The first thing you notice about the factory for Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, a warehouse-like structure that stretches over most of a city block, is the smell. That syrupy, sugary, almost-candied fake cherry scent that fills the air when you open a jar of maraschino cherries is everywhere. It permeates the air for close to a one-block radius around Dell’s. The factory, and the smell, have been a part of the neighborhood for years: Dell’s first opened in 1948, when Red Hook was more a manufacturing zone than the upscale, slightly set-apart neighborhood it is today. (In 2010, this older Brooklyn met the newer version of the borough when local beekeepers complained that their hives’ honey had been tinged red, thanks to bees feasting on the sticky, sweet run-off from the Dell’s factory. The owners of the company worked with scientists to curtail the red-honey crisis.)
So, sure, we knew this was coming, but it’s still always a little bit of a surprise when a place that’s been around for a long time in this ever-changing city just up and announces its impending demise. And that’s exactly what happened this afternoon when Bedford Avenue’s Spike Hill confirmed with Gothamist that it was closing next month. (more…)
As I revealed in a recent story for Edible Brooklyn, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year—not only was I ejected from my mother’s proverbial oven on Turkey Day in 1984, but the holiday’s fully enforced mandate of gut-exploding gluttony at my parent’s house is always a jurisdictional delight, even now in my thirties. I’m a Back Home Baller, yo.
While the annual marathon of excessive in-sweatpants feasting will forever receive my utmost praise, the following day, Black Friday, also deserves recognition. My championing isn’t fueled by any of Black Friday’s ethically questionable rituals deeply rooted in the stingy bowels of Alice Walton, either; it’s solely spurred by the annual arrival of Long Ireland Beer Company’s Black Friday Imperial Stout, perhaps the most popular limited release from any brewery on Long Island.
Sara Cullinane lives in a five-building complex on Park Place in Crown Heights, just off a strip of Franklin Avenue that has transformed dramatically over the past few years. Nearby, pricey restaurants, oyster happy hours, charcuterie, and vintage furniture are increasingly dominating the terrain, though a few bodegas (the kind without organic produce), members-only clubs, and grungy looking Chinese take-out spots remain.
A couple months ago, I received an email from a publicist about the Brooklyn band Field Guides. I wasn’t familiar with them, and I have no idea why I was compelled to give them a listen. I did, though, and I liked what I heard: ethereal indie pop that was beautiful without being self-serious and catchy without being too cute. I made a note to cover them in some way, and then I completely forgot to.
But then just a few week ago, their publicist was in touch again, asking if I’d be interested in covering the release show for their new album, Boo Forever. This, of course, would have required me to leave my office/apartment, though. So instead, I invited them to the office to play some songs and have a few drinks. Here’s the crazy part, though: it was only at this point, after extending the invitation, that I dug deep enough to realize that the band’s primary songwriter, Ben Kupstas, has occasionally contributed to our sister publication, The L, and that their guitarist, Phillip Pantuso… well, he’s one of our editorial fellows and he sits about 12 feet away from me every day. Oops. This probably sounds deeply untrue, but it isn’t.
Anyway, they’re really good, and we were happy to host them for a few hours. Enjoy the videos.
On the bottom of the manuscript of “This Land Is Your Land,” the anthem that would become his most famous song, Woody Guthrie signed his name and scribbled out a quick note: “All you can write is what you see.” For 27 years, what Woody Guthrie saw—what inspired his prolific and influential career as a musician and folk rabble-rouser—was New York City. Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” while holed up in an apartment on 43rd street and 6th avenue, in the shadow of the Empire State Building. In the basement of another apartment on West 10th Street, Guthrie played hootenannies with the Almanac Singers, traipsing over to hang out on the sawdust-covered floors of McSorley’s Pub. Later, Guthrie moved with his wife Marjorie and young family to Mermaid Avenue on Coney Island, where he stayed until his slowly worsening health forced him into a series of hospitalizations.
Guthrie’s time in New York, some 27 of his 55 years, is the inspiration for My Name Is New York, an audio tour of the city as Guthrie saw it, put together by his daughter and archivist, Nora Guthrie. “The most surprising thing is how urban a writer he became,” Nora Guthrie told me. Most casual Woody Guthrie fans associate him with California, the Dust Bowl states, and his hometown in Oklahoma. But it was in New York that Woody’s career really took off. “Within the first month of coming to New York, he met the five most significant people in his whole life,” Guthrie said. “Through his contacts he met Mo Asch, who became the only person on the planet to record him. And he met Pete Seeger, who is singularly responsible for keeping his music alive. They would not have sung ‘This Land Is your Land’ at Obama’s inauguration had Woody not come to New York.”