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April 2006 Archives

April 1, 2006

Stained Glass at the Marcy Street Station

Stained Glass at the Marcy Street Station The nice thing about the Marcy station is that there is a nice stained glass public art installation which lends a nice touch to the station. Photographed at the Marcy Street J train subway station on July 25, 2005.

April 2, 2006

Greenpoint Spaceship

Greenpoint Spaceship Seeing these rides always reminds me of my childhood, I'm not sure why as it's not like I spent hours playing in these rides. But it's always a pleasure to spot them, as in an age of HDTV video games they remind me of a time gone past. Note that this shouldn't be confused with a "simpler time". Photographed on the streets of Greenpoint October 3, 2004.

April 3, 2006

Roebling Graffiti

Photo of graffiti on Roebling Street and Metroplitan (re-mixed in Photoshop), taken on March 26, 2006.

April 4, 2006

Graffiti Texture

Since I seem to be on a street art kick, above is a graffiti texture spotted in Williamsburg (not far from the main strip in Bedford) back on October 3rd, 2004. That was about a month before I moved here, and I was exploring about to get a sense of the hood.

April 5, 2006

Killing Williamsburg

The Edge?
Originally uploaded by Runs With Scissors.
There is a new Flickr group worth chceking out called "Killing Williamsburg" which is focused on the real estate boom going on:

Killing Williamsburg

The computer rendering shown here is from that group - it has the following caption:

"This is a rendering of how my Brooklyn neighborhood may be changing in the next year or two.

Several years ago our run-down East River waterfront was top become a public park but instead 20, 30 story buildings will rise up.

I like this rendering as it shows how small a noon day shadow these buildings will cast, neglecting to depict what the other half of the day will look like."

April 6, 2006

The Windows at 331 Keap Street

The Windows at 331 Keap Street The view from my living room looking at the center of my apartment building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

April 7, 2006

HauteGREEN 2006

A cool showcase of sustainable contemporary design for the home is coming to Williamsburg, Brooklyn:

HauteGREEN will take place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn May 20-22, 2006, during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. HauteGREEN 2006 will be curated by design writer Aric Chen, design entrepreneur and Treehugger founder Graham Hill, and design publicist/marketing consultant Kimberly Oliver. Designers living and working anywhere in the world are invited to submit their work for consideration.

HauteGREEN 2006

This is quite cool as it's nice to see a design even in the 'burg!

For info on the fair itself go to:

International Contemporary Furniture Fair

April 12, 2006

The "Williamsburg" of Germany

Just spotted this artocle in the New York Times on a Williamsburg gallery owner who is opening annother gallery not in Manhattan but in Leipzig, Germany:

Leipzig, Mon Amour. You're Cheaper Than Chelsea

No matter the day job, in New York an artist's occupation often is staying one step ahead of the real estate market. This was true for Joe Amrhein, an artist who, in 1994, found himself dissatisfied with "just going to openings and parties and sending out slides." He decided to open a gallery in what was then an inexpensive neighborhood, North Williamsburg. Today his enterprise, Pierogi, is the area's unofficial cultural hub, where artists, curators and collectors regularly drop in. "He embodies the D.I.Y. neighborhood spirit," said Becky Smith, a contemporary-art dealer who moved her gallery to Chelsea from Williamsburg.

If so, the neighborhood, or at least Mr. Amrhein's business, is definitely on the move. He's not adding an outpost in Chelsea, as eight of his neighbors have done, or moving there outright, as Ms. Smith did. Instead, in what may be the boldest coup yet for the expanding hipster nation, next month he's adding a branch in Leipzig, Germany. The location is the Spinnerei, a former cotton-spinning mill that is now home to artists' studios and galleries associated with the Leipzig school of painting. Speaking by phone from the new premises, Mr. Amrhein called the city "the Williamsburg of Germany."

It's funny because this is the second time I've heard about how cheap real estate is in Germany. This all reminds me of that film Liquid Sky, where the girlfriend of the main character keeps telling "We're going to go to Berlin baby!"

April 13, 2006

The Latest Live from the WB is Out!

Show 007 Coming Soon Originally uploaded by Live From the WB.
My favorite local podcast Live from the WB just put out yet another highly listenworthy episode. This latest episode has an illin' theme as the entire cast seemed to have the flu. I was very impressed with them because you can always spot the real pros from the wannabes because they'll never use a "sick day" as an excuse not to turn in a highly energized performance. In this latest episode I was also blown away by their strangely detailed knowledge of Jem trivia.

On the serious side they're also doing a team for the AIDS Walk New York on May 21st which is a very good cause (so please think of donating):

Team Page of Live from the WB

April 14, 2006

Air Sign

Air Sign from a gas station for air to fill your tires. The gas station is by Keap Street and Metropolitan by the L train station in Williamsburg. Photographed December 18, 2004.

Williamsburg Waterfront News: TransGas Stymied

If you're not a fan of having a power plant on the Williamsburg waterfront this should be some good news:

TransGas Stymied in Effort To Build Power Plant

The proposal to build an underground steam and electrical power plant on the Brooklyn waterfront suffered a major setback Wednesday in an Albany ruling that is raising questions among industry experts about whether it is even possible to build a new independent power plant in New York City. Two state judges ruled that TransGas Energy's most recent application should be dismissed, and reaffirmed an earlier recommendation that the state sitting board deny its earlier application to build a large, 1,100-megawatt facility on the Bayside Fuel Oil Depot site in Greenpoint. The state sitting board, made up of panelists of several state agencies, must now decide on the application.

The Bloomberg administration has aggressively opposed the power plant, saying it conflicts with the city's plans for a revitalized Brooklyn waterfront that would complement a recently rezoned swath of Greenpoint/Williamsburg, where the city envisions denser commercial and residential development. Mr. Bloomberg has dedicated funds and begun the land acquisition process to transform the heavily contaminated East River site into a 28-acre park.

However just because you don't have a power plant that still doesn't mean that we won't see forty story buildings rise up on the waterfront. But perhaps this does show that a community can have a say in what's going on. In any case I have to question the wisdom of TransGas in picking the location, when it comes to New York City even an energy company doesn't stand a chance against real estate interests.

Here is a summary of the TransGas plan for reference:

Project Summary

April 15, 2006

Sunshower Window

Sunshower Window The view of my bedroom window on a rainy day, taken on March 26, 2006.

April 17, 2006

How Big Is Too Big?

The New York Times has a feature story on Williamsburg on the front page of the Real Estate section:

How Big Is Too Big?

It is not hard to spot the buildings that Robert M. Scarano Jr., an architect, has designed in New York City: they tend to be a lot bigger than the other buildings around them. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mr. Scarano's building at 78 Ten Eyck Street is about twice as tall as the modest three-story houses on either side of it.

But the sheer bulk of many of Mr. Scarano's projects has prompted some residents to complain that he ignores the zoning code and puts up buildings that are simply too big, blocking the light and views of their neighbors. And too often, they say, the city has stood by and done nothing.

Stephanie A. Thayer lives in Williamsburg and has been active in protests over a tall building designed by Mr. Scarano that is going up at 144 North Eighth Street. She was also involved in years of community debate that led to a major rezoning in Williamsburg last year, including lower bulk and density restrictions for much of the neighborhood.

...to this I'll add: Not only are the buildings tall, poorly put together - but they're also ugly. Not that Robert M. Scarano Jr. should be singled out for putting up ugly looking buildings to cash in on a real estate boom, but many of these buildings have that Soviet feeling to them. I don't know if it's a lack of detail or the overall boxy look, but these buildings have no character. I think what makes this stand out is that the old buildings surrounding these rush jobs have that seasoned quality and craftsmanship to them.

April 18, 2006

Emerging Artists: No Room to Grow

This article is imnportant becuase it explores the negative impact of a red hot real estate market. Creativity is an important factor in the economy of this city, and while I wouldn't say that more regulation is the answer - but something should be done to make sure creative people can afford to live here:

Emerging Artists: No Room to Grow

New York's preeminence as a creative capital could soon be in jeopardy, as emerging artists—an essential component of the city’s cultural sector—are being priced out of the city.

According to a recent Freelancer's Union report, the city's creative sector—comprised of artists, photographers, designers, composers and writers—is facing increasing economic uncertainty related to a lack of stable employment. Over 40 percent report making less than $35,000 last year, half have little to no personal savings, and over a third lack proper health insurance. Ninety percent cited "unstable income" as the major disadvantage of their chosen profession.

All these factors, the study suggests, means that the city’s creative class—including its emerging artists—may leave New York in favor of cities with a "lower cost of living and developing creative centers."

April 19, 2006

Clean up after your Deconstructed Sign

Clean up after your Deconstructed Sign A "Clean up after your dog" sign found on Havemeyer Street. Speaking of which, I hate that on so many sidewalks in Williamsburg that nodoby seems to clean up after their dogs. It drives me crazy having to look down at my feet when I'm walking around town. Photo taken on March 26, 2006.

Jenna loves Tofu

Jenna loves Tofu
Originally uploaded by Live From the WB.
The latest podcast episode of Live from the WB is out. It makes me so happy to have a Williamsburg-specific podcast, I listen to it on my iPod nano as I walk home late at night across the Williamsburg bridge.

In addition to talking about all the usual local Williamsburg hang outs, this episode features a segment on the politics of faux-veggie meat. On the right is a photo of podcaster Jenna with her "I love Tofu" t-shirt.

April 20, 2006

Old Movie Theater on Broadway and Rodney

Old Movie Theater on Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Running to the Marcy train station I always go by this movie house, and wonder if it will re-open again one day. It's on the northeast corner of Broadway and Rodney in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A cab driver told me once that he use to catch kung-fu movies there in the 70s, so my guess is that it's been closed for a good long time.

From time to time I see lights inside so I assume that someone is doing something with it. I'd love to see it restored to being a real movie theater again, or better yet some kind of theatrical performance or music space. The only down point to this would be the noise from the J line.

April 21, 2006

Schwartz Chemical Co. Inc.

Schwartz Chemical Co. Inc. Before I found my apartment in Williamsburg I was exploring a number of different non-Manhattan hoods, so one of the places that I explored was Long Island City (where I took this photo on on October 3rd, 2004). I didn't quite fall in love with LIC because it didn't seem to offer all the cool things that Williamsburg has, like art galleries and music spaces. But LIC did have some charm, but that may be changing as I heard that these stacks may be coming down to make way for a luxury hi-rise.

April 22, 2006

The L line vs. J line

Photo of a stairway to the J line, taken on June 19, 2005 Above: Photo of a stairway to the J line, taken on June 19, 2005.

Last night I took the L line train home and I was struck by how much different it was in terms of the demographic than the J line, which is my usual ride.

* The age range on the L train is very young, say 18 to 30 for he most part. On average I may spot about one family with a kid on the L line, as where on the J line you could see three to four families on a train. On the J line about 30% of the train would be 18 to 30, but you'll also see people who are much older - and more high school aged kids as well.

* The J line is much more blue collar. It's not to say that the entire train is working class, but the L line is very white collar and much more upscale. You can even see this in the technology that people have - both trains are crammed with cell phone users (although you'll see people using their phones more on the J line as it goes over the Williamsburg bridge), but on the L line you'll see many more people with iPods while on the J line some people have CD players.

* This isn't to say that there aren't hipsters on the J line about a 25% of the people I see fall into this group. However they are much more hard core than the L line hipsters. On the L line I see quite a few "tourist hipsters", people in from Europe or Japan who while dressing on the fun side, tend to dress a bit more cute. The J line hipsters have more of a punk look to them - it seems more real and less of an act.

* On the L line I have to get off on the 2nd stop (Lorimer), so I've always noticed how much you can see the demographics of the train changes once the first wave of people get off at Bedford. The Bedford folks are even much more upscale and cute trendy than the people who stay on for the next few stops.

* The L line is much more crammed than the J line. I took a train at 11pm and it was packed wall to wall with people standing - if that was the J line the main thing might be if you could get a seat or not. It's only a matter of time until they need to start running express trains between Bedford and Union Square.

NYC Blogs on the J Line:

NYC Blogs on the L Line:

April 23, 2006

The Sellout Festival

I just read about this cool upcoming festival in the New York Times theater section:

The Sellout Festival
June 2 to July 2; Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

What The producers of last year's Moral Values Festival compromise and cash in. As Robert Honeywell, a co-artistic director, put it, "We're saying what the hell is art anyway?"

Sounds Promising Because . . . There's a mix of satire and silliness. Anyone with an e-mail address should appreciate "The Nigerian Spam Scam," and "Greed: A Musical £ove Story," about the Anna Nicole Smith case, offers the prospect of some truly tasteless humor and even a striptease set on the subway.

...sounds like a real winner to me!

The Sellout FestivalFor ticket and event info go to:


575 Metroplitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between Union and Lorimer Street)
For reservations call 718 907-3461

April 24, 2006

Hand Lettering on the Bowery

This is a hand lettered "A" found on a storefront in the Bowery, Manhattan. I took the photo with my Treo cellphone (which seems to be my current standard camera of choice) converted the photo into black and white and then put the color layer on top, and cut away.

I have to admit that I'm very partial to the look of hand lettering, even though I don't use it that much in my own graphic design work. I guess because I know what looks good I tend to be a harsh critic of my own work. Of course part of the charm of hand lettering is that it is imperfect. This was a lesson that Ellen Shapiro taught me back in the day.

April 25, 2006

Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum passes away

Williamsburg Brooklyn is in the nation news today as Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum who led the Satmar Hasidic sect for almost 30 years passed away yesterday:

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish leader Teitelbaum dies
'Gentle soul who carried himself with poise and distinction'

Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum, the spiritual leader of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect with tens of thousands of followers worldwide, died Monday. He was 91. Teitelbaum -- the rebbe, or grand rabbi, of the Satmar Hassidim -- died at Mount Sinai Hospital, said community leader Isaac Abraham. He entered the hospital March 30 for treatment of spinal cancer and other ailments.

The Satmars have 120,000 followers worldwide, according to sociologist Samuel Heilman, with large congregations in Brooklyn and the village of Kiryas Joel, 45 miles northwest of New York City. Thousands of mourners crammed into Teitelbaum's Brooklyn synagogue Monday night waiting for his body to be brought into the main sanctuary. Thousands more congregated outside, and police sent hundreds of officers to control the crowds.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Teitelbaum "a gentle soul who carried himself with poise and distinction. From the fires of the Holocaust, the grand rebbe and his uncle performed a miracle here in New York by rebuilding their community to match its glory days in Europe," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Rabbi Teitelbaum came to US fleeing the Nazi holocaust in 1946, where he lost his wife and children. A short but sweet bio of his life can be found on Wikipedia:

Moshe Teitelbaum entry on Wikipedia

Live from the WB: New Podcast Out!

Live from the WB The latest Live from the WB podcast is out - and it's enjoyable listening as usual. In this latest episode the WB team put in a thumbs up review for new eatery Dressler, which is at 149 Broadway (between Driggs and Bedford Aves.), and it seems they even take reservations. Toby also shares his insights into the Mac to Windows ratio at Atlas on Havemeyer Street.

April 26, 2006

Sunset on the Williamburg Bridge

Sunset on the Williamburg Bridge One of my favorite things about Williamsburg, Brooklyn is that you can walk over the bridge. As the weather becomes nicer I'm trying to do this at least several times a week.

This picture was taken on the Manhattan side of the bridge where the two walkways come together. Photo taken on February 6, 2005 with my handy Treo cell phone camera (and retouched in Photoshop).

April 27, 2006

St. Paul's Lutheran Church

I always pass by this church while running to the Marcy train station. I took the above photo of the corner tower of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on South 5th Street and Rodney. The church was founded in 1853, but the corner stone of the building dates to 1884. This means that the church pre-dates the Williamsburg bridge, so it's a true local landmark. It's amazing to think that when the building went up there weren't any automobiles on the streets. Sadly that stands in contrast to the BQE which is right across the street. Next to the church stands an amazing old movie theater.

April 28, 2006

Article on the Indie Music Dorks who use to Live in My Apartment

the Dorks who use to Live in My Apartment When I first moved into my apartment at 331 Keap Street I would keep getting mail for "Bishop Allen". It seemed obvious that this Bishop guy was too lame to contact the post office to forward his damn mail. I mean it's so easy, you go to a website and pay $1, anyone or their cat can do it. After a few weeks I started to wonder just who this Bishop Allen guy was, so I googled it - turns out to be an indie rock band (photo above). Anyway it seems they are getting some good press:

Bishop Allen

Daily News: The song also seems to discuss life as a struggling musician.

JUSTIN: Sometimes it's frustrating to know the life you've chosen makes it so you don’t really get to experience anything breathtaking. You can work on songs, you can write them and you can live in these vistas of your imagination. But you can think about that thing, but there are definitely moments where you’re like "I’m dirty and cold and looking at the same little room."

Ah yes the vistas of the imagination - it's been over a year and I'm still getting music catalogs and their unpaid Blockbuster Video bills stuffed in my mailbox. But I did manage to use the fan that they left behind...

By the way if you want to see Bishop Allen, here is their website...

April 29, 2006

Pink or Blue Sports Shoes?

Pink or Blue Sports Shoes? Photograph of a bargain bin on Broadway by the Marcy subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's interesting that while Bedford and Havemeyer are becoming very yuppie, Broadway hasn't changed much. Photographed April 19, 2006 with my Treo Cell Phone Camera.

April 30, 2006

Turn to Clear Vision

The above photo was taken on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, on June 4th, 2006. I tend to avoid the more touristy stuff in NYC, but that day there was a get together of Fall fans in NYC. For those who don't know the Fall, they are a post-punk band from Manchester, England that goes back to the 70s. If everything goes right (and sometimes it doesn't) the band will be returning to New York City this June with a show at the Knitting Factory and at Southpaw in Brooklyn. I had hoped that the Fall would play in Williamsburg, but I'm just happy to have them back in NYC to see them.

Here's another tourist shot of the Empire State Building:

About April 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Williamsburg Nerd in April 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2006 is the previous archive.

May 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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