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Dear Bill: Responding to the 10/15 Mayoral Debate

Bill, I say this as someone who has supported your campaign since before you were thought of as a viable candidate: I have never been closer to voting for your opponent than I am after watching your performance tonight.

Don’t misinterpret that statement: I’m still voting for you. Continue reading

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Battery Harris and the DOT: A Love Story

When opening a new bar, coming away with a positive experience from a community board meeting presided over by a group hawkishly vigilant of both new liquor licenses and rapidly-vanishing parking spaces is no small feat, especially if in addition to drinks you’re trying to serve up a new pedestrian plaza.

However, sitting down with Etan Fraiman, who recently opened bar/restaurant Battery Harris on the once-desolate corner of Frost & Meeker along with partner David Shapiro, makes it sound like the easiest thing in the world – all you need is a little help from the DOT and a willingness to see your business in the greater context of the streetscape.

The owners of Battery Harris were actually tipped off to the DOT’s Pedestrian Plaza Program by the community board itself, and had nothing but praise for the city agency that not so long ago was referred to by many as “the department of No” for their conservative attitude towards innovation in street design.  Continue reading

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Muchmore’s, Sunday Night

  I may not be the first Greenpointer to trek south to Muchmore’s, one of north Brooklyn’s latest coffee shop / bar / venue spaces, but I certainly won’t be the last if they keep up what they had going this past Sunday night.  I was spending my evening entertaining a friend from New Orleans and we had just concluded a fact-finding mission to Crif Dogs (seriously.)  Given that Northside was still going strong, I would have felt seriously remiss sending him off without his ears ringing, so we trekked over to newly-opened Muchmore’s, located on a (formerly) quiet corner of North 9th street.

Sadly, we had just missed Railbird, showing up in the middle of Zula’s set.  Zula’s clean, layered sound was a great thing to have filling the front lounge area as we wandered in, taking in the artwork.  Working our way to the back, our first thought was that the acoustics were surprisingly good in the unpolished, comfortable space, where little separates the musicians from the crowd and listeners find nearly equal space to either stand and bop or spread out on one of the many couches.  Next up were the decidedly noisier Dreebs, about which I feel mostly unqualified to comment except to say that their songs seemed to my deafened ears to be carefully constructed, skillfully building and releasing tension.  Rounding out the night was Ava Luna, who frankly surprised us – we walked out of Muchmore’s talking excitedly about the deceptively mature, harmonized vocals coming from the young band.

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