More on the melding of the holidays....
Where (& Whether) to Buy a Hanukkah Bush in Brooklyn: Holiday Conundrum: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? And how many Jews in Brooklyn (and beyond) have a so-called "Hanukkah bush" in their homes around the Christmas season?
Holiday Protocol: 5 Tips on Giving Hanukkah Presents at Christmas: What's the deal with giving a Hanukkah gift for Christmas?
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
For those of you with a Danish bent...tomorrow is your chance to skate on over to Carroll Gardens for a pop up pork fest, courtesy of Revolving Dansk who dole out "traditional Danish Christmas food with a street-food spin." Who could resist? Plus "infamous danish red hot dogs..."Dassara 271 Smith St., this Sunday December 8th 1pm-6pm. That's glögg in Glooklyn, of course.
(not to be piggish...photo cred belongs to Revolving Dansk)
It really doesn't matter what the weather is this weekend, at least in Brooklyn. Take your pick of dozens of interesting cultural, shopping, and social activities -- mostly held indoors -- this weekend. Buy a Christmas tree. Watch a Russian ballet-trained troupe dance the Nutcracker. Explore the many craft fairs offering one of a kind, affordable gifts. Check out the two day cookie festival in Gowanus. Who needs sunshine when there are chocolate chip cookies galore--and a place to get your doggie photographed with Santa, Brooklynstyle?
Check this out: I just got an email from the folks at PayPal saying that Brooklyn ranked #5 in the top 5 cities that donated through PayPal on Giving Tuesday 2013 in terms of number of gifts. Brooklynites may have not given the most bucks, but more of us gave than many other communities. Congrats! The other top ranking philanthropic-via-Paypal cities were New York (which, hello, includes Brooklyn), San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. Over twice as much money was raised in 2013 than in 2012 for Giving Tuesday.
PayPal says mobile donations are on the rise: Year over year, comparing last autumn with this autumn, they say, the total number of mobile donations made via PayPal has increased 858% and the value of those donations increased 1024%. Nationally, the largest single mobile donation last week was $5,000.Whoa!
Want to keep on giving online? Check out this PayPal website, which will present you with click throughs to popular national charities, and also to local Brooklyn charities.
Because as you know, charity begins ... at home.
Making a charitable contribution to kids in distress, the homeless and hungry and others (alas, there are plenty of folks in need in Brooklyn, NY) is not only a part of the holiday tradition. It's a tried and true recipe for feeling great yourself during the holidays! Try it.
William Bratton, the once-and-future NYC Police Commissioner has had an extraordinary career - and it just got even more interesting.
He's a celebrity police force manager who came from a modest Boston background and today sits on corporate boards with one-percenters, has published a best selling memoir and was even honored by the Queen of England who bestowed upon him the title of the Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Not the least of his accomplishments is having presided over a significant drop in crime rates in NYC some twenty years ago.
For this, Brooklyn owes Bratton, big time. It was that very crime drop that enabled the borough's subsequent gentrification and transformation. Before the 1980s, Brooklyn was still seen by many as a too-dangerous place. People with enough money chose to leave--for Manhattan, Long Island, somewhere else. There certainly wasn't a well-heeled stampede, as there is today, to move to Brooklyn. But the safer it became, the more people invested their lives, businesses and children in the borough.
Experts may argue about whether Bratton's community policing, data-driven systems or other initiatives were primarily responsible for New York's new-found safety stats -- or whether he caught a wave of declining crime rates nationally. Or (probably) both. In any event, Bratton is smart, ambitious and creative.
What does his new tenure in New York City portend and what does it mean for Brooklyn, today? And where is he, exactly, on stop and frisk? Can he mend the fences between Brooklyn's minority communities, whose rights were run roughshod over by police engaging in racial profiling? Bratton's a man in his mid-60s, so the chances are, he isn't going to change stripes. So to peek into the future, check out his past:
A disturbing note for those of us who take pride in our communities across Brooklyn: A new report by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, found that one in seven children in Brooklyn are food insecure. About one in eight Brooklyn residents lived in food insecure households."
Photo courtesy of NYCCHA: Joel Berg of NY City Coalition Against Hunger with Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray at Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.
Take a break from the holiday madness for a second:
Does your house have ghosts? You'd be surprised, but a lot of people living and working in old Brooklyn buildings are dying of curiosity to learn about who lived there in decades (and centuries) past, whether the property has a colorful history, and what it looked like way back when. Digging into the past of a building you're connected to can be a fun exercise for the family-- including folks who once lived in Brooklyn and have since moved elsewhere -- to find out how much their old property sold for fifty years ago, what it looked like in the early 20th century, who built it, lived in it, died in it and more.
To be honest, I get a lot of inquiries about this topic from people researching their family tree, discovering through genealogy sites that they have a Brooklyn connection and so on, so here are a few tips -- with more to come.
- 5 Tips on How to Research the History of Your Old Brooklyn Home or Building
- 7 Places to Find Photos of Historic or Old Brooklyn Properties
Calling all Hans Brinkers....
Also, the McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg becomes the McCarren Rink. It's doubling as an ice rink this winter. It's at 76 Lorimer Street, behind the Play Center on Loimer Street between Driggs and Bayard Streets. The rink opened Friday, November 15, 2013 through Saturday, January 4, 2014. Adults: $8.00, $5 students. Seniors (60 & older): $5. Children (12 & under): $4.00/ Skate Rental: $5