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Tamar Smith: Resident, Organizer, Millman Staffer

Smith works closely with neighborhood groups and is a member of Assemblywoman Joan Millman's staff.

You've likely seen Tamar Smith out and about in Carroll Gardens. She's lived in the neighborhood for 13 years, is active in many local groups and works in 's office on Smith Street.

In addition to working with the newly chartered , Smith also helped to found the , an event space, community garden and CSA pick-up space on Van Brunt and President streets. And with her husband Mike Golub, she works to put on the each summer.

To say Smith is a devoted member of the community would be an understatement.

She grew up in Brooklyn and lived all over -- in Park Slope, Ditmas Park, Bensonhurst, Windsor Terrace -- before discovering Carroll Gardens. When she finally got to know the neighborhood, she loved it. But not until she had kids did she realize the neighborhood was truly the place for her.

"Before I had kids I wasn't aware what a family neighborhood it is," she said.

Smith lives with her family near Columbia Street, an area people said was on the "wrong side of the tracks" when they moved in six years ago.

"I knew it was nice," she said. "Mother Cabrini playground was renovated the year we moved in. This neighborhood was always one people cared about a lot."

Before working as a community liason in Millman's office, Smith worked for Advocates for Children, Phoenix House and on the Inside Schools website.

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Questions for Tamar Smith

1. What do you like best about Carroll Gardens?

"A few things. It's physical beauty, the trees, the flowers, the gardens, the wide streets. I have a sense of calm and peace when I walk around here. When I go to Manhattan and I get off the F train it's just, 'Ahh!' Also the family oriented nature of the neighborhood. There's a lot of nice family things to do. Also the groundswell of cultural things. , ... Our neighborhood has a sort of pioneer spirit."

2. Currently, what is your favorite restaurant in the neighborhood?

(Palca Bakes) for coffee and muffins. I have to give a shout-out always to the . And , I love it. 's, of course... , which is right near my office. , it's reliable and delicious and they have a backyard garden.

3. Where do you like to shop for food?

. It's convenient, and I like to keep things in the neighborhood. They have a good selection fo a small neighborhood market.

4. Are you afraid of the Gowanus Canal?

I'd be afraid of dipping my limbs into it, yes, absolutely! But I hope it will be cleaned up and safe for the future. I hope the Superfund makes it nice. I for one won't be moving up there until it's cleaned up. Eventually it will change, once it's clean, not just the water but the remidiation of the soil, which I think it all part of the same piece.

5. What's the best (or worst) change you've witnessed during your time in the neighborhood?

In a way it's a double edge. I love the restaurants and stores but I also know its made the neighborhood less accessible for a lot of people. There are elderly constituents who come into the office and can't pay their rent. I see those changes and I love it, it attracts people and creates jobs. But i'm always concerned because I see the other side of it. Working people have a hard time. So it [the neighborhood's development and popularity] is the best and the worst.

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