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The Brooklyn Paper • • (718) 260-2500


January 22, 2010

Beep’s got a beef with Borough Hall ‘repair’ By Andy Campbell The Brooklyn Paper



Well, it’s a start. Hours after The Brooklyn Paper went online last week with its world exclusive about the disastrously broken sidewalk in front of Borough Hall, someone made a fairly lame effort to fix it. What once was an obstacle course of fractured paving 2VHRG stones is now an only-less-slighty dangerous walkway of half-dry mud and gravel. Even Borough President Markowitz agreed that the repairs were lousy. “It still needs work,� Markowitz said after seeing that some of the plaza’s cracked bluestone had

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Snowy winter wreaks havoc on plaza By Andy Campbell The Brooklyn Paper

Park Slope kids were the first users of the Seventh Avenue Armory, which opened for school recreation programs on Monday after a seemingly endless delay. See page 3.

Walk safely, Marty! The plaza around your Borough Hall office is now an obstacle course of disaster! The salt-covered sidewalk outside looks like it’s been through a Moscow winter, what with wide cracks and chunks of slate sidewalk breaking away on the north side of the building near Court Street. Some who walk the area daily, like Downtown office worker Lawrence Fiffer, are so fed up with the dangerous mess that they keep calling 311 — but are clearly getting nowhere. “Some of these agencies, you can write from now until doomsday and they won’t respond,� said Fiffer. “It’s neglected, I tell ya.� It’s also ironic, given that Marko-

witz made his personal fortune in part from a $225,000 slip-and-fall settlement in 2003 after he took a spill on an icy Albany parking lot in 2001. The plaza in front of Borough Hall is the responsibility of the Parks Department, but the agency’s response to The Brooklyn Paper’s inquiry was murky at best. In a statement, a spokeswoman blamed both the weather, “heavy traffic,� and the economy for the problem. “We believe the bluestone was cracked by heavy traffic on the plaza,� the spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “This repair job is weatherdependent, and we hope to complete the work as soon as possible. When funding becomes available for replacement slates, we look forward to installing them.� In the meantime, city taxpayers should hope for no more icy Albanystyle weather — or else a borough president could slip and sue us!

The sodium-covered bluestone pavement in front of Borough Hall is falling apart.

been removed. The Downtown disaster first flashed onto the borough consciousness last Wednesday after posted the story and pictures revealing that the sidewalk

on the north and west sides of the People’s House had become a minefield of cracked slate and high-heelgripping potholes. Markowitz, who is not reponsible for the repairs, quickly joined the chorus of voices calling for the Parks Department to fix the pock-marked plaza in front of his office. “We’ve been begging to get it done,� he said. “There is no question that it is dangerous. The problem is this bluestone. The weather breaks it, trucks break it. It’s not a matter of [the Parks Department being] lazy, but they have no funds, and, sadly, it’s not a priority to them. “It’s a shame,� added the borough president, employing a bit

Bluestone pavement in front of Borough Hall is falling apart — and no one seems to want to do anything about it.

Injured swans missing


Continued from page 1 So, the current population of eight swans stands as an early record for 2010 that will likely not be challenged until April, when mating season begins. The birder who filed the record count of 12 swans, Larry Zirlin, noted that it was uncommon for three families to live in peace. “Normally, what happens is one family tends to stay in the lake, the other by the boathouse,� said Zirlin, who has kept tabs on birds in the park for roughly 20 years. “They can be very nasty beasts.� In Zirlin’s estimation, swan lake will not be so tranquil when mating season begins. “Last summer, it was like the Hatfields and McCoys,� Zirlin said. “This spring, if two of those cygnets get together, it will be the Montagues and Capulets.�

of irony, considering he earned a $225,000 payday from his own 2001 slip-and-fall accident in Albany. “I wish they’d give us the budget so we can be responsible for it.� A Parks Department spokeswoman had told The Brooklyn Paper that the problem is caused by the weather and the fact that government cars and trucks often drive on the plaza. That was very much the case last Thursday, when several members of Congress gathered inside the Rotunda in Borough Hall to show their unified support for Haiti. Outside, their government-plated cars idled on the plaza, undermining the poor conditions there.

The Brooklyn Paper / Bess Adler

Marty: Temporary fix stinks on ice

Birds suffered from fishing ailments By Stephen Brown The Brooklyn Paper

Wired, one of two mauled cygnets, has disappeared from the lake in Prospect Park.

Kids • School • Style • Teens • Camps • Music

Two swans with fishing-related wounds have mysteriously disappeared, and some avian advocates fear the worst. The pair of sibling cygnets, dubbed “Hooky� and “Wired� for their scars from fishing hooks and line, were last seen around Dec. 14 in Prospect Park by swan-enthusiasts Ed Bahlman and Anne-Katrin Titze, who remain concerned about the missing swans’ well-being. “We don’t know what happened,� Ti-

tze said. “Why would they abandon their family?� Last month, The Brooklyn Paper went global with a story that revealed how aber­ rant anglers had discarded fishing line into the lake and inadvertently trapped waterfowl. “Hooky,� with a hook through his beak, and “Wired,� who had a line wrapped around his chest, were the focus of The Paper’s ground-breaking report. Yet shortly after the story was published, the two swans went AWOL, according to Titze,


Smartmom resolves to be better S

and healthy soups. Smartmom needs to model good eating habits for her family, and it all starts in the family kitchen. Sure, they’re Food Coop members, but sometimes Smartmom gets lazy and shops at Key Food, where she buys easy-to-prepare foods like pasta, Amy’s pizza and rotisserie chicken. So this year, it’s heart-healthy, low sodium, low

martmom spent New Year’s Eve with Best & Oldest, but has been a bit tardy with her resolutions, those pesky promises we make to ourselves this time of year. Here’s her list: • Broccoli: Smartmom plans to serve her brood healthier fare. This year, there’s going to be less Szechuan Delight and more salads, veggies


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fat and no General Tso’s. • Public Service: Smartmom wants to always remember what a charmed life she and her friends lead in Park Slope. In these times, she wants to stay connected to the realities of the rest of the world and give what she can (in money, in time) to help those near and far who are suffering. • Sit ups: Smartmom vows to get at least 30 minutes a day of exercise. That

anything just as long as it’s exercise. Think of the endorphins. Think of the abs. Smartmom is already off to a good start. In NovemBy Louise Crawford ber, she joined Crunch Fitness means running, walking, hit- and signed on with a great ting the elliptical machine, trainer named Claire Moore, doing sit ups, push ups, pi- who’s working Smartmom lates or something else — hard with an emphasis on abdominal muscles and upper arms. This year, Smartmom also Brownstone Brooklyn’s 4th Annual wants Hepcat to use that expensive Bianchi bicycle he bought five years ago that was Kryptonite locked for much of Brownstone Brooklyn’s 4th Annual Brownstone Brooklyn’s 4th Annual those five years because they couldn’t find the key. Duh. Last month, Smartmom carried the bike to the locksmith and had him break the lock. Now, it’s waiting in the basement for Hepcat to take a ride. thth • Calm: Smartmom knows that meditation makes her feel happier and calmer. So why did she stop doing it? No good reason except laziness. Now ParkSlope Slope Jewish Jewish Center Park Center Smartmom plans to get back on th th th Avenue & 14 th Street track with her Om by meditatAvenue & 14 Street 88 ing at least three times a week. She’s going to get her medHooray for * Meet reps and Hooray for Summer! itation pillow out of storage, * Meet reps and Summer! alumnae from14 find that Tibetan singing bowl alumnae from14 different camps. she bought on Bleecker Street different camps. and set her watch. Breathe in, • Learn about the UJA-Federation breathe out. Breathe in, breathe • Learn about the UJA-Federation Cam pership incentive program out. Twenty minutes and she’ll be brand new. Cam pership incentive (non-need based grantsprogram for first • Pages: Smartmom wants timebased overnight campers.) (non-need grants for first to read as much in the comtime overnight campers.) ing year as she did in the last • Find out why Jewish Camps when she consumed books by great ANY Jewish child! • are Find outfor why Jewish Camps Henry James, Edith WharSynagogue affiliation not required. are great for ANY Jewish child! ton, George Eliot, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and FlauLearn more at Synagogue affiliation not required. bert. Now she’s moved on to Learn more at contemporary Canadian authors like Carol Shields and

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Margaret Atwood. Having a good book makes her look forward to long subway and bus rides and stealing away to bed early so that she can read before going to sleep. It makes her life feel rich and exciting. It makes her brain work good and hard. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;&#x2030;Nieces: Smartmom wants to shower attention on her adorable niece, Ducky. Since the fall, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been spending more one-on-one time together, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been great fun. Smartmom finds that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better to be with Ducky alone. When Ducky is with her mom, the Diaper Diva, she tends to cling like a peach. But when sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alone with Smartmom, she cuddles and talks and plays with Smartmom. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;&#x2030;Homework: Smartmom will insist that the Oh So Feisty One does her homework earlier in the evening. She is sick and tired of her waiting until after dinner to get out her books. Then she gets sleepy and asks Smartmom to wake her up at 5:30 in the morning so she can finish. Smartmom only recognizes one 5:30 per day and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s definitely not the one in the frigginâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; morning! â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;&#x2030;Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; getaway: Smartmom wants to spend a few days alone with OSFO so that they can bond. OSFO has been very adolescent of late and she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t confide in her mom the way she used to. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why Smartmom wants to take her someplace far away from Internet and cellphones, where they can reconnect and maybe even rediscover each other. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;&#x2030;Writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Blockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;: This summer, Smartmom will definitely return to Block Island, where she has a room of her own to write. This will be her fourth year in a row at the Sea Breeze, which is a pretty wonderful place to get those fingers typing, those words flowing, those books written. â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;&#x2030;Deadlines: Smartmom promises to get her columns to the very patient Dumb Editor on time, every time, this year. Who said New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolutions are meant to be broken?

who, with Bahlman, visits the swans daily. Another birdwatcher, Larry Zirlin, said that no one should jump to any conclusions about the swansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fate, pointing out that it is not uncommon for cygnets to leave their flock. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Probably â&#x20AC;&#x201D; hopefully â&#x20AC;&#x201D; they flew off,â&#x20AC;? Zirlin said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Often the parents donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want them around after a while.â&#x20AC;? Still, concerned parkgoers should remain on the lookout for two young swans with a mix of brown and white feathers, one with a small hole in its beak, the other with a string of fishing line dangling out of its breast. If spotted, call 311. All calls will be kept confidential.

FAMILY Calendar Sat, Jan. 23 10 am and 11:30 am. Chocolate Chip Chamber Music performs â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Cats Meow (More Tails from the Opera).â&#x20AC;? $10. Old First Reformed Church [729 Carroll St. at Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638-8300], 10:30 am: Story time for kids. Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton Street, at South Portland in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200]. 12:30 and 2:30 pm: Puppet shows, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Emperorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Clothesâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Snow Queen.â&#x20AC;? Presented by Puppetworks. $8 (kids, $7). Puppetworks [338 Sixth Ave., at Fourth Street in Park Slope, (718) 965-3391], 1 pm and 3 pm: Coney Island puppet show. Victorian Toy Theater presents a multi-media show that celebrates the history and legends of Coney Island. $15 ($30 per family). GreenWood Cemetery [Fifth Avenue and 25th Street in Sunset Park, (646) 2569613], com. 1:30 pm: Science power hour. Learn about nature. Prospect Park Audubon Center [Enter park at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue in Prospect Park, (718) 287-3400], www. 3 pm: A Hawaiian Vacation Pageant. Boys and girls of all ages compete for prizes. $20 ($15 for ages 10 and under). Kumble Theater at Long Island University [DeKalb and Flatbush avenues in Downtown, (718) 488-1624], www.brooklyn. 3 pm: Contributions of African-Americans to transportation. New York City Transit Museum [Boerum Place at Schermerhorn Street in Downtown, (718) 694-1600], mta/museum. Sun, Jan. 24 11 am: Trains and Trolleys. Learn the history of transportation. Free. Fort Greene Park Visitor Center [Enter park at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park in Fort Greene, (718) 723-3218]. Noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;1 pm: Tennis open house. Free. Regina Pacis Tennis Center [66th St. between 12th and 13th avenues in Bensonhurst, (718) 745-7776]. 12:30 and 2:30 pm: Puppet shows. See Saturday, Jan. 23. 1 pm and 3 pm: Coney Island puppet show. See Saturday, Jan. 23. 1:30 pm: Science power hour. See Saturday, Jan. 23. 3 pm: Environmental Stories and activities. Free. Salt Marsh Nature Center [East

33rd Street and Avenue U in Brooklyn, (718) 421-2021], 3 pm: Contributions of African-Americans to transportation. See Saturday, Jan. 23. 4 pm. Chocolate Chip Chamber Music. See Saturday, Jan. 24. Mon, Jan. 25 11:30 am: Story time with Emily. Moxie Spot [81 Atlantic Ave. between Hicks and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 923-9710], themoxiespot. com. 4 pm: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yellow Submarine.â&#x20AC;? $6.50. Cobble Hill Cinema [265 Court St. between Butler and Douglass streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 596-9113], Tues, Jan. 26 11 am: Singalong with Lloyd. Moxie Spot [81 Atlantic Ave. between Hicks and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 923-9710], themoxiespot. com. 11 am: Storytime for kids. Free. Barnes & Noble Court Street [106 Court St. between Livingston and State streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 246-4996]. Wed, Jan. 27 1 pm: Storytime with Emily. See Monday, Jan. 25. 6 pm: Transit discussion about the rehabilitation of the original 1904 IRT station. New York City Transit Museum [Boerum Place at Schermerhorn Street in Downtown, (718) 694-1600], mta/museum. Thurs, Jan. 28 11 am: Dance around with Nat. Moxie Spot [81 Atlantic Ave. between Hicks and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 923-9710], Fri, Jan. 29 11:30 am: Storytime with Emily. See Monday, Jan. 25. 5 pm: Teen writing workshop. With Ned Vizzini. Barnes and Noble Park Slope [267 Seventh Ave. at Sixth Street in Park Slope, (718) 832-9066]. Sat, Jan. 30 10:30 am: Story time for kids. See Saturday, Jan. 23. 10:30 am: Sock puppet kid party! Celebrating Sandra Boyntonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;One Shoe Blues.â&#x20AC;? $5. Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096], wordbrooklyn. 11 am: Marine Mammal Watch. Coney Island Boardwalk [West 10th Street and the Boardwalk in Coney Island, 311], www.

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The Brookyln Paper  

Local news coverage in and around the Brooklyn communities.

The Brookyln Paper  

Local news coverage in and around the Brooklyn communities.