Kingsland Wildflowers Gives Back a Little New York Nature

Dec 11, 17 Kingsland Wildflowers Gives Back a Little New York Nature

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

One of Brooklyn’s most heavily industrialized sections, Greenpoint, has very little to offer residents by way of green areas. But there is a unique respite from concrete and brick, on the roof of Broadway Stages film studios on Kingsland Avenue. Known as Kingsland Wildflowers, the rooftop oasis is 22,000 square feet of native to Brooklyn plants, birds, bats and insects, arrayed in beautiful wild meadows. This surprising fertile area teeming with life owes its existence to an oil spill that occurred about 60 years ago, when three Exxon Mobil tankers began to leak oil into Newtown Creek. The leak into the 3.5-mile estuary went unnoticed until 1978 when a Coast Guard helicopter accidentally discovered the plume of a 400-gallon oil slick floating above the water as it flew over on a routine flight over the East River. The following year Exxon pumped 90,000 gallons of oil out of the creek. Much of the 17-30 million gallons of oil that spilled into the creek has not been removed. The bottom of the East River tributary is covered with a thick layer of waste, as thick as 25 feet in some places. There are several projects, not just Kingsland Wildflowers, that are trying to re-establish natural habitats in an attempt to make up for the lost habitats that perhaps can never be reclaimed. The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund paid for the Kingsland Wildflowers project, itself funded by the $25 million settlement with ExxonMobil over the oil spill. It is a joint project of landscaping group Alive Structures, New York City Audubon, the Newtown Creek Alliance, and of course, in an indirect way, ExxonMobile. Niki Jackson, the project coordinator, calls the project a “habitat expansion program.” There is also space for educational and community programing. Jackson notes that this rooftop meadow is a different model than that offered by rooftop farming. Jackson says that Kingsland is focused on ““what in the larger sense, makes sense and is actually worth doing, actually giving back to the environment.” All...

read more

Subway Photo Helps Bring Business to Brooklyn Knitter

Dec 04, 17 Subway Photo Helps Bring Business to Brooklyn Knitter

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

Louis Boria was just minding his own business, knitting on the subway, when Broadway actress Frenchie Davis snapped his picture. Simply impressed by this unusual site, Davis posted the picture of the unknown knitter on her Facebook page with the caption: ““This brotha on the train is my hero today,” and she added: “#SelfCareOnTheSubway.” The photo was liked over 1100 times, and in less than 24 hours one of Boria’s friends spotted the picture, and posted his name. The friend also explained that Boria is the owner of a knitting company, “Brooklyn Boy Knits.” Boria then added is own message under Frenchie’s: ““Hi Frenchie!!!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this! This just made my year!” As a result, his orders are way up, necessitating the hiring of two additional knitters, and fixing up his web site. Boria said that this is the first time in the ten years since he began his business that he has pending orders. Although Boria says he knits quickly, he usually tells his customers to expect delivery in three to four weeks. Boria’s business began ten years ago after he had a vivid dream that he was knitting. He woke up fingering knitting needles and yarn that were nowhere to be seen. “It freaked me out because I had no idea how to knit, but I took it as a sign,” Boria said. Not one to let small things like not knowing how to knit stop him, he went out and bought supplies and watched YouTube Videos to learn the skill. He practiced knitting during his two-hour daily subway ride to work and home, and finally created his first sweater, after hundreds of hours. He also noticed that although it was easy to find mass-produced knit clothing, there was a distinct shortage of customized knitted options. In 2009 Brooklyn Boy Knits filled the vacuum. During the winter Boria gives out at least three hand-knit scarves each day to homeless people he encounters on his way to and...

read more

Train Clock Gives Commuters Heads Up at Home

Nov 26, 17 Train Clock Gives Commuters Heads Up at Home

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

If you’re the kind of person that wants to know exactly how much time you have until your train arrives at the station, this personal train clock is for you. Just in time to makes it way under your Christmas tree, the NYC Train Sign is the home version of the digital displays we see popping up now all over the New York City subway system. Propped up on your living room bookshelf, or mounted next to your door, now you can plan exactly when to leave the house to catch the very next train, without any undo waiting. There are several kinds to match individual tastes, including wood, plastic or metal models. The founder of the start-up that produces this novelty item is Timothy Woo, who says he built his first one for personal use in his Bushwick home. The prices begin at $300, worth every penny if it will make your life more convenient. “Some people want them for home décor, as art or novelty items. Some people buy it for sheer practical reasons,” Woo said. “They live very close to the subway and actually want to look up at the clock and know when to run out the door.” Woo says he keeps one in his window as a public service. The sign attracts small groups of people to his house to see when the next train is due. As far as what the MTA thinks of this personal train clock, Woo says he does not know. “They haven’t responded to us directly, but I’m sure they have a lot of other things to worry about,” he...

read more

Puzzling Pop-Ups All Over Town

Nov 20, 17 Puzzling Pop-Ups All Over Town

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

Adam Silver has always loved puzzles. Ten years ago, while working as an attorney in New York, Silver started a company out of his Flatiron apartment selling one very special puzzle. He and his company’s co-founder Sarah Dickenson, decided that puzzles needed a new look to really catch on as a hobby. “We started basically because I was a pretty big puzzler as a kid and there were no puzzles out in the market that we were really appealing to anyone that didn’t like . . . unicorns, rainbows and stuff like that,” he said. “We wanted something that people might want to actually put together, frame, glue, hang on their walls.” In 2011 Silver quit his job and moved to Park Slope, to sell puzzles full-time. Today the New York Puzzle Company sells specialty puzzles like his first, a picture of an MTA subway map, and vintage magazine covers, at Barnes and Noble and other independent book stores all over town. But once a year he bursts out of the bookshops and sets up temporary quarters for his puzzles. His first pop-up went up in the Union Square Holiday Market. Last year he added a second location at Bryant Park. This year puzzle fans can satisfy their hobby also at a third location in Times Square. During the holiday season, when many visitors walk around admiring the special festive atmosphere in New York City, his puzzles sell well, especially to Europeans who seem to adore his puzzles. “In a holiday market setting, it’s a lot of tourists who come through here, so they’re looking for New York-themed items that are not overly touristy [like] you can get in any sort of gift shop in Times Square,” Silver said. “Covers of the New Yorker, while having a New York theme, are maybe a little more sophisticated for the average tourist coming in.” During an average weekend during the holiday season the shop can sell about 350 puzzles, Silver said. This year sales are up...

read more

5Pointz Owner Libel for Destroying Graffiti Art

Nov 12, 17 5Pointz Owner Libel for Destroying Graffiti Art

Posted by in All, News

A jury found owner of the 5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens, guilty of destroying graffiti art when he tore down the building as part of his plans for developing the area. Three years ago, Jerry Wolkoff, a New York City real estate developer, had the 5Pointz group of buildings torn down after close to twenty years of allowing graffiti artists to decorate the buildings with colorful swirling murals. The unusual collaboration became a tourist site over the years, and helped to transform the area into a growing residential enclave. Although the site was a popular attraction, and many graffiti artists added their own works frequently, it was always understood that eventually the buildings would be torn down to make way for luxury apartments. After the demolition in 2014, 21 artists brought a law suit against Wolkoff, arguing that he had violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, a law enacted to protect public art of “recognized stature” which was created on someone else’s property. Eric Baum, lawyer for the artists, said that Wolkoff had violated the artists rights by failing to notify them 90 days in advance of the destruction. According to the complaint, Wolkoff had brought workers at night to cover the graffiti in a layer of white paint without giving notice. David Ebert, Wolkoff’s lawyer, said that the VARA law does not apply in this case, since the law was intended to protect art and not his client’s building. He added that the artists always knew that one day the buildings would be torn down. He also argued that the artists themselves had destroyed much more art than his client did, saying that over the years about 11,000 murals had been painted and destroyed at the 5Pointz complex. The trial lasted about three weeks. At the end the two lawyers agreed that the jury’s decision would be merely a recommendation to guide the judge, Frederic Block to make his decision. The jury decided in favor or the artists, but Judge Block...

read more