Friday, January 31, 2014

Hot News

Here at OMFS we aim to bring the reader news as it happens (or maybe as it just/recently/a while back/aeons ago took place).  Or really, perhaps, sometimes (a lot of the time) what we present is not news at all.  Anyway, here's the United Signs pick-up truck just pulling away after workers put up the Lucky 7 Gourmet Deli Inc. signage at Fourth & 11th, earlier this evening. Alas, I was misinformed about a bagel shop coming to the corner, though I guess there will be bagels of some description.   Time will tell.

El Idolo

My kind of football

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

28th, from Green-Wood

Fiery words echoed down the block,

still hanging in the air as I passed the World Cheese Co.

Over Fourth, at the Excellent Poly Bag factory, machines thrummed.  In a window, Joe.

Past Geller Paper - "A Complete Line of Paper, Plastic & Janitorial Supplies"

and down towards Third, where houses crouch beneath the level of today's street.

Across the broad divide, the batting cages, and the valor of the VFW Edward F. Lukoski Post.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Little Miss Muffin Update: They Have a New Store

A piece of good news tucked into a typically disheartening post on retail trends near the Barclays Center. Over the weekend, Norman Oder, of the steadfast Atlantic Yards Report, noticed a sign in the window of the dispossessed Little Miss Muffin 'N' Her Stuffin'  : the business has found a new spot  & is moving to 768 Washington Avenue (just round the corner from Sterling Place).  I'm sorry they're further away from busier Flatbush, and the B/Q subway, but hopefully they'll manage OK on Washington.  Please show this great business some love.  You can read more about changes on Park Place & other nearby businesses at Oder's blog here.

Earlier, on Little Miss M. 

Update (1/29)  - Jeremiah Moss (Vanishing New York) visited the Park Place & Flatbush businesses recently, & ate at El Gran Castillo de Jagua:

As of today, the restaurant is still there, but not for long. I went into El Gran Castillo de Jagua for lunch recently. It was some of the best food I have ever tasted. Chicken, plantains, avocados, rice and beans, washed down with Morir Sonando--"to die dreaming." All made perfectly, tasting fresh and clean.

Of the Benoit barber shop, he writes:

Next door, the Benoit barbershop has been there for over 40 years. I peeked in. I was not in need of a haircut, but wished I was. The barber dozed in a chair, his feet up. Music played from a radio. The smell coming out was that wonderful barber-shop smell--Clubman talc, osage aftershave, the works.

You can read the rest of the post here.  And Jeremiah, thank you for the link.

Quick Stop

Fifth & 25th

Since Green-Wood Cemetery purchased the crumbling McGovern Weir Greenhouse in 2012, the condition of the building has further deteriorated.  Recently, the Cemetery announced plans to demolish two adjacent wooden buildings at the site:

  The McGovern Weir Greenhouse, built in 1880 and re-designed in 1895 on behalf of florist James Weir before being sold two generations later to the McGovern family, was purchased by Green-Wood in 2012. The plan, said Green-Wood president Richard Moylan, was to rehabilitate and restore the landmarked, but run-down structure to its 19th century glory. 
 The goal is to transform the structure, located at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue, into a Visitor Center with space for community programs and archive collections. In order to do that, broken glass and rotting wood have to be cleared away, lead abatement conducted, and wrought iron and window glazing repaired and rehabilitated.
 Also required is the demolition of two neighboring buildings that are reportedly leaning on the greenhouse. Green-Wood would like to replace them with new buildings. The proposal has not yet been finalized. (Brooklyn Spectator - January 22nd)

 HDC & CB7 have expressed concern over the plans.

The pictures below were taken in  2011, when the buildings were already in poor shape, & they are in much worse condition now.  Green-Wood seems to have been careless at best in its attention to the property.

Down the block from the greenhouse, at 228 25th Street, is the house where Weir's son & grandson lived. Here it is in 2010, when it was sporting seasonal decorations,

and here it is looking pretty much the same four years later.

Though rather the worse for wear, it's a good-looking house, with that grand old cornice, & a (hidden here) bay at the side of the house jutting into the walkway.   I hope it sticks around.

Update:  Pictures of the greenhouse from 2/1

Monday, January 27, 2014

Real Estate Monday

The home of bargains, at 458 Fifth ("extraordinary demographics") is currently for lease at $13,700 per month. A block south, at the corner of 11th, the Dreamy's building, once home to Queen in Bazaar, was recently listed for sale at $6,200,000 and was snapped up quickly  taken off the market.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The evolution of Mezini continues.  The raw bar on Fifth, opened last summer, evolved into a not-quite-so-raw bar, but diners still seemed to keep away .  If you look through the swagged drapes during opening hours, you'll likely find the restaurant quiet save for a knot of people gathered in conference at the far end of the bar.

Today I saw a new marketing development.

Along Fourteenth

Clearly pre-snow. I hadn't walked along here for a while, but passing this sliver of older 14th again, I had to get a picture or two. Somehow the look of this building shot me three decades back in time. But with the liquor store moved east, and work on the building planned, who knows what it might look like next time I come around?

Thursday, January 23, 2014


One of the best business names I've come across on my slowly creeping southward walks towards Sunset Park is on 26th between Fourth & Third:  Kingdom of Distribution Inc. (Deli Supplies, Paper Goods, Plastic & Paper Bags, Party Supplies).  A name to savor, and a tribute to purveyors of important unremarkable goods.  There are many of these kinds of businesses right around here, wherever we are. South Slope, Greenwood Heights, Sunset Park ? - none of the names right, and all of them quite recent in origin.  A woman from the Scandinavian East Coast Museum put me in my place recently, in a brisk but goodhearted tone, by telling me firmly that I lived in South Brooklyn, and I guess we're in a part of it right at this spot, but if you didn't grow up here you'd just sound affected using that name these days.  There's a lot to like on this block, if you try to ignore the Best Western up top.  A mix of frame & brick on the south side.  The Kingdom is on this side, and John Hlad Plumbing & Heating is a couple of doors down, in a building that looks like it could have been brickfaced:

Low lying warehouses make up most of the north side.  Like wholesale sundries, there's nothing fancy about them, but the buildings are handsome in a quiet, serviceable way. Jonden Manufacturing - Jr., Missy, Large Size Sportswear Since 1981 is here, & runs all the way down to Third.

And next to it, a warehouse that once housed Smile Novelty Toys. Notice the bear to the left.

If you look down the block, you'll see of course, expressway, and water, but also a billboard for energy drinks: DrinkSerenity "to help you relax, unwind & stay focused", & SinVitality "for those who do not want the night to end." Looking up the other way, the distant gates of Greenwood hover.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014


This morning, while I was waiting for the bus, a van drew up and a couple of guys got out.   They started taking down a for lease sign at 433 Fifth (second from the left, above).  My bus arrived.  By the time I came back this way, the same sign had been put back up, this time at the building next to it, 435.  435 was home to a Cemiteria that seemed about to open late last year, but never quite made it.  Farther along, I saw that the awning was down at the Record & Tape Center.  Blown down overnight?  In early 2011 I heard they'd signed a four year lease, so I think they're good for at least another year, but who knows?  Before they signed the lease there was talk of a move to smaller premises at 433.  I hope things are OK.

Update: 1/27/14: A week later, the awning is still on the sidewalk in front of a shuttered store. The guys in the corner store didn't have any news about it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Across Third from Safety King:  Rossman's Farms, the 24 hour, seven days a week grocery store.  There's cheap and fresh produce aplenty, and the place is always good for packaged goods from romantically obscure sources.  I came back the other day with 99c per lb apples & a $2.99 carton of Macedonian muesli.  It's a hell of a lot more entertaining than Whole Foods & a fraction of the price.  I dallied with Gowanus WF during its first week, lured by its tempting opening specials, but when the cereal went back to $6 I came to my senses & ditched it.  WF is rather proud of its Brooklyn-themed market & Brooklyn-sourced gourmet goods, but Rossman's, close by the Anton Junicik used auto part mountain, the"All Kinds of Meats" live market, Angels Made in Heaven clothing, and solitary customers sidling into the 24 hour video stores (catch some porn and buy some onions too at 3 a.m.!) has WF soundly beat when it comes to affordable local flavor.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


There's very little housing on this block, and apart from a C-Town at Fourth & and 761 Wines & Liquors at Third, the rest of the south side is light industry: Joseph Campagna & Sons, Quality Pizza & Restaurant Supplies since 1975, Excello Filmpac Shipping & Receiving, and Abastos Mexican food supplies.  Opposite, there's Universal Auto Gallery, a restaurant supply business, & Interstate All Battery Center down by Third, but the northern side is Czestochowa all the way, and ruled by the grandeur of church, rectory and school.  If church & spire on 24th are spirit, the buildings on 25th show the heft and strength of an institution.  Not so much today, with the school closed since '96, but you can imagine how strongly they bound a community together. If you don't know this street, coming across the buildings for the first time is a beautiful surprise.

And now I realize I screwed up. The white house in the picture above is not the one I mentioned yesterday, as that's below the church & this one is above it. This one is a back house, behind a taller frame. You don't see it on 24th. Back houses abound around here, and it's always been a bit of a dream of mine to live in one.
So many small marvels and mysteries in just a street or two. I could walk all day.

In Honor of the Gold-Star Mothers