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WHAT’S ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT A FACELIFT FOR FLATBUSH AVENUE?

6th Avenue Triangle at Flatbush Avenue  JUST SOME OF THE WORK THAT

                         THE NORTH FLATBUSH AVENUE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

                                       IS WORKING ON IN YOUR COMMUNITY  

Flatbush Avenue at 5th Ave. near Modells

Flatbush Avenue at 5th Ave. near Modells

 A little over 35 years ago, a group of committed citizens joined forces to improve the area known as North Flatbush Avenue. This group was comprised of merchants, propert onwers and residents such as Fran Trowbridge, Sophie Edeler, Joe King (century 21 real Estate), Bill Shapiro (Triangle Sports) and the Pintchikfamily.  these Committed citizens, along with the assistance of elected officials, city agencies and the Brooklyn Union Gas “Cinderella Project” (keyspan/National Grid) brough renewl to Flatbush Avenue beginning with the Triangle parks Commission, the North Flatbush Avenue Betterment Committee that ultimately gave rise to the North FlatbushAvneue Business Improvement District (BID).  

7th-avenue-triangle-sidewalk
  Most of this core group is still involved in what may seem to be a long struggle to keep Flatbush Avenue a vibrant commercial district. Over the years, the members of the Board of Directors, have struggled to create a cohesive identity for the BID that would be responsive to the changing  demographic, without losing long time businesses and to create an atmosphere that is rich with “Brooklyn” spirit. 
  We have watched both Fifth and Vanderbilt Avenues attract shops that seem to emerge overnight with attractions for the  younger, hipper shopper and have asked why? At times we may have felt somewhat overlooked but this is our burden because Flatbush Avenue is unique.
  The BID has prided itself on understanding our limitations, our budget is small, and most of the properties and businesses are owned by a sole proprietor. Where else does one have to contend with thousands of vehicles daily, two bus routes, six sets of subway tracks below and a borough that sees Flatbush Avenue more as a conduit than as a destination?
New streetscape design for Flatbush Avenue

New streetscape design for Flatbush Avenue

Over the past year, we have been planning a new streetscape for FlatbushAvenue with a focus like that of 1974 when the Triangle parks were created.  Last July, many of you participated in a Community Forum to address the questions: What is Flatbush Avenue? What would you like to see? The NYC Department of Small Business Services awarded the BID a grant which has allowed  us to create a conceptual street scape design that addresses concerns expressed at the forum and others from additional meetings. This plan was revealed at the BID’s 2009 Annual Meeting held on Wednesday, June 24th and subsequently used to entice and cajole our fine city to fund the Flatbush Avenue of the future.    The plan is inviting, aesthetically pleasing and easily maintainable.  We were recently awarded $200K from Brooklyn Borough  President Marty Markowitz . 
If you you would like to view  additional photos of the new streetscape design, the BID plans a public presentation sometime this fall in one of our triangle parks.   Please visit our website to find out date to view more photos and talk with our  architecture firm “W” Architecture and Landscape Architecture LLC.  We want to hear your thoughts and comments.
Read about us in the Media:
see us on Brookyn12News!

It’s Here! Our New Merchant Guide

 
 THE NEW NORTH FLATBUSH AVENUE SHOPS AND SERVICES GUIDE  
 brochure1   DONT FORGET TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF THE NORTH FLATBUSH AVENUE GUIDE.   THEY CAN BE FOUND IN ALL MERCHANT SHOPS ALONG NORTH FLATBUSH AVENUE.   AN EASY TO READ PULL OUT STREET LOCATOR MAP AND A COMPLETE DIRECTORY OF ALL OUR MERCHANTS ON FLATBUSH AVENUE FROM PLAZA STREET TO ATLANTIC AVENUE. IF YOU CANNOT FIND OUR GUIDE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL THE BID OFFICE AND WE WILL BE HAPPY TO GIVE YOU AS MANY AS YOU NEED. 
THEY ARE FREE FOR  EVERYONE!!  GIVE THEM TO YOUR CUSTOMERS, FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.    A GREAT WAY TO GET AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

Brookyn Botanic Garden/GreenBridge program speaks at our Merchant Workshop

Susan Fields speaks to our merchants at workshop

Susan Fields speaks to our merchants at workshop

BBG/GreenBridge Program speaks at our Community Workshop

GreenBridge, the community environmental horticulture program of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, promotes the greening of the urban environment through  education, conservation and creative partnerships. GreenBridge is building a vibrant network of people, places and projects dedicated to making Brooklyn a greener place.  That is why the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District has partnered with this program to provide our merchants with this valued information.  Susan Fields, program director of the GreenBridge program was gracious enough to except our invitation to speak at our first Community Workshop for 2009.  We had a great turnout of residents, merchants and property owners. The workshop provided everyone with valuable information about greening our communities and ways in which we can enter the “Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest“.    This contest in conjunction with Borough President marty Markowitz, and with support from independence Community Foundation, includes business and residential categories, as well as street gardening clinics. 

informative materials supplied to us from BBG.

informative materials supplied to us from BBG.

Any one in our district who is interested in registering online for this contest can do so by going to this link:

Here is the link to register on-line for the contest:  http://www.bbg.org/edu/greenbridge/greenestblock/enter.php  

Keep reading our website to find out if you quality for the BID’s capital improvement  initiative. We may be able to order large plant containers/planters and plants for your storefront and residence through the BID office for free. Give us a call and let us know if you are interested. 718-783-1685 or go to: sdavidson@nfbid.com

NFBID HONORS RETIREE

Hon. Letitia James and Regina Cahill present Luis Soledispa with a Citation from Borough President Marty Markowtiz office.

Hon. Letitia James and Regina Cahill present Luis Soledispa with a Citation from Borough President Marty Markowitz office.

HONORABLE SEND OFF FOR AN HONORABLE MAN

As part of the BIDs supplemental sanitation initiatives, Luis is contracted yearly through Atlantic Maintenance Co.  7 days a week, 351 days a year, Luis is seen on Flatbush Avenue from Plaza Street to Atlantic Avenue sweeping our streets and gutters, shoveling snow, emptying our corner trash receptacles and bagging garbage for sanitation.

   
Luis made many friends along the avenue and it was displayed when so many people turned out to show their support as he was presented with a Citation of Commendation from Councilwoman Letitia James.  The Citation was co-produced with Borough President Marty Markowitz office. Regina Cahill, President of the BID,  praised Luis when she said he reminded her of a famous song from Sesame Street. “Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?” She then presented Luis with a plaque for his hard work and committment from the North Flatbush Avenue District. 
  
          
Councilwoman Letitia James with Luis Soledispa

Councilwoman Letitia James with Luis Soledispa

After a few sips of coffee and a bite of a bagel, Luis made his way outside and began his journey on North Flatbush Avenue sweeping the streets as if it were just another day.  Luis will finally hang up his blue cap on Friday, March 13th.  Luis once told us that he enjoyed his job in our District, but it was time for him to move on and enjoy his new journey into retirement.

The Board of Directors, property owners, merchants and residents  of the North Flatbush Avenue BID wish Luis  peace, health and happiness on his new  journey.

Childrens Events at our Community Garden

First, just a little bit of info about the Pacific Street Bears Community Garden –

                                                               a great addition to our  BID…………

The Brooklyn Bears Community Garden on Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street

The Brooklyn Bears Community Garden on Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street

Founded in 1983, The Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden was named after a teddy bear gardeners found in the weeds at an early workday. At a time when the City had all but abandoned this corner of Brooklyn, neighbors took matters into their own hands with a beautification project that has endured for over 25 years.

By 1988, recognizing the possibility of a development project on the site, the Bears began organizing to make the garden a permanent part of Flatbush Avenue. By 1990, an agreement was in place to include the garden in any planned development. In order that the group not disband during construction, the City offered a property on Carlton Avenue between Gates and Greene. A recession ended that original development plan, but the group continued working at the new Carlton Avenue Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden!

When another group gardening on Flatbush and Lafayette since 1980 moved away, the City contacted the Bears to see if they’d care for that site too. Not wanting to see a green space go to waste, the group agreed and in 1991, the Rockwell Place Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden was (re)born. That made them the Three Bear’s Gardens!

In 1997 a new development project began, and the original garden was plowed to make way for the Mall buildings . After incredible community support, the Bear’s fought back and recreated the garden on a portion of the original site.

With strong support from the community, the Borough President’s office, and City and State officials, all three Bear’s Gardens are now a permanent part of their communities — Carlton and Rockwell under the NYC Parks Department and Pacific Street as part of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, the largest urban land trust in the nation.

It was in 2007 that the North Flatbush Bears Community Garden got together and started planning children’s programming for the community.    Just down the street from the BID’s office with all its beautiful splendor, the Garden provided a bit of respite for the community and all those who walked by.  It was a perfect way for the BID to provide children’s programming in an area that is both beautiful to look at and big enough to hold a crowd of children. It was in August of 2007 that we held our very first Children’s Activity Day.  And each year, the BID holds 3 children’s events at the garden. 

Getting the marigolds ready for planting

Getting the marigolds ready for planting

In April of 2008 BID  held its very first Earth Day Event. Over  75 children attended and they all participated in seedling planting,of Marigold flats into a composted ready planter. The children also got a lesson on composting by garden landscaper, Jon Crow as well as a demonstration on how to organize their recyclables, talks on environmental awareness and lots of information on recycling and reusing.  The children had a good time decorating their very own “green” tote bags in which to carry home all their goodies.  There were also volunteers on board to paint the children’s faces.  The Department of Waste Management  donated several  Environmental Awareness coloring books.  We expect to hold our next Earth Day Event on Sunday, April 26, 2009. Keep visiting our website for more details about this event.

During the summer months when neighborhood children need a break from the heat, The North Flatbush Avenue BID hosted a great Children Day in the Garden Event on August 10, 2008.  The children were provided with hours of fun with storytelling, face painting, arts and crafts and gardening.  There were homemade snacks and cookies provided by volunteer members of the garden.

When the Park Slope and Prospect heights neighborhood is in merriment with so many neighboring Halloween events, the BID takes great pride in hosting its very own Annual Halloween Spooktacular.  That is when the garden turns into a spooky graveyard with bones, scary music, fog  and coffins along with spiderwebs and bats and ghosts hanging from the trees. Volunteers from the community garden provide the children with their very own version of a favorite treat “Grilled Hallo’ween-ies”. Delicious hot dogs are set on a bun with deep red “bloody” ketchup.

The children didnt seem to mind  waiting  in a long line to get their faces painted like a lion, a pumpkin or a ghost by Brooklyn’s famous children’s facepainter, Bert Pinnock. Bert has become a welcome addition to our events.   There were so many pumpkins to give out to each family as the children enjoyed decorating each pumpkin in their own unique way. The pumpkins were generously donated by one  of our BID’s local merchant, Joe Butrico from All-Star Locksmith. Children had the opportunity to have a free photo session  as they peered into a Cinderella banner for the girls and the boys had a great time pretending they were a Pirate. For some extra fun, sweet treats were provided by volunteers of the garden and it was fun watching the children bite into  “ghost” cookies and “spiderweb” cupcakes. And what would Halloween be without a basin filled with water and apples for that old time Bobbing for Apples game.     

Many children were able to pick up “Trick-or-Treat for Unicef” orange boxes on their way into the event so that they can bring these along with them when they go door to door on Halloween . They also had the opportunity to learn how they can make “Halloween count for kids.”  

 We have more events coming up in 2009 for Park Slope and Prospect Heights children and families.   If you are interested in being a part of these events, want to get onto our mailing list  or would like more  information about volunteering, please keep watching our website for more details.

Flatbush Avenue Victorian Clocks

On Christmas Day 2005, a car crashed into our old fashioned Victorian street clock on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place.

Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place Victorian Replica Clock

Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place Victorian Replica Clock

Within a few weeks, the Victorian style timepiece and its cast-iron pole had been removed, arousing the concern of some of the neighborhood residents.

One resident, Mr. Mark Rykoff, who fittingly enough, edits photographs for Time magazine, said that his earliest memory of New York happens to involve a street clock, the elegant 1927 timepiece outside the Sherry-Netherland Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where he stayed as a child in 1973.

After he moved to Sterling Place in 2002, Mr. Rykoff said, the Sterling Place clock on his corner with its Roman numerals and decorative scroll work trim, became equally important to him. “It added an exclamation point to his neighborhoods feeling of historicity”.  As long as the clock’s wires continued to poke out of the sidewalk, residents held out hope for its return. But for a long time, when the hole was cemented over, some have feared that the clock was going to be gone for good.

Maybe not, Regina Cahill, President of the North Flatbush Avenue District Management Association, said that her group, which oversees the local business improvement district, had removed the clock for safekeeping and was storing it on property belonging to the Pintchik hardware store on Bergen Street.

“Right now we are trying to see where we can get funding to put it back”, said Regina.”we are a little in limbo”.

The fiberglass replica of a Victorian design was installed around 1982 along with an identical twin a few block down Flatbush Avenue near Sixth Avenue. Even before it’s accident, the Sterling Place clock had led a hard knock life. In 1989, a truck backed into the clock, snapping it in half. After being repaired, the clock ran for years without incident until its electrical line was inadvertently cut , paralyzing its hands. Just when the local effort to restore its power was nearly complete, the clock was felled again when it was suddenly run down.

The total cost to replace and install a new clock was estimated at $20,000. The North Flatbush Avenue BID received $10,000 from the driver’s insurance company, and an addtional $5,000 from the generous support of the Office of Council Member Letitia James. With generous contributions form local merchants and residents, the North Flatbush Avenue BID was able to fund the remaining balance. Three months later, the replacement clock was installed and in August 2008  power was supplied to it.

Surrounded by members of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, local merchants and neighbors, the Victorian Clock stands tall once more.

Surrounded by members of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, local merchants and neighbors, the Victorian Clock stands tall once more.

Everyone came out to see the new repaired clock on the corner.  At its inauguration, Council-Member Letitia James was awarded with a dedication plaque for her effort.  Board of Directors of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, the BID’s Executive Director and neighborhood merchants and residents  came out to show support for the Victorian Clock. One local merchant, Murat Uyaroglu, owner of Prospect Perk coffee shop, was very happy. “It’s going to be a good landmark for any business”, said Uyaroglu. “If  you want to know directions to my coffee shop, just look for the beatiful old Victorian Clock on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place”.