Posts Tagged ‘brooklyn’

M.S. 571’s Phase Out Explained

December 20th, 2010 by Jonathan Vit

Prospect Heights’ troubled M.S. 571 would close its doors permanently by 2013, announced the Department of Education on Dec. 6th and 7th. The middle school was included in the department’s plan to shutter 26 of the city’s lowest performing schools.

“I don’t see why this school was targeted,” said M.S. 571 P.T.A. President Maria Salichs. Listen to Salichs discuss where the school goes from here:

Maria Salichs on M.S. 571’s closing by jonathanvit

The Underhill Avenue school earned a “D” on its most recent annual progress report. An investigation this fall into M.S. 571 by department officials found consistent problems at the school, including low attendance rates, poor test performance and concerns over student safety. Here’s a closer look:

West African Couture in Clinton Hill

December 6th, 2010 by Jacqueline Vergara Amézquita

A staple of Fulton St. for the past 20 years, the Senegalese Fashion Center continues to delight its West African-couture-loving clients in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Shortly after he arrived from Senegal in 1990, Abdou Diop, 53, opened the tailor shop to serve the fashion needs of the West African community in the neighborhood. Most of the colorful, pattern-rich and embroidered fabrics are imported from Africa.

Give Diop a few hours, and he will transform the fabrics into perfectly-fitted traditional African garments.

For the loyal clientele that consists not only of African, but also African-American women, the gowns he creates are a favorite.

Max Schmidt, a Bed-Stuy resident who is originally from Belize, shares what keeps her coming back to the shop.

Sheepshead Bay Rallies to Stay Alive

November 30th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

The Department of Education is preparing to close down around 19 underperforming schools next year. One school in danger is Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn. Although the school ranks low in comparison to some, SHB has made a huge amount of progress in the last five years. At that time, the school’s graduation rate was around 45%. Today, the graduation rate is around 62%. Sheepshead has also improved its regency exam scores greatly. These improvements have many teachers and students wondering why the DOE still wants to close SHB.

Last week, teachers and students rallied to let the DOE know that they are a school worth saving. Hundreds gathered in front of the school to show their support for SHB and each other.

Joe Long, a long time music retailer in Bed-Stuy

November 29th, 2010 by Edouard de Mareschal

Joe Long, the owner of Birdell’s, an independent record store on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn), began working at the store in 1957. That is why he talks about this neighborhood like no one.

New York Punk On The Rise

November 22nd, 2010 by Jonathan Vit

There’s something in the contagious in Maspeth Creek.

Bushwick is at the center of a rising tide of punk and hardcore bands. On any given night, you can catch live acts by locals like Nomos, Pollution or Crazy Spirit in one of nearly a dozen warehouse and storefront venues dotting North Brooklyn’s industrial landscape. In a scene built by fans, the sheer volume of punk-friendly venues in one neighborhood (or a quick ride on the L train away) is a telling sign that New York punk is, once again, on the rise.

View Punk Venues in a larger map

Community Up In Arms Over Franklin Avenue Pawnshop

October 17th, 2010 by Jonathan Vit

Photo by Jonathan Vit

Struggling with a significant increase in burglaries, Crow Hill residents protested a new pawnshop Saturday that they feel will only bring more crime to their growing section of Brooklyn. It’s a dispute that places the pawnshop at the center of a heated debate over the future of what is arguably the front line of gentrification in the rapidly developing Crown Heights neighborhood.

Opponents argue that the pawnshop, opening at the corner of Park Place and Franklin Avenue, is a step backwards for the budding Franklin Avenue commercial strip. Once a neglected avenue of dollar stores and shuttered storefronts, Franklin Avenue has witnessed a resurgence in recent years as restaurants and bars capitalized on the changing community.

“It is not consistent with what we are trying to do with Franklin Avenue,” said Councilwoman Letitia James, of District 35. “We are trying to attract businesses to Franklin Avenue based on what the needs are of the community and right now the needs of Crow Hill are not for a pawnshop.”

The pawnshop is also located on a block where zoning prohibits pawnshops from opening, said Nina Meldandri, project manager for the Crow Hill Community Association. The association is now working to get Department of Buildings inspectors to the site in an effort to force Community Pawnbrokers to close its doors.

But owner Eugene Josovits says, protest or not, the pawnshop will open.

“I am not breaking the law,” said Josovits. “I have nothing to be afraid of, I followed every single rule in the book.”

Protest chant by jonathanvit

Nina Meldandri by jonathanvit

Mike Bedford by jonathanvit

Stacey Sheffey by jonathanvit

A popular hand game in Brooklyn

October 17th, 2010 by Edouard de Mareschal

Let’s talk about Handball. American Handball. This game is quite popular in Brooklyn, where we can find children playing it almost every day after class in one of the numerous outdoor fields of the borough. James, Diana, Kary and Thomas were playing last Friday evening at the Fish playground park, between Saratoga Ave and Fulton Steet in Brooklyn.

Diana, 29, is a matron who takes care of special needs persons. She lives a few blocks away, and come here quite often to teach the rules to children who want to improve their skills.

Diana (rules) by edemareschal

Thomas, 14, plays handball almost every day.

Thomas Harris (challenge) by edemareschal

He came with Kary, his niece. She is only 7, but she is already addicted to handball.

Kary by edemareschal

James is one of Thomas friends. He explains some tricks about the game.

James (the killer) by edemareschal

If these people were playing for fun, tournaments of American Handball exist, as well as a United State Handball Association, which counts 8,500 members. A low figure which shows that American Handball’s hearing is still confidential.