Posts by Josh

2 Fifteen going legit

By , 20 August, 2010, No Comment

courtesy Realty Collective

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Our colleagues at Realty Collective report that 2 Fifteen Cucina Napolitano (215 Columbia St.), which closed some time ago, will be reopening under new ownership. The new place will still be an Italian restaurant, and possibly a better one — the owner is ripping up the inside and installing a wood-burning oven for cooking pizza and panini. (We don’t know whether the new 2 Fifteen will have a new name, though we would be a little surprised if it didn’t.)

RC describes the old 2 Fifteen as “a hidden neighborhood gem, family-owned and famous for its large portions and decor.” Its reputation is a little more complex than that, though — here’s an interesting Brownstoner thread in which commenters debate whether 2 Fifteen is even a restaurant.

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“Screw this place. Its a mob front. I have tried to eat there twice, once alone and once with friends. Both times I went in they looked at me like I had taken a wrong turn. It hasn’t been reviewed because with a review comes customers and with customers, they can’t invite their friends and business associates to have dinner at their private restaurant.”

Please stay us informed like this. Thanksthank you for your assistant headache.

It would be interesting to know whether the renovation turned up any support for the “mob front” claim. You know, a forgotten gun planted behind the toilet, that sort of thing…

Tall Ship Gazela Docks in Red Hook Today

By , 17 August, 2010, No Comment

The Gazela, a wooden square-rigger built in Portugal in 1883, is scheduled to tie up at Pier 11 (Pioneer and Conover Streets) on Wednesday, August 18, for a six-night stay. According to PortSide New York,

Gazela sailed from Lisbon across the Atlantic over 100 times during 70 years of hard work fishing the Grand Banks off Canada. Visiting the Gazela is a way to learn about life in the age of sail and about an environmental story: the once bountiful cod, the fishery of the Grand Banks and how it was decimated. Cod changed history, and for 1,000 years was live gold, as author Mark Kurlansky illuminated in his 1997 book “Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World.” It was the Gazela’s job to bring in this cod and feed a European appetite for a fish that goes back to the Viking period.

The ship will be open for tours on August 19, 20, 22, and 23, and the traveling vaudeville performers of Cabaret Red Light will stage a production of “The Seven Deadly Seas” (rated PG-13 for mild adult content, or so we’re told) each night from the 19th to the 22nd.

Learn more about the Gazela and its visit at PortSide New York.

A Really Cool Picture of Something That Will Never Happen

By , 13 August, 2010, No Comment

From Apartment Therapy New York: “The + Pool,” a swimming pool on an x-shaped structure that floats in the East River, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. It looks really cool, but when you look at the second schematic at Apartment Therapy, you understand that the coolness goes beyond looks. The four arms of the x (or +) break down as: (1) Laps, (2) Sports, (3) Kids, and (4) “Lounge.” Yes — lounge. Swim-up bar, relaxation in the shade of a thatched-roof tiki hut? Dos pinas coladas, por favor. Or perhaps Caipirinhas? With Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 on the hi-fi…?

No. No caipirinhas, no Sergio Mendes — it’s just a pretty picture. And the picture doesn’t even have a tiki bar in it, that was totally my add. The “+ Pool” is fiction, but in actual fact today is a sunny less-than-brutal Friday in Brooklyn. Pour yourself something — caipirinha or Diet Coke — and have a good weekend…

Arrivederci, Grimaldi’s

By , 12 August, 2010, No Comment

It’s been nice having Grimaldi’s over in DUMBO, at least in theory. Standing in line for pizza isn’t the way most of us like to start our evening, but the place proves useful when out-of-towners insist on going out for the “best” “real” NYC pizza. According to the Wall Street Journal, the pizzeria owes a plateload of back rent and taxes, and the landlord and city say they’ve had enough. Grimaldi’s owner Frank Ciolli maintains he can pay what is owed, but here’s the rub:

Even if things end well this week for Mr. Ciolli, he’s lost his right to renew his lease, so the restaurant would likely leave the space next fall. Mr. Ciolli plans to open a pizzeria on Sixth Avenue and 20th Street in Manhattan.

Leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan… what a shame. I do wonder what the landlord thinks will move in to the space.

“Here’s a pizzeria that does a lot of business on a street where half the buildings are vacant,” [Ciolli's lawyer] said. “They should be thankful they’re getting the rent that they’re getting. It’s an 1,100-square-foot cracker box.”

Looks like the First Lady and Kids will soon have to go elsewhere for their slices…

Brooklyn House of Detention to Reopen

By , 12 August, 2010, 1 Comment

The Brooklyn House of D — yes, the same one mentioned in the Beastie Boys’ “High Plains Drifter” — at 275 Atlantic Avenue (between Smith St. and Boerum Place) has been closed since 2003, but is now slated to reopen. The good news is that the city scrapped plans for expanding the jail to double its size, which is currently 759 beds. The most frequently-cited complaint about the House of D is that the comings, goings, and illegal stoppings of buses and vans disrupted the flow of traffic on Atlantic Avenue, although an older NYT article mentions that “visitors to the jail would urinate in people’s yards, hide weapons and contraband in flower pots.”

Eew and yikes. Yet as much as we’d like to sound the NIMBY alarm here, tough luck — it’s a done deal.

(Today’s New York Times article gives the basics but this Gothamist post from two years ago reveals an unexpected other side to the story. When the jail left, proprietors and restaurant owners in the vicinity took a hit because of the loss of business from corrections officers and families visiting inmates.)

Paparazzi on Court Street snap Lady Gaga

By , 11 August, 2010, 3 Comments

Spotted outside Fish Tales: Lady Gaga, who had stopped in for some seafood. The store staff says the current queen of pop was very friendly and down-to-earth, although she was accompanied by a couple of bodyguards. But why is Lady Gaga shopping for fish in Cobble Hill? We hear she has a boyfriend in the neighborhood, a Lüc Carl, who works at a couple bars in Manhattan and has written a book (or at lest a website) about drinking and fitness. (Not sure? You may consult or edit his Gagapedia entry yourself.)

The pair have been described as on-again, off-again, but if the Lady is buying fish in our hood that would seem to imply they’re on. Unless, of course, they’re off.

Interior Design Porn of the Flavor Paper Building

By , 6 August, 2010, No Comment

The Flavor Paper building sits on a seldom-traveled block of Pacific; I’ve given it a curious look while searching for parking but until this week’s issue of New York I had no idea what was inside. “This is where Jon Sherman, who moved from New Orleans to Brooklyn last summer, designs, fabricates, and markets hand-screened wall coverings,” says It is also where “the owner eats, sleeps, [and] throws dinner parties.” If you are invited — perhaps mistakenly — to one of these dinner parties, our advice is:


Images from, visit for more words and the full 11-picture slideshow.

Roof deck

Living room




Some Links: Free Bike Friday, BB Park news, Wine, Cheese, & Pisco Sours

By , 6 August, 2010, No Comment

Did you know about Free Bike Fridays on Governor’s Island? Through October 8, ferries leave from Fulton Ferry Landing. [NewYorkology]

Brooklyn Bridge Park Readies For Next Phase [NY1]

Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Council: Tobacco Warehouse Should Stay Public, Multi-Use Facility [Brooklyn Heights Blog]

You can now drink outside the Bell House.

Saturday, 4 PM WINE EVENT: France 101 with Rebecca Banks of Balthazar, at Brooklyn Wine Exchange

Saturday, 4 PM, CHEESE EVENT: Spanish Cheese Class, at Stinky Bklyn on Smith Street

Saturday, 4 PM BOOZE EVENT: Macchu Pisco at Dry Dock Wine & Spirits in Red Hook

Martha Stewart Doubletweets One Girl Cookies

By , 6 August, 2010, No Comment

Goodness I can’t remember the last time we posted about local dessert items. Dean Street bakers One Girl Cookies made Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Weddings yesterday, and with good reason — an OGC chocolate whoopie pie (identified by Martha as “pink mooncake,” oh well) merits a tweet or two any day. Follow them at @OneGirlCookies and, if you don’t already, us at @Bococaland.

And just ate a pink mooncake from @onegirlcookies #marthablogger

Martha and Dawn from One Girl Cookies #marthablogger

Rocketship Comics Has Left the Earth

By , 5 August, 2010, No Comment

It’s (officially) official — Rocketship is no more, confirmed by a post on the comic book store’s official blog:

Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Thanks Everybody!
After five great years, we are now officially Closed. We decided it was time to move on to other things, but we appreciate the years of support from all our customers, friends, neighbors, suppliers, creators, peers, and boosters.

It was great! Thanks everybody!

A post about the closing last week on Brownstoner elicited this comment, supposedly a quote from the store owner:

“Our lease came up and we realized that we were either going to do this another five to 10 years, at which point it becomes a CAREER, in big letters, or not sign on again and do something different. That’s basically it. Of course, there are a thousand variables in there, all of which would be very boring and involved. In the end, the store was great to do for five years, but not something we wanted to be doing until we retired. So it was time to move on.”

A presumably healthy business closing its doors not because it had to, but because the owners simply wanted to? An uncommon story in this economy, to say the least.

Whither comics, comix, and graphic novel fans of Brooklyn? The Brooklyn Paper’s roundup mentions Galaxy Comics and Bergen Street Comics, both in Park Slope, but omits two survivors round our way. Yes, St. Mark’s Comics (148 Montague, between Clinton & Henry) and the Baseball Card Dugout (453 Court, between 4th Place & Luquer) are still kicking — both have more of a dusty, old-school, Android’s Dungeon vibe than boutique-y Rocketship, but are worth a visit if you’re looking for superhero stuff. It’s a shame to see Rocketship go, but it always was unsettlingly, well, clean for anyone who grew up combing the worn 4-for-$1 crates at a local shop.

If you’re looking for the latest arty graphic novels, BookCourt (163 Court, between Dean & Pacific), like many of today’s decent indie bookstores, carries quite a few — and its window currently showcases a half dozen Tintin reprints.

Excelsi— actually, no, not Excelsior! at all.