When people make shortlists for the Democratic Party’s likely nominees to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election, Beto O’Rourke’s name is often near the top of those lists. The 48 year old former three-term Congressman from El Paso, Texas gained national prominence last year when he narrowly lost an election to Ted Cruz for United States Senator in Texas. A charismatic figure who reminds some of Barack Obama, O’Rourke has been described as hip, smart and empathetic. A great speaker and an impressive funds raiser, Beto seems totally in his element in front of people.
Although Beto was born and raised in Texas, he spent many of his formative years here in New York City, first at Columbia University where he majored in English, and later living in a Spartan, run down loft in Williamsburg while he was the bassist for a punk rock band. A recent New York Times article examined O’Rourke’s time in New York City and described his days in North Brooklyn.
Beto O’ Rourke was in some ways typical of many of the people I knew who gravitated towards the area’s punk rock music scene in the 90s. A social person who loved music, Beto in the 90s was a man trying to find himself. While some of his other Columbia classmates went straight into graduate school or started careers, O’Rourke drifted aimlessly and fell into deep depression. Eventually, by total chance, he wound up meeting an old friend in a Williamsburg bar who told him about the possibility of sharing a loft located near Wallabout Street, near the Orthodox Jewish section of South Williamsburg. O’Rourke moved into the loft and his Williamsburg tenure began.
His rent was ridiculously cheap, but for a good reason. The Times article states that Beto’s share of the rent for the 2,000 square-foot loft was only a $130 per month, but he and his loft mates had to construct their own bedrooms and at times the space was so cold that sometimes they could see their own breath. Continue reading →
Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern is closing on February 28th following 60-plus years at 188 Bedford Ave. where it opened in 1955. The Williamsburg cash-only throwback to pre-luxury times is known for its affordable drinks, chummy bartenders and rockin’ jukebox. Rosemary’s closing was originally reported by Brooklyn Based.
The bar’s namesake, Rosemary Bleday, worked at the bar since her 20s after her family relocated the watering-hole from its original Green Street location in Greenpoint. Now at age 86, Bleday is seeking to move from her apartment above the bar after she is released from the hospital where she is being treated for a recent injury.
Gothamist spoke with her grandson Eric Carson who said that the demolition and development on both bordering parcels threaten the structural integrity of the wood frame building at 188 Bedford Avenue:
Carson says that the bar held out for a long time, even as they got offers left and right over time, and in recent years as the developer bought up the buildings beside Rosemary’s, which is located at 188 Bedford Avenue, near North 7th Street. In 2016, RedSky Capital bought the three-story, three-unit building next door, at 190 Bedford Avenue, for $13.2 million, as The Real Deal reports. In what the publication dubs a “nearly block-long assemblage,” the developers also purchased the building next to that, at 192 Bedford, as well as Rosemary’s other neighbors at 184-186 Bedford Avenue.
“Unfortunately in doing that—them knocking down two buildings on either side of us, being a wood frame building—according to an engineer report, puts us at serious risk for damage,” he says. “And my grandmother living up here wouldn’t be safe or conducive to running a business.”
There are no plans to reopen another Rosemary’s according to the family, who are seeking to go out in a spirit of celebration over the final three weeks.
Super fun Brooklyn-based supergroup Love Always crafts sunny musical vibes with Jamaican/roots, rocksteady, reggae and lovers rock influences.
Love Always will perform two sets on Sunday at 2pm and 3pm.
Patricia Verdolino (vocals), Michael O’Connor (guitar), and Andy Shaw (bass) are original members of 90s Ska band Metro Stylee. Shaw also plays bass in the popular Brooklyn band Bikini Carwash, while drummer Ron Salvo plays with .357 Lover and keyboardist Jeannie Oliver played in Si Se. Checkout a clip from their performance at our Polar Vortex Holiday Market last December.
With powerful vocals and a passion for 60s and 70s funk and soul developed through her parents’ record collection Kendra Morris began recording songs by herself in the closet of her bushwick loft.
Morris released the album Banshee (2012) on Wax Poetics Records and in 2013 returned with the covers album Mockingbird. She released new music in 2018 with her first single “Nothing” off of an upcoming record and the second single “Playing Games” following close behind in April 2018 along with a Greg Nice of Nice & Smooth on the Break Up Mix and her cover “Virgin” with DâM-FunK playing shoulder synth on the breakdown.
Kendra Morris takes the stage with her band at 4pm.
If I could spend the next six weeks of winter in one spot, it would be tucked in a cozy corner of FourFiveSix (199 Richardson Street) surrounded by the eclectic decor and art, absorbing the rhythmic musical stylings of the St. Amour Jazz Collective. On Sunday evening, the collective performed at the popular neighborhood jazz bar, offering a carefree alternative to Super Bowl festivities.
The St. Amour Jazz Collective features Jim St. Amour on the vibraphone, Luke Markham on drums, and Alex Heigl on bass guitar. It’s St. Amour’s passion project: a percussionist of 35 years, he made a natural transition to the vibraphone to start composing his own works.
“As a composer, I am inspired by the drum n’ bass and neo-soul genres of music. The vibraphone is a beautiful instrument, and its range and percussive tonal characteristics really fit nicely with the harmony and melody of both styles of music,” St. Amour said. He integrated the drums and bass guitar into his compositions, thus shaping the group’s unique sound.
Markham has been a drummer for 19 years. He is well-versed in various genres and plays with a number of groups. When he plays, the drumsticks seem like extensions of his own arms. Both he and St. Amour also teach. Heigl was 15 when he started on the bass guitar. His initial genre was punk before classically training with a jazz bassist soon after. This was the groundwork for his success as an independent bassist. As a group, this trio feeds off each other’s energy, talent, and love of music in an authentic way that makes for a spirited and contemporary live performance.
NYC Councilmember Stephen Levin is holding a public meeting regarding the proposed k-8 school across from the Nuhart Plastics Superfund site on Thursday (2/7), at the Dupont Senior Housing Center (80 Dupont St.) from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
A letter (PDF) addressed to the NYC School Construction Authority written by a coalition of neighborhood groups and public officials explains that the planned site for the proposed school sits across the street from one of the most contaminated parcels in NY state:
The ground underneath the NuHart site is contaminated with an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 gallons of phthalates, which have begun migrating off site in a plume, toward the proposed school site. We will not be completely certain of the precise volume of phthalates under the NuHart site until the remediation begins. Phthalates are particularly hazardous to children’s health and have been implicated in negative infant and child health conditions like reduced gestational growth, asthma and issues with neurological and reproductive systems.1 Researchers and government agencies, including here in New York City, have strongly cautioned parents to reduce their children’s exposure to these highly toxic chemicals. These chemicals are so toxic they have been banned in children’s toys. The site is also contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), a known carcinogen that can have serious effects on both long and short term health. These chemicals have been found in the soil, ground water and soil vapor. Soil vapor is of particular concern because of the potential that it has to migrate off-site. Continue reading →
Greenpoint is home to dozens of interesting, creative micro-communities, from potters and runners to actors and musicians, but none is more daring than the rock climbing community whose amazing ability to scale sheer rock faces and even mountains inspire awe in those like me who fear heights.
Until recently local climbers had no home, but that has changed in the past year. I recently became acquainted with the guru of the local climbing community, Cliff Simanksi, who has constructed a climbing gym that has won rave reviews from experienced climbers and an online climbing magazine. His gym, known as GP81 (81 Quay St.), is a business, but for Simanksi it’s a love and an endeavor he has poured heart, soul and copious sweat into creating. Simanski splits operating duties of the facility with Julian Acevedo, and founding partner Mike Cesari has stepped away fromb the day to day operations.
The 6,500 square-foot venue features walls of 35, 45 and 60 degrees, another of 40 degrees and there are also multiple hang boards, campus board setups, weights, and other training-focused items to help climbers reach new levels in their climbing.
The NYPD is seeking the public’s help to identify a male suspect who allegedly slashed a 31-year-old woman across her face before robbing her Sunday morning. The suspect approached the victim, Dana Sagona of Queens, near Boerum and White streets in Williamsburg at approximately 7:45 a.m., when the suspect made a comment on her looks and offered a marriage proposal.
Sagona works as a city librarian and was waiting for a cab to Manhattan to volunteer at an animal shelter when the assault and robbery occurred. She described the incident to the NY Daily News: Continue reading →
GPBA’s new location will have an increased brewing capacity with a 20 barrel system compared to the former 5 barrel system, and they plan to experiment with new brews like blonde lagers in addition to their classic IPA offerings. “Think in terms of a batch of beer, when your grandma made a big batch of spaghetti she made a gallon of sauce at a time, now we’re going to make four gallons of sauce at a time.,” owner Ed Raven said.
“We want to provide beer for the local community, to drink fresh beer, which was an issue for us before when we didn’t have enough beer to make to go around,” Raven said. “Now well be able to fulfill the demand of the local community, but we should be able to take this out regionally around New York state.” Continue reading →