Only Five Days Left to Help Save the Planned Greenpoint Community Garden Space, Which You Can Now Win For Your Own Party.

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As we mentioned last week, there’s a wonderful Kickstarter project that needs the community’s support. The clock is ticking to help Trish And Maureen save a vacant lot on India St in Greenpoint. Co-founders of Domestic Construction, an alternative design firm that was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine in publication’s list of the 100 “Most Brilliant Companies to Watch of 2010,” the duo hope to transform the plot into an irresistible inner city sanctum. Now not only can you make their dream a reality by becoming a supporter, you can also win the space for your own private party. Here are the details for your chance to win “The Ultimate Summer BBQ”, courtesy of Green Design blog Inhabitat:

1. Comment on design.plot’s Kickstarter page about why saving green space is a good idea to you.

The best commenter will be chosen and notified on Thursday, August 25th. Other outdoor party rental facilities can cost up to $5,000 – so nab a chance for this deal at a fraction of the cost, while helping the community and the planet.

Make sure to donate no later than August 24th. Good luck, and if you win, please do invite us to the festivities.

Natural Wine: A Welcome Throwback

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The Natural Wine Company carries over 200 natural wines, and also exhibits art. At right of photo, co-owners Michael Andrews and Rebecca Pridmore. Photo by Allen Ying

The Natural Wine Company, 209 North 11th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, (718) 388-8423

My first encounter with natural wine was not a happy one. It was about ten years ago, when one of my colleagues finally saved enough money to buy a house in New Jersey. Having grown up in cramped apartments all over Manhattan, he was now giddy with extra real estate. He had a decent sized bucolic backyard, and a cool and damp basement, so decided to pursue a hobby befitting a country gentleman—the art of wine making.

We heard about his progress throughout that year: “I found a book on making natural wine… I ordered a personal-sized oak barrel from California… I started the fermentation process… I’m aging the bottles on an Ikea rack….” One day, a bottle mysteriously appeared on my desk. It had edgy kidnapper-style black and bold lettering on rustic brown craft paper. The cork was dutifully sealed with a wad of drippy red wax. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to try it with dinner.

Need I say it? It didn’t go so well.   More > >

A Kickstarter Project Leases Empty Lot in Greenpoint for Community Garden

Trish and Maureen, design duo and co-owners of their own design firm, Domestic Construction, in Greenpoint, just leased an empty lot which they discovered across the street from their new offices, on India Street (across McGuiness Blvd). They fell in love with the underutilized piece of property, which they learned was destined to become a parking lot. They saw the value of the green space, and jumped to sign the lease, thwarting the parking lot and making way for a visionary community garden.

Some of the things they want to do is regrade the land to form a “lounging” hill with built-in living furniture (there aren’t enough hills in Greenpoint for people to enjoy!)

plant trees to create a mini forest-like atmosphere (for people and birds to enjoy!)

build sculptural geodesic greenhouses for winter food production

build planting beds in preparation for spring 2012, and my favorite:

create a bird house village installation

Here is a link about the project and what supporters will receive:

Everything Beautiful Began After (excerpt from a new novel)

by Simon Van Booy

Book One
The Greek Affair
One

For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.

Places where lonely people can live in exile of their own lives—far from anything that was ever imagined for them.

Athens has long been a place where lonely people go. A city doomed to forever impersonate itself, a city wrapped by cruel bands of road, where the thunder of traffic is a sound so constant it’s like silence. Those who live within the city itself live within a cloud of smoke and dust—for like the wild dogs who riddle the back streets with hanging mouths, the fumes linger, dispersed only for a moment by a breath of wind or the aromatic burst from a pot when the lid is raised.

To stare Athens in the face is to peer into the skull of a temple. Set high above the city on a rock, tourists thread the crumbling passageways, shuffle across shrinking cakes of marble worn by centuries of curiosity.

Outside imagination, the Parthenon is nothing more than stacked rubble. And such is the secret to life in a city ravaged by the enthusiasm for its childhood. Athens lives in the shadow of what it cannot remember, of what it could never be again.

And there are people like that too. And some of them live in Athens.  More > >

Baci & Abbracci: Dreaming of Life in Sorrento

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Pictured: Chocolate mousse with shaved white chocolate; red beet and goat cheese gnocchi. (Top-r): The owners of Baci Abbracci (Paolo Cappiello, Rocco Caldolini, Mimmo Cappiello) share a specialty pizza. Photos by ALLEN YING

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Mimmo Cappiello says he likes fresh, simple Italian food, seasoned with a touch of garlic, not too much oregano or basil. He doesn’t like things heavy and overly spiced. The restaurant he owns and runs with his brother Paolo and business partner Rocco Caldolini—Baci & Abracci (translated: Hugs & Kisses)—prizes its authentic Neapolitan pizza. The selections include a classic Margherita, a Pizza Blanca (mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms, and sausage with spicy oil), Quattro Formaggi (mozzarella, gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and goat cheese), and Mimmo’s personal favorite, the Salsiccia e rapini (mozzarella, sausage, and broccoli rabe). There are pizzas with pancetta, eggplant, salami, artichokes, truffle oil… anything but chicken. Chicken on a pizza drives him crazy. “There’s no chicken on pizza in Italy!” he shakes his head and waves his hands. I wanted to ask him about Del Monte pineapple chunks, but I didn’t want to upset him any more. Anyway, there is no sense arguing with the man.  More > >

Who Owns New York? 3 New Documentaries

The Vanishing City (2010)
Battle For Brooklyn (2011)
The Domino Effect (Fall 2011)

By Janyce Stefan-Cole

A compelling documentary, “The Vanishing City,”contains a startling quote from Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “If New York is a business it’s a high-end product, it isn’t Wal-Mart…It’s a luxury product. New York offers tremendous value, but only for those companies able to capitalize on it.” The statement stings like a slap in the face to tax-paying residents, be they renter or owner, who thought the City was first and foremost a place to live and work. Or are we all meant to shop Fendi and lunch at the Oak Room?  More > >