3 Bikini

Musings on Art and Commerce in Brooklyn.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Oracle is Back

The Pintchik time and temperature sign is lit once again after weeks of brownout power saving. I feel like an old friend has returned. I don't wear a watch, so I run on Pintchik time. Not that it helps once I am at the train station, but a quick calculation tells me exactly how late I will be.

In addition to providing time and temperature, there apparently used to be a writer/oracle in residence that answered questions mundane and exotic. There are rumors that back in 2003 Mr. Jonathan Safran Foer was said oracle. See this New Yorker article for more: ORACLE ON FLATBUSH

Today the Oracle was advertising a "meet your mate at Melt" $3 drink special.

One can once again be timely, dressed appropriately, and dating thanks to the return Flatbush Oracle.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Tal kicked my arse at the Scrabble today. How is it that a self proclaimed grammar nazi such as myself, daily correcting such Tal phrases as-"we shoulda went", can lose by more than 50 points to the man? Impossible. I lose every time. EVERY TIME.

Photo on Flickr by Kenton Library

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wine Exchange

Leaving Beast Thursday after a delectable meal of scallops and garlic squash puree (I know so sophisticated at a joint called Beast), we happened upon The Wine Exchange at 595 Vanderbilt. I know its 595 Vanderbilt because it says so on the neon sign on which they also provide their phone number. You never know when you will need 5 bottles of Veuve Clicquot in a pinch, and now they are burned into my brain like the sun to the cornea on a bright day.

Generation Gentrification marches on...

Trash Gnomes-Dean Street

Friday, August 25, 2006

Atlantic Yards Hearings BLINKS

Pol parade — windbags and wonks [nolandgrab]

Supporters out in force, opponents go the distance
[Atlantic Yards Report]

First Public Hearing Held On Atlantic Yards Development Project

Raucous Meeting on Atlantic Yards Plan Hints at Hardening Stances [NY Times]

Atlantic Yards Public Hearing: Race Card Played [Curbed]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Interview Corporate Speak moment of Zen

I have had a week of interviews and I must say that I am no good at stress management. I thought I would take a moment to purge all of those icky words that give me the shakes and cause me to drink.

Proof of Concept
Super User
Business Requirements

Phew. That's enough for now. I feel better.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Silver Spoon closed

The Silver Spoon on Flatbush between Bergen and Dean is closed. I find this particularly disturbing even though the tables smelled of wet dog and were perpetually sticky. No one else makes my scrambled eggs so dangerously close to salmonella yet so delicious with a side of buttery grits for under $5. The whole wheat toast came with the usual grape jelly cubelets and was really white bread with a bit of flavor. The note (above) indicates that the diner will reopen after renovation. My guess is it will go the way of the rest of Prospect Heights, all of the character will be renovated away leaving us with the memory of what once was.

Anyone know of another greasy spoon that makes runny scrambled eggs and grits?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

City Island Excursion

After a subway ride beginning at the J from Atlantic, switching to the 4 at chambers which ran local, 30 minutes to 125th street, switching to the 6 for another 20 minutes to Pelham, and finally a bus on the BX29- we finally made it to a skinny Island in the Bronx called City Island. Phew.

While I love Brooklyn, we occasionally venture out to audition the burbs for family raising potential. My boss is from City Island. As she is a pretty hip producer lady married to an Irish Brain researcher, we thought the Island may suit us?!

This house sure suits me. It is a quaint story book house with a garden to match. To top it off at the end of the block there is a private beach for the homeowners on the block.

This is a picture of one of the local bars on City Island Avenue reminiscent of the shanty town that the Island used to be. According to Forgotten NY: Since it was first settled in 1761 its lifeblood has been the sea, with shipyards, sailmakers and oystermen predominating. I can see old time sailmakers and fisherman hanging out at this spot smoking hand rolled cigarettes and taking slugs of rum recalling stories of the sea.

We snaked up and down the streets off of City Island Ave for a bit. The selling points are the opportunities to share stories with ship folk, the sweet houses, and year round water views. However, the commute will have me clawing at the bus windows ready to hurl myself over the bridge. Onward....

Friday, August 18, 2006

Video of the week

Click the flash or quicktime links to view the movie of Chuck's balancing act. Chuck belongs to Dooce.

Flash video

Quicktime movie

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blight or Flight?

The Temple of Restoration recently added a placard with their name over the front doors. Someone must have left the Temple a bunch of money, as they have added not only the sign, but stained glass detailing with the word HOPE to the main window, marble entry steps, and decorative fencing between new brick pillars.

I noted several buildings on Dean that appear to have experienced the benefits of a facelift themselves. The restoration placard served as a sign to the neighbors that it was time for some sprucing up...

So I thought it was funny/strange when I read No Land Grab's post regarding Empire State Development Corporation's Blight Study in conjunction with the Atlantic Yards Plans. Included in the study was at least one if not both of the buildings below (they are in a row of 5 and three are earmarked as blighted).

Last week the owners of this house set out planter boxes. (This morning they were mysteriously missing)

This one received two fresh coats of gray paint, a new light fixture outside the door, and a repaved front walkway in the last two weeks.

I wonder if the owners are aware that their homes are considered a threat to public safety. They sure do look innocuous with their facelifts. Perhaps the owners are getting ready to sell, and these are not the blighted. In the spirit of restoration- develop don't destroy!

Monday, August 14, 2006


Photo by THS Tom THS on flickr

I had planned on writing a cheery recap of the Dean Street Block association meeting today, however an unlikely turn of events has shifted my concern from 10 year projects to the present. A co-worker who is somewhat poorly pieced together, or rather comes apart easily (a sign of a highly creative and thus neurotic soul) experienced the tragic loss of his son.

While Louis and I have very little direct contact, we shared an office wall for several years and I was privy to everything from intimate family conversations to battles over the failed realization of a director's vision. What makes Louis stand out is his selection of adjectives and employment of hyperbole while on the speakerphone. In an office with a view of a park, he chooses the clutter of personal plants and tapestries to the treetops.

I have passed his son in the hallway when he visits- a handsome, cocksure teenager with rebellious eyes and dark shaggy hair. The kid was feisty, always ending phone calls with a snarky comment for his dad, never letting his old man get the last word. Their battles were playful and witty, rarely meanspirited. I was entertained by them, suppressing giggles and rolling my eyes behind our shared wall. They didn't know I listened, but it made the day go by. I felt like the canned laughter from the audience that bolsters the show.

Thus it came as quite a blow this afternoon to learn that Louis' son was found face down in a pool. I can see it in my head, but have a hard time reconciling the angsty voice on the speakerphone with the image of a lifeless body in a suburban pool. All of the feist escaped into the water and a great kid silenced forever. It is indescribable tragedy. I will miss his voice, and can only conceive of a fraction of the loss.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cook the Mother Not the Baby

Photo by riomanyi on Flickr via Brooklyn Record.

At a friend's bridal shower this weekend many people approached me asking when we were going to have a baby and I got to thinking about motherhood and how it changes a person. I remembered the battle author Amy Sohn is embroiled in in the blogosphere about the same...

Amy, author of the Mating column in New York Magazine, is having a hard time navigating the Madonna/Whore complex. Let Whore represent cool in the aforementioned complex. Amy claims, "My goal is not to look like a mother so much as a still-young, still-cool person who just happens to have a child" in her NY Magazine article.

She has written for years about love and sex a la Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw. Amy is now a new mother, and as society has a hard time viewing mothers as sex symbols, or even people who have sex (with the exception of our Madonna in whom both can live concurrently forever without question). Amy is trying hard to reconcile her disparate selves. She has transmuted what could be a cute byline du jour Sexy single gal columnist goes milk stained wet t-shirt mama-to Inane author invoking feminism goes vitriolic on stay at home moms. I think Amy's real fear is concern for her career as a sex and mating columnist as she buys into the idea that mother's can't be well rounded, still possessed of sexuality, contributing members of society. Therefore she must fight to retain whatever cool factor earned her a column in the first place by bashing women who embody motherhood.

Mr. Nice Guy
, is a Park Slope dad who's snarky blog response to Amy's attack on the Stay at Home mom is well worth reading. Click here for Mr. Nice Guy's smackdown with Ms. Sohn.

Amy Responds here

Whether or not to rent out my empty womb remains TBD.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Brooklyn Flavored Wallpaper

Since I featured Brooklyn flavored Ice-Cream, why not look at Brooklyn flavored wallpaper? Twenty2 are the newest darlings of the design world, breathing new life into mylar from granny's powder room. Featured in the likes of Elle Decor, Martha, and Metropolitan Home, the husband and wife team of Kyra and Robertson Hartnett toil away in Brooklyn creating hand painted (read pricey) wallpaper. With names like Promenade, Montague, and Columbia Heights, is wallpaper back?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A woman's three year self Portrait project in 1 min.

I find this mesmerizing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blinks-Brooklyn Links

  • Welcome to Brooklyn Celebs [NY Post via Brooklyn Record]
  • Gowanus Lounge Talks Red Hook on WNYC Brian Lehrer [GL]
  • Dry Dock vs. Ikea [A Brooklyn Life]
  • Halstead's Mid Year Townhouse Report [Brownstoner]
  • The Atlantic Yards Project [NY Times]
  • Storefronting: Dumbo Report [Curbed]
  • Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Spotlight P-Heights Newswalk Phase III

    The third phase of Newswalk has begun. The Developer, namely Shaya Boymelgreen of Gowanus Village fame, is selling the first floor units which have been unoccupied for 3+ years. We have been waiting for the Certificate Of Occupancy and an amendment to the offering plan for the units to become salable.

    The units are divided between two brokers. The lower tier goes to Aguayo Huebner, the original sales team to represent the building, and the big ticket Penthouse units are represented by Sotheby's.

    I am unimpressed by the lot of them, expecting more light and air. The Penthouse apartments (irony of PH on the first floor not lost here) are gargantuan, with the most expensive clocking in at $2.7 mil. This space is an oddly laid out long rectangle. Upon entry you are met by a room with no windows they are calling a study. I suppose someone could stick a kid in there if one didn't mind light deprived but well rested little ones. The room seems better suited to be someone's darkened computer lair.

    Next you enter the kitchen and dining area with slate like granite on the backsplash and worktop. I'm not a big fan of slate, but the Sotheby's kitchens had an ample grey and pale wood palette- looking to court the sleek tech junkie new construction consumers. You then climb two stairs to a raised area they are calling the living room, but there aren't any windows here so it's a bit gloomy. Finally, you reach the end of a long stretch down two stairs to a rec center, bedroom area and two car garage. Yes, a 2 car garage, in case you have a Hummer or something.

    Sadly, the details that make an apartment a big ticket item were overlooked. The wood on one of the glass partition's banisters didn't meet the right way, and you could see the dried glue between the edges. Additionally you could cook an egg on the cement patio today, which makes it virtually unusable in prime patio months. Whoever buys this one has some customizing to do....

    I did find a lovely space in apt 110, asking price of $1 million through Aguayo Huebner. The positioning of the apartment off of two gardens in the brownstones across the way is lovely. There is an overhang that shielded the wooden deck from the sun, and picture window like architectural details on the patio made the view from the tiny tiny bedroom just right. I would love to live there if I were never to have kids (no window in second bedroom) and I could while away my days next to the plants drinking tea and reading the paper. It felt almost like a European courtyard. Still there is only one bathroom, but there is central a/c. Too bad its out of my price range. But for anyone who wants to live in Prospect Heights in a full service building, this apartment is my pick.

    For more reading on Shaya Boymelgreen Developer extraordinaire here are some links:

    Blight, Like Beauty, Can Be in the Eye of the Beholder [NY Times]

    Rivals Rumble in Dumbo
    [NY Times]

    Leviev Boymelgreen Update: With Divorce in the Air, Will Gowanus Village Become Goa Estates? [Gowanus Lounge]

    Keur N'Deye -Delicious Senegalese

    Tal wanted to try the Viennese place in Fort Greene that was rated highly on some site. Turns out the "ese" we landed at was in fact Senegal-ese, a cool surprise.

    Parched from walking in the sun I was ready for some ice cold tap water. My first sip was wild, the water tasted like black licorice. It had been flavored with Anise seed which is used mostly in the foods of Southeast Asia, and apparently Africa.

    According to Answers.com, "Anise seeds have been used as a digestive for centuries, and in India they're chewed after a meal not only for digestion but to sweeten breath." Hmm... I can eat spicy food and have lovely breath and a stomach steeled against upset. I like it. Alot.

    The next new flavor came from the olive oil dip served with warm crusty bread. It was a pickle and olive relish, more anise seed, and some peppers minced together to create a chunky, fragrant blend of flavors.

    Although we played it safe with the main meal, Tal ordered a goat cheese omelet, and I ordered a chicken wrap sandwich, there were interesting bits throughout. My wrap had a spicy orange colored sauce that gave the marinated tender chicken some bite. It was served with a healthy pile of thin fries, and some pear slices. Yum. Tal's omelet had hearts of palm and asparagus mixed in, and a salad on the side.

    Don't miss a stop at the shower/sink in the restroom. You turn the traditional looking shower handle in what looks like a stall and from about 5 bamboo spigots water drops from above like rain. I had a little bit of trouble turning it off-I had to go through several intense moments of high water pressure and cursing, but I finally got it, went back to the table, and sipped some licorice water for calm.

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Little Miss Sunshine

    We went to BAM tonight to see Little Miss Sunshine, and came away with canary yellow t-shirts that read "Everybody Pretend to be Normal".

    It takes place somewhere in Arizona (filmed in New Mexico), where a dysfunctional family is forced to endure each other on a road trip to California on their way to the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant. Abigail Breslin, steals the show as a pot bellied, waffles a la mode orderin', 1970's coke bottle glasses wearin' kid who dreams of winning a beauty pageant. The movie opens with Olive (Breslin) watching a tape of a Miss Universe contest mimicking the winner's face and arm movements. She rewinds and replays-three times.

    Greg Kinnear plays her father, a vulnerable man turned 9 step self help guru in an effort to avoid being dubbed a loser. He is a WINNER, his family must be winners, but life keeps dealing him a crap hand.

    Toni Collette does a nice enough job as the supportive, tough, mindful mother and sister who holds everything together even though she is wilted and pissed off at Kinnear's pipe dream to sell his 9 steps. I wanted more from Collette....

    Paul Dano is another show stealer as the Nietzsche obsessed, pale, mute by design. He carries a pad and pen for emergency communication such as- "Don't Kill Yourself Tonight"- passed to the depressed, suicidal, gay Proust scholar Steve Carrell. The two are forced to sleep in a room together so Dwayne (Dano) can insure that Frank (Carrell) doesn't off himself in the night.

    Alan Arkin is great as the sex obsessed crotchety old timer who feels its his duty to educate his grandchildren about the world: "Dwayne (Dano), this is the voice of experience talking. Sleep with many women, not one woman, many women. They're all jailbait now, once you turn 18 its all over."

    Throw this bunch into a VW bus that must either be parked on a hill or pushed to reach 20mph shifting through to 4th gear- and the most heart warming quirk emerges from the mix. If you like your comedy dark, and your families honest and funky- this is a worthwhile $10 in Brooklyn.

    The audience clapped.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    We all scream for Ice Cream

    Among the many ways to beat the heat, Ice Cream is the best choice by far.

    I found out about 5 Boroughs Ice Cream via Apartment Therapy. The founders came up with the idea on their couch in Astoria, inspired to create a flavor for each neighborhood of the city. While we haven't gotten a chance to try it yet, here's a review from Eden of Brooklyn:

    1.) Dear Scott and Kim,

    Last night I discovered Bakla - Wha!?, and I'm impressed. I loved the flavor and the inventiveness of the concept behind it, and most of all, the fact that its a local product. I've been inventing ice cream, sorbet, and unholy frozen concoctions in my apartment for years now, much to the sometimes delight and sometimes consternation of my friends. There seems to be a pretty solid divide on my Black Pepper Ice Cream and Chocolate and Cayenne Pepper Ice Cream recipes. But the fact that you took a dream and ran with it impresses the hell out of me. Go get em!

    -Eden, Brooklyn, NY

    Yay for ice cream makers who support the community using local vendors and flavors for inspiration. 5 Boroughs shops at Sahadi's in Brooklyn Heights for their chocolate and other good stuff.

    Related Links:

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Building for Sale on 6th and Bergen

    What was once home to Castor and Pollux, is now for sale. I feel better about the fact that the store is no longer baiting me to blow my paycheck daily, though I do have some gorgeous gold leaf shaped earrings and a delicate Phillip Lim top to remember it by.

    Here are the specs:
    Several weeks ago it was selling for $1.25, but has since been updated to a cool million. The building is a 2 Family Brick, attached on two sides, built in 1931. Each floor above the store has a 1+ br apartment with eat in kitchen, and one full bath each. The store garners an estimated rent roll of $3500/mth.

    The only real downside to me is that it is doors down from the police station, where you get to watch the accused being escorted to and from the paddy wagon to their holding cells. There's definitely some good drama witnessed at the window outside the 24hr cell, as we learned last weekend when what we assumed was a girlfriend and her mother berated a captive inmate.

    Takers? Call Wendy at (917) 299-0224 I believe she is the owner as it was originally an FSBO, although it may now be represented by a broker.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    My First BLINKS (Brooklyn Links)

  • Heat Wave Fun: Renderings of McCarren Pool...with Water [Gowanus Lounge]
  • Athlete's Foot? Communal Yoga Mats May be the Culprit [OTBKB]
  • Why Your Basement Floods [Callalillie]
  • Gang Member Draws 22-Year Sentence in Murder of 15-Year-Old for an iPod [NY Times]
  • For a Mobster’s Home, a Cool $1 Million Price [NY Times]
  • Roulette [Apartment Therapy]
  • Bertha Lewis Defends ACORN's Deal with FCR [Brownstoner]
  • Frontin' as Super Gear

    Ever wonder about the store on Fifth Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets that has bottled oddities such as Time Travel and Brain Fluid? Wired Magazine debunked the myth that Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co can "help with your nemesis problem." If you are truly in search of capes for your crusades, invisible to visible goggles, go go gadget arms, or whatever, you are out of luck at this storefront. Instead what you will find behind the velvet curtain are small children cranking out stories that employ the storefront facade in the battle to vaporize your enemies.

    Novelist Dave Eggers created 826 Valencia, the first of 4 whimsical tutoring venues, in 2004. Eggers and 826 volunteers believe that "great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success". Agreed, and making the venue a stand-out denizen of creativity can't hurt for fodder.