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Arizona: Tech Hub Central?

Mar 29, 17 Arizona:  Tech Hub Central?

Posted by in Technology

There are many locations across America where technology start-ups and centers have been thriving. Locations that come to mind include San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC and Boston. One that doesn’t readily come to mind…but might soon…is Arizona. When ZocDoc executives wanted to find another location in America due to employee growth, it made sense to scout out a location on the West Coast to operate during local hours. Entrepreneur Cyrus Massoumi once said in an interview about ZocDoc operations that when they were looking to expand out West from their early New York offices, they “did an assessment of all the various markets that [they] could expand into that were Mountain and Pacific time zones and the Phoenix-Scottsdale area came out head-over-heels above everything else.” Since Massoumi had already spent time in Arizona and was impressed with its “vibrant and high-tech talent pool,” the move made sense.  He explained that “Arizona has a lot of great universities, it’s got great weather, and a lot of people want to be there. The people were happy and I could see that it was a growing community.” That was three years ago. Today, ZocDoc is thriving in Scottsdale. Others have seen the benefits of Arizona as well. The following observation was made in an article written by Conor Cawley in Tech Co. “Phoenix, Arizona is not messing around when it comes to their tech ecosystem. The numbers are undeniable and the weather isn’t too bad either. If you’re wondering why this desert city is able to compete with the big dogs when it comes to tech, it should be fairly obvious.” Chris Camacho, CEO and President of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to Tech.Co., echoed this sentiment when he said “The Greater Phoenix market is not only attracting leading tech companies from the bay area, but is home to a new generation of tech with Arizona-based companies. There is a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region, and companies are able to access in-demand talent, thanks to the numerous area community colleges and universities.” This buzz around Arizona as a tech...

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A Bit of Brooklyn History in Park Slope Parking Lot

Mar 28, 17 A Bit of Brooklyn History in Park Slope Parking Lot

Posted by in All, Gowanus

The Battle of Brooklyn was a tipping-point during the American War for Independence. Historians believe as many as 256 soldiers from the Maryland 400 died in this pivotal battle in 1776. Their bravery and fortitude, which stopped the British forces from reaching the bulk of General George Washington’s troops, allowed Washington and his soldiers to retreat to a safer place, but unfortunately was bloody battle resulting in many deaths. It is now believed that the fallen of the First Maryland Regiment, under the command of Colonel William Smallwood, could be buried in a mass grave in an empty lot on Ninth Street between Third and Fourth Avenues at the meeting point of Gowanus and Park Slope. Robert Furman, a Brooklyn historian of note and the president of the Brooklyn Preservation Council, says it is a distinct possibility that those heroes are buried in this sometimes-parking lot. “The state of New York has believed for many years that many of the Maryland heroes who died in the Battle of Brooklyn were buried here,” Furman said. The historian explained that the Battle of Brooklyn, which took place on August 27, 1776, saved Washington. Therefore, this burial site should be one of equal importance and veneration as the cemeteries of Gettysburg and Normandy. Furman and other historians believe that if the Maryland 400 had not halted the advancing British soldiers, the war could have ended right there and then, in defeat for Washington, putting an end to independence. “These soldiers saved the revolution,” Furman states. Furman and British-born actor Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame, who now lives in Park Slope, have been urging for an archeological dig at the site to find out once and for all if this is the elusive mass grave site of the Maryland 400. Since the city is planning to build a new school on the lot, having a dig now is urgent. “We owe it to those who died here,” Furman said. “It would be a horrible travesty to find...

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Murals, Murals Everywhere, Making New York Beautiful

Mar 20, 17 Murals, Murals Everywhere, Making New York Beautiful

Posted by in All, Art

In general, “Art imitates life,” but sometimes it is the other way around. That is the case when it comes to Brooklyn mural “Not One More Death.” Painted in the summer of 2007 by artist Christopher Cardinale at Third Avenue and Butler Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the mural was dedicated to the memory of children who had been killed in road accidents. The deaths were especially prominent at or near crosswalks. The mural was painted in partnership with a mural-supporting non-profit group called Groundswell, and an advocacy group which works to reduce fatal car accidents, called Transportation Alternatives. At the ceremony that took place on the day the mural was dedicated the Department of Transportation announced it was going to put into place new traffic measures along Third and Fourth Avenues to slow things down a bit. They added curb extensions and other devices, and now, ten years later, there are speed bumps, 20mph signs, and cameras watching for speeding cars. The mural has the distinction of being one of the first times street art worked to persuade government to respond immediately and tangibly to a serious neighborhood issue. “When we focus on children who were lost in needless preventable traffic crashes, it galvanizes everyone’s advocates, cities and the public to understand how important it is to re-envision our streets where families are,” Kim Wiley-Schwartz, assistant commissioner for education and outreach at the DOT, said. “It’s very fair to say that [the mural] was a catalyst for the conversation and has kept the dialogue going with the community.” Not many people know what Brooklyn looks like to a bird, but one muralist wanted to bring that special, elevated viewpoint to the pedestrians standing on the ground. Artist Vince Ballentine began designing a mural featuring the Brooklyn Bridge in December, 2016. Now the mural is finished and is available for viewing for anyone visiting at or living in Flatbush Gardens, an apartment complex at 1402 Brooklyn Avenue. Ballentine says he wanted to paint a scene...

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Reducing Waste Leads to Some Surprising Eats in One Brooklyn Restaurant

Mar 16, 17 Reducing Waste Leads to Some Surprising Eats in One Brooklyn Restaurant

Posted by in All, Entertainment

In an effort to reduce waste, which runs rampant in restaurants, one Brooklyn eatery is using its leftovers to create some mighty fine meals. At 21 Greenpoint, Sunday dinner will run you $21 per person, and you can bet on some delicious surprises coming your way, all made from the ingredients that did not get used the previous week. Some of the five to eight courses you could be treated to could include: mushroom pesto flatbread pizza or seafood stew. Sunday’s menu is there not only to please its customers, but to also combat the waste of food, says owner Homer Murray, Bill Murray’s son. Across the country an incredible 50 percent of all produce is thrown away. That means about 60 million tons, or $160 billion worth of food just goes to waste every single year. “We’re concerned with the idea of food waste — all the stuff that gets thrown away,” Murray says. “It seems like a crime against humanity, to see this food being tossed...

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Scavenger Hunt in Bay Ridge Rocks!

Mar 06, 17 Scavenger Hunt in Bay Ridge Rocks!

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

A few enterprising women decided the people of Bay Ridge needed a bit of a “pick-me-up,” and proceeded to create a game the entire community can play together: Bay Ridge Rocks! Amie Pappas, age 35, and friend Rana Abu-Sbaih, 42, decided to take the mental health of their neighborhood into their own hands and launched the project in January. “In these tumultuous times, we wanted to add a little joy to people’s lives,” said Amie. “We felt like the community needed that extra little pick-me-up.” She organized the moms of the PTA at PS 102 Bayview School and they set out to Home Depot and purchased 60 smooth brown river rocks and gray Mexican beach rocks. Their kids, and the women, too, painted the rocks in lively, bright colors and in many cases wrote pithy sayings on them, such as: “U Rock,” “Dream Big,” “Take the Next Step” and “Love With Your Whole Heart.” The painting of the rocks was just as important to the project as the hunt for them later. The women then circulated throughout the neighborhood and placed the rocks in a variety of hot spots, like on top of parking meters, flower pots, tree knots, and inside phone booths. Most of the rocks are found on the busier streets like Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenues. When summer arrives the rocks will be found in Owl’s Head Park and Shorse Park. “Any little cranny we can find we’ll put a rock there,” said Amie, mom to a 6-year-son and an 11-year resident of Bay Ridge. When someone finds a rock, first they take a picture of it before they hide it again. The picture is then posted to the group’s Facebook page, “Bay Ridge Rocks.” The group now has 300 members, and the touching stories are starting to come in. “One of the sweetest stories we got was from a woman who found a rock and has kept it next to her husband’s hospital bed for good luck,” said Rana Abu-Sbaih,...

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Castle Harlan Victorious in Recent Case

Mar 06, 17 Castle Harlan Victorious in Recent Case

Posted by in Business

  Castle Harlan Inc. was victorious recently in a win against Russian-owned companies Norcast S.ár.l and Pala Investments Ltd. The two companies claimed that Castle Harlan had done something wrong by purchasing Norcast Wear Solutions from them in 2011 for $190 million in a private sale and then selling it for more money a few hours later. The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division ruled that the seven-count complaint had failed to show any actionable wrongdoing. They further explained that, since there was not a no-flip clause in the share purchase agreement, there were no grounds for accusing Castle Harlan of any...

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Ellen Gifts Brooklyn Grads with SUNY Scholarships

Feb 27, 17 Ellen Gifts Brooklyn Grads with SUNY Scholarships

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

  In an unusually generous gesture by a woman known for extraordinarily generous gestures, Ellen DeGeneres, in partnership with Walmart, surprised the entire graduating class of Summit Academy Charter School with four-year scholarships to the State University of New York school of their choice. The gift was a surprise, and surpassed the high bar Ellen’s heart-warming gifts have always reached through the years. The scholarship money is worth $1.6 million and will be given to the 41 seniors scheduled to graduate this coming spring. The students were completely shocked by the gift, saying it was “stunning” and “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” The story of the scholarship money began when the founder of the Summit Academy Charter School, Natasha Campbell, got in touch with DeGeneres about the inspirational story of the school. Campbell described to Ellen the extreme poverty of the neighborhood where the children in the school come from, where only 4 percent of the people there have college educations. DeGeneres invited Campbell, and the school’s principal, Cheryl Lundy Swift, to come to the show and share their story. In return Ellen gave them a $25,000 check from Walmart to continue the goals of the school. The school’s mission is to have their students “attend, excel and graduate from college.” Now, with not only a 100 percent college acceptance rate on track and, thanks to Ellen and Walmart, the money to actually attend, the school’s, and the student’s dreams, can be...

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Brooklyn Public Library Branch Moving to Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Feb 20, 17 Brooklyn Public Library Branch Moving to Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Posted by in All, Museums

Officials of the Brooklyn Public Library described more details about the planned move out of the Crown Heights library branch to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. The cost of keeping the branch where it is will cost $8 million, officials say, but only $3 million to make the move. The new library in the museum will take up about 6000-6500 of administrative space in the museum, according to Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Brooklyn Public Library, David Woloch. It is comparable to the space now at the Brower Park branch now at 725 St. Marks Avenue. The BPL will pay the museum $230,000 in yearly rent for the space. Creating a library from the space there now will cost about $3 million. Staying put will cost about $5 million in repairs and an additional $3 million to buy the building. The city built the library branch in 1963, but never purchased the land that it is on, said Woloch. It is located only 1.5 blocks from the museum, and about a 1.4 mile walk for the Central branch of the BPL, which also has a youth wing. Although located within the museum building, the library will have its own hours and a separate entrance. Officials are looking forward to building a state-of-the-art family-centered library with child-focused programing and other resources. Woloch empahasized that the proposed move is just that, and not a ‘done-deal.’ Funding has not yet come through, and the details of the new branch’s layout and programming are not yet “set in stone.” “We’re in the process of speaking to as many people as we can,” he...

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