Pocky at the Park (and a Giveaway!)

December 10, 2015

There it was, on West 40th Street, parked directly across from Bryant Park. A bright red panel truck painted with large graphic designs.

Passers-by were approaching the truck, reaching up to the folding window cut into its side, taking something from the hand that appeared, and walking away.

It was the Pocky truck.

Pocky is a little Japanese treat created by Ezaki Glico in 1966. Dubbed “the world’s first chocolate stick snack,” Pocky is a slender, crisp cooky (biscuit) stick with one end covered in a sweet coating. The name was inspired by the crunching noise made while eating a Pocky, described in Japan as “pokkin pokkin.”

The original Pocky was dipped in chocolate, but it now comes in a variety of flavors including strawberry, chocolate banana, cookies & cream, almond crush, and green tea. While only a handful of flavors are sold in the US, Pocky lovers in other countries have access to different shapes and sizes, limited editions, and seasonal flavors.

The Chinese enjoy peach flavored Pocky, and blueberry dipped Pocky is popular in Thailand, but the greatest variety is available in Pocky’s home country, where the slim snack has developed an almost cult-like following.

In fact, in Japan, November 11 is designated as Pocky Day because the date, 11.11, looks like four Pockys in a row. The date has been certified by the Japan Anniversary Association and is registered as an official national commemorative day. On the most recent Pocky Day, Pocky broke Twitter’s record for the most tweeted brand name in a 24-hour period, racking up 1,843,733 tweets.

So, what was that about a giveaway?

To spread the joy of Pocky, I will be giving a pack of the original chocolate dipped cooky sticks to a Blather From Brooklyn reader. For a chance to crunch into a Pocky, leave a comment on this post. Want a second entry? Comment on a different post. Third entry? Same deal.

The winner will be randomly selected and contacted via email (so please be sure to provide your email address). Sorry, US only, as there seem to be some bizarre rules regarding the mailing of food overseas. The deadline for all entries is Sunday, December 27, 11:59pm (Eastern Time). Good luck!

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Update: The giveaway is closed. Many thanks to all who participated; I enjoyed reading your comments. The winner is  Jerry Marquardt! Thanks again; I plan to hold another giveaway soon.

Bright Red Pocky Truck
A bright red truck

Getting Pocky
People were approaching the truck

Something being distributed
Something was being distributed

Pocky anyone
It was a truck filled with Pocky

Untitled The Pocky truck team

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More flavors available via Amazon.com (and in Japan)

Pocky Pack
Yes, I got a pack!


Pocky commercial

Pocky Christmas Concert
Pocky
Facebook: Pocky
Rocket News: Happy Pocky Day
Glico: Pocky Worldwide


Little House on the Brooklyn Prairie

April 9, 2014

Take a look around and guess where we are.

There’s a white-washed building topped by a stout brick chimney. Rough hewn wooden posts holding up a shingled roof. Wood framed double-hung windows with slightly sagging screens. A wide porch holding an assortment of ladder-back rocking chairs, some with seats of woven rush, others with canvas webbing.

Are we in a small, sleepy Southern town? Or are we someplace in the American Heartland, perhaps an old farmstead out on the wide prairie?

Sorry, but no and no.

Actually, this rustic-looking structure is the Avenue H subway station on the Q line, deep in the heart of Brooklyn. Built in 1906, over the years the station has been updated and renovated but, thankfully, never replaced.

Now, don’t just stand there. Grab a glass of lemonade and let’s do a little rocking before we catch the next train to Brighton Beach.

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The Epoch Times: Renovated Brooklyn Station House, Relic With Modern Feel
NYC Subway: Avenue H Station
Subway Nut: Avenue H 


A Very Porky Christmas

December 25, 2010

The folks at Esposito’s Pork Store on Brooklyn’s Court Street have decorated for the season. Have a very porky Christmas!

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The store

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Santa Pig

New York Magazine: Esposito’s Pork Store


Zoni Brothers Auto Repair

September 1, 2009

Although New York City has the lowest rate of car ownership in the US (42 percent of New Yorkers don’t have access to a car, versus the national average of eight percent), the city still contains a sizable population of motor vehicle owners.

For those who consider their cars and motorcycles more than just mere transportation, this colorful shop, covered inside and out with signs, flags and banners, is a mecca.  No ordinary neighborhood repair place, this is home of Zoni Brothers Auto Repair/Zoni Customs on 56th Street and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Zoni’s is so revered by car lovers that they even sell a line of t-shirts emblazoned with their skull and spade logo. And yes, the shirts are available online.

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The view from 56th Street

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The sign says “Autos” but there are more motorcycles than cars in sight

Zoni Brothers Auto Repair Inc.
New York Times: The Costs of Owning a Car
Berkeley University: Study explores metro car ownership


Fixed? Did You Say Fixed?

August 3, 2009

Last night this notice was posted in phone booth at the corner of Brooklyn’s Court and Montague Streets.

OK, I understand the idea of naming a big, black Brooklyn cat after Biggie Smalls (aka The Notorious B.I.G.)., the famed Brooklyn-born rapper who was murdered in Los Angeles 12 years ago.

But “fixing” (neutering) Biggie Smalls, the namesake of a ladies’ man who referred to himself as “Big Poppa,” just seems wrong. No wonder the poor cat has gone missing.

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Wikipedia: The Notorious B.I.G.


Goodbye Heights Books, and thanks!

February 27, 2009

For nearly two decades, Heights Books was a fixture in Brooklyn Heights.

The used bookstore, which often displayed carts filled with bargain-priced books on the sidewalk, was the last remaining bookseller on busy Montague Street — the street that inspired Christopher Morley’s 1919 novel, The Haunted Bookshop, which begins, “If you are ever in Brooklyn, that borough of superb sunsets and magnificent vistas of husband-propelled baby-carriages, it is to be hoped you may chance upon a quiet by-street where there is a very remarkable bookshop.”

Recently, when the building in which it was located was sold, Heights Books’ owners decided to close up and move to another part of the borough. Rather than pack their entire stock, move and reshelve it all at the new location, they chose to sort out the books that had lingered far too long in the store’s inventory and throw them away.

Today, a crew of workman tossed thousands of volumes into a dumpster outside the shop. When passersby spotted cartons full of books being hurled into the trash, they scrambled to rescue as many as they could grab. They jumped atop the piles of books, their efforts intensifying as darkness and rain began to fall. One fellow remarked, “I’ve heard the expression dumpster diving, but this is the first time I’ve seen people literally diving into a dumpster!”

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The dumpster on the street

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Inside the store, the shelves are gone

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Passersby grabbed books before they were tossed in the dumpster

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Younger readers stood on boxes to better see into the dumpster

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Older readers remained on the sidewalk

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Some climbed atop the pile

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Few could resist peeking into the dumpster

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Some books were rescued

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A last grab as the rain starts to fall

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Books heading for the landfill

Page by Page Books: The Haunted Bookshop
Heights Books
New York Magazine: Heights Books
The Brooklyn Paper: Book ‘em! Heights Books to move to Cobble Hill
The Brooklyn Paper: Book ‘em! Heights store will not close, says owner


The Cemetery of the Evergreens

February 3, 2009

The Cemetery of the Evergreens is one of the largest, oldest burial places in New York City. Its 225 acres straddle the border between Brooklyn and Queens, and contain the graves of approximately 550,000 people of all faiths and nationalities.

The cemetery, designated a national historical landmark, was organized in 1849. Strolling across the rolling hills and meadows is like taking a walk through history. Many notable and infamous figures are buried at the Evergreens, including unidentified victims from two of the city’s greatest tragedies: the General Slocum Disaster and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

One unusual feature of the cemetery is Kwong Fai Toi, a section reserved as a Chinese burial ground. Many of the graves here show evidence of joss paper, or ghost money — sheets of paper, cut and printed to look like currency, that are burned at traditional Chinese funerals to ensure that spirit of the deceased has good fortune in the afterlife.

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Kwong Fai Toi

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Joss paper

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Faded, weathered joss paper

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Kang, Yu

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NG

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Wu

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Both the fronts and backs of the stones are carved

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Yee, Lau, Yu

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Chow

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Eng

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Huie

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Chan

The Evergreens Cemetery
The Evergreens: Where Brooklyn is Laid to Rest


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