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.

Movie Under the Stars: Dumbo (2019)

Photo courtesy of Flickr

What better way to spend your Saturday night than to bring your whole family to a free screening of “Dumbo?”

On July 27 at 8:45 p.m., the live-action remake of the 1941 animated Disney classic will be shown at Msgr. McGolrick Park.

Here’s a description of the film from IMDB: “A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.”

The film is directed by Tim Burton, and stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin and Nico Parker.

Be sure to grab a spot before 8:30 p.m. Feel free to bring your own picnic blanket and chair.

Food is allowed at the screening as well.

Catch a free screening of “Aquaman” tomorrow

What’s better than watching a free movie with the sun setting on the waterfront on a Friday night?

At 8 p.m. tomorrow, Town Square is hosting a free screening of the film “Aquaman,” featuring Jason Momoa.

Here’s the IMDB description of the superhero flick: “Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underworld kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.”

The film will be shown at Transmitter Park, located at Greenpoint Avenue and the East River waterfront.

MTA needs to do more outreach on L train service disruptions: Maloney

File photo

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wants the MTA to step up its public outreach when it comes to L train service disruptions.

In a letter dated July 15 to MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye, Maloney wrote that that she’s concerned about the “inadequate notice to the public” on planned closures.

“For regular L train riders, the closures will be a major inconvenience and yet, there is very little information available to the public,” she writes. “Worse, the information in affected stations and elsewhere along the line announces night and weekend service every 20 minutes, with no indication that changes are coming.”

The congresswoman acknowledged that the MTA puts a notice in the L train newsletter, which is sent to elected officials’ offices. But she says that’s not enough to get to the public at large.

On July 11, Maloney sent her staff to check three impacted stations in her district: Lorimer Street, Graham Avenue and Grand Street. She said they found no notices at those stations.

“Notices should be put at every L train stop so that people will be able to plan ahead,” she wrote. “There should be prominent signs, handouts and an explanation of alternatives.”

Artist Don Rimx commissioned to paint community mural

The Grand Street Business Improvement District has announced that it has commissioned Puerto Rican artist Don Rimx to paint a public mural for the community.

Funded by discretionary funds from Councilman Steve Levin, the BID hired the Grand Street-based company Owley to curate several public murals in the neighborhood.

Rimx, who will create the first mural, is making his art at 609 Grand Street.

The title of the piece is “Olor a Azucenas el Perfume del Barrio.”

You can see Don Rimx working at 609 Grand Street in the parking lot of Key Food.

For more information, visit the BID’s site here.

Field Day Friday at Kingsland Wildflowers

Join fellow green roof lovers tomorrow, June 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Kingsland Wildflowers for Field Day Friday!

Take a Q&A tour of the green roof with landscape designer Marni Majorelle.

Afterward, there will be a talk with author Leslie Adatto, who will discuss her new book, “111 Rooftops in New York That You Must Not Miss.”

Adatto is also the co-founder of The New York Roof Deck and Roof Gardening Meetup Group, which will be joining for the event on Friday night.

The event is free but limited to 50 people. RSVP here.

Two Williamsburg schools closed for violating measles order

Last Thursday, the Health Department announced that it closed two schools in Williamsburg for failing to comply with the commissioner’s order during the measles outbreak.

UTA of Williamsburg – Yeshiva Torah V’Yirah, located at 590 Bedford Avenue, was closed for failing to provide sufficient proof of immunity for a child who was present at the school. It was also closed for allowing unvaccinated children and staff on site.

UTA 212, located at 212 Williamsburg Street, was also closed for allowing 35 students who were either unvaccinated or did not have the required number of doses of the MMR vaccine to attend the school.

Health officials say the schools will not be allowed to reopen until the Health Department reviews and approves a submitted corrective action plan.

To date, the department has closed 10 schools, including UTA of Williamsburg once before, for failing to comply with orders.

“The spread of measles may be slowing down but we are not,” Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the health commissioner, said. “This is a message to all schools that have been ordered to exclude unvaccinated children – we will not stop our enforcement until this outbreak comes to an end.”

As of June 11, 588 cases of measles have been confirmed since the beginning of the outbreak. 437 cases, or 74 percent have occurred in Williamsburg.

SchoolFest 2019 set for September 21

Save the date!

Town Square’s 12th annual SchoolFest is scheduled for Saturday, September 21 at MS 126, located at 424 Leonard Street.

The one-of-a-kind school fair for north Brooklyn families offers a unique opportunity to meet representatives from all kinds of schools, including public, private, charter, magnet, dual language and other types.

The open house will allow parents to learn more about enrichment and after school programs, daycare choices, application processes and more.

There will even be workshops to help answer parents’ questions.

To secure your ticket for parents and students, click here.