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New video from local artist Leon Marin, “Gowanus State of Mind.”

08.14.10 0
Bites: Michael & Ping’s Chinese open; Pita Hut back!

Some food news buzzing around Gowanus:

  • Michael and Ping’s Modern Chinese Takeout finally (soft)opened for on 3rd Ave. after months of planning, permit hold-ups and other delays. The new eatery, next door to Four & Twenty Blackbirds, serves “healthy” Chinese food, sourced with natural ingredients, and grilled, sauteed and cooked in natural oils. It’ll be the first Brooklyn restaurant to receive “certified green” status from the Green Restaurant Association. According to its Facebook page, it will close again for a few days to finalize its menu before opening again Monday.

    All signs point to tasty: Inside Michael & Ping’s
  • Pita Hut on 9th St. at 5th Ave. has reopened after a mysterious closure back in May. The popular falafel spot has been renovated, which may explain the close.
08.12.10 0
Canal watch: For the birds

Eagle eyes may have noticed fifteen new yellow birdhouses recently posted along the Canal edges, and while they may look like sunny spots to us, they’ve yet to appeal to their intended tenants. Indeed, the houses largely remain empty, reports the Brooklyn Paper.

“The birdhouses aren’t being used yet because it takes a while for the birds to get used to them,” said Hans Hesselein, a South Slope landscape architect and one of four friends from North Carolina who built the houses.

A pleasant habitat around the houses helps, too, he explained. Well, that may take awhile, but in the meantime, according to the paper, the group has also installed bat-houses at 2nd Ave. and 3rd St. to attract brown bats, and more are planned in the future. They plan to build five houses to attract birds called chimney swifts — no one will miss them, as the 15-foot-tall structures resembling chimneys will stand at the end of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.

Has anyone noticed the houses?

08.12.10 0
To do: Chat with “Lizzie McGuire” creator, beatbox and adult circus!

July 29:  In the world of girl icons, Disney’s Lizzie McGuire wins as one of the most popular in the past 10 years — learn from the woman who created her, animator Debra Solomon, at a chat and screening of her new mini-musical film “Getting Over Him in 8 Songs or Less” at 8 p.m. at the Brooklyn Conservatory (534 Union St.). $5.

July 30: Relive the heyday of punk at the two-day The Big Takeover 30th Anniversary punk festival at the Bell House (149 7th St.) with The Avengers, Channel 3, Visqueen, Springhouse, Libertines U.S. and Flower. $25 ($40 for two-day pass).

July 31: Gowanus will become the center for hiphop this weekend with the first annual, and first ever American, Beatbox Championships held this Saturday at Littlefield (622 DeGraw St.), part of the sixth annual BOXCON Human Beatbox 2010 convention dedicated to beatboxing.  Special guest judges include Jarobi White (ATCQ), Parrish Smith (EPMD), Swiss Chris (drummer/music director for John Legend), as well as beatbox legend Kenny Muhammad.  The event is part of a weekend of workshops, panel discussions, showcases, open mic and more. 8 p.m. $20-35.

July 31: If steampunk Victorian goth is more your scene, check out “The Lost Circus” at Littlefield at 12 a.m. to see
aerial dance, gypsy fortunetelling, feats of fire in the courtyard and more, hosted by party planners Gemini & Scorpio. Costumes are required. $15 with RSVP, $20.

July 31: Or relax under the stars with live music and a film screening, albeit one about the totalitarian Soviet regime in Estonia. At 8 p.m., hosted by Rooftop Films at the American Can Factory (232 3rd st.). $10.

07.28.10 0
Bites: Bencotto pizza on Carroll now open

The new Bencotto on Carroll and 3rd Ave. has been open for a few weeks and seems slightly more busy than the pizza shop it replaced — has anyone checked it out?                           

07.27.10 0
Canal watch: Strange sponge to be planted in Gowanus

Something unusual, creepy and voracious will soon be growing in Gowanus. A plant “sponge” called bioswale, designed to soak up the storm water that pools in the area and dumps into the Canal, will be planted along Sixth St. between 2nd and 4th Aves.

The project, by the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and funded with a $580,000 grant from the city, will begin in August and take a year to complete, according to the Brooklyn Paper. Those two blocks were chosen because they are more likely to catch sewage overflow, said John Muir, advocacy group’s vice chairman, in the paper.

The sponge will be slightly different from the suddenly controversial “Sponge Park,” a project planned in 2008 to line the canal banks with a plant designed to absorb rainwater so less sewage would get into the water. Conservancy activists thought the name was public, but recently realized the the project design firm, dlandstudio, had trademarked the name. Now they don’t want to use the name at all.

No matter what it’s called, a spongey riverbank collection system sounds promising, albeit unusual. Any thoughts?

Photo credit: Dlandstudio via Brooklyn Paper

07.26.10 0
Digs: Whole Foods is off-again?

Today, in the saga of Whole Foods-in-Gowanus: although the natural foods behemoth has finished cleaning the area of its potential future home at 3rd Ave. and 3rd St., the store has not committed to actually building a store there.

According to the Brooklyn Paper:

“Whole Foods is now reviewing the possibilities for a future location at this site,” said a Whole Foods spokesman, Michael Sinatra. “While there is no timetable set, discussions are active and we remain hopeful to bring a store to this community in the near future.”

Brooklynites have cheered at the thought of a Whole Foods store here for years, but concerns over site pollution in the ground and from the Canal have sparked delays and rumors of the project dying.

Until next time…

07.21.10 0
In The News: Pipes! In the Canal!

Much ado in the press about a new 2,500-foot system of pipes recently installed in the Canal that will “give a breath of fresh air” to the water by oxygenating it — water will be drawn from the head of the canal at Douglass St., supersaturate it with dissolved oxygen and send it back into the canal through the pipes, according to the New York Times.

In the process, officials closed off the underground tunnel opened in 1999 that channeled additional water from New York Harbor, which served the same same purpose (but not very well), according to WNYC. It will remain closed for 26 months so it can be fully drained, its pump will be replaced, and a mile-long pipe will be build connected the canal to the Red Hook Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

The Gowanus Canal needs the extra boost since water goes into the canal at New York Harbor but has nowhere to go once it hits a dead end at Boerum Hill, thanks to poor planning by builders nearly 100 years ago.

The added bonus of the system? Reducing the distinct fragrance of the water — sweet.

07.20.10 0