Mysteries of Brooklyn: The Russo Storefronts

June 13, 2007

On a busy corner in Brooklyn, across from the Smith & 9th Street subway station, stands a row of ramshackle houses. Two of the buildings are covered with signs and artifacts promoting Vincent Russo Realty and Vincent Russo Notary.

The question is: why? Why the crucifixes, wreaths, wooden soldiers and eagles? Why the sagging roofs, the peeling paint, the crooked signs and faded flags?

Is it an advertising tactic, an artistic statement or a convoluted combination of laziness and craziness? Just another mystery of Brooklyn.

Russo Realty & Russo Notary

Russo Realty

Russo Notary

Brownstoner: Russo Realty
423 Smith: Brooklyn’s Notary District
Forgotten New York: The Gowanus Canal


Big Apple BBQ 2007

June 10, 2007

The smoke was billowing, the sauce was bubbling. The beer was chilling, the beans were heating, the slaw was cooling and the dogs were licking their chops.

It was a great day for eaters, a nightmare of a day for vegetarians and cardiologists. It was the 2007 edition of the Big Apple Bar*BQ & Block Party.

For the fifth year in a row, barbeque experts from around the USA gathered in Madison Square Park to cook, sell their tastiest creations and preach the gospel of the grill.

Although some folks decried the BBQ’s lack of a representative from Kansas City, the fest included pitmasters from Alabama, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virigina, Boston and even Manhattan, dishing up tons of ribs, sausages, pulled pork, chicken, Brunswick Stew, beans, pickles, cole slaw, apple turnovers and blueberry pie.

And for dieters, it was a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad day.

Big Apple BBQ Welcome sign
Big Apple BBQ Welcome sign

Eating Baker's Ribs
Eating Baker’s Ribs

Manning the grill at Jake's Boss BBQ
Manning the grill at Jake’s Boss BBQ

Cooking pig skin at Ed Mitchell
Cooking pig skin at Ed Mitchell

Dining on the curb
Dining on the curb

DSCN6008
Bench full of barbeque eaters

Feeding the dogs
Feeding the dogs

DSCN5968
Eating from paper baskets

Using newspaper boxes as tables
Using newspaper boxes as tables

Wendy the Snapple lady
Wendy the Snapple lady

Basting ribs at Rack & Soul
Basting ribs at Rack & Soul

Picnicing on the grass
Picnicking on the grass

Using a window ledge as a table
Using a window ledge as a table

Stirring the Proclamation Stew Crew's Brunswick Stew
Stirring the Proclamation Stew Crew’s Brunswick Stew

Ryan Shaw
Ryan Shaw singing

Licking up every last drop
Licking up every last drop

Big Apple Bar*BQ & Block Party
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Eater: Let the Dieting Commence
Off The Broiler: Big Apple Block Party
Chowhound: Big Apple BBQ


Ashford & Simpson

June 7, 2007

When Motown was known as the Sound of Young America, when Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell and the Supremes were at the top of the charts, this pair was responsible for creating many of their classic hits.

In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s they wrote songs for Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Teddy Pendergrass, the Fifth Dimension, the Miracles and many others.

Their best known songs include Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Your Precious Love, Let’s Go Get Stoned, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand), I’m Every Woman, You’re All I Need To Get By and Solid (As a Rock).

Although they are known primarily as songwriters, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson also polished, dynamic performers. Today, on the commons at the office complex known as MetroTech Center, they were the opening act for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Rhythm and Blues Festival.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you … Ashford and Simpson.


Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Ashford & Simpson in Brooklyn
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Ashford & Simpson at Metrotech
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Ashford & Simpson
Originally uploaded by annulla.

2007 BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival at MetroTech
Motown
Ashford & Simpson’s SugarBar
Ashford & Simpson Fan Site
VH1: Ashford & Simpson
BAM: Brooklyn Academy of Music
MetroTech Center


Singing and Dancing in the Sunshine

June 6, 2007

It was lunchtime on sunny day and the crowd in downtown Brooklyn was being treated to a free open-air concert.

Schoolchildren from PS 27 in Red Hook and PS 276 in Canarsie gathered near the fountain in front of Borough Hall to sing and dance. Those on stage put their hearts into the performance, but the audience was a tiny bit distracted.

A bunch of kids from the surrounding neighborhood scampered away from the parents and babysitters who’d brought them out to enjoy the sunshine, began dancing in front of the stage, and effortlessly stole the show.


PS 27 Chorus at Borough Hall
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Dancers from PS 276 in Canarsie
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Chorus from PS 276 in Canarsie with fan
Originally uploaded by annulla.


The kids form a mosh pit
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Dancing to the music
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Tiny dancer
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Shall we dance?
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Dancing hand in hand
Originally uploaded by annulla.


Dancing cheek to cheek
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Inside Schools: P.S. 27 The Agnes Y. Humphrey School for Leadership
Inside Schools: P.S. 276 Louis Marshall School
Great Schools: P.S. 27 Agnes Y. Humphrey School
Great Schools: P.S. 276 Louis Marshall Elementary School
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz


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