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Design Week in NYC

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May 8 through May 19 is Design Week! The 12-day NYCxDESIGN festival hosts events throughout the city celebrating people in the creative field, their creations and their clients. There are house tours, trade shows, open studios and more. It’s not one stop shopping. It’s sort of a design orgy throughout the city.

Reclaimed Home is excited to be a part of Bklyn Designs this weekend at the Franklin Expo Center. So excited (and behind schedule) that we are CLOSING THE STORE ON WEDNESDAY to get on track with our preparation. We’ll remain open on Thursday through Sunday.

So, here’s the cool thing about the Brooklyn events. There are bus loops between all three of the big venues. Don’t worry about transportation on Saturday or Sunday between the Brooklyn Museum, Franklin Expo and Industry City’s Wanted Design. It’s taken care of!

We still have some comp tickets left. If you swing by the shop to pick them up over the weekend, walk around the corner to the museum for the shuttle and Bob’s your uncle.

See you there!

15 Inches of Pure White Snow

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5296133255_0b9babe04b_zBlizzard of 2010

What’s all this about the Great Blizzard of 2015? We’re getting snow. Maybe lots of it. The roads will be shite. It might even mess up the subways. But why are people freaking out?

Lemme tell you something. This is NYC. Sure, we get two inches and freak out, but this is not Buffalo. They are laughing at us! I went around the corner to the supermarket and the stock was down. Took one look at the check out lines and walked out. The Korean grocery around the corner was fully stocked with no lines. Done. Do you really think you won’t be able to get some wine from around the corner? Think your favorite Chinese restaurant won’t deliver? This isn’t the suburbs. Just walk an extra block.

In the meantime…some tips.

Probably too late now, but you should’ve parked your car on the left hand side as plows tend to stack snow on the right.

Don’t wait until it’s completely over. Go out and do some passes every few hours to make life a little easier when it stops.

Support your local shops. While everyone is running mad at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Fairway, the small local shops are just fine. You don’t have to schlep to Home Depot for salt or shovels. Your local hardware store has it too, ya know.

As a (ugh) nearly 50 year old Brooklyn native, I don’t remember EVER losing power to a snow storm. We like to do that on the hottest days of the year. There’s always a first time, but candles, batteries and generators might be overkill.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got. Have fun. Get a sled. Go to the park.

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Lower East Side Tenements

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Loved this article and related video from the NY Times this week! 88 year old Rita Ascione lived at 97 Orchard during the 1930’s. If that address doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s one of my favorite museums in NYC, the Tenement Museum. Here, she goes back to visit and kina hora, she makes it up those steps!

I have a soft spot for that intact historic structure and the Lower East Side in general because that area is where my great grandparents settled with my grandparents and my own parents for a bit before moving out to the boroughs. Just like most New Yorkers with immigrant ancestors.

The thing is….ugh….I’m old enough to remember these tenement buildings myself. I lived in a couple of them during my “flee Brooklyn to the city” phase. Bathtubs in kitchens. The real deal. Do they still exist? There must be some seniors living in rent controlled apartments that haven’t been touched in years.

It’s nice to see a bit of NYC history every now and then. It’s disappearing so rapidly.

Con Ed Photo Contest

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Want a chance to win VIP tix to some of NYC’s top attractions?  Then enter the Con Ed photo contest!  Oddly enough, for a company with a New York based clientele, it seems like a very touristy thing to do, but maybe that’s the point.  As New Yorkers, how often do we get to enjoy our fabulous cultural offerings?

You may take selfies, but no other people in the photo.  Go for it!

NYC Man

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We lost one of our own here in New York. Lou Reed’s untimely death is dispiriting to everyone but it’s especially depressing when we grew up with this guy right in our back yards.

Reed was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island and became the embodiment of the Lower East Side 60’s/70’s music and art scene. Surely there are thousands of Lou Reed tributes floating around right now, but being a photographer myself, I’d just like to share some of Reed’s images.

All photos via Steven Kasher Gallery.

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Old Storefronts

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Image via Brownstoner

Steven Soderbergh and his talented crew have transported a Bed Stuy corner back in time for the filming of a show called “The Knick”. They’ve been there for awhile now but this morning as I passed I thought it would be great if they could just leave the signage up forever. Walking through there makes me want to live in the past, man!

New York has been transformed over the years and change is good, blah, blah, blah, but I do miss some of those vintage shop fronts. Here are some that lasted longer than the rest.

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Starting with a fairly obvious one, Vesuvio in Soho. Image from News Gallery.

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Zig Zag Records closed it’s doors about two years ago, but will always be remembered by alt-rock Brooklynites growing up in the 80’s as the place that sold NME and rare UK records. Photo via Forgotten NY.

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The Meat Market in Bed Stuy is now a vintage clothing shop, ironically called The Meat Market. Good for them. Vintage shop. Vintage signage.

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Yonah Shimmel has been around forever. Forever! Did you know that back in the 80’s they had a shop on the Upper East Side? I used to go in there every morning to pick up my breakfast. Not a knish. A poppy seed mohn. Photo via Forward.

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Bless DiFara Pizza. Honestly, I never considered this Midwood pizza shop to be anything special when I was growing up in the neighborhood, but look at them now…one of the highest rated pizzas in NYC. Same signage though.

Walters Hardware Co.

Unfortunately, Walters Hardware closed a few years ago. Not sure what has happened to the storefront as I haven’t been out to Astoria lately.

Manhattan is the New Brooklyn

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Coming of age in Brooklyn in the 70’s and 80’s meant that you were a bridge and tunnel person.  Brooklyn was not the hip utopia it is these days. One had to cross the water into the city for anything resembling culture. Now Brooklyn is the place to be. It’s become more of a brand than a boro. Do you know how many dogs are named “Brooklyn”? A lot.

As you know, housing prices are just about up there with Manhattan now. Is it sustainable?

This past weekend was an eye opener for me that things may have gotten too extreme. Just a couple of personal anecdotes to share…

Ran into an old friend from Park Slope (as in born and raised). The guy has bucks. His family still owns a building right on the park. He was saying how he moved out of the neighborhood because he couldn’t take the sense of entitlement anymore. Now lives in Manhattan. I was thinking “Jeez, Brooklyn has gotten so snotty that you fled to the city?” It kind of makes sense when you think how it feels like to see your home town change so drastically. He doesn’t hold the same sentimental memories of the city because it was never his own community.

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Brooklyn Bagel, in CHELSEA!

My second epiphany came when I realized that I had to go into the city to find a real flea market. No, not some hipster artisan curated market, not that there’s anything wrong with, but somewhere to look for real vintage and antique items minus the Etsy sellers. Not that there’s anything wrong with Etsy sellers. I just wanted dirty old antiques sold by crusty middle aged vendors. Luckily, the Antiques Garage, Hell’s Kitchen Flea and 25th Street Market was just what I needed. In Manhattan, not Brooklyn.

Lastly, while wondering around the city, I couldn’t get over how many old people there were. Like even older than me. Way older! And then I realized that there aren’t really all that many old folks left in Brooklyn’s more popular neighborhoods. That seems appropriate enough to me, since I’m considering moving to the city myself when I get old and decrepit. Doorman building with elevator and terrace in the hub of the universe.

Or at least by the time I retire, it will be the hub of the universe once again. The circle is half complete.

Moment of Silence

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Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can’t you understand
Oh my little girl

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Enjoy the silence

Mayor Who?

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Still confused about voting on who will be the next New York City mayor? Well, you won’t find any help here. The Democratic primary is tomorrow and I’m still scrambling to find out what these guys/gal are all about. I missed the debate and I haven’t been keeping up with the local news.

What makes NYC wonderful is that we each have our own important issue. Personally, I’d like to see a mayor who’s a proponent of animal rights and sustainability. Raise the minimum wage. Fight for New Yorkers of ALL income levels in ALL boroughs. Education. The arts. Fight crime without discrimination. I want to be able to drink a beer on my stoop and I want to see people get educated on soda without the damn ban! Oh, and even though I never so much as tried pot, not even once in my life….legalize that shit and tax it!!

If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that Quinn is not getting my vote. She has two strikes against her: 1. She’s another Bloomberg and 2. She’s not the biggest animal rights advocate.

On the other hand, front runner de Blasio intends on getting rid of the carriages all together and coming up with a more humane and sustainable tourism idea such as electric antique cars. I like him and I’ll probably vote for him. If Liu or Thompson end up getting to the general election, I’d be happy enough to vote for them. Honestly, since I haven’t had a chance to pay much attention, they are all samey-samey to me right now. I know that Liu would like to legalize marijuana. The only reason de Blasio stands out is because his Public Advocate website was so helpful during the aftermath Hurricane Sandy.

Salgado opposes same sex marriage. Buh-bye. Albanese opposes fracking and wants to phase in 100% recycling. Not too shabby.

And what of my beloved Weiner? I was completely undeterred by his original sexting scandal. When he said that more photos might come out, that was fine too. What I didn’t realize was that “more” meant new sexting AFTER the whole fiasco. It’s kind of tough to have someone’s back when their dick is weighing them down so much. Still, I’m so heartbroken over the whole thing, I just might pull the lever (as us dinosaurs say) for him just for old times’ sake. Actually, his schmeckle aside, he would make a great mayor!

If you have any input, I’d welcome it! As someone who always mocks those undecided presidential election voters, this is making me feel so flawed.

Helpful sites: Decide NYC

Project NYC

Farmer’s Markets for Everyone!

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There really is no comparison between grocery produce and freshly picked, organic harvest. The problem with organic is that it’s pricey and not always so convenient to buy. Well, there is hope for ALL of NYC yet, including low income earners.

I heard it on NPR (actually read it) that Grow NYC has created an initiative called Health Bucks for underprivileged New Yorkers to purchase farm fresh foods with vouchers from markets around the city. It’s actually a medical program for overweight patients to obtain prescriptions to buy healthy food.

For the rest of us with middle income and black thumbs, we still have to buy with cold, hard cash. Personally, I’ll have to drop the convenience excuse because I just found this handy schedule on the Grow NYC website. No more guessing where and when these farmer’s markets will take place. It’s probably been there all along for people who actually took the time to look.

BTW, peruse the site. It’s like the bible of green living in NYC.

Chillin’ in NYC

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Summer, The Lower East Side, 1937.

The weather this week is in the 90’s. That’s not just hot, that’s downright dangerous. Take care of yourselves and especially think about the little furry ones. NEVER leave a dog in a hot car for too long. Even with the windows cracked, that’s brutal. Check up on senior relatives. They may be so old school that they don’t have air conditioning.

But where to cool off if you’re out and about? Or if you don’t have a/c yourself?

1. Go see a movie.
2. Check out a museum.
3. Library? Bet you haven’t been to one in awhile.
4. Shop til you drop. Especially malls or huge department store.
5. Get sloshed. Or you can sit and have coffee (iced) all day, but an indoor bar/cafe that allows you to hang out for hours is key here.
6. Beach. NYC beaches gross you out? Hop on the LIRR. It’s also air conditioned.
7. Which brings me to…Take a ride upstate on Metro North or Trailways bus line. Back in my day, the parents used to bring us to “the mountains” to cool off for the summer.
8. Water rides! As close as Coney Island.
9. Fire hydrants. Don’t open it yourself.
10. Parks have sprinklers.
11. City pools.
12. Water balloon fight.
13. Got a backyard? Get yourself a kiddy pool. Or just hose yourself down.
14. Got AC? Never leave the house all summer long.

Mayor Weiner?

Mayor Weiner? published on 3 Comments on Mayor Weiner?

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My favorite Brooklyn loudmouth Jew (besides myself) has reemerged with a campaign ad. Anthony Weiner is back!

Hate the bullshit ad. It’s a snoozefest. This is NYC. He should just be himself and say “Yeah, I fucked up. Fuhgetaboutit.”

But whattcha think? I’d vote for him! Absoeffinlutely! I’m pumped! Not as pumped as he was in those pictures. Badabing!

Subway Rat Birth Control

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For as long as I can remember, rats have been part of the NYC subway experience. Maybe not the most pleasant part, but I swear, those little guys are pretty entertaining while waiting for a train. Not everyone wants to see them though and it’s been pretty difficult to eradicate them completely.

So, what about birth control? Sounds crazy? Well, as a crazy person, I can tell you that for years I’ve been saying that we should have birth control for not only rats and mice but deer, geese and any other species we think of as “pests”.  A-ha, I’m not alone! Seems that the MTA is launching a trial run of rat birth control.

The problem is…and I kid you not…New York City rats have a finer palate than most. They’ll need to be baited with the best pizza, Egg Foo Young, KFC and bagels money could find.

Now before you start complaining about your MTA fare or tax dollars going towards this, keep in mind that the $1 million to fund this experiment is coming from the National Institutes of Health and not the MTA.

Crazy? Or brilliant?

Finding Nemo Plows

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*Update: Was just outside. As of 8:10am there is nothing to plow. It’s not sticking. Go to work.

Remember the year of that bad snow storm and people in the boroughs were complaining how Bloomberg took care of Manhattan but forget about us? Maybe it was the 2010 snow storm.

Anyhoo, now you can track the plow situation on NYC’s government site. Sit home in your jammies today and play with this interactive map. Or clean your house like I just might do. Maybe.

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