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...

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Train Clock Gives Commuters Heads Up at Home

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

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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...

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Puzzling Pop-Ups All Over Town

Nov 20, 17 Puzzling Pop-Ups All Over Town

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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...

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Army Refuses to Change Names of Streets Honoring Confederate Generals

Aug 10, 17 Army Refuses to Change Names of Streets Honoring Confederate Generals

Posted by in All, Politics

In the 1840s two army soldiers who later fought for the South were stationed at Fort Hamilton, twenty years before the eruption of the bloody US Civil War. Those soldiers later became Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, among the most famous of the military men who fought on the side of the Confederacy. After the war was won by the North, the streets were named after these important generals in an act of reconciliation, according to an army spokesperson. But now four Brooklyn lawmakers, Representatives Yvette Clarke, Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries are calling for the street names to be changed. They say they took their inspiration from the city of New Orleans, who took down statues of Lee and other Confederate officers in their city. “These monuments are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents and members of the armed forces stationed at Fort Hamilton whose ancestors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought to hold in slavery,” Clarke said. “For too many years, the United States has refused to reckon with that history. I commend the city of New Orleans for initiating this important and often difficult work. I will continue to petition the Department of the Army to contribute to that effort.” The army, however, had refused the request, saying that the streets were named after Jackson and Lee “in the spirit of reconciliation” and that they were honored as individuals and not as the representatives of any “particular cause or ideology.” “After over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive,” acting Assistant Secretary of the Army Diane Randon wrote in a letter responding to the lawmakers’ pleas. Clarke says she is not going to give up so easily, retorting that “‘reconciliation’ was actually complicity by the North and the South to ignore the interests of African-Americans and enforce white supremacy, effectively denying the result of the Civil War for generations.” “We are still living...

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Revamped Brooklyn Basketball Courts Name in Memory of Rapper Biggie

Aug 03, 17 Revamped Brooklyn Basketball Courts Name in Memory of Rapper Biggie

Posted by in All, Society

Brooklyn honored one of its own last week when Councilman Robert Cornegy officiated at a ceremony naming a Bedford-Stuyvesant basketball court after rap singer B.I.G. The courts are within the boundaries of the Crispus Attucks Playground at Fulton Street and Classon Avenue. Their official name is, “Christopher “Biggie” Wallace Courts,” and makes good on a promise Cornegy made to the rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace, at the time her son was killed, in order to honor him and his memory. “The feeling is surreal,” Cornegy said during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday. The basketball courts are part and parcel of a larger Parks Department renovation which cost the city $2.5 million and took five years. In addition to the refurbished basketball courts, the part now boasts better handball courts, a spanking new playground, and a completely overhauled safety surface. There is also a new set of stairs and beautiful landscaping all around the playground. Christopher Wallace was a frequent visitor to the park before he became famous with a few hit songs such as “Juicy,” “Big Poppa” and “What’s Beef?” Wallace had a history of dealing drugs and his songs are full of violent language, but his mother has been working hard to change his ultimate legacy, especially by creating the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. “(His mother) changed the acronym for B.I.G. to stand for books instead of guns,” Cornegy said. “We’re in the process of redoing libraries providing books for young kids in school and that was her commitment.” Wallace was murdered in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997 in a drive-by shooting. No one has ever been charged with the...

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High School Students Learn About Holocaust from those Who Were There

Apr 27, 17 High School Students Learn About Holocaust from those Who Were There

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In order to perfect their roles in an upcoming play, Yeshivah of Flatbush students are paired with survivors willing to recount their experiences during World War II. The annual Witness Theater program brings several of the high school’s seniors together with one of eight Holocaust survivors in order to conduct research for their end-of-year performance. The students and the witnesses meet once a week, and it benefits the students, the survivors, and ultimately the audience watching the play. Survivor Ernest Biederman lost his brothers and sisters during the Holocaust, and his wife of 68 years just last year. “I lost my wife this last year, and it was very sad for me,” Biederman said. “I came here and feel like I’m alive again.” The students portray those survivors’ stories more vividly as a result of their personal connection with them. “I have brothers and sisters that I lost when they were their age,” Biederman added, referring to the students he mentored. “It’s been more than 70 years, and I never forget them.” The Witness Theater program is organized by Selfhelp Community Services, and will culminate with a performance at the Museum of Jewish...

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