Friday, August 19th, 2011
Just last year, a major crackdown on supermarkets by the Department of Consumer Affairs revealed that 70% of inspected stores in Brooklyn failed NYC requirements for pricing. Then, Pomegranate was ranked as the 6th worst offender in the city. Now the DCA is saying there’s been hardly any improvement.
The most common violations are failure to mark proper quantities and provide required accountability information on food packaged in the store, adding tax to items that are not taxable, charging the wrong prices at check-out scanners, failing to affix price tags on individual items, and maintaining inaccurate scales or failing to make scales available to customers for products sold by weight
To force compliance, they want to create the Grocery Shoppers Have Overcharge Protection (SHOP) Act, so that every time a consumer is overcharged, they would get both ten times the amount of the overcharge and that item for free.
In our area, a few markets came out fine: Gourmet on J was inspected once, with no violations; as was Eastern Fruits on Coney Island Ave and Avenue I, and the Target at the Junction (though this study was conducted before Target had the fresh food section). But according to the DCA report, some, from smaller markets to big chains, are probably taking you for a ride. Be sure to check your receipts!
If you notice that your supermarket is overcharging you, here is the complaint form you can file with the DCA.
Click here for the long list of local offenders, and guess whether or not Pomegranate is on the list.
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
A lot of organizations are looking to change the structure of the upcoming teacher layoffs due to budget cuts, such as Keep Great Teachers. The city has also maintained a hiring freeze for well over a year, which keeps certified teachers who have not worked in the Department of Education for doing so in most cases for budget reasons. Our local schools face the possibility of losing valuable OST programs, and layoffs, especially at PS 217.
It is especially curious that the Department of Education is paying to train another round of candidates who have no previous education in pedagogy in this climate.
Friday, May 6th, 2011
According to the Straphanger’s campaign, the B train experienced a steep decline in cleanliness – its cars were 61% clean in 2009, which decreased to 37% clean in 2010.
Monday, April 18th, 2011
Tonight is the first seder of Passover, and unfortunately, many neighbors are in need:
At seders from Marine Park, Brooklyn, to Cedarhurst in the Five Towns, more of the ritual food that lined the dining room and kitchen tables was in the form of handouts than at any time in recent memory, say social service providers. And the food is coming from a growing number of Jewish communal agencies trying to cope with increased need levels as the recession drags on.
The 11th Plague, it turns out, is a sputtering economy…
The story is much the same in Brooklyn. Victoria DeVidas, a project director at the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, said the 33 percent increase in demand for Passover food packages her group experienced came from the Flatbush, Kensington, Marine Park and Ocean Parkway sections of Brooklyn.
-More at The Jewish Week
Monday, April 4th, 2011
Senator and James Madison alumni Charles Schumer believes the census results are unusual enough to warrant investigation, especially as it can impact federal aid.
Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the federal government Saturday to probe the 2010 U.S. Census’ finding that New York City had grown by a mere trickle.
“These numbers cry out for investigation,” Schumer said, adding his voice to a chorus of critics, including Mayor Bloomberg, who have railed against the decennial count.
“I’m going to put a lot of pressure on them to do it,” he said. “For the census director to just shrug his shoulders … isn’t good enough.”
The U.S. Census reported that the city grew by 166,855 over a decade to 8.175 million despite a Census estimate last year that reported the city was home to 8.3million people.
-More at the Daily News
Friday, March 25th, 2011
The light and dark beige in this new census map shows smaller and larger population declines between 2000 and 2010.
The blue is population growth.
Friday, March 4th, 2011
We know that Moisha’s Kosher Discount Supermarket received a seemingly unwarranted sizeable tax break for allegedly selling produce to an underserved area. However, it’s equally baffling that there are no real supermarkets south of Ave M in 11230/11229. There are an abundance of produce and convenience stores, but nothing that comes close to being one stop shopping. There used to be a supermarket on East 16th street, in the space currently occupied by Conway, and despite being a traffic disaster, it was sorely needed. It seems the disappearance of supermarkets is part of a citywide trend, with high rents making it difficult for a business model built on low overhead to survive. Many of our more well-to-do neighbors have cars, and can drive to other Brooklyn supermarkets, but paying more for basics due to a lack of other accessible options keeps the poor from being able to afford those choices in the future.
The Big Banana is the closest thing this area has to a supermarket, at 1617 Kings Highway between East 16th and 17th Streets.
Their dairy section is fairly comprehensive, with many kinds of fermented milk, dairy substitutes, and even milk from grass-fed cows in glass bottles. They have a fantastic variety of some items, such as vinegar and fresh coffee beans, and excellent quality, sometimes local produce, although no meat. The Arrested Development-esque name is also a plus.
Monday, February 28th, 2011
From the New York Times:
The New York City Department of Education made public on Sunday a list that estimates the number of teachers each school will lose to layoffs if the state does not allocate more money for schools and seniority rules are not changed.
Here is how it looks for our schools in District 22:
P.S. 193 Gil Hodges: of 61 teachers, none will be laid off.
P.S. 197: of 47 teachers, 7 to be laid off, or 15% of total.
Andries Hudde: of 76 teachers, 1 to be laid off, or 1% of total.
Midwood High School: of 179 teachers, 4 to be laid off, or 2% of total.
In District 21:
P.S. 099 Isaac Asimov: of 85 teachers, none will be laid off.
P.S. 199 Frederick Wachtel: of 44 teachers, 1 to be laid off, or 2% of total.
Edward R. Murrow High School: of 196 teachers, 6 to be laid off, or 3% of total.
Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Brokelyn points us to a map that is either enlightening or baffling, depending on your perspective. The map was created by free online service Shop It To Me to show the breakdown of clothing brands preferred by each neighborhood, according to its users. In zip code 11204, which kind of includes parts Midwood but definitely doesn’t include any of Coney Island, their data shows residents have “a sense of style unlike any other neighborhood in Brooklyn.”
For one, it’s the only area to reject Marc Jacobs from its top five. Instead, it’s a fan of old-school luxe labels like Christian Dior and Fendi mixed with brands on the other end of the fashion spectrum—Juicy Couture, Diesel, and Ugg to comprise the area’s favorites.
That sort of sounds like what I see on the subway, but more often it’s just a funny knockoff, like “Mark Jakobs,” “Froofy Couture,” or “Measles.”
Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
Good news from Brooklyn College:
Why stop at that second cup? Or third? A new study from our friends at Brooklyn College makes it clear — well, as clear as scientists can make anything — that drinking four cups of coffee a day can help you stave off heart disease. There are caveats, of course: the study only looked at people over 65, and it was initiated decades ago, when coffee serving sizes were a lot smaller. But who cares? The same Brooklyn College professor who made this latest finding also showed that coffee can cut down on diabetes, so there’s never been a better time to have that fourth cup — or to check in with professor James Greenberg, as Gersh Kuntzman did this week.
Monday, January 24th, 2011
This predominantly Jewish neighborhood has the feel of a well-manicured suburb tucked away in Brooklyn. Located just south of Flatbush, most of Midwood’s residents live on tree-lined streets in detached homes with cared-for yards and private driveways.
Midwood appeals to families for the high-quality of living it provides. Though most of the Orthodox residents attend private Yeshivas, the public schools are top notch. Edward R. Murrow High School, one of the best high schools in the city, is known for its arts programs as well as its rigorous college prep program, boasts Marisa Tomei, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and rapper Lil Mama as alumni. Midwood has a showbiz past. It was home to NBC’s studios in the city where “The Cosby Show” filmed, and Woody Allen grew up here. On Midwood’s main commercial drags – Avenue J, Avenue M, Coney Island Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Nostrand Avenue – shoppers can find everything from kosher and Russian delicacies at delis and bakeries to Big Box convenience at the nearby Target on Flatbush Ave.
More at The Daily News
Monday, January 10th, 2011
A recent survey of item and unit pricing, accurate scanner prices, and correct sales-tax collection at the supermarket check-out counter by the NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs (DCA) found that 70% of inspected stores in Brooklyn failed NYC requirements. The DCA inspectors checked 143 stores in Brooklyn and found 100 in violation. The Bronx had the highest compliance rate, at 55%, while Manhattan had the lowest, at 22%.
According to the DCA release, “The most common violation was for a lack of item pricing, particularly troubling given that nearly one in three times supermarkets got it wrong at the cash register. “ A description of shoppers’ rights, as well as the entire release, are here.
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Brooklyn Ink reports on the attempts to improve the Junction/Brooklyn College area since the Brooklyn College’s first-ever student dormitory opened in August:
Johnson has started catering to students by offering 10 percent discounts to Brooklyn College students and hosting Monday Night Football nights. The increased foot traffic on those nights has prompted him to purchase more “football food” like chicken wings, in order to keep up with the demand.
Other businesses are already reaching out to students, said Lisa Solomon, executive director of the Flatbush Junction BID, which helps facilitate about 160 businesses in the area, covering a 12-block radius. These changes include fast food restaurants staying open later and the local YMCA being in talks about starting a hip hop dance class and an exercise class.
The Flatbush Junction area has seen rapid growth in recent years, with the opening of the Triangle Junction Mall in 2008—housing a corporate trifecta of businesses: Target, Applebee’s and David’s Bridal, among others.
Johnson eventually hopes to transform the corridor near the college to resemble Cortelyou Road, the main commercial stretch in the Ditmas Park area of the neighborhood, only two miles away. Cortelyou was recently touted a new “foodie destination” by the Wall Street Journal.
The BID—which helps facilitate about 160 businesses in the area, covering a 12-block radius—has started by administering the Storefront Improvement Program. The program gives local storeowners the incentive to clean up and revamp their storefronts because the city, under the New York City Small Business Service, will match anything they spend up to $5,000
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
According to NY Magazine and the census, Midwood and our neighboring neighborhood, Kensington, are the most diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn! Click here to read the article.
I’m sure most of us knew this already, but it’s nice to have recognition of it.