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Monday
Apr252011

RIP Kevin Mooney, Owner of Mooney's Bar

NY Times
Kevin Mooney, the Irish immigrant who opened up Mooney's Bar on Seventh Avenue in 1969 and later moved it to Flatbush Ave before it closed in 2008 and became Sharlene's the following year has died after a battle with cancer. He was a warm, welcoming figure, and a neighborhood fixture for years. Here's the full article from the NY Post:

Kevin Mooney, the magnetic owner of a legendary old man bar in Park Slope, died last Monday after a five-year cancer battle. He was 76.
His long-standing Mooney’s Pub was a rare hub of diversity — but also a reminder that before the stroller moms, soccer dads and other gentrifiers, Park Slope was a predominently Irish neighborhood.
Mooney was a dirt poor immigrant when he settled in Brooklyn in 1957 with just $20 in his pocket. But he had something more than money, said old friend John Beaty: “He could charm the daylights out of anybody.
“He kept the entire bar laughing with his stories,” said Beaty. “His hands were the size of a first baseman’s glove — and he used them; he had incredible work ethic.”
Mooney was born in the blink-and-miss-it town of Woodford, County Galway, Ireland and was eager to see the world. After moving to the United States, he joined the Army. After serving his new country, he and his brother Michael opened Mooney’s on Seventh Avenue in 1969.
The twosome then opened a second bar on Flatbush Avenue, where a neon green clover sign flickered in the window and Patsy Cline crooned on the jukebox inside.
A rent spike in 2008 encouraged the aging Mooney to close the neighborhood institution. (The family still owns a bar with the same name in Bay Ridge.)
“He was a friendly, open person,” said Tom Gilbert, whose softball league has held its annual “Winter Meeting” at the watering hole for two decades. “He was welcoming to strangers even when the neighborhood was rough.”
One of those strangers happened to be “Before the Devil Knows Your Dead” screenwriter Kelly Masterson, who named a bar in the film after the establishment.
Apart from his business, Mooney was a man of many interests: He once studied psychotherapy, was an avid sports fan and attended Holy Rosary R.C. Church, South Beach in Staten Island, where he lived.
He is survived by his wife Bridget Mooney; sons Patrick, Kevin, John and Brendan; daughter Barbara Hughes; brothers Michael, John and Patrick and sister Bridget Tully.
Funeral Service for Kevin Mooney at Holy Rosary R.C. Church 0 80 Jerome Ave. between McClean Avenue and Kramer Street in Staten Island, (718) 727-3360], April 25, 9:30 am.

Friday
Apr222011

The Park Slope Week in Review: 4/18/11 - 4/22/11


On Monday, a new outdoor outfitters called Gear to Go opened on Garfield between Seventh and Eighth. The owner's a former Naval officer, and he's stocked the place with everything you'll need next time you feel like venturing out into the wilderness (or to that Phish festival). He also organizes jaunts up to campsites all over, and will host lectures and classes.

Tuesday I brought you all a couple peeks into under-construction storefronts, namely Unleashed by Petco on Seventh and the organic grocery opening up on Fourth and President.

Wednesday brought news that an outpost of Butter Lane Cupcakes, based in the East Village, had opened in the space last occupied by the bedeviled King of Cupcakes, on Seventh between Fourth and Fifth, and this looks like the real deal, my friends. They're giving it a test run until the end of the month, so give them some business if you want them to stick around longer! Also, I got confirmation that the massive space that was home to Jeans Express, on Fifth between Tenth and Eleventh, will be a bike shop.

On Thursday the old-timey facade of Blueprint, the cocktail bar going into the old Long Tan space on Fifth near Union, was revealed, and it's looking pretty good. I also put together a little walking tour of journalist Pete Hamill's childhood in the Slope, taken from his must-read memoir, A Drinking Life. Seriously, if you live in Park Slope, you will like this book.

The big news of the day on Friday was that a steampunk inspired bar called Wolf and Deer is coming to the space formerly occupied by Total Wine Bar, on Fifth between St. Marks and Prospect. It's from the same owner as Miriam a block away, and looks pretty damn awesome. R&A Discount finally got around to replacing the sign that was knocked down by last year's tornado, and up on Ninth Street, a salon is replacing a salon.

Friday
Apr222011

R&A Discount Store Replaces Tornado-Damaged Signage, Sorta


When half of the signage that once belonged to the sprawling R&A Discount Clothing Center came down during the insane tornado that roared through the neighborhood last September, I was concerned that this long-shuttered store would now have a long-broken half-sign. Well apparently the Cabbad family, who owns the building (as well as R&A Cycles and R&A Hardware across the street) was on top of it from the very beginning. The sign was finally replaced earlier this week, and it approximates the color scheme of the original hand-painted sign. 

Pre-tornado

Post-tornado
"We spent a long time trying to figure out what to replace that sign with after it came down," said Albert Cabbad, who owns R&A Cyclery. "We originally planned on replacing it with a sign that said "Welcome to Park Slope," but that was vetoed by someone higher up. We just decided it was time to replace the sign and continue the tradition even though the store isn't around any more."

"Back in the 80s and 90s that store was really packed," he added. "It's where people did their shopping before places like Target and K-Mart came around."

Friday
Apr222011

Friday Foodporn: Blue Sky Bakery


Blue Sky Bakery, on Fifth Avenue between St. Marks and Bergen, may appear to be a mystery to those who have only walked past it after 2 PM. The reason? They're only open until then, opening up at 7:30 during the week and 8:30 during the weekends, but they happen to do breakfast treats better than just about anyone else around.


Owner Erik Goetze, a former advertising art director, decided to change his life around after a trip to Nepal and a winter in Telluride. He opened up the small bakery in 2003, and it's blossomed into a go-to spot for the $3 muffin and coffee special, croissants, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, savory stuffed puff pastry, and even homemade doggy treats. 


And those muffins? To die for. Creative flavors like blueberry banana bran, pumpkin apple walnut, carrot blueberry cream cheese, and wild blueberry have attaacted a wildly devoted fan base, and they're currently being sold wholesale to over 25 local restaurants and merchants throughout the city. 



The baked goods are all-natural, and a traditional approach to wholesome, traditional pastries and muffins has kept the shop selling out its wares every day by 2 PM. 


Blue Sky Bakery, 53 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-783-4123.

Friday
Apr222011

Wolf And Deer Bar Coming to 74 Fifth Avenue


Wolf and Deer, a new bar from the owner of Miriam restaurant, will be opening soon in the space formerly occupied by Total Wine Bar, on Fifth between St. Marks and Prospect. 


Owner Rafi Hasid, a Tel Aviv native who also owns successful restaurant Miriam (on the corner of Prospect), has designed a funky, steampunk-inspired space with a horseshoe bar, and they'll be offering a fully stocked bar with specialty cocktails and some small plates.

Signage is up, the garage-inspired facade has been installed, and all the fixtures are in place, so it looks like all systems are go for opening within a couple weeks.