If you're a fan of Celebrate Brooklyn!, the wonderful free concert series that entertains hundreds of thousands in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park every summer, for free, then listen up: The organizers of Celebrate Brooklyn have opened a new year-round indoor space, and it's wonderful. When you're in the vicinity of Barclays or the Atlantic Mall, nip over for a look at the BRIC House, on Fulton Street. There are galleries and studio spaces, performance and rehearsal space, a wired cafe, great vibe and lots of events happening.
Learn more about BRIC House.
Psst...After years on the run (run away if you can!) the Gingerbread Man will be appearing at Borough Hall's annual Christmas Tree lighting tomorrow, Tuesday, December 10th, 2013. He, along with a warmblooded Snowman of at least five feet in height, and of course Mr. Claus will be on hand as departing Brooklyn Borough Prez Marty Markowitz lights Brooklyn's very own bedecked fir tree, which thank you very much is every bit as nice as the one in Rockefeller Center. Kids of all ages are welcome to refreshment and toys inside historic Borough Hall.
Be there for the lighting and to see the Gingerbread Man, Snowman, Santa Claus (and Marty!) at 5:30 PM.
More over, Park Slope Food Coop.
Brooklyn's first ever Whole Foods Market's store in gritty Gowanus is slated to open before Christmas, next Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street.
It's vast. At 56,000 square feet, Whole Foods Gowanus will be about the size of two dozen two-bedroom Brooklyn apartments -- combined.
Among their attractions is a wide range of reasonably priced natural and organic foods.
And, an immense parking lot.
Perhaps to counter the car-culture and corporate sense of the place, the giant chain has built in a seductive attraction in its first ever Brooklyn store: a 20,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse, a genius of an idea evolved in partnership with New York's Gotham Greens. Borrowing a page from Bushwick's Roberta's pizzeria, where food grown on site is served on your 'za, the Whole Foods Gowanus store will sell produce sold in their own greenhouse. You can't get much more locavore than that.
Whole Foods Gowanus will also sell popular artisanal made-in-Brooklyn products, from dips to pickles to baked goods. This is probably a great distribution opportunity for Brooklyn's micro food-production businesses (if they can scale up to meet demand), but it may threaten the many little retail food specialty shops in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and beyond.
Patrons who'd rather buy than cook a meal can just hop on over to the second floor and have a brew and food at The Roof, which has seasonal indoor/outdoor seating. Again, the planners had their ear to the railroad tracks: if anything sells in Brooklyn, it's an opportunity to have a beer.
Plus, they've partnered with the leading local arts group, Arts Gowanus. The website DNA Info reports that Whole Foods will sponsor regular "drink and draw" events, where you can loosen your inner artist with some brew, while enjoying instruction from a local artist.
You can also eat in or take out ramen to your hearts content; there's a lot of ramen varieties sold, courtesy of ramen chef Yuji Hariguchi, known to many from Smorgasburg Bowery, a monthly in-store pop-up of rotating local vendors from Smorgasburg, the born-in-Brooklyn artisinal food marketplace that's the twin sibling of Brooklyn Flea.
The Wall St. Journal reports that "The Gowanus store is intended to appeal to environmentally conscious locals," quoting a Whole Foods spokesperson as saying, "This is one of the most forward-thinking, sustainably-designed buildings that has ever been put into place."
The arrival of Whole Foods has stirred controversy for years. The store is located near the Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund site that is undergoing a decade-long remediation. Community efforts to preserve affordable housing and affordable rents for artist studios in the area, and public waterfront access along the cleaned-up Gowanus Canal have not yet crystallized. The opening of the mega-supermarket has accelerated locals' concerns over not just traffic jams, but crowds, gawkers, tourists -- in short, the unwanted explosion of visitors to their formerly semi- desolate hideout in Brooklyn. While some Gowanus newcomers welcome Whole Foods, to others it is the very face of gentrification, heralding a worrisome acceleration of the homogenization of their much beloved (if long maligned) industrial-residential neighborhood.
Many preservationists and Gowanus locals such as the activist Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, aren't sure how much to trust the unprecedented corporate presence in their midst. As part of the deal to build the mega-store, Whole Foods took on stewardship of the once-elegant, landmarked Coignet Building, a decrepit dreamscape of a building on the corner of the lot. Questions erupted, even before opening day, as to whether the supermarket's construction has caused cracks in the 1893 building. The local Brooklyn Paper puns, "Whole Foods on crack: We didn't do it."
A giant chain that's the nation's leader in marketing healthful, organic, sustainable foods to environmentally aware consumers, Whole Foods Market has over 360 stores. A second location is slated to open in Williamsburg. Below, a rendering of the Gowanus store.
Gowanus? Off the beaten track no more.
One of the great pleasures of living in Brooklyn these days is the abundance of music. But there's one special group, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, that deserves special attention. They are performing twice this holiday season:
- December 9, 2013 7:30pm: Lincoln Center presents What Makes It Great? with Rob Kapilow: Britten. In Manhattan.
- December 14, 2013, 3:00pm and 7:00pm Brooklyn Youth Chorus presents Holiday Harmonies at Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College
About the Brooklyn Youth Chorus