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The Laughs Grow in Brooklyn

Aug 20, 15 The Laughs Grow in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Entertainment

Ever since 2013 New Yorkers have been treated to a comedy festival with that special Brooklyn flare, unexpectedly known as The Brooklyn Comedy Festival. This year the festival runs from Sunday, August 19 to Sunday, August 27, and is a full week of non-stop laughter. First conceived by comics Julian Kiani and Chris Nester several years back, the pair recruited producer Ashleigh Walker and started the festival in 2013. Unlike some of the better known comedy festivals like Just for Laughs in Montreal and the New York Comedy Festival, which feature superstar comics and pricey entrance fees; The Brooklyn Comedy Festival is much more than stand-up, features up and coming comic artists, and strictly maintains ticket prices at earth-bound numbers. Just compare the $150 ticket price for the NY Comedy Festival with a $20 entrance fee for Brooklyn’s festival. But it’s not just the price that is different. The types of performances are eclectic: it’s not at all just stand-up. “God forbid this ever becomes just a stand-up comedy festival,” Mr. Nester said, “because there is so much great comedy in and around New York City and Brooklyn that is sketch and improv and musical comedy.” To keep things really interesting, this festival is not afraid to invite comedians from other cities, something smaller festivals tend to shy away from. This year audiences will be able to enjoy talent from as far away as Boston, Chicago, and Washington. “We do want to be more inclusive,” Mr. Kiani said. “It is the Brooklyn scene that we’re celebrating, but it is a comedy festival in...

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Boro President Adams Travels to Turkey All Expenses Paid

Aug 17, 15 Boro President Adams Travels to Turkey All Expenses Paid

Posted by in All, Politics

It was Borough President Redux as Eric Adams did a rerun of what his predecessor Marty Markowitz did, but with a bit more intelligence. Adams took the Turkish government up on their offer to pay for the President’s visit to Turkey, to the tune of $7,500 to cover expenses for the five day trip, just as Marty Markowitz did in 2011, but with one big difference. Adams made sure to get the city’s ethics panel to agree to the trip in advance, something Markowitz failed to do. For his failure the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board fined Markowitz $20,000, for his trip to Turkey and two other trips paid for by foreign governments, and for also taking his wife along. Not only did Adams ask permission, since he has no wife, he just brought along his important (if less fun) special counsel Ama Dwimoh. The trip took place from August 11-15, during which Adams signed a sister-city agreement between his fair city of Brooklyn and the Uskudar district of Istanbul. He also met with local leaders to discuss the importance and potential of cooperation between the two places. They also discussed the importance of fighting against the threat of terrorism. Several Brooklyn neighborhoods have large Turkish populations, including Brighton Beach, Midwood and Sheepshead...

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Massive Sinkhole Sucks Down Road in Sunset Park

Aug 11, 15 Massive Sinkhole Sucks Down Road in Sunset Park

Posted by in All, News

Last Tuesday a street collapsed in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, creating a 30 foot wide and 15 foot deep sinkhole. The massive pit prevented cars from turning at the intersection of 64th Steet and Fifth Avenue, making some residents annoyed. “This has ruined our whole day,” said Maria Cruz, 28, with the help of her 9-year-old son Michael, who was translating from his mother’s Spanish to the reporter’s English. “We have no water for eight hours. We can’t use our car — it is stuck here. The collapse occurred at 7am, and was caused by a leaking water main, which weakened the ground under the roadway. Utility companies were called to check the gas lines for any leaks, and water to the neighboring apartment buildings was turned off. Representatives from the DEP plan to first fill in the gaping hole with emergency filler dirt so the hole does not worsen. At a later stage they will remove the dirt and properly repair the street. Victor Gomez, a resident who lives nearby, expressed the feelings of many in the area: “Thank God no cars or pedestrians were near the hole when it blew up,” he...

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General Assembly: Preparing Students for the Technological World

Aug 05, 15 General Assembly: Preparing Students for the Technological World

Posted by in Technology

Headquartered in New York, General Assembly is helping put American millennials to work. It seems that despite the fact that the US student population is on the up, too many graduates are leaving college without being marketable or skilled enough to enter the increasingly technologically driven world. This relatively new company, with potential to grow as the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, has caught the interest of Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures.  Tusk Ventures is a venture capital firm backing General Assembly among several other clients. General Assembly  prepares college students for the world of technology in the workforce. And it is proving very popular. Indeed, according to Regional Director of General Assembly Chicago, Annie Lin, American high school graduates are even less prepared than graduates in other parts of the world. It was with this notion that General Assembly was born, establishing the New York-based coding school at the end of last year. The program offers important technological practical courses in coding, marketing and user-experience design. By the end of its first academic year, in July 2015, 125 full time students had graduated from its Chicago program. According to Lin, employers are more interested in a skill set than a traditional education. A degree is still important, but if the graduate is lacking in practical technological skills, the employer will not be interested. As a result, these days there is a far greater interest amongst students in management-related workshops and courses than there has been in the past, especially in Chicago, according to Lin. The goal of General Assembly is to combine traditional education with technological skills so that US students will start to catch up with their international peers in their marketability in the...

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Committee Exploring Public Transportation Along Brooklyn and Queens Waterfront

Aug 03, 15 Committee Exploring Public Transportation Along Brooklyn and Queens Waterfront

Posted by in All, New York

An advisory committee of some of New York’s most influential developers, transportation experts and community leaders is looking into the feasibility and benefits of a north-west transportation system that will connect the waterfront communities of Brooklyn with areas in Queens. Residents of neighborhoods along the waterfront in places like Red Hook, Brooklyn, do not now have an easy way of traveling via public transportation to Queens communities such as Astoria. The G-train is simply not that useful in this respect. The committee has commissioned HR&A Advisors to study the effect a streetcar or a light-rail system would have on overall transportation, especially between places like Sunset Park in Brooklyn to Astoria in Queens. The speculated route could also include some of Brooklyn’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods, like Downtown Brooklyn, Red Hook and Williamsburg. Destinations along the route could also include areas where office buildings and other commercial development is hot, like Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “It’s a cool idea,” said David Lombino, an executive at development company Two Trees, which is part of the organizing effort. “We’re a supporter. Could be transformative for Brooklyn and Queens someday. We’ll...

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Bitty Brooklyn Bungalow Has Astronomical Price Tag

Jul 27, 15 Bitty Brooklyn Bungalow Has Astronomical Price Tag

Posted by in All, Real Estate

A tiny home in Windsor Terrace has an asking price designed to make prospective buyers take notice. The 900-square-foot, three-bedroom bungalow with a wild front and back yards was placed on the market for a cool $1.25 million. The little home is sandwiched between two much larger homes, giving the impression that it didn’t get the memo to grow up. The listing is a real lesson in realtor-speak: “Super sweet, lovely and charming,” are the opening words of an exquisitely creative listing for the 17-foot wide cottage at 658 Vanderbilt Street. Especially upbeat is the home’s description as a “…truly unique property that has always, over the years, commanded the attention of onlookers and admirers!” This is definitely a true statement, however misleading it may be. Keep in mind that in Brooklyn, as location begins to become the be-all and end-all of a property’s worth, the real value here most likely lies in the fact that according to the area’s zoning rules, the baby-bear house can be swept into the trash to make way for a three story papa-bear near-mansion, with all the latest amenities. According to realtor Barbara Puccia, “Someone can move right in or knock it down,” she said. “The neighborhood would be sad to see it go, but I have to market it in its full diversity. People are paying the same amount for a condo. Here you get a house with a back yard.” The house was built during the end of the 19th century, and rumors say that it was once located inside Prospect Park. Owner Heather Baley paid a mere $150,000 for the house in 1989. We are excited to see how the deal...

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Grado Headphones Now Grow in Brooklyn

Jul 19, 15 Grado Headphones Now Grow in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Business

Grado Labs has been making wooden headphones whose quality has been satisfying such discerning customers as Mike Krieger, founder of Instagram, musician Neil Young, and film director Spike Jonze. The appeal is based on two major factors; their sound and their “made-in-Brooklyn pedigree. Now Grado has decided to take the concept to the next level: instead of using imported mahogany to craft the headphones, the wood will come from a maple tree from the local reclaimed Sunset Park. “We’ve been making wooden headphones for 20 years, and … ‘Oh, a tree grows in Brooklyn,’ people would kid us about it,” said owner Jonathan Grado, referring to the beloved 1943 novel by Betty Smith about a young girl from a poor Irish family growing up in Brooklyn near the turn of the century. “But it just seemed to be the right time, and everything fell into place for us to do this,” Grado,...

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Woman Harassed by Robo-calls Awarded $229K in Damages

Jul 13, 15 Woman Harassed by Robo-calls Awarded $229K in Damages

Posted by in All, News

A Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of Araceli King, saying that she was harassed by Time Warner Cable in an illegal manner. According to the law suit brought by Irving, Texas resident King, Time Warner Cable continuously left messages on her cell phone via robot to the tune of 153 automated calls in less than a year. The communications company was looking for a former customer, Luiz Perez, who at one time had King’s number, but no longer did. King informed Time Warner of their mistake, making it as clear as possible during a seven-minute discussion she had with an employee of Time Warner, to no avail. After the discussion the automated phone calls continued unabated, totaling 74 additional calls after King’s suit to end them. US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein awarded King triple damages totaling $229,000 in total, or $1,500 per call. Hellerstein said that a “responsible business” would have tried harder to find Perez. Especially after March 2014, when King had already sued Time Warner, the judge said it was “incredible” to believe that Time Warner did not know she objected, which is their claim. Time Warner Cable claims it is not liable under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act since it believed it was calling Perez, who did agree to the calls. The TCP Act was enacted to limit robocall and telemarketing abuses. The automated calls made to King were part of an “interactive voice response” system that calls late-paying customers automatically. “Defendant harassed plaintiff with robo-calls until she had to resort to a lawsuit to make the calls stop, and even then TWC could not be bothered to update the information in its IVR system,” Hellerstein wrote. He added that the last 74 calls made by TWC to King were “particularly egregious violations of the TCPA and indicate that TWC simply did not take this lawsuit seriously.” A trial has been set for July 27. Spokeswoman for the New York based TWC, Susan Leepson said that the company is...

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