18% of Kindergarteners at PS 107 Brooklyn Will Be Twins?!

One of the lucky ones accepted to PS 107 kindergarten

UPDATE:(see below)

Everyone in Park Slope is freaking out about the kindergarten waiting list fiasco. The NY Times says that nearly 1000 more students were wait-listed this year than last year.

But the part of the NY Times story that amazed me was this quote, “(PS 107 principal) Cynthia Holton, said that among the 100 kindergarten applicants who have been accepted are nine sets of twins.”

18% of 2011 PS 107 kindergarten class will be twins!!

Either there is Clomid in the South Slope’s water supply, or Brooklyn fertility docs were working overtime in 2006.

UPDATE: NY Times City Room must have read my post, but the 18% of the entering class didn’t catch their eye in their original story.


Hunting for Spots

Interesting post on Brokelyn about  finding free parking in Brooklyn, and other apps and tools to find spots (and how to get out of parking tickets.)  Unfortunately they did not mention the awesome map on Brooklyn.com that has a Google map of Park Slope that shows which day and which side of the street has alternate site parking. Between that map (which I’ve pretty much memorized) and the Twitter @NYCASP I’m usually ready for the hunt.

I spend way to much time looking for parking, and I often consider that it is not worth having a car in the city, the convenience it offers really doesn’t equal the aggravation it causes.

But I’m a little obsessed with parking. I get a perverse thrill looking for a spot.  In addition to it being one of the few times I get some solitude, I get a real adrenaline rush when I squeeze into a spot that I know others have passed because they thought it was too small. I know there are others hunting for spots, and there are not enough empty spaces for everyone, so every edge counts.

When to look for a spot- morning or night?
I prefer evening. There is more pressure in the morning to find a spot before work, and it creates a lot of aggression from other drivers. Also I’ve found that there is less competition in the evenings, the search time is spread out over a longer period.

What is the best weekday to look for a spot?
If you are lucky to get a Friday spot, then Thursday night is the best, the largest inventory of spots are available where you wont have to move it again until after the weekend.

What is the worst weekday to look for a spot?
Monday night is terrible.  Unless you want to move your car again that week, you only have Monday spots available, and people with Tuesday-Friday spots probably aren’t moving from their space until they need to.  Mondays are brutal, expect 30 minutes minimum for find a Monday spot.

Tip 1: Know where the fire hydrants are. Don’t waste time slowing down for a non-spot. Nothing is more annoying as a guy in front of you who slows down at every pump, “Is this a spot? No.  Is this a spot? No.”  Yr killing me!

Tip 2: Know how big you car is, dont waste time trying to get in a spot you dont fit in, and NEVER pass up a space that you think is just a bit too small.   You can get into a spot that is only 6 inches longer than your car, it takes patience, but it can be done. I’ve gotten into spots with only 2 inches from the cars in front and behind me.

What is your parking technique? Do you keep circling back looking for the nearest “dream spot” hoping someone will pull out or when the “dream spot” isn’t available, cut your losses and widen the search area?

How often do you get your “dream spot”?

How long will you look for a spot before giving up and taking a spot that you’ll need to move again in a day or two?

Do you call it s spot or a space?

Homeland Security as Art

Spotted in Union Square subway

Apparently someone thought  the industrial looking unmarked air sensor in the Union Square subway station looked like an art installation on loan from a museum.  All that was missing was the museum plaque with a title and esoteric description:

If You See Something, Say Something

Unidentified large vibrating metal object (with vent) on heavily populated Union Square subway station concourse

On loan from Free Admission exhibits, 2011

Citizens Police extensively trained by the Department of Homeland Security’s advertising campaign, wander past this extremely suspicious device with occasional and momentary curiosity.

Unmarked, unmanned, and unfriendly, it provides an excellent source of fear, thanks to its menacing appearance and complete lack of explanation.

Apparently this is part of a series of “art” pieces from Free Admissions Exhibits

Air sensor before it became art.

What Makes You a New Yorker?

I noticed something in all the hubbub about the Prospect Park West bike lanes, blog commenters frequently feel the need to state they were born in New York City, and how long they have lived there. Somehow because they exited their mother’s womb in the confines of the Five Boroughs, it entitles them to more credibility. They often refer  to non-native New Yorkers as “transplants”, and these “transplants” are usually  complicit in the destruction of the fabric of new york.  And the craziest thing is the so-called “transplants” buy into this malarkey and often allow them selves to be cowed buy these native-son-of-a -guns.

So let me clear up what makes you a New Yorker:

You were born and raised in Midwood, Brooklyn?  Congratulations, you are a New Yorker!

You moved to New York City last month from Chillicothe, Ohio (and you managed to find a job and a place to live)? Congratulations, you are a New Yorker!

How much of one’s vested interest in their community is based on birthplace?  I see plenty of “native” New Yorkers treat their city like a garbage dump.  In fact, I think it is longtime New York residents make change (even for the better) more difficult.  The “born and raised” are often overly tolerant of Gotham’s daily assaults (crime, pollution, rotting infrastructure.)  B & Rs often haven’t lived anywhere else, so they do not know any different way.

And because of that they a very quick to defend any on the city’s deficiencies with statements like:

“If you can’t take it, move back to Iowa!”

“Yea, but we got [some great thing about New York]”

“Only in New York”

(I love this city, but I’m sorry, “only in New York” doesn’t cut it as a response to someone complaining that a homeless person is using their foyer as a bathroom.)

So let’s give the “transplants” the benefit of the doubt.  Coming to New York with a different point of view is what keeps the city vibrant. Transplants often give a dying body new life.

Here is a list of a few New York Transplants who made New York what it is and
Patti Smith – Born in Chicago, moved to New York from Deptford Township, New Jersey
Sarah Jessica Parker – Was born and raised in Ohio.
Jane Jacobs – Moved to New York City from Scranton, PA.
Bob Dylan – Born in Duluth, Minnesota
John Lennon – Born in Liverpool, England
Andy Warhol – Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(fwiw- I was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and moved to Long Island before elementary school.  I went to college in upstate New York and since I’ve lived in Hoboken, NJ, the Upper East Side, Williamsbug, the West Village, and Park Slope.)

Rethinking The Park Slope Food Coop

I have written about the Park Slope Food Coop in the past.  From a strictly economic perspective (not considering the draconian penalties, long lines, or the cult-like demeanor of some members) I decided that the savings gained from shopping at the Coop was not worth the 2 hours and 45 minutes.  But I based this on a” back of the envelope” estimates on how much a family might save every month by shopping at the Coop.

But today the Park Slope Patch had a very nice article comparing the price of 20 items at five Park Slope stores: Back to The Land, Key Food on 5th, Met Food on 7th, the Park Slope Food Coop, and Union Market. Among some no brainers, like don’t buy prosciutto at Met Foods, there was a lot if interesting tidbits, like Back to the Land  is cheaper than Key Food. But most interesting was that the average item at the Food Coop was $1.32 less than Back to the Land, the next cheapest store per item.

Although this was hardly a scientific study, it did give me a metric I did not have before.  With fees and working 71.5 hours a year (2 adults) at minimum wage, the first year at the Food Coop will cost you $768 your first year.  With an average savings of $1.32 an item, if you shop every other week and get 25 items each week, you’d save $858 a year, a net gain of 90 bucks! And you’d get $340 in saving each year after that (once you “pay off” the $250 in fees.)

I’m still not sure I’m ready for the Food Coop (do all members really have to wear matching Nike sneakers, or is that just a rumor?) but knowing the real savings might ease my mind when I’m wearing that day glow Food Coop vest.

My Calculations

Hours/Week number of adults Hours worked per year Min. Wage What it costs you to work at the Food Coop (plus $250 in “fees”)
2.75 2 71.5 $7.25 $518.38
Number of items Average Savings per item # of Shops per year Savings per year
25 1.32 26 $ 858.00
Net gain $ 339.63

17 Prospect Park West Manision Renovation Finished!

The Park Slope Patch has heavily staged pics of the much hoopla-ed renovation of the 17 Prospect Park West Victorian mansion.  Formerly the abode of movie stars Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, it was bought in 2009 by a Google engineer, and locals and the blogerati were worried that the new owners would gut the “old world charm.” I’ve always admired this beautiful limestone townhouse, and when I saw scaffolding surrounding the place for a year, I thought they would do a down-to-the-studs renovation.  But it looks like they kept a lot of the original detail (and stuffed it with a lot of velvet furniture, even in the children’s room!  Maybe “Google-raised” kids aren’t constantly covered in jam and syrup like my kids.)  It really does look beautiful, but why do modern refurbs feel compelled to make bathrooms look like they are in a nightclub?


Dining area

Perfect for the kids to bust out the magic markers on a play-date


Who doesn’t keep a wide array of melons and gourds splayed on their kitchen table?

Family room

I know its hard to take your eyes off the Danish/caveman club chair, but notice the high-chair?
Adult furniture from the future, children’s furniture from Amish country.

Child's room

The boots and blocks say, “we have a toddler.” The pink velvet chair says, “we can afford to have it re-upholstered”

Kitchen-level bath

I can practically hear “In Da Club” blastin’!