Rosie Perez talked to me/NY Mag about newcomers and saying hello to your neighbors. Say hello to Rosie Perez. And me.

Fire in Fort Greene

A fire broke out of a 3rd floor apartment in “The Griffin” building on Lafayette and S Oxford St on Saturday evening. Cops on the scene say some residents suffered from minor smoke inhalation and that the damage was confined to the one apartment, but as of 9:10 pm on Saturday, the fire hoses were still spraying. S Oxford St was cordoned off to traffic and pedestrians and the phalanx of fire trucks and ambulances had passersby peppering cops with questions. Some residents were resigned to drinking at the nearby Moe’s bar while the fire department denied them entry. “The Griffin” was once a hotel and it’s believed to house a number of elderly residents. We’ll post updates as we get them.


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The Unusuals on Location

grudge2prem5Amber Tamblyn fans, take note: Filming in Brooklyn notes that The Unusuals will be shooting today in the neighborhood, around the intersection of Vanderbilt and DeKalb. Send us pictures if you’ve got them!

Fort Greene stinks

We posted last week about the tardiness of our neighborhood’s trash collection. Well since then the trash has been sitting on the sidewalk for 7 days! Trash starts to stink when left to the elements for that long, and it didn’t help that everybody (and I didn’t notice any exceptions in a cursory stroll through the neighborhood) put even more trash out on Sunday, not knowing Monday was a holiday that sanitation workers do not work. I scrambled for my iphone when I heard the suprisingly pleasant screech of the trash truck this morning (apologies for the obscured shot). I still haven’t called the city to see what gives, but I plan to!

park_washTwo President’s Day-themed things to do this weekend:

“All the President’s Men” Fort Greene Park, Saturday at 1

A guide to George Washington’s closest confidants, including our neighborhood namesake. Find out how Washington used the park in the revolutionary war – it was actually a fort at one point and it did involve a man named Nathaniel Greene.

“Presidential Secrets” Fort Greene Park, Sunday at 1 pm

Hear little known facts about some of the presidents that came after Washington. It may sound a little like a school class, but if you’d met the ranger giving it, you’d think differently. We paid a visit last week for her talk on Urban Legends and we thought this woman should have her own radio show. When she’s not regaling park lore, she’s reading history books, so pay her a visit and tell her General Greene sent you (but tell her it’s a blog or she’ll be confused).

A reader complained to us about the sorry state of sanitation collection in Fort Greene (it’s not our fault, ok?). Looking around at the trash-strewn sidewalks, he may be on to something. These piles of recycling on S Oxford have been there since yesterday morning. Anyone else noted problems with collection? We’ll put in a call with the sanitation dept. if it seems like a bigger problem.

DARE Books heads South


Desmond A. Reid, owner of DARE Books, is moving his business from Fort Greene to Florida.

If it weren’t for DARE Books I would never have known that a black man invented the bottle. The store opposite BAM is closing after 20 years of selling books devoted to African Americans, and the store window alone is an education (for some of us anyway). The owner, Desmond A. Reid (DARE, get it?) blames the loss of a city text book contract as the reason for the move (he also has a publishing business), but it’s hard to deny the appeal of the pull factors: selling the building he’s owned for 20 years to set up shop in Orlando, Florida. “I’m sick of the snow and the ice,” Desmond told us on a visit to the store on a blustery winter day.

He’s seen his share of neighborhood changes. Back when he opened, there were prostitutes on the sidewalk  and a “welfare hotel” on the corner. There was no Atlantic Center, no Metrotech Center and, he says, he bought the whole building so he’d never get forced out by a greedy landlord.

The neighborhood, and the city, will feel the store’s loss.

(PS the non-refillable bottle was invented in 1899 by Robert Randolph Reynolds)

stile_wide_crpThere was an odd scene outside the Lafayette C stop this morning: MTA workmen were lifting out part of the subway turnstile as a part of what turns out to be regular maintenance. The workmen told me the stiles (technically, “barriers”) get changed after a million turns, which amounts to about 2 years. By my calculations, that’s about 1,370 turns every day. That’s at least according to the workman, who sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Anyone notice if the turnstiles there are any shinier now?

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Back in business

The Griffin on Lafayette on a sunny, 60 degree day.

The Griffin on Lafayette on a sunny, 60 degree day.

I know, I know. We haven’t posted for months and here we are back again, acting as if we never stopped. Well, after a long absence, caused mainly by unforgiving work schedules and general life turbulence, we’re back in business and posting again. When we can.

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