Community

Horti Play Opens Experiential Plant Store in Greenpoint

The new Horti Play space at 70 Eckford St. (courtesy of Horti)

When the Greenpoint-based plant subscription service Horti started about two years ago co-founders Puneet Sabharwal and Bryana Sortino began shipping houseplants to friends and quickly found great interest from a growing network of aspiring green-thumbs.

Inside Horti Play (courtesy of Horti)

Now that Horti’s subscription-based business has taken off, Sabharwal and Sortino premiered their first brick and mortar location, Horti Play, at 70 Eckford St. two weeks ago pushing the boundaries to redefine what a retail plant shop can be.

Horti Play defines itself as an “experiential space, designed to help our community form connections with plants and also with plant-loving people.”

“A lot of times people walk into plant stores and most of the decisions are based on transaction,” said Sabharwal who said he was inspired to start his own business and improve his relationship to nature after spending “years behind the keyboard,” at his former job.

The plants that Horti ships out to their subscribers come with care instructions to help novice-level gardeners’ skill-sets grow with their plants.

Building upon the educational aspect, Sabharwal envisions Horti Play as space for people to learn new skills and share ideas.

Horti Play also works as Horti’s office space, and subscribers have access to Horti Play during weekdays, while the general public can visit on the weekends for drop-ins or for classes and events. “We’re not trying to push plants onto people,” Sabharwal said.

Co-founders Puneet Sabharwal and Bryana Sortino (compliments of Horti)

Sabharwal spent the first 18 years of his life in Delhi, India and has lived in Greenpoint since 2011.

“I grew up on a commune basically, so this mentality of building a community is engrained in me. I’m not really a person that is constantly looking for transactional values, so I’m trying to minimize that aspect for our retail showroom as well, so that people don’t feel like the only way to be in the space is with an exchange.”

Horti Play features a selection of titles curated by Word bookstore.

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Councilmembers Call for Full Funding of Hate Crimes Prevention Office

Council Members  Robert Cornegy, Brad Lander, Rafael Espinal, Andrew Cohen, Mathieu Eugene, Mark Levine, Chaim Deutsch, and Speaker Corey John joined a press conference on Monday with the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn  (courtesy of UJO Williamsburg).

More funding is needed for the newly created Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, a group of NYC lawmakers announced yesterday at a press conference on Monday in Williamsburg.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will allot $336,000 in funding in the city’s $92 billion budget for 2020, but the city council says that the hate crimes prevention office will need $475,000 for its first year and $713,000 annually thereafter, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

The NYPD’s statistics for 2019‘s first quarter show a 67 percent total increase in reported hate crimes compared to the first quarter in 2018.

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“Dance and Be Free” With Good Move in Williamsburg

Photos by Hayley Hill & Lauren Damaskinos, courtesy of Good Move

Warm weather is (finally)  just around the corner. If rising temps make you eager for a new work out routine, Good Move is the answer. Located at 56 Marcy Ave, Good Move is the brainchild of Jules Bakshi, a seasoned wellness/fitness guru, professional dancer, and choreographer. Good Move is encouraging of all levels and has a mindful approach when it comes to its curation of classes. From its namesake class, “Good Move” to adult beginner dance (known affectionately as “Hot Bitch”) to good ole pilates, all classes are built to be inclusive and empowering. Bakshi picked the location because she adores this community and all its small business owners.

Photos by Hayley Hill & Lauren Damaskinos, courtesy of Good Move

“Gertie, has been a haven for me while I get the studio up and running. It’s so very comforting to walk in at any time of day and see some friendly faces, they’ve seen me on some rough days and nights and always offer an ear (or a drink!). It’s a really cool, supportive community of founders and makers.” It also helped that the location was about 12-minute walk in sneakers, and 18-minute walk in heels from her home, a must on this long-time North Brooklyneer’s list.

This is the place for you if you feel shy about sashaying in public. Inclusivity is the foundation of this studio with Bakshi working for years to create a “safe space where anyone can experience the pleasures of movement,” with the goal for you to “shake off your day or your week, and just keep on shaking and dancing til you feel alright.”

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McGolrick Park Farmers Market Returns Sundays Through 11/24

(Courtesy of McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance)

The McGolrick Park Farmers Market is back for the season at the central pavilion inside the park on Sundays through November 24th.

The next farmers market at McGolrick Park takes place on Sunday, May 19th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and according to the Down to Earth Farmers Market website the following vendors will be participating: Continue reading

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The Settlement House’s Long History and Continuing Role in North Brooklyn

The original Hull House in Chicago (courtesy of University of Alabama)

Local settlement houses have a long and honorable history in North Brooklyn and they have served as a cultural and educational oasis for generations of local youths. Still, many people might not fully appreciate the historic and current role settlement houses play in our area.

Settlement houses first appeared in England in 1884. Several young graduates from Oxford and Cambridge saw that the working class had little access to education or to culture, so they opened the first settlement house and hoped to share their knowledge and culture with their low-paid, poorly educated neighbors. The idea quickly spread to America where millions of illiterate, or semi-literate, immigrants with little or no English language skills began to populate the nation’s cities.

Many middle-class Americans feared that these immigrants and their children posed a danger to American culture and democracy. Something had to be done to help “Americanize” these newcomers and the settlement house quickly became the answer.

In 1889, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr founded the famous Hull House Settlement House on Chicago’s west side. Hull House served the needs of recently arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe and it served as a model for approximately five hundred similar institutions that sprang up around the country.

Two settlement houses based on Hull House were founded in North Brooklyn. One was funded by Brooklyn’s richest man, Charles Pratt, on the ground floor of his model apartment building, The Astral Apartments, which still stands on Franklin Street and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The settlement house in the building ran a kindergarten, English language classes, home economics courses and civics classes for many of the newly arrived immigrants from Poland, Russia, Lithuania, and Italy.

The Astral in 1903 (Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Social Museum Collection): Caption states: “Greenpoint Settlement in South End, 85 Java Street. Settlement end of Astral Building eleven flats – for work of settlement Resident’s Apartments, fifth and sixth floors.”

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Brooklyn Community Board 1 Meets Tonight (5/14)

(courtesy of INGA/Flickr)

Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 (Greenpoint and Williamsburg) will hold its monthly public meeting tonight (5/14) at the Swinging 60’s Senior Center at 211 Ainslie St. starting at 6 p.m. The meeting will be live-streamed here and the agenda is as follows:

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Greenpoint Oil Vapor Meeting Prompted by Multiple Complaints

(courtesy of Timothy Krause/Flickr)

A group of Greenpoint residents have reported smelling oil and petroleum vapors recently in their apartments and will hold a meeting this week with local elected officials and concerned neighbors to “work toward a solution.”

If you live in the vicinity of Freeman, Green, and Huron streets and would like to learn more or share your story a meeting hosted by the North Brooklyn Neighbors will take place at the Dupont Street Senior Housing Center (80 Dupont St.) on Tuesday, May 7th, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Both the city Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have been investigating the potential source of the alleged vapors and conducted sewer inspections in Greenpoint last week, according to Benjamin Solotaire of Council Member Stephen Levin’s office.

The agencies sampled the air at six manholes and found one manhole on Freeman Street that has evidence of petroleum product. Here are the full details: Continue reading

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Public Rally for Locked-Out Key Food Workers Happens on 5/19

UPDATE: The rally has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 19th, from noon- 1 p.m. at the Greenpoint Key Food.

Approximately 40 Key Food meat department workers at seven local stores, including the Greenpoint Key Food, are locked out and have been without pay since April 6th in an ongoing contract dispute.

A community action is being held in Greenpoint this weekend in solidarity with the workers, who are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Local 342.

The “Mother’s Day Rally for Locked-Out Key Food Workers” is happening Sunday, May 12th, from 2 p.m – 3 p.m. at the Greenpoint Key Food (224 McGuinness Blvd.) Continue reading

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Help Cleanup and Green Williamsburgs’ Waterfront This Weekend

The Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park and Riverkeeper are hosting their 8th annual Riverkeeper Sweep this weekend to help clear debris from the Brooklyn waterfront and garden near the East River shore; registration is required.

Volunteers are invited to help in the planting and shore cleanup on Saturday, May 4th, from 10 a.m -1 p.m.:

Volunteers will meet at the Bushwick Inlet Park Community Building, (North 9th Street & Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211), where street parking will be available. We ask all Sweep volunteers to wear sturdy shoes or boots, clothing that they can get dirty, and to bring work gloves, a hat, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle and snacks. This site is suitable for elementary-aged children with proper adult supervision.

Questions? Contact Riverkeeper at [email protected] or Sweep Leader Katherine at [email protected]

 

 

 

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