Saturday, October 3, 2015


Yesterday UFCW Local 1500 released the results of this week's auctions of the remaining, unsold A&P owned stores.  While the future of many stores remains in limbo - left unauctioned or with bids on them adjourned - the Gowanus Pathmark now has a new owner.  No Stop & Shop, Food Bazaar or Key Food here though.  The 12th Street store, along with a Pathmark in Borough Park, has been bought up by Manichevitz (sic).  Is this the Manichewitz?  If so, what are its plans for the stores?  In 2014 the company was acquired by a branch of equity firm Bain Capital, and The Tablet reported its plans to expand into a wider, mainstream market.  Do they involve a move into supermarket ownership, or are other uses on the cards?  Food production?  Distribution?  Bigger development plans?  If the purchased stores do remain supermarkets, how will this affect the stores' current employees, and how will the customer base change? Whatever the outcome, the sale is likely to surprise & alarm both workforce & shoppers at the 12th Street Pathmark.  It should concern all of us who live nearby.

As the story of the A&P bankruptcy evolves, how are the beleaguered company's top brass faring? Very nicely, in fact.

While the supermarket chain begins the process of auctioning off as many individual stores as possible Thursday, it also filed court documents that revealed which executives received salaries, bonuses, consulting fees and other payments totaling nearly $13 million in the year prior to A&P filing for bankruptcy. Nearly $4 million went to salaries, expense reimbursements, holiday pay, car allowances and other similar payments while $6 million was deposited into a trust held specifically for the benefit of five senior managers:
  • $2.5 million for a consulting company owned by Chairman of the Board Greg Mays, who also received an additional $2 million in board/consulting fees; 
  • $1.5 million for Chief Restructuring Officer Christopher McGarry; 
  • $1.5 million for President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Hertz;
  • $250,000 for Chief Financial Officer Tim Carnahan; and
  • $250,000 for Chief Strategy Officer Nirup Krishnamurthy.
  • Additionally, Terrence Wallock by himself and along with Dawn Wallock, both listed as directors, received $135,000 in board/consulting fees. A portion also went to bonuses with McGarry and Hertz each receiving $225,000 in 2014, Chief Merchandising Officer Eric Kanterman getting $100,000 and Carnahan receiving a $50,000 sign-on bonus.  (LoHud Journal News)

    99 Cents

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    12th Street Pathmark Auctioned Yesterday

    According to the retail website Coupons in the News, the 12th Street Pathmark supermarket threatened by the A&P bankruptcy was one of a group of A&P-owned stores that was up for auction yesterday.  The remaining unsold stores will be auctioned today. Am hoping to hear more on this soon.

    Pathmark to Close
    Pathmark Updates

    New at Fifth & 10th

    There's a new store sign up at 463 Fifth, at 10th.  State of the Art Gallery is replacing the Boost Mobile store, which moved next door.  The website shown on the sign isn't up and running yet, so we can only guess at the nature of the business.  Children's art classes?  Picture framing?  We'll find out soon enough.  The LLC has a Borough Park address.

    This is not much of a panorama, but the Bagel Factory bench is a good spot for elderly schmoozers to hold court.  It's a regular social scene, both here, and at the other Bagel Factory farther down the avenue.  Love it.

    Far from Home

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    Brooklyn, 1939

    Here's the map I mentioned the other day. It's in the 1939 WPA Guide to New York City, an indispensable book for anyone interested in city history.

    Quite a different looking set of neighborhood boundaries then.  Windsor Terrace?  Kensington? Prospect Heights?  Carroll Gardens?  Nowhere to be seen.  Of course, time changes names and neighborhood limits. And they're all open to debate.  Really you live where you & your peer group think you live, more or less.  You make your neighborhood. Over on the Windsor Terrace-based Container Diaries, one Roll Call commenter writes that "Back then," in the 50s & 60s, "it wasn't Windsor Terrace. It was Park Slope," & another writes that "Farrell's is what makes Park Slope special." Clearly boundaries felt different then, but how do younger Windsor Terrace natives feel about them today?  Windsor Terrace isn't one of those recent neighborhood re-brandings, like Cobble Hill, or newer still, Greenwood Heights. The (smaller) Village of Windsor Terrace was incorporated back in 1851.  I am far too new a Brooklyn resident to see much of Windsor Terrace as Park Slope (though to me, the cut-off's hazy), but I'm long enough here to believe in a Slope that goes well beyond the expressway.  And talking of that expressway, was its construction, in the 50s and 60s, part of the process that changed the common conception of just where Park Slope and Windsor Terrace began & ended? Thanks again, Mr, Moses.

    I'd be happy if Park Slope were either bigger or smaller.  If it were smaller, I wouldn't be in it - the South Slope part, that is - and that would be just fine by me.  Liberating, in fact!  Park Slope could be a more concentrated landmark brownstone nexus, with its boundaries shrinking to the south & west. Or, if it were bigger, and went all the way down to 39th, just as it's depicted on the WPA map, that would be even better. How much more diverse & appealing a community it would be, and how much less snotty rarefied in connotation.  Dreams, merely dreams!

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015

    We Deliver Confidence

    On a clear day, for a couple of minutes, the camera insisted we were in a pea-souper.  Hotel rising at Third & 6th.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015


    Another house.  No longer residential, there's something to like in the way its door & windows, enclosed in metal, match the shutters of the buildings it sits between, and there's a brutal charm in the hard-edged lines of its wall-hugging stoop, leading to a padlocked entry. Do the top shutters slide open horizontally? It looks like it.
    The use of metal seems especially appropriate here. 413-421 20th Street appear on the E.B.Hyde Brooklyn map of 1903 as a complex of stables, along with the wooden house pictured above, but by 1915 the buildings are housing a cornice-making business, Craig & Brown Incorporated.  Not just any old small-time business either. In 1914, Craig & Brown were responsible for sheet metal work on the 39th Street municipal ferry building, & the work was described in detail in the splendidly named journal, Sanitary & Heated Age.  A year later, Sheet Metal lauded their copper sheathing work on the City Hall Elevated Station, "A Contract Requiring Seventeen Tons of Copper for Siding, Cornices, Gutters and Downspouts."  In 1921 George Brown & two other partners founded the Munson Roofing Tile Company, which operated at this address.  By the 40s, the buildings housed a paint company & today, I believe, General Coatings manufactures chemical & paint products.

    The bottom picture - Google Earth in black & white

    Update 9/30/15: How about that? In one of those not-so-remarkable coincidences of the local blog world, South Slope News has a story about the 20th Street site today, reporting that 415 20th Street is up for sale ($4,500,000), with TerraCRG as the broker. I spend far too much time trawling the murky waters of local commercial real estate listings, but I missed this one. From the Terra site:

    The property is ideal as-is for manufacturing/warehousing or can be converted into office, art studio, restaurant, event space and other creative commercial uses. The M1-1 zoned property features 11,400 SF of ground floor space with an additional 3,650 SF of office and mezzanine space. There are two drive-in doors, one with access to the interior of the building and the other provides access to outdoor space. 
    Over the last decade Greenwood Heights has seen new residential buildings, retail shops and restaurants open to satisfy the demand for the new residents and businesses in the neighborhood. The area went through a rezoning that resulted in a number of new residential developments while preserving the historic character of the neighborhood and while some parts of the neighborhood remain commercially zoned, these areas have transformed from primarily traditional industrial uses to more creative uses such as outdoor beer halls, offices and hotels.

    Personally, I think we have more than enough beer halls in the vicinity, and who needs another hotel, what with plenty of them farther west, and a whole rash of them in Sunset Park?  I'd prefer another manufacturing business that offers skilled jobs to local residents, but who knows what will come in? It's not clear from the listing if the whole of the 413 - 21 property is up for sale, but it seems likely.

    Monday, September 28, 2015


    John Street

    MAP: 13 High-Rises Will Add 895 Market-Rate Apartments to Fourth Avenue (DNAinfo)

    In Brooklyn, a Protest Mural Draws Its Own Protest (NY Times)

    We Asked You to Draw Your Own Neighborhood Map: Here Are the Results (DNAinfo)
    An interesting project, but I doubt it reached a good deal of older local residents, who don't spend much (or any) time online, but would have valuable information to add.  In the case of Park Slope, an on-the-street survey conducted below 16th Street might offer up quite different results.  Older Park Slope once stretched farther than many would imagine. The 1939 WPA Guide to New York City maps it as extending all the way down to 39th Street.  I don't expect many people today see it as going that far south, but I'm sure a good number of old time residents still believe it goes well into the twenties, at least, or even a little farther south.

    In Bushwick, the Wes Anderson-themed yarn mural continues to draw fire:
    Anarchists Protest Brooklyn Flea And "The Brutality Represented By This Crocheted Artwork" (Gothamist)

    The Daily News Layoffs and Digital Shift May Signal the Tabloid Era's End (NY Times)
    “All that corny stuff about The News — how it’s the voice of the working people, the heart of New York — it’s all basically true,” Mr. Daly, the former columnist, said. “Every day it would prove that the common man and common woman weren’t so common. That actually, commonness is found more often among the rich and that distinction was found more often among the people who would buy The Daily News.”

    Chronicling America

    It's the smallest houses that draw my attention. 147 11th went on the market in May of last year, for $2,250,000, and with a switch in realtor, it slid down in price to $899,000.  An In Contract sign was up outside the house for months, and was still there a few days ago. An online realty site lists the fire-damaged property as having sold earlier this month for $999,000, though there's no ACRIS record on file as yet.  The building has had a Full Vacate in place for over a year, though I've noticed lights on inside.  Passing by the house today, I saw a new sign. Looks like it's ready for a flip.

    Lewis Hine was just up the block from 147 in 1912, visiting a family of brush makers at 151, but what forgotten moments in the history of 147 are on record?  In 1888, 19 year-old resident Joseph Besosa wins a full scholarship to Cornell , & a few years later, a W.Kane at the same address is recruiting for a children's baseball team. In 1905, a Miss May Cray appears, in a Chronicling America ad, endorsing Peruna, a 18% grain alcohol tonic.

    Miss May Cray, 147 11th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., writes:
    For more than five years I suffered from rheumatic pain in my joints, and in damp or stormy weather I was obliged to stay indoors. 
    Medicine seemed to be of no use until I started using Peruna. I took twelve bottles in all, although it is six months ago since I stopped. 
    I have had no return of my old complaint, in spite of the fact that I have been out in all kinds of weather during the severe winter.

    And what a delight, there's Miss Cray herself, surrounded by her fair companions.  Watch her for a second, before she fades quietly back from view.

    Sunday, September 27, 2015

    Eats & Drinks

    The new restaurant at Fourth & 12th now has a name. Barrel & Fare is in soft-opening mode right now, with a formal debut coming in a couple of weeks. Until the formal date, you can check by on a day-to-day basis.  If they're open that day, service will start at six, with a limited menu of food, along with beer, wine, and a couple of sample cocktails. Soft-opening prices are in effect. The tentative menu down the line will include a raw bar, salads, a charcuterie board, appetizers (including mini lobster rolls, short rib empanadas, scallop ceviche wraps), & entrees mostly in the twenty-dollars range (risotto, steak, pasta, fish, chicken, burgers & more).

    Barrel & Fare is across the avenue from French bistro Olivier, which opened in 2013.  Unlike nearby Breadfruit Tree Cafe, with a menu that caters to a diverse, quick-moving, daytime crowd, these two restaurants bring a higher-end, casual-chic dining experience to Fourth below 9th. Though they took a little longer to get here than you might have expected, their arrival was inevitable.  Look at the change of the avenue's demographics. Two bistros on one block might well be the tipping point for food culture on this stretch of Fourth, accelerating changes farther south. Tamales or truffle fries? Place your bets.

    1920 Richmond Bar Inc. has applied for a liquor license at 273 13th, formerly home to the Brooklyn Voodoo Lounge, and before that the metal bar Lucky 13 Saloon  The bar's name will be Paddy's of Park Slope.

    For anyone missing the restaurant Mezini, there may be good news! The other day I came across three burly men in front of the restaurant, and one of them (the owner) told me the place would be reopening soon "a little differently."  On that tantalizing note, we'll conclude.

    Friday, September 25, 2015


    Off-Off Broadway Play Explores Windsor Terrace Gentrification (DNAinfo)
    As a teen growing up in Windsor Terrace, Pat Fenton watched more than 1,200 families move out of the neighborhood to make way for the construction of the Prospect Expressway.
    Today that piece of history seems as lost as the 400 houses that were bulldozed to build the Robert Moses-designed expressway, but Fenton has brought it back to life in his play "Stoopdreamer." 
    The play, now showing at the Cell Theater in Chelsea, centers on three characters reminiscing over drinks at — where else? — the 82-year-old neighborhood bar Farrell's. 
    "It's about the displacement of people and the sheer destruction," Fenton said. "The other part is about the change going on there now, the gentrification."

    And non-Brooklyn related, three other fall plays to consider:
    Playing now, through October 18:  Fondly, Colette Richland, by Sibyl Kempson, at the New York Theater Workshop.  Created & performed by Elevator Repair Service
    Also at NYTW, from November 18 to December 27: Lazarus, by David Bowie & Enda Walsh, directed by Ivo van Hove
    And at Playwrights Horizons, from October 16 to November 29: Hir, by Taylor Mac, directed by Niegel Smith

    Back to the borough, & a sordid situation at 17th & Sixth: Human Poop Dumpers Menace Brooklyn Block (DNAinfo)

    Coming in November at the Brooklyn Museum -  Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland 
    This exhibition charts shifts in artistic styles and national moods through approximately 140 objects. Included are paintings of the Coney Island shore in the 1870s by William Merritt Chase and John Henry Twachtman; modernist depictions of the amusement park by Joseph Stella; Depression-era scenes of cheap thrills by Reginald Marsh; photographs by Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Weegee, and Bruce Davidson; Coney Island carousel animals and sideshow ephemera; and contemporary works by Daze and Swoon.

    No Pathmarks here - Six Brooklyn Destination Grocery Stores: Which Has the Best Prices? (Brownstoner)
    And yes, with or without irony, kale is on the list of products.

    E & H Goodies

    Thursday, September 24, 2015

    New Building on 13th

    At 371 13th Street, where this lovely old frame house used to stand, a five-storey, three unit building is planned (NY YIMBY).

    Across the Street on 16th II

    Across from the little houses at 115 & 117 16th Street, a four-unit, energy efficient condo building is in the works.  According to NY YIMBY, the designer/developer is Jorge Mastropietro. 96 16th sold for $1,200,000 in 2014.

    This one's way more stylish & high-end than the standard four-storey-plus-penthouse number plunked down around here.  Hello Boutique 16th (Fourth/Third)!  It will look rather out of context, perhaps, towering over its small, immediate neighbors. Oh, but wait, one of them is gone already, & another is likely to disappear too, leaving just two homes to crouch in its shadows.  Next door, at 98, construction of a three unit building (another Boaz Gilad project) has stalled, with a partial stop-order in place for failure to maintain safety at the site.  98 also sold in 2014, for $780,000. And next door to that one, 100 16th Street, on the market for $889,000, is in contract.  The low-scale streetscape shrinks, lot by lot.  And yes, maybe these houses aren't what you'd call beautiful, but they were homes, and they had stories. With each one that disappears, another piece of the area's working-class history is gone.

    July, 2015


    The Google pic above distorts the size of 92 16th.  Even the photograph below appears to magnify its size. Set back on its lot and well below grade, it's likely an early building on the block.

    Just this week I struck up a conversation with a 16th St. resident who's lived on this block for almost half a century. She fumed about the loss of affordable housing in the area, about neighbors forced out by rising rents, & elderly owners lured into selling their homes at under-market prices. She felt she'd been sold out by developer & politician alike.

    Earlier: Across the street on 16th


    D & D, by day (Second & 8th)

    I'm on the night shift for dog walking.  I can't say I always approach this job with enthusiasm, but usually, once we're out of the house, I enjoy it.  Most nights, I'll see a commercial garbage truck or two roaring through a route, guys hanging off the back, the kings of trash.  I've tried to get photographs, but so far they've been duds.  Photos of carting trucks by day are all well & good, but the glamour's absent.  I love seeing all the trucks at night but this M & G '97 Mack's my favorite. Usually it's blazing, lit up like a fairground ride, but here in the video, as the owner explains in a comment, it's not at its absolute best.  Still pretty fabulous though.


     M & G, by night (Smith & 9th)