Tuesday, June 20, 2017

PMFA Abroad: Impressions Of Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway from way up high
Norway's Royal Palace in the distance
Just one of the beautiful old buildings around town
The new Opera House. The design was inspired by icebergs
Along the Akerselva River.
Grafitti in Grünerlokka
Bathing in Oslo's harbor
Buildings in Aker Brygge
Marina at Ager Brygge
Wonderful shopping
Cute café on Dronningens Gate
At Café Celsius
Flower market
The Norwegian Folk Museum
Wonderful old buildings at the Folk Museum that tell of the country's history
An old wooden Stave Church
More old buildings at the Folk Museum
Wooden smoke house with green roof at Folk Museum

PMFA is on a summer adventure and I invite you to follow along.
As many of you know, I return to Europe every year to visit family and friends, and to take care of an old farmhouse in the Auvergne, France. This time, we begin our trip in Oslo, Norway. We had visited Bergen a few years ago, but had never been in Norway's capital. So here we are,  enjoying this interesting city under the bluest sky since we arrived on Sunday afternoon.
So far, we have visited the Munch Museum, the Nobel Peace Center, the Viking Ship Museum, the Astrid Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, and the Norwegian Folk Museum (my favorite by far because it features many old furnished cottages and farmhouses).
In between, we have taken long walks through the City, around the harbor, and along the Akerselva River.
Everyone here is enjoying the beginning of summer and the good weather, including us.

So here is to summer, to new adventures and to new impressions. Stay tuned as I will post throughout my travels.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Carroll Gardens Greenmarket Has Great Events Planned This Summer

Besides fresh produce, plants and recycling, there are always wonderful events planned at the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket, which is held year-round on Sundays from 8 and to 3 pm.
Below is a list of some fun and useful happenings that are coming up in the next few weeks. Don't miss them.

Read on:
Annual Compost Giveaway
Sunday, June 18 8am-2pm
To thank dedicated Carroll Gardens composters, DSNY will be giving away roughly 12,000 lbs of lush, nutrient-rich compost. Participants are encouraged to bring their own containers, although brown bags will be available (each person will receive roughly 2 lbs).

Guest Cooking Demonstration: Brad Lander
Sunday, July 9 11am-1pm
Council member Brad Lander joins us for a guest cooking demonstration. Come, sample delicious food, shop with Greenmarket, and meet your council member!

Book Signing: Neighborhood by Hetty McKinnon
Sunday, July 16 11am-1pm
Hetty McKinnon (Arthur Street Kitchen) returns for the release of her second cookbook, Neighborhood, which features plant-based recipes. Pick up your copy at the Greenmarket and have it signed by Hetty herself!

County Fair Photo Booth
Sunday, July 30 10am-12pm
Celebrate summer harvests at our annual County Fair! Enjoy local summer treats, and don't forget to stop by our family photo booth before you leave.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Scene Playing Out In Front 'Other Half Brewery' In Carroll Gardens Every Saturday Morning May Be Cool For Beer Drinkers, But Not So For Local Residents

PMFA recently received an email from a local resident, who wrote:
"Do you know about the scene takes place on Saturday mornings around 9 AM around the other half brewery at 195 Center St. near the Smith the ninth stop on the F? They often have 400-500 people lined up going around the block with cars illegally parked all over the area… I know the neighbors are starting to complain and the precinct said they're going to come down and ticket."

Of course, we needed to check the situation out for ourselves. So on a recent Saturday morning at
9 am, we walked up Smith Street towards Center Street.  We could see the long line from a few block away. It had already snaked from the brewery on Center Street, around the block to Smith Street to the corner of Garnet Street.  As more people where  arriving, the line stretched towards Court Street along Garnet Street.
Some had brought coolers, some were sitting on folding chairs,  while others had brought their dogs along for company. The line was abuzz with animated chatter.

The brewery in question, of course, is Other Half Brewing, which opened at the edge of Carroll Gardens in 2014. The micro brewery, owned by Samuel Richardson and Matt Monahan,  has been so successful that it has a huge following amongst beer enthusiasts.  Its tap room draws quite a crowd during the week, but the long lines are for those who want to purchase a 4-pack or a case of  Other Half Brewing Company's newest batch which is released on Saturdays and available when the brewery opens its doors at 10 am.  In order to get one's hands on the coveted brew, one has to literally
line up for hours.
PMFA spoke to the first people on line that morning,  a group of young men in their 20s, who cheerfully admitted that they had been there since 6 am.
The New York Times, which covered the brewery and this new trend back in February, reported that some people stand in line for more than 11 hours.

The area around the one-story brick building housing the brewery is mostly industrial. There is a cement plant at the end of the block on Smith Street. Next to that is a scrap metal place, and traffic noise from the elevated section of the Brooklyn Bridge Expressway is constant.
However, there are three residential homes right next to the brewery, and Garnett Street is mostly residential. As we walked along the line, we could not help but feel sorry for the people living there.
Imagine having hordes of people camping out for hours in front of your door every Saturday morning?

We reached out to the reader who had sent us the email, who confirmed that this scenario continues to play out weekly. As for the police? The reader answered:" Haven't seen the 76th Precinct."

We should of course support our neighborhood businesses and the success of Other Half Brewery is admirable.  However, its success has a significant impact and is frankly disrespectful to those who live nearby.
The crowd that gathers each and every Saturday to purchase beer from Other Half Brewery is just crazy.  There just has to be a better system that works both for the brewery and for its neighbors,

Do you live nearby?  Has it impacted you? We would like to hear from you.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Would You Eat Blue Crabs Caught In The Gowanus? The NY State Health Department Recommendation May Surprise You

Above, blue crabs living in the sediment of the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.
Below, crabs for sale at a fish store
Would you eat blue crabs that you caught in the Gowanus Canal? Hopefully not, since everyone in the community knows by now that this 1.8 mile Brooklyn industrial waterway is one of the most polluted places in the United States and was declared a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010.

Not only do blue crabs in the Gowanus live in the highly toxic sediment at the bottom of the canal, which is tainted by more than a dozen contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals, including mercury, lead and copper, they are all surrounded by bacteria-ladden water since the City of New York still uses the Gowanus as an open sewer during heavy rainfalls.

released in January 2017 that women over 50 and men over 15 can eat up to 4 meals a month
(six crabs per meal) as long as one does not eat the tomalley, the yellowish-greenish liver and pancreas of the crab because PCBs and other contaminants are concentrated there.
The advice is more restrictive for women under 50 years old and children under 15 years old, "who should not eat any fish from these waters.” 

The advisory on eating fish and crab can be found on page 3 of the Health Assessment:
"Because the Gowanus Canal is a tributary to the Upper Bay of New York Harbor, with no barriers to fish movement, the extensive, restrictive fish advisories for the Upper Bay of New York Harbor apply to the Gowanus Canal.
People who are considering eating fish and crab caught in the canal should follow the DOH consumption advisories for fish (including crabs) taken from the Upper Bay of New York Harbor to reduce their exposures to chemical contaminants. The advisory is available at www.health.ny.gov/fish":

Representatives of the New York State Department of Health came in front of the EPA Gowanus Superfund Community Advisory Group on May 23, 2017 to update the community on its Gowanus Canal Public Health Assessment.
Members of the CAG were apparently stunned by the recommendation on crab consumption from this EPA Superfund Site for women over 50 and men over 15 and questioned the representatives thoroughly.
CAG members made the point that even if the Gowanus Canal is part of the Upper Bay of New York Harbor, the water and sediment is so much more polluted here that applying the fish and crab consumption advisory for the Upper Bay to the Gowanus is just not conscionable.
What do you think? Would you feel safe eating six crabs four times a month from the Gowanus.

As a note of interest, the New York State fish advisories for the Upper Bay of New York Harbor also includes Newtown Creek. See the chart below.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 12.36.10 PM
Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 12.35.46 PM