The Greenpoint Gazette's Juliet Linderman and I are the first ones to arrive at the Swinging Sixties Center for what promises to be another riveting evening of Community Board Oneness. We just picked up a box of one dozen cupcake rejects from the Brooklyn Kitchen, which is fast becoming the foodie epicenter of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Yesterday night, Linderman covered the Brooklyn Kitchen's third annual Cupcake Cook Off, which featured over fifty entries, 98 percent of them women. Brooklyn Kickball's "Hey" Kate Brown won the contest. Again. She's the Michael Phelps of cupcakes, minus the pot scandal. Linderman ate 7 cupcakes and then got sick for the rest of the evening. I had a Newtown Creek Alliance meeting at the Green Oaks Club to attend. There were no cupcakes at that meeting. There wasn't even a cookie.
Tonight is nominations for Community Board Chair, an event that happens maybe once every thirty years. Next month, District Manager Gerry Esposito will be bringing both white and black smoke while the board deliberates. Absent tonight are any of the candidates running for City Council in the 33rd District. They're all at a candidates forum for the Park Slope Civic Council. Damn you Ken Freeman and your innate sense of civic responsibility! You've deprived us of our monthly chance to flirt with Jo Anne and schmooze up the Kens! On another note, nice job to Jo Anne for her SNL Mother's Day appearance! What's Justin Timberlake like anyway? Press Row is sufficiently creeped out but also a little intrigued.
Simon, below right, hangs with the SNL crew.
Lots of St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation staffers and United Neighborhood Organization volunteers in the audience but no Michael Rochford, Executive Director of St. Nicks NPC. I propose that the Executive Director should be referred to as Mike Roch from now on. As in... "Mike Roch! Mike Roch! Has anybody seen Mike Roch?"
Inexplicably, Parks Department coordinator Stephanie Thayer showed up with her own documentary film crew. Apparently reality television has run out of ideas. Actually, it's a documentary about McCarren Park Pool and they've been following Stephanie around to show their audience what a typical day is like for the OSA Executive Director. Apparently that includes attending community board one meetings. Lucky us.
approved and Abate hands the mike over to the Department of Housing and Preservation Development to talk about 640 Broadway. She passes the mike to Daniel Pearlstein from United Jewish Organizations to talk about the project. Esteban Duran asks about whether this is related to the Broadway Triangle Project. Pearlstein says it's an unrelated project. Esteban's not done. About a half dozen United Neighborhood Organization members clap in agreement. HPD says it falls just outside the triangle area and they are separate projects. Doesn't look like much of an issue, but the Broadway Triangle is Williamsburg's Gaza Strip so anything is possible.
6:51 PM: Incoming text message from Jeff Mann, publisher of the Greenpoint Gazette, who is not at tonight's community board meeting with his reporters: "I'm on a boat! I'm meeting Ed Skyler and Mike McMahon! I'm doing something to support the environment!"
6:57 PM: Gerry closes public session and runs the roll call again. Now there are 35 members. We've almost doubled in population! Vinnie recognizes Paul Pullo Jr. for his marriage and offers his best wishes. One board member proposes to kill off the July and August meetings, possibly because the Swinging Sixties room is 90 degrees in February. Motion carries. Wow, did they just kill the the summer meetings? They did? We're hitting the beach.
7:02 PM CB1 heartthrob Ward Dennis gives his presentation about Waterfronts and fills in for Evan Thies for the Environmental committee. Linderman sighs a little bit. So does the Courier's Greg Hanlon. Not sure which is tastier. These delicious cupcakes or Ward "Delicious" Dennis.
7:05 "Hello, everyone! There is a rumor of an economic downturn in the United States. However, looking at the number of licenses in this neighborhood, this cannot be true..."
CB1 mascot and Chair candidate Mieszko Kalita dives into a comprehensive report about all the restaurants looking for liquor licenses and other permits. Here's an excerpt from one:
"They have a steakhouse. They will smoke meat on premises..."
The Chairman tries to close debate but Mieszko won't let him.
"No no... no no no... we have many more." We go on for ten more minutes.
7:17 Teresa Toro announces that after snubbing her last transportation comittee meeting, the DOT will come to the next committee meeting on May 27, and unveil their Kent Avenue bicycle lane plan. I'm writing a column about this later this week, so look for that link on Thursday.
7:21 Chris Olechowski, another likely candidate for CB1 Chair, gives a presentation about the Pulaski Bridge widening. Any major plans for reconstruction are 5 to 10 years away. More on Chris later. In the meantime, we're going to have a beard off. Vote for which community board one regular, Kevin Vincent, Mike Hofmann, or Simon Weiser, has the best beard.
Kevin Vincent (Left), Mike Hofmann (Center), and Simon Weiser (Right)
7:32 PM Okay we're into Public Comments! Thayer makes an announcement about It's My Park Day, happening this Saturday, May 16, and says that the Parks Department will break ground on Bushwick Inlet in the coming days, and announces two more events this weekend at Manhattan Avenue and Third Ear Training 1.0 at Franklin and Commercial Street.
NAG Co-Chair Michael Freedman Schnapp talks about Williamsburg Walks with the publisher of L magazine. The Chairman doesn't care if he's the publisher of a toilet paper roll and shouts him down. Only Mike gets to address the board. This year, there is more programming and the Greenpoint Y, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, the Williamsburg CSA, and others are sponsoring. The Walks will take place on Bedford Avenue from noon to susnet. Mike is excited about Williamsburg Walks coming back. Really excited. Easy MFS.
Yassky staffer Rami "Heavy" Metal notes a press conference David Yassky is leading Thursday at City Hall at 1:30 PM about the MTA bus lot at 65 Commercial Street.
7:42 PM: And we've ended early! Sort of. Nominations were scheduled for 8 PM and it's 7:42. Gerry decides to redo his report for no apparent reason. He's talking about people stuffing envelopes with things that aren't letters or checks and he's very upset about it. No, wait, Gerry got uninvited from a mayoral event because he protested 15% cuts to the community board. The mayor's goons literally escorted him out of the meeting. I have to follow up on this, but Press Row is getting hungry. Time for cupcakes.
7:48 PM The Chairman: Anyone else want to kill some time?
8:00 PM And we're LIVE again! The Chairman opens up nominations for Chair. Chris Olechowski is named. So is Mieszko Kalita. Mieszko gives a 50 second acceptance speech. For the nomination. He hasn't even won yet. One member nominates The Chairman for the chairmanship.
"I can barely make it through tonight," he said.
We go through the other nominations for the executive committee. No real surprises. Rabbi David Niederman and Jaye Fox were nominated for Attendance Committee. Both of them were absent.
In addition to nominations, I would like to formally announce the first annual North Brooklyn Male Reporters Beauty Pageant 2009. Our contestants are Ben Muessig, Jeff Mann, Greg Hanlon, and me, Aaron Short. The vote concludes at the next community board meeting. G'night everybody!