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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”.

Holiday Decorations

Illuminated snowflake adorns Flatbush Avenue

Illuminated snowflake adorns Flatbush Avenue

During the month of December during a stroll up or down North Flatbush Avenue have you noticed that the avenue just got a little bit brighter?  That could be because the North Flatbush Avenue BID and its Board of Directors have decided to change the look of their avenue with illuminated Snowflakes from New York Christmas Lights and Decorating Ltd.   All 20 snowflakes were installed right after the Thanksgiving day holiday and will light up our avenue  into the new year.   The new snowflakes are just a few of the new projects that the North Flatbush Avenue BID is currently working on to beautify the district. Keep checking our website as we update you with more inniatives from the BID and some projects that you, as our neighbor , can get involved in too.holiday-banners3-09

 

 

 

Our new snowflakes and holiday banners 2009!!

 

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Kris Kringle on Flatbush Avenue

Santa in his elf driven Rickshaw rides up and down Flatbush Avenue

Santa in his elf driven Rickshaw rides up and down Flatbush Avenue

When was the was the last time you saw Santa in a Rickshaw riding up and down Flatbush Avenue?

Or, maybe…. When was your First time?   It was probably on December 20, 2008 when the North Flatbush Avenue BID local merchants donated  a driver, a Rickshaw and Santa Claus to ride up and down Flatbush Avenue from Plaza Street to Atlantic Avenue handing out candy canes to the children of the Park Slope/Prospect Heights area.   

neighborhood children smiling with santa for their free photos

neighborhood children smiling with santa for their free photos

Then, like a Pied Piper, the children followed Santa along Flatbush Avenue to the warmth of the Avon Products store located at 229 Flatbush Avenue. Once inside, besides a beautifully decorated tree, the children had a chance to tell Santa what their christmas wishes were while sitting on his lap. The BID provided delicious hot chocolate and cookies for the children and their families.

Holiday Silent Auction 2008

the NFBID 2008 Holiday Silent Auction held inside one of our local merchants

the NFBID 2008 Holiday Silent Auction held inside one of our local merchants

On December 16, 2008, on a cold and snowy evening in Brooklyn, The North Flatbush Avenue BID held its annual Holiday Silent Auction 2008 inside Harriets Alter Ego, located at 293 Flatbush Avenue. So many gift items and  gift certificates donated by local merchants and even a lunch at Juniors Restaurant with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowtiz were posted on a wall for all to bid on. 

A festive holiday holiday-silent-auction-08-roomtable full of warm international  foods and  a bar was set up with wine and champagne for all to enjoy.  The evening got under way with a special appearance by Brooklyn’s own First String Quintet.

Partygoers ready to pop the bubbly

Partygoers ready to pop the bubbly

 The crowd got into full swing with the sounds of Latin Jazz recording artist Jose Conde and Jimmy T on bongos. Later that evening  the partygoers enjoyed  the sounds of lovely Lizz Fields who sang her latest hit “Brooklyn Flowers” from her new CD release “Pleasureville”.  Over 200 participants attended that evening and the BID is proud to announce that almost $3,000.00 was  raised to benefit our children’s programming  in the Pacific Street Bears Community Garden for 2009!  Our  first children’s event will be the 2009 Annual Earth Day Event on Sunday April 26, 2009.  Keep watching our site for full details.                                                                                                                 

a table full of mouth watering food donated by our local merchants

a table full of mouth watering food donated by our local merchants

The BID would like to give a big THANK YOU to all who donated gift certificates, store items, decorations, food and to all the volunteers who generously donated their time and devotion to this auction, without everyone this event would not have been a great success!  The BID values everyone’s involvement in all our activities on the avenue.   We appreciate everyone’s support and dedication in promoting our community along North Flatbush Avenue. 

Believe it or not, we are already thinking about our next Holiday Silent Auction for 2009!  If you would like to know more about how you can be a part of our event or any of our events for 2009 or wish to volunteer, please keep watching our website for further details!