Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catch this flea

By Aaron Short

Want to find a good deal in Greenpoint? Go to church.

After two postponements, the long-awaited Greenpoint Flea Market Bazaar opened on June 11 at the Greenpoint Reformed Church on Milton Street.

The market, open on Fridays, is the brainchild of Natasha Ryan and has received much encouragement from neighborhood organizations and blogs.

Crowds trickled in throughout the afternoon. For eight hours, customers browsed wares ranging from $1 vinyl jazz records to $300 Nepalese singing bowls, both of which had the purpose of soothing its owner’s soul.

Perhaps the best deals of the season were cotton sundresses of all shapes and straw hats, both for $5, from vintage dealer Jelly Roll Vintage. Meanwhile, DJ Bryant K sold classic LPs and spun Kool and the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” and songs from the Jackson Five album “Maybe Tomorrow.”

“It’s the anniversary of his death,” said K.

The steal of the market may be the conversations with vendors who are longtime Greenpoint residents, including a man named Wilfredo, who said he was in a gang when he was younger and met his Polish wife when she used to be in a gang, too! They’ve been married over a decade.

His key to marital bliss? Mix up your dates a bit to keep the relationship fresh.

“Even if you’re going out, don’t go to the same place,” said Wilfredo. “Go some place new.”

Also, you can pick up a vintage Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer from Wilfredo for only $5 to make tasty strawberry smoothies for the next morning.


Greenpoint Flea Market Bazaar at the Greenpoint Reformed Church [138 Milton St. between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-5941], Fridays, noon-8 pm.


Raise the roof at these bars with a view

Don’t have rooftop access this Fourth of July? Don’t feel left out. These rooftop bars and restaurants provide some great views of Brooklyn and beyond, so you can catch a glimpse of the city’s fireworks, legal and otherwise, or just enjoy the night air.

Berry Park

4 Berry St. at N. 14th Street in Williamsburg, (718) 782-2829

This Williamsburg bar is expecting a swarm, since it has a spacious rooftop deck that overlooks McCarren Park and provides clear views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s no surprise then that, though only open less than a year, the Berry Street bar has become one of the neighborhood’s most popular destinations. For the Fourth, it’ll be first come, first serve for rooftop access. For the early bird, the bar is open at noon that day, so you can get a head start on their German drafts and also score a seat.

Il Tetto

370 Fourth Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets in Park Slope, (718) 625-2177

The restaurant at the top of Hotel Le Bleu may no longer be called The Vue, but the scenery from the breezy rooftop bar and lounge hasn’t changed one bit.

As Il Tetto (Italian for “the roof”), the space specializes in authentic Italian fare, with a few specials thrown in for July Fourth.

The main draw, of course, will be the perch from Brooklyn, with the open air watering hole found nine floors above the bustle of Fourth Avenue.

“The rooftop lounge and outdoor dining space offer an amazing view, which includes the Verrazano Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, as well as the Manhattan skyline,” said Il Tetto’s Marc Grumet.

With that, in addition to raising a glass to Lady Liberty, you can also expect to catch a glimpse of the fireworks show in the sky.


187 Columbia St. at Degraw Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, (718) 643-5400

This Mexican restaurant gets diners trekking to Columbia Street for one of the best views in the city, thanks to its proximity to the East River and panoramic views of Manhattan.

Since the fireworks moved from the East River to the Hudson a couple years ago, the bar doesn’t get the same spectacular show it used to when they were shot off right across the water at South Street Seaport. But it remains an ideal destination for outdoor diners, especially fans of seafood.

“It’s still nice to be on the rooftop,” said Alma co-owner Ron Starns. “And you get to see Jersey shoot their fireworks off, and bits and pieces of others.”

For the big night, the restaurant is taking reservations on its rooftop for 8 pm on for a $50 three-course meal.


135 N. Fifth St. at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 388-9222

This French bistro is a more fitting draw on Bastille Day, but you can be forgiven for dining at Juliette this Independence Day thanks to the spot’s charms, antique fixtures, and its winning French cuisine.

The rooftop bar is also pretty sweet, with its intimate dining, soft lighting and breeze from the East River.

For a sophisticated Fourth, order a Paris street-style hog dog and sip from one of their many house cocktails (the guillotine — a rum, lillet white and marachino mix — sounds fun).

And hey, at least they have the same colors on the flag.


Go 'Fourth'

By Ben Kochman

On July 4, the smart set stays right here in Brooklyn rather than rushing off to beaches (we’ve got those), parties (check) or hot concerts (um, this is music city, after all). Don’t believe us, here’s our full guide to this weekend (so full, in fact, that you’ll need to take Monday off).


Kicking off the holiday weekend, Prospect Park will be ablaze on Friday night, as Jamaican reggae veterans Fab 5 hit the Celebrate Brooklyn stage. The group will celebrate its 40 years on tour with an evening of lively grooves. Opening will be percussionist Junior Wedderburn’s band Uzalo, who will get the party hopping with a “cornucopia of rhythm.”

Afterwards, head down to Coney Island’s weekly Friday night fireworks over the Boardwalk. Shot from the beach, the bombs burst directly overhead, dazzling beach-front revelers. Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone Roller Coaster and the Brooklyn Cyclones are some of the sponsors who make this festive tradition possible.

Fab 5 at the Prospect Park band shell [enter at Prospect Park West and Ninth Street, (718) 855-7882], 7:30 pm. Free; Fireworks (between W. 10th and W. 12th streets, no phone) begin at 9:30 pm. Free.


The Brooklyn Cyclones offer fans a chance to pre-game the holiday on July 3 with fireworks display plus a BBQ tool set giveaway so you can grill in style this Fourth. Pepsi outfits the first 2,500 fans in attendance with free grilling paraphernalia before the Cyclones beat the despised Staten Island Yankees. The team celebrates Independence Day with post-game fireworks shot from the outfield. Sounds like a home run.

If you’d rather watch a film than baseball, head the Old American Can Factory, where Rooftop Films screens a selection of shorts that are sure to make foodies blush. In a collection from the Umami film festival, viewers will witness experimental interpretations of the complex power that food possesses. Umami is the Japanese word for “savory,” and these films hope to capture the elusive yet satisfying taste of a savory, earthy delight.

After stimulating your mind, quench your thirst at an after-party, where free Radeburger Pilsner will be on tap. That’s free, as in you can drink as much as you want.

Later, rewind back to 1980 at Brooklyn Bowl, where rockers Destroy Babylon will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of “London Calling” by performing The Clash’s famed album in its entirety.

Destroy Babylon describes its sound as “punky reggae,” which makes them a good fit to honor The Clash, who were known to experiment not only with various substances but with different musical styles.

Independence Day Celebration at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449-8497]. Game starts at 6 pm; Films at Old American Can Factory [232 Third St. between Sackett and Union streets in Gowanus, (718) 417-7362] begin at 8 pm. Tickets are $10; Destroy Babylon at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between 12th and 13th Street in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3369] starts at 8 pm. Tickets $5.


It will be man-eat-dog mania when the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest returns to Coney Island. Last year, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set an all-time record of 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and has apparently sent Takeru Kobayashi packing as he goes for his fourth consecutive title at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues. If Kobayashi doesn’t show, look out for “Notorious B.O.B” Bob Shoudt — who just recently surpassed Kobayashi for the No. 2 eater.

If you’re a betting man, head on over to Willie’s Dawgs instead and sign up for the Park Slope spot’s hot dog eating contest lottery pool, with the spoils (a $100 discount at Park Slope Veterinary Care) going to whoever correctly predicts the amount of hot dogs it will take to win Coney Island’s fabled event (last year it was 68, and everyone knows that Chestnut will eat 74 this year). The hot dog joint plans to donate all proceeds from the lottery to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue organization, which helps keep man’s best friends safe.

Later, head to Floyd Bennett Field for a Fabolous day. That’s no misprint: the Brooklyn MC will co-headline the third annual Brooklyn Music Festival at Aviator Sports. He’s joined by the infamous Shaggy, whose hit song “Wasn’t Me” lit up the charts in the late 1990s, and B.O.B, the young budding rap star from Atlanta who topped the charts in 2010 with his soulful ballad “Nothin’ on You.” Other acts include Tony Matterhorn and Lady Saw, two Jamaican dancehall deejays who plan to ignite the dance floor, and Jamaican crooner Barrington Levy.

For those looking to move, put on your Fourth of July dancing shoes and head out to Bushwick for a patriotic powwow of massive proportions. The Sunday Best crew is at it again with its self-proclaimed “best doggone backyard barbecue in Brooklyn,” at its new home at Brooklyn Fire Proof. Burgers, corn on the cob and, of course, hot dogs will be on the grill, while special DJ guest Rich Medina will keep the tunes pumping from 3 pm into the night — but ending early enough for you to catch some fireworks.

And for a good old-fashioned picnic, head to Bay Ridge for state Sen. Marty Golden’s third annual gathering. Blues Circus, the Groove, High Tides, Piranha Bros., The Ridge, and Frank Marra and His Band will provide the tunes, while hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, drinks and ice cream will be available.

Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Famous [between Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island, (718) 946-2202], noon; Hot dog eating contest lottery at Willie’s Dawgs [351 Fifth Ave. between Fifth and Sixth streets in Park Slope, (718) 832-2941], noon. Enter for $5; Brooklyn Music Festival at Floyd Bennett Field [3159 Flatbush Ave. off the Belt Parkway in Marine Park, (718) 758-7556], noon to 10 pm. Tickets $59; Sunday Best at Brooklyn Fireproof [119 Ingraham St. at Porter Avenue in Bushwick, (718) 456-7570], 3-9 pm. Tickets $12. RSVP to; Greater Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic [82nd Street and Shore Road, (718) 238-6044], 11 am to 9 pm. Free.


What better way to mark Independence Day than through an exhibit devoted to the Revolutionary War?

At the Harbor Defense Museum in Bay Ridge, you can explore artifacts from the period that were used to secure your freedom, including a three-pound cannon, Coehorn mortar and 18th-century Charleville musket at its permanent exhibition devoted to the war.

And if you’re looking to shake things up on your day off and throw in some variety, head on over to Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO for a night of tap-dancing bears, Kung Fu juggling, clown bands, sword swallowers, physical comedy and more. It’s all part of the Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show, so anything’s possible. Hope to one day be part of the act? Get a set of juggling balls and spend the day beforehand at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and practice, practice, practice.

“Battle of Brooklyn, August 27, 1776” at the Harbor Defense Museum [230 Sheridan Loop at Sterling Drive in Bay Ridge, (718) 630-4349], 10 am-4 pm. Free; Bindlestiff Variety Show at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street, (718) 222-8500], 8 pm. Tickets $5.

— with Stephen Goodstein and Damian Harris-Hernandez


Jump on in!

Dive right in to summer: outdoor public pools opened on June 29.

Here’s a look at some of places to practice your crawl stroke in Brooklyn.

Commodore Barry Pool [N. Elliot Place at Flushing Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 243-2593]. Open every day from 11 am–7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.

David Fox/PS 251 [E. 54th Street and Avenue H in East Flatbush, (718) 531-2437]. Open every day from 7:30 am to 7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.

Double D Pool (pictured) [Douglass Street between Third Avenue and Nevins Street in Boerum Hill. (718) 625-3268]. Open every day from 11 am to 7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.

Glenwood Houses [Farragut Road and Ralph Avenue in Flatlands, (718) 531-2480]. Open every day from 7:30 am to 7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.

Lindower Park [E. 60th St, Mill Rd. and Strickland Avenue in Mill Basin, (718) 531-4852]. Open every day from 11 am to 7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.

Red Hook Pool [Bay Street between Clinton and Henry streets, (718) 722-3211]. Olympic sized. Open every day from 11 am to 7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.

Sunset Park Pool [Seventh Avenue between 41st and 44th streets, (718) 965-6578]. Olympic sized. Open every day from 7:30 am to 7 pm. Closed from 3 to 4 pm.


Mars returns

Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” is coming full circle.

Filmed in Fort Greene, the 1986 film is coming back to the neighborhood on July 5, screening as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Contraband Cinema” series.

The filmmaker’s feature debut follows Nola Darling, a sexually liberated Brooklynite who juggles three less-than-perfect men, among them an immature bicycle messenger played by Lee. Shot in black and white, the subversive film was seen as a rival to the indie sex comedies of Woody Allen, appropriating the genre to address a topic that at that point was absent from the big screen — black sexuality.

The film also put a spotlight on Brooklyn, specifically Fort Greene as a vibrant cosmopolitan community.

More than 20 years later, Lee hasn’t stopped making the film world take notice, thanks to “joints” such as “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and “25th Hour.”

But here’s the chance to see Spike Lee in all his raw, edgy ambition — before the Nike commercials, before the celebrity, before the vodka tie-ins.

“She’s Gotta Have It” at BAM Rose Cinemas [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland and St. Felix streets in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4129], July 5 at 2 pm. Tickets $12. For info, visit


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sound walk

Thinking of heading south to Coney Island this summer? Veer a little bit east and check out Brighton Beach with your very own tour guide.

Todd Shalom leads a walk through the neighborhood that focuses as much on sound as sights, keeping with Ukranian-born Futurist Aleksei Kruchenykh's poetic ideal of Zaum, where the sounds of words are holier than the things they represent.

What does that mean? Using a variety of techniques pioneered by acoustic ecologists as well as experimental poetry exercises, you'll listen to sounds often tuned out and create your own poetry in motion.

While this is all about the aural, you're encouraged to bring a camera.

Brighton Zaum walk (starting point at Brighton Beach Avenue and Brighton 7th Street), July 10 at 6 pm, July 22 at 7 pm, July 24 at 6 pm, July 29 at 7 pm, and July 31 at 6 pm. $25.


'Knight and Day' a snoozefest

"Knight and Day"

One and one half stars

By Gary Buiso

“Knight and Day” is a romantic thriller with all the appeal of a spent bottle rocket on the Fifth of July.

The film plays like the B-side version of stars Tom Cruise's and Cameron Diaz's better films: “Collateral” meets “Charlie’s Angels” — and it’s not nearly as good as either.

Sure, there’s something that could pass for chemistry between the pair, but it is an impossible mission to make the disposable story seem fresh.

Roy Miller is a wise-cracking-but-deadly special agent who may have gone rogue in an effort to stop a really powerful battery from falling into the wrong hands, in this case a swarthy Spanish arms-dealer with bad intentions.

On a flight to Boston, Miller scopes out June Havens (Diaz), a feisty innocent who gets caught up in the high stakes world of international battery-smuggling.

It’s risky business for June: she’s not sure if Roy’s a fugitive or just misunderstood. But he’s far and away the most exciting gent to safely land a airplane in a cornfield she’s ever met.

The film, directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) and written by Patrick O’Neill, takes an episodic approach, going through the motions at one exotic locale to the next, tossing in cookie-cutter villains and stampeding bulls for good measure.

There might be a lot of action in “Knight and Day,” but it still is a snooze.

“Knight and Day.” Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language. 110 minutes. With Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi MollĂ , and Paul Dano. Playing in Brooklyn at Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema in Park Slope, UA Court Street Stadium 12 in Cobble Hill, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas, Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Big laughs, Littlefield

Big laughs come to Littlefield this month.

Tonight, the Gowanus venue presents “2nd Borough,” a night of comedy hosted by Kurt Braunohler, of the variety show “Hot Tub.”

The night features his usual partner in crime, Kristen Schaal (pictured), known for her hilarious turn as an obsessed fan in “Flight of the Conchords,” and as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.”

The two have spent years honing their act, which specializes in absurdist comedy that relies more on the physical — goofy dancing, usually — than quick one-liners or elaborate storytelling.

One popular bit that gets the crowd rolling involves Schaal galloping around the stage, arms flailing, with Braunohler singing, “Kristen Schaal is a horse.”

The night will also feature Brooklyn-based comedian Bradford Jordan, who forgoes his usual improv set-up for some stand-up, and the sketch groups New Excitement and Harvard Sailing Team. The latter’s videos, “Boys Will Be Girls” and “Girls Will Be Boys” — entertaining plays on gender stereotypes — have made the rounds online recently. But why sit at home when you can see the real thing live?

“2nd Borough: A Night of Comedy Hosted” at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 855-3388], June 28, 8 pm. Tickets are $5 (in advance). For info, visit


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Weekend: 6.25-6.27

Friday, June 25

Northside: The Northside Festival is in full swing, with hundreds of bands performing at venues across Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Not sure where to go? Greg Sutto of Dinosaur Feather's gives us his rundown. You also can't go wrong with Fiery Furnaces at Brooklyn Bowl tonight.

Gowanus: Get zombified at the opening night of "Zombies Attack Brooklyn" at MF Gallery.

Marine Park: Tap in to your inner Irishman with Aviator's Irish Music Festival. Also tomorrow, Black 47 close out both nights.

Williamsburg: "Edward Scissorhands" comes to Brooklyn, with a new play at the Bayard Studio.

Saturday, June 26

Williamsburg: Williamsburg Walks returns to Bedford Avenue, with a slew of outdoor fun (also tomorrow). Afterwards, grab your date and head over to Carmine's II for dinner and a movie. You can't go wrong with "Cinema Paradiso."

Carroll Gardens: Rejoice! Buttermilk Channel is now open for brunch on Saturdays.

Red Hook: After brunch, celebrate all things maritime at the Waterfront Books and Authors Festival.

Sunday, June 27

DUMBO: Thought the Takedown series conquered every food imaginable? Think again. Today, amateur chefs have a new challenge - grits - in the Grits Takedown at the Tobacco Warehouse.

Gowanus: Don't be fooled by the name; the Unfancy Food Fest is still pretty fancy. But at least there's beer. At the Bell House.


Zombies attack Brooklyn!

MF Gallery is the death metal band of Brooklyn art showrooms — it specializes in loud pieces that would be right at home on a Harley, or as a tattoo on the rider’s arm.

There’s usually a set theme — its last exhibit was all about skulls — and this month, the gallery finds a new muse with zombies.

In “Zombies Attack Brooklyn,” the Gowanus space is covered in art inspired by the living dead, ranging from the gruesome to the comic book-esque. There’s a sculpture of a mermaid in all its bloody, grey-skinned glory — no Disneyfied vision here; another with its arms outstretched in familiar pose, with blood vessels exposed like a zombie Freddy Krueger.

Painting-wise, Brooklyn gets its own B-movie horror poster for the fictional “Brooklyn Nightmare,” “starring” Eli Roth, Angelina Jolie and Harvey Keitel.

It’s art that’s all in good fun. And tonight, the gallery will even bring in a professional zombie make-up artist to give you that special undead look.

And to cap off the perfect zombie night, Dethrace will also perform its death metal.

“Zombies Attack Brooklyn” at MF Gallery [213 Bond St. between Butler and Baltic streets in Gowanus, (917) 446-8681], June 26-July 25, with an opening night party from 7-10 pm. For info, visit

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