Bed-Stuy Stories: Annika Kaye of the Howard Avenue Playgroup

Bed-Stuy Blog contributor Mikhal Weiner is profiling interesting residents from our community for her column, Bed-Stuy Stories. Next up is Annika Kaye, who has started the Howard Avenue Playgroup, a creative summer program for kids in the neighborhood.

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I met with Annika Kaye on a recent Sunday morning to talk about Brooklyn, being neighborly, educational philosophy, but especially about her new initiative – The Howard Avenue Playgroup, a creative summer program for kids in Bed-Stuy. As Kaye pushed open the glass door, she smiled broadly, making her way out of the June sun to join me at a back table. She folded her sunglasses and set them on the table, looking positively joyful.

Kaye is a lifelong New-Yorker, born in Stockholm, Sweden but raised in Chelsea in a bustling apartment building. “As a child, my concept of community was saying hello to people in the elevator and that was kind of it. We didn’t know anyone else on the block or surrounding our own building,” she told me. Nevertheless, even as a child she found herself creating mini-communities – getting to know her neighbors and babysitting younger kids in the building, even though she herself was, at the time, quite young. “Now, as a mother, I can’t imagine leaving my kid with a ten year old, but back then…” she chuckles. It was another time and another place. Brooklyn is different, though, she says, “Slower pace, greater space, community…it’s a very noticeable difference. Neighbors saying hello to each other, kids coming over for spontaneous playdates, that’s what I appreciate about Brooklyn.”

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ArtLinks 3: A New Kind of Art Exhibition

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Imagine a game of telephone that uses works of art instead of a phrase or word. That’s what ArtLinks is – an ongoing collaborative project that brings together over 20 artists across disciplines and countries to create a continuous thread of innovation and artistry. Six months in the making – this is a one of a kind event.

Twenty three artists from across the globe have been working together to create one unending chain reaction of creativity. Every pair or trio of artists, in turn, had ten days to create something new inspired by the work of the pair that preceded them. None of the artists had worked together in the past, and all of the works are multidisciplinary.

The ArtLinks 3 Exhibition is presented by Salomé ArtHaus, a local artist collective, on Saturday, June 23rd from 6-11 pm in Bushwick, Brooklyn at Powrplnt (562 Evergreen Ave). Tickets are available online ($10 –> includes a free drink) or at the door ($12)

Featured artists:
Yaniv Glaser & Benjamin Furman
Sasha Daniel & Maha Alasaker
Tongues Unknown & Jared Rosen
Mor Cohen & Darryl Blake Rahn & Michal Hidas
Taylor Bradshaw & Sienna Rose Kat Blaw & Devon Yesberger
Sebastian Chiriboga & Laura Gatti
Pamela Hersch & Maya Valentine
Kieran Murray & Ronit Levin Delgado Rojas & Astrid Kuljanic
Evan Tyor & 魯千千 (Chien Chien Lu)
Tom Vizel & Mikhal Weiner

Bed-Stuy’s WOC Book Club Will Meet June 20th and 23rd

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Bed-Stuy’s WOC (Women of Color) Book Club is an initiative led by local resident Beatriz Kaye. For the past few months, the Book Club has been gathering monthly to discuss timely and pertinent books by Women of Color. According to Kaye, “the meetings are open to WOC and Queer Trans People of Color – it is a safe space to discuss books, literature, and more.”

This month, the Book Club read ‘Not That Bad’, essays about rape culture edited by Roxane Gay. Join the discussion! This month’s meetings are either on Wednesday the 20th, 7pm at Nostrand Cafe (261 Nostrand Ave.) or Saturday the 23rd, 1pm at MacDonough Cafe (83 Saratoga Ave.) Find out more about upcoming events by following the Book Club on Instagram @bedstuybookclub

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Bed-Stuy Stories: Gloria Sandiford, Advocate and Real Estate Broker

GloriaBed-Stuy Blog’s newest contributor, Mikhal Weiner, is profiling interesting residents from our community for her column, Bed-Stuy Stories. Next up is Gloria Sandiford, a community activist, Real Estate Broker at Flateau Realty Corp, and president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Real Estate Board.

If you open Gloria Sandiford’s StreetEasy profile you’ll find yourself looking into her intelligent eyes, as they beam at the camera. Underneath, a short blurb explains that she is a “Brooklynite for Life! Community advocate and activist. Deep respect and admiration for arts & culture,” but most importantly: “My service policy: knowledge, trust, honesty, integrity & top-notch service, with a little humor!” In truth, Sandiford is all this and more. We met recently at Grandchamps, a local Bed-Stuy haven of Haitian cuisine. Sandiford walked in, shaking off an umbrella, and immediately took in the room with a warm smile. Calling the servers ‘honey’ and asking how they are, she made everyone’s day brighter.

Our conversation covered a wide swath of topics, but throughout her eclectic adventuresGloria2 one thread has remained consistent and strong: people, and the connections between them. “[The] word community encompasses so many different things,” she told me, considering the idea as she spoke, “The people, the processes, the leadership. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Schools, education, children, seniors, it’s all a part of that word community.” That’s where her passion lies, in helping the public become it’s best self, whether through advocacy, outreach, education, or simply buying groceries for an elderly neighbor.

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Local Running Club is Looking for Members

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There’s a new running club in the neighborhood and they are in search of new members. The Bed-Stuy Runners have set up a website so folks can get in contact, learn about their first two routes, as share a bit about their goal as a group. Here’s what the site says:

The goal of this Brooklyn based running club is simple: train to achieve your goals while meeting and interacting with others in the Bed Stuy neighborhood.

New routes and training sessions will be added as time goes on and more members join.

Check out their two five- and six-mile routes here, which take off Tuesdays at 6:30pm and Thursdays at 6:30pm. To get in touch with the group, just send your info through the site.

Photo courtesy of Bed-Stuy Runners

Info Session Coming Up for Block Association Grants

Bed-Stuy has no shortage of amazing block associations, so this meeting next Tuesday, October 17th might be of interest to many in the neighborhood. This is from Assemblywoman Diana Richardson:

I encourage you to take advantage of Citizens Committee for New York City’s Grant Information Session on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. This event will take place St Francis De Sales School for the Deaf at 260 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11225.

The aforementioned grants directly benefit the community by funding public projects, like community gardens, at a grassroots level. This event is FREE and open to the public. Utilize this free resource to aid your block association.

If you require information or need to RSVP feel free to call Raul Rothblatt, at 718-284-4700.

The Bed-Stuy BID is Hosting a Back-to-School Giveaway This Friday

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This Friday, the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID) is hosting a free back-to-school event to encourage young entrepreneurs. There will be free school supplies, giveaways, food, music and plenty of family-friendly fun between 5pm and 8pm on the corner of Marcy and Fulton. Local entrepreneurs are welcome! As the Facebook event says, “All entrepreneurs should come and serve as an inspiration to teens within our communities, that typically aren’t exposed to positive role models.” Check out event details here.

That brings us to our next order of business regarding the Bed-Stuy BID, which has started a new Facebook account and is looking to rebuild its following. You should follow the new account here for local events, happenings and general community engagement.