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Smith Street will get borough’s first ‘gutter cafe’!

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To find the perfect picnic spot this summer, you might have to put your mind in the gutter.

A portion of Smith Street near Warren Street will become the borough’s first “pop-up café” — part of a pilot program begun last summer in Manhattan — that will replace a parking space with bistro tables and planters.

The owners of Ecopolis Café, a small coffee and sandwich shop that focuses on locally grown food, get to be the lab rats for the 25-foot-by-6-foot space — and they couldn’t be more pleased.

“What’s appealing to us is the extension of public space near our café,” said owner Patricia Simono Boyce, who opened the tiny eatery 10 months ago.

The city received 12 applications to host various versions of the gutter cafe — but Ecopolis was the only entry from Brooklyn. Its version will take up only one metered parking spot.

“In weighing the loss of one parking spot against the value of adding an activity and dimension to the street and street activity, hosting [Brooklyn’s] first ‘Pop-up cafes certainly wins out,” Bette Stolz, the director of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation, wrote in a statement.

Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee agreed, voting unanimously on Tuesday to support the café.

Boyce will pay for the platform’s installation, which the city pegs at $10,000, and the cost of the planters, tables, chairs and upkeep. The upside for Boyce is more seating for customers to relish the food, which includes egg creams made with Fox’s U-Bet syrup, beloved by Borough President Markowitz.

In keeping with her eco theme, Boyce is looking to build the platform with reclaimed wood joists from a 1920s Red Hook warehouse and the railing with a recycled metal grating from the Transit Authority.

The issue will be taken up by Community Board 2 [121 DeKalb Ave. between St. Felix Street and Fort Greene Place in Fort Greene, (718) 596-5410], April 13, 6 pm.

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Reader Feedback

al pankin from downtown says:
another brainless idea foisted on the citizens...
I drive down Smith st on a daily basis, that block needs parking not a bunch of people thinking this is a Paris street, it's not. it's a direct street route to the Brooklyn Bridge and the downtown Brooklyn business district. the street is usually jammed with traffic and trucks making local deliveries. who would want to eat next to a tail pipe of a car anyway?.....the opposite side of the street has a bike lane........another nutty idea.
March 16, 2011, 6:24 am
Joe from Crown Heights says:
"it's a direct street route to the Brooklyn Bridge and the downtown Brooklyn business district"

exactly the problem. Smith Street is a place to come and stay, not just a place for others to drive through
March 16, 2011, 9:01 am
Mike says:
This is a great idea for a street where the overwhelming number of customers arrive by foot, by subway, and by bike. Anything we can do to make it more pleasant for non-motorized commerce is most welcome.
March 16, 2011, 10:01 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
will they be serving roadkill?

When I see you floating down the gutter, I'll buy you a bottle of wine!
March 16, 2011, 10:55 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
How much is the fine for using salt at the pop-up cafe?
March 16, 2011, 11:14 am
Ed from Brooklyn all of it says:
Here Here
March 17, 2011, 9:50 pm
Ed from Brooklyn all of it says:
No More Bike lanes No more outside cafes. Bikes lanes are more dangerous then no bike lanes. People should eat inside.
Brooklyn did fine before all this nonsense started.
March 17, 2011, 9:55 pm
Ed from Brooklyn all of it says:
Why if skate boarders wanted skate board lanes & roller skaters wanted their own lanes and clothing stores wanted to set up outside racks and office put desk outside etc. Oh don't forget bars LOL. Leave Brooklyn alone.
March 17, 2011, 10 pm
mike from GP says:
Yeah, no more parks, and sidewalks, and museums? Who needs 'em? Why do we even have paved streets? And stoplights? And schools! Or hospitals?

Geez, you people are grumpy and opposed to anything, aren't you?
March 18, 2011, 9:22 pm
mm from gowanus says:
stupid idea - eating and smelling noxious traffic fumes
March 19, 2011, 9:13 am
mike from GP says:
Yup, definitely the Grandpa Simpson brigade over here.
March 19, 2011, 12:56 pm
Mike says:
How about if we name it the Matlock Cafe? Then will the Grandpa Simpsons be happy?
March 19, 2011, 6:32 pm
Joebk from beautiful midwood says:
I was for it before i was against it
March 20, 2011, 11:43 pm
Eric from Smith Street says:
Terrific idea! This is the exactly the kind of thing that those of us who actually live in this neighborhood want to see. Thanks to the city and to Ecopolis for keeping our neighborhood relevant and interesting.
March 24, 2011, 9:04 pm

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