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Seventh Avenue Getting Lots of New Bike Racks

Bikers, rejoyce! The city is in the process of installing a bunch of new, "NYC"-branded circular bike racks all along Seventh Avenue in the North Slope. The design is reminiscent of the one that won the CityRacks competition a few years ago.

The worker above told me that eventually the racks will pop up all the way down the avenue. At the moment, I counted six that have been installed already (down to about Garfield), and foundations for many more are already in place.


Food Truck Fest to be Held Every Month, Business Owners None Too Pleased

After the success of last month's food truck festival in Grand Army Plaza, The Prospect Park Alliance has decided to hold one on the Third Sunday of every month, until October. We can expect many of the same trucks to show up, inclusing the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Great news, right? According to the Brooklyn Paper, however, some local business owners are fuming.

The owners of Naidre's and Sweet Melissa are both interviewed in the article, and the consensus is generally the same between them: They pay rent, and food trucks come along and take away their business. Personally, I'm in favor of as many dining options as possible, especially when it comes to food trucks. While they're certainly trendy, I doubt that they'll just end up being a "fad." The trucks will permanently become a part of the city's (and hopefully Grand Army Plaza's) landscape, and that's something that local businesses will have to adjust to. On the same note, there's a greenmarket in Grand Army Plaza every Saturday, yet the owners of Union Market don't seem to be concerned about losing business.

This isn't like a Starbucks opening up right next door to a beloved coffee shop, or a Duane Reade next to Neergaard. Food truck owners work hard just to break even, and oftentimes their offerings can't be found anywhere else nearby (especially in a setting like Grand Army Plaza). Competition is a good thing in a thriving neighborhood like Park Slope, and when it comes to food choices, the more the merrier, I say.


Good Old-Fashioned Coconut Water on 14th Street

There's a little blue tent on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street, and every morning a friendly couple sets up an array of fresh fruits and vegetables under it, along with some fresh-pressed fruit juices. Next to the table, in a small box, you can usually find a pile of young green coconuts, which are well-known for one reason: coconut water.

Coconut water has become trendy in the past year or so, and it can now be found in nearly every convenience store in bottles or cardboard containers with field-tested names like Zico, O.N.E, and VitaCoco. None are superior to coconut water right out of the coconut, though, and I've been on an informal quest to track this down in the neighborhood. Your average supermarket or fruit stand won't sell it, because they need to be cracked open to order and it's a rather complicated endeavor.

I've finally found what I've been looking for, and I thought I'd pass along the knowledge to you. For four bucks these coconuts are carefully peeled, hacked open, and handed to you with a straw poking out. There's nothing more refreshing on a hot day, and it's full of electrolytes, even more than Gatorade (it's so good for you, in fact, that it's been used in IVs).

Don't toss it after you're finished, either; hand it back over and he'll cut the whole top open and stick a fork in it for you.


Open for Business: Cobble Grill II, 522 Sixth Avenue

Cobble Grill II, an offshoot of the original, on Degraw and Henry Street (in Cobble Hill, naturally), opened last week in the space that up until recently was mediocre Indian restaurant Balaka, on the corner of 14th Street.

The restaurant has the same menu as the original, just salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Yelp reviews seem to suggest that you stick to the burger.

The space's interior is rather sad, unfortunately, with a few scattered tables, a scuffed up bar, and a new open kitchen that doesn't show off anything special. I suppose they're hoping that they'll predominantly do delivery service, because it's an unappealing place for a sit-down meal.

Cobble Grill 2, 522 Sixth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. Phone: 718-788-1397/1398.


Closed for Business: Chickadee Chick, 165 Seventh Avenue

Chickadee Chick, the grilled chicken and frozen custard joint on Seventh Avenue between First and Garfield, has closed up shop. It caused a bit of a splash when it first opened nearly two years ago, (largely due to its name and great signage) but interest from the neighborhood began to wane as it was deemed nothing to write home about.

The restaurant's chicken was marinated overnight in a lemongrass mixture before being grilled within view of the public, but that concept didn't exactly play out because as business dried up, so did the mounds of chicken left piled up on the grill.

Their menu was originally pretty small and straightforward, focusing on chicken (grilled and in sandwiches), custard, fried, wings, and chicken nuggets, but last year they expanded the menu, adding panini, salads, and gut-busting items like country fried steak on a roll, topped with fried onions, country gravy, and beans.