Monday, August 31, 2009

Important Meeting on 5th Avenue Meter Rates

On Wednesday, September 9th at 7:30 PM, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will host a public meeting at the Park Slope United Methodist Church (6th Avenue & 8th Street) to allow residents and merchants to share their opinions about the pilot "Park Smart" program.

The program, which started in May, raised the meter rates along 5th and 7th Avenues, between Sackett and 3rd Streets, from $.75 an hour to $1.50 an hour during prime times. The program aimed to increase the available metered spaces along the avenue and, according to the study results of the program, it has worked as planned. In fact, the program, thus far, has improved overall parking space occupancy by 4 percentage points, from 88% in April to 84% in June (a lower number meaning there is more space to park).

Following up on this success, DOT wants to increase the parking rates again from $1.50 an hour to $3.00 an hour! This has many area merchants concerned, fearing that this second increase in just a few months will drive customers away from the avenue at a time when they are struggling the most.

So, what are your thoughts about this second proposed increase, from $1.50/hour to $3.00/hour? Share your comments, below, or drop by the meeting on the 9th. Your voice and opinion are needed!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Battle Week 2009!

Today marks the beginning of Battle Week 2009, celebrating Brooklyn's critical role in the American Revolutionary War. There are lots of great events taking place at the area's historic places, like the Old Stone House, Greenwood Cemetery and Prospect Park. Schedule is below. Details are available from the Brooklyn Eagle.

Battle Week 2009!

Friday, August 28, 6 - 8 pm
Battle of Brooklyn Neighborhood Walk
Tour the Sites with Professor William J. Parry
Meet at the Grand Army Plaza Entrance to Prospect Park
Reservations necessary: 718-768-3195
$12/$10 OSH members; includes light refreshments

Saturday, August 29, 11 am
Rededication of the Maryland Monument in Prospect Park
Reading of the Maryland 400
Enter Prospect Park Southwest at 16th Street/Well House Drive
More information: 718-768-3195

Saturday, August 29, 3:30 pm
Set Sail! Explore Battle Sites from NY Harbor
Hosted by Barnet Schecter
$65 includes cocktail.
Meet at Chelsea Pier/23rd Street & Hudson River

Sunday, August 30, 10 am - Noon
Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration
The Green-Wood Cemetery
10 am: Historic Trolley Tour with Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman and author Barnet Schecter.
Reservations necessary: 718-768-7300; $20/$10 members
11:30 am: Irish-American Parade Committee Memorial March
Noon: Reenactment inside the Main Gate
1:30 pm: Parade to Battle Hill
2:00 pm: Memorial Ceremony

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview with Stone Park Cafe

All About Fifth interviewed Stone Park Cafe Chef and Co-owner Josh Grinker about seasonal cuisines, challenging wines and more.

Q: When did Stone Park Cafe open and what made you choose Park Slope?

Grinker: Josh Foster, my Business partner, and I both grew up in Park Slope and our families still live here. We worked in restaurants around the country and around the city before opening Stone Park. We saw how the neighborhood was beginning to change and we saw the chance for a viable opportunity, but ultimately it was sort of a coming home for us.

Q: With your focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients— do you have a favorite season to draw on?

Grinker: I guess my favorite in terms of ingredients would have to be Spring. There’s a brightness and a freshness to Spring that’s unsurpassed, not to mention the psychological sense of re-birth and coming out of hibernation that is palpable in the Spring. That said, Fall is a close second because as things get colder I’m able to start employing many of the techniques that I love to cook with, such as braising, making soups and purees, that kind of thing.

Q: Your restaurant is self-bill as having “interesting and challenging” wines—what is a challenging wine?

Grinker: A challenging wine is one that requires us to think outside the box. For instance, most people associate Rieslings with residual sugar and scoff at its mention, but one of my favorite wines, and one that is very traditional to the region, is a very dry Setzer Riesling from Austria. Challenging can also mean learning to like something that you didn’t think you liked before. I used to drink very fruity, over the top reds. Josh Foster buys our wines and likes wines with that are a little dryer and more complex. As a result, my tastes have been challenged and ultimately changed for the better. Exploring the diversity of wines from around the world and the hundreds, if not thousands of grape varietals can be a very educational process and learning something is always challenging.

Q: What is a like to be a chef/owner—do the roles complement one another or is there some tension there?

Grinker: I love being a chef/owner because of the diversity involved in the job. I can hunker down in the kitchen if I want and concentrate on simple tasks and the creativity involved in cooking and then when I get bored of that there are all the left brain tasks involved in running a business to focus on. I don’t think there’s any tension, really, other than having to deal with the economic realities of the marketplace, but it’s better to have to answer to myself than to have to answer to a boss.

Q: I see that you have been on a cooking show. Do you agree with the recent NY Times article by Michael Pollan these shows have transformed cooking from “something you do into something you watch?”

Grinker: I can’t really comment on an article I haven’t read, but I generally think that cooking shows don’t have that much power to transform anything. I mean, you can watch a cooking show, but ultimately you still have to either make or buy your dinner, so I don’t see how one is a substitute for the other. There are so many other powerful forces that determine how we eat, such as what’s available in the market, how much we can spend, how much time we can spend cooking, etc, that TV is really a marginal factor in determining how or what we cook. Cooking shows are entertaining and mildly educational, much like cookbooks, which plenty of highbrow chefs also bemoan. There is an argument to be made that people should spend less time watching TV and more time socially, with family and friends around the dinner table, say, but in the end you can’t eat your TV.

Q: What are the greatest challenges and rewards of being a small business owner?

Grinker: I will give you a short answer to what I see as a very complicated problem. The system is not set up to support small businesses, despite what the politicians say to the media. The tax system is screwy, insurance is a nightmare and there is a maze of local agencies that make doing business very difficult. Both locally and on a Federal level there are inherent policies that if properly enforced would drive virtually all small business owners in this city out of business. This is a problem, because it means as a business owner you live with constant insecurity. Who knows when a Department of Labor officer will show up at your door and start harassing your employees or a Department of Sanitation officer will cite you for having some windswept papers at your doorstep. Immigration is another huge hurdle. I was a student of labor history in my younger years and owning a small business and employing and being basically responsible for the livelihoods of twenty five people has totally changed my perspective on the issues of advocacy. Advocates and bureaucrats have no idea what they are doing or how their actions impact the economy and ultimately people’s lives.

Q: We would love for some local chefs to share a well-loved recipe of theirs…would you be game down the line to offer something up so folks can try cooking it at home—whether something from SPC or something you might make on your off hours?

Grinker: Sure, tune in next time.

Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Do You $ave?

From Irene LoRe, Executive Director of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District and owner of Aunt Suzie's restaurant:

I have a very big cheap streak about certain things. I have always bought the cheapest shampoo you can get. You know the one, comes in all different "flavors", 15 oz. for $1.29. It used to be very plentiful on the shelves but now, everyone is penny pinching and it's actually become hard to find... and only the expensive stuff is left!
Save $$, buy generic. Most times there is no difference between house brands and name brands...only the price! This is especially true of over-the-counter medicines.

Shop wisely. You worked hard for your money!

So, what's your favorite money-saving tip for these tough times? Share it with us at

Monday, August 24, 2009

Historic Photos of Fifth

Taken in the 1940's, this photo depicts the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 3rd Street, looking North(ish).

On the right, you see an appliance store where 'Snice is today. On the left, a traditional Italian Pasticceria offers Park Slope Gelati where the Stone Park Cafe stands today.

Same buildings, different uses! Bring back those trolleys!

Do you have historic photos of Park Slope's Fifth Avenue? Share them with us at

Thanks to Bob and Judi's Coolectibles for sharing the photo!

Park Slope Movie Shoot Today

Rumor has it that Drew Barrymore will be on set today for a movie shoot on Fifth Avenue between Lincoln and Park. If you are out and about, let us know what you see (leave a comment below). Or, take a photo and send it to

Friday, August 21, 2009

News Round-Up

NYC Fall Bars Preview '09 [Metromix]

District 39 Candidates: Where Do They Stand on Livable Streets?[Streetsblog]

Retail Rents Decline [WNYC]

Walks With Dogs: 50 routes in New York City [Ohmidog]

Chain Stores Boom Despite Economy [Crain's]

What Do You Have To Do To Get a Bottle of Wine Around Here? [Village Voice]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baluchis Henna Lunch Event

On August 29, Baluchi's Park Slope restaurant will be hosting a Henna Workshop + Lunch from 2:00 - 3:30 pm.

This exciting creative and educational workshop will be given by renowned henna artist and teacher, Lisa Kenzi of Henna By Kenzi, Modern Mystical Adornment. The Mehndi talk will cover the history, tradition and culture of henna along with the science of preparing the perfect henna paste. There will be a design overview that will also cover henna aftercare. Workshop participants will have a chance to apply and get the feel of using henna during the workshop. Participants will also leave with a henna design applied by Lisa Kenzi and a gift sample kit containing the henna cone, paste, stencil and instructions on use.

Tickets for the workshop and lunch are $45. You can buy them online here.

Here is a slideshow of Baluchi's beautiful Park Slope location. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where is Everyone?

Have you been shopping at your favorite stores along Park Slope's 5th Avenue this week and noticed that the familiar store owners are not working their normal shifts?

Perhaps they are on vacation? Unlikely because this week is the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) at the Javits Center. The NYIGF brings manufacturers of home, design and gift products under one roof (well, several roofs) where they can meet retailers and sell them goods to fill their store shelves for the fall and the coming holiday season.

Holiday season, you say? Yes, 5th Avenue merchants are shopping right now for the goods you will see in their stores in November and December! In fact, the NYIGF is famous for its holiday decor which, when combined with air conditioning and a lack of windows, makes the Javits Center a little like a winter wonderland (without the wonder).

So, be on the lookout for a lot of great new items on the store shelves of 5th Avenue's boutiques. Oh, and Happy Holidays!

Photo via 3rliving (Flickr)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fifth Avenue Parking

In May, a sizable portion of Park Slope's Fifth Avenue became part of a city DOT pilot program called "Park Smart" which raised the metered parking rates along the avenue in hopes that parking spaces would turn over more quickly.

Thus far, the program appears to be a success; reducing space occupancy and creating more room for cars and trucks to park along the avenue. Rumor has it, though, that DOT is already planning to raise the rates again to $3.00 an hour (a rate that they have already implemented in Greenwich Village)! Merchants are concerned that this second increase in just a few months will drive customers away from the avenue at a time when they are struggling the most.

Irene LoRe, Executive Director of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District said:

5th Ave and 7th Ave are the life blood of our commercial strips. These are the arteries that bring us business and as long as people are still using cars, we must be sensitive to the fact that parking is a need. Astronomical meter rates are not the only thing that can be done to improve transportation in a community, they are just the easiest and cheapest with the most potential for having a detrimental effect on our merchants.

So, what would you think about parking meter rates rising to $3.00 an hour on 5th Avenue?

Photo (R): DMnyc(Flickr)

Friday, August 14, 2009

News Round-Up

Saving Independent Retail [Report-Pratt Center]

City Blocks This Week: Fifth Avenue, between First and Garfield Streets, Brooklyn

In Council Race, Lander Stresses His Experience [Brooklyn Eagle]

Ratner Races to Atlantic Yards' Finish Line [NY Times]

Streetlevel: Tribeca Pediatrics Opening in the Slope [Brownstoner]

Park Slope Developers Gone Wild: Lessons from Conservatives ... [Daily Gotham]

Falafel at Fatoosh [Eat to Blog]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interview with Willie's Dawgs

All about Fifth spoke to Willie's Dawgs owner Tom Anderson who furnished these answers with the help of his wife and co-owner Ellen Lutter.

AAF: Where are you from originally?

Anderson: My dad was in the Navy, so I was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia. But I did my growing up in Brooklyn.

AAF: When did Willie's Dawgs open and what made you choose Park Slope?

Anderson: Willies Dawgs opened February 16, 2008 without any money left to put up a sign. We have been around 2 1/2 years. We opened in Park Slope because Brooklyn is just the best place to be. Having lived here for 30 years we understand the neighborhood, and walking to work means you don't have to look for parking.

AAF: Hot dogs have a special place in Brooklyn culture. How does your establishment fit into this rich history?

Anderson: Brooklynites love hot dogs and good food. And we want to make the two things synonymous. Why not? Given the choice people pick good food. Hot dogs are too much fun to be permanently relegated to the junk food heap. And a high quality, well made, garnished hot dog is even more fun and delicious than an indigestible one. And why shouldn't a vegetarian or vegan have a comfort food fix alongside his or her carnivorous friend? We just wanted to update and upgrade a classic cuisine. It's too much fun not to.

AAF: When it comes to dogs and toppings you have something for everyone. Is the ambitious range utilized regularly or do your patrons favor a certain set of dogs?

Anderson: They do them all.

AAF: With permutation of dogs and toppings nearly infinite--what are some of your favorite combinations?

Anderson: I like chili, raw onion, yellow mustard. I also enjoy pickles, sweet red pepper, yellow mustard, raw onions and jalapenos.

AAF: Your business has a close connection to nonprofits. Do you think this is true of most small businesses?

Anderson: I don't know. We like doing it, even though it is extra work, because even the little things you do add up.

AAF: What are the greatest challenges and rewards of being a small business owner?

Anderson: Challenges: coming up with new and exciting ideas. The competition in New York is fierce. Rewards: being a part of the community, putting a smile on a customer's face, having a dog that is posted in the shop adopted. And of course, coming up with a hotdog combo that hits. It's so great when a customer comes back for more.

AAF: Oh, I have to ask...who is Willie? My dog. (A Brooklyn mutt from North Shore Animal League.)

Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch

New From ZuZu's Petals

We recently received an email from the amazing 5th Avenue shop ZuZu's Petals. They have some great new plants this summer that you should check out, if you get a chance. Click on the links to see the photos of each plant or, click here for a slide show:

*A new variety of Dracaena (pictured right) with a beautiful colored leaf that grows in a whorl

*A very pretty crinkly leaved Palm that grows in any bright window

*The Metallic Palm, perhaps the hardiest houseplant that ZuZus ever found

*The Orchids are looking great!

*An elegant flowering Mandevilla that can spend the summer out of doors and move inside for the winter

*Pretty Purple Peppers to spruce up window boxes or planters

*Hardy Hibiscus in full bud and Lorraine would say:"Big as your head".

If you have a garden, a flower box or you just love beautiful plants, you should really drop by ZuZu's Petals and check it out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Art Sidewalk Sale

Park Slope's 5th Avenue and Washington Park were host to an Art Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, August 1st.

Here are some great shots of the day's festivities!

Photos by Albert Trotman

Monday, August 10, 2009

All About Fifth in Metro!

Yesterday, Amy Zimmer, a reporter for Metro (the paper you get for free when you ride the subway) dropped by 3r Living just as the All About Fifth gang was about to meet. Funny enough, Amy writes a column called "City Blocks" in which she randomly throws a dart at a map of New York City, visits the block that the dart hits and writes about it. The timing couldn't have been more perfect!

You can read the whole article here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Update on Moutarde

Early this year, All About Fifth interviewed Moutarde’s owner, Bruno Berrebi and learned, among other things, about the restaurant’s plan for renovation in August. But the restaurant has clearly been as open and popular as ever. The latest? According to Berrebi, the popular bistro’s renovations will be delayed until this fall (likely end of September) due to a delay in custom parts from Paris. Sounds intriguing. We are not the only ones eager to see the changes afoot in the restaurant (which served as one of the local on-site locations in upcoming film Julie & Julia). A hint of what’s to come? The current bar will be divided into two sections. One part for, well, alcohol. The other, for charcuterie and fromages—a Parisian new trend. Bon app├ętit. (Pix from NYTimes)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's Friday...Time for a Drink!

So, in your opinion, who has the best Martini on Park Slope's Fifth Avenue?

Leave your thoughts in the "Comments" section, below, or email us at

Photo via Flickr (Peapicker)

Scaredy Kat Summer Sale

As we recently reported here at All About Fifth, 5th Avenue's Scaredy Kat recently moved to a new, bigger location at 232 5th Avenue, right across the street from their old location.

To celebrate the move, they are having a SUPER SUMMER CARD SALE with hundreds of individual and boxed cards at reduced prices. And, in honor of the new space, they are offering a free Moon Pie with any purchase!

The sale is on until August 16th, so come on down to Fifth Avenue and check it out. Oh, and make sure to leave room for dessert.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Brooklyn Paper: Seventh Avenue in Flux

The Brooklyn Paper had an interesting article yesterday about the state of flux along Park Slope's Seventh Avenue. Like many commercial strips in New York, long-time stores and restaurants along Seventh are closing, leaving empty storefronts. In many cases, though, these empty spaces on Seventh are being replaced by restaurants. This is radically altering the unique mix of stores and eateries that has made the strip so special for so many years.

The question is, do you see the same thing happening on Fifth Avenue? Email comments to

To read the full Brooklyn Paper Article, click here.

Photo: The Brooklyn Paper / Tyler Waugh

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Art Walk Artist Bio 5

BERNETTE RUDOLPH: Bernette Rudolph is a Park Slope artist Known for her large wood wall sculptures of Mythological Goddesses. Currently Ms. Rudolph is creating art on the computer using PhotoShop.
Ms. Rudolph has been represented in a Chelsea Gallery and Museums throughout the US. Her fine art studio/gallery can be visited by appointment.
You can see Ms. Rudolph's work at Serene Rose (331 Fifth Avenue bet 3rd and 4th). More of her work can be seen at

While you are visiting Serene Rose, don't miss the work of Blair Lambert.


Monday, August 3, 2009

National Night Out Against Crime

Tuesday, August 4th is National Night Out Against Crime! Park Slope's 78 Precinct will be leading a parade at 6:00 pm that will start in the Key Food parking lot (Fifth Avenue @ Sterling Place) and end at Grand Army Plaza.

Come on down and join this unique crime prevention event (now in its 26th year)! Participants will be treated to free food, entertainment and activities at Grand Army Plaza.

For more information, call the 78th Precinct's Community Affairs office at 718-636-6410.