Complaints and code violations flourish in Brooklyn buildings

Toxic mold, rodents, peeling ceilings, lead paint, perennially broken elevators, illegal conversions and faulty sprinkler systems are housing issues that face many North Brooklyn residents, and more often than you might think.

New York Department of Buildings’ monthly statistics indicate that residents in Williamsburg and Greenpoint lodged almost 200 housing complaints in August alone...

Remembering Hurricane Katrina
A former Williamsburg resident's story of survival

Last week I had the privilege of painting the portrait and hearing a first-hand account of a Williamsburg community member and now a New Orleans evacuee.

Mr. Earl Johnson, a.k.a. DJ Black Pearl, left Williamsburg a few months ago with his wife, Nerissa, and their new baby, Elijah, to move back home to Earl's parents' house in the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

When Nerissa woke up Earl on Sunday September 4 with word that a hurricane was coming, Earl wasn't very alarmed. He had seen the whole town "boarding up houses and buying out the grocery stores when those hurricanes always turn toward Florida anyways."

Secondhand Row
Inside Bedford’s culture of bootlegs, used books and junk busts

At some point during the gentle morning hours, between the time when Saturday-night bar goers shuffle home to sleep and when the cafes open for Sunday brunch, Bedford Avenue between North 3rd and North 8th Streets makes a quiet transformation. Women and men, some dragging pushcarts, others driving station wagons, unfold card tables and spread brightly colored blankets onto the sidewalks. Handmade t-shirts and glass pipes are unpacked from cardboard boxes, weathered musical instruments, pirated DVDs and used books are arranged in neat rows. Basement flotsam, from out of print magazines to costume jewelry, are arranged smorgasbord style...

A Splash Hit at McCarren Pool!

Gia Kourlas of the New York Times recently wrote, “There is still great dance to be seen in New York but the city is in danger of losing what made the dance world here so vital to begin with: Bravery.” After Noemie LaFrance’s “Agora” at McCarren Pool, Ms. Kourlas’ statement could not be farther from the truth.

Fun, popular music blares overhead as pedestrians dance a celebration of life. Two men dive over each other into a kiddy pool. Bikers, soccer and basketball players meld in and out of each other. A portable disco shopping cart feeds a group of flamboyant partiers while hoola hoopers give it their all...

Williamsburg Jazz Festival Crescendos in Third Year

I was dipped into the notes, a big vat of jazz butter that seeped into my body, allowing me to forget about everything but the music as I basted in a stew of swirling octaves. Good music feels like falling in love, the emotional release of complete freedom - freedom in allowing yourself to be completely taken. And when you feel good music, you get taken without any fear, with the reassurance that your ears are in good hands. All of these gentlemen spoke to each other in the psychic language of melody and rhythm as if they had come out of the womb playing jazz together – they were simply that simpatico. All at once, my faith in humanity’s ability to produce beauty was restored, as well as my gratitude to souls who continue to see and hear and feel beauty and, importantly, impart it to the world unselfishly...

An Intimate Look at the Life and Times of Jeff Buckley
Brain, Heart, Loves, Coffee Stains, Whatever.

It has been 8 years since Jeff Buckley's untimely death in 1997, yet time has not diminished the popularity and influence of his music. If anything, Buckley has gained more fame and recognition posthumously for his classic album "Grace," the only full-length album he completed before his death, than while he was alive.

Merri Cyr, friend and Buckley photographer, has witnessed this first-hand, "Buckley is still one of the top ten in Australia. He is huge there, also in Ireland and London, whereas I think he is more of a cult-figure in the United States. He just gets more popular as the years go on. I still get an astonishing amount of emails asking for photos and questions about his life. This show is just a little piece of him that I can share with people."

Your Mayoral Candidate’s Horoscopes
Don’t forget to vote November 8, 2005

Michael Bloomberg

February 14, 1942: Aquarius

With the Sun, Moon Mercury and Venus all in Aquarius, Mike Bloomberg is astrologically suited for that public career he has. People with four planets in the same sign are a force to be reckoned with – I know because I am one of them – clue: when does a four-headed woman have eight faces?

The conjunction of Mayor Mike's Moon and Mercury means that his emotions and his mental processes are unusually close. This can make his thinking less clear, but also his emotions may lose some depth. Mayor Mike doesn't like people who are extremely emotional, especially if they make heavy emotional demands. He doesn't like to be possessed by anyone...

Indian Larry Enterprises, One Year Later

Spilling out around the block in a glare of metal and bravado were a platoon of parked motorcycles. They had come from Jersey, from upstate, from Queens, and all over the world, but they had all come for the same reason: Indian Larry. This September marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Indian Larry, who passed away suddenly last year in a motorcycle stunt accident at the Liquid Steel Classic and Custom Bike Series in North Carolina. His bike shop still sits on N.14th Street, displaying his award-winning motorcycles as well as hosting a staff of skilled and dedicated motorcycle aficionados that Larry called his close friends...

The Creaky Boards
Give ‘em a listen. Stop all the searching, searching.

With no great battle, we can find grace: bars of gold from lumps of led, kingdoms from dirt, lovers from libertines, ease from song. We are all the old man in the sea, searching, searching. How The Creaky Boards find you is simple: like a brief affair ends a sluggish heart, The Boards excite.

With sympathy for the devil in a chapel in Michigan, a high school battle of the bands and the late Pierson Spec and The True Blue Dudes, The Creaky Boards came together and together they shine. Andrew Hoepfner (piano & vocals), Shane Tomas (bass), Steve Seck (accordion) and Ended Mike (drums) deliver simple pop tunes with their own slant, not tiring from too much, too much...

OPEN MAG: Short Fiction & Illustration