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The Brooklyn Angle, by Gersh Kuntzman

December, 2006

Festival of (low-watt) light

Brooklyn Angle: How many Jews does it take to screw in a light bulb? OK, hold your hate mail. That ain’t my joke. It’s the actual name of a campaign being waged by Reform Jewish congregations nationwide to save this planet one lightbulb at a time. Comment.

A Chrismukkah scandal!

Brooklyn Angle: OK, this may seem like a completely gratuitous column about my new book, but it is actually a story about how intolerant a neighborhood famously liberal Park Slope can be. Comment.

Raccoons got nuttin’ on snow-white squirrel

Brooklyn Angle: Park Slopers may be furious about the recent raccoon invasion, but the neighborhood famous for its peaceniks and organic produce consumption loves its albino squirrel. Comments (1).

November, 2006

Brooklyn artist has ‘date’ with Iraq

Brooklyn Angle: Michael Rakowitz’s Iraqi dates have finally completed a 6,000-mile, three-month journey from Baghdad to New York City — but it’s unclear if the fruit will make the last six miles to Rakowitz’s Atlantic Avenue store. Comment.

In land of Walentas, Mom & Pop are still king

Brooklyn Angle: That damn Starbucks still burns at David Walentas. The Starbucks is on the corner of Main Street and Front Street, in the heart of DUMBO. Comment.

You call THAT a Brooklyn pie!

Brooklyn Angle: You know what the main problem with Domino’s “Brooklyn-style” slice is? It stinks. Comment.

Lefties phone it in for Dems

Brooklyn Angle: The revolution will be telephoned. And it will be fueled with Dunkin Munchkins, Fig Newtons, strong coffee and gallons of Arizona Iced Tea. Comment.

October, 2006

Muslims, Jews break pita

Brooklyn Angle: You don’t see this very often. A group of Muslim men is bowing towards Mecca, kneeling in prayer and chanting “Allahu akbar” in the basement of a synagogue. Comment.

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Lose the trans-fats and lose the flavor

Brooklyn Angle: Last week’s Department of Health proposed ban on trans-fats in restaurants city-wide caused such a firestorm that I immediately called Brooklyn’s great chef Alan Harding to find out what it would mean for his customers. Comment.

September, 2006

Coffee war!

Brooklyn Angle: Talk about a brew-ha-ha. Coffee-and-scone lovers in Park Slope and Cobble Hill — whose caffeine cultures are as different as surfer dudes and stockbrokers — were rocked this month to wake up and smell this coffee: each neighborhood’s best-loved cafe had opened in its rival’s turf. Comment.

Very mortal game

Brooklyn Angle: Park Slope author David Shenk is hawking a new book — a remarkable history of chess — which is great news for readers and bad news for me. Comment.

Do-over!

Brooklyn Angle: I realize that there is no cliche so tired, no complaint so insipid, no whine so tedious as the cry of the affluent, successful middle-aged white man. Comment.

August, 2006

H2-Woe!

Brooklyn Angle: A Park Slope mom is throwing cold water on a hot-weather staple: bottled aqua — and no, she’s not crazy from the heat. Comments (1).

Local papers that pay off politicians?

Brooklyn Angle: Follow the money. That old journalistic mantra might be as applicable to Brooklyn’s competitive newspaper market as it was to Watergate, now that the Sheepshead Bay’based Courier-Life chain is revealed to have been giving thousands of dollars to the politicians it routinely covers. Comment.

July, 2006

Things looking up in Brooklyn, if you’re a skyscraper

Brooklyn Angle: “We are a city of skyscrapers. We are a city of towers.” That’s what Empire State Development Corporation Chairman Charles Gargano said last week, casting Brooklyn as the new Manhattan — a vision for the borough that many longtime residents and the newer Manhattan exiles simply do not share. Comments (1).

Super Rabbi!

Brooklyn Angle: Another major civil rights barrier will fall this week when a Brooklyn man becomes the first Hasidic rabbi to ever address the nation’s largest comic book convention. Comment.

Champ can hold down dogs — and controversy

Brooklyn Angle: Look, I know what I saw. As the accompanying photo shows, something happened at the 10-minute mark of last week’s 91st annual Nathan’s hot-dog-eating contest at Coney Island. On the left is American record-holder Joey Chestnut, pointing at five-time world champion Takeru Kobayashi. On the right is newcomer Patrick Bertoletti, pointing at Kobayashi. Comment.

As far as hot dogs go, this could be our year

Brooklyn Angle: This could be the year when I get to see a grown Japanese man cry. Comment.

June, 2006

He’ll always be Murray to me

Brooklyn Angle: Let me explain. Yes, that’s your humble columnist above flanked by Gavin MacLeod — best known as Captain Merrill Stubing from “The Love Boat” — and Captain Andrew Proctor of the new ship, the Crown Princess. Comment.

SHH! It’s Mr. Softee

Brooklyn Angle: It has been wisely said that I scream, you scream and, indeed, we all scream for ice cream. Comment.

You call this art? Where’s the dung?

Brooklyn Angle: So this is what all the fuss was about? That art show that got banned by the Parks Department because it was “inappropriate” for children and veterans opened late last week in DUMBO — and I was first on line. Comment.

May, 2006

50 hot diggity dogs!

Brooklyn Angle: In an astounding triumph that could change the course of American history, a California college student has gone where no American has ever gone, eating 50 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes last week. Comment.

So gallantly  screaming 

Brooklyn Angle: WHEN PRESIDENT Bush was asked last month about a newly recorded Spanish-language version of the National Anthem, he brusquely said the song “ought to be sung in English.” Comment.

Ratner’s poster girl is unhappy

Brooklyn Angle: Sahara Meer is still angry. Place a copy of Bruce Ratner’s recent Atlantic Yards mailing on the table, and she’ll put her handbag over it. Show her the pictures of happy Brooklynites smiling for Ratner’s cameras and she’ll cringe. Comment.

Ratner’s glossy fantasyland

Brooklyn Angle: You never know what you’re going to get in the morning mail: a glossy catalogue, a piece of political literature, some junk mail. Comment.

April, 2006

Great bridge, great race

Brooklyn Angle: Time was, the Brooklyn Bridge was so powerful a symbol that protesters would only march across it to complain about Really Big Things: police brutality, civil rights, abortion rights, war. Comments (1).

Old timers: New Mets park no Ebbets Field

Brooklyn Angle: The Mets say their new stadium design was “inspired by the tradition” of Ebbets Field. Comment.

Beetles are back in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Angle: He’s baaaack. She’s baaaack. And their kids are baaack, too. Fortunately, so are the unsung heroes of the United States Department of Agriculture — who are back on the streets in a violent, block-by-block, house-to-house, tree-to-tree battle against the Asian longhorned beetle. Comment.

Lousy Labatt is new Bud

Brooklyn Angle: Full disclosure: I drank the first pint of Labatt’s at Freddy’s this week. Comment.

Searching for good wine on Myrtle

Brooklyn Angle: He had me at Merlot. Of course, I was sympathetic towards Brian Robinson, a nice Brooklyn guy, even before he started plying me with spoiled French grape juice. Comment.

March, 2006

Builders crushed by closure of the ‘Red Hook Crushers’

Brooklyn Angle: The “new” Brooklyn is being built, stoop-by-stoop, gut-rehab-by-gut-rehab, bluestone-by-bluestone, in neighborhoods like Boerum Hill, Prospect Heights, Gowanus, the South Slope and Clinton Hill. Comments (1).

Attention Brooklyn gardeners: Beware the killer weed

Brooklyn Angle: Brooklyn is losing the ground war. Comment.

February, 2006

Brooklyn to Dick Cheney: Don’t shoot!

Brooklyn Angle: This columnist has such a deep and abiding respect for the office of Vice President, that he has resisted the temptation — succumbed to by so many of his colleagues — to lampoon the current occupant for shooting his friend in a hunting accident. Comment.

Brooklyn sarge calls the roll one last time

Brooklyn Angle: Precinct houses are bugs trapped in amber. The desk sergeant greets outsiders like they’re ne’er-do-well uncles looking for a handout. In the far corner is a Shine-o-Mat machine with two worn-down brushes that look as though they haven’t been replaced since men wore hats. Comment.

Tower dentists know the drill

Brooklyn Angle: Root canal patients and Novocaine junkies shuddered at the news last year that the Williamsburgh Bank Building — once home to 150 dentists, oral surgeons, hygienists and their victims — was being converted into luxury condos Comment.

‘F’ bagel store sticks it to MTA

Brooklyn Angle: Ahmed Samhan has turned the tables — make that the alphabet — on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Comment.

January, 2006

Sad day for single freaks      

Brooklyn Angle: Hate to break the news to you, Rubber Girl, Insectavora, Helen Melon and Kerosene Queen, but the cliche is finally true: the good ones are all gone. Comment.

The art of ’Autography’

Brooklyn Angle: Louis Schlamowitz: Public Enemy #1 or just an old guy with a lot of time on his hands? Comment.

Norman finally locked up, briefly

Brooklyn Angle: In the end, Clarence Norman’s fall was anti-climactic. Comment.

In Brooklyn, bowling strikes out

Brooklyn Angle: No one is likely to call the Mark Lanes in Bay Ridge “paradise.” It’s a bit cramped, the lighting gives everyone sullen, Steve Buscemi eyes and the woman behind the counter looks over newcomers like El-Al security guards. Comment.