Local deli featured on The Today Show

26-year-old Edouard Massih opened Edy’s Grocer (136 Meserole Ave) with the goal of bringing Lebanese cuisine to the people of Greenpoint and North Brooklyn. This past Friday, he was able to share his cooking with the entire country when he was featured during a segment of NBC’s The Today Show.

Aired just two days before the Fourth of July, the segment featured Edouard (known by his friends and customers as Edy) making grilled corn, halloumi salad, za’atar spiced chicken, and no-bake chocolate cookies. The dishes are perfect for any summer get-together and make use of traditional Lebanese ingredients that are close to Edy’s heart.

As a Lebanese immigrant who moved to the U.S. in 2004, Edy is both humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to share his work so widely.

“To be honest with you, I never in a million years expected all this exposure in less than a year after opening our doors,” an enthusiastic Edy told our paper after filming for The Today Show. “With all the press and all the appearances, what makes me the happiest is how the neighborhood is starting to learn all about middle eastern spices, culture, and cuisine though the shop. My goal throughout all of this will always be to share the joy of Lebanese cooking and culture.”

While on the air, Edy also spoke of the challenges that came with opening and operating a business in the midst of a pandemic.

“It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever done,” Edy explained, “but it was also really fun to have my community and my friends come in and help me out. It was a group effort.”

All of the recipes that Edy showcased on the air can be found by vistining today.com/food.

Edy’s Grocer also recently launched its own revamped website, which features original recipes, special deals, and an online shop. Visit edysgrocer.com for more details.

Edy’s Grocer is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 AM to 7 PM and Saturday through Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM. You can follow the store on Instagram @edysgrocer.

Under Armour brings Under the Lights flag football to Brooklyn

Under Armour is bringing flag football to kids in Brooklyn, as they present the “Under the Lights” football league. The co-ed league is available for boys and girls from Kindergarten through 8th grade, looking to get all those interested onto the field.
It’s the first Under Armour investment for flag football in Brooklyn, and all those involved are hoping to get the nationwide program off to a great start in New York. Under the Lights has found success across the US as the fastest-growing youth flag football league, and has done a great job of promoting youth engagement in sports and activities.
The first season will consist of a seven-game season, playoffs, and a championship game. Play will kick off in September with the playoffs coming at the start of November. Games will be held on Friday nights
Meet and greets will be held in July as the league begins registration for the fall. The first two meetings will be held on July 10th and 17th at 872 Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, in front of the Golden Krust Restaurant. On July 24th and 31st, meetings will be held at George Floyd Square at Flatbush Junction.
Parents are eagerly urged to volunteer to coach and are encouraged to sign up alongside their kids during the meetings. The fee to register is $200, with an extra $10 fee for registration after September 6th. For families with multiple kids, the league offers a sibling promotion. By using the code “SiblingDiscount” during registration, additional kids will receive a $25 discount.
Participants will receive Under Armour game shirts and shorts, with coaches getting a youth football. The games are six-on-Six on 25 yard by 50 yard fields, with nine to ten players on each roster, ensuring all kids who register get to play. There are no tryouts or drafts, with the rosters formed by “friend” or “coach” request.
For players registering alone, the league will assign them to teams with some sort of familiarity, trying to match players by school, neighborhood, or organizations they take part in. While the league will do their best to balance the teams, the goal is to get kids on the field and playing as the city starts to reintroduce youth sports leagues.
There will be food and music at games, trophies and/or medals presented to the champions, and plenty of memories to be made under the Friday night lights in Brooklyn.

9 Dekalb Avenue Becomes Brooklyn’s Tallest Structure

The growth of Downtown Brooklyn’s skyline reached a major milestone this past week.

9 Dekalb Avenue, the 93-story residential skyscraper that will one day be the tallest building in the borough, officially became the tallest structure in Brooklyn on Wednesday during its construction. 9 Dekalb surpassed the 720-foot mark, making it taller than the Brooklyn Point Building at 138 Willoughby Street that is currently the borough’s tallest.

Designed by SHoP Architects and developed by JDS, 9 DeKalb Avenue will stand 1,066 feet tall when it is finally completed sometime next year. The building will come equipped with 450 rental apartments and 150 condominiums, none of which will be reserved as affordable housing units.

9 Dekalb Avenue is located directly behind the neoclassical Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn (which first opened in 1908), and together the two structures paint an effective picture of the monumental changes Brooklyn has experienced over the past century.

For many years, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower — originally opened in 1929 — was the tallest structure in Brooklyn. It held that title all the way through 2010, when it was finally surpassed by the Brooklyner building at 111 Lawrence Street. The honor of tallest building in Brooklyn has changed many times in the past decade, with 9 Dekalb becoming the latest to hold the title.

For reference, the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower rises 512 feet high, approximately half the height of the 1,066 feet tall tower at 9 Dekalb Avenue.

The surge in high-rise development can largely be attributed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s historic 2004 upzoning of multiple neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The zoning change opened the gates to high-rises (for both residential and commercial use) and other large developments that had previously been prohibited in the area.

While the rezoning has led to an unprecedented amount of growth in the area, it has coincided with constantly rising costs throughout the borough and widespread gentrification.

Additionally, residents throughout North Brooklyn are upset that the park space that was also promised as a part of the 2004 rezoning is still yet to be constructed. In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the grassroots organization Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park have continued to lobby the city to add additional green spaces throughout the area to match the stunning rate of high rise development.

“The population growth along the North Brooklyn waterfront initiated by the 2004 rezoning has exceeded the city’s estimates by historic proportions,” Steve Chesler, an organizer for Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, explained to our paper. “After 16 years and counting only 8 acres out of 27 are built or in progress. For our health and well being, the city must speed up its execution and funding for completion of this public green space, and fulfill its commitment to its residents.”

EV company Revel brings largest charging depot to Brooklyn

Electric transportation company Revel has quickly been becoming a mainstay on New York’s roads. The company’s iconic blue scooters are dotted throughout the city, including many in Brooklyn.

This week, the company’s Brooklyn presence increased greatly with the opening of a new fast charging superhub in Bed-Stuy. The Superhub is the largest universal Electric Vehicle (EV) fast charging depot in the Americas with 25 chargers, and is the first of a network of Superhubs planned by Revel across New York City.

Revel’s superhub is only the third publicly-available EV fast charging station in New York City, with the other two located all the way out by JFK airport. At a ribbon-cutting event on Tuesday, representatives from Revel expressed their hope that the Superhub would expand EV adoption throughout the city.

“It’s no surprise that EV adoption is lagging in our city- the infrastructure just isn’t here yet, and the stations that do exist aren’t accessible to most New Yorkers,” said Revel CEO and Co-Founder Frank Reig. “Our Superhubs are designed to reach as many people as possible in the neighborhoods where they actually live. This is what NYC needs to move towards an electric future and we’re excited to get started.”

The ribbon-cutting was also attended by national and local elected officials who sang the virtues of electric vehicles.

“Today’s ribbon cutting isn’t about just one charging station, even though it is the biggest universal charging station in the country,” United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said at Tuesday’s event.

She continued: “It represents our vision for building a clean energy economy on the foundation of good-paying jobs, overcoming and improving the health outcomes of communities too often left behind. As the old saying goes—if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. And we need electric vehicles and charging stations everywhere, in cities and towns all across America.”

Bed-Stuy City Council Member and Brooklyn Borough President candidate Robert E. Cornegy Jr. concurred.

“Bed-Stuy is taking the lead by becoming home to the largest universal fast charging depot in North America,” Cornegy said. “We are showing that fighting global problems like greenhouse emissions can help our local businesses, so we welcome Revel as part of our community.”

The new charging station also represents the first of multiple planned partnerships between Revel and New York energy giant Con Edison.

“As we work to combat climate change, the future of transportation is electric, but many drivers won’t feel comfortable buying an EV until they see a critical mass of public charging stations around the city,” Con Edison CEO Tim Cawley said of the new charging station. “The Brooklyn superhub makes it convenient for current EV owners to charge up and will encourage more New Yorkers to consider buying an electric car.”

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Con Edison recently broke-ground on a new clean energy hub in Gowanus. When completed, the hub will come equipped with an additional 18 electric vehicle charging stations.

Despite the ribbon-cutting festivities, electric scooters have recently received a fair amount of negative press after a number of accidents, including a hit-and-run that claimed the life of actress Lisa Banes (Gone Girl, NCIS) in Manhattan. Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials have since called for more e-scooter regulation in the city.

Seltzer, beer, and innovation at Other Half Brewing

In days of old, Brooklyn was a haven for breweries, with factories and distilleries of all sorts lining the borough’s waterways. Things changed with time though, as the factories closed and New York transitioned from an industrial city into a post-industrial one.

However, a dedicated community of craft brewers remain who keep the storied history of Brooklyn-brewed beers alive. Such is the case at Other Half Brewing.

“There were once over 35 breweries here, but now there is nothing,” explained Geriz Ramirez, General Manager at Other Half Brewing, during our paper’s recent site visit at the company’s new Domino Park location.

Founded in 2014 in Carroll Gardens, Other Half Brewing has always been rooted by its simple mission to push the boundaries of craft beers. Since then, the company has found a loyal community of fans and opened additional breweries in upstate New York and Washington D.C. and has participated in festivals throughout the U.S.

Earlier this year, Other Half opened a Domino Park location along the Williamsburg waterfront. The new site comes with a state-of-the-art brewing system that will help the company push the envelope in the craft-brewing industry.

“This is basically an R&D [research and development] location,” Ramirez explained. “So we test things out and if something works we will expand it to something bigger. It’s pretty amazing.”

Ramirez works alongside Stjepan Pavich (Other Half’s Head of Innovations) and Anthony Finley (Other Half’s Tasting Room Manager) at the Domino Park location. Together, the jovial trio — all of whom live nearby in Brooklyn and Queens — work to dream up the most innovative and original beverages they can imagine.

“The innovation helps bring customers into this location but it also gives us an opportunity to see what we can scale up for the other locations,” Pavich explained while showing off their impressive five-barrel brewing system.

This summer, Other Half’s Domino Park team is celebrating the launch of their new Oh2 Hard Seltzer. The summery drink was first brewed on site in March of this year, and is now being shipped out to Other Half’s other locations.

“If I’m making a seltzer, I want it to be as crisp and clear as possible,” Pavich said. “We made it a blank canvas so we could mold it into whatever we wanted it to be.”
The Oh2 seltzer lineup includes Ginger Lime Mule, a rendition of the classic Moscow Mule with a ginger beer kick, and All Citrus Everything, a refreshing and tart seltzer finished with pink grapefruit juice. Additional flavors made with all-natural ingredients are scheduled to drop later this summer, all of which will max out at just 120 calories per 12-ounce can.

Pavich — who first learned how to make wine from his father — has found that working for Other Half is both rewarding and enjoyable.

“In my 20s I was home-brewing a lot and I hated my job,” he explained with a chuckle. “Luckily I ended up here. We are all friends too and aside from work we actually hang out.”

The innovative nature of the Domino Park location in particular allows the brewing team to pursue their fantasies of the perfect beverage.

“I personally love stouts and lagers. We recently just made a banana lager. It turned out to be pretty amazing,” Ramirez said. “It had all those strong flavors of banana without being a puree. Stuff like that I really like. It’s my dream.”

“It’s fun that the system allows us to experiment,” Finely chimed in. “It’s quiet in the morning when we come in, we have a nice view while we work, and it’s fun all day.”

The Domino Park team is excited about some of the other projects it has planned for down the line, including experiments with daiquiris, dried fruits, and even pistachio nuts.

Even though this innovative trio is having fun, brewing is still hard work. Unlike a larger brewery, there is no automation at Other Half and all the work must be done by hand. This includes working with heavy equipment and chemicals.

Additionally, the Other Half team opted to wait pretty long until reopening after the pandemic, keeping it’s locations closed until well into 2021.

“We took a long time for that though,” said Ramirez. “We opened our tap room pretty late because we wanted all our employees to feel safe and for our customers to know that we care.”

Luckily, the brewery is fully open once again, opening the door for innovation, creation, and fun times.

“We are at full capacity right now,” Ramirez said with a smile. “We have free will to do whatever we want.”

Other Half Domino Park is located at 34 River Street and is open for indoor and outdoor seating. A variety of cans and bottles are also available for curbside pickup and neighborhood bike delivery.

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