Arrivederci To Maria’s Pizzeria

Maria’s Pizzeria will be closing within a few weeks.

To the pizza lovers in the area, this is a huge blow.

“I don’t know. We’ve seen the neighborhood change a lot the past 30 years.” said owner/guy you recognize as the voice on the phone, Marshall Fialla. “I’m getting older and my boys aren’t interested in the place. So we’re closing up.”

Fialla also cited his long commute from Staten Island where he resettled a few years ago.

The kitchen bustles at

The kitchen bustles at Maria’s on a recent Tuesday

“We had a good run, but orders were down. What are you going to do? I can’t eat it all myself, though my wife would tell you I tried.”

Although Maria’s was arguably the best pizza place around, residents will still be able to rely on the pizza places along 5th Avenue.

We will all miss the pizza and Marshall’s warm, gruff voice taking down our order.

 

New Looks At Gray Gallery

“I was sick of all these places with a McDonalds attitude—we are not a fast food chain.”

The painter Sean Casey had a one-man show to mark the opening of a new gallery and artist studio, Gray Gallery, owned and managed by Alexander Gray, the well-known art reviewer for Capital New York and former winner of MoMa’s 2006 Young Curator award.

Although there are a few galleries and artist spaces already established (NARS, etc.), Gray wanted a more intimate field, and envisioned a place where the public and creators interacted with pieces in a tranquil setting.

“If you notice, our walls are not the standard stark white color that most galleries choose.” Gray said, giving us a tour on a recent afternoon. “To me, that’s boring and antithetical to a gallery show trying to represent individuals.”

The wall color was a shade of dark grey, and as the next show that was being hung, you could see how the darker color offset the mostly white canvases.

Detail from the upcoming exhibition.

Detail from the upcoming exhibition.

“Each visit to a gallery should be a unique experience,” Gray feels. “I was sick of all these places with a McDonalds attitude—we are not a fast food chain.”

Aside from the walls, Gray Gallery took another step away from the norm for their first opening, hiring a band and ordering Papa Johns pizza instead of the de rigueur crudité fare familiar to all of us who frequent openings.

“I want you to leave with an experience, and as a gallerist, I felt that I could do more to present work. I felt that I could become part of the work as well.”

Look for a rapid change over in the next few months, with shows only lasting a few weeks.

“It’s ambitious to be sure, but art is rapid, art is ever changing, and the modern gallery needs to be as mobile as a Google Image search.”

 

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 2:00-6:00

4308 8th Avenue, 11220

The Blonde Pony Rides

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Shang Heights latest bar is Blonde Pony, a chill, people-watching-friendly spot straight out of your New Brooklyn wet dreams.

Employing a barista and a mixologist to fulfill your beverage needs, means this place always has you covered.

A pretty solid happy hour of 2 dollars off taps, and 4 dollar wells, blends cheap booze with a priceless decor, filled with comfortable seating, reclaimed 20th century office pieces, and choc full o’ hits iPod playlist.

Most days freelancers take up the seating, but by 6PM the scene switches from de facto office to de rigueur drinkspot. Look for a huge selection of boardgames and free popcorn on demand.

 

Blonde Pony

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10:00AM-12:00AM

5511 8th Avenue, 11220

718 979 2018

Celebrities Move In As SH Moves Up

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South Brooklyn’s reigning queen and king

Shang Heights has long been both eager for a star to make our neighborhood home and wary of the added attention we might receive as a result. Now it seems we must form an opinion: Television star and Indie-film darling America Ferrera has closed on a home in our beloved ‘hood.

Yes, the beautiful face of Ugly Betty might now be glimpsed on 8th Ave. We at this blog couldn’t be more pleased with our newest famous addition.

This is not to say that our resident film star, Oscar winner William Hurt, has been displaced as the celebrity face of Shang Heights, but it is nice to see a star of a younger generation take interest in our corner of the borough.

Hurt, who only last year moved to 53rd Street (The address? Decency forbids us!), seems to have started a trend that could bring more famous faces.

So what does this mean for Shang Heights? Park Slopers have your Maggie Gyllenhaal. Cobble Hillites: Norah Jones. Red Hooksonians: Michael Shannon. Celebrities love Brooklyn, and people who love Brooklyn are naturally drawn to neighborhoods with real character. By that criteria, Shang Heights is a star on the rise.