11/18/13 2:41pm

The corner of Gold and York Street in Vinegar Hill has been transformed from an empty lot to a community garden. This is what the lot used to look like:

And this is the beginning of the community garden…

Thanks to Sam Bishop of Trees New York, who brought 6 students from his “Urban Forestry” class at The New School to plant fruit trees for the garden. Also thanks to Grown NYC, Etsy and Community First Services for helping to build the shade structure and shed.


If you would like to be involved in being a member and help build up the garden, consider becoming a member. Membership is easy and requires the following:

  1. Sign a Vinegar Hill Community Garden member agreement.
  2. Come to 50% of the meetings.
  3. Volunteer two hours a month.
  4. Optional $25 fee.

Private or partial beds are available, first come first serve, to members in good standing.

If you have any questions and/or are interested in creating volunteer time for you, your family, friends or company, please contact vinegarhillgarden@googlegroups.com with any questions or inquiries.

Come be a a part of the transformation of this once empty lot. The November meeting this Wednesday on 11/20 at 7-9 PM at 68 Jay St. #513.


04/01/13 1:44pm

The L Mag’s annual 50 Best Blocks in Brooklyn was posted last week. Among the best included a few in Dumbo, one in Vinegar Hill, and Brooklyn Heights:

Plymouth Street

Best Urban Palimpsest: Plymouth Street, between Washington and Main streets, DUMBO
“On one side are old Gairville warehouses, repurposed for start-ups and a (now out-of-business) restaurant; on the other, a mod Brooklyn Bridge Park playground. In the middle are belgian blocks cut through with decommissioned rails, driving over which you might spot an aughts-model sports car (as we did the other day).”

Miso Sushi

Best Honest-to-Goodness Alleyway: Howard Alley, DUMBO
“Watch a Hollywood movie set in NYC, and you’ll likely see at some point a character dash down an alley. But truth is this city ain’t got many alleys, at least not anymore. (It’s the one thing Chicago has on us.) But this back-passage in DUMBO looks just like the genuine article—much cooler than nearby Fleet Alley, a glorified driveway—complete with a scary door at its end we’d dare never approach, let alone pass through.”

Front Street

Best-Smelling Block: Front Street, between Adams and Washington streets, DUMBO
“We walk down this street to work almost every day and are greeted by olfactory goodness. First the smell of freshly made juices from Foragers, then the toasted bread from the panini grill at Al Mar, and finally the scent of bacon-y goodness from Peas & Pickles. Then, of course, you cross the street and get assaulted by the mysterious sewage smell outside of West Elm and are forced to recognize that happiness is fleeting and garbage is always around the corner. Such is life.”

Cutest Private Street: Harrison Alley, Vinegar Hill
“If you’ve never wandered through the strange few blocks that constitute Vinegar Hill, you really should. Like, just around the corner from the popular Vinegar Hill House restaurant is this alley, basically a driveway, long-since (always?) fenced off by the people who live in the house at its end. (A curious sculpture surrounds their mailbox on the public side of the fence.) Yet it still has an official city street sign, adorably hanging off a crooked pole.”

Best Bike Lane Block: Flushing Avenue, between Washington Avenue and Hall Street, Clinton Hill
“Just in general, Flushing is one of the borough’s most reliable thoroughfares for cyclists, but the stretch along the Brooklyn Navy Yards, starting at Washington? Pure bliss. Here, there’s an actual cement barrier separating you and your bike from oblivious drivers. It’s almost too good to be true!”

(One of) Five Best Blocks to Live On
College Place, Brooklyn Heights
“Love Lane is the one everyone knows, but it’s this side street off that side street that’s really where you’ll find some of the prettiest housing stock in Brooklyn. Get down to the end and it’s just ridiculously European—plus totally secluded, even though you’re a very short walk away from stores and subways.”

{4 of 50 Best Brooklyn Blocks in Dumbo, 03Nov2010}

03/29/13 10:42pm

Washington Street

Belgian block restoration on Water and Washington Streets in Dumbo started in May 2009 and completed in September 2011. The NYC Department of Transportation installed a new 14″ thermal block bicycle lane in the center lane of Washington Street, a look that disappointed preservationists. Doreen Gallo told us (in November 2011) that most people are unaware of what is being sacrificed and what the difference is between restoring the Belgian block in an historic, authentic way and the recent execution on Washington and Water Streets.

Today, The New York Times published an article that the city “has offered to install new cobbles that are aged artificially, like a pair of stonewashed jeans, to appear more worn.”

“Somebody cut those things — thousands of people,” said Doreen Gallo, the executive director of the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance, a residents’ group. “And we’re careless.”

The Transportation Department has pledged to save as many of the old cobblestones as possible. Some have been retained, but turned 90 degrees to create makeshift bike lanes, pointing in the direction of traffic flow — a visually striking intervention that the city “just made up,” Ms. Gallo mused, to promote cycling.

But many of the stones must be replaced, the Transportation Department said, in part because, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, stones on a crosswalk or sidewalk must vary in height by no more than a quarter of an inch — far less a discrepancy than is found along the typical stretch of Belgian block.

Mindful of some community members’ disdain for the machine-cut cobbles that already exist on Washington Street, the department has promised an exhaustive search for the perfect replica stone. (Technically, cobblestones are rounded and irregular, but New Yorkers generally describe Belgian blocks as cobblestones.)

Andy Wiley-Schwartz, the Transportation Department’s assistant commissioner for public space said that in a citywide study in neighborhoods that retain their historic stones, including TriBeCa, SoHo and the meatpacking district, “…you see a much more uniform color and size of stone,” he said. “In Dumbo, there are a variety of colors and a variety of sizes.”

Residents from the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association have posted an online petition to preserve the original Belgian block streets in Vinegar Hill. Their letter states:

The City of New York
As a resident or friend of Vinegar Hill, I oppose the use of mass-produced, modern cobblestones in Vinegar Hill.

Hence, when the planned sewer and water work on Water Street in Vinegar Hill are complete, I oppose the use of machine-made or machine-altered cobblestones of any kind or for any purpose in Vinegar Hill because they are incompatible with the designated historic character of our landmarked neighborhood, of which our Belgian blocks are a vital and irreplaceable component.

I also oppose the addition of a bike lane on Water Street made from anything but our own historic Belgian Blocks.

This measns infrastructure changes to Water Street (sewer work, water work, etc.) should faithfully restore in kind, not replace or redesign in any way, our historic Belgian block street surfaces.

Additionally, any planned changes to curbs and intersections should not include modern materials or designs.
[Your name]

What do you think about the restoration of the streets in Dumbo?

{$20 Million for Phase II of Dumbo Streets Announced, 07Nov2011}
{Belgian Block Paving On Washington Street, 25aug2011}
{Water Street Belgain Blocks Looking Good, 29Jul2011}
{Washington Street Prepped for Belgian Blocks20May2011}
{Belgian Blocks Being Replaced on Water Street, 02Oct2010}
{Water and Washington Street Reconstruction Project Update, 03Dec2009}
{Belgian Block Reconstruction to Begin This Week, 04May2009}
{Dumbo Belgian Blocks, 13Jan2007}

03/14/13 10:51am

The owners of Vinegar Hill House (VHH) meet with Vice for an episode of Munchies. Jean Adamson (chef/co-owner of VHH), Sam Buffa (co-owner of VHH), Brian Leth (chef de cuisine at VHH), Andrew Field from Rockaway Taco and Chris Perachini, owner of Roberta’s go to Hotel Delmano and Pies ‘N Thighs in Williamsburg before heading back to Vinegar Hill House for an after hours pizza cook off with their co-owners Sammy Stewart, Justin Gallaher, staff and friends.

See the video to hear about Jean’s plans before opening VHH and why they chose Vinegar Hill. Jean described the first months of Vinegar Hill House as a “shit show”. For those who went during opening month at VHH (including us), we didn’t have a bad experience. You would’ve thought that they had everything worked out. Then Brian Leth joined as the chef de cuisine.

Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11201

02/21/13 1:41pm

Daniel Hale Williams PS 307

Last week, DNAinfo published an article about the improvements in the local schools, PS8 and PS307. Per the article, PS307 has seen one of the biggest improvements in reading and math scores in Brooklyn last year:

At P.S. 307, Principal Roberta Davenport has transformed her school over the past eight years. According to Insideschools, since Davenport took over the school in 2004, P.S. 307 has increasingly become a place that makes students and teachers proud.

Davenport upgraded the art room, reached out to the DUMBO arts community to create opportunities for her students and decorated formerly dim school hallways with students’ work. She also cracked down on bad behavior with more suspensions.

“She changed the tone of the school,” Assistant Principal Bill Diederich told Insideschools.

More notably, Davenport improved her students’ math and reading scores. According to the Daily News, P.S. 307 saw one of the biggest improvements in reading and math scores in Brooklyn last year.

The school has come a long way, but the principal knows that their work is far from done. They have sent the below open house and forum schedule to provide the community with updates to their school program:

Daniel Hale Williams School (PS 307) is a community school committed to academic & personal excellence for ALL Students is holding open house sessions on the following dates.


  • Thursday, Feb. 21, 8:30-10:00am
  • Tuesday, Mar. 5, 8:30-10:00am
  • Thursday, Mar. 14, 8:30-10:00am


  • Tuesday, Feb. 26, 6:00-7:00pm
  • Tuesday, Mar. 5, 6:00-7:00pm

Common Core Aligned Academic Curriculum

  • Pre K – 5th grade
  • Classic Children’s Literature
  • Technology Based Instruction
  • Mandarin –Speaking, Reading, Writing
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Violin & Keyboarding Program
  • Visual Arts
  • BRAND NEW Computer Lab
  • School Based Health Center
  • Dental Clinic
  • ASD Horizon-Autism Spectrum Disorder Program
  • Brooklyn Ballet
  • Award Winning Cheerleaders
  • Basketball & Track
  • Cookshop
  • Parent Workshops

Afterschool Programs

  • Horizons at Brooklyn Friends School
  • YMCA
  • Kids Orbit

PS 307 (ps307.com and schools.nyc.gov)
209 York Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (at Hudson Avenue in Vinegar Hill)
For more information, call 718-834-4748

{PS 307 Open House in Vinegar Hill (May 3, 2012)}
{Jam On DUMBO Bringing Musicians to P.S. 307, 24may2012}
{PS 307 Open House 2010}
{Youth-run Farm Stand at Farragut, 16oct2009}
{Dumbo Mural by Tattfoo and PS307 Children on Front Street, 29feb2008}
{PS 307 Spring Arts Festival, Sat, 5/19/2007}