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Solar Lamps, Long Johns, and Canceled Concerts Flurry into North Brooklyn

By Meredith Hoffman | February 8, 2013 1:43pm

GREENPOINT — As he stood in his one-piece waterproof zip-up suit, John Merz peeked out the door to his church's rectory at the fervent flurries starting to spot the sidewalk.

"I've got my snowblower, and I'm ready to blow some snow," said Merz, the pastor at the Church of Ascension on Kent Street. "It's just a little snow...we've got a volunteer here from Buffalo who's used to 6 feet in 6 hours."

Merz's lighthearted attitude toward Winter Storm Nemo echoed that of many residents throughout Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick — even though they still took the trouble to prepare. 

"I bought food, but I'm not worried," Pablo Roldan, who stood on Manhattan Avenue with bags of groceries in his arms, said in Spanish. "Bad or good you have to live — and if the storm takes me, then I go. I've had a long life, I'm 82 years old!"

Grocery stores were packed with patrons stocking up on essentials and snacks, pet owners scurried outside to relieve their furry friends, and warmth-obsessed Brooklynites layered on their long underwear and shone their solar lamps. 

"I got my heat tech long johns on from Uniqlo," bragged Williamsburg resident Ben Israeli of his designer sportswear. "Get yourself some."

And Marisa Bowe, who prepared to venture out of Williamsburg to Costco for a major storm shopping spree, boasted of her four newly purchased solar lamps that would "come in handy."

In the Manhattan Avenue C-Town, where all the carts were taken by shoppers combing the aisles, Mindy Cardozo said it was tempting to over-purchase amidst the hype of the storm.

"I'm trying not to impulse buy," said Cardozo, 37. "I don't think it's going to be bad. I have a four-year-old who loves the snow."

Even some tenants on the Newtown Creek waterfront who suffered flood damage from Sandy said they were unconcerned about the snow.

"I've never seen a snow flood, so I think we're OK," said artist Leon Reid IV, who just finished repairing his Commercial Street studio in the wake of Sandy.

Many North Brooklyn bars and concert halls remained committed to their Friday night events, but certain music venues and galleries began to cancel their shows. 

Union Pool canceled its concert featuring Explorer's Club "due to inclement weather," the Williamsburg bar posted on its Facebook page, and Cameo Gallery canceled their early show, as the music blog Brooklyn Vegan noted.

And gallery owner Deborah Brown chose to postpone her Friday exhibit opening at Storefront Bushwick out of safety concerns, she said.

"A lot of people drive to the gallery...I didn't want people to feel pressure to come," said Brown, who changed the reception to this Sunday. "I thought we'd get better attendance if we just postponed it 2 days."

And longtime North Brooklyn residents who hoped to be extra-prepared made sure they had tended to all human and animal members of their families and communities.

"I'm off to buy a big bag of dry cat food for my six cats, a bag of bird food for the birds on the Nature Walk [at Newtown Creek], and some soup veggies for Mike and I," Laura Risi Hoffmann posted on Facebook.

"I'm going to go take the demon dogs to McCarren Park and take them off the leash!" posted Christine Murray.

Meanwhile, plenty local revelers geared up for high-energy eves to combat the dreary climate.

"It may be snowey and cold outside," posted a host of the bar Brooklyn Fireproof's Friday night event "evening of erotica" on Facebook. "But inside it will be Hot."