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Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006

LAUGH FACTORY     

DUMBO Philosophers peddle satirical gifts for wonks & opera buffs

"You live in woeful times," announces Uncle Sam from the cover of a new gift catalog. "You need funny things." Comment.

Ad-nauseam!

Atlantic Yards: The Atlantic Yards project is a threat to one of America’s national treasures — Brooklyn’s brownstone blocks — two preservation groups charged this week, citing new state renderings that show 15-story illuminated advertising billboards on either side of the development’s main building. Comment.

HARVEY’S SONG       

Decades after Bensonhurst native Harvey Fierstein wrote and starred in the gay classic, "Torch Song Trilogy," his groundbreaking collection of one-act plays is still widely considered a brilliant, relevant work. Comment.

BALLET AT POLY

Since 1980, members of the Vicky Simegiatos Dance Company have been sharing their love for ballet with the Brooklyn community by offering performances to the public. Comment.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE

It’s better not to get too attached to a Smith Street restaurant as they come and go quickly. So broken-hearted fans of the short-lived Taku take heart. The restaurant’s owner and chef, Adam Shepherd, plans on re-establishing the eatery early next year in lower Manhattan. Comment.

REED PLAYS ’BERLIN’      LIVE

At long last, music fans will get to hear Lou Reed’s seminal 1973 album, "Berlin," performed live and in its entirety by the rock legend himself. Comment.

OUI, OUI!     

On a corner in a still gritty section of Williamsburg stands a tiny bistro. Comments (1).

ATYPICAL CASTING      

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s offering to culminate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth is, typically for this forward-looking institution, anything but conventional. Comment.

CRAFT BONANZA

Where can you find music, complimentary cocktails and handmade gifts this time of year? Try the spectacular "Holiday Craftacular" held in Williamsburg on Saturday, Dec. 9. Comment.

Ratner to pony-up rent

Atlantic Yards: Bruce Ratner is paying the rent. Comment.

‘For sale’ sign on Astrotower

Coney Island: For sale: One, 1960s-era, 275-foot-tall sightseeing tower, more than slightly used. Comment.

Iraqi dates being sold on Atlantic

A hundred pounds of Iraqi dates that took more than two months to get to America — give or take 25 years — are finally being sold at an Atlantic Avenue store. Comment.

Ratner stoop really blows

Atlantic Yards: Architect Frank Gehry has said the “front stoop” at the foot of his “Miss Brooklyn” tower will be a great place to hang out and read the paper or eat a sandwich at an outdoor bistro table. Comment.

Porto, Simplified

Advertorial: There are many winemaking countries that make Port, but only Portugal makes Porto. Porto, known formally as Vinho do Porto, is a sweet fortified wine from the Duoro Valley, located in northern Portugal. The name Porto comes from the city from where Porto wine was exported, beginning in the late half of the 17th century. Comment.

State pol slush fund

Editorial: Now we know why state legislators fought so intensely to keep their “member items” list so secret. Comment.

Donating to state pols pays off

Carroll Gardens Assemblywoman Joan Millman and Bay Ridge state Sen. Marty Golden have repeatedly given state grant money to groups and organizations whose leaders have made contributions to their campaigns, a Brooklyn Papers investigation has revealed. Comment.

$11M to tear down buildings on Fulton

Development: A real-estate developer has forked over nearly $11 million for a row of run-down, one-story storefronts near the Fulton Mall — and he’s planning something big (although how big remains to be seen). Comment.

Reuniting with my Old Mom Friend

Smartmom: One day while lunching on a turkey sub at the Subway on Seventh Avenue, Smartmom ran into a mom she knew back when Teen Spirit was in elementary school. Comment.

Slope painter sells a wall in DUMBO

In DUMBO, progress on Brooklyn’s tallest-yet condo means saying goodbye to a whimsical, hand-painted garden that grew along with its 33 floors. Comment.

Inside the orbit of Shelly Silver

Atlantic Yards: After the Empire State Development Corporation approves Atlantic Yards — as it is expected to do imminently — the project will be weighed by the state’s Public Authorities Control Board, whose membership is limited to New York’s three most-powerful men: Gov. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). Comment.

A Chrismukkah scandal!

Brooklyn Angle: OK, this may seem like a completely gratuitous column about my new book, but it is actually a story about how intolerant a neighborhood famously liberal Park Slope can be. Comment.

Ridge strip club is just a tease

Where are the girls? Comment.

State is studying BQE shelf repairs

Development: A wider highway with new connections to the Brooklyn waterfront could replace the deteriorating, always-clogged decked section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that runs under the famed Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Comment.

Bill seeks to crack down on counterfeiters

David Yassky’s efforts to get pirated CDs off the street has run into his former rivals from his congressional run: his Council colleague Charles Barron and racial politics. Comment.

Here’s the deal with Billyburg benches

One afternoon in Williamsburg recently, Gretchen Shukdinas walked over to a “No parking” signpost at Metropolitan Avenue and Roebling Street and did something amazing: she sat down on it. Comment.

For pricey homes, taxes lowest in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens

Park Slope and Carroll Gardens are two of the wealthiest communities in Brooklyn, yet homeowners there have the lowest property tax rate in the city, according to a report released this week by the city’s Independent Budget Office. Comment.

Mama Mia! New center for Hurst

Development: Bensonhurst may soon look like a community of Michelangelo-sculpted Davids, thanks to the Federation of Italian American Organizations, which announced this week that it will begin building an athletic and cultural facility in the neighborhood this spring. Comment.

‘G’ makes way to Slope

Riders of the G train are getting an unexpected bonus — their much-maligned line will soon add five more stations in train-hungry Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Kensington. Comment.

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