Monday, April 13, 2009

Looking for Easter Eggs with Ward Dennis

6:30 PM Happy Easter and Passover everyone! It's time for another running diary of the monthly Community Board One meetings. I'm blogging live tonight from 211 Ainslie Street, aka the Swinging Sixties Senior Center's common room which is entirely too hot. As of 6:30 PM, the room is crowded, though only two people standing. I just got back from a five hour bus ride from Connecticut and I have a pounding headache. I asked four members if they have any painkillers on them but apparently everyone keeps their Vicodin at home. Press Row is not helpful either. Greg Hanlon says he has Viagra. I think he meant Lipitor. Also, Jeffrey Harmatz shaved his beard.

6:41 PM Meeting is called to order. The first speaker are the owners of The Alligator Lounge. They've taken over Lost and Found Bar in Greenpoint, but they're looking to add outdoor seating to Alligator Lounge I on Metropolitan. Jennifer Hilton trying to ask a question gets politely shouted down by The Chairman she's not a board member. Vinnie is in fine form tonight.
Vinnie "I am the Chairman" Abate is on fire tonight!

6:45 PM Felice Kirby (like the cucumber), Jennifer Hilton, Peter Gillespie, and a half dozen people from People's Firehouse give the first presentation of the night, announcing plans to convert the People's Firehouse to a community center. This has been a long struggle, since the city shut down Engine 212 in 2003. They need $2 million to operate the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center and so far they have commitments of $110,000. Tonight, they're mostly asking for money and the presentation is probably the highlight of the meeting. That and the abnormally large number of young people at the meeting. Are they here from NAG? Or Transportation Alternatives? Are they Evan Theis groupies? A Short Story will get to the bottom of this. We already found out Jo Anne Simon is Catholic.

6:56 PM The Chairman cuts off another People's Firehouse presenter. He's two for two tonight. Press Row is going to miss him.

7:03 PM Ward Dennis gives his report, enthusiastically supporting the contextual rezoning of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Rabbi David Niederman, President of UJO and a community one board member, enters the room. Two weeks ago, the United Jewish Organization had one of the best legislative breakfasts I have ever been to. Great spread. Whitefish, lox, cream cheese with little bits of lox. And grapefruit juice! I got to lift Senator Dan Squadron in a chair and lots of people put envelopes in Steve Levin's suit jacket. Kidding!
Mazel Tov Steve!

7:12 PM It's Transportation time with CB1's efficacious Transportation guru, Teresa Toro. Toro gives the rundown about a presentation regarding the redesign of Pulaski Bridge to make it more accessible for pedestrians. She's a little press shy these days, after all the attention she received earlier this year. We'll just link to the stories rather than explain it all over again. Anyway, Teresa's in a good mood. We think. Greg, is Teresa in a good mood? Greg has no comment.

Chris Olechowski
starts talking. He wants to be the next chair when Vinnie retires later this year. He also wants a DOT study about traffic on the Pulaski bridge and some other things. Toro says traffic is not an Act of God. Of course neither is piracy, but this just happened! So what now? Will they send a letter along with Queens Community Board 2? Ahhh, the board sunk the letter. Man overboard!

Somali pirates attempt to speak at the Community Board 1 meeting but are not recognized by Chairman Abate.

7:39 PM CB1 heartthrob Miezsko Kalita gives a brief Public Safety report. New York Shitty had the rundown a few weeks ago. We will be closely monitoring moves from "the stache" as the community board's term comes to a close.

7:49 PM CB1 rising star, Jaye Fox, delivers her first Motion Pictures Committee report. She's trying to get a dialogue going with the city's Department of Film. Fox said that particular areas around the historic district in Greenpoint have been negatively affected, as have areas around the Williamsburg armory in South Wiliamsburg, which have closed down for a period of a couple of months. Local residents are pissed but a rep from Diana Reyna's office says residents in South Williamsburg have not yet reached out to them. Also covered were parking woes, signs on trees and permit fees. It was obviously an introductory meeting, but sounds like they got a lot accomplished.

7:57 PM And we're into Public Session! It needs its own theme music. Hell yeah!

*An announcement about the Brooklyn Food Conference, on May 2 at John Jay High School in Park Slope and PS 321. It's an all-day free conference, cosponsored by the Park Slope Food Co-Op, and they're 2000 people! Starts with a parade and ends with a dinner dance.

*NAG's Lacey Tauber announces a Municipal Arts Society training session day on Saturday May 16, livable neighborhoods program at Hunter College. I went to one held at Pratt last year and it was extremely informative. Check them out at

*A local businesswoman who owns a lingerie store on Bedford Street registers a complaint about Williamsburg Walks. Apparently the pedestrian progam negatively affected sales for local businesses there. Fortunately, half of the Williamsburg Walks planners are in the room right now. Before the next speaker even started, Peter Gillespie of NAG pulled her into the hallway. And shut the door. The Brooklyn Paper's Ben Muessig waits patiently outside for his interview.

*Julia Morrow, super staffer for Open Space Alliance, announces programming in East River State Park and the formation of a new committee and a community meeting to discuss adding park space in the South Side. Community Board One's Esteban Duran and Councilwoman Diana Reyna is also involved. The meeting is on Wednesday April 22, 2009 at 6:30 PM at El Puente. In the middle of Julia's presentation, The Chairman shouts down Stephanie Thayer for Lord knows why. He's four for four tonight for those keeping track at home.

*Moses Gates of Greenline gives a short presentation about the process of making the Pulaski Bridge more pedestrian friendly. Transalt videographer Marin Tockman joined him at the CB1 Transportation Committee meeting. They'll be back. This bridge issue isn't going anywhere.

*And finally, Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer of Artists and Fleas are here to announce they will be opening up an artists flea market in McCarren Park on Saturdays with proceeds going to Artists and Fleas. Open Space Alliance is involved with them too.

8:28 PM Well, that's it. On the right is Ciara McKeown, who is helping Rami Metal with the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition. I promised Rami a shout out about the new coalition and the India Street Mural project. The submission deadline for the mural proposal is April 24th at 5 PM. Greenpointers is also blogging about their current developments. Call 718-875-5200 extension 14 or email for more information.
McKeown was kind enough to give us her list of favorites at the end of the meeting. They are edited below:
Color: Red
Team: Mets
Pets: None
Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Restaurant: Greenpoint Cafe
Moment in tonight's CB1 meeting: The end. (We couldn't agree more)


Bwrecka said...

Thank you for inserting the Somali pirates into the CB1 meeting. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

SKL said...

Great recap! "CB1 heartthrob Miezsko Kalita" is still cracking me up. Miezsko is a good guy for sure, but no idea he was the heartthrob.