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Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006

GRITS AND SWORDFISH      

Prospect Heights’ The Usual is diner by day, bistro by night

It’s not every restaurant that lets its patrons micromanage a renovation, but The Usual, a long-standing diner at 637 Vanderbilt Ave. in Prospect Heights, is that kind of place. Owners Mike and Johnny Halkis pride themselves on pleasing their customers, so when a regular dropped by to check on the progress of the remodeling and noticed that the new bar had nowhere for his feet to rest, the brothers promised to install a rail. Comment.

FREE TO SCREAM

Ever heard of "The Legend of Pope’s Lane" or "The Domine’s Ride - A Legend of the Old Road?" These are only two of the tales told along with other traditional spooky stories at the Lefferts Historic House, all part of this weekend’s mega-Halloween festival in Prospect Park. Comment.

JACQUES OF ALL     TRADES

In 2002, a restaurant opened in Williamsburg called La Brunette. It was short lived - but memorable - thanks to chef Jacques Gautier’s vibrant, French-Caribbean cooking. After he left the eatery, Gautier worked in South American kitchens and vineyards, as well as eateries closer to home like Zoe in SoHo and the Brick Oven Gallery in Williamsburg. Comment.

BLOODLUST IN   THE ARCH

Shadows creep along the walls, sending tingles up and down your spine. The creature comes closer and closer, its breathing getting louder and louder. It lifts its arm, and its long, sharp nails are pointed at you. Suddenly, a woman screams: "Aaaahhhhh!" Comment.

ALL SCREAM THE SAME       

What is Brooklynites’ biggest fear? Comment.

DOUBLE THE FUN

A Bay Ridge theater group is celebrating Halloween with a run of two-faced fun. Comment.

SAVED IN DUMBO       

All the evils in the world are currently housed in St. Ann’s Warehouse, conveniently organized and explained on a walking tour to save you and your friends from eternal damnation. Comment.

’GHOUL’ POWER

On Oct. 29, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will again be a sanctuary from things that go bump in the night. For the 14th year in a row, the famed Prospect Heights institution is scaring up its own kind of Halloween excitement, the "Ghouls and Gourds" party, a day-long event for people who prefer a kinder, gentler Halloween. Comment.

BEST COSTUME?

Fort Greene Park is adding its local flavor to the trick-or-treat grab bag with its seventh annual "Halloween Festival." Comment.

TREASURE TROVE

Spooky buccaneers and buried treasure set the theme for this year’s fifth annual Halloween celebration in front of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Comment.

Lawsuit targets Ratner’s ‘domain’

Atlantic Yards: A long-anticipated war against the state’s condemnation of private property for Atlantic Yards begins today. Comment.

My Best Buys for October

Advertorial: There are some things that make each one of us proud that other people might not understand. Some wine merchants brag about the super-expensive “trophy” wines in their cellars. With me, I’m most proud of the values that I find for my customers every month. Sure, it’s easy to go for the “big bucks” wines, or the ones that some writer or critic has given a high score to: all you need to do is pick up the phone and place your order. That’s just not good enough fo Comment.

‘Whole’ lot of parking

Atlantic Yards: Plans for Brooklyn first Whole Foods supermarket are getting bigger — and the gridlock won’t just be in the grocery aisles. Comment.

The real ghost stories of Brooklyn

Development: Left adrift by the flood of gentrification, abandoned to the ravages of time, ghost houses hide among the perfect facades of million-dollar brownstones, only to catch the innocent passer-by unawares with their ghastly faces. Comments (1).

Holy irony! Church named for a garden sells it

Development: A Park Slope church is willing to destroy its garden to save itself. Comment.

Atlantic Yards foes walk against Bruce

Atlantic Yards: Several hundred walkers participating in the second-annual Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn “walkathon” raised enough to cover plenty of billable hours in the group’s legal battle against the Atlantic Yards mega-development. Comment.

Steve’s in another marathon

Steve Harrison is running hard — both against Rep. Vito Fossella and in preparation for the New York City Marathon next Sunday, just 48 hours before Election Day. Comment.

Kids got the runs? Send them to school anyway!

Smartmom: Smartmom is mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore. You should not send your kid to school if he’s throwing up or has diarrhea! Comment.

Bloomy attacks state board set to approve Yards

Atlantic Yards: Without mentioning Atlantic Yards by name, Mayor Bloomberg signaled last week that he’ll side with opponents of Bruce Ratner’s mega-development in a coming legal battle against the “undemocratic” process that is pushing the project to its likely approval later this year. Comment.

Let’s go shopping at the Navy Yard!

Development: City officials this week heralded a $100-million expansion of the Brooklyn Navy Yards as an engine that would create 800 new jobs — and bring a much-needed supermarket — for the hardscrabble neighborhood. Comment.

Developers check out Kings

Development: City officials ushered star-struck developers through the decaying Loew’s Kings movie palace this week — and the real-estate visionaries left with one thought: Lights, camera, action. Comment.

Alan Hevesi must go

Editorial: State Comptroller Alan Hevesi must resign. Hevesi, who is accused of using state employees to drive his wife, continues to defend himself against the charge that he has violated the public trust. Comment.

Tide turns on Fossella

Democrat Steve Harrison outdueled Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Bay Ridge) in a raucous final debate on Tuesday, capping a week in which Harrison’s campaign earned national recognition, and Democrats gained confidence in a candidate who has — at least until recently — had trouble gaining traction and much-needed campaign cash. Comment.

Heights pier to house boat pool

Development: A barge containing a swimming pool will be tugged to the Brooklyn Heights waterfront next week, the culmination of a week-long voyage that has taken the barge from Louisiana, around the tip of Florida and up the Atlantic Coast. Comment.

Fire stations go on market

Development: Two years after angering residents of Cobble Hill and Williamsburg by closing their sole firehouses, the city is again drawing fire for this week’s announcement that the buildings themselves might be sold. Comment.

Bumper cars

Donald Gianchetta looks out from his Atlantic Avenue antique shop — which cost him more than $70,000 to restore after a cab went flying through the front window last year — and watches an endless stream of cars speeding past. Comment.

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