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Around Brooklyn: Closed for pandemic, Park Slope bar throws haiku contest

April 16, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Closed for pandemic, Park Slope bar throws haiku contest

Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, a famous bar in Park Slope (where this writer’s friends have performed many times) is sponsoring an online haiku contest for its stir-crazy bar patients. One haiku by customer Nancy Drew read, “Corona bottle/glows in a dark bar/last call/last call!” Another contributor, Laurel Lindahl, wrote, “Freddy’s, oh Freddy’s/I’ve missed your sweet tater tots/and also the booze.” A state court order effectively shut down bars to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Freddy’s owners promise to reopen, according to Patch.

Grocers grapple with soaring prices

What Brooklyn grocer Kareem Dolah called “Styrofoam white eggs” used to cost between 75 cents and $1.10 wholesale. Now, he says, that price has gone up to around $4. Dolah took over the Met Grocery Store on Nostrand Avenue from his father, who started the business in 1973. Like other grocers, Dolah says that shipments from wholesalers are often coming in incomplete, and he has expanded his source of suppliers, Gothamist said. Michael Ruhlman, author of “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America,” said that New York grocers usually operate on thin margins, with net profits hovering between 1 and 1.5 percent.

City expands categories for who can use day care centers

The city is expanding the categories of New Yorkers who can send their children to city-run regional enrichment centers. Eligible employees now include restaurant, food, takeout and delivery workers, and residential and commercial building staff, the Department of Education announced Friday. The move comes as the total number of RECs is reduced because demand is less than anticipated. Starting this week, the DOE will operate 57 RECs, which can accommodate up to 23,000 kids. There are 18 in Brooklyn, 11 in the Bronx, 15 in Queens, ten in Manhattan and three in Staten Island, according to NBC New York.

Project Balloon Bomb brings color to Brooklyn streets

Christina Cartegena founded Brooklyn Balloon Girls eight months ago. Her business originally designed balloon garlands, backdrops and art for parties, all of which have been canceled during to COVID-19. Now, she has started Project Balloon Bomb, which places rainbow-colored balloon installations on various shuttered business and other areas. Her first Balloon Bomb was at Fierrins, a candy shop in Park Slope. She’s also been contacted by the Flatbush Avenue BID to do some installations there. “Hopefully just seeing balloons out of their window or as they’re driving by, or going to the store for essential items, maybe that’ll just cheer them up a little bit and let them know that they aren’t alone,” she said.

Overwhelming number of retail stores seek rent relief

Retail tenants in Brooklyn are requesting rent help from their landlords in droves as the pandemic rages on and forces many stores to shut down indefinitely, according to The Real Deal. The real estate online publication detailed responses from 80 retail property owners. About two thirds of the landlords surveyed said between 75 and 100 percent of their retail tenants had asked for rent deferrals or forgiveness. About 80 percent of the landlords said they had not developed a policy for rent relief but were instead dealing with it on a case-by-case basis. Ofter Cohen, founder of Terra CRB, said his firm got the general impression that people on all sides of the retail equation were trying to be reasonable and accommodating during the crisis, The Real Deal reported.

Real-life horror story: suspect says he killed, ate dad

A 26-year-old allegedly stabbed his father to death at their Dyker Heights home on Wednesday morning and may have partially eaten him, according to amNewYork. One high-ranking cop told amNewYork that, “it’s one of the worst crime scenes I’ve ever seen. He was missing body parts, we don’t know where they are.” The suspect, Kahled Ahmade, allegedly went to a Dyker Heights bagel shop and told cops who were there that he had killed and eaten his father. The suspect underwent a wellness check at the stationhouse.

Drive-through testing site in Flatbush

In Flatbush, a landmarked Sears store has been turned into a drive-through coronavirus testing site, according to Untapped Cities. The entrance to the testing site consists of multiple white tents in the Sears parking lot on Bedford Avenue. You have to have an appointment to get a test, which you can get by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-364-3065. According to the state Department of Health website, having drive-through testing sites reduces density by keeping people who are sick or at rick of having contracted out of the facilities where they could infect other people.

Ortiz wants to extend Census counting process

Asssmelbymember Felix Ortiz, D-Sunset Park-Red Hook, said recently that he welcomed the U.S. Census Bureau’s announcement that it is extending the counting process from Jul 31 to Oct. 31 due to the COVID-18 crisis. “An accurate count can make a major difference in the quality of our lives. Our medical facilities and hospitals would improve with better and more accurate data. We’d have more doctors, nurses and medical supplies with a higher census count,” said Ortiz.

Stringer announces online workshops for small biz

City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced recently a biweekly series of online workshops to expand access to available resources, services and business and minority and women-owned business enterprises impacted by COVID-19. The Comptroller’s Office will provide presentations via Zoom on a range of topics including financial resources from the federal, state, and city government as well as the private sector, and current business opportunities within city and state procurement. Interpretation services will be available in 12 different languages including American Sign Language, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.

Architectural Digest praises design of Brooklyn restaurant

Architectural Digest has praised Rule of Thirds in Greenpoint, a space that embodies the Japanese principle of Mottananai, a concept of “mindfulness, gratitude and intention.” The restaurant is the latest addition to the A/D/O building, a community hub and multipurpose space. While Rule of Thirds is currently closed due to the coronavirus, neighborhood residents can still find inspiration from its design. It incorporates a variety of wood components, including a light Douglas fir throughout the main dining area and a contrasting dark walnut for the bar. As far as color is concerned, it employs muted shades, especially green, to evoke the “lush embrace of nature.”

Sea Wolf survives via online connections

A restaurant in the heart of industrial Brooklyn, Sea Wolf, has been surviving by going online, according to Verizon News. Owner Dan Cirpriani, a Marine Corps veteran, says he is using the same strategy as he did during the first Gulf War: “Adapting our operations and strategy every day as new challenges arise.” He relies on online connectivity to communicate with his customers and rally support for his former employees. Local companies have also donated to Sea Wolf for example, one firm donated 10 cases of sparkling water, a distiller mailed a case of hand sanitizer and a bakery delivered packaged pastries and cookies.

‘Ice Cream Girl’ compiles video of residents singing ‘We Are the World’

A Bay Ridge woman, who calls herself the Ice Cream Girl because she’s been driving an ice cream truck for years, has compiled a video of local residents singing “We Are the World” in hopes of spreading joy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Maria Campanella says that one of her friends, Frances Mignano, suffered after her uncle died on April 3. Mignano, who collaborated with Campanella on the project, says the lyrics spoke to her and that with everything going on, joy and gratitude can go a long way.

Compiled by Raanan Geberer.

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