Cherry Izakaya now open in Williamsburg

It’s designed by hOme (the team behind Paulie Gees and Donna) and we hear good things about the food. We can’t wait to try it:

Restaurateurs Jonathan Morr (BONDST, Republic) and Eugene Morimoto, along with Chef Jun Hiroshima (Morimoto Napa, BONDST), translate Cherry’s playful riffs on contemporary Japanese fare to an Izakaya-style menu as they bring Cherry Izakaya to the vibrant Williamsburg neighborhood.

Offering small and large plates intended for sharing, the menu includes dishes like Stuffed Calamari with chorizo and black rice, Short Rib with Suntory-whiskey glaze, Escargot Donburi with miso béchamel, and Pork Ramen with brown butter miso and charred corn to satiate all cravings. A selection of gyoza includes Duck Kumquat and Shiitake Confit, while skewers span varieties like Pork Belly with ginger-soy, Chicken Meatballs with tomato shiso and parmesan to a delicate Eggplant Miso with fried capers. Cherry signatures like the Tuna Tart with creamy ponzu and white truffle oil and Short Rib Foie Gras Gyoza with a cherry glaze will also be served.

Inspired by 1970s Tokyo, the restaurant was designed by local designer studio hOme, whose projects include a number of Brooklyn restaurants. Upon entering Cherry Izakaya, guests are greeted by a vintage 1970s Pachinko machine, nestled into the foyer’s wall. A large bar, the heart of the izakaya, is decorated in handmade tiles and sits at the front of the restaurant beneath majestic reclaimed-wood arched ceilings, beckoning passersby from the street. In the warmer months, the front bar area overflows with sunlight from ceiling-height windows that open the restaurant to the street, allowing for an indoor-yet-outdoor feel.

Here’s the menu: [Read more…]

Locals Lawyer Up Against Planned Homeless Shelter

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The fight against the homeless shelter proposed for 400 McGuinness Boulevard gained momentum this week when local residents lawyered up and formed a corporation to strengthen their efforts against the shelter. According to DNAinfo, the Greenpoint Neighborhood Coalition, Inc. officially formed last month with the help of lawyer Andrew Stern.

The group believes that the shelter “threatens to ruin our current lifestyle and the safety and quality of the neighborhood.”

As we posted in February, Greenpoint’s homeless population is in a uniquely challenging position because the city has no Polish language programs available to help them. The problem is so bad that the city offered local churches $100,000 to provide shelter on cold winter nights, but no churches were interested. At the time, five homeless people had died in fifteen months.

No One Will Take The Area’s Homeless, Not Even For $100K

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Williamsburg and Greenpoint have a unique homeless problem because most of the individuals speak little to no English. While there are resources for some of New York City’s non-English speaking homeless populations, there are far fewer, if any, for those people who speak only Polish.

So what happens to them? Sadly, many fall into depression and alcoholism and camp out in McGolrick and McCarren parks. It’s in these parks that five homeless people have died in the past fifteen months. At least two of those were suicides, the most recent one happening in October.

Now, the New York City Department of Homeless Services is stepping in, offering Greenpont’s churches $100,000 to give the local homeless population a place to sleep for the night. Currently, St. Anthony of Padua on Manhattan Ave. opens its doors at night, but only when temperatures drop below 24 degrees.

But it seems that $100K isn’t enough for local churches to take on the responsibility. According to one paper, the money has been on the table for six months, during which time seven churches have rejected the offer. Officials at the various churches have cited limited space and fear of theft and vandalism as reasons for not accepting the money.

Meanwhile, local residents have been fighting a 200-bed homeless shelter planned for McGuinness Boulevard since 2010. Greenpoint’s city councilman Steve Levin complained that the neighborhood is “inundated with services that we provide to the rest of the city […] on a level that no other neighborhood has to do.” Last May, Levin hosted a “Rally to Stop The Proposed Homeless Shelter,” which drew significant community support.

According to the Department of Homeless Services’ statistics for 2011, Brooklyn has 242 homeless individuals on its streets.

Media Giving McCarren Park Shit. Also, There is Actually Shit in the Park.

Image c/o New York ShittyReports of a poop-filled McCarren Park are all over the blogosphere today after Brooklyn Paper posted a story on “Greenpoint’s liquored up vagabonds” pissing and shitting all over the park playgrounds. Gothamist credits New York Shitty for identifying the issue months ago and reporting on the deeper problem since.

According to New York Shitty’s Heather Letzkus:

“This isn’t a poop problem, it’s a homeless problem. There is a substantial homeless population here that is not being helped. Many of these people are alcoholics, or addicts, and they don’t speak English [most of them are Polish], and they have a serious problem.”

According to Gothamist, Letzkus believes the homeless population is drawn to the corridor along Lorimer St between Bedford and Driggs because Abate Playground and Jerzy Popieluszko Square are not locked at night and are relatively secluded.

Although North Brooklyn Parks administrator Stephanie Thayer claim that maintenance workers lock up Abate Playground on weekend nights after dark and parks workers clean up the play areas vigilantly, it appears that local residents posting to New York Shitty and the Friends and Families of McCarren Park Facebook Page feel children continue to be in constant danger of playing in feces.

Ew.