Check out the Kingsland Wildflowers Festival on September 21

The annual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival is back next Saturday, September 21 from 2 to 6 p.m.

Enjoy green roof tours and lectures, a mural unveiling, a farmers market stand, kids workshops, art exhibit, dance and aerial shows, bouncy castle, live music and more!

The event at Broadway Stages kicks off Climate Week 2019, celebrating Greenpoint as a hub of environmental activism and activity.

You’ll learn more about the native rooftop meadow and wildlife habitat located on the banks of the Newtown Creek.

Food and drinks will be provided by Broadway Stages.

RSVP to the free event here.

SchoolFest is set for September 21

It’s official! SchoolFest 2019 is scheduled for Saturday, September 21 from noon to 5 p.m. at MS 126 in Greenpoint/Williamsburg.

The 12th annual school fair brings together public schools, private schools, early childhood centers, extracurricular programs and more, all for the benefit of local parents who want to learn more about opportunities available for their kids.

It’s especially valuable for parents (or grandparents!) who feel overwhelmed by the amount of school choices and the admissions process.

At SchoolFest, you’ll meet school representatives and enrichment providers who can help you narrow down your search to figure out what’s best for your child.

See here for the list of 2019 exhibitors and participants.

Get your SchoolFest admission ticket here.

Catch “Friday Night Lights” under the stars at McCarren Park

Image courtesy of NYC Parks website

Is “Friday Night Lights” the best sports film of all time?

On Thursday night, NYC Parks and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment are hosting a free screening of the 2004 drama at McCarren Park in Greenpoint/Williamsburg.

The “Throwback Thursday” screening, which will be shown at the law at Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue, will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Feel free to bring your own picnic blanket and/or chair. Food is allowed, but alcohol and smoking are not.

The film follows the coach and players of a Texas high school football team as it makes its run for the state championship.

Directed by Peter Berg, “Friday Night Lights” ranks 37th on Entertainment Weekly’s list of Best High School Movies.

It also won an ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie.

How does it rank for you? To refresh your memory, be sure to come out to Throwback Thursday at McCarren Park!

Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair comes to Expo Center

Screen shot via Google Maps

The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair is returning to the Brooklyn Expo Center this weekend for the sixth consecutive year.

The fair will focus on subculture and other new trends, including magic, mysticism, witchcraft, underground fanzine culture and more.

The event features 110 dealers displaying over 50,000 items for sale, including vernacular photography, rare papers, prints and ephemera, all priced between $50 and thousands of dollars.

There will also be two exclusive art exhibits, 10 seminars and an appraisal clinic, free of charge.

Among the unique, one-of-a-kind items you can find at the fair include a first-edition “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” one of only 5,150 copies in wrappers, on display and for sale.

Find other interesting items at the expo gallery here.

It all goes down at the Brooklyn Expo Center, located at 72 Noble Street.

The fair runs on Saturday, September 7 from noon to 7 p.m., and Sunday, September 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The weekend pass is $15, and Sunday only is $10.

North Brooklyn Community Boathouse fundraiser

The North Brooklyn Community Boathouse is hosting a fundraiser party on September 7 starting at 8 p.m.

The concert, hosted at Rubulad NYC in Bushwick, will support the environmental education and public paddling programs at the boathouse.

There will be performances by The Listeners, Transistor Ray and Creek & Kills.

Attendees will also enjoy burgers, hot dogs and cotton candy.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

To purchase tickets, visit the EventBrite site here.

Come to Polish Night at SummerStarz 2019

Town Square has added a new Special Polish Night to SummerStarz 2019 for Friday, August 23, 6 p.m. at Transmitter Park.

The evening will begin with storytelling by Friends of Greenpoint Library, followed by live music with Polish artist Jana Astanov and ASTRALOOP.

Finally, there will be a screening of the classic Polish film “Peter & The World.” The Oscar winner is a retelling of the classic tale set to Profokiev’s musical score.

Bring a blanket, bring your friends and family, and enjoy!

Meet Outreach’s new medical director

Dr. Enoch Chan has joined Outreach, a drug and alcohol treatment services agency, with a location in Greenpoint, as its full-time medical director.

Chan, who has been practicing medicine for more than two decades, served as a consulting physician for Outreach for the past five years.

Chan will help advance Outreach’s integrated care model, which affects families and individuals involved with treatment.

His short-term goals, the agency said, includes working with the executive team and senior management to expand the agency’s Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) capabilities, as well as implementing the use of telehealth.

He will also serve as the organization’s representative to the greater medical community, and provide direct patient care at the agency’s locations.

Chan received his bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University and his medical degree from New York Medical College. He served his residency at North Shore Health System, and was the attending physician at Long Island’s Peconic Bay Medical Associates.

“It is an absolute honor to be a part of Outreach, an organization that has committed itself for more than four decades to serving and helping to heal individuals and families struggling with substance abuse,” Chan said in a statement. “I am humbled to be able to work with such tireless and devoted professionals, and I am excited to do my part in expanding the Outreach mission to build healthy lives.”

Grand Street Restaurant Week runs from August 12-25

Get ready to enjoy plenty of delicious meals on grand deals.

From August 12 to 25, Grand Street BID is hosting its fifth annual Restaurant Week. This year, 16 participating restaurants will offer deals on lunch and dinner, ranging from $12 to $35 for three-course dinners.

Each restaurant will offer a prix fixe menu.

For a list of participating restaurants, click the link here.

That’s not all! Share your Restaurant Week experience using the hashtag #DineOnGrand on social media.

Diners can win $50 to a Grand Street BID restaurant of their choice.

Stella Artois offers luxury commute home

By Salvatore Isola

Last week, there were three ways to cross the East River: by sitting in car traffic to cross a bridge, by cramming into a hot subway, and by voyaging in a luxury boat.

Stella Artois provided New Yorkers with an experience where a standard commute home was transformed into an unforgettable nautical ride.

This event, called the East River Riviera, provided 20-minute, one-way commutes in New York Harbor between ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina in Brooklyn Bridge Park and North Cove Marina in Battery Park City.

“Summer Like You’re On Vacation”

Stella fully embraced the Riviera theme. Their fleet consisted of four vintage Riva-style wooden boats that seated no more than six. The captains of each sported black and white striped Polo shirts, and each of the stops featured immersive theming.

The East River Riviera is part of Stella’s summer marketing campaign, “Summer Like You’re On Vacation.” On why Stella decided to undertake this campaign, Lacey Clifford, Communications Director at Anheuser-Busch, said “We thought, ‘What a more fun way would be than to elevate New Yorkers’ commute on the hot, sweaty subway, and in favor of these luxurious European vacation vibes on our very glam Riva boats?’”

Clifford explained that Stella was deciding on a theme that mimicked “the feeling you get when you’re out here on this beautiful dock,” at sunset and surrounded by water and luxurious buildings. And of course there was a large European influence, since Stella is a Belgian lager.

“The Riviera made sense because [this location] had a lot of those same elements,” Clifford said. “It was an aspirational location for a lot of people, but maybe they’ve never been [a European riviera], so now is their chance.”

For people who chose Brooklyn as their starting point, their experience began on a large pier decorated in Stella logos and striped red and white colors. A four-piece jazz band with guitars and clarinets played relaxing tunes that were only broken by the occasional honking, a reminder that this event still took place in New York.

When a boat pulled up, Stella employees would direct the next party to the vessel, and after a brief safety instruction, off they went.

The boats slowly exited the marina, providing unobstructed views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. Captains then upped gears and sped over the waves of New York Harbor, passing docks and other boats in the journey to Manhattan’s western waterfront.

Following the ride, guests were invited to a larger, docked vessel offering small bites and Stella beverages, allowing them to further enjoy being on the water.

Manhattan’s North Cove Marina

While a linear trip from Brooklyn to the Wall Street ferry would have been significantly shorter in length and therefore allowed more riders, Stella decided to end at the North Cove Marina by Vesey Street. This allowed guests to have an immersive experience instead of a rushed shuttle.

“There were a lot of other marinas down there,” Clifford said. “But we thought once people got on these boats, they want to have that vacation experience just a little while longer. We didn’t want people to feel maybe they had come all this way and the ride is over in five seconds. We have a nice, leisurely, 20-minute ride.”

As with any limited, unique experience in New York, the free tickets for the event went quick, selling out in minutes. For Clifford, this was a relief.

“Any time you start something, you’re never sure what the response is going to be,” she said. But after seeing how fast reservations went, “That’s when we sort of realized, maybe we have something here.”

The East River Riviera was Stella’s first time hosting an event like this, and the reception has been overwhelming positive.

“I would definitely prefer taking a Riviera boat when I work in Manhattan every day,” said Riviera commuter Thomas Sullivan. “It beats the everyday traffic on the streets.”

Captain Vincent Mattiola of the Bagheera boat recalled being pleasantly surprised when one of his passengers, an older woman from Italy, requested that he drive the boat as fast as he could.

Captain Vincent Mattiola and his passengers Friday night.

“The best part are people who have never been on the water before, who have never even been on a boat like this before,” Mattiola said. “So for them to tie this to experience Stella, to the brand, every time they go on New York Harbor, [and] they see the water, they will think of Stella.”

For Clifford, the response she has heard from guests is that they had forgotten that Manhattan is on an island and that New York is surrounded by so much water.

“Isn’t it amazing that you get to change up your perspective and get on this boat and think, ‘oh my gosh I’m seeing my city in such a different way,’ almost as a tourist would, almost as if you’re on vacation,” Clifford said.

The fleet Stella used for this event were all Riva-style boats. Three of the boats were original Chris-Craft boats, made by the Florida company that pioneered the style, “loving restored” from the 1950s, Clifford said. They have new engines that allow them to brace the often-choppy waters of New York Harbor.

The fourth boat, the Bagheera, driven by Mattiola, is the “Rolls-Royce of our fleet.” It was built in 2008, designed in the 1960s Riva style. It is the biggest, carrying up to six plus the captain.

The “Rolls-Royce” of the fleet: the Bagheera.

Mattiola said that he has driven similar vessels but only on lakes. The difference, he noticed, is that “on the lakes [with] flat water, the boat tends to throw the water off to the sides, [since] that’s how she’s designed,” but in New York Harbor, the boat has to ride atop the waves. He said that the larger size of the boat allows it to ride nicely, enthusiastically adding that he would “absolutely” captain the vessel again if asked.

As for the three restored boats, Clifford said, “you really feel the world is your oyster when you ride one.”

When asked why New Yorkers should opt for Stella next time they are looking for a refreshing beverage, Clifford said “When you have a beer like Stella Artois…[which might] cost a little bit more, [and] be a little bit more special, sometimes people might have a tendency to save that item for a special occasion. What we want to do is remind people that, yes we are a special beer, but we’re a special beer that makes any occasion a little bit more fun.”

“We are continuing that idea of changing up your usual, which really means with just a small change in perspective, you can have such a better experience than you even know you would,” Clifford said.

Stella, meaning “star” in Latin, has over 600 years of heritage, first being created in Leuven, Belgium as one man’s holiday gift for his village.

As for what this means for next summer and future events, Clifford held her tongue, only saying, “you’ll have to wait and see.”

National Night Out in Williamsburg

National Night Out Against Crime is back!

On Tuesday, August 6, the 90th Precinct Community Council will host the annual event at the school yard at the Brooklyn Arbor School, located at 325 South 3rd Street, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

This event is designed to introduce members of the NYPD precincts to community members, and foster better police-community relations.

There will be all sorts of fun activities, entertainment and food for the entire family.