwood Music Hall next on March 11 and will be here in the borough on April 11 at Spike Hill. She is well worth catching.

Eliot Wagner

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Debora Matlack Photo Du Jour: Owl’s Head Post-Snow

March 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

[Photo for GL courtesy of Deborah Matack; click to enlarge]

Our beloved contributor and photographer Deborah Matack, who has a sharp eye and a kind soul to match it, wrote with this photo: “I was just saying to my mother several days ago that I was hoping for more snow. She said Be careful what you wish for. How come I don’t get my other wishes?? I took a hike in Owls Head Park earlier and got this shot looking toward the 69th Street Pier, the Narrows and Staten Island.”

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Because We Can: Ocean vs Building

March 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off

Interesting question about who would wiln versus who would lose? Does the architect and level of bureaucratic supersion matter?

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In the Pool: Winter Rooftop View

March 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off

Snow Day
[Image courtesy of Ian David/GL Fickr Pool]

THe photogrpher also writes Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Fort Hamilton Parkway and East Fourtrh Street to narrow down the terrritory in Windsor Terrace and/or Kennsington.

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Fun GL Day Ender Vid: Carroll Gardens in Snow

March 2nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

This is a very welcome video from our long absent corresspondent F. Jasmin Adams, who dropped another good on us too, but we wil get to that tomorrow.

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Fun Vid: Amtrak Joe in Biden Time

March 2nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

The producers this fim write nobody mess with Amtrak Joe. And we add, especially in Red Hoook.

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Snow Update: It’s Hit The Big 8.0 in Park Slope

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off


[Photo courtesy of E.C. Stephens]

Corespondent E.C. Stephens reports in with some glee that the level of snow in Park Slope flower boxes has reached a critical, if not symbolic, eight inches. We take what we said earlier all back. This is cearly not your disapointing NYC snowstorm.

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Development Notebook: Hot Karl’s Yertle Buiding Moving Slowly

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

Wow. In about four or five month the slowest Hot Karl Fischer buiding out to be ready to go nondo. Well, eithe the developerws will bravely try to make it a condo in a grossy overprice, oversaturated market or they will simply not pass go and just make it rental from the get go. happened by and found more windows and that key part of the exterior are now in place. We’re feeling confidence that it wll face the market in 09 after more than two years of work. The builiding is at N. 8 and Reobeling. Work’s been going on for nearly two years and it will leave a void in our routine when it’s finished. We’re still hoping they’re name it Yertle the Turtle By Karl.

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Brooklyn Nibbles: Burg’s Mast Brothers is Pretty F’ing Good

March 2nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

We finally made it over to the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory at 105 N. 3 in Williamsburg and it did not disspoint. Right now they’re only serving up chocolate bars but the only they thing they have in common with Hershey’s is form. We tried the dark mik chocolate (60 percent cocoa) and the Dark Chocoate (70 percent cocoa) single Origin Hipaniola, Dominican Republic. One of these babes will set you back about $7 (yes, this is the new Williamburg, friend), but the stuff rocks and the Mast Brothers, Rick and Michael are friendly and helpful.

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Bklinks: Monday Promise of Snow Edition

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

· Some of Brighton Beach Two Lovers Film Shot in…Jersey [NYT]
· City Workers Still Park Like Assholeso Downtown [NYDN]
· Hasidic Silence on Perverts Starting to Crack [NYDN]
· Production Lounge Attract Tower ‘o Fun [New York Shitty]
· Brooklyn Bridge at Highpoint of Bizzard of 1888 [PMFA]
· Really, Really, Really Excited About Snow [McBrooklyn]
· Community Garden Rally [BVIB]
· Old Kensingont Photo Wanted [Keninston Broooklyn]
· Dumbo Weekly Links [DumboNYC]

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Lou Reed #2: Annotated on Bedford

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

And now, we take a walk on the “wild side” on Bedford Avenue. And the answer to the question, here as everywhere, is:
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
(doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo)
(doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo)
(doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo)
(doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo)
(doo).

Understood?

Comments OffTags: Williamsburg

Park Slope Retail Report: St. Kilda Jewlery Open on Fifth

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

This is St. Kilda jewelry which has just opened on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope between St. Mark’s Place and Prospect Place. It look like they have a niece selection of merchandise. Here’s hoping they can ride out the recession-depresssion squeezing wallets everyehere.

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Why We Sort of Like Politics: Rev. Billy Running for Mayor

March 2nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

There is going to be a strong need for comic relief in this year’s mayor election, which is one reason we laughed out loud when we got an email last night that Rev. Billy, bet known for theatrically attaching himself to a variet of high profile cause, is running for Mayor. He announced his campaign yesterday in Union Square Park and there is a Vote Rev. Billy website, which as of 10PM last night as blank, and a face book page. His facbook pages says: “I’m running for Mayor of New York City. There is life and joy after shopping. Campaign with me for the 500 fabulous neighborhoods of New York City. Who I’d like to meet: on the Internet. Everyone who is trying to adopt sustainable consumption to save our souls and protect our planet from environmental destruction. on the Internet. Everyone who is trying to adopt sustainable consumption to save our souls and protect our planet from environmental destruction.People who want to free New York City from the creep of the corporate monoculture of Starbucks and the other awful chain stores. Folks who support the growth of independent business and community gardens. Men and women who want to defend the rights of the people to speak in our streets, parks, sidewalks…” Rev. Billy has been theatrically involved in the fight to save Coney Island. Let’s just says we really WANT him involved the mayor debates. The Times even covered Rev. Billy, noting he’ll have Green Party money behind him.

→ 1 CommentTags: Politics

GL Quiz: What is This?

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

Gas leak
[Photo courtesy of chadwbecks/GL Flickr Pool]

Our guess is that it’s something from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection.

The truth is ahead.

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Because We Can: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah–Maps

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

Because it’s a fucking love song and we sometimes starting day with fucking lllllllllloooooooovvvvvveeeeee songs

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Photo Du Jour: Flirting with Disaster

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

Flirting with Disaster
[Photo courtesy of sabeth718/GL Flick Pool]

At an undisclosed location in Williamsburg and good enough, quite frankly, for our Blight series.

Comments OffTags: In the Pool

Lou Reed #1: Into Infinity on Bedford Avenue

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

Who says Bedford Avenue is nothing more than a corporate promotional shithole where street art has been replaced by corporaate promotion? Well, it is. This is Supreme’s marketing camapign as seen on Bedford Avenue featuring Old Mr. Heroin himsef, Lou Reed, like into inifniity.

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Winter Storm Warning in Effect

March 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off

From the city’s always friendly Office of Emergency Management as of 11:54PM: “WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR NEW YORK CITY. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for New York City until Monday, March 2, at 6 PM. As many as 11 inches of snow may fall from Sunday night into Monday evening. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 20s, and wind gusts may reach 35 mph. Surfaces may become slick and blowing snow can cause poor visibility, so drivers and pedestrians should take extra precaution when on the roads and sidewalks.”

Comments OffTags: Weather